- Perfect Black levels/Contrast
- Excellent HDR performance/versatility
- Outstanding Color
- Super-friendly user interface
- Excellent viewing angle
- Slight screen glare
The LG B6 OLED TV is the company’s most affordable OLED television, but it’s got the same stunning picture quality you should expect from any of LG’s other OLED models, right up to the super-premium Signature G6 OLED. So, if the B6’s picture quality is the same but the TV is less expensive, what must you give up? As it turns out, the answer is very little.
For this review, we’ll go ahead and rehash some of the glowing things we said earlier this year about LG’s OLED TV picture quality, clarify some of its outstanding features, and go over the short list of things you don’t get with this model. Ultimately, though, here’s what we want you take away: The LG B6 OLED offers the best picture quality you can buy today, at the best price yet.
Out of the Box
No shortage of ink has been spilled over how incredibly thin OLED TVs are, and the B6’s panel itself is certainly impressive in that respect, measuring thinner than an iPhone 6. Keep in mind that all the hardware needed to light up that panel has to go somewhere, and in the case of the B6, that place is the lower half of TV’s back panel, where the unit’s total depth is extended to about 9 inches. Even so, the TV still looks incredible mounted on a wall.
Without its table-top stand, the B6 weighs just 35.7 pounds, and with the stand just 43 pounds.
Riding along with the TV is an accessories box which contains our favorite iteration of LG’s Magic Motion remote (more dedicated buttons!), along with batteries for said remote and some product literature.
Features and User Experience
LG distinguished itself from its competition this year by offering a healthy selection of TV models which support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, two different High Dynamic Range (HDR) formats which have a noticeable impact on picture quality when watching HDR content, the bulk of which can be streamed from Netflix and Amazon or sourced from Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. Presently, Dolby Vision is only available on certain streaming programs, but it will soon be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray too, and when it is, it will offer yet another hike in picture quality for OLED owners since Dolby’s flavor of HDR can adjust to suit a TV’s contrast capabilities – a fact worth noting here since OLED currently offers better black levels than other displays on the market.
Add in four HDMI 2.0a ports with HDCP 2.2 support and you’ve got a 4K Ultra HD TV that is as well steeled against future developments as you could hope to have right now.
WebOS 3.0 continues to serve as LG’s operating system and smart TV platform, and remains one of our favorite on the market (in a close tie with Samsung’s Tizen OS). If you don’t care for waving your remote around like a magic wand, you can always use the more conventional directional pad and enter key along with dedicated buttons for things like input selection and settings menu access. Still, I think users will find moving the cursor by aiming the remote a pretty big help when entering text for usernames and passwords.
WebOS 3.0 also offers some convenience features like keeping apps open in the background for instant access and quick switching to and from other apps or TV channels; no need to reload Netflix every time you pop out to check on game scores – Netflix will automatically resume right where you left off, and making the switch is lightning quick.
What you don’t get with the B6 model is a built-in premium sound system or a super-fancy “screen on glass” effect that come with some of LG’s higher-end models. I don’t miss the integrated sound bar found in the company’s flagship G6 Signature OLED much, to be honest – the B6’s sound quality is decent for such a thin TV, and better sound can be had with a third-party sound bar anyway, or, better yet, a full-on surround system.
Most TV manufacturers are dropping 3D entirely, but I recognize some still enjoy it. Keep in mind that if you choose the B6 OLED, you must give up on your dreams of in-home 3D. If it’s any consolation, I don’t think you’ll miss it much.
As for design, this is a very handsome TV, and it’s flat, too! No more having to accept a curved screen to get that premium OLED picture quality.
As I stated above, the B6 offers the best picture quality money can buy today, owed mostly to its perfect black levels, but also to increased brightness over prior years, and dazzling color capabilities.
Clearly, a lot rides on that perfect black level component. The hard fact is that LED/LCD TVs simply can’t avoid certain pitfalls due to their LED backlighting systems – there will always be some degree of light leakage, blooming, and halos around bright objects. The OLED doesn’t suffer these issues because when a pixel is off, it is completely off and completely black. This results in contrast that really must be seen to be understood. Still, I’ll try to illustrate: Imagine a scene in a film showing a big, bright moon against a dark night sky. On an LED TV, you’d notice that the letterbox bars at the top and bottom of the TV aren’t perfectly black as they should be, the dark sky appears to have a subtle shade of dark blue to it, and you’ll note that the moon’s edges are somewhat soft, with a bit of glow extending past what should be the edges. By contrast, an OLED TV will have perfectly black letterbox bars, a perfectly black night sky, and the edges of the moon will be razor sharp, with no glow spilling out onto the screen. Plus, any stars in the night sky will be tiny pinpricks of light rather than splotchy dots.
Clean lines and outstanding contrast set the stage for everything else the B6 OLED can do. Its color is deep and vibrant, with subtle shades rendered beautifully. When you watch HDR content on this TV, you will see colors in movies you know very well were never there before. For me, that moment came when I watched JJ Abrams’ Star Trek for the 43rd time. Crimson hues burst from the crew’s uniforms, the sky took on a new shade of blue, and Uhura’s sexy, green-skinned Alien roommate, Gaila, leapt off the screen in a shade I found completely unfamiliar. You may think you’ve seen your movies before, but until you’ve seen a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray where a colorist has taken free reign in the mastering process, you have no idea what is possible.
Brightness levels for this model are also outstanding – I never had any problem with washed out picture while watching in the middle of the day with sun pouring in the windows. A direct beam of sunlight will definitely tame this beast, but it won’t kill it.
Along the lines of brightness: Some will note that LG’s claimed max luminance levels are less than that of its top-tier competition from the likes of Sony, Samsung, and Vizio, and it is true those sets can get quite a bit brighter, but in side-by-side comparisons, I rarely found the brightness intensity to be particularly advantageous, and certainly not enough to make up for black levels that paled in comparison to the B6’s.
Sony’s remarkable Z9D series, for instance, offers incredible spectral highlights with intense peak brightness, but even with more addressable individual zones of LED backlights than any TV before it, the Z9D just couldn’t take down the LG B6 in overall picture quality. Though our Z9D sample came in at 65-inches, the smaller 55-inch B6 OLED came off as the more impressive of the two sets in an informal poll of DT staffers.
Samsung’s top-of-the-line KS9800 is also a fierce competitor, boasting impressive brightness and some of Samsung’s best black levels to date. The KS9800 is also a curved display, and, once again, boasted a 65-inch screen size that’s much larger than the B6 OLED’s 55-inch display. Still, even with less screen real estate, the OLED’s ability to deliver razor-sharp lines in challenging scenes won our hearts in the end. Is perfect black really all that important? Absolutely.
LG offers a one-year parts and labor warranty on the B6 OLED
LG’s B6 OLED has already been established as one of the best TVs you can buy, but now that its price is coming down and likely to dive even further, that luxurious picture quality is finally within reach. While the 55-inch price is now set at $2,000 and the 65-inch at $3,000, a Black Friday promotion recently saw the 55-inch B6 drop to $1800 and the 65-inch to $2700. That puts the B6 on the same pricing terms as the Samsung KS9800 series and just above the Sony X930D, making it one of the most compelling premium TV choices on the market in years.
Is there a better alternative?
How long will it last?
LG claims its OLED panels should last about 100,000 hours, which means you’ll be in the market for another TV long before the B6 dies, assuming everything else holds up. In other words, barring any unforeseen tragedies, this TV will last you longer than you need it to.
Should you buy it?
If you have the means, then yes, absolutely buy this TV. Next year’s OLED TV’s may boast some improvements, but they will be considerably more expensive. If you’re looking to purchase a new TV this year and want the best picture you can get for your hard-earned dollars, LG’s B6 OLED is the ticket.