Overall, the 42LE4900 can actually produce a quite respectable black colour - certainly more convincing than the bluish blacks of the Sharp 37LE320E. There’s a touch more shadow detail around too. But the 42LE4900‘s black levels reduce dramatically if you watch from much of an angle. Plus you could argue that the extra depth of the blackest areas if anything exaggerates the inconsistency represented by the lighter patches.
We’re not done with the bad stuff yet, either. For standard definition pictures, at least those from the built-in tuner, look almost bizarrely soft - to the point of appearing out of focus if you happen to be watching a mid-to-long distance shot.
Thankfully, HD images snap into a much more focused state, actually making the standard def to HD step up more obvious than it would normally be. The generally likeable sharpness of HD pictures can still be reduced, though, whenever the screen has to try and cope with high levels of motion.
If there’s one thing LG TVs can usually be relied on for, it is extremely dynamic colours. But even here, the 42LE4900 slightly disappoints, as post calibration colours look a little muted, especially where reds are concerned. There’s also a noticeable drop off in colour tone accuracy when watching standard definition.
Most very slim TVs struggle with sound and the 42LE4900 is no different. Standard TV fare, like chat shows and news broadcasts, sound decent enough. But the extra dynamics of a quality drama or, especially, Hollywood action flick quickly reveal that the speakers have nowhere to go when asked to deliver a wider frequency range, more bass and more raw power. As a result, action scenes sound flat, muddy and arguably worse than a Sky News broadcast!
The 42LE4900 is to be congratulated on managing to give us a startlingly long feature list for remarkably little money. But sadly, as far as we're concerned, all the features in the world can't make up for the set's fundamentally flawed performance.