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It’s a pity on a TV this bleeding edge that its built-in tuner isn’t an HD one, only receiving Freeview’s standard definition channels. But then we guess we should be grateful that any tuner at all has been squeezed into such a phenomenally svelte chassis.
The USB port proves capable of handling JPEG, MP3 and even DivX HD file types, which is pretty much as good as we could have expected, and makes up for some of the disappointment created by the lack of any Ethernet/Wi-Fi/online/DLNA talents on the set.
If you’re not exactly sure what the big deal is about OLED technology, the core facts that matter are that it employs organic light emitting diodes that generate their own light. It’s this so-called self-emissive quality of each pixel that’s got people so excited about OLED’s picture quality, since it can boost contrast (as there’s no brightness control limitation imposed by having single or multiple external backlights) and response time.
The screen’s contrast is thus rated at a staggering 10,000,000:1 - a figure which even dwarfs the figures claimed by Panasonic’s latest plasma TVs. What’s more, unlike with almost all normal LCD TVs, the 15EL9500’s contrast shouldn’t reduce dramatically if the screen is watched from a wide angle.
The 15EL9500’s response time, meanwhile, is reckoned to be under 0.1ms. If true, this should lead to us seeing little or even none of the motion blur that’s still generally so problematic with LCD TVs.
Yet another key benefit of OLED technology is its running efficiency. The 15EL9500 runs with around 40W of general power consumption - which is considerably less than half of what a typical LCD TV might be expected to consume.
Finally, the self-emissive nature of OLED screens generally means they look much brighter than normal LCD TVs - around 1.5 times brighter, to be precise!
With 100Hz on board to tackle judder, the only obvious shortcoming on the 15EL9500’s otherwise jaw-droppingly promising spec sheet is its native resolution. For it only manages 1,366 x 768 pixels rather than a Full HD pixel count. But we wouldn’t expect this to bother us one iota on a screen as small as this.
Setting the 15EL9500 up immediately reveals some good news: the presence of LG’s excellent current onscreen menu system. This shows that LG has fully 'domesticised' the screen.
In fact, the TV is almost ridiculously flexible to set up for such a tiny TV. Highlights include the facility to adjust the screen’s brightness, its horizontal and vertical sharpness, its gamma level, the sharpness of its edge enhancement, a dynamic contrast system and even a colour management system.
If you’re too scared to tackle some of these features unaided, though, then don’t worry - the 15EL9500 carries LG’s likeable Picture Wizard setup aid. Plus the set has been endorsed by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), so that you could call in one of their experts to calibrate the TV for you.
In action, the 15EL9500 actually outperforms our high expectations, tossing out the window every single frustration and limitation we’ve come to accept as, to some extent, inevitable with LCD TVs - especially small ones.
This is particularly apparent when watching dark scenes. Not least because they actually look like dark scenes! In other words, the set’s black level response is truly sensational, with the blackness of night time scenes looking all but indistinguishable from both the black frame of the screen and the darkness of our blacked-out test room. There’s just no trace worthy of mentioning of the grey clouding associated with normal flat screen technologies.