First look at LG's phenomenally thin TV from CES 2017
Even by the standards of a CES where extraordinary TVs seem to be lurking around every corner, LG’s Signature W7 OLEDs stand out. Or rather, don’t stand out.
The Signature W7 OLED TVs – they come in 77- and 65-inch sizes – are LG’s flagship sets for 2017. That means, clearly, that they have to do something even more ‘out there’ in design terms than the amazing-looking Picture-On-Glass Signature G6 models did in 2016.
LG’s solution to this seemingly impossible situation? Make a TV that’s less than 3mm deep, that can attach to your wall via magnets, and can even be gently bent at the corners to make the installation process easier. In other words, the W7 OLEDs are the first TVs that attach to your walls more like wallpaper than a hefty slice of high-end TV technology.
The impact this design has on the way it fits into your living room is pretty extraordinary. Essentially it feels more like a window than a TV – especially given the glory of the 4K HDR images it’s capable of pumping out. A very slightly raised bezel makes the picture seem to lie somehow behind or within your wall rather than on top of it, enhancing the window sensation.
The demo model I got to play with didn’t even have the purity of its presence spoiled by any ugly cabling. The single cable that runs from the screen to an external control box had been channelled neatly into the wall – something that surely anyone who buys this extraordinary TV will also want to do.
The external control box you get with the W7 OLED TVs also doubles up as a 4.2-channel sound system capable of playing Dolby Atmos. And before getting into how the W7’s pictures look, I might as well say right away that this external soundbar really does sound excellent, despite not attempting to deliver any rear-channel information. Two circular speakers that rise up out of the bodywork deliver a surprisingly potent sense of height in an Atmos mix, while the speakers as a whole prove powerful enough to fill a really large space without losing cohesion or clarity. Seriously impressive stuff.
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The soundbar even did a solid job of making vocals sound like they were coming from the screen rather than from the soundbar, even though the soundbar was sat a good foot and a half below the screen during my hands-on.
I was worried as soon as I heard about the W7 OLED’s outrageous design that achieving it may have required some degree of performance sacrifice. I’m happy to say, though, that this doesn't appear to be the case.
Essentially during my time with it, the 65W7 performed exactly as I would've expected one of LG’s ‘normal’ OLED TVs to perform. Which means, of course, that black levels looked imperious for most of the time, dodging both the general greyness and backlight clouding and uniformity issues associated with pretty much any LCD-based solution I’ve seen to date (bar, just maybe, Samsung’s latest QLED TVs).
The 65W7’s gorgeous blacks also continue to sit, in classic OLED style, right alongside really bright highlights without any compromises in either the brightness of the highlight or the blackness of the backdrop. The impact of this key OLED strength is even more pronounced than usual for LG OLED TVs thanks to the way the 65W7 ups peak brightness to 800-1,000 nits from the 500-650 nits delivered by LG’s 2016 OLED TVs.
Having more brightness together with some apparently improved colour processing seems to make the 65W7 much less inclined to ‘clip’ detail in very bright areas during HDR viewing than LG’s 2016 models were, and there also seemed to be a bit less noise and banding in areas of fine colour gradients than there was on last year’s models.
I wouldn’t say the 65W7 completely removes these issues, though – certainly Panasonic’s 65EZ1002 delivered a markedly cleaner colour performance during the time I spent with that. I also noticed on a couple of occasions a sudden up-shift in the image’s overall brightness due to issues handling OLED lighting at ‘just above black’ levels that the Panasonic model seemed to avoid.
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Overall this TV's picture is stunning – especially when the set is running in Dolby Vision mode. Combine this with both the brilliant Dolby Atmos soundbar and the mind-bending glory of the bendable wallpaper design and this is one of the most exciting TVs we've seen in years.
No doubt plenty of AV enthusiasts will be doing everything in their power to find the £8,000 or more they’ll likely need to secure a 65W7 when they launch into the UK in the spring.