LG 55EG9100 review:

Sorta-more-affordable OLED is the TV to beat at 55 inches

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars 1 user review

The Good The LG 55EG9100 OLED TV's picture is better than any LCD or plasma TV. It's equally adept in bright and dark rooms, showed accurate color, and looks better from off-angle than any LED LCD. Its 1080p resolution is plenty for a 55-inch screen. The TV looks striking in person, with organic curves and an insane 0.25-inch depth on most of its body.

The Bad Albeit the most-affordable OLED TV yet, the 55EG9100 is still very expensive for a 55-inch TV. Unlike most high-end TVs it doesn't support HDR sources, and some LED LCDs can get brighter. Its 3D picture quality isn't great, and uniformity problems can appear in the darkest scenes.

The Bottom Line No TV delivers the same level of picture quality for the price of the LG 55EG9100.

8.3 Overall
  • Design 10.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 10.0
  • Value 7.0

As the least-expensive OLED TV on the market, the LG 55EG9100 gives you all of the awesome picture quality advantages of that technology for a price that's a bit less than astronomical. It's a stretch to call it a "bargain" at $2,000 for 55 inches, but unlike LG's other OLED TVs, it's somewhere close the realm that many people can afford.

In the UK this TV is known as the 55EG910V and sells for £1,799, while in Australia it's the 55EG910T and sells for AU$3,999. Aside from differences in Smart TV app support, the TVs are basically identical to the US version I reviewed here.

Now, to answer your questions. The fact that it's "only" 1080p and not 4K resolution shouldn't be a deal breaker for most people. Neither should its inability to handle HDR sources. It will still outperform any LED-based LCD TV we've seen overall, including the highest-end models with 4K and HDR. Then again, if you insist on your next TV having those next-generation features -- a perfectly reasonable stance, especially on a TV this expensive -- the 55EG9100 isn't for you.

Nobody but LG manufactures OLED TVs, and LG doesn't make this TV in any other size. If you want a larger screen OLED TV you'll need to pay more than twice as much money for the 65-inch versions, and there are no consumer OLED TVs smaller than 55 inches. Likewise, if you want a flat rather than curved OLED TV, you'll have to pay about 50 percent more for the 55EF9500.

And no, we don't know for sure whether OLED is as reliable as LED LCD in the long term, but we have no reason to believe it's not. The same fundamental technology has been used for years in cell phone screens with no issues. LG claims a robust 30,000 hour lifespan, and in our experience reviewing OLED TVs over the last year, we haven't seen any evidence they're particularly susceptible to burn-in.

If you just want a tried-and-true TV that will just get the job done, there are plenty of excellent LED LCDs to choose from, and most cost a lot less. But if you want the images you watch every day to look their very best, while paying the very least possible, the 55EG9100 is your boy.

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Sarah Tew/CNET. Screen image copyright 2008 MacGillivray Freeman Films. Used with permission.

So-thin style

OLED display tech allows TVs to get remarkably thin: the top third or so of the EG9100 measures less than a quarter-inch deep, thinner than a pencil. Add in the sleek silver accents, the skinny black border around the picture, and "OLED" printed on the stand, and you'll have a green light to talk up your new TV to visitors.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Unfortunately, internal electronics, connections and enough substance to survive shipping fatten the bottom third to about an inch-and-a-half deep. That extra thickness, plus the curved screen, means the EG9100 won't hang as flush to the wall as you might like. You'll also need to buy a special bracket, model OTW150 ($150 list), to wall-mount the TV. It won't work with standard VESA wall mounts, which are typically much less expensive.

For those who choose to use the stand instead of wall-mounting, the EG9100's pedestal is nice and sturdy but without the elegance its predecessor.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The new remote is a lot better than last year's though. The medium-sized wand offers nicely differentiated button groups, a convenient scroll wheel, voice control and of course LG's trademark Nintendo Wii-mote like motion control, where you wave the remote around and the pointer responds on-screen. My only complaint is lack of backlighting.

Yes to OLED and curved, no to 4K and HDR

We've written plenty about OLED TV in the past, so here's the short version. Just about every TV on the market today -- from Samsung's SUHD to Sony's Triluminous to Hisense's ULED -- uses an LED backlight that shines through a liquid-crystal display layer (aka "LED LCD"). OLED is the only major exception. Its organic (hence the "O") LEDs emit light themselves, creating the picture directly.

That basic difference leads to many of OLED's picture quality advantages over LED LCD, including perfect black levels and superior off-angle viewing. Meanwhile a few high-end LED LCD TVs can get brighter than any OLED, but OLED is still very bright.

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Sarah Tew/CNET. Screen image copyright 2008 MacGillivray Freeman Films. Used with permission.

As LG's base-model OLED TV, the 55EG9100 doesn't have the 4K resolution of more-expensive models. 4K is rare today however, and in our experience content that is available in 4K, such as Netflix and Amazon original programming, doesn't look much better than the 1080p version--especially at 55 inches.

HDR, or high dynamic range content, is even rarer for now, but unlike 4K, HDR content might provide a significant picture quality improvement on a TV like this (I say "might" because I just haven't tested enough HDR TVs and content to say for sure). Then again, SDR still looks spectacular on this TV.

If you really want HDR, your choices are to pay more for a higher-end OLED, wait until LG comes out with an HDR-compatible entry-level OLED at some point (no guarantees that it will), or get an LED LCD.

Another potential sticking point is the curve. It doesn't have much impact on picture quality, but the aesthetics might bother you, especially if you're putting it on the wall.

Key Features

Display technology OLED
LED backlight N/A
Resolution 1080p
HDR-compatible No
Screen shape Curved
Screen finish Glossy
Smart TV Web OS 2.0
Remote Motion
3D technology Passive
3D glasses included 2 pairs

If you care: Smart TV, 3D, settings and connections

On just about every TV, especially expensive ones, we recommend using an external streaming device like a Roku instead of relying on the Smarts inside your TV for your Netflix fix. If you follow that advice, feel free to skip this section.

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Sarah Tew/CNET. Screen image copyright 2008 MacGillivray Freeman Films. Used with permission.

Still with me? The 55EG9100 runs on LG's Web OS 2.0 Smart TV system, which is quite a bit faster and more responsive than version 1.0. It's very good overall, and I prefer Web OS to Samsung's 2015 system, but I like Roku TV best of all.

Hitting the Home button on LG's remote brings up a band of diagonally aligned "cards," overlaying the lower third of whatever program or app you're watching at the moment. You can customize and reorder the cards to quickly reach favorite apps or inputs. The system has many major apps but a few go missing, including HBO Go/Now, Showtime and PBS/PBS Kids. Android TV, Samsung and Roku all offer a wider selection. There's also a (weak) web browser and (decent) voice search. Check out my EF9500 review if you want more details on Web OS.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Unlike at least one 2016 OLED series (the B6), the 55EG9100 has 3D capability, with two pairs of included passive glasses. It shows the same issues we've seen on other 1080p resolution TVs with passive 3D, namely jagged edges and some visible line structure, but at least it's available.

Picture settings are extensive. Highlights include eight picture presets, a custom dejudder control to dial in (or dial out) the soap opera effect, and a full color management system and multipoint grayscale control for calibrators.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The back panel has ample ports, namely three HDMI, three USB, an Ethernet port, an antenna output, optical digital audio and an analog AV input that supports component or composite video via an included breakout cable.

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