- Incredible, super-slim design
- Gorgeous contrast-rich picture quality
- Good sound from the integrated soundbar
- Some clipping of detail in brightest HDR areas
- Motion occasionally looks untidy
- 65-inch OLED TV
- Native 4K/UHD resolution
- High Dynamic Range support
- Ultra HD Premium certified
- webOS smart system
- Manufacturer: LG
WHAT IS THE LG OLED65E6?
The OLED65E6 is the second TV we’ve seen from LG’s 2016 OLED range, sitting a step up from the excellent OLED55C6V. It boasts a 65-inch flat screen, a built-in sound bar, a stunning ‘Picture On Glass’ design, LG’s unbeaten webOS smart TV system – and a price of £4,999/$7,498.
DESIGN AND FEATURES
The OLED65E6 is the most incredibly designed TV I’ve ever tested. Its sub-3mm thickness over much of the rear is achieved by mounting the OLEDs directly onto a glass sheet. Its transparent borders make pictures appear to emerge from thin air. The E6 immediately makes even its trendiest LCD competitors look like yesterday’s news.
The decision to attach a sound bar to the bottom of the screen looks a touch clumsy, though. It can’t be detached, even if you’re planning to run an OLED65E6 with an external audio system. That said, a TV without speakers isn’t really a TV, and enlisting audio experts at Harman Kardon for this soundbar has paid off handsomely.
Connections are built into a section at the bottom of the TV’s rear, which juts out further than the rest. They comprise four HDMIs, three USBs, a Freeview HD tuner input, a digital audio output, and an Ethernet port for anyone not able to take advantage of the set’s integrated Wi-Fi.
Only two of the HDMIs support full high dynamic range/Ultra HD at 60fps picture quality. In any case, most households are unlikely to have more than two sources able to deliver such high-quality video formats.
Online content includes the key big-hitters of the 4K/HDR versions of Amazon and Netflix, LG’s NowTV app, and all of the UK’s “big four” catch-up TV platforms.
The E6, B6 and C6 models don’t yet have the back-scrolling EPG feature usually associated with Freeview Play, but it’s due to arrive via a firmware update later this year.
As with any OLED screen, the OLED65E6’s biggest picture-quality attraction is the way each pixel can produce its own light and colour, independent of its neighbours – even when they sit as close as they do in a native UHD-resolution screen such as this. This opens the door to a level of colour and light precision that’s far beyond the capabilities of even the most high-tech LCD TVs.
The OLED65E6 is capable of hitting brightness peaks towards 700 nits – a major step up on what OLED has managed before. LG also claims that the OLED65E6’s colour range achieves around 96% of the DCI-P3 colour spectrum. Not only does the OLED65E6 deliver OLED’s trademark inky black-level response, but it actually improves its consistency by boosting “just above black” light levels and reducing brightness inconsistency across the screen.
The various improvements LG has made to the OLED65E6 ensure that it easily surpasses the requirements laid down by the industry’s “Ultra HD Premium” specifications, designed highlight TVs capable of giving you a truly high-quality HDR/UHD experience.
The OLED65E6 wraps up the package by supporting both the industry standard HDR 10 version of HDR and Dolby’s rival Dolby Vision format. It also provides 3D playback using LG’s passive system, with two pairs of glasses included.
The key thing is that you operate the TV within only a very narrow brightness setting between 49 and 52. Go lower than 49 and shadow details begin to take a hit. Go higher than 52 and the stunning black-level response starts to drop off dramatically.
I’d suggest you use the TV’s motion processing, but only on a custom setting with low values for the judder and blur-removal components. Also, turn off all noise reduction for UHD sources and avoid the Vivid HDR mode, since this pushes the screen’s brightness into uncomfortable terroritory. Even the Bright HDR mode can result in a loss of detail in the brightest areas, so for the majority of the time, stick with the Normal HDR setting.
If there was an award for “most improved” in 2016, it would surely go to LG’s OLED TVs. While its 2015 models weren’t bad, LG’s engineers have done an impressive job of addressing the issues with which its predecessors struggled.
The single most dramatic and important improvement finds the OLED65E6 delivering a significant increase in brightness, while simultaneously reducing the lighting problems associated with 2015’s models. Brightness now peaks at more than 650 nits – comfortably in excess of the 540 nits an OLED TV needs for UHD Premium certification.
Light inconsistencies/banding across the image have hugely reduced, as have incidences of sudden loss of black level while watching HDR. The combined impact of these improvements is simply transformational with native HDR content. Pictures are more impactful, engaging, consistent and far more credible. OLED’s ability to present beautifully deep, rich blacks alongside much brighter whites and colours – all without light leakage between the two – really rams home HDR’s advantages.
It just isn’t conceivable that any current LCD technology will be able to deliver such accurate light control, and so any LCD TV will always run the risk of throwing up at least a few distracting light halos or blocks around bright objects. OLED’s black levels also don’t lose their richness when viewed from an angle, unlike LCD black levels.
Having more brightness to play with impacts the OLED65E6’s colour reproduction. Colours look more dynamic, vibrant and expressive than they have on an OLED TV before. The colours are more capable of delivering the thrills of the wide colour spectrums that now accompany all the HDR sources we’re seeing.
It’s not just about HDR, though: the OLED65E6 is also staggeringly good at delivering standard dynamic range content.
There are, however, a few areas that LG could work on. First, even with the improved brightness levels it achieves, the brightest parts of HDR pictures can appear low on tonal subtleties. The peak whites end up looking a bit flared out and “empty”, leaving such parts looking a little monotonous.
Interestingly, Dolby Vision – which reins in the brightness versus the OLED65E6’s HDR 10 efforts – delivers far more subtlety and detail in its HDR pictures. It seems Dolby Vision is pragmatic enough in the way it works to take into account the particular model of TV it’s working on. If what you’re watching is available in Dolby Vision (as it will be for a decent number of Netflix and Amazon shows in coming months) then make sure that’s the version you’re watching.
With relatively extreme HDR content, the OLED65E6 can also exhibit some loss of detail in dark areas. The slightly empty look to dark areas or objects in mostly bright HDR images can leave them looking a little dominant against their bright neighbours. You don’t really get that on the best-quality LCD TVs in HDR mode.
The OLED65E6 also suffers with some fleeting colour noise issues during HDR playback, such as gentle purple blocking over certain tones of sky and in very dark backgrounds. However, the OLED65E6 suffered slightly less in this respect than the previously tested OLED55C6, while hardly suffering at all with the occasional black blocking effect seen on the cheaper model.
Finally, the OLED65E6’s motion handling could be better. Judder is more noticeable than I’d like, while the processing you can use to tame it tends to throw up a few unwanted side effects. There is a decent sweet spot you can get to with the motion processing settings, but there remains room for improvement.
For gamers: provided you use its gaming preset options, the LG OLED65E6 takes only around 30ms to render image data received at its inputs. This, in conjunction with its stunning contrast and colours, makes it a stellar gaming monitor.
There’s more potential with OLED than LCD for bright, static game graphic elements like health gauges to be ‘burned’ into the picture, but I haven’t seen even a trace of this happening during my extensive test period.
3D PICTURE QUALITY
If you’re even slightly into 3D, you’ll love watching it on the OLED65E6. The combination of the screen’s native UHD resolution and LG’s flicker-free passive 3D technology proves a match made in heaven, delivering 3D images that look bright, colourful, clean, and crisp. It also isn’t at all fatiguing, even over really prolonged viewing sessions. It’s possible to get through James Cameron’s 3D reworking of Titanic without getting a headache.
The clarity is scarcely dented by the crosstalk double-ghosting that plague lesser, usually active, 3D TVs. The OLED65E6’s stunning contrast performance helps it deliver a beautifully expansive, refined sense of 3D space.
The sound bar attached to the OLED65E6 isn’t just for show. It pumps out a scale of sound way beyond its fairly modest proportions, sending audio left, right, up, down and directly forward to create an impressively huge soundstage. It entices you into the world you’re watching almost as effectively as the TV’s stunning pictures.
There’s a beautifully open quality to the mid-range that lets the sound ebb and swell to accommodate changes in a soundtrack’s mood. It handles male and female voices alike with real conviction. The mid-range is so smoothly integrated with the soundbar’s surprisingly potent bass and sweet treble that you never hear the join.
In short, the OLED65E6 is at least up there with the Panasonic 58DX802 in the fight for best-sounding TV of the year.
SHOULD I BUY AN LG OLED65E6?
With its truly amazing picture-on-glass design, brilliant integrated soundbar, mostly awesome picture quality and friendly smart TV engine, the OLED65E6 is seriously hard to resist. The OLED65E6 is in many ways state of the art – though whether that’s enough to justify its £5,000/$7,500 price is a matter for your bank manager.
In terms of the competition, LG’s OLED55C6 still offers a strong OLED performance for less money if you don’t mind its curved screen. Meanwhile, the much cheaper Samsung UE55KS9000 and the Sony KD-75XD9405 put a strong case for what LCD is capable of in HDR terms. But if you’re buying OLED, and if you want the best OLED has to offer, then the OLED65E6 is the one you’re looking for.
The LG OLED65E6 ups the ante in spectacular style, delivering a design and picture quality that proves OLED really does have what it takes to handle HDR.