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LG 55LM9600

*Est. $2,700
Reviewed
August 2012
by ConsumerSearch
LG 55LM9600

Pros
  • Stunning design
  • Lots of features
  • Innovative Magic Motion remote control
Cons
  • Disappointing picture quality
  • High price tag

The LG LM9600 sports a stunning design and a bevy of high-tech and innovative features. But experts say that the picture quality is a bit of a disappointment
-- and a step backward from LG's well-received 2011 sets. The disappointment is
only amplified by this TV's relatively high price tag.

At the time of this report, the LG LM9600 series is available in a 55-inch screen
size as the LG 55LM9600. In addition, the 47-inch 47LM9600 and
60-inch 60LM9600 are promised for later this year.

Performance

For its price class, picture quality falls short. The consensus expressed by most reviewers is that black levels are disappointing. It's not that there aren't other TVs with even lower black levels than the LM9600, CNET's Ty Pendlebury notes, but those sell for much less than this TV. Pendlebury adds that he measured black levels that were half as dark as the 2011 flagship LG LED TV that the LM9600 replaces. At the other end of the scale, PCMag.com complains that a contrast ratio that's not particularly high limits brightness. CNET concurs, noting that details in bright scenes can easily be lost.

Color performance is capable of being excellent, but you might need to do a bit of fiddling -- or a professional calibration -- to get the colors that way. Though the LM9600 uses a full-array LED backlight, light-bleeds at the edges and corners more typical of edge-lit designs are seen by some reviewers. The degree seems to vary by specific set, however. CNET's test sample seems to have been particularly afflicted; TelevisionInfo.com reports mild artifacts, while FlatpanelsHD.com sees "no critical clouding or bleeding."

The LG LM9600 sports a glossy screen, but light reflections seem to be relatively well controlled. The 480 Hz TruMotion specification is derived from the LCD panel's interaction with the set's scanning backlight; the panel itself has a native refresh rate of 240 Hz, however.

Features

As befitting a flagship model, LG's LM9600 is pretty loaded. Of course there's Internet connectivity, and LG's Smart TV suite of content providers is pretty broad, though there are some notable exceptions in the form of Amazon Instant and Pandora. You'll also find an app store that, TelevisionInfo.com says, has more useful apps than the norm for a TV platform, and a small library of streamable 3D clips and programs (of course this TV has 3D; more in a moment).

Reviewers say don't even bother with the built-in web browser of most Internet-connected TVs. In the case of LG, however, the included Magic Motion remote makes web browsing a less-than-horrifying experience. The Magic Motion remote is not as gee-whiz as Samsung's gesture control (found in their high-end offerings such as the ES8000), but most say it works better. Voice commands are a new-for 2012 option that's accessed through the Magic Motion remote, but using them is too cumbersome to be really useful as of yet, most say. We'll wrap up our discussion of the LM9600's network features by noting that the TV has built-in Wi-Fi and that it is
DLNA-compliant so that you can stream videos, music and photos from a PC on the same network.

LG has fully embraced passive 3D technology, and that's found in the LM9600. Most experts -- but not all -- say that for home viewing, passive 3D is preferred because of its freedom from artifacts such as ghosting and the use of cheap, lightweight glasses (LG throws six pairs of those in the box). TelevisionInfo.com calls the LM9600's 3D "the best 3D yet available" via a home TV for 2012. Most other experts agree, though PCMag.com strikes a contrary stance by calling it "unimpressive."

Design

This might be the first set that looks better when it's off than when it's on. Naturally, that's a bit of hyperbole. On the other hand, while critics could not stop complaining about the disappointing picture quality, most couldn't stop raving about the striking design. The screen is a single pane of glass that spans the entire front, edged by the tiniest sliver of a silver bezel. The silver-colored metal stand swivels and tilts, and has a somewhat futuristic look.

The Magic Motion remote is good for far more than web browsing. It's easy and fun to use, and makes scrolling through the seemingly endless array of menus found in modern TVs a lot easier. One possible fly in the ointment,TelevisionInfo.com reports, is that a quirk in the design gives the remote fits at times if it's used by a lefty. Connectivity is excellent, with four HDMI ports and three USB ports.

Value

The LM9600 is overpriced relative to its picture quality. That's what nearly every reviewer who's spent serious time with this TV says. Undoubtedly, the design is beautiful and the features are plentiful and relatively well executed. But in the end, it's what you see on the screen that counts, and for what you see, you pay too much.

Bottom line

Despite its great looks and bevy of features, it's tough to recommend the LG LM9600. Some of LG's step-down TVs -- such as the LM7600 and LM6700 -- offer nearly the same suite of features and designs that are almost as eye-catching. Picture quality still disappoints some, but the price tag is smaller. If the very best image quality is important, take a look at the Sony HX850 instead.

Samsung offers an even more impressive array of features -- including voice and gesture control -- and somewhat better picture quality than the LM9600 in its high-end sets such as the ES8000, but those are also expensive. Vizio's M3D0KD won't win any fashion awards, and its feature lineup isn't particularly impressive (though both Internet connectivity and 3D are included), but it has surprising (in a good way) picture quality and an even more surprising (in a better way) price tag.

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Our Sources

1. CNET

Excellent CNET's reviews are in-depth and technically excellent, but conclusions are drawn in a way that lets even technology neophytes easily see which TVs please and which ones disappoint. The LG 55LM9600 falls into the latter category. It's stunningly styled and feature packed, but picture performance is a letdown considering the 55LM9600's price -- and in light of the superior image quality of the 2011 LG LED TV it replaces.

Review: LG 55LM9600 Review, Ty Pendlebury, May 16, 2012

2. TelevisionInfo.com

Excellent TV buyers that want to explore every facet of a TV won't want to miss the detailed and sometimes highly technical reports at TelevisionInfo.com. The LG 55LM9600 draws largely favorable feedback. However, Lee Neikirk isn't sure that the price is justified, as step-down LG sets -- such as those in the LM6700 series -- are just as feature packed, perform nearly as well if not even better and cost notably less.

Review: LG 55LM9600, Lee Neikirk, April 9, 2012

3. FlatpanelsHD.com

Excellent Europe's FlatpanelsHD.com is a well-regarded though sometimes technically dense resource for learning about TVs. The LG LM9600 series of TVs (sold as the LM960V series in Europe) disappoints on several points. Notably, the picture is no better than some of LG's similarly equipped but lower-priced step-down TVs, making value questionable. In addition, the site's testing reveals a signal-processing fault that can cause blurring while watching Blu-ray movies -- but one that's not reported by others who have looked at this TV.

Review: LG LM9600 / LM960V, Rasmus Larsen, June 1, 2012

4. PCMag.com

Very Good Add PCMag.com to the list of competent reviewers who seem disappointed by LG's flagship LCD TVs for 2012. Will Greenwald calls the picture quality of the LG 55LM9600 only "middling." Price and the 3D performance of the set also come in for some knocks. The design, however, is "beautiful."

Review: LG 55LM9600, Will Greenwald, June 6, 2012

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