The slight lack of detail is no surprise, regardless of how much LG tries to argue that its FPR tech delivers a full-HD 3D image. What definitely is surprising though is that the 55LW650T’s 3D images aren’t totally free of crosstalk. On many occasions parts of the 3D image looked slightly shimmery and indistinct. This isn’t quite the same as the very clear double ghosting of active 3D crosstalk perhaps, but it’s still quite distracting when you see it.
The 55LW650T’s pictures also explode into serious double imaging crosstalk if you have your head at an angle of more than just 10 degrees or so above or below the screen, while viewing from down the TV’s sides both reduces the 3D effect and makes the picture appear ‘wavy’ - presumably an artefact of the pattern retarder on the screen’s front.
For all these numerous shortcomings though, we’d argue that provided you can sit
in a sensible position relative to the screen, the 55LW650T’s 3D images are perfectly
Our biggest issue with the 55LW650T is actually more apparent with 2D viewing than 3D viewing, and takes the form of that old familiar edge LED bugbear of an inconsistent backlight. Without the set’s local dimming feature active, dark scenes look very inconsistent, with big and very obvious patches of extra brightness in each corner, even with the backlight set low.
Turning the local dimming engine on greatly improves this problem, but replaces it with a different one - large and very noticeable chunks of extra brightness around bright objects when they appear against dark backgrounds. To be fair you might not notice any of this while watching pretty straightforward daytime TV fare. But surely anyone buying a 55in TV is going to watch their fair share of films on it, and chances are you’ll be bugged by one form of the backlight inconsistencies or another at some point during any film.
In most other ways the 55LW650T’s 2D pictures are good. Colours are rich and mostly natural with good blend subtleties, HD pictures look sharp and detailed if very occasionally a touch noisy, and motion is solid - though LG’s TruMotion system does throw up a few artefacts, and so should be used sparingly. There is one final problem that will affect gamers, though. For we measured an input lag of 101ms for the 55LW650T, even using the set’s provided game preset. As you’d expect,
this translated into a pretty noticeable disadvantage when playing reaction-based games, especially online.
Considering how bulky its bodywork is, the 55LW650T’s audio is a disappointment. It’s clear and rounded enough with vocals to pass muster with simple ‘talky’ programming, but there’s no bass to speak of and the soundstage never manages to rise above ‘polite’ even during what should be raucous action sequences.
While the 55LW650T doesn’t manage to convince us that passive 3D is actually better than active 3D, its 3D images are nonetheless more relaxing to watch and more than acceptable for the sort of casual, occasional use that’s likely to be the basis on which many people watch 3D sources. It’s also impossible to deny the attractiveness of the set’s price relative to active 3D sets, especially with multiple glasses taken into account. All of which makes it even sadder that a potentially very appealing 3D option is so badly let down by some fundamental backlight problems.