LG 60PH6700 review: LG plasma is high-tech, middle-performance

Connectivity: Given that the PH6700 packs in so many features, it's hard to see what has been skimped upon in order to keep the price low, but one small answer is HDMI ports. While most flagships have four HDMI ports the PH6700 only has three, which is a little meager for a 60-inch television. You do get MHL capability for charging/mirroring tablets and smartphones though. Besides that there are just three USB ports, a hybrid composite/component input, optical digital audio, and Ethernet. Wireless Ethernet is also included.

Picture quality
Traditionally, LG's products have lagged behind competitors' in terms of black levels but have had very good shadow detail, and the trend continues with the PH6700. Its outright blacks can't compete with Panasonic's or even Samsung's but its shadow detail was undoubtedly the best.

Meanwhile color was very good, with rich saturation and natural tones. As a plasma lacking a louver filter, the television doesn't perform very well in a lit room, and you may need to investigate some form of light control.

Comparison models (details)
Sharp LC-60LE650 60 inch LCD
Panasonic TC-P50S60 50-inch plasma
Panasonic TC-P55ST60 55-inch plasma
Vizio E420i-A1 42-inch direct-lit LED
Panasonic TC-P65VT50 (reference) 65-inch plasma

Black level: Though we don't have a sample of last year's PM9700 to hand, based on the black-level reading taken at the time they are basically the same. This lack of improvement is to be expected as LG didn't show off any plasmas at this year's CES. It seems plasma is no longer a priority for the company.

Let's talk about those black levels in more depth. Against this TV we had some pretty big hitters which are available for the same price, and the LG had the poorest black levels -- even compared with the LCDs. Though the Sharp doesn't claim any form of backlight dimming, its black levels were deeper by a noticeable amount. While this was most apparent in dark scenes, it also meant that the LG's pictures lacked depth in comparison. Poor black levels show up in mixed scenes and can make them lack solidity compared with what you see on a good TV like the ST60.

Shadow detail is not a problem for this display, though, as despite its very poor black levels it is capable of showing shadow gradations in darker material very well. In the hilltop scene of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" (Chapter 12 on the DVD) you can clearly see that there are figures on the hill -- something that all of the other plasmas also did well. The Vizio LCD played peekaboo with the images for the first 6 seconds until it got quite close to Voldemort's face and then brightness shot up sudddenly. While the Sharp also obscured the figures a little it didn't have quite the same jarring dimming effect.

Color accuracy: Apart from shadow detail, the LG's other strength is color, with deep, concentrated tones visible with most material. Take "The Tree of Life" as an example: at the start of Chapter 5 (37:18) the mother is lounging on the lawn and the LG delivered youthful skin tones and lush grass. The next shot of a yellow lamp against blue twilight was also rendered with naturalness and vibrancy.

Of all the TVs in the lineup, the PH6700 most closely matched the Sharp LE650, which was also notable for its color accuracy. For example, both the Sharp and LG were able to render the sunburnt grass, pale blue sky, and red uniforms of Bones and Kirk as they leave the Starfleet Academy in future San Francisco in the 2009 "Star Trek" movie (29:44).

The combination of "true" colors and good shadow detail meant the LG was able to perform well in the "pinecone of death" flyby from the same film (Ch. 4) where the low-level color detail in the depths of the Romulan ship was easily visible. The PH6700 was on a par with the rest of this excellent field on this count.

Video processing: Video processing is another area where LG traditionally does well, and there were no disappointments there with the PH6700. The television was able to correctly parse the 1080i film test with no flicker in test pattern and no moire in the slow pan of the sports stands. Likewise, the plasma correctly displayed the 24p content of our "I Am Legend" test scene.

Bright lighting: The PH6700 has a glossy screen and due to that in combination with no bright-light filter it was the second-poorest in our lit-room test after the Samsung F5500. While the Samsung has the worst bright-room picture I've seen in years, the LG was better by a little, with brownish blacks and medium reflectivity.

Sound quality: Given the company's association with industry "guru" Mark Levinson in the past you'd expect a flagship plasma to feature quality sound, and it does. The LG proved itself to be best of the tvs in our test lineup with articulate bass and plenty of detail during Nick Cave's "Red Right Hand." You would still need to buy a dedicated speaker system if you are a serious music listener, of course. In comparison, the ST60 sounded more present but its bass was even fartier than Austin Powers' Fat Bastard.

With movies the LG was equally impressive for the price, with clear dialogue and deep(ish) bass effects. While the Sharp LE650 had more "twinkle," which transpired as more-intelligible speech, the LG had more depth to its sound.

Power consumption: As a large-screen plasma you've got to expect that the PH6700 is pretty power-hungry, and it does OK. In a year of using this screen you would expect to pay around $60 in electricity.

Read more about how we test TVs.

Juice box
LG 60PH6700 Picture settings
Default Calibrated
Picture on (watts) 0.15 0.15
Picture on (watts/sq. inch)    
Standby (watts) 298.37 270.46
Cost per year $65.53 $59.41
Score (considering size) Poor
Score (overall) Good

Geek box: Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.013 Average
Avg. gamma (10-100%) 2.24 Good
Avg. grayscale error (10-100%) 1.600 Good
Near-black error (5%) 0.721 Good
Dark-gray error (20%) 0.936 Good
Bright-gray error (70%) 1.306 Good
Avg. color error 2.340 Good
Red error 2.453 Good
Green error 2.806 Good
Blue error 1.419 Good
Cyan error 2.999 Good
Magenta error 1.772 Good
Yellow error 2.589 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
1080i Deinterlacing (film) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 800 Average
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 800 Average
Input lag (Game mode) 72.7 Average

LG 60PH6700 calibration notes

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Where to Buy See all prices

LG 60PH6700 - 60" Class ( 59.8" viewable ) 3D plasma TV

Part Number: 60PH6700
Low Price: $1,749.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Enhanced Refresh Rate 600 Hz
  • 3D Yes
  • Display Format 1080p (FullHD)
  • Diagonal Size 60 in
  • Type plasma TV
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