Wednesday, May 29, 2024

REVIEW | LG 65-inch smart 4K TV 

A few years ago, a 65-inch TV was quite premium and unattainable; but thanks to economies of scale and improved production processes, dreams are a lot more achievable now.

While most brands still have ultra-high-end TVs that are exorbitantly priced, they usually are based on premium technologies like OLED or QLED. But for everyday use, they have much cheaper basic LED TVs, which are 4K and smart. So, let’s take the relatively affordable yet massive 65-inch LG 7800 series TV for a spin.

Features and Setup

Inside the box are the TV, a table stand, a power cable, the amazing LG Magic Remote with batteries, some documentation, and some screws and cable management ties. If you plan to wall mount this TV, you’ll need to purchase the mount separately.

The first time you power on the TV, a user wizard will walk you through the setup and connection process. It’s pretty straightforward and fairly simple with the included LG Magic Remote. Everything from Wi-Fi connectivity to cable TV channel tuning is covered.

As for connectivity, at the rear, the TV has 2 HDMI 2.0 ports (1 with eARC), 1 USB, 1 LAN, and 1 SPDIF out. It also has Wi-Fi (802.11ac) to connect to your home router, and Bluetooth 5. The TV runs webOS, which allows for smart apps like Netflix, YouTube, and many more.

One of the standout features is the motion-sensing Magic Remote similar to a Nintendo Wii controller. It makes navigating through menus a breeze. Not to mention the integrated voice assistant functionality through Amazon Alexa, or Google Home.

In terms of mobile app control, there is the LG ThinQ App, which serves as a joint control panel for LG devices, such as TVs, washing machines, etc. You can define rooms in your house, with LG devices in each, build routines and such. I did not find this very useful, as this is the only LG ThinQ device I have.

While I do have an LG 4K Laser Projector, that is not part of the ThinQ sub-branding and thus cannot be connected. Besides, my needs were served well by just having the remote beside the bed, as this is a bedroom TV.

Design and Aesthetics

The slickest ultra-thin designs are usually saved by manufacturers for the premium offerings, while these more basic TVs are functional and not fancy. In keeping with that theme, the TV is not stunningly sculpted, rather it manages the large 65-inch dimensions in the most practical form.

The bezels are quite slim, and thus the dimensions of the TV are not a lot bigger than the display panel. The casing behind the panel is neither thin nor thick and is acceptably average. Depending on how you set it up in your room, it can be quite aesthetic. Without the table stand, just the screen unit weighs in at 21.5 kg.

Performance

Powering the TV is a quad-core 4K image processor. It supports AI upscaling, and can thus work to upscale older 1080p or lower content. It can decode formats including HEVC, VP9, and AV1.

The startup is snappy, and if viewing incoming content from a source like HDMI, 2 seconds from power-on you will have your video on the screen. In the case of using pre-installed apps, say YouTube or Netflix, which means the webOS needs to initialize, it takes longer; between 6-10 seconds from power on.

Video content always looked sharp, thanks to the 4k capable panel and the image processing. Even standing very close to the screen no pixels were visible when sampling 4K Bluray content. Additionally, the TV is quite bright and suited for well-lit rooms or daylight viewing.

On the other hand, if you plan to use it in a dimly lit home theater room, reducing the brightness would be advisable. (All the testing was done at the standard setting with no calibration or fine-tuning).  

The below images were taken at night, with the room lights off:

The below images were during the day, with the curtains open:

While the specs do include HDR, I tested some HDR content from YouTube and didn’t see any noticeable difference. Most entry-level LED offerings include HDR in the spec list but are largely incapable of doing it well. This is the case here too.

The viewing angles are really good! Since the TV is mounted close to the ceiling, I tried watching seated just below, as well as from the side, at around 150-160 degrees, and the picture remained clear and with no severe drop-off in color.

So, in a standard living room, with seats spread out all around, this TV should afford a superb seat-to-seat viewing experience.

The below images were taken while being seated below the TV and standing 150 degrees to the side:

Speakers in flat-screen TVs are generally quite poor. For such large screens, if you’re looking for an immersive experience, you need a good soundbar, or better yet a full-fledged home theater setup. That said, the UP7800 has relatively good speakers, which are specked at 20 watts.

I got my fill of YouTube content on it, and the dialog was clear and audible. When watching music videos, the bass is certainly lacking, resulting in a flat experience. But this is expected of such TV speakers and not a fault of LG.

Though I have a dedicated entertainment room with a beefy audio setup, I do plan to upgrade the audio capability of this room as well; and so should anyone who cares about a great audio experience.  

The webOS has a very robust source selection and content input menu, also listing other devices on the network that it can connect to, such as my Denon receiver. Being in a different room though, I did not try connecting these.

Most of the content sampling was either via the YouTube app, the Netflix app, or the HDMI source which was connected to an HTPC. From the PC I played various movie files and TV shows. The experience was hassle-free and seamless.

Value

At an SRP of just over P40,000, it’s hard to complain about what’s on offer from LG. About a decade ago a TV of such a size would cost over P100,000. In addition to making such big screen TVs attainable, is the inclusion of features like smart and 4K, which make such TVs extremely functional for the average household.

While other brands such as Samsung also have similar comparable basic 4K/UHD smart TVs, LG’s magic remote for navigation outshines the competition. Performance and features are otherwise largely comparable.

If you’re in the market for the absolute best quality, you should turn your attention to LG’s OLED series which costs 3-4 times as much.

Also worth noting is that LG constantly refreshes its line-up, and now sells a newer UP8000 series of TVs. These are the successor to the UP7000 series but have very marginal changes. So, if the UP7800 is available for less, it’s a much better value proposition.

Closing Words

As long as you aren’t expecting super inky dark blacks and other features that are only present in premium TVs with full-array local dimming, you should be quite happy. Picture quality is good, the sound is relatively good for a TV, and the included Magic Remote is amazing for navigation and daily use. Couple that with 4K and smart functionality, and most Netflix users will be very happy with this TV in their living room.

  • Model: LG 65UP7800
  • Price: P40,0839
  • Verdict: Big TV dreams at a relatively affordable price

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