LG LS4600 series review: LG LED TV fails to deliver

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MSRP: $1,649.99

The Good The LG LS4600 is an attractive-looking midrange TV with a slim bezel and a rotating stand. Its picture delivers good shadow detail and colors are relatively accurate. The menu system is easy to navigate.

The Bad The TV has some of the worst black levels and uniformity I've seen this year. Colors are desaturated and skin tones in particular can look a little pale. For a midrange TV there are no features to speak of -- even the network port is inactive.

The Bottom Line The LG LS4600 LED TV has looks on its side, but it doesn't perform to the level expected at this price.

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5.2 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 5
  • Performance 5
  • Value 5

When LED TVs arrived in a blitzkrieg of publicity several years ago, many consumers believed, mistakenly and with a lot of help from the advertisers, that this technology was automatically better than LCD. While LED lighting has some benefits, it's not necessarily going to give you better picture quality.

The LG 47LS4600 LED is a case in point: when compared directly with the "LCD" Samsung E550, the LG suffers from much lighter blacks and desaturated colors.

While the LS4600 has some attractive design touches, like a slim bezel and rotating stand, the television's other problems, like a blotchy backlight and poor bright-room performance, mean it's not a great TV. When you consider that a TV like the TCL P60can outperform it in most picture tests at half the price, the LG LS4600 becomes a pretty poor deal.

Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the LG 47LS4600, but this review also applies to the other screen size in the series. Both sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.

Models in series (details)
LG 47LS4600 (reviewed) 47 inches
LG 55LS4600 55 inches

Regardless of performance, let 2012 be remembered as the year LG found its design groove. TVs like the LM9600 are living room art, and while you can't expect this to flow all the way down the line, the LS4600 doesn't look like a budget TV.

Sarah Tew/CNET

This LG features a thin black bezel -- afforded by the edge-lit LED system -- and a fairly shallow profile. The television comes with a swivel stand as most TVs in LG's portfolio do, and this is a matter of differentiation between it and other brands. The stand is reminiscent of a PC monitor stand, which isn't such a bad thing.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The remote control is fully fledged with decent ergonomics and friendly buttons.

Sarah Tew/CNET

TV menus are usually one step removed from Excel spreadsheets in terms of excitement, but LG likes to make the experience a bit friendlier with its smartphone-like tiles. It's a shame the dedicated Network tile doesn't work, though.

Key TV features
Display technology LCD LED backlight Edge-lit
Screen finish Glossy Remote Standard
Smart TV No Internet connection No
3D technology No 3D glasses included No
Refresh rate(s) 120Hz Dejudder (smooth) processing Yes
DLNA-compliant Photo/Music/Video USB Photo/Music/Video

When you start paying over $500 for a television, you can expect to start seeing some features. For example, the Philips PFL5907 has Smart TV and PC desktop streaming, while the Vizio M3D470KD adds the 3D alluded to in its name. The comparably priced LG lacks both big step-ups. It does offer 120Hz refresh rate, according to LG, but it behaves more like a 60Hz TV, with relatively poor motion resolution and no smoothing/dejudder option (not that I miss the latter).

While the television does have a LAN port and a dedicated Network section in the menu, this appears inactive (I connected it to our network but it only told me "Network failed"). LG couldn't provide additional information as to its function, and the manual and supporting materials make only passing reference to it.

Picture settings: Like many of the TVs in the LG range the LS4600 includes quite sophisticated controls to attempt tailoring the image to "reference" level. The amount of control is fairly impressive with both color management and grayscale control. As a result I could get a pretty looking graph out of this LG, but it's a pity the TV has problems that can't be corrected with these controls.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Connectivity: While many budget TVs include only two HDMI ports, the LG ups the complement to three. Additionally, you get two component inputs, a composite, a PC input, and a USB port for media playback.

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