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With LED very much the buzzword of the day right now - well, a close second to 3D, at any rate - it’s no surprise to find LG jumping on the bandwagon in no uncertain terms with a new 42in model, the 42SL9500.
As becomes immediately apparent from its extravagantly slim design, the 42SL9500 - which is exclusively available from Dixons/Currys/PC World - plumps for the edge LED approach rather than the direct LED alternative.
As we’ve noted in numerous previous LED reviews, traditional thinking has it that the edge LED approach represents a design-led compromise over the direct approach, largely on account of direct LED’s use of local dimming, where localised areas of the picture can have their light output adjusted.
But this hasn’t stopped edge LED TVs enjoying considerable commercial success - so much so that LG’s notoriously fleet-footed Korean rival, Samsung, has felt happy enough with sales to stick with the same edge LED TVs since last spring, rather than refreshing the range every few months like it usually would.
It’s important to add, too, that Samsung has been pretty aggressive in pushing the argument that the edge LED approach actually has some advantages over the direct LED approach - not least the fact that the edge LED system can potentially deliver better shadow detailing, since direct LED systems don’t have anywhere near as many individually controllable LED arrays as there are pixels in the picture.
For a much fuller discussion of the direct/edge LED debate, I refer you back to our review of Samsung’s UE46B8000.
So much for the 42SL9500’s technological justification. Time we got stuck into the actual product, to see how it holds up against the rest of the LED world.
It certainly makes a good case for itself aesthetically. The fact that it’s just 29.3mm deep makes an instant impact, shaving even a fraction of a millimetre off Samsung’s edge LED efforts! But it’s also distinguished by its ‘seamless’ design, where the screen and bezel exist in the same, glass-like plane. As a side note here, it’s nice to see that LG in the UK has quietly started referring to the design as seamless rather than sticking with the original, utterly misleading ‘borderless’ description we’ve mocked before.
The 42SL9500’s black colouring and very robust finish also bode well, and there’s a subtle pattern in the finish of the fascia and stand that distinguishes it from LG’s SL9000 range. The 42SL9500 also features a straight stand ‘neck’ rather than the 42SL9000’s angled one.
It’s hard to imagine anyone not liking the 42SL9500’s design, especially considering that the opulent look is attached to a price tag of £940 that looks pretty good value by current edge-LED standards.