In 2016 LG greatly expanded its selection of world-beating OLED televisions, but not in the way that many potential buyers had hoped.
You see, OLED TVs aren't getting any cheaper. A perfect example is the E6 reviewed here. The image produced by this TV is phenomenal, head-and-shoulders better than any LCD-based television I've tested. So it should be a no-brainer recommendation for high-end TV shoppers who don't want something larger than 65 inches, yes?
No. There is another.
The B6 I reviewed at the same time has pretty much the same picture quality as the E6, for a lot less money (relatively). The E6's advantages over the B6, namely 3D capability, a sleeker picture-on-glass design, better sound courtesy of a speaker bar along the bottom and a redesigned remote, aren't enough to be worth the substantial price difference. I would only recommend it to people who have money to burn, and those lucky folks might as well buy a G6. Perhaps they can put it in their other G6.
The rest of us still have a hard time convincing ourselves that the high price of any OLED TV is worth it. That's not going to change unless LG gets serious about making OLED affordable, which probably won't happen until some other TV maker brings OLED TVs to market. Until then, if you can't wait for prices to fall and you've managed to convince yourself to spring for an OLED TV, make it the B6.
Editors' note: I tested a 65-inch LG E6 and a 55-inch B6 at the same time, and most of what I saw was very similar, so large parts of the two reviews are identical. Differences are noted where appropriate, but the main takeaway is that both have very similar picture quality.
Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the 65-inch LG OLED65E6P, but this review also applies to the 55-inch OLED55E6P. Both have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.
For more information on LG's other OLED TVs, see this section of the B6 review.
Super-slim TV goes glass
Not content to let the ultra-slim panel OLED panel speak for itself, in 2016 LG augmented it with what it calls a picture-on-glass design on the E6 and G6 TVs. The OLED module -- the thing that creates the picture -- is applied to a glass back panel, leaving the edge of the TV made of a quarter-inch of glass bordering the black around the image. One result is that the thinnest part of the TV, the upper two thirds above the bulge housing the electronics, inputs and other stuff, is actually slightly thicker (by about 0.06 inches) than the step-down B6. The back of the TV is also subtly patterned.
Further separating the E6 from less expensive versions like the B6 is a horizontal strip of silver lines along the bottom, a grille of sorts, that fronts a more powerful sound system. It adds another touch of style, although personally I prefer the minimalist, more all-picture look of the B6.
Nonetheless, the E6 is one stunning-looking TV, whether you mount it on the wall or use the low-profile stand. Unlike earlier LG OLEDs, which required a special add-on wall bracket, the E6 and other 2016 models can work with a standard VESA wall mount.
The remote is another design departure from other OLEDs. Longer, thinner and silver, it rearranges some of the buttons and trades the slightly bulbous shape for a ribbed bottom. LG kept its trademark motion control, which allows you to whip around the menus with a responsive cursor rather than a plodding directional keypad. That keypad is still available, too, if you want it, along with a slick rubberized scroll wheel. I like the new clicker, although if I had to choose between the two I'd probably opt for the older version because of its better-differentiated buttons and more compact size.
Key TV features
|HDR compatible:||HDR10 and Dolby Vision|
|Smart TV:||Web OS|
|3D capable:||Yes (Passive)|
Features and connectivity
OLED is the dark star of the show here. Its basic tech is closer to late, lamented plasma than to the LED LCD (SUHD or otherwise) technology used in the vast majority of today's TVs. Where LCD relies on a backlight shining through a liquid crystal panel to create the picture, with OLED and plasma, each individual sub-pixel is responsible for creating illumination. That's why OLED and plasma are known as "emissive" and LED LCD as "transmissive" displays, and a big reason why OLED's picture quality is so good.
New for 2016 LG is claiming 25 percent higher light output and a wider color gamut compared with previous models like the EF9500. Interestingly, it also says all of its new 2016 OLED TVs, including the B6 and E6 I tested, have the same picture quality. In my tests all of those claims were essentially true; see Picture Quality below for details.
The other big improvement over last year is support for both types of HDR video: Dolby Vision and HDR10. Today at least, that means TVs like the E6 can access more HDR TV shows and movies than other devices. The E6 and B6 share the same Web OS Smart TV system and access to the same streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon and Vudu with Dolby Vision HDR. See my if you'd like more details on that.
Unlike the B6, the E6 can support 3D, technically making it the cheapest (gulp) non-curved 2016 OLED with 3D. LG includes two pairs of passive 3D glasses. Note that I didn't test 3D on this set, but I expect it to work as well as it did on the EF9500, which was the best-performing 3D TV I've ever reviewed.
The only other features difference between the B6 and E6 is the latter's superior sound system.
- 4 HDMI inputs with HDMI 2.0a, HDCP 2.2
- 3 USB ports
- 1 component video input
- 1 composite video input (shared with component)
- Ethernet (LAN) port
- Optical digital audio output
- RF (antenna) input
- Remote (RS-232) port (minijack)
The selection of connections is top-notch. Unlike many of Samsung's sets, this one actually has an analog video input for legacy (non-HDMI) devices.
If you're looking for a reason to pay extra for the E6 over the B6, keep looking. The differences are pretty slim according to my tests, and neither had a clear advantage. In fact, most of the words below are identical in both reviews.
Both 2016 LG OLEDs evinced the same dominance over other TVs in my test lineup, with slightly better overall images than the EF9500 from last year, especially with HDR sources. The E6 did show a slightly brighter image than the B6, but I can't say for sure whether that was due to the size difference between my review samples. The B6, for its part, did a bit better in a couple of video processing tests.
All of these OLEDs beat the best LCDs I've tested. To be fair, however, my comparison crop didn't include the very best 2016 LCD TVs from Samsung (the KS9800) and Sony (the Z9D), so I can't say for sure whether the E6 is better than them.
And in case you're looking for a link to my picture settings, I'm not going to provide them for this review. Check out my calibration and HDR notes for details.
Dim lighting: OLED was king here. All four of the OLED TVs in my lineup produced equally perfect black, compared with the variously lighter shades of black found on the LCD TVs. As usual the difference showed up most in dark scenes, for example in "The Revenant" Chapter 21 where Hugh emerges into the searchers' torchlight. The black bars above and below the image, the shadows among the trees, and Hugh's silhouette all appeared in true black or very dark shadow, and all looked blacker and more realistic than any of the LED LCD sets.
Another big difference between the OLED and LED LCD TVs was OLED's immunity to blooming. The best LCDs, like the ones in my lineup, all use local dimming to improve contrast and deliver deeper black levels, but all suffer to a greater or lesser extent from stray light that leaks from bright areas into dark. It showed up most in onscreen graphical elements, like my Blu-ray player's icons or the subtitles against the lower black bar in Chapter 4 of "The Revenant," but also some normal program material. The KS8000 was the worst while the Vizio and JS95000 were very good, if not perfect. The issue worsened from off-angle and brighter picture settings, including HDR.
Shadow detail isn't OLED's strongest suit, but all of the LGs were still very good in this area after calibration to fix the default settings' crushed blacks. Looking closely at that Chapter 4 scene, I saw very slightly more detail in Hawk's face and clothing in the Samsung LCDs compared with the OLEDs, but nothing that would be evident outside a side-by-side comparison.