LG LX9500 review: LG LX9500

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Design: 9.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Produces among the deepest shades of black of any TV; superb shadow detail; exceedingly accurate color; better off-angle viewing than many LCDs; controls local dimming "blooming" well; solid streaming and interactive features; extensive picture controls; beautiful styling with slim bezel, single-pane design, and 1.3-inch-deep panel.

The Bad Expensive; uneven backlight uniformity; adjustable dejudder doesn't work well; subpar bright-room performance; cannot properly process 1080p/24 content; benefits of 480Hz difficult to discern; washed-out image with no picture adjustments in 3D mode; lacks 2D-to-3D conversion; 3D exhibited ghost images along edges (crosstalk); does not include 3D glasses.

The Bottom Line Loads of features, a nearly frameless design, and excellent overall 2D performance increase the appeal of the LG LX9500 series LED-based LCD TV, but its 3D picture needs work.

Editors' Top Picks

We really liked the LG LE8500 series, so it's little surprise we also like the company's LX9500, reviewed here, which is basically the same TV plus 3D compatibility. Unless you really want 3D or love the LX9500's thin frame, however, the less-expensive LE8500 is the better choice. Both offer nearly identical 2D picture quality--with a couple of caveats, it's among the best you can get this year from an LCD--that benefits from deep black levels, highly accurate color, and better-than-expected off-angle fidelity. Unfortunately, LG seems to have rushed with the 3D portion of the LX9500, saddling it with a washed-out picture that's as lackluster as the 2D one is punchy, and no way to adjust it. With two-dimensional material, on the other hand, the stylish, well-featured LG LX9500 series is one of the most impressive LED-based LCDs we've tested this year.

Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 47-inch LG 47LX9500, but this review also applies to the 55-inch LG 55LX9500. Both sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.

Models in series (details)
47LX9500 (reviewed) 47 inches
55LX9500 55 inches

Design


The bezel of the LX9500 series is less than an inch thick on the top and sides.

Design highlights
Panel depth 1.3 inches Bezel width 0.86 inch
Single-plane face Yes Swivel stand Yes

The LX9500's most eye-catching element is the ultrathin bezel. The panel frame around the top and sides of the picture measures just 7/8 of an inch wide--1/4 inch of which is transparent, 5/8 of which is black--so when the TV's turned on, the viewer sees almost all picture and very little, well, TV. Helping add to the illusion is the single flush pane of glasslike material fronting both screen and frame. Below the picture the black is wider and interrupted only by an illuminated LG logo that, yes, you can turn off. A striking, transparent rectangle reminiscent of an ice cube supports the panel, hides a swivel, and does its best to make the TV seem to hover above the glass-topped, black-and-clear stand.

All of these touches create an overall design that's undeniably unique and stylish, but if we had to choose a best-looking TV among 2010 models we've seen so far, we'd still take Sony's Monolithic panels, especially the new KDL-NX810 series.


The effect of the slim bezel is enhanced by the transparent stand stalk.

Remote control and menus
Remote size (LxW) 9.2 x 1.8 inches Remote screen N/A
Total keys 45 Backlit keys 38
Other IR devices controlled No RF control of TV No
Shortcut menu Yes Onscreen explanations Yes
Other: Secondary motion-sensitive remote control

One of the step-up features in LG's high-end 2010 TVs, including the LX9500 and the PK950 plasma, is the "Magic Wand" remote, which behaves much like the Wiimote motion controller used with the Nintendo Wii. LG's little clicker fits well in the hand and its few buttons are easy to find by feel, but you really only need two: Home and Select. The former calls up a simplified menu system and a big cursor control, and moving the remote itself to point the cursor activates menu items.

LG LX9500 SERIES
LG's Magic Wand remote works like a Nintendo Wii controller, allowing you to manipulate menu items by waving the wand.

LG LX9500 SERIES
The Wand summons a specialized, simplified menu system to ease accessibility via pointer.

The accuracy of the pointer was very good--better in our experience than even the Wiimote itself--and the jumbo icons help a lot. The novelty of the system wore off quickly, however, and we ended up preferring the standard menu system and multibutton remote, which required only thumb movement. We can imagine that some users intimidated by lots of menu selections might appreciate the Magic Wand, but for most others it's just a gimmick.

LG's standard clicker is a long, thin (thoroughly unmagical) wand with decent button differentiation and friendly, rubberized keys. We liked the bulge in the middle that corresponds with a convenient notch on the underside for your index finger; we missed direct infrared control of other devices. The main menus are basic and functional with plenty of ways to get around, including a nice Quick Menu of shortcuts. We would have liked to see explanations, however, especially for the more-advanced picture setting functions. Another, and more major, omission from the menus is a 3D section; the only way to engage 3D on the LX9500 is to press the 3D button on the remote.

Features

Key TV features
Display technology LCD LED backlight Full-array with local dimming
3D compatible Yes 3D glasses included No
Screen finish Glossy Refresh rate(s) 480Hz
Dejudder (smooth) processing Yes 1080p/24 compatible No
Internet connection Yes Wireless HDMI/AV connection Optional
Other:Optional 3D glasses (model LG-AS100; $169 list); optional Wi-Fi dongle (AN-WF100, $70); optional wireless media box (AN-WL100W, $350)

Like most makers of 3D-compatible TVs this year, LG doesn't include any of the required glasses with the LX9500. This model also lacks 2D-to-3D conversion capability, which is available on Samsung and Sony models, as well as the Panasonic GT25 plasma and LG's own PX950. LG is the only maker we've tested so far whose proprietary glasses have rechargeable batteries; the USB charger is included.


LG's 3D glasses ($170 list) are not included with the LX9500.

Like the 2D-only LE8500 series, the LX9500 sports a full-array LED backlight with local dimming, our favorite kind. LG tells us the 47-incher has 216 independent, dimmable zones, whereas the 55-incher has 240 (more than the local dimmers in Vizio's XVT3SV series, for what it's worth; other makers don't divulge number of zones). The LX9500's refresh rate spec sheet advertises "480Hz," which according to the company is the result of combining the standard 240Hz MEMC processing with a scanning backlight. It's worth noting that unlike the LE8500 series, the LX9500 failed our test for proper 1080p/24 processing. See the Performance section below for details.

Streaming media
Netflix Yes YouTube Yes
Amazon Video on Demand No Rhapsody No
Vudu video Yes Pandora No
CinemaNow No DLNA compliant Photo/Music/Video
Blockbuster No USB Photo/Music/Video

LG's 2009 models were among the first to include Netflix, but since that service is now available on most Internet TVs, the company's Netcast array of streaming partners is now pretty pedestrian. There are no major missing links, though, aside from any kind of audio service like Pandora or Slacker radio.

In our tests, Vudu and Netflix performed as advertised, delivering the video quality we expect from both services via both Ethernet and Wi-Fi from LG's dongle, and allowing a good deal of picture control (although not the full array allowed in Expert, below). We didn't test DLNA or USB streaming.


The usual streaming suspects are onboard the LG, but the selection lags behind that of other TV makers.

Editors' Top Picks

 

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Where to Buy

LG Infinia 55LX9500

Part Number: 55LX9500

Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Enhanced Refresh Rate 480Hz
  • LED Backlight Type Edge Light with local dimming
  • Display Format 1080p
  • Diagonal Size 55 in
  • Type LED-LCD
About The Author

Section Editor David Katzmaier has reviewed TVs at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com.