If there’s one thing we’ll take away from LG TVs this year, it’s that WebOS is the future of smart TV.
The LG 42LB700V has plenty of things going on – sharp, punchy picture, smart features and connections aplenty, stylish stand – but the standout feature is the beautiful WebOS interface.
We’ve encountered WebOS before on LG tellies, but it’s still impressive on a modest 42in Full HD screen. Instead of a smart portal or ‘hub’, the smart apps, EPG, inputs and others are integrated into the screen as small, colourful cards arranged across the bottom.
It feels organic, and is brilliant to use. What’s more, this may be the first time we’ve preferred the fancy smart remote over the normal button wand, good though that is.
LG’s curvy Magic Remote is designed to work in perfect harmony with WebOS, and it does. Pointing and clicking feels natural and speedy, and the animated cursor moves in a steady way.
It’s wonderfully instinctive to use and the curved design is comfortable and fits snugly in the hand.
WebOS may have won us over, but the LG 42LB700V’s picture quality still has to pass the test. It does so with flying colours – colours that are vibrant, punchy and paint a pleasant picture.
Play the Rush Blu-ray and the LG bursts to life with luscious reds, grainy black tyres and the shiny metal of the Formula 1 cars.
Even so, a subtler, more balanced approach to the colours would make the LG look more natural, more realistic. We’d also like deeper blacks, to give more picture punch. They’re not as jet-black as we’d like.
Overall, the 42in screen looks crisp and clean, with plenty of detail. DVDs are upscaled with little picture noise, and standard-def content like Top Gear reruns remain bright and watchable.
Time to test the LG’s passive 3D, and the Life of Pi’s stunning aquatic landscape looks exciting and inviting. There’s a lovely sense of depth, and the picture retains its lively characteristic.
The 3D glasses are lightweight and comfortable, more so than those you get at the cinema. There’s a hint of instability around the edges, but setting the motion to ‘Clear’ irons this out.
Do our ears deceive us or does this LG sound warm, full-bodied and detailed? It’s true: it manages to deliver a strong, weighty sound with no bright edges.
Voices could be more expressive, but they are clear and don’t sound hollow. Watching TV or Blu-ray, we never feel the need for a soundbar (although obviously, this will boost your sound experience if you choose to take that option).
Build and design
The LG 42LB700V is a stylish set: a think bezel ensures the screen takes priority, and the build quality and finish are excellent.
We also like the unique looking stand, which gives the impression that the screen is floating. LG’s standard remote is intuitive to use, too, with a slim design and well-laid out buttons.
Three inputs apiece for HDMI and USB adorn the back panel, plenty for plugging in disc players, consoles and flash drives filled with media files.
A Freeview HD tuner takes care of broadcast TV feeds, and there’s also a satellite tuner.
You can connect to your home network using LG’s built-in wi-fi or the ethernet port.
The 42LB700V has some serious rivals to face in this category, with competitively priced TVs such as the Sony KDL-40W605B delivering a subtler, more enticing performance at £450.
But while this LG’s lively picture has merits, it’s WebOS that’s the biggest attraction here. It makes the viewing experience all the more seamless and inviting.
Give it an audition; we think you will love it too.