A big flat-panel TV can tend to dominate a room, which helps explain why some TV shoppers insist on a television that looks as good as possible when turned off. LG designed its , thin-panel models, the SL80 series reviewed here, and the SL90 series, with those kinds of shoppers in mind. This HDTV definitely puts style first, with its sleek, compact appearance highlighted by a piece of glass that fronts the entire panel. The SL80 lacks the LED lighting and extensive interactive features found on other TVs in its price range, however, and its picture quality fell a bit short as well, despite excellent color, with blacks that aren't as deep and a screen that reflects a lot of ambient light. If you prize design above those issues, however, you'll find plenty to like about this LCD TV.
LG's improved the remote for its higher-end TVs like the SL80, with backlit buttons and more spacing between keys. Buttons are grouped logically and though we didn't like their similar sizes and shapes from an ergonomic standpoint, we did appreciate that most functions were represented by dedicated keys (aspect ratio being the major exception). There's a prominent button labeled "Energy Saving" that directly accesses said control and a little energy saving graphic to provide enviro-geeks with a warm fuzzy.
Like most other 2009 LCDs by LG we've reviewed, the SL80 series demonstrated subpar black level performance and superb color. Beyond those basics, we noted decent video processing, although we would have liked more adjustment options. The glossy screen tended, as usual, to collect ambient light worse than a matte screen.