LG might be turning its attention towards OLED technology and curved screens, but that doesn’t mean it has forgotten how to make a great flagship TV using normal LCD panels. The UF850V is the company’s latest: a 60in, 4K model that looks great even before you switch it on.
For this review we tested the 60in model in the UF850V range, but it’s also available in 49in (49UF850V), 55in (55UF850V) and 65in (65UF850V) screen sizes. All models have identical specifications except for their dimensions and power usage. We’re confident that image quality will be practically identical across the range.
With near non-existent bezels around the top and sides of the display, brushed metal trim around the bottom and a curved metal stand, the TV is undeniably sleek, and at less than 3cm at its thickest point it’s rather svelte too. That being said, the design of the stand, with a flat bar at the front and hind legs that point out at the back, means it has a rather large footprint. If you’re upgrading from a much smaller TV, or need to put it on top of a speaker base, you’ll want to make sure you have enough room for it.
The brushed metal extends to the remote control, too. LG has finally stopped including two remotes in the box, opting instead for a hybrid Magic Remote. This has all the important buttons you’d want at your fingertips, plus motion-based cursor controls for navigating through the colourful WebOS interface.
LG has given its card-based Smart TV UI a minor overhaul for 2015, but the most important tweaks are behind the scenes. The entire system starts up much faster than on last year’s model, letting you jump quickly into menus, change inputs and open catch-up or on-demand services. Some of last year’s smart TVs were basically inoperable for up to a minute after switching on, so we’re very pleased to see this speed increase.
Even better, you can jump out of online streaming to catch something on live TV, and then return to where you left off without having to re-load the entire app. WebOS is overflowing with content, too, making it the obvious choice for on-demand fans. Samsung’s Tizen TVs might have 4OD and ITV Player, but LG still has exclusive access to Sky’s Now TV catch-up service. This is on top of BBC iPlayer and Demand5 terrestrial catch-up, and Netflix and Amazon Instant Video on-demand. Both can stream in 4K as long as you have a 25Mbit/s or faster internet connection. Throw in Wuaki.tv and Blinkbox, and there shouldn’t ever be a moment when you have nothing to watch.
There are plenty of ways to get your own content onscreen, too, with DLNA support to let you browse audio and video from a server or to render content sent to the set, and Intel WiDi screen streaming from a compatible device – all three worked flawlessly during our testing. One of the HDMI inputs supports MHL for directly connecting a smartphone or tablet, and one of the three USB ports uses the faster USB3 standard to help with uninterrupted playback of 4K content. The second HDMI port is version 2.0, meaning it can accept a super-smooth 4K 60p source as soon as such devices and content arrive, meaning you won’t need to upgrade again any time soon.