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LG 15EL9500 - LG 15EL9500

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


What’s even more striking is that the pitch blackness on show seems remarkably stable, even with the set’s dynamic contrast feature activated. Though you really don’t need this feature with a picture that exhibits such superb native black level response, so you might as well turn it off.

The fact that the 15EL9500’s black level response is native, meanwhile, also means the set can reproduce shadow detailing and colour subtleties during dark scenes that ordinary LCD TVs can only dream about. Dark parts of pictures thus look just as layered and detailed as bright ones, helping footage look consistent and natural.

Moving around the room while watching the 15EL9500 reveals yet another amazing thing about its contrast performance. Namely that it doesn’t reduce one jot if you watch the TV from even quite extreme angles. Result.

Having black colours as deep and believable as those of the 15EL9500 also delivers plenty of other benefits. The picture looks exceptionally dynamic for such a small screen, for instance, thanks to the self-emissive screen’s ability to position punchy bright material side by side with inky blacks within a single image frame.

Then there’s the set’s colour response. For where most LCD TVs, especially small ones, struggle thanks to their lack of contrast to produce a wide, punchy and natural range of colours, especially during dark scenes, the 15EL9500’s colour palette is easily a match for anything we’ve seen from the best of the large-screen TV market.

The screen might not be Full HD, but as predicted, this doesn’t deliver discernible problems on such a small screen. HD sources still look crisp and detailed, colour blends look smooth and free of patching or striping, and best of all, the crispness and detailing remains almost entirely unaffected by motion - another respect in which OLED murders standard small-screen LCD technology.

In fact, aside perhaps from the screen being a little reflective of direct light and some slightly iffy pre-calibration colour tones, the only complaint we can muster about the 15EL9500’s revolutionary picture quality is its confinement within just 15 inches! Here’s praying that somebody figures out a way to start making big-screen OLED panels affordable soon.

The situation isn’t nearly so rosy with the 15EL9500’s audio. Getting a really significant sound performance out of so little bodywork is probably a scientific impossibility, so it’s hardly surprising that the sound produced is tinny, pretty much devoid of bass and only able to deliver a functional amount of volume. Though actually, it’s arguably quite miraculous that the 15EL9500 is able to produce any discernible sound at all!

There is one further issue, though: a marginal gap between the audio and the picture, which resulted in slight lip-sync issues with one or two Blu-rays we tried.


The 15EL9500 produces far and away the finest pictures we’ve seen on a 15in TV. In fact, it produces some of the finest pictures we’ve ever seen on any TV, period. As such, it reminds us all over again of just why OLED got us hot under the collar when we first saw it in action at shows a couple of years ago.

Unfortunately, though, although much cheaper than Sony’s OLED debut, the 15EL9500 also reminds us of OLED’s currently high costs.

But if money’s not as important to you as owning the very best of everything, even when you’re only talking about a portable TV, then the 15EL9500 is a wafer-thin treat even Mr Creosote would enjoy.


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...


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?).


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?


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


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.


August 26, 2010, 5:58 pm


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.


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 ?


August 27, 2010, 6:50 pm


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.


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 :)


August 28, 2010, 5:58 pm

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


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


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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