A stun­ning flag­ship OLED that’s fit for a king

FOR Ac­com­plished pic­ture; in­tu­itive in­ter­face; good sound AGAINST No Free­view Play avail­able yet

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

You may have al­ready clocked the OLED65E6V’S rather dear ask­ing price. You may well, by now, be mid-sigh, think­ing what a shame it is that you’d have to cough up £5000 to get your hands on LG’S flag­ship 65in TV. Well, you’ll need to think again. Be­cause this OLED TV ac­tu­ally sits just un­der­neath the moth­er­ship model, the G6 Sig­na­ture, which costs £1000 more.

There’s no hint of the OLED65E6V be­ing sec­ond-best on the spec sheet, though. In fact, its big brother jus­ti­fies its su­pe­rior sta­tus only with a more ad­vanced speaker sys­tem. This TV has a 4K OLED panel that sup­ports HDR and Dolby Vi­sion (the ‘other’ HDR for­mat), and qual­i­fies for the Ul­tra HD Pre­mium club, mean­ing it ticks boxes for 10-bit colour depth and has a min­i­mum 540-nit peak bright­ness and less than 0.0005 nits black level. In lay­man’s terms, it can go pretty bright and very, very black.

We doubt 3D sup­port is a deal-breaker for many peo­ple nowa­days, but that’s there too.

De­sign on the edge

It shares more of its big brother’s flag­ship qual­i­ties in its de­sign too, which is more of a talk­ing point than it is with most TVS that are wheeled through our test room doors.

LG calls the panel fea­tured on the E6 and Sig­na­ture G6 ranges ‘Pic­ture on Glass’, which should be taken only semi-lit­er­ally. The OLED panel – just a few mil­lime­tres thick – is fixed onto an equally slen­der trans­par­ent glass plate. Pro­trud­ing out from be­hind the panel, the plate acts as the bezel to frame the screen. To­gether they’re around half a fin­ger-width deep – a slim­ness that sim­ply wasn’t possible on a telly just a few short years ago.

Slen­der but solid

The bot­tom third of the back panel sticks out a few ex­tra cen­time­tres, but it’s still a won­der how LG has man­aged to squeeze all the in­nards and re­lated con­nec­tions (see In De­tail, p8) into such a slim physique. Thin doesn’t mean frail though – while it may look like it might not take the pres­sure of plug­ging in an HDMI cable with­out be­ing stead­ied, we work our­selves up to give it a lit­tle shake, which it stoutly with­stands.

It looks ex­quis­ite. If the OLED65E6V (or any TV in the E6 and G6 range) were not to win a TV beauty con­test it would as un­just as when, in 1975, a Char­lie Chap­lin look-a-like con­test saw the man him­self come third. The fin­ish of the glass and pat­terned back panel is just lovely. Be­tween the panel and the cen­trally po­si­tioned base plate on which the TV sits is an in­te­grated speaker sys­tem which, out of con­text, could pass for a truck’s front bil­let grille or 1950’s ra­di­a­tor. LG calls it a ‘sound­bar stand’. It has a 40W out­put and 2.2-chan­nel con­fig­u­ra­tion com­pared with the G6’s 65W and a 4.2 abil­ity.

There’s no ex­cuse for bad ac­ces­soris­ing at this end of the TV mar­ket, and LG hasn’t taken a back seat with the OLED65E6V’S two re­mote con­trols. This isn’t the cus­tom­ary tra­di­tional plus smart wand of­fer­ing, though. Like the hand­set that came with last year’s mod­els, the main re­mote mar­ries an on-screen cur­sor, op­er­ated by gy­ro­scopic sen­sors, with phys­i­cal keys for when your arms get tired. The new de­sign is a sil­ver af­fair: flat­ter, taller and curved at the front, with flat but­tons tak­ing up the top two-thirds. Apart from em­u­lat­ing the sound of a guiro when a pen is run across it, the ribbed back helps with grip too.

It’s a straight-up up­grade over last year’s unit but, per­haps be­cause of its big­ger size, LG has felt the need to add a mini re­mote too. It’s flat, around the length of the Ap­ple iphone 6S, and a sim­pler quick-to-grab tool for ac­cess­ing the home page and chang­ing in­puts, vol­ume and TV chan­nels.

New but fa­mil­iar

WEBOS is back and bet­ter than ever be­fore in its new 3.0 guise. More evo­lu­tion than rev­o­lu­tion, it re­volves around the same OTT colour­ful card-launcher menu, only this time the spot­light is on two new con­tent dis­cov­ery fea­tures: My Chan­nels and My Con­tent, which flag up on the left-hand side of the menu and of­fer neat

“WEBOS is back and bet­ter than ever in its new 3.0 guise. More evo­lu­tion than rev­o­lu­tion, it re­volves around the same colour­ful card-launcher menu“

“Fun­da­men­tally, it’s pic­ture per­for­mance that puts the price into per­spec­tive, and this stun­ning screen has a pre­ci­sion that’s rare even for a 4K HDR TV“

short­cuts to your favourite chan­nels and con­tent. Want to ac­cess Net­flix’s Dare­devil se­ries with­out hav­ing to go into the app? Sim­ply pin it to the My Con­tent tab.

A search but­ton lets you browse con­tent across live and sched­uled TV, Youtube and video-stream­ing ser­vices, and there’s a side­bar for rec­om­mended chan­nels and pro­grammes based on view­ing habits.

On the apps front, the newbie-friendly in­ter­face is home to Ama­zon, Net­flix and wuaki.tv video-stream­ing ser­vices, BBC iplayer and De­mand5 catch-up TV, and Google Play. When we tested the OLED55C6V ear­lier this year, Free­view Play, which bun­dles Free­view TV with the full ar­ray of UK catch-up TV ser­vices, hadn’t ar­rived… and it still hasn’t, so you’ll have to hang tight for ITV Player and All4 un­til then.

Made to mea­sure

New to LG is an au­dio auto-tun­ing fea­ture, de­signed to cal­i­brate the OLED65E6V’S sound to your spe­cific room con­di­tions. All you have to do is point the re­mote, which has a built-in mi­cro­phone, to­wards the screen and hold it still while it does its thing – a bit like when you play a video game in com­puter mode. It shows you the 'be­fore' and 'after' re­sults, and we picked the lat­ter as it was ob­vi­ously clearer and big­ger.

Need­less to say, the sound­bar stand of­fers an im­prove­ment in both in­sight and vol­ume over a stan­dard flatscreen TV’S speak­ers. And while it’s no­tice­ably thin­ner than the flag­ship OLED65G6V’S sound­bar per­for­mance, there’s weight and punch be­hind dra­matic sound ef­fects, and di­a­logue is solid and clear.

Fun­da­men­tally, it’s pic­ture per­for­mance that puts the price into per­spec­tive. In one word, it’s stun­ning. Ul­tra HD Blu-ray discs are march­ing into our test rooms quicker than you can say ‘4K HDR’, and one of the lat­est is The Mar­tian – a spec­tac­u­lar show­case for the OLED65E6V’S pic­ture.

Un­like some TVS we’ve seen, the LG help­fully flags its de­tec­tion of a 4K, HDR sig­nal with a pop-up ban­ner, and au­to­mat­i­cally op­ti­mises the pic­ture to spe­cific HDR set­tings. There are three fixed HDR modes to choose from, or you can tweak to your heart’s con­tent in ‘User’. We take up the in­vi­ta­tion, bump­ing up de-blur and de-jud­der in the Tru­mo­tion set­ting so that ev­ery­thing from slow cam­era pans to fast ac­tion hap­pens with­out a hic­cup.

On another level

In re­al­ity, 4K and HDR con­tent doesn’t re­ally need flag­ging. The pic­ture is sim­ply too sharp and crisp to be passed off as Full HD, and the way the shiny space blan­ket and so­lar pan­els gleam is ev­i­dence of HDR tech­nol­ogy at work. You hardly have to look for it, but when you do the ben­e­fits are even more ap­par­ent. Take a light bulb, for ex­am­ple: in­stead of it be­ing a block of white light, you can see the out­line of the bulb as well as the vary­ing in­ten­sity of the rays of light shin­ing from it. While this may seem slight, it’s these things that add to the re­al­ism of the whole scene.

Im­me­di­ately eye-grab­bing, this screen has a pre­ci­sion that’s rare even for a 4K HDR telly – only matched, in our ex­pe­ri­ence, by the OLED65G6V, which, in terms of pic­ture per­for­mance, is very sim­i­lar. There’s a real grit­ti­ness to the soil in which Mark’s pota­toes grow, and tex­ture so tan­gi­ble that sim­ply star­ing at the sandy sur­face of Mars will have you reach­ing for a glass of wa­ter.

Any colour you like

Con­fi­dent with colours – its re­pro­duc­tion seem­ingly as punchy and en­thu­si­as­tic as possible with­out com­pro­mis­ing re­al­ism – the OLED65E6V es­tab­lishes the dif­fer­ent tones of white on his space­suit and the vary­ing in­ten­sity of or­anges in ex­plo­sions.

If noth­ing else, OLED has the edge over LCD with its fa­mously deep black lev­els, which are demon­strated here by the black bars, Mark’s NASA t-shirt and pitch-black space. That doesn’t mean it scrimps on bright­ness; stars stand out like a child in a pub at mid­night, and gen­er­ally the panel is ca­pable of go­ing brighter than you’d want it. Also typ­i­cal of OLED, view­ing an­gles are sec­ond to none.

With Ul­tra HD Blu-rays cost­ing £20 a pop, we’re glad stan­dard Blu-rays haven’t been con­signed to char­ity shop shelves (yet), es­pe­cially when we have an up­scaler like the OLED65E6V on hand. The drop in res­o­lu­tion and dy­namic range is, of course, clear, but rel­a­tively speak­ing this is still an ex­cel­lent pic­ture – one that's on a par with the best Full HD sets.

High-def­i­ni­tion streams and broad­casts are squeaky-clean and sta­ble, with not much giv­ing away the mighty up­scal­ing task needed to dis­play them. Even DVD hoard­ers needn’t worry, for the LG keeps pic­ture noise to a min­i­mum, pro­duc­ing an im­age that’s per­fectly watch­able, even with old discs such as Dirty Harry.

TV roy­alty

From aes­thet­ics to sound qual­ity to pic­ture per­for­mance, the OLED65E6V is a TV fit for kings. LG has been at the van­guard of TV tech­nol­ogy for the past few years with its OLED pan­els, and this is yet another case of ‘it shoots, it scores’.

“The tex­ture is so tan­gi­ble that sim­ply star­ing at the sandy sur­face of Mars will have you reach­ing for a glass of wa­ter“

LG'S 'Pic­ture on glass' screen tech is a joy to look at – in ev­ery sense

The main re­mote (top) com­bines an on-screen cur­sor with phys­i­cal keys, backed up by a smaller one for just the main func­tions

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