LG 55LW5600 Review
Model: LG 55LW5600
Description: 55" LED backlit LCD TV with Passive 3D and 120Hz Processing
Includes: Swivel table top stand, 4 pairs of Passive 3D Glasses, Wifi Dongle, Breakout cables for component and composite inputs.
Reviewers: Jack Burden
Date: Summer 2011
- Value Price Point for 3D Readiness
- Magic Wand Remote Control is excellent
- 4 Pair 3D Glasses and Wifi Dongle included
- Off Center Viewing Angle
- Full Web Browser for Internet Search
- Calibration Controls Excellent Menu System Features and ease of use
- Graininess and Picture Noise in HD Picture from Film
- Limited Internet Apps
- Standard Definition Picture Quality Dimmer than normal
- Glare from Ambient Room Light/ Non-Clear Coat Screen
- Judder in side to side panning images
General Picture Quality Characteristics:
- Good deep black levels
- Excellent side viewing angle with little contrast degredation during side viewing at 40 degrees
- Dark Shadow Detail sometimes overwhelmed by blacks
- HD picture – lots of noise and motion artifacts with film based material
- HD Picture – With broadcast content colors pop and the picture is very lively
- SD Picture – generally a little soft and a little dim with our calibrations. Use Standard Calibration instead with Color Temp adjusted to W8. With this change, the SD color is more vibrant and images sharper.
- Soft, rather than sharp edges in almost many images
- Lots of glare on the non-clear coat screen
- Picture Depth Average
Picture Quality Rating (HD): 8/10
First it's important to calibrate the TV and adjust or turn off the TruMotion 120Hz feature unless you are watching HD sports programming for which it is fine to leave it on. Follow our instructions below. The HD picture on the LW5600 LED backlit LCD TV is good overall though there are obvious positives and negatives. Side Viewing Angle is excellent for an LCD TV, and black levels are another standout feature of the picture. Color rendition is also good as are flesh tones. Negative attributes include picture detail that is sometimes too soft, average picture depth, and a good bit of glare from in room light sources especially at side angles. Dark shadow detail is also just average. The LW5600 also offers local dimming. Testing with this feature did not yield much improvement in the picture so we recommend leaving the feature off as it may cause issue with screen light uniformity.
A colorful, detailed shot from the NBA Finals through the NBA App on the LW5600.
3D TV Viewing: 3D picture quality produces surprisingly good depth for passive 3D. We were overall pretty pleased with the experience while viewing Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with the LG AG-P110 passive glasses (4 pair come with the TV). Colors were certainly vivid especially with animation 3D content. I noted blurring in the bottom right and left corner of the TVs picture on several instances. There was also crosstalk present with several programs. Passive 3D of course offers only half the 3D resolution of true 1080p active 3D display and thus less depth, but it seems light and simple in comparison. Advantages to passive 3D are more affordable glasses, no charging or batteries to deal with in the glasses, and less eye strain. The glasses are simple, light and comfortable and look a bit like a 1960 Ray Ban frame. They are of a weight and lens thickness which seems like they should be priced at $5 a pair rather than the $12.50 they actually cost. There is also a 2D to 3D conversion technology built in the LW5600. Though this technology has generally left a lot to be desired in the past we do see some improvement. It's not something you will likely utilize much as it does not produce quality images.
A vibrant shot from the 3D Blu Ray, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs shows rich colors clarity.
TruMotion Adjustment: To find the feature press the Home key to go to the menu, scroll down to the Setup option and press. Once in the Setup options menu click on the picture settings menu and scroll all the way down to the bottom of that menu. The TruMotion setting is located there. After much testing, we preferred the User setting with Judder Reduction completely off at 0, and Motion Blur at level 9 with the exception of sports programming for which the features actually adds quality. With that done we will report up front that judder is noticeable and persistent especially in scenes with side to side panning. But it's worth the trade as the judder reduction option eliminates natural background blur in film based programming and causes a "soap opera" effect.
Picture Quality Rating (SD): 7.5/10
The Standard definition picture carries many of the same attributes of the HD picture performance. One aspect we noticed was that the picture was too soft and dim with our calibrated HD picture settings so we recommend using the Standard picture setting on the TV which lifts contrast and color information and introduces too much blue. Changing the Color Temp setting to W8 resolves the blue push. There was some slight contouring and mapping of color information from the onboard video processors but overall SD picture performance was pretty solid.
Though there is a little glare from the screen, contrast remains good from side viewing anlges on the LW5600. It's one of the best LED-LCD TVs we've tested in this area.
Features Rating: 8/10
A few of the upgrades in the LW5600 over the model below include the passive 3D viewing option (with 4 pairs of glasses), 2D to 3D conversion, local dimming from the edge lit LED backlighting, and Picture Wizard II. It also contains upgrade features common to the LV5500 with 120Hz TruMotion, the Magic Wand Remote Control and the Full Browser and Internet Suite options. Let's review each of the feature upgrades below:
The LG 55LW5600 carries Wifi Connectivity and includes the Wifi Dongle (pictured) which plugs into one of the USB inputs.
Local Dimming LED Backlighting: This feature is designed to improve the contrast in areas of the screen by adjusting the backlight. This is not true full local dimming. In our viewing we did not notice a discernible difference between the picture with local dimming and without. Since the LED back lighting is edge lit, we side with leaving this feature off since it could add uneven back lighting information and thus affect the picture unformity negatively.
Internet Options: LG NetCast Internet Connected Internet Feature Options: There are a few Internet options that appear to have been dropped from last years offering including Yahoo! Widgets and Skype. But other options have been expanded from the premium services Netflix, Youtube, VUDU, AP, Google Maps, Cinema Now, NBA, Facebook, and Twitter. There are around 20 premium services in all. There are currently 49 Apps in the LG Internet Apps store – not nearly as many as some competitors but the list is growing. A few we noticed include Yoga trainer, Horoscope, H&M Fashion, Color Blind, and a Paint App. It appears LG is concertedly playing catchup in this area and doing a reasonably good job at it. I would rate the Internet Suite options at very mediocre at this point and a good ways behind Samsung, Sony and Panasonic in offerings though the most important ones are there. We are glad to report that the TruMotion feature and Picture Menu options can be accessed on the LW5600 with Internet options.
The Internet TV lineup (Netcast SmartTV) for LG's LW5600
A colorful shot from a You Tube video with the keyboard overlay from the LW5600
TruMotion 240Hz: Use with Caution should be the note included in the owners manual for this feature. At least turn the judder reduction control off for film based material.
There is an upgraded Picture Wizard II in the LW5600 which allows for basic calibration tools to allow users to adjust the 5 basic settings depending upon ambient room light. It's an interesting and somewhat useful feature that we have not encountered elsewhere.
Video Aspect Ratio Sizing: The new ratio button on the remote controls aspect ratio options which are: 16:9, Just Scan, 4:3, Zoom, Cinema Zoom and Set By Program. The Set By Program option is a great way to eliminate having to find the correct option for DVD programming since it finds the proper setting for you. We tested it with some 4:3 programming and it worked perfectly. The viewer can "zoom out" the top and bottom black bars on 16:9 content if desired (while losing some of the sides).
Inputs: 4 HDMI inputs and USB 2.0 access, 2 component, 2 Composite, Ethernet, and a 15 pin D-sub computer input rounds out an ample offering. There are included breakout cables for one set of component and composite inputs.
Included breakout cable connections for Composite and Component Video
Aesthetic Considerations: The LW5600 is what I would put in the "good looking enough" category. It has an acrylic edge that surrounds the panel's black gloss 1.5" wide framing bezel. The TV almost credit card thin at an impressive 1" in depth. I would personally prefer a little smaller framing bezel. It looks slightly wide especially at the bottom of the TV where it is almost 3 inches. The included table top stand swivels up to 20 degrees and is well built. Not bad looking but no awards in this category.
Remote Control/Menu Functionality: One of my favorite features for 2011 from all manufacturers is the fantastic Magic Wand Remote Control which this TV includes. Not only is it super cool, it is functional and practical and I prefer using it to even the very complete full remote that also comes with the LW6500. The styling is minimalistic and slim, narrowing toward the end like a pointer. It's main function is assisting in navigating the Internet options available on the TV, however where it can also save tons of time is typing on the full browser search function. It's a great little invention no doubt modeled after the Nintendo Wii mote.
The LW5600 comes with two remotes – one being the excellent and fun Magic Wand Remote Controller
The "normal" remote control that comes with the LW5600 series is black gloss and has a very nice design with a slight bubble slope to allow for one handed use of many functions. It is well laid out and easy to use. The menu has large understandable graphics that make the LV5500 enjoyable and easy to navigate. There are special keys on the remote control for Internet Widgets, and Premium Internet Services. The Q. menu key helps with quick toggling for major controls such as picture modes. There is also a new Energy Saving button on the remote in the event you would like the TV to go to an auto dimming mode. The menu provides extremely complete calibration 10 point white balance settings, so as a result we (and now you) can dial the set in perfectly for optimum viewing. One other notable and unusual feature with regard to the menu is an option that allows the TV to copy your 10 point white balance settings to all the other inputs. Though normal picture settings are still discrete and will need to be changed for each, being able to transfer the 10 point settings to each input saves tons of time (30 adjustments for each input).
Audio Output: The LW5600 series LCD uses 15W X 15W speakers and LG's audio system from 2010 which eliminates traditional speaker drivers and contains speaker actuators around the perimeter of the entire bezel. One negative byproduct of the incredibly thin 1" depth may be speaker quality decrease. Though the technical terminology for the LW5600 sound system seems impressive we wish it translated into better practical performance as the sound quality is dim and shallow and sometimes lacks volume especially with film based programming. The Clear Voice feature usually helps and we recommend turning it on for film based programming.see Value Rating and Overall Score on Page 2