A solid buy, especially if 3D figures high on your agenda
3D picture quality is very good
Issues with motion and upscaling
can sound aggressive
If 3D is to become the mass-market force its proponents would like it to be, it’ll be thanks to televisions such as this. This LG supports passive 3D technology.
Its polarised 3D glasses don’t need power and, crucially, cost next to nothing; the LW550T comes with no fewer than seven pairs in the package.
Of course, that wouldn’t be such a benefit were the 3D performance not up to scratch; but it is. With live-action and animation, images are both easier to watch than most alternatives and, crucially, perfectly acceptable for clarity and detail.
Active-shutter 3D systems offer theoretically superior resolution, and if you cast a fastidious eye over the LW550T’s image with Thor, it isn’t perhaps as crisp as it might be. The counterpoint to that is the absence of crosstalk or flicker. It’s a trade-off we’d happily accept.
Crisp Freeview HD tunerFor all that, the LG’s case isn’t entirely watertight. Its Freeview HD tuner is respectably crisp, its contrast and brightness perfectly acceptable, and the local-dimming LED backlighting provides a lively and, for the most part, satisfyingly dynamic image.
More after the break
However, there’s a lack of outright depth to blacks, as shown by a comparison with the Panasonic TX-L37DT30. More than that, the DT30’s effective motion processing and seamless upscaling highlight the LG’s comparative lack of certainty in both regards. The LW550T is far from crude, but it’s also palpably less assured with long, sweeping pans.
It sounds more shrill than we’d like, too. A lack of weight might be expected in a slim TV, but the hard, forward balance is less forgiveable.
Holds its own in the smart stakesOn the other hand, LG’s Smart TV hub is good enough to ensure the 42LW550T can hold its own in the smart stakes. Wireless internet access requires an optional dongle, but fed via ethernet, the LG’s DLNA and streaming services work slickly – and with both Acetrax and Blinkbox included, there’s ample choice for film enthusiasts.
Other highlights include the BBC iPlayer, Facebook and Twitter. The set also supports LG’s Magic Motion remote control, as an extra. Only you can decide whether Wii-style gesture-based access to your TV’s smart services is worth £50 more.
The LG’s suite of strengths are more than sufficient to outweigh its occasional weaknesses. This is a fine set in most regards – and in 3D terms, a compelling one.