LG OLED 65G7T review: One of the best TVs you’ve ever seen
- Incredible picture quality
- Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos give more immersive experience
- Easy streaming options with WebOS
Could be better
- The price is as high end as the TV
- Hard to find Atmos-supported content
Over the past few years, LG has managed to intimately link its brand with OLED technology for large screen televisions. While other manufacturers such as Panasonic and Sony are only now beginning to release TVs using OLED technology, LG has been doing it for years, which gives their technology a definitive advantage.
The 2017 family of OLED televisions from LG enhance the performance of previous years models by working even more closely with entertainment company Dolby, integrating not only Dolby Vision technology for superior HDR reproduction, but also coming bundled with Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbars for a more immersive sound experience.
With this partnership, LG is focused on trying to offer a superior, more immersive home entertainment solution. And on the whole, the LG G7T does a pretty great job of it.
For those unfamiliar with the technology, OLED – or Organic Light Emitting Diodes – stands apart from traditional LCD TVs by having every pixel on the TV able to both light itself, and more importantly, switch off completely.
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The most obvious benefit of this is the fact that in dark scenes, black is truly black, with no leaking backlight seeping through the sides of the television.
It also means that the panels can be remarkably thin, as there’s no need to put a backlight into the body of the television. The panels are so thin, in fact, that LG has mounted the screen of the G7 onto a thin layer of glass just to add some rigidity to the screen.
There is nothing quite like looking at a 65-inch OLED panel in full stream. In a dark room, you can almost forget that there is anything other than the television in front of you, as the tiny bezel seamlessly disappears into the background.
There are two main components to the G7 OLED TV. The first is the panel, which boasts a 3840 x 2160 Ultra HD resolution. The bezel is about a centimetre thick, with the glass back plate adding another half a centimetre to the screen's surrounds. At its thickest where the TV connects to the base, the TV is 68mm, though the bulk of the panel is less than a centimetre.
Of course, LG manages this by moving all the components away from the TV itself and into the base, which doubles as a 60W Dolby Atmos soundbar. The soundbar is sleek and narrow, a metallic grill that matches the width of the TV perfectly.
Around the back of the base you have four HDMI 2.0a connections, plus three USB ports, optical audio out and integrated Wi-Fi. The TV is FreeViewPlus certified, allowing you to watch internet-improved free-to-air and catch up TV. It has integrated Wi-Fi for easy streaming options.
LG OLED 65G7T video quality
The biggest ongoing challenge for 4K televisions is finding content that is able to take advantage of the full 4K resolution. That has changed remarkably over the past six months though, with both Stan and Amazon Prime Video joining Netflix in offering 4K streams.
It’s still not as complete a library as what’s available in High Definition, but the library of 4K titles is growing, especially as the 4K Blu-ray format is also expanding.
But not all 4K is created equal. Aside from the improved resolution, one of the biggest advantages of 4K is the inclusion of High Dynamic Range support, with TVs able to simultaneously show detail in both bright and dark sections of the same scene. Because of HDR's relative infancy, there are a number of different technical standards. LG’s OLED TVs are capable of taking advantage of them all, including the top quality Dolby Vision standard.
Finding a Dolby Vision supported title today is fairly tough, with your selection ultimately limited to a small subset of the 4K titles on Netflix, like the Marvel hero shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
To get a true sense of what the OLED was capable of with Dolby Vision content, I loaded up the second episode of the first season of Daredevil. Watching the final, epic fight scene where a bloody and beaten Matt Murdock takes on an army of Russian kidnappers in a dimly lit corridor, the stunning one shot battle is shown in incredible detail, with the fabric of his ripped, black costume clearly on display.
When I watched the scene on my old Full HD screen originally, the blacks all blended into each other, where the OLED manages to show ripples in the fabric as Murdock punches different bad guys. On traditional TVs, these details would be largely missed.
The difference is subtle. The scene still looks incredible on non-Dolby Vision panels, but the detail is amplified.
At the other end of the spectrum, the close up shots of the opening episode of the OA let you see every freckle, every pore of the characters. The effect is much more lifelike. While the limits of the screen's size prevents you from feeling like it is actually real life, the representation is much more realistic than non-HDR panels.
This generation of the OLED TV can also show even brighter whites than previous generations. Watching a 4K version of the Batman v Superman battle in the movie of the same name, Batman’s eyes positively glow, without taking away the detail of the Dark Knight’s armour.
LG OLED 65G7T Audio quality
LG has made a pretty big deal of the fact that its 2017 TVs are not just Dolby Vision compatible, but also support Dolby Atmos out of the box.
Atmos is the next level of surround sound, with the addition of vertical sound fields to create a truly immersive experience. LG’s soundbar bounces audio off the ceiling and rear walls to create a virtual surround sound experience.
Impressively, the speaker also handles the bass notes, so there's no wireless sub woofer in the box for the G7 TV.
The surround effect isn’t as noticeable as offering dedicated speakers for each and every channel, like you get in a cinema or a high-end home theatre setup. But that's to be expected when all the sound is coming from a single speaker that is located in front of you. The surround effect isn’t going to be as obvious as having seven separate speakers each piping down their own channel of audio, and a subwoofer pumping the bass.
But compared to the traditional speakers included in a TV, and a TV this thin as well, the inclusion of the Atmos soundbar does a great job of creating an immersive sound space, especially at higher volumes.
The catch, again, is finding content that is mastered for Atmos. Despite leveraging Dolby Vision for some of its 4K content, Netflix doesn’t offer Atmos soundtracks.
Netflix does stream in 5.1 surround sound though, and again, at high volumes the effect is most noticeable. The soundbar bounces sound off your walls to create the surround effect. It is not as powerful an effect as Atmos, but it does serve the purpose.
Cranked up near maximum volume, the speaker does a great job of handling the full range frequencies without distorting. It doesn't quite have the oomph to make your lounge room shake with every explosion like a proper 5.1 setup can, but it's also much easier to install.
Streaming options on the LG G7 OLED TV
LG’s Smart TV platform, powered by WebOS version 3.5, offers a wide selection of streaming options. In addition to traditional free to air TV channels, LG OLED TV owners can access Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play TV and Movies and YouTube.
The TV’s remote features dedicated buttons for both Netflix and Prime Video, so you can boot into either service with a single button press. The best thing about this is that the simple card-based navigation of the WebOS platform allows for easy switching between services, with shows pausing and resuming as you switch between them.
So if you're halfway through watching American Gods on Prime Video and your kids walk in and need to be placated with an episode of Peppa Pig on Netflix, simply pressing the Netflix button on the remote will pause Prime Video and pop you into Netflix, where you can navigate to Peppa. Once safely back asleep, hitting the Prime Video button will flick you right back to where you were watching American Gods effortlessly.
In addition to those services, LG’s streaming app store also offers a range of video services, including Red Bull TV, UFC TV, the WWE network, Crackle, Al Jazeera and YouTube Kids.
You can also stream catch up video via the SBS On Demand and ABC iview apps, or rent films through the BigPond Movies app.
When it comes to OLED technology, LG is pretty much competing against itself for the mantle of best in show. But the G7T is a flagship worthy of praise, with spectacular image quality thanks to the combination of OLED's superior black reproduction and the inclusion of Dolby Vision HDR support.
LG has attempted to create the whole package with the G7T as well by bundling in a Dolby Atmos soundbar, and while it will never compete with a dedicated 5.1.2 (5 surround speakers, 1 subwoofer and 2 ceiling speakers) Atmos setup for proper surround reproduction, it does an impressive job for a bundled speaker.
The catch with the G7T, and the biggest hurdle it has to overcome, is the asking price. The 65-inch OLED I reviewed has an RRP of $9,099. To be fair, the cost feels somewhat justified from the image quality, but the reality is that you can buy a 65-inch 4K LCD TV for under $1,300. While it won't have the same level of detail, or intuitive user interface or even HDR support, it is a lot friendlier to the wallet.
Which all boils down to this: The LG OLED is probably one of the best TVs ever made, but for that quality, you can expect to pay for it. If your wallet can justify the expense, then you will undoubtedly be incredibly happy with the results the TV produces.
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