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LG 55LW980T review

John Archer




  • Recommended by TR

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LG 55LW980T 'Nano'
  • LG 55LW980T 'Nano'
  • LG 55LW980T 'Nano'
  • LG 55LW980T 'Nano'
  • LG 55LW980T 'Nano'
  • LG 55LW980T 'Nano'
  • Side view
  • LGTV front
  • back view


Our Score:



  • Superb 2D and 3D pictures
  • Sumptuous design
  • Huge multimedia support


  • Evidence of jaggedness over small objects and bright edges
  • very limited vertical 3D viewing angle
  • Input lag a potential problem for gamers

Key Features

  • 55in LCD TV with direct LED lighting
  • Passive 3D playback
  • Freeview HD tuner
  • Smart TV functionality
  • Online and DLNA multimedia support
  • Manufacturer: LG
  • Review Price: £2,500.00

When we first found out about LG’s ‘Nano’ TV series at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show way back in January 2011, there was no doubt in our mind about its main attraction: direct LED lighting.

This system involves illuminating LCD TV screens with clusters of LED lights positioned directly behind the screen rather than the more common approach of using LEDs ranged around the edges of the screen. Add to this configuration as the 55LW980T does local dimming, where the clusters of LEDs can have their luminance levels individually controlled, and experience has shown that you’ve got a potential recipe for serious picture quality success.

The fact that the Nano TVs delivered its direct LED tech in a body as slim if not slimmer than most edge LED TVs was just the icing on the cake. LG 55LW980T 'Nano'

It's one fine-looking TV

So intrigued were we by the idea of an ultra slim direct LED TV, in fact, that the Nano sets’ 3D capabilities rather passed us by. Especially when we learned that the Nano sets were going to have tried and tested active 3D technology rather than the controversial new LG passive 3D system employed on all of LG’s other LCD TVs.

As the year progressed, though, and LG’s attempts to position passive 3D as the superior 3D option became almost scarily aggressive, the decision to use active 3D on the Nano sets started to look increasingly awkward, potentially undermining the brand’s entire 3D marketing thrust. So it was no great shock when LG ultimately decided to shift to passive 3D for the Nano sets. Side view

And when we found out, we couldn’t help feeling a bit disappointed, feeling that the decision could have robbed us of what had the potential to be one of the most all-round desirable TVs of this generation.

Here’s the thing, though: We were wrong. For LG’s decision to make the 55in 55LW980T a passive 3D TV has turned out to be a masterstroke. Far from exposing passive 3D’s potential weaknesses as feared, applying it to such a high quality core TV as the 55LW980T has actually underlined passive 3D’s strengths.

We’ll get into detail on why this is so later. But for now it’s high time we hit our usual review stride. Starting with the fact that the 55in 55LW980T Nano set is one darned attractive TV. From its single-layer fascia to its trim bezel and slim rear, it oozes high-end class and build quality.

back view

It has all the connections that matter too, including four v1.4 HDMIs, two USBs, plus built-in Wi-Fi. The USBs can be used to record from the built-in Freeview HD tuner or for playing back a pretty expansive suite of photo, video and music multimedia file formats.

The Wi-Fi (or a LAN) adds file-streaming from DLNA PCs to the TV’s capabilities, as well as access to LG’s increasingly admirable Smart TV service. We did a recent update of the content now carried by LG’s online TV platform in our review of the LG 50PZ950, so we won’t go into the same level of detail again here. Suffice it to say that as well as a startling number of relatively basic information and gaming ‘apps’, there’s now a considerable amount of our preferred video streaming content, including the BBC iPlayer, the AceTrax movie rental/purchase site, and Blinkbox.

The 55LW980T also reminded us of just how well designed and attractive LG’s Smart TV menus are. And it was a massive relief to find that although its online services are a bit sluggish, the 55LW980T suffered from far fewer crashes and dysfunctional online services than we experienced with the 50PZ950T.

A Scotland

October 14, 2011, 4:40 pm

So which would you go for. The Panasonic GT30 (50 inch), the Samsung D6530 (55 inch) or this? Assuming money was not an issue.


October 14, 2011, 5:40 pm

At the price this LG sells for, the fair comparison would be the 55 inch Samsung D8000 and Panasonic VT30.


October 14, 2011, 6:25 pm

@Chris: don't expect this model to stay at the RRP for long. I got last year's 47LE8900 for £1K when the RRP was £2K. Wait a little bit and you'll probably see some cracking bargains on this model too, making it very competitive. For what it's worth, the 47LE8900, also with local dimming, is spectacular.


October 18, 2011, 3:07 pm

I would definitely go with LG 55LW980T. I read another review on this model before and it said this model is the first THX certified passive 3D TV that also has local dimming light under the panel. In addition, its design got much nicer and add lot more apps in their dash board. They still include the wii-like remote controller too. I haven't seen the picture quality yet, but I bet it would look stunning. I liked LG's lower models which were lw5600 and 6500 and thought the picture quality on them were superb also. Now since it is higher model that even has a local dimming light and THX certified, I cannot doubt about its picture quality.


October 26, 2011, 11:25 am

I recently compared this LG with the Panasonic TH-P65VT30, and ended up getting the Panasonic.
When viewed side by side I noticed a reduction in the clarity of the 3D image on the LG. I thought it strange as the screen is smaller and put it down to the banding that I saw when standing up close.
I then learned that the 3D is 720p on the LG, while the Panasonic is 1080p, and (I guess) I saw this, when comparing.
I got the Panasonic as an upgrade from a Pioneer PDP-504 and I wanted the option of 1080 in both 2D and 3D (and also went for the more obvious size increase).
Re active/passive glasses. Of all the pros and cons between the formats, flicker in day light could well be the most obvious difference.
We are moving into summer here so for now it is 3D movies at night only. I do not want to live in a cave all Weekend.
All the shops I went to had no windows, Ahh well you live and learn.


September 26, 2012, 12:59 am

I recently purchased an LG47LW980T after weeks of reading review/compare sites and am very pleased with its performance. The picture on this TV is breathtaking in HD and blu ray with some of the most vivid colours I have ever seen on a TV. 3D is great and very bright due to the full baclit led screen although the resolution is not quiet full HD it is still very good with a good sense of depth and certainly more comfortable than active 3d with no flicker or crosstalk. Also this TV although coming out last year has a MCI of 1000mhz which is the same as some of the latest 2012 models out now. The only problem I did have when first setting up was with motion juder, but this was cured by turning trumotion setting off completely. I would Highly recommend this TV to anyone, and here is the setting that I find best worked for me. Energy saving off, Backlight 70, Contrast 80, Brightness 50, Sharpness 70, Colour 68, tint&Colour temp zero, True motion off.

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