In our recent review of Sharp's 37LE320E, we listed a series of rival models that made the Sharp look expensive. And it turns out we could have added the LG 42LE4900 to that list. For despite costing just £529 versus the Sharp’s £600+, it’s five inches larger; uses the same edge LED illumination technology; and also adds the Freeview HD tuner and online services that were both so conspicuously absent from Sharp’s disappointing effort.
In fact, on paper the 42LE4900 is a potentially huge bargain by any standards. Surely there must be a catch somewhere?
If there is, it’s not obvious from the TV’s exterior. In fact, the set is very glamorous, thanks to its sub-30mm depth, polished finish, and tasteful little downlight emerging from the bezel’s bottom edge.
Its connections humble many more expensive TVs too. Four v1.3 HDMIs kick us off, but other notable highlights are an Ethernet port and two USB jacks. Especially as the Ethernet provides both DLNA PC networking and access to LG’s NetCast online service, while the USBs prove able to handle an impressive variety of multimedia files - including DivX HD.
The 42LE4900’s screen is a full HD affair, able to deliver a claimed (though doubtless fanciful) 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio. The set even provides enough calibration tools to earn an endorsement from the independent Imaging Science Foundation (ISF).
These tools don’t, it has to be said, extend to the full colour management system found on models higher up LG’s range - a fact that rather surprised us given the ISF’s usual liking for decent colour management facilities. But you can still adjust, among other things, noise levels, the dynamic contrast engine, skin colour adjustment, and gamma settings.
If all these fine-tuning options scare you, fear not. For LG provides a handy Picture Wizard feature on the 42LE4900 which guides you through picture set up via a series of easy to understand test signals. This isn’t quite as precise as fine-tuning everything yourself, but most people will be more than happy with the Picture Wizard’s results.