While it may sport high-end looks and a cutting-edge remote, LG's G2 series is a disappointing stab at Google TV with ho-hum picture quality and a frustrating user experience.
Despite the generally poor reviews and financial fallout associated with Google TV over the past 18 months, Google has made good on at least one promise to deliver more hardware to the marketplace. That hardware is the LG G2 series. Fresh from a name change (it was formerly the "LMG620 series") and a paring down (a second series, the LMG860, was scrapped), it represents the only actual television since 2010's disappointing Sony GT1 to support the Google TV platform.
While the rejiggered interface -- part Google and part LG -- is welcome, I still wish the Google ecosystem came with with a better TV. The picture quality of the Sony was OK but despite superior specifications, the G2 is actually worse. Black levels are some of the poorest I've seen this side of TCL, yet the 55-inch G2 is $500 more expensive than my current favorite TV, the Panasonic ST50. The LG's exterior design is striking and the QWERTY remote is the current "best-in-show" in terms of usability, but they can't save the LG G2 from being an also-ran to all but the most hard-core of Google geeks.
Yes, the LG G2 has some nifty features but in the end picture quality matters most, and I'm sorry to say the LG sorely lacks it. It can't perform anywhere near as well as last year's LW5600, for example, which costs much less. Gloomy blacks are the major culprit and make the G2 a no-go zone for videophiles, and the screen's reflectivity in bright rooms doesn't help.