LG 32LH604V review

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Verdict
  • Exciting picture and bold sound make this 32in LG a good proposition – if you can live with that sluggish interface
For
  • Glossy, deep blacks
  • Bright whites
  • Vibrant picture
  • Big and weighty sound
Against
  • Frustratingly slow interface
  • Rivals offer greater subtlety and a more natural picture
  • Doesn’t have all the necessary video apps

Image result for LG 32LH604V

There are two reasons to fly the flag for an LG TV: OLED screen technology and its intuitive WebOS interface.

The 32LH604V isn’t high up enough in LG’s TV range to qualify for an OLED panel, nor does it have Ultra HD 4K resolution.

Then again, we’re not expecting top picture tech on a small screen at this price.

Full HD resolution is perfectly respectable for a 32in TV, but you’ll be glad to hear that this 32in TV also comes with the latest WebOS 3.0 interface.

WebOS

Since it was first introduced in 2014, we have waxed lyrical about LG’s WebOS.

Now in its third iteration, WebOS’s colourful and clever card-launcher interface has been tweaked rather than completely redesigned for its 2016 TVs.

Two new sections join the neat row of cards at the bottom of the screen: My Channels and My Content, where you can store your favourite channels and shows for even quicker access.

Want to watch the next episode of Archer but don’t want to wait a few seconds for the Netflix app to launch? Just add the show to My Content, and the spoof spy show is just a click away.

But there is one glaring problem: it’s slow. Where WebOS is slick and seamless on the top-range TVs, it’s a real drag to use on the 32LH604V. Launching apps, or even the programme guide, takes far too long.

We sat with LG’s equivalent of the spinning wheel of death for a good 10 seconds (and sometimes more) when waiting for the TV guide to appear.

We can allow for a few seconds’ delay when launching video apps, but on a daily basis, waiting this long for the EPG to show up is deeply frustrating.

You’ll need an ounce of patience when using the TV, but it does mar the overall WebOS experience somewhat.

Features

It’s a shame about the response issues, as the 32LH604V has plenty to offer. The included remote control is a standard design with logically laid out buttons, and would work smoothly with the TV if it weren’t for that lag.

Along with Netflix, you have Amazon Video, Now TV, and Demand 5, but curiously, no BBC iPlayer or YouTube.

These are odd omissions, but considering we’ve seen both apps on other LG models, we hope they will be available after a software update.

LG is also reportedly in line to integrate Freeview Play into its TVs, which should give you more catch up apps in the guise of ITV Hub and All 4.

A Freeview HD tuner gives you all your channels, and there is a wired ethernet port for stable internet connection. Don’t worry if your TV isn’t near your router, as the LG has built-in wi-fi as well.

There are three HDMI inputs, two USB ports and analogue connections on the back panel, plus an optical output for plugging in a soundbar – although the LG’s speakers are fairly robust-sounding.

At this budget price, we’re not expecting a slim, flatscreen telly, and the LG is rather on the chunky side. You wouldn’t know it from the front, though. The slim bezel and plain black feet aren’t particularly smart or sleek.

Picture

That means your attention is focused on every inch of the 32in screen. The 32LH604V may be frustrating to use, but its glossy, eye-catching picture makes up for it.

What strikes us most is just how velvety deep the blacks are. They’re not OLED-scales of black, but they’re much darker and more solid than we’ve seen on rival 32in sets, such as the Panasonic TX-32DS500B and Sony KDL-32WD603.

It lends the LG an exciting contrast: stark whites gleam against the inky blacks, and colours have a rich depth to them.

Play Guardians Of The Galaxy on Blu-ray, and the bold yellow jumpsuits, the green skin, and the sci-fi blues all pop vividly against a background that has a believable depth. It draws you into whatever you’re watching on screen.

The LG’s colour palette teeters just on the right side of looking oversaturated.

We’d keep the colour dialled down a touch to get the most natural-looking palette – not too much, though, as you don’t want to lose the vibrancy that makes the LG such fun to look at.

Skin tones look decent, and there’s plenty of subtlety in shading to make characters look three-dimensional. Strands of hair, the rough texture of roads and metal, threads on clothes – they’re all crisply etched out on the LG’s Full HD screen.

Objects look crisp and clean on the LG, across high-definition and standard-definition channels. Then again, its closest rival the Sony KDL-32WD603 only has HD-Ready resolution, so we’re expecting a sharper picture quality on the LG in comparison.

But the Sony isn’t too far off in performance: its blacks may not go as deep as the LG, but it does offer a tad more shadow detail without compromising its strong contrast.

The LG swallows up some finer nuances in inky pools of black, and it doesn’t always look as solid during daylight scenes.

The Sony can glean more information in the bright areas, too, and it does a slightly better job at conveying just how intense and punchy a lamp or light source is.

Sound

The sound quality mirrors the LG’s picture performance: loud, powerful, full-bodied and enjoyable. It can be rather bottom-heavy at times, but it’s a small price to pay when you’re getting such a big, bold sound out of a 32in TV.

Voices are full of warmth, and there’s a decent heft to engines and sound effects. We don’t feel the immediate need for a soundbar.

Verdict

The LG 32LH604V’s glossy picture is an enjoyable watch, though the set is slightly flawed. The main grumble lies with its frustratingly slow interface.

We’d almost swap WebOS 3.0 for a less power-hungry interface if it meant the LG would run more smoothly.

If you can valiantly live through this TV’s foibles, then the 32in LG’s punchy and appealing picture quality is well worth searching out.

(whathifi.com, http://goo.gl/8tFRdn)

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