Hands on: LG G4 review

A bigger upgrade than it initially seems

What is a hands on review?
LG G4 OLED TV
(Image: © What Hi-Fi?)

Early Verdict

Significantly more testing will be required before we can deliver a final verdict, but brief demo sessions suggest that the new G4 is more of an upgrade than perhaps expected

Pros

  • +

    Very bright and punchy

  • +

    MLA upgrade for the 83-inch model

  • +

    55- and 65-inch models come with a stand

Cons

  • -

    Seemingly no speaker hardware upgrade

  • -

    97-inch model doesn't have MLA

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This year’s LG G4 OLED TV is a much bigger deal than it initially seems. Within the familiar chassis and spec sheet hide several subtle upgrades that together seem more meaningful than one might expect, and on top of that, the gap between this premium model and the mid-tier C4 is larger than that of any G-series and C-series TVs before.

During CES 2024 but at a private event away from the main Las Vegas Convention Center, LG briefly demonstrated several of its new OLED TVs. I was instantly impressed by the G4, particularly the 83-inch model…

Price

LG G4 OLED TV

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

LG has only announced the US pricing for the G4 so far – at every size but one, it's $99 more expensive than the G3 that preceded it. Here's a breakdown by size.

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LG G4 price comparison
SizeG4G3
55"£TBC / $2599 / AU$TBC£2600 / $2500 / AU$4195
65"£TBC / $3399 / AU$TBC£3500 / $3300 / AU$5295
77"£TBC / $4599 / AU$TBC£5000 / $4500 / AU$8395
83"£TBC / $6499 / AU$TBC£7500 / $6500 / AU$10,995
97"£TBC / $24999 / AU$TBCN/A

The G4 will go up against models such as the Samsung S95D, Panasonic Z95A and whatever flagship 4K model Sony eventually announces. If the G4’s price turns out to be too steep for you, LG will happily sell you the step-down C4 or the entry-level B4, the latter of which has already drawn the attention of What Hi-Fi?’s own Lewis Empson.

The G4 goes on sale in the US in March. We're expecting it in the UK around April/May, but will update this when we have confirmat

Design

LG G4 OLED TV side-on in a demonstration room

While this perhaps isn't a great photo, you can hopefully see the G4's new stand, which will come bundled with the 55- and 65-inch models in the US and likely other regions, hopefully including the UK. (Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

As mentioned, the G4 looks very similar to the G3 it replaces. In fact, the main chassis is identical. This means it has a picture frame-like design with a flat back and, a step around the edges aside, a universal thickness of between 2.4cm and 2.8cm depending on which size model you buy.

Speaking of sizes, the G4 will be available in 55, 65, 77, 83 and 97 inches. In a first for LG’s G-series, the 55- and 65-inch models will come with a pedestal in the US, and I expect that will be the same case for the UK. The other sizes will continue to be bundled with a wall bracket, with the design very much still lending itself to wall mounting.

Features

LG G4 OLED TV, wall-mounted and displaying a film

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

LG Electronics, which is the division of LG that produces the actual TVs, has confirmed that the 55-, 65-, 77- and 83-inch versions of the G4 all feature the new, second-generation MLA OLED panel from LG Display. LG Display has previously stated that this panel is capable of going 50 per cent brighter than the previous version, up to a maximum of 3000 nits.

However, while LG Electronics hasn’t revealed its own brightness figures for the G4, we expect the increase in brightness to generally be more conservative than what LG Display is saying the raw panel is capable of. That said, LGE does say that its new ‘Peak Highlighter’ feature can boost the brightness of small highlights (that take up no more than 3 per cent of the screen) by up to 150 per cent of the brightness of which its own non-Evo OLED models, such as the new B4, are capable.

This Peak Highlighter is just one of the features powered by the new Alpha 11 AI Processor, which is exclusive to the G4 and wireless, step-up M4, introducing a processing differential between the G-series and C-series for the first time. This processor brings with it exclusive picture features such as 'AI Director Processing', which can detect a director's intended colour tone and adapt the picture to best express this, and 'Object Enhancing by Visual Perception', which involves analysing and enhancing each pixel. On the sound front, LG is promising that 'AI Sound Pro' will offer 'richer and fuller audio' via the integrated, virtual 11.1.2 surround sound system.

There aren’t many ways in which last year’s G3 could be improved in terms of gaming specs, but LG has added support for 4K/144Hz for the G4. This will appeal to PC gamers with very high-end rigs, but current consoles top out at 4K/120Hz. Of course, 4K/120Hz is still supported, as are ALLM and VRR, and the G4 boasts four top-spec HDMI 2.1 sockets – just as its predecessor did. Most rivals still do not.

The G4, like its 2024 stablemates, will run the new version of LG’s own webOS operating system. webOS 24 is very similar to last year’s version, but bespoke content recommendations have returned to the front page, which is something we have been pushing for since we reviewed LG’s 2023 models. To facilitate this change, the ‘Quick Cards’ (essentially folders) that LG introduced last year have been reduced in size. They are also now dynamic, so hovering over one with the ‘Magic Remote’ control reveals what is inside, with priority given to the app or feature you were last using, allowing you to quickly jump back in.

webOS 24 also supports user profiles – up to 10 of them – so that content recommendations can be more personalised. Voice recognition will automatically switch to the profile of the person talking, albeit only in the US at first, with other regions, including the UK, to get the feature at a later date.

Picture

LG G4 OLED TV

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The 83-inch version of the G4 is the first OLED TV of this size to feature MLA technology, and it looked utterly glorious in action during the very brief demo session. A colourful pattern popped from the display in fabulously bright, rich and vibrant fashion, and clips from Apple TV+'s Foundation were punchy while retaining authentic cinematic warmth and balanced, natural skin tones.

It was hard to tear myself away from this huge model, but the 65-inch version (which was mounted to the new, bundled pedestal stand) also looked impressive. LG didn’t provide last year’s G3 model for comparison, but my instinct is that its successor is indeed brighter – a great deal more testing will of course be required to be sure. Fairly predictably, the G4 did look vastly brighter than the model-down C4 on an adjacent stand, and more vibrant and crisp as well.

My time with the G4 was very brief and LG didn’t demonstrate the efficacy of specific features, so no firm conclusions can be drawn at this stage, but my first impression is that LG has improved the winning formula it came up with for the G3.

As ever, we will wait until we have had a final production sample in for comprehensive and comparative testing in our own test rooms before we can deliver a final verdict, but it does look as though LG is on the right track.

  • LG C4 vs G4: the key differences between LG's new OLED TVs

Sound

LG G4 OLED TV

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

LG didn’t demonstrate the G4’s own sound system at all during the presentation session, so I’ve no idea at all whether it sounds better than the G3. I certainly hope that it does: LG’s 2023 TVs sounded rather poor and the G3 was trounced for audio quality by models such as the Sony A95L and Panasonic MZ2000. It seems highly unlikely that LG will have managed to overcome that deficit entirely, considering that the core audio hardware appears to be the same as it was last year – but you never know!

Early verdict

LG G4 OLED TV

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

To reiterate, we never deliver a full verdict on a product until we have gone twelve rounds with it in our own test rooms for a rigorous, independent review, and the CES demonstrations of the new G4 were even more limited than these sorts of things tend to be. That said, what I saw suggested that LG has taken everything that made the G3 great while adding extra punch and impact.

And that 83-inch MLA model..? All I can say at this point is 'wow'.

MORE:

LG G4 vs LG M4: how LG's top-tier TVs for 2024 compare

LG G4 vs LG G3 OLED TVs: what's the difference between new and old?

Also consider the Panasonic Z95A

These are the best TVs you can buy right now

Check out all of the news from CES 2024

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LG C4 and G4 price comparison
SizeC4C3G4G3
42"£TBC / $1499 / AU$TBC£1500 / $1400 / AU$2595N/AN/A
48"£TBC / $1599 / AU$TBC£1600 / $1500 / AU$2895N/AN/A
55"£TBC / $1999 / AU$TBC£2100 / $1900 / AU$3295£TBC / $2599 / AU$TBC£2600 / $2500 / AU$4195
65"£TBC / $2699 / AU$TBC£2900 / $2600 / AU$4295£TBC / $3399 / AU$TBC£3500 / $3300 / AU$5295
77"£TBC / $3699 / AU$TBC£4000 / $3600 / AU$6795£TBC / $4599 / AU$TBC£5000 / $4500 / AU$8395
83"£TBC / $5399 / AU$TBC£6500 / $5300 / AU$8995£TBC / $6499 / AU$TBC£7500 / $6500 / AU$10,995
97"N/AN/A£TBC / $24999 / AU$TBCN/A
Tom Parsons

Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. He began his career as What Hi-Fi?'s Staff Writer and is now the TV and AV Editor. In between, he worked as Reviews Editor and then Deputy Editor at Stuff, and over the years has had his work featured in publications such as T3, The Telegraph and Louder. He's also appeared on BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and Sky Swipe. In his spare time Tom is a runner and gamer.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.