Last Updated: November 2, 2013
2010 LG LED TV Sets - Part 3
Series LE5300, LE5400, LE5500 and LX6500
Extensive features and affordable prices but...
What about picture quality?
Entry-level series LE5300 and LE5400 1080p HDTVs come with 120Hz technology; LE5400 adds NetCast while step-up series LE5500 introduces LG to the new LG LED Plus technology. And the LX6500 series adds 3D support. It is a case where LG's most affordable HDTVs offer a lot more than you would expect from LED TVs within this price bracket. These LG LED TVs represent an interesting pick especially for the home theater on a budget.
However, not all series perform the same - with some of the less expensive models performing better than more expensive equivalents. At the same time, despite their overall solid picture and accurate colors, some users would tell you that picture performance is not one we have come to expect from the latest LED TVs. More in this LG TV review article.
Samsung UN60F8000 60-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D Ultra Slim Smart LED HDTV
This high-end feature rich LED HDTV comes with Samsung's Micro dimming Ultimate LED backlight technology - among the best in its class for black level performance. It is also the TV with the best feature set.
LG's most affordable LED TVs in detail
LG's entry-level and step-up series cover a total of fourteen different models ranging in size from the small 19-inch LG 19LE5300, to home theater size TVs such as the 55-inch 55LE5400 LG LED TV.
These LG TVs come with a most affordable price with respect to the competition, a price that gives LG an edge over other major brands.
In fact, despite being at the lower end of the LG LED TV line, these LG TV series offer a lot for HDTVs within this price category.
In particular, entry-level LE5400 HDTVs deliver the best feature set to price deal. Even though it is an entry-level series, LE5400 LG LED TVs still come with 120Hz technology and LG's NetCast TV Internet based entertainment.
Step-up series LE5500 adds LG latest new LED backlight technology, termed LED Plus to the LE5400 feature list.
As further explained under part 2 of this write-up, LED Plus is equivalent to Samsung precision dimming edge-lit technology. It provides a very basic 'local' dimming function to the edge-lit LED backlight. On the other hand, the LX6500 continues to build up on the LE5500 feature set by adding 3D support and 240Hz refresh rate technology. So the whole issue is...
How do these LG LED TVs perform? Do they really offer the best value for your money when taking into account picture performance? We try to answer these questions - and more - through this LG LED TV review.
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LG Entry-level Series LE5300 and LE5400 LED HDTVs
LG Series LE5300: Small 720p/1080p LED TVs for the low-end budget
LG Series LE5300 covers the 19-inch LG 19LE5300, 22-inch LG 22LE5300, the 26-inch 26LE5300, the 32-inch 32LE5300, and the 37-inch 37LE5300.
Prices range from $280 for the 19-inch to just over $600 for the 32-inch set and $820 for the 37-inch.
The smaller screen sizes within the series, namely the 19-inch, 22-inch, and 26-inch come as 60Hz 720p HDTVs.
Instead, the 32-inch and 37-inch models come as 120Hz 1080p LED HDTVs. This difference in screen resolution arises by way of the limitations imposed by the smaller screen size. All screen sizes use standard edge-lit LED backlight technology and come with a rated 3,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio.
At 1.4 to 1.8 inches, LE5300 LG LED TVs are just a bit thicker than equivalent 2010 Samsung LED TVs but the LG offers a somewhat superior feature set for the price - features that one would not normally associate with entry-level HDTVs. A case in point is the presence of LG's 120Hz TruMotion dejudder technology on the larger screen sizes within the series. 120Hz processing helps improve motion resolution to reduced blur, but the benefits of 120Hz refresh rate with broadcast content are difficult to discern. However, when combined with 24p Real Cinema 5:5 Pulldown technology, LG's TruMotion 120Hz processing helps produce sharper images from film based content without the use of 2:3 pulldown processing. The latter leads to an unnatural hitching, jerky effect so much typical of 60Hz HDTVs when displaying 24-frame film base content. LG eliminates judder completely by interpolating four extra movie frames for every video frame rate at 120 Hz.
These sets also support 2.4 msec pixel response time (gray-to-gray) as against the typical 4msec found on most 120Hz LCD TVs. This faster pixel response on these 120Hz LG LED TVs is more in line with that of 240Hz LCDs. The result is virtually no motion blur.
Other interesting features include:
1] A pleasing overall design that includes a swivel stand as standard, but otherwise, this is the typical black clone with a subtle silver gray accent.
2] Picture Wizard II for easy picture calibration; this enables easy self-calibration by providing on-screen reference points for key picture quality elements like black and white levels, color, tint, and vertical and horizontal sharpness. It’s like having a basic calibration disc built into your TV.
3] Intelligent Sensor for more comfortable viewing; this automatically optimizes the picture to the lighting and color conditions in the room for a more enjoyable viewing experience.
4] Smart Energy Saving Options for improved energy efficiency; apart from adhering to the latest Energy Star 4.0 requirements, these LG LED TVs come with various energy-saving options like the ability to choose a content-specific setting, or engaging the 'intelligent sensor' referred to above to automatically dim the backlight in line with the ambient light. It even includes a 'video mute' option that switches off the picture while continuing with the sound - like when leaving the room for some time with the TV still on; this drastically reduces power consumption.
5] Connectivity is among the best you can find but take note that there are some differences here between the different screen sizes. The two smaller TVs come with 2 HDMI; the 26-inch set includes three HDMI ports; the 32-inch and 37-inch models come with four HDMI inputs ver. 1.3 with x.v.Color and CEC (for use with LG SimpLinkTM to control multiple SimpLinkTM devices via the TV remote.)
As has been the trend since 2009, these LG LED TVs miss the S-Video input but otherwise, connectivity is complete and apart from the HDMI inputs, you will find one PC VGA type D-sub 15-pin input, two composite video, two component video, a USB2.0 port for JPEG and MP3 playback, one digital out, and even a headphone output.
6] Audio comes at 10W RMS per channel and includes LG's 'Infinite Sound' for simulated surround sound via the set two-way four speaker system. LG also equipped these HDTVs with its Clear Voice II feature to help differentiate the human sound range from others, thus improving the audibility of the human voice.
However, irrespective of the many nice audio features, we still say that like the majority of flat panel TVs today, these LG LED TVs still require an external sound system if you want to enjoy the best sound. Sound is good at low volumes but once you move the volume slider half way, sound clarity starts to suffer.
Picture performance: Many reviewers and customers would tell you that picture quality is not what one would expect from the latest LED TVs, with a rather lighter shade of black while color in dark areas have a blue tint. The latter however is typical of most LCD TVs, as is typical the rather lack of brightness uniformity across the LG screen with most LED TVs.
As further explained under part 2 of LG LED TV review article, LG's 120Hz TruMotion adjustable dejudder processing does not work as fine as that on Samsung HDTVs; with the main reason being that once you reduce the smoothness control to zero, the LG system handles 1080p/24 content in a similar manner to the 2:3 pulldown process used on 60Hz TVs - with that typical jerky motion. Mind you, Samsung dejudder implementation for 2010 has some similar problems though not to the same extent!
One thing surely in favor of these LG LED TVs is their matte screen - which apart from being capable of maintaining black levels even under bright lighting, can do a much better job in reducing reflections than most of the latest glossy screens especially when using these TVs in a bright room environment.
Over all... These are among the most affordable LED TVs around and if the screen size of the LG LE5300 series falls within your requirements, then there is definitely a lot to like for a budget-class LED TV. Surely, these LG LED TVs would not disappoint you especially at this price level. The above performance issues are relatively minor and do not compromise overall picture quality; the LE5300 picture is still stunningly clear - with deep accurate colors.
We say that these are relative cheap HDTVs; still, you have to pay some $100 more than an equivalent CCFL 1080p LCD equivalent for these LG LED TVs. But in return you get an LED TV with all the benefits that an edge-lit LED backlight brings with it - namely a slim design and improved energy efficiency - apart from a feature set that in the case of the LE5300 is more associated with step-up series rather than entry-level HDTVs.
LG Series LE5400: 1080p 120Hz LED TVs for the home theater on a budget
LG Series LE5400 LED HDTVs cover four models, the 32-inch 32LE5400, the 42-inch 42LE5400, the 47-inch 47LE5400, and the 55-inch 55LE5400.
Present prices range from $900 for the 32-inch, to $1,850 for the 55-inch.
Upgrading from the LE5300 to the LE5400 LG series will cost around $300 at the present reduced prices for the 32-inch size - the only common screen size between the two series.
From a design perspective, the LE5400 comes with the same no-frills aesthetics of the LE5300 series - with a black bezel and a subtle silvery gray trim.
The LE5400 series continues to build where the LE5300 left, not only in the available screen sizes - with larger screen sizes, but also in the available features.
Main upgrades over the LE5300 are a higher dynamic mega-contrast rating of 4,000,000:1, a second USN2.0 port, and more important, the presence of LG NetCast Internet-based Entertainment access. The latter is one of the best implemented Internet-based TV entertainment platforms around. We have already discussed LG NetCast under the features discussion part of this LG LED TV review article, so we will not repeat the same discussion here.
These LG LED HDTVs also come as Wi-Fi ready - meaning that to enjoy wireless network connectivity, all that is required is to plug in the optional LG AN-WF100 Wi-Fi USB adapter and there you go. In this respect, the second USB2.0 port present on the LE5400 LG LED TVs comes in really handy as it still leaves you with a free USB port should you decide to use the LG Wi-Fi dongle.
Directly related with the LG's network connectivity is DLNA support for streaming of multimedia content from your PC. DLNA comes with an interesting interface but the user interface is slow especially when browsing folders on your PC.
From a performance perspective, these HDTVs share basically the same picture quality related specs as the rest of the non-Infinia range of LED TVs. This means that LE5400 HDTVs suffer from the same lack of screen uniformity, the somewhat lighter shade of black for an LED TV, and the problems with the 120Hz TruMotion dejudder processing as the LE5300 and LE5500 LG LED TVs.
One particular user on amazon also complained of a 'flashlight' effect with some dark content. This is when the light from the LED backlight shine through the edges of the picture and makes its way in to dark areas on your screen. At the same time, a review on Televisioninfo.com by David Kender states that the performance of the LE5400 LED backlight is outstanding despite the lighter shade of black.
Otherwise, the LE5400 series represents an interesting big screen option whose main competition comes from the somewhat more expensive Samsung's C6300 and C6500 series reviewed on our site. These LG LED TVs does not come with the refined styling of the Samsung C6500 series, but they are definitely cheaper. LE5400 HDTVs also lack the supposedly superior LG LED Plus backlight technology found on the more expensive LG LE5500. However, a review of the latter on Cnet shows that performance of LG's LED Plus technology is rather disappointing. In other words, the LE5400 series of LG LED TVs gives you more for less. It is no surprise that all HDTVs within this series are among the best selling HDTVs within the 2010 LG LED TV lineup, and the ones that are earning the best ratings in consumer reviews.
Overall... There is a lot to like about these LG LED TVs. LE5400 LG LED TVs offer very good picture performance, highly accurate color especially in bright scenes, solid build quality, plenty of streaming and interactive features, extensive picture controls, and thanks to their LED edge backlight - are also among the most energy efficient. It is definitely the LG LED HDTV series that in our opinion represents a most interesting pick as a big screen option and one that offers the best value for money within the non-Infinia LG LED HDTVs.
Best-selling model within the LG LE5400 series is the 42-inch 42LE5400, followed by the 47-inch 47LE5400. But as stated, all models in this series, and including the 55-inch 55LE5400, are proving to be the hot pick among the complete LG LED TV line for 2010.
LG Step-up Series LE5500 and LX6500 LED HDTVs
LG LE5500: Stepping into LG's LED Plus technology with local dimming
LG Series LE5500 LED HDTVs represent mid-range series of LED TVs; it coves three models, the 42-inch 42LE5500, the 47-inch 47LE5500, and the 55-inch 55LE5500.
Present reduced prices online range from $1,100 for the 32-inch, to $1,850 for the 55-inch. Best selling model within the LG LE5500 series is the 47-inch.
Upgrading to the LE5500 would cost you anything between $100 and $150 over the LE5400. The LE5500 design is similar to that of the less expensive series with the only difference being an evening purple accent instead of the silver gray of the LE5400.
Main upgrade from the LE5400 is the new LG LED Plus backlight with local dimming. As expressed under the features section of this LG LED TV review, this is equivalent to Samsung LED precision dimming but the LG system does not seem to work as fine.
LED Plus technology introduces a very basic form of local dimming to the edge-lit backlight. This is possible thanks to the use of a special light diffusion layer behind the LCD panel that can distribute light from 16 separate segments of the edge LED backlight to an equally independent areas on the display panel. In addition, each of these 16 segments can be dimmed or brightened in accordance with the average brightness level of the image within that part of the screen area.
This form of edge-lit LED backlight with local dimming technology is not superior to full-array LED backlight with local dimming, but when correctly implemented, it can lead to significant improvement over standard edge-lit back light technology by providing improved black level performance without the cost of full array local dimming.
We said that this new LED technology should theoretically deliver superior performance to standard edge-lit LED local dimming but according to a review appearing on Cnet for the 47-inch 47LE5500, the LG system suffers from an imprecise local dimming - with too much stray illumination and blooming. This is due to the rather small number of independently controlled dimmable screen segments. You see, the use of just 16 addressable independent segments is simply not enough to yield a picture with any significant improvement over standard edge-lit LED technology. Rather, with such a small number of independently controlled screen segments, there is a very high risk that these TVs would produce annoying brightness variations with certain picture content.
It is thus no surprise that the Cnet review says that black level performance of the LE5500 LG LED TV under review was worse than most other LED TVs with standard edge-lit backlighting.
Samsung does not divulge the number of independent screen segments used in its 'Precision Dimming' but the LG system does not work as fine as that used by Samsung on the C6800 and C8000 series.
Apart from the LED Plus technology, all other features between the LE5500 and the LE5400 are practically the same, and include NetCast, TruMotion 120Hz technology, Picture Wizard II, and LG smart energy savings. The only exception here is a 5,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio rating instead of the 4,000,000:1 of the entry-level LG series. However, despite what the difference in numbers might seem to imply, you can rest assured that this higher rating would not impact picture performance.
It is not the scope of this article to go into the issue of contrast ratio and how it impacts picture quality, but if you would like to know more about this issue of contrast ratings, just read our article The Contrast Ratio Game - Playing with Numbers!
Performance: Apart from the imprecise local dimming issue already highlighted above, overall picture performance is basically the same as that of the LE5400. However, the implications on picture quality as a result of the imprecise local dimming would in our opinion relegate this series of LG LED TVs below the cheaper LE5400.
OK, colors are accurate, standard definition content is handled well with hardly any jaggies and with properly controlled noise, PC picture is sharp - displaying a full 1920 x 1080 pixel image via both HDMI and the VGA input, and the matte screen performs well under bright light. But then even the LE5400 performs basically the same in these areas.
In other words, despite the LED Plus technology, these LG LED TVs does not perform as expected, with Cnet rating the LE5500 picture quality as mediocre.
LG LX6500: Stepping into the world of 3D with LG
LG Series LX6500 LED HDTVs represent LG entry-level 3D TVs; models available include the 47-inch 47LX6500 and the 55-inch 55LX6500.
As is the present trend in the pricing of 3D TVs, these LG LED TVs do not come cheap. Expect to pay anything between $800 and $1,000 over the less expensive 2D equivalents from within the LE5400 and LE5500 LG HDTVs series; in fact, the 55-inch is presently selling at close to $3,000.
From a design perspective, the LX6500 continues to follow on the rest of the non-Infinia series - with a glossy black frame but that in the case of the LX6500 series, incorporates a subtle dark brown accent along the outside.
The expensive price tag of the LX6500 series LG LED TVs is mainly due to the added 3D TV support. This series also introduces LG to 240Hz TruMotion technology, and comes with a higher rated dynamic contrast ratio of 8,000,000:1; all other features being the same as those present on the LE5500, including the LED Plus backlight.
This means that form a performance perspective, we expect these 3D LG LED TVs to behave in a similar manner to the LE5500 series LED TVs. You see, the increased dynamic contrast rating would not result in any perceived improved picture quality; in a similar manner, the benefits of 240Hz refresh rate technology with 2D content would be difficult to discern. The benefits of the latter would mainly come into play when viewing 3D movie content as it will enable these TVs to play 3D 24 frame-per second movie content without reverting to the otherwise necessary 2:3 pulldown processing.
3D performance on LG LED TVs is in line with that of other 3D LCD TVs from Samsung. We have already discussed the issue of 3D on LG LED TVs under the features section of this LG LED TV review article. In that part of the discussion, we noted that as with most LCD TVs, LG LX9500 3D LED TVs suffer from 3D image crosstalk. However, in their comparison of the LG LX9500 and the Samsung C8000 3D TVs, FlatpanelsHD noted that the LG LED TV under review still suffered from image crosstalk despite its super fast (for an LCD) response time of just 1msec but to a lesser extent than the Samsung. The fast response time is important as one of the reasons leading to image crosstalk is an insufficient pixel response time.
The whole argument we are trying to make here is this: The LX6500 comes with a slower response time than the LX9500 - that is twice that of the flagship series. We have not seen any review of the LX6500 LG LED TVs but this leads us to believe that the entry-level LG 3D LED TVs may exhibit even more 3D image crosstalk than LX9500 LG 3D LED HDTVs.
LG HDTVs have always proved to be among the most interesting - thanks to their innovative features, extensive user-adjustable picture controls even with budget-class HDTVs, extensive connectivity, a solid overall picture with highly accurate colors, and a price that is often hard to match.
However, not all LG LED TVs series perform the same. If what you are after is the best picture for your money, the LE5400 is the most worthy LG TV series within the non-Infinia LG group. You would not get LED Plus with local dimming technology or 3D, but...
You would not be missing much! As we have stated in this LG LED TV review, LED Plus - LG's implementation of edge LED lighting with local dimming - does not add much to the picture; and as we have expressed elsewhere on the site, 3D in the home is still in the making.