As with all the latest Smart TV platforms, LG’s will be updated routinely in the coming months. And we were mostly very pleased, too, with the interface LG has devised for its Smart TV system. It’s very graphics-rich, spaciously laid out and just generally appealing, with apps in the store presented on virtual ‘shelves’ and a single screen providing access to huge amounts of content - as well as all your AV inputs and, less helpfully perhaps, the main TV calibration menus.
You can ditch the standard remote in favour of an innovative and actually very useful ‘Magic Remote’ option that lets you control the TV by pointing the remote directly at the option you want to select.
Other key things you should know about the 55LW650T before getting into how it performs are that it's distinguished from the LW550T series lower down LG’s range by having 200Hz and a slightly higher claimed contrast ratio of 9,000,000:1, and that it comes with seven free pairs of polarising 3D glasses. Yes, seven.
This is clearly a very big deal when you think that Panasonic’s recently-reviewed P50GT30 active 3D TV doesn’t come with any free glasses at all, and that each pair you have to buy will cost you the best part of £100. In other words, as well as the 55LW650T already being aggressively priced for a 55in TV, its glasses situation alone saves you £700 versus the cost of getting a similar number of glasses for an active 3D TV. So far as we’re concerned, it’s in this sort of equation that FPR 3D’s considerable threat to active 3D really lies.
Not surprisingly we kicked off our tests of the 55LW650T’s picture performance with some 3D action. And we weren’t remotely surprised to find the set’s accomplishments and shortcomings very much in-line with the pros and cons described in our previous head-to-head of early active and FPR passive 3D samples.
There really is something quite relaxing about the 55LW650T’s approach to 3D. It just feels less tiring on your eyes, particularly if you have high ambient light levels in your room (which can show up active 3D’s flickering issue). The 3D image also looks brighter than most, if not all, active 3D pictures, and is also reasonably clean - so long as you’re watching from a sensible viewing distance and angle.
Get too close to the screen - which is quite easy to do when the screen’s as big as this one - and you start to see horizontal black lines running across the 3D picture and become aware of a quite jagged look to contoured edges. This latter issue is actually visible from quite distant viewing positions too.
When it comes to the most strongly debated aspect of FPR/passive 3D - resolution - the 55LW650T’s news is mixed. For while its 3D pictures do somehow manage to look higher in resolution than the mere standard definition picture you might expect, 3D Blu-ray discs and even Sky side-by-side broadcasts definitively do not look as detailed and sharp on the 55LW650T as they do on the Panasonic P50GT30. And we can say this with confidence because we’re looking at a split 3D signal running on both screens simultaneously as we write these words.