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LG 15EL9500 - LG 15EL9500

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

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.

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Castalan

August 26, 2010, 12:34 pm

Now if they could just get the screens up to 32 inches and maintain that price I could justify one to myself.





Justifying it to Mrs Castalan would be a whole different story :( Dam you John Lewis and your range of beguiling homeware...

Pbryanw

August 26, 2010, 2:25 pm

I just wonder if, by the time 32"+ OLED screens are viable, whether LED-backlit LCDs will have caught up to some degree. Or whether it's a genuine leap beyond what any future LED screen could achieve. (Also small mistake in feature table - shouldn't native res be lower?).

DaGMan79

August 26, 2010, 2:44 pm

Are the over-saturation issues seen on OLED phones particular to those screens then and not OLED as a technology?

D-Unit

August 26, 2010, 5:22 pm

Er, guys, the resolution on the spec page says 1920 x 1080 - isn't its resolution 1,366 x 768?





I get a free one of these for spotting that, right?... Right?!





:)

the near side

August 26, 2010, 5:23 pm

I wish they would invest in providing good sound. What is the point of the screen being so thin when the base is so thick, or am I missing something? When scaled up to 40", how thick will the backplate have to be to stop the screen from warping? OK, you guessed, I can't afford one.

Sam JB

August 26, 2010, 5:24 pm

Loving the irony in the supplier's name

Chris

August 26, 2010, 5:48 pm

@Pbryanw: You know, I remember reading a prediction to that effect a few years ago; LCD screens would improve, OLED would become instantly obsolete. Thing is, it just hasn't happened. I'm constantly frustrated when looking at LCD sets, even high end ones, and finding myself disappointed with their black levels, grey clouding, shadow detail and processing artefacts. It makes me want to return to my old CRT, (at least, until I realise it's not HD).





Plasma next for me, I think.

TechVegan

August 26, 2010, 5:58 pm

@Sam_JB:


Hahaha, hadn't noticed that - rather :D

Jon McGovern

August 26, 2010, 7:11 pm

This is the kind of writing that makes TR far more interesting to read than other review websites

Chris Beach

August 26, 2010, 9:03 pm

@the_near_side, sorry but you'd be daft to get a TV like this and use it's speakers, in fact you'd be daft to get any mid->high-end tv and use the built ins. Get a amp, a htib or a soundbar (in that order!) Surround sound really makes a difference to the experience.

cliche

August 27, 2010, 1:13 am

" the finest pictures we've seen on any television, period. "


Period - full stop you mean ?


Is this an American site ?

GoldenGuy

August 27, 2010, 6:50 pm

@cliche





I think someone's on their full stop.

Chris Mumford

August 27, 2010, 9:52 pm

I know the picture might be good but then again even old style 15" portables looked pretty good and certainly didn't cost the same as my 52" full hd sony. Quite ridiculous price.

cliche

August 27, 2010, 11:12 pm

@Goldenguy - no just proof checking going down the pan and less fussy readers on the web ...

Geoff Richards

August 28, 2010, 12:15 am

@Cliche - I don't see that it's anything to do with proof checking. One could argue the cross-polination of American slang / language into modern Britain, but it's surely nit-picking to complain about the use of &quot;period&quot; vs &quot;full stop&quot; when used in this way.<br />


<br />


We're a UK-based site but we're read in over 230 countries every month.





@Golden Guy: nice one :)

cliche

August 28, 2010, 5:58 pm

yet to find anyone who says period in the UK. Anyway nice reply Geoff *rollseyes*

phantoma

September 2, 2010, 8:32 am

Is it unreasonable to expect a 65" version in 5 years time for around 2000 pounds ($3000)?





We just bought a 63" plasma and paid for a 5yr warranty, so by then a large OLED would be the logical upgrade.

Arctic Fox

October 5, 2010, 10:03 pm

@phantoma





Yep, my thoughts exactly. We bit on the bullet and upgraded to a 55 inch Sammy about 6 months ago - cost us 1500 smackers (I still go crosseyed that we actually did that!). An upgrade to a full grown version of the above in 4 - 5 years would be just about right. Its not often that TR gives anything 10/10 and TV with image quality so good that it gets that rating has got to be worth consideration. Be nice if someone marketed one without speakers - these inbuilt jobs are all crap. Let us be honest who buys a major viewing surface without having a proper sound-system?

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