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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Overview

Design

Profile

Connectivity

Remote

Remote

Bezel

Bezel

Smart TV

3D content

Settings

Picture settings

App availability

Picture quality

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.

Return to the full review of the LG G2.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The ribbon stand is one of the best from this year's TV crop and makes the screen float in an iMac kind of way.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The stand looks a bit funky in profile, but the screen itself is impressively thin.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Four HDMI ports, two USB slots, and onboard wireless are to be expected from a 2012 TV.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The LG Magic Motion remote has been tweaked for use with the Google TV with a few more buttons -- though, annoyingly, not Input or Settings -- and a full QWERTY keyboard.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The QWERTY keyboard sits on the remote's flipside.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The stand and the bezel have a strange chrome/"brushed aluminum" thing going on.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
More bezel.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The hybrid interface is four parts LG (top) and one part Google (bottom).
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The TV has an on-demand app called 3D World that provides short-form 3D documentaries.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The menu settings are a little confusing.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The most common settings are all present and correct, though time-consuming to get in and out of.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The newly renamed Google Play has a fairly sparse selection of entertainment apps in comparison with competitors.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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