LG fulfils its 'world's first' quotient at IFA 2013

It’s safe to say LG is having a pretty spectacular IFA 2013 so far. The company’s stand in Hall 11 is, to use technical terminology, simply massive, and is packed with all manner of exciting products – including a world first 77 inch 4K Ultra HD OLED TV.

Inevitably, we’re most excited by the appearance of the world’s largest 4K OLED TV. Goodness knows there has been claim and counter-claim about who was first with curved-OLED technology, but about this 77in beauty there can be no doubt.

This is the largest 4K OLED TV on the planet, and it looks an absolute treat. We’re not entirely convinced by assertions of an ‘infinite’ contrast ratio, but we can say with certainty that under the glare of exhibition-hall lights its images are bright, high-contrast and detailed.

Elsewhere in the TV arena LG continues to forge ahead. It’s showing the 55EA9800, a curved-OLED design that’s just 4mm deep.

Then there’s the Gallery OLED (55EA8800) TV, a wall-mountable design with an elaborate ‘Art’ frame that conceals 2.2 channels of meaningful (by flatscreen TV standards) sound.

And by using ‘Gallery’ rather than ‘standby’ mode when not watching the screen, owners can instead enjoy high-def images of famous artworks or their own photographs inside the rather chintzy frame.

Not quite as headline-grabbing in terms of technology, but almost certainly more applicable to the real world at the moment is LG’s range of 4K LED TVs.

The LA9700 series of premium 55, 65 and 84in models has been joined by the more affordable LA9650 series (in 55 and 65in versions), and the 84in flagship is upgraded – it’s now called 84LA9800.

Both the LA9650 and LA9700 series can play 4K content directly from a USB flash drive. The LA9700 features full LED backlighting and is packing a 4.1-channel, 50-watt audio system.

Elsewhere, incongruously surrounded by dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and washing machines, is the extremely promising LG G2 smartphone and G Pad 8.3 tablet.

The phone has a full-HD 5.2in screen, can shoot 1080p video at 60fps and offers 24-bit/192kHz audio playback.

The tablet, despite its biggish screen, is light (just 338g) and slim. The screen is full HD, natch, and picture quality is impressive.

Elsewhere, LG is following the trend for hefty soundbars big enough to stand a TV on (the ‘LG Sound Plate’ range is a 4.1-channel design that will fit beneath TVs from 32 to 55in).

It’s also showing a refreshed range of more traditional soundbars, with the NB4530A designed to match tidily with 47in screens.

This is a 310-watt, 2.1-channel design with 3D processing, HDMI switching and Bluetooth capability, and its NB5530A sibling will do the same job for 55in TVs.

Hands on: LG G2 review

by Simon Lucas

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Simon Lucas is a freelance technology journalist and consultant, with particular emphasis on the audio/video aspects of home entertainment. Before embracing the carefree life of the freelancer, he was editor of What Hi-Fi? – since then, he's written for titles such as GQ, Metro, The Guardian and Stuff, among many others.