- Mostly stunning picture quality
- Gorgeous super-thin design
- Excellent webOS smart TV interface
- Occasional noticeable dimness at the image’s edges
- Black levels drop off quite suddenly at times
- Average audio
Key Features: 55-inch OLED TV; Native 4K UHD resolution; webOS 2.0 smart TV interface; HDR playback; Curved screen design
What is the LG 55EG920V?
The 55EG920V is, excitingly, LG’s cheapest 4K UHD OLED TV to date. The curved-screen 55-inch model is widely available for less than £2,250/$3,375 – which is cheaper than the £2,500/$3,750 or so required to secure LG’s 55EG960V curved OLED set or the recently launched flat-screen 55EF950V.
Why is the 55EG920V cheaper? The obvious reasons are that it doesn’t use the same Harman Kardon-created speaker system, and that its stand isn’t built to quite the same grade. However, as I discovered, the 55EG920V has another trick up its sleeve.
Design and Features
Despite employing a slightly lower grade of desktop stand than is included with the 55EG960V, the 55EG920V is still a spectacularly attractive TV. The screen still connects to the stand via a cute transparent “neck” that makes it look as if it’s floating – an effect that’s enhanced by the exceptional slimness of the frame; it extends for less than a centimetre beyond the screen’s borders.
As usual with OLED technology, the rear of the curved screen is incredibly shallow – less than 5mm – over the majority of its area.
The curved shape won’t suit everyone. For instance, while it looks elegant on the stand, curved screens look a little clumsy when hung on a wall.
There’s also the potential for curved screens to exhibit issues with viewing angles, and for reflections to distort the image across more of the screen than would be the case with flat TVs.
However, it should be stressed that the curvature on the LG 55EG920V is relatively shallow, and that the filters the company has built into its latest OLED screen do a decent job of soaking up reflections.
Personally, I’d probably pay the extra £250/$375 to get the flat 55EF950V. At the same time, though, I wouldn’t expect the 55EG920V’s curve causing too much trouble/offence – and its £250/$375 saving could buy a healthy collection of Blu-rays.
The 55EG920V’s connections prove better than expected, with its HDMIs supporting playback of high dynamic range (HDR) content. This is a huge point in the 55EG920V’s favour over the 55EG960V, for example.
In fact, with HDR looking set to become a big deal in 2016, I’d say that the 55EG920V’s HDR over HDMI support more than compensates for its lack of a Harman Kardon speaker system.
The 55EG920V also boasts multiple USBs for multimedia playback from USB storage devices, and supports streaming from DLNA-capable devices via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. In addition, the network connections can of course provide access to the services and apps available in LG’s walled garden of online content. These apps are reasonably numerous, and include such big hitters as Sky’s Now TV platform, and the 4K implementations of both Netflix and Amazon.
Where catch-up services are concerned, though, LG doesn’t support either All 4 or the ITV Hub; you get only BBC iPlayer and Demand 5.
Helping you to search out the content you want to watch is LG’s webOS interface. This is great news, for this elegant, unobtrusive and logical interface remains the most user-friendly of all the smart TV interfaces currently available.
The 55EG920V also supports 3D playback, with two pairs of passive 3D glasses included.
The main picture feature that I should really spend a little more time on, though, is the OLED panel technology.
The big deal here is that every pixel in an OLED screen produces its own light and colour, completely independently of its neighbours. This enables the technology to, on paper at least, deliver levels of contrast and colour precision that you just can’t get with any other current flat-screen technology.
While the 55EG920V’s pictures look awesome, there are a few settings that I’d recommend you tweak if you want to keep the pictures looking immaculate for more of the time. The main adjustment (for reasons we’ll get into in the next section) is to keep the image’s brightness setting to below 50 and the OLED light setting lower than 70, below 65 if you can.
I’d also recommend using the set’s motion processing on its lowest setting to reduce judder without causing significant unwanted processing side effects. Also turn off all noise reduction when watching native 4K or good-quality HD content.
Worth mentioning is LG’s animated Bean Bird character, who helps with your initial installation of the TV. Setting a fun and friendly tone for the webOS interface, the character instantly diffuses the tension many usually feel when setting up a new TV.
If you’ve read my reviews of LG’s other OLED TVs this year, you can pretty much port over my picture quality findings for those sets into this review. Which is for the most part great news.
As discussed earlier, OLED’s strengths come from the fact that each pixel produces its own light and colour. This results in – for the most part – simply incredible contrast performance.
Blacks actually look black, as opposed to a shade of grey seen on LCD screens. Even the best plasma TVs weren’t able to deliver black levels as deep, natural and noiseless as those you get from the 55EG920V and its OLED siblings.
Making the depth of the 55EG920V’s black colours even more remarkable is their ability to share not only the same frame, but even the same areas of that frame with bright, punchy picture elements. In fact, you can have a bright, pure white picture element sitting just one pixel away from a completely black element without any issue.
This juxtaposition seldom happens with typical video content, of course – starry skies are probably the best example of it in action. Nevertheless, OLED’s contrast impact still makes its presence felt in nearly every frame.
By comparison, shots containing a mix of very bright and dark content on LCD screens always see a compromise of some sort, either in the form of grey blacks or muted brights. This is down to the fact that the available light sources have to be shared across multiple pixels.
The 55EG920V’s self-emissive pixels also ensure that colours enjoy a phenomenal sense of vibrancy. This remains in place during dark scenes too.
While this may give the impression that the 55EG920V’s colours are at least as vibrant and rich as those of the very best LCD screens, in reality, some LCD screens are capable of achieving levels of brightness and a range of colours beyond anything OLED can currently accomplish.
Such limitations have led some to suggest that OLED isn’t suited to the enhanced brightness and dynamism of new high dynamic range (HDR) content. However, watching HDR on the 55EG920V suggest that things aren’t as clear-cut.
Indeed, the 55EG920V doesn’t present HDR with as much brightness as HDR-capable LCD TVs such as the Samsung JS9500 and Sony X8505C range. However, the fact that there’s a boost in the intensity of bright areas on the 55EG920V that isn’t accompanied by increases in backlight clouding and light “haloing” problems seen with all LCD TVs to date, is a joy to behold.
The 55EG920V does a lovely job, too, of delivering the extra detail, colour finesse and image depth we associate with good-quality 4K UHD screens. There’s no doubt that OLED technology’s ability to deliver light differences right down to pixel level has a part to play here.
Throw in the fact that you can watch the 55EG920V’s OLED screen from almost any angle down the side without it losing contrast or colour and it’s plain to see why OLED remains, for many, the next stage in TV evolution.
For all its near routine flashes of absolute brilliance, though, the 55EG920V isn’t perfect. For as well as its curved screen introducing a viewing angle restriction that otherwise wouldn’t exist, the 55EG920V suffers from the same curious lighting flaws that we’ve encountered on LG’s other OLED models this year.
First, the left and right edges of the image can look dimmer than the centre. This “vignetting” issue apparent all the time, but it can make its presence felt during particularly bright shots. Note that once you’ve encountered it, you’ll find yourself looking out for it again.
The other problem is that, on occasion, when the screen is asked to display the step from black to a grade/step above black, it makes a bit of a mess of it. The result is that it turns those usually inky blacks into a slight yellowy grey colour, with no subtle steps in between. You can limit this issue by keeping a lid on the image’s overall brightness as suggested in the setup section.
Other points to mention are that the upscaling of HD to 4K isn’t quite as accomplished as that of some rival TVs, and that the curved design can, as predicted earlier, cause any reflections to be distorted across more of the screen than would be the case with a flat TV.
But hopefully, such issues can be minimised through the positioning of the screen or by controlling your lights.
3D Picture Quality
The 55EG920V is so good with 3D that if it were witnessed by the majority, then the decline in its popularity would surely turn.
For a start, the passive 3D system used by LG results in essentially zero crosstalk ghosting noise. Although there’s been some talk of LG’s OLED TVs suffering with localised crosstalk – where certain areas of the picture show signs of the double ghosting issue – the sample I received looked immaculate over the entire expanse of the image.
Also spectacular by 3D TV standards is how bright and richly coloured such images look, with the passive glasses removing minimal brightness from the image. OLED’s talent for contrast also reaps dividends in 3D mode, helping it portray even dark scenes with a superb sense of depth.
While passive 3D technology can lead to a loss of detail when watching 3D Blu-rays on HDTVs, it works brilliantly on 4K UHD screens such as the 55EG920V, letting you see every pixel of detail from a 3D Blu-ray transfer (especially as there’s no crosstalk ghosting to get in the way).
The only issues with 3D playback are that crosstalk can go from zero to everywhere if your vertical viewing angle reaches beyond around 13 degrees, and that you can sometimes see a gap between the audio and video tracks. Fortunately, regarding this latter issue, LG has fitted the 55EG920V with an audio-timing adjustment that can add or reduce audio delay. I managed to fix the initial audio issues by setting this feature to its “-4” level.
The 55EG920V’s lack of a Harman Kardon sound system is pretty obvious. The TV sounds somewhat muffled and thin compared with the 55EG960V and 55EF950V models; neither voices nor treble details sound as clear and defined as they do on the best TV audio systems. Bass sounds thin too.
This isn’t to say the 55EG920V’s sound is a disaster. It’s serviceable for all but the biggest action scenes. But you probably will want to factor in some sort of external sound system not too long after you’ve invested in the TV.
Other Things to Consider
If you’re keen on using the 55EG920V for gaming, then you’ll be please to know that it’s solid. Input lag measured a smidge under 50ms on average, which while not a bad result, is also 20ms or so higher than the 30ms figure I ideally look for from a TV. As such it could account for one or two of your deaths when playing Call Of Duty online.
Another thing worth mentioning here is the “magic remote” supplied with the 55EG920V. This lets you choose options on-screen just by pointing at them and pressing select, while a cool wheel arrangement lets you quickly scroll up or down the menus. Excellent.
Should you buy an LG 55EG920V?
If you’re a serious movie fan then you’re likely to value contrast above everything else, and if this is the case then you simply have to check out the 55EG920V. Its OLED technology delivers black levels to the likes of which you won’t have seen before – at a price that can’t be rivalled by any other 4K OLED TV yet.
Its webOS interface makes smart TV features accessible to even technophobes, and the LG 55EG920V’s incredibly thin design makes it a stunning after-dinner conversation point.
Just be prepared for it not to be as bright as some of the LCD competition – especially if you’re taking care to limit the appearance of its occasional black level “blow outs”.
While LG hasn’t yet delivered perfection with its OLED TVs, the 55EG920V is still a simply amazing television for the vast majority of the time. Its contrast performance is peerless, its design is stunning, and considering how talented it is, it’s a pretty great price too.
Scores In Detail
- 2D Quality : 9/10
- 3D Quality : 10/10
- Design : 10/10
- Smart TV : 9/10
- Sound Quality : 6/10
- Value : 8/10