2012 seems to be the year in which LG has completely left behind any legacy of its Lucky Goldstar days. With the 55LM9600 — and to be fair, several of its lesser models — it shows that its TVs are, at least, as good as anything available from anyone else.
This TV has the lot: but the first and most obvious thing that strikes the eye is its styling. At the top and the sides, the distance between the edge of the visible picture and the edge of the body is just 6 millimetres. The narrow piece of curved aluminium is barely wide enough to be termed a bezel. So narrow is this, that I figure it explains why this TV is a touch thicker than LG's lower models: 38.4mm compared to their 33.1mm. In terms of looks, that's a trade-off well worth making.
A metal-look stand completes the picture, seemingly dissociated by its shape. Unlike some such stands, the TV can swivel.
Of course, this 55-inch (140cm) full high-definition model provides 3D. It uses the "passive" Film Pattern Retarder system for this. The upside of this system is that the glasses are light and cheap — they weigh just 13 grams a pair, and you get four pairs with the TV — and the crosstalk rejection is excellent.
The downside is — regardless of what you might hear from certain quarters — they have lower resolution in 3D mode than active TVs. We'll see later what that means in practice.
The TV packs LG's full range of networking capabilities and in addition to a conventional IR remote, you get an upgraded version of its RF-linked "Magic Motion" remote. The upgrade adds a microphone.
There was very little to separate this TV from the AU$1200 cheaper 55LM7600 when it came to picture quality, both in 2D and 3D. Most of the default settings were very close to optimal. The exceptions were the Sharpness control, which was set to 25 (change this to 0 for a noticeable better picture) and the aspect ratio. Change this from "16:9" to "Just Scan" when you're watching Blu-ray or HDTV. Instead of scaling the picture, this just maps each incoming pixel, from the digital source to the matching display pixel.
It's also worthwhile in normal viewing to switch on the "Eco" mode (this is off by default). This varies the Edge LED light level according to room light ambience. If you have your room lights down, the picture will be darker, and consequently screen blacks will be deeper. LG specifies this as a six star TV on its energy rating label. We made it as seven stars.