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LG G3 OLED review: LG’s brightest OLED TV ever delivers elite pictures
5:46 pm | September 22, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Televisions | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

LG G3: Two-minute review

The LG G3 is the latest flagship OLED TV from the company that has put OLED on the map more than any other. The G3 is another landmark set, though, taking brightness to a new level for LG, and besting what’s come before in many ways.

The LG G3 is priced like a premium flagship TV too, though its price has dropped somewhat since its launch in March 2023 – though the Samsung S95C is a similarly specified TV that’s available for less at the time of writing (though the two will battle this out in price drops, no doubt). With the G3 ranging in sizes from 55-inch to 83-inch (although the 83-inch has a less-bright panel so will perform differently), there’s an option for nearly all home theater lovers, although if you need smaller you can always look at the LG C3, which also ranks among the best OLED TVs.

With the introduction of Micro Lens Array (MLA) technology to improve brightness in its already fantastic OLED Evo panel, plus a new generation of image processor, the G3’s picture quality is phenomenal. Vibrant colors and crisp textures work in harmony with deep blacks and dynamic contrast, making the picture of the G3 nothing short of sensational – at the very top of what you can get from the world’s best TVs.

Although built-in sound in the G3 is decent, with a surprising amount of bass in some sound modes and clear dialogue generally, the LG G3 could benefit from one of the best soundbars to match the excellent quality of its picture. If stronger built-in audio quality is essential to you, you may want to look at TVs such as the Sony A80L and even the Samsung S90C.

As far as gaming goes, the LG G3 is a paradise. With extensive gaming features and compatibility including 4K 120Hz support on all four 2.1 HDMI ports, Dolby Vision gaming at 120Hz, VRR, and ALLM, this is as well-specced as it gets for games. Put all this with an intuitive Game Dashboard menu and extremely useful Game Optimizer picture mode, and it’s hard to fault. 

LGs smart TV platform, webOS 23, is intuitive and more streamlined than last year’s software, webOS 22, and offers you greater customization options in terms of categorizing apps via its Quick Card option and also tailors recommendations on what you want to look for. Thankfully, webOS 23 has also toned down the amount of recommendations compared to last year as well, because they were a little overwhelming.

In terms of design, the G3 is a stunning TV, with a sleek, bezel-less build that looks elegant when mounted on a wall. Still, though, it’s extremely frustrating that for people who want to put this TV on a stand, a desktop stand is not included and will cost you extra – it only comes with a special gap-free wall-mount.

If you’re looking for a TV to suit any situation including gaming, movie marathons or daytime viewing, with image quality that’s as good as anything else on the market, the LG G3 is definitely one of your top choices. There are cheaper high-quality OLEDs out there, such the LG C3 or Sony A80L, but they sacrifice brightness or other features compared to the G3. The biggest competitor is the Samsung S95C, which we rate slightly higher due to its better sound and great external connections box, creating slightly better value overall – but the G3 should definitely be one of your options if you’re looking to buy one of the best 4K TVs available today.

For this review, we tested the 65-inch version of the LG G3. 

LG G3 with mountainous landscape on screen

The LG G3 looks stunning with Dolby Vision content and shines with landscape shots  (Image credit: Future)

LG G3 review: price and release date

  •  Released in March 2023 
  •  From $2,099 / £1,999 / AU$4,195 (55-inch)
  •  Up to $5,799 / £5,999 / AU$10,995 for the 83-inch 

The G3 is one of LG’s most elite OLEDs, sitting only below the LG M3 and its wild wireless tech, and the 8K Z3 series. At the time of its release in March 2023, pricing for the G3 started from $2,099 / £1,999 / AU$4,195 for the 55-inch version, $2,799 / £2,699 / AU$5,295 for the 65-inch, $3999 / £4,299 / AU$8,395 for the 77-inch and  $5,799 / £5,999 / AU$10,995 for the 83-inch version. This was competitively priced with its closest competitor, the Samsung S95C. 

At the time of writing, several months after release, prices for the LG G3 have dropped but it still remains well into the higher end of the OLED market. However, expensive as it may be, compared to similarly specced TVs such as the Samsung S95C or Sony A95L, the G3’s price remains competitive.  

LG G3 review: Specs

Rear of LG G3 showing connections and ports

The LG G3 has a lot of connectivity options, including four 2.1 HDMI ports (Image credit: Future)

LG G3 review: Features

  •  Micro Lens Array (MLA) OLED Evo panel  
  •  Alpha 9 Gen6 processor 
  •  4K 120Hz with Dolby Vision support for gaming 

OLED technology continues to evolve, and the LG G3 features what LG refers to as Brightness Booster Max; a light-boosting technology that LG claims makes the G3 70% brighter than previous generation OLEDs. 

The key bit of technology in LG G3 to achieve this is Micro Lens Array (MLA) technology, which is a layer of microscopic lenses that sit in a layer above the OLED panel and enable much more of the light from the panel to reach your eyes. Absent from the more affordable LG C3, this MLA tech makes the G3 stand out in LG’s line-up. The LG G3 supports Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG HDR formats, but as with all LG TVs, it doesn’t support HDR10+.

In terms of gaming features, the LG G3 covers a lot of bases, with Dolby Vision gaming support, four HDMI 2.1 ports rated for 4K 120Hz, with VRR including AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync, ALLM and HGiG compatibility. Coupled with the Alpha 9 Gen6 processor, the G3 is packing some serious performance for gaming and picture processing.

The 4.2-channel speaker system, with Dolby Atmos and DTS compatibility, aims to improve on the audio performance of other OLEDs in order to attain a sound that can complement the picture on screen. 

The overhauled smart TV software, webOS 23, has access to all the major apps including Netflix, Disney Plus, Prime Video and Apple TV Plus to name a few. A new Quick Cards system in the home screen categorizes apps by genre such as Sport, Music and so on, and its main home menu has had ads and recommendations reduced, allowing the webOS 23 home screen to fit over two pages as opposed to the four it was spread over last year, leading to a neater-looking homepage.

  • Features score: 5/5

LG G3 with John Wick on screen

Contrast is brilliant and people look natural, as shown here in John Wick: Chapter 2. (Image credit: Future)

LG G3 review: Picture quality

  •  Brilliant brightness levels 
  •  Detailed and natural image 
  •  Deep black levels 

Let’s start with some numbers: with the LG G3 in Filmmaker HDR mode, we measured peak brightness at an impressive 1,449 nits on a 10% window, which actually tops the Samsung S95C’s 1,400 nits, making this marginally the brightest OLED we’ve measured so far. It hit a respectable 219 nits on a full 100% window, but that’s notably lower than the 265 nits we measured for the S95C.

LG suggested the G3 would have a 70% brightness increase on previous generations of its OLED TVs, and with these numbers, we can confirm it. Last year’s LG G2, measured in the bright Vivid mode in our review, hit 1,000 nits in a 10% window and the LG C3, in the same Filmmaker mode as the G3, hit just over half the G3’s result with 830 nits. The G3’s MLA panel has certainly boosted the peak brightness by a substantial amount.

During this test, I used the 65-inch G3 and it’s worth noting that the 83-inch G3 does not include MLA, so is likely to perform closer to the LG G2’s results for brightness, although we have yet to confirm this for ourselves. 

In Filmmaker HDR mode again, the LG yielded some great results with its color accuracy, delivering an average Delta-E value of just under three. This demonstrates the difference between a color test pattern and what’s shown on screen, and we’re happy that anything under three is accurate enough for TV viewing. DCI-P3 coverage (the color space used for mastering 4K Blu-rays and digital cinema releases) was 98% and BT.2020 was 73.8%, both of which are very good results. Grayscale Delta-E values, testing black levels and contrast accuracy, averaged around 1.9, which is another excellent result. 

One thing I noticed straight away was how well the G3, with its MLA panel and anti-glare screen, made easy work of the testing room’s bright, overhead lights and spotlights when we pushed them high to see how it fared. Only the reflection of some awkwardly placed overhead lights was visible, so the LG G3 should be fine with generally bright indoor lights. The Samsung S95C’s higher full-screen brightness will be a little better for really bright, sunlit rooms – though neither holds a candle to mini-LED TVs such as the Samsung QN95C. Nevertheless, with only minor reflections, it’s still extremely impressive how well the G3 handled the bright testing facility.

The out-of-the-box picture is certainly impressive on the LG G3. I cycled through several of the picture presets to test the G3 for color, sharpness, contrast and also brightness, seeing just what the MLA panel could do. Using a couple of scenes from The Batman to test these presets, starting with one scene where Batman lights a bright flare to guide people in a darkened, flooded room. Standard mode had a decent enough picture with bright color, but black levels weren’t as deep and brightness was pushed a little too far. 

However, switching to Cinema mode, the contrast was more balanced, enabling the G3 to show how it can accentuate shadows, giving a rich detail to the overall picture. The G3’s Filmmaker mode added further to this, giving the flare a subtle, yet vibrant feel that made it stand out without blowing out. In another scene, where Batman first appears in a subway fight, black levels were outstanding as the shadows and Batman’s suit looked truly dark without losing any detail. 

Testing Dolby Vision HDR content, again in Filmmaker mode, I streamed a lightsaber fight from Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Disney Plus. In it, the lightsabers’ colors were punchy and dynamic without being too glaring. Red was a very prominent color in the scene, as guards, Kylo Ren’s lightsaber and a chunk of the background were all red, but the G3 handled the vibrancy well, keeping a natural, yet flashy look with all the red in the scene.  

Using the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark Blu-ray to test more HDR content, a range of demo material highlighted the phenomenal picture quality of the G3 even further. Several snowy scenes showcased how the G3 can handle vivid whites without overdoing them and keeping a natural feel. During some landscape night shots of a city, contrast levels were excellent, with the black of the night sky contrasting well with the bright lights of the buildings. 

As for motion, the G3 handled fast paced action scenes with ease. Again in The Batman, during the Batmobile chase, the darting cars looked fluid, with the G3 (with little to no motion processing on in Filmmaker mode) making light work of this testing scene. Also, during both the training and final missions of Top Gun: Maverick, the G3s’ processor effortlessly handled the swooping fighter jets, as they careered through the air at a blinding pace, still managing to keep the detail and quality of the picture. 

If you find yourself drawn to a brighter picture mode such as Standard – but not Vivid, which should be avoided at all costs – motion processing called Trumotion does create the dreaded ‘soap opera’ effect, but thankfully the G3 picture settings give you ample settings to tweak to avoid this. However, if you want the best picture, my advice is to stick with Filmmaker mode as it makes the G3 shine, putting it up there with the best OLED TVs

  • Picture quality score: 5/5

Upfiring speakers of LG G3

The LG G3 has a 4.2-channel speaker system, with speaker around the edge helping to position sounds to match the screen. (Image credit: Future)

LG G3 review: Sound quality

  •  4.2-channel speaker setup 
  •  Good, clear sound with Cinema mode  
  •  Dolby Atmos and DTS support 

Featuring a multi-speaker setup, the G3 looks to add a more positional sound system than the average TV. There are a variety of different sound preset sound modes for the G3’s TV speakers, which come with varying degrees of success.

The Standard TV preset was solid, with clear enough dialogue and good treble levels, although it was lacking in bass and the volume needed to be pushed more than on other sound modes. 

Cinema mode was definitely an upgrade, with a much deeper bass, better overall balance and thankfully, there was no sacrifice to other sounds. While watching The Batman, during the car chase scene, the rumble of the Batmobile’s engine was thunderous through the G3’s speakers in Cinema mode, with the trumpet led score still nice and clear. Dolby Atmos effects such as rain were still present but a little harder to hear.

Another sound mode featured is AI Sound Pro, one of LG’s sound technologies that in the G3 mixes sound from incoming sources to a claimed 9.1.2 mix in an effort to create a more immersive experience. When played through the same car chase in The Batman, overall volume was much louder and Dolby Atmos effects were amplified, with the rain coming through clearer in the mix. However, it became apparent that the bass had been reduced in favor of the other main channels, including dialogue. This ended up giving a more ‘clinical sound’ in comparison to Cinema, but for programs with a lot of speech, including a cooking show I watched on live TV, it definitely improved speech levels. 

The G3 also features an Auto Acoustic Tuning mode which promises to balance levels using mics in the remote, although during our test there didn’t seem to be a great deal of difference. The G3 also has the WOW Orchestra feature that combines the speakers of the TV with a compatible LG soundbar (rather than replacing the TV’s speakers with the soundbar), but I didn’t test that during my time.

The G3’s TV sound is good enough from its built-in speakers, with the highlights being Cinema mode and AI Sound Pro (for certain situations), but if you are looking for an immersive sound to go with the G3’s fantastic picture, you’re better off looking at one of the best soundbars to pair with it. If you do want a TV with more powerful, built-in audio, you’ll want to look at the Samsung S95C – our reviewers who’ve tried both recommend its sound higher. As far as TV speakers go, though, the G3 is still well above average.

  • Sound quality score: 4/5

LG G3 from a side angle on a stand

With an elegant, sleek frame, the G3 is a good-looking TV. (Image credit: Future)

LG G3 review: Design

  •  Elegant, slim design 
  •  Flush fitting to wall 
  •  Optional stand at extra cost is frustrating 

The G3 follows in the footsteps of its predecessors of the ‘Gallery’ range of TVs, with an attractive slim design that makes it look effortlessly sleek on the wall. In terms of the frame itself, its silver and metallic design make it not only look good, but also feel solid. 

This is saying a lot, considering the actual TV itself measures at a delightfully thin 2.4cm (just under 1 inch) so you’d be forgiven for thinking the TV will feel flimsy, but thankfully it doesn’t. In fact, it’s quite a heavy and solid beast.

A special flush-to-the-wall wall mount for the TV is provided in the box and sits near the top on the rear of the TV itself, which admittedly does feel like an odd place to put it, with the majority of the weight towards the bottom of the set. However, one welcome return from last year's G2 is that the included slim-fit mount does have some movement to it, enabling you to access the back of the TV to change any inputs or cables if you need to, rather than having to take the TV on and off the wall every time.

During our test, it’s worth noting that we had the optional stand attached to allow us to place it onto our cabinet. Sadly, much like the G2, this stand is not included and neither are any type of feet. Despite the visually appealing and sturdy nature of the stand, it means people looking to place their G3 on any furniture will have to pay extra ($149 / £99), so factor that into the cost.

The supplied remote, LG’s Magic Remote, a staple inclusion with LG’s TVs over the past couple of years, makes a return and still features the same voice control options, buttons and layout as before. The central wheel can still be a little fiddly to navigate menus but is definitely a quicker alternative to the normal arrows. The pointer can also sometimes feel a bit sensitive, but once you get used, it does make navigating the G3 easier.

  • Design score: 4/5

LG G3 main home menu on screen

The webOS 23 software streamlines the home menu of the G3 and adds Quick Cards for customization. (Image credit: Future)

LG G3 review: Smart TV and menus

  •  Intuitive and easy-to-use smart platform 
  •  Streamlined compared to previous year 
  •  Quick cards allows for great customization 

The G3 is loaded with LG’s smart platform, webOS 23. LG has improved on the Home screen from last year, condensing it down onto two pages rather than the several pages it was the year before. The glaring ads and recommendations have all been toned down as well, making for a much more user-friendly smart platform.

Navigating and changing settings such as picture mode, sound output (if you’re switching from TV speakers to a soundbar for example) and sleep timer is also extremely easy. A quick menu appears on the left hand side of the screen when you press the settings button (the gear icon) on the remote and these options are clearly displayed in an easy-to-use menu. For more advanced settings, the main settings page can easily be accessed and thankfully, this too is neatly laid out into four logical categories; Picture, Sound, General and Support.

The latest feature added to webOS is the introduction of Quick Cards on the main hub. Above the usual line of apps, which can be moved and customized, there sits a group of larger icons listed with titles like Game, Music, Sports. These can actually be used to organize your apps by theme, making for even greater user customization.

Another new feature is the built-in, hands-free voice control. By enabling this feature, you simply say ‘Hi LG’ and the LG awaits your commands. During my test, I found that although it was very responsive and quick to find results, it would sometimes cut me off early and didn’t take me to where I wanted to go. Although frustrating at times, it can be useful.

  • Smart TV and menus score: 4.5/5

LG G3 with Battlefield V and game bar on screen

The G3 has a game menu to tweak settings to get the best out of video games  (Image credit: Future)

LG G3 review: Gaming

  •  Game Optimizer mode and menu  
  •  4K 120Hz Dolby Vision support 
  •  Smooth and fluid motion during gameplay 

The LG G3 is packed with gaming features, including four HDMI 2.1 ports all rated for 4K 120Hz, giving gamers with multiple next-gen consoles plenty of space to plug them in and get the best out of them , whilst still leaving room for a soundbar. With VRR including AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility, and ALLM, the LG G3 offers a plethora of choice and support for gamers. 

When measuring input lag at 4K 60Hz, the LG G3 yielded a result of 12.9ms, a respectable score. But using the Game Optimizer feature to place input delay into Boost mode improved this result to 9.2ms, which is among the best in class.

When playing Battlefield V on Xbox Series X, I turned on the Game Optimizer picture mode to turn off any unwarranted ‘enhancements’ within its settings, like judder reduction or motion blur, to get the best out of the game. The motion within the game, running at 120fps, was smooth and clean, managing to feel fast paced without feeling sickening or jerky in any places. Panning and swapping between targets was a breeze and kept the action feeling pacy. 

Game Optimizer mode also managed to keep depth and details within the graphics, highlighting just how good the G3’s display was. In a stealth mission whilst infiltrating an air base in a rocky landscape, even terrain and small details such as bushes and stones looked natural, with the greens and browns still popping on screen despite darkened lighting. The sharpness of the picture gave everything a defined edge without being too defined, a problem that can occur within the sharpness detail of some TVs. 

Also featured was the Game Dashboard menu, which gave lots of opportunity for picture and sound adjustments to get the gaming experience just right. I switched between the ‘Standard’ and ‘First person shooter’ (FPS) picture options and you could see the difference having Battlefield V (a FPS) in the correct mode made, with motion becoming even more fluid compared to the ‘Standard’ game picture mode and lighting conditions improving to highlight hidden enemies. 

Much like its predecessors, the LG G3 has stellar gaming features. A wealth of connectivity and compatibility, the G3 is definitely a top choice for gamers. Paired with outstanding picture quality, the G3 finds itself amongst the best gaming TVs

  • Gaming score: 5/5

LG G3 remote in person's hand

LG's Magic Remote is featured with the G3 and offers a pointer and mic options (Image credit: Future)

LG G3 review: Value

  •  Most competitively priced with high-end TVs 
  •  Excellent performance and picture quality 
  •  A couple of minus points compared to equivalent sets  

The LG G3 is no doubt a high-end TV, and as such comes with a matching price tag. The picture quality, gaming features and increased brightness compared to normal OLED panels mean you’re getting a lot of TV for that cash, though. 

The G3’s closest rival, the Samsung S95C, is almost identical in price in a lot of territories and it looks like the competition over which of these two TVs is slightly cheaper will be hot, but with no stand included, weaker sound and lower full-screen brightness than the Samsung S95C (and given the S95C's great external connections box), the LG G3 isn’t quite as good value for money, despite beating it in some ways. 

If you are looking for a premium OLED TV, you expect to pay the money. Thankfully, since its release, the G3’s prices have dropped notably. An outstanding, detailed picture and excellent game performance definitely make this a TV worth its money – we just think Samsung S95C ekes a little more out.

  • Value score: 3.5/5

LG G3 with lake view on screen

Another landscape showing off the G3s' phenomenal picture quality  (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the LG G3?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

LG G3 review: Also consider

How I tested the LG G3

LG G3 with snowy scene and wooden fence on screen

(Image credit: Future)
  • Tested in our lab room with varying lighting conditions
  • Measurements taken using Portrait Display's Calman software
  • Tested through a variety of sources, both SDR and HDR

After running in the TV to ensure the best OLED performance, I began to test the LG G3 with a couple of different sources including gaming on an Xbox Series X and 4K Blu-ray discs, plus streaming content from several streaming services, including Disney Plus.

After assessing its presets, I chose the LG G3 most natural preset, Filmmaker mode, and began to watch things primarily on this picture mode (though this doesn't work with Dolby Vision). I used a number of 4K Blu-rays to look at elements such as color, sharpness, black levels, brightness and motion. I also streamed content from various sources, including Disney Plus for streamed Dolby Vision HDR, and watch live broadcast digital TV.

The next step was to take measurements of the G3, using Portrait Displays’ Calman calibration software. I measured the peak brightness on a 10% and 100% white window, with both HDR and SDR. I then measured grayscale, gamma and color accuracy, again using Calman, to provide average Delta-E values (which demonstrates the margin of error between the test pattern and what is displayed) for each of these categories. I also measured color space looking at DCI-P3 and BT.2020 coverage. For all these tests, I used the Murideo Seven 8K test pattern generator to create the patterns being measured.

To analyze input lag for the G3, I used the Leo Bodnar 4K Input Lag tester.

Magnetar UDP800 review: a 4K Blu-ray player with astounding video and audio quality
3:00 pm | August 28, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Magnetar UDP800: One-minute review

The Magnetar UDP800 is a reference grade 4K Blu-ray player with audiophile trappings. It delivers superb image clarity from Ultra HD discs, and is also compatible with SACD and DVD-Audio legacy music discs. Build quality is impressive, and includes the unusual provision of balanced XLR stereo outputs, fed by a 32-bit, 192kHz Burr-Brown PCM 1795 stereo DAC.

The name may not be familiar, but the Magnetar UDP800 is a heavyweight disc spinner that deserves the attention of serious cinephiles. Hailing from the same stable as Reavon and Zappiti, this Chinese-made player combines battleship build quality with high-end performance to create absolutely one of the best 4K Blu-ray players, if you've got the case to spare.

Streaming may have the upper hand when it comes to home entertainment these days, but the UDP800 could well convince you there’s another (tried and tested) way to amuse yourself – provided you can afford the asking price. Especially if you're into audiophile disc formats too, because that's where this really distinguishes itself over some of the competition.

If you just need something that plays movies at an extremely high level to show off on one of the best TVs and best 4K projectors, the Panasonic DP-UB9000 is maybe a better option at around a third lower in price – but for those who want to unlock elite audio options as well as video, it's excellent.

Magnetar UDP800 remote on top of the unit

The Magnetar UDP800's remote is dense with buttons, for a relatively simple device. (Image credit: Future)

Magnetar UDP800 review: Price & release

  • Released December 2022
  • $1,599 / €1,332 (around £1,140)

Occupying a price point once dominated by AV royalty, in the US the UDP800 sells for $1,599. In Europe it retails for €1,332. Currently there’s no UK distribution for the UDP800, but UK buyers can order one direct from France, with free shipping.

This is far higher than most people will spend on a Blu-ray player, of course, but this isn't made for most people. Its high-end audio components and construction are made for people who want the best performance, and will pay for it. 

Still, it's "only" about 50% higher-priced than the Panasonic UB9000, though it lacks streaming features. It's definitely one for audiophiles and the home theater hardcore, though.

Magnetar UDP800 review: Specs

Magnetar UDP800 audio ports shown up close

With XLR and standard stereo outputs, the Magnetar UDP800 is ready for your hi-fi as well as your TV. (Image credit: Future)

Magnetar UDP800 review: Features

  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support
  • SACD and DVD-A compatible
  • Audiophile stereo DAC

It’s a fair bet that if it's round and shiny, the Magnetar UDP800 will play it. In addition to 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays, and both regular and 3D Blu-ray, it spins DVD, AVCHD, SACD, CD, and a raft of recordable formats. Laserdisc is out, though, sorry.

The Magnetar also supports all mandated HDR formats for recorded media, including dynamic metadata rivals HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.

The deck can function as a self-contained content hub, with support for external HDD drives up to 16TB, which makes for a sizeable library by any measure. It will also stream from connected NAS devices, using DLNA and SMB.

There’s no support for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth though. You’ll need to hardwire everything. And apps are conspicuous by their absence – this is not a streaming hub. Get yourself an Apple TV 4K (2022) or something for that.

Like many high-end disc players, there's a big focus on sound here. The components are audiophile grade. Beneath the lid lurks a 32-bit, 192kHz Burr-Brown PCM 1795 stereo DAC. A four-layer PCB sports a high-quality op-amp for the deck’s Pure Audio mode, with a high-power, custom 60W transformer and Japanese Rubycon electrolytic capacitors. 

There’s no shortage of ways to integrate the UDP800 into a sound system: rear connections include a stereo XLR gold-plated balanced output, as well as a standard stereo RCA phonos. Of course, for convenience, many users will simply stick with HDMI – there are two here, for flexibility.

  • Features score: 4.5

Magnetar UDP800 menu

Despite the remote's imposing buttons, the menu of the Magnetar UDP800 can be relatively simple. (Image credit: Magnetar)

Magnetar UDP800 review: Performance

  • Excellent image clarity
  • High-grade audio performance
  • Universal disc support

Disc loading times are relatively fast. A Sherlock Holmes (2009 vintage) UHD Blu-ray went from tray to Warner Bros logo in 30 seconds, while a Goldfinger Blu-ray travelled from tray to main menu in 40 seconds. 

The UDP800 uses a quad-core system Media Tek MT8581 chipset, which boasts enviable audio video decoding. 

Picture performance is sublime. The aforementioned Guy Ritchie 4K Sherlock disc opens with a heavily shadowed slow-motion action set piece with Robert Downey Jr. The deck delivers detail down to near black, without obvious noise or artefacts being introduced.

A 4K test disc featuring impeccably polished musical instruments conveys all the luster and near three-dimensional texture you would hope for. The featured instruments reveal subtle thumbprints and the minuscule patina of use. 

Ironically, where premium Blu-ray decks such as the UDP800 really shine is not so much through video, but audio. This deck is an absolute joy to listen to.

A 96khz 24bit 7.1 (Japanese) recording of The Earth overture, by Kosuke Yamashita,  in linear PCM sounds superb, with crystal clarity and hugely dynamic fanfares. It's like sitting amidst the orchestra.

The deck’s stereo performance is similarly involving. Jazz SACD Bluesmith, by Tommy Smith, is a revelation (particularly if, like me, you spend too much time listening to smart speakers). This two-channel DSD 2.8MHz recording exhibits astounding depth of tone and clarity.

Obviously, the UDP800 does all the immersive audio stuff too – with bitstream support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Movies and music are equally impressive. This will make the most of any of the best TVs, best 4K projectors, and whatever elite sound system you have available to you.

  • Performance score: 5/5

Magnetar UDP800 rear, showing all of its ports

The Magnetar UDP800 has two HDMI ports as well as its audio connections. (Image credit: Magnetar)

Magnetar UDP800 review: Design

  • Formidable build quality
  • Versatile connectivity
  • Button-heavy remote control

The UDP800 can be considered old-school handsome for AV fans. Weighing in at 8kg, it feels like the sort of equipment that will still be going strong in a decade or two.  

The player itself features a double-layer chassis structure, 1.6mm thick, with a 3mm steel plate for extra rigidity.

The front fascia has a premium hairline finish, broken only by the center-mounted disc loading tray and LED display. To the left is a concealed USB port, while to the right are transport and control buttons.

Rear connections comprise two HDMIs, one of which is audio only, a USB 3.0 port, and two digital audio outputs, one coaxial and the other digital optical. The deck also has a stereo analog audio output, with both RCA phono and XLR options.

There’s an Ethernet port for networking, but no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Smart home system control is offered via an RS-232C port.

Similarly suggestive of times past is the IR remote, which is festooned with tiny buttons. Why navigate a menu when you can give pretty much every option its own button? Thankfully, usability in practice is less intimidating.

  • Design score: 5/5

Magnetar UDP800 review: Value

  • Built to last
  • High-end componentry
  • Unapologetically expensive

Let’s be clear: the Magnetar UDP800 is a niche product. No one is going to slap this kind of cash down on a whim, but if you already have a big investment in physical discs, be they Blu-ray, 4K UHD, discs, CDs or SACD/DVD-As, then its punchy price starts to make a lot more sense.

The price tag is commensurate with the Magnetar’s build and specification – it's not double or triple the price of the Panasonic UB9000, yet it delivers a real feast for audiophiles.

On the other hand, it doesn't have streaming apps, so it can't be your all-in-one movie and music hub. While this is technically a knock against its value, we expect that the target audience has no problem picking up a high-quality streamer too.

  • Value score: 4/5

Magnetar UDP800 review: Should I buy it?

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Magnetar UDP800 review: Also consider

Roku Plus Series review: a great budget 4K QLED TV
6:00 pm | June 10, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Roku Plus Series TV: Two-minute review

Most people know Roku for its streaming boxes and sticks – like the Roku Streaming Stick 4K – as well as the company’s smart interface, which can be found in TVs from brands like TCL, Hisense and others. Back in March of 2023, the company also started selling its own Roku-branded TVs, and as with its streamers, they are priced at a level that most people can afford.  

There are two lines of Roku TVs: the Plus Series and the Select Series. Both are inexpensive compared to other sets, but the Plus Series is more feature-packed and consequently priced a bit higher. I was sent a 65-inch Plus model to review, and as a longtime Roku user, I was very curious to see how this $649 set would stack up against other 4K TVs I’ve recently tested.

Along with the company’s own smart TV interface, Plus Series TVs feature AirPlay for wireless streaming from devices and work with Alexa and Google Assistant. You can also conduct hands-free voice searches using the remote control’s built-in mic by first saying “Hey Roku” or by pressing a button on the remote and speaking your search directly.

Plus Series TVs use a QLED display panel with a full-array local dimming backlight, and there’s support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG high dynamic range. The 65-inch model I tested doesn’t offer nearly the same peak brightness as QLED TVs with a mini-LED backlight, but it has a local dimming feature that's effective enough to deliver images with strong contrast.

All new Roku TVs have a native 60Hz refresh rate. And while we normally recommend 120Hz 4K TVs for gaming, the Plus Series had an impressive 11.5 ms measured input lag when its Game mode was enabled.

The design of Plus Series sets are basic though, and they come with side-mounted support feet that can’t be height-adjusted. Inputs include 4 HDMI 2.0 ports (1 with eARC) along with an RF connection for an antenna and an optical digital audio output.

Audio on the Plus Series is also basic, with the TV sporting two bottom-mounted speakers. And while the sound is perfectly satisfactory given the TV’s price, the company offers several inexpensive options to enhance audio quality, including a 2-channel soundbar that connects wirelessly with the TV, and wireless surround sound and subwoofer speakers.

Between the company’s own The Roku Channel and a Live TV portal with an enormous amount of free streaming channels that can be browsed in a grid format with TV broadcasts pulled in by antenna, there’s plenty available to watch here, much of it free. Even so, the Roku smart TV interface provides almost every streaming service app you could possibly want, and it also supports personal photo streaming, with an option to add pictures directly from your phone.

Roku Plus Series TV review: price and release date

  • Release date:  March, 2023 
  • 55R6A5R: $499
  • 65R6A5R: $649
  • 75R6A5R: $999

The Plus Series models are the step-up offerings in the Roku TV lineup. They are available in 55-, 65-, and 75-screen sizes, and are only sold in the US at Best Buy stores and online.

Pricing for the Roku Plus Series TVs is in the same approximate range as budget models from Hisense, TCL, and Amazon Fire TVs, all of which also feature QLED screen tech, and in some instances a local dimming backlight similar to Roku Plus series models.

Roku Plus Series TV review: Specs

Roku Plus Series TV back input panel

Back panel inputs include two side-mounted HDMI 2.0 ports (one with eARC), two bottom-mounted HDMI 2.0 ports, an optical digital output, and an antenna connection. (Image credit: Future)

Roku Plus Series TV review: features

  • Roku smart TV interface and voice remote
  • Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG high dynamic range 
  • Four HDMI inputs, one with enhanced audio return channel (eARC)

Roku Plus Series TVs feature the company’s popular smart TV interface, which is easy to navigate compared to other options. It provides an extensive amount of streaming apps to select from, and includes The Roku Channel and the Live TV portal for streaming free ad-supported TV shows and movies. Live TV also lets you integrate TV channels tuned by an indoor TV antenna.

Plus Series TVs support AirPlay for wireless streaming from iPhones and iPads, and they also work with Alexa and Google Assisant. They include voice remote pro features, a rechargeable battery and it has a built-in mic that allows for hands-free voice searches (the built-in mic can also be easily disabled using a switch located on the remote).

A QLED display panel with a native 60Hz refresh rate is used for the Plus series, and there’s a full-array local dimming backlight for enhanced contrast. High dynamic range support includes Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and HLG. A Game mode is also provided that reduces input lag when gaming with a connected console.

The set’s four HDMI inputs include one that supports HDMI eARC for a soundbar connection, and there’s an optical digital audio output and an RF input to connect an antenna. When viewing TV broadcasts, you can pause and rewind live TV for up to 90 minutes when a 16GB USB flash drive is plugged into the set’s USB port. Roku TVs also support a wireless audio connection to the company’s Roku Smart soundbar

Roku’s features package for its Plus Series is fairly basic overall compared to other TVs, but it includes a solid array of video performance basics such as a QLED display panel and full array local dimming backlight.

  • Features Score: 3.5/5  

Roku Plus Series TV showing Max app screen with Avatar 2

The new Max is one of the many streaming apps available in the Roku smart TV interface (Image credit: Future)

Roku Plus Series TV review: picture quality

  • Average brightness
  • Deep blacks with detailed shadows 
  • Some screen reflections

The 65-inch Roku Plus Series TV I tested delivered an average brightness level for a QLED TV, with peak brightness topping out at 556 nits (measured on a 10% white window test pattern) in its Standard HDR picture mode, and 533 nits in Dark HDR mode. To put those numbers into perspective, the TCL 6-series TV, a model with a mini-LED backlight, can hit 1,326 nits peak brightness, while the LG C3 OLED TV tops out at 830 nits.

A full-array local dimming backlight on the Plus Series enabled it to display deep blacks, though it didn’t hit the 0 IRE full black that OLED TVs and the best mini-LED models are capable of, with maximum contrast measuring 20,500:1. Even so, blacks looked strikingly deep in most movie clips I watched, and backlight 'blooming' artifacts were surprisingly minimal given the set’s low price. For most of my testing I kept the Micro Contrast setting at High, which delivered the best black depth and shadow detail.

The color balance in the Movie picture mode’s default Warm color temperature setting was slightly blue-ish, with most Delta E values measuring in the 3-4 range (we typically look for these to dip below 3). Measurements made with Portrait’s Calman display calibration software also showed coverage of DCI-P3 (the color space used for mastering 4K Blu-rays and digital cinema releases) to be 95.8%, and BT.2020 to be 81.3%. These are very good results, and closely match what was measured on the TCL 6-Series TV.

Roku’s Plus Series set had a fair amount of screen reflectivity, with reflections visible when viewing in a room with bright overhead lights. Picture contrast and color saturation also weren’t as solid when viewing from off-center seats, though that effect is common with LCD-based TVs like the Plus Series.

I watched several scenes from 4K Blu-ray discs that I typically use for testing on the Roku Plus Series, starting out with the Spears & Munsil Ultra HD Benchmark (the just-released new version). Viewing the 4,000 nits version of the montage sequence, some clipping artifacts were visible with the set’s Dynamic Tone Mapping setting active, though the issue disappeared when I watched a version graded at 1,000 nits – a more typical peak brightness for programs with HDR. Otherwise, images in the montage looked clean, crisp and had rich color, though the strongest highlights lacked some of the visual punch I’ve seen when watching the same material on brighter TVs.

Next up was No Time to Die, the James Bond film from 2021. Shadows looked deep and solid in the early scenes where Bond and Madeleine arrive in Italy, and in a later one where 007 walks across a craggy hill toward the resting place of Vesper Lynd with the camera panning along, the motion was smooth with almost no blurring artifacts.

Dune also looked very good on the Roku TV, with the set’s processor managing to deliver a detailed and noise-free picture even in difficult scenes like one where Paul walks through a dark and misty environment with Lady Jessica following an interrogation by the Reverend Mother. I’ve seen other, much more expensive TVs trip up on this sequence, which made the Roku’s handling of it all the more impressive.

With Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse now out in theaters, it seemed appropriate to give 2018’s Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse a spin on the Roku Plus TV. This film has an incredible range of color, and images are enlivened with finely detailed textures throughout that give it a printed comic book look. The Roku conveyed all of it in a convincing manner, with images looking impressively dynamic for such an affordable TV.

  • Picture quality score: 4/5

Roku Plus Series TV main smart interface

Inputs can be accessed from the main Roku TV interface  (Image credit: Future)

Roku Plus Series TV review: sound quality

  • Two downfiring speakers
  • Average TV sound quality 
  • Can make a wireless soundbar connection

Roku Plus Series use two down-firing speakers and the sound quality is average – you can easily hear dialogue and there’s a good overall balance, but otherwise dynamic movie soundtracks tend to flatten out during loud scenes.

Roku sells a two-channel Roku TV wireless soundbar ($150), which is designed specifically for its TVs and can be connected wirelessly (surround speakers and a subwoofer can also be added for a wireless 4.1-channel setup). Roku sent me its wireless soundbar to try out, and setting it up was incredibly easy. Configuration and control of the soundbar is carried out using the voice remote pro, with sound presets selectable via the TV’s menus.

Of the various presets, the Standard mode proved to be the best for most viewing, and with it selected dialogue gained weight and body while soundtrack elements like music and effects came across with greater clarity and dynamic presence. Given the TV’s low price, this is definitely a situation where you should consider a soundbar, and while there are plenty of great choices on our best soundbars list, the Roku TV wireless soundbar is a perfect match for this TV.

  • Sound quality score: 3.5/5

Roku Plus Series TV support feet on TV stand

The 2-channel Roku TV wireless soundbar (shown) provides an easy and inexpensive audio upgrade (Image credit: Future)

Roku Plus Series TV review: design

  • Basic design
  • Side-mounted, non-adjustable support feet 
  • Roku voice pro remote with built-in mic

The design of Plus Series TVs is fairly basic, with a thin bezel surrounding the screen’s edges and a thicker bezel at the bottom with a protruding compartment with an IR receiver and multipurpose control button under the Roku logo. Side-mounted feet provide sturdy support, though both their height and horizontal spread can’t be adjusted.

Two of the TV’s HDMI ports are located on an input panel accessible from the side, while the other two are on the panel’s bottom along with the antenna, USB, and Ethernet ports. There’s also a composite-video and RCA-type analog stereo audio input here that lets you connect legacy sources such as a VCR or vintage game console. The bottom HDMI ports were somewhat difficult to access, and could potentially be a challenge when using a stiff cable to connect sources.

The built-in battery of Roku’s compact voice pro remote control can be recharged by connecting it to the TV’s USB port. It has a built-in mic that can either be always on or disabled using a switch located on the remote’s side. The benefit to having the mic always on is that you can do hands-free voice searches by saying “Hey Roku” followed by a request. You can also momentarily activate the mic for searches by pressing the mic button at the remote’s center. Four quick buttons let you instantly access the Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, Netflix and Max streaming services, and there are two numbered “shortcut” buttons that can be configured for a range of uses.

  • Design score: 3.5/5

Roku Plus Series TV Live TV program guide shown onscreen

The Live TV "Favorites" program grid with streaming and broadcast TV channels listed (Image credit: Future)

Roku Plus Series TV review: smart TV & menus

  • Roku TV interface
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Picture adjustments hard to access

Roku’s well-known and well-regarded smart TV interface is one I’m familiar with having spent many years as a Roku owner before making the leap to an Apple TV 4K. It’s a great interface for browsing apps, mainly because everything is right up front and accessible, and it’s easy to add or delete apps.

The Roku Live TV portal is a good way to supplement any streaming services you subscribe to. It offers an abundance of free channels organized in a time-based grid, and you can add broadcast TV channels tuned by an antenna to expand your free TV menu. With so many channels to choose from, it’s a good idea to edit the grid down to a more manageable size – something that the Favorites feature easily lets you do.

The Roku Photo Streams app has received recent enhancements that let you upload images directly from a phone to for viewing on the TV. You can also now edit streams and set screensavers, and the app now supports up to 1,000 images. When it comes to displaying personal photo libraries, the Roku Plus series is no Apple TV 4K, which provides tight integration with that company’s Photos app. Even so, most viewers will find Photo Streams to be sufficient for their needs.

Picture adjustments are carried out by pressing the remote’s asterisk button, which calls up the onscreen setup menus. You can adjust picture settings separately for regular and HDR sources, and those custom settings can also be applied across all of the TV’s inputs. Getting to basic adjustments like Brightness, Contrast and Color can take a lot of button presses, which is something that I found annoying during my time testing the TV's performance.

  • Smart TV & menus score: 4.5/5

Roku Plus Series TV remote control held in hand

The Roku TV remote has a USB rechargeable battery and quick buttons to access select apps (Image credit: Future)

Roku Plus Series TV review: gaming

  • No cloud gaming apps
  • Low 11.5 ms input lag
  • Auto Game Mode

With a native 60Hz refresh rate, the Roku Plus isn’t designed to be a powerhouse gaming TV. There’s also no gaming portal with subscription cloud-based services like you’ll find on Samsung and LG sets, and there’s no support for Bluetooth game controllers.

What Roku Plus TVs do offer gamers is a Game mode that reduces input lag to 11.5ms – an impressive level for a budget TV and one that will satisfy all but competitive gamers. Game mode is automatically enabled when a console input is detected, saving you the trouble of having to turn it on in the TV’s settings menu.

  • Gaming score: 3/5

Roku Plus Series TV showing image from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse onscreen

The Roku TV Plus isn't the brightest TV, but it has a very good combination of features and performance for the money (Image credit: Future)

Roku Plus Series TV review: value

  • Very good picture quality for price
  • Roku interface adds to value
  • Loads of free (but ad-supported) streaming channels

At just $649, the 65-inch Plus Series TV I tested is a great value. It’s not able to hit the high peak brightness levels some of its budget TV competition manages, particularly models with a mini-LED backlight, and that limitation lessens some of its impact when viewing movies with HDR. But overall, image quality here is very good for the price.

Also adding to the value of Plus Series TVs is the company’s built-in streaming interface, which is clean and easy to navigate and offers pretty much any app you’d want along with a Live TV portal to stream a multitude of free ad-supported channels. You’ll have a tough time not finding something to watch on Roku’s TV, and if you do, you can always use its hands-free voice remote to recommend something.

  • Value score: 5/5 

Roku Plus Series TV shown at side angle

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Roku Plus Series TV?

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TCL 6-Series mini-LED
TCL’s 6-Series TVs are a fairly substantial price jump over the Roku Plus Series, but you’re getting a big brightness boost for the money. The 6-Series is also a better option for gaming with next-gen gaming features like 4K 120Hz and VRR.

How I tested the Roku Plus Series TV

Roku Plus Series TV showing Ferris Wheel onscreen

(Image credit: Future)
  • I spent about 15 hours in total measuring and evaluating
  • Measurements were made using Calman color calibration software
  • A full calibration was made before proceeding with subjective tests

When I test TVs, my first step is to spend a few days using it for casual viewing for break-in and to assess the out-of-box picture presets. The next step is to select the most accurate-looking preset (typically labeled Filmmaker or Movie) and measure the white balance (grayscale), gamma, and color point accuracy using Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software. The resulting measurements provide Delta-E values (the margin of error between the test pattern source and what’s shown on-screen) for each category, and they allow for an assessment of the TV’s overall accuracy.

Along with those tests, I make measurements of peak light output (recorded in nits) for both standard high-definition and 4K high dynamic range using 10% and 100% white window patterns. Coverage of DCI-P3 and BT.2020 color space is also measured, with the results providing a sense of how faithfully the TV can render the extended color range in ultra high-definition sources.

For the Roku Plus Series TV, I used the CalMan ISF workflow, along with the advanced picture menu settings in the Roku control app, to calibrate the image for best accuracy with SDR and HDR sources. Once done, I watched a range of reference scenes on 4K Blu-ray discs that I’ve gathered after years of TV and projector testing to assess the TV’s performance, as well as new Dolby Vision-encoded material streamed from sources like Netflix and Max.

  • First reviewed: June 6, 2023
TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: a budget mini-LED with great performance
4:00 pm | January 28, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022): Two-minute review

 TCL’s 6-Series TVs are known for their combination of impressive picture quality and high value, and the latest version of the company’s flagship not just continues that tradition, but improves upon it. Available in 55- to 85-inch screen sizes, the new 6-Series arrived in late 2022, and it offers not just movie fans but gamers on a budget a great big-screen option.

Mini-LED backlighting is common in the best 4K TVs now, but TCL was the first to widely introduce it. In the 6-Series, mini-LED tech enables high brightness, while a quantum dot layer enhances color reproduction, and full array local dimming processing creates deep and detailed shadows. The set features Dolby Vision IQ to make high dynamic range images look good in both dim and well-lit environments, and HDR support extends to HDR10+ and HLG. 

Gaming features on 6-Series TV are enabled via a pair of HDMI 2.1 inputs, with onboard support for 120Hz, Variable Refresh Rate (up to 144Hz), and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). FreeSync Premium Pro is also supported, making TCL’s flagship an obvious choice for gaming.

A new design with a sturdy center stand (55-, 65-, and 75-inch models only) improves the look of TCL’s 6-Series, and a vanishingly thin bezel creates an “all-picture” effect. The stand has adjustable height for soundbar placement, and can be elevated to accommodate all but the most chunky of bars.

That last feature is an important one because sound quality on 6-Series TVs is just average. Dialogue is clear, but there’s very little bass, and the thin overall audio balance can create ear fatigue (for me, at least). You’ll want to add one of the best soundbars to this TV, if only a basic two-channel one.

The set I tested uses the Roku smart TV interface (a version with Google TV is also available), which is one of the less cluttered and easy to navigate options on the market. A basic Roku remote provided with the set offers voice commands for searches and basic control, and the TV also works with Siri, Alexa, and Hey Google.

As far as value goes, the new 6-Series is one of the more compelling TV options on the market. This series is packed with great features and the performance is well above-average, especially given the price. TCL has once again made things look easy, rolling out a high-value TV lineup with a surprisingly high level of refinement.

TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: price and release date

  • Release date:  September 1, 2022 
  • From $699 at 55 inches

TCL’s 6-Series is the company’s top TV line, with screen sizes ranging from 55 up to 85 inches. The version I reviewed comes with the Roku smart TV interface, but similar 6-Series models and screen sizes are available with Google TV. TCL’s 6-Series is only available in the US.

Pricing for the 6-Series TVs is comparable to other budget TV offerings in the US such as Hisense and Vizio. 

The 55-inch 55R655 costs $699, the 65-inch 65R655 costs $999, the 75-inch 75R655 costs $1,499, and the 85R655 costs $1,999.

TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: Specs

TCL-6-series-2022 TV inputs

Back panel inputs include two HDMI 2.1 ports  plus two side-mounted HDMI 2.0b ports (one with eARC) and an antenna connection. (Image credit: Future)

TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: features

  • Roku smart TV interface
  • Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG high dynamic range
  • HDMI 2.1 inputs with 120Hz and VRR

The TCL 6-Series (2022) model we reviewed features the Roku smart TV interface (Google TV is another 6-Series option). Roku’s interface has a clean layout that’s very easy to navigate, and it offers the best streaming services, including Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Hulu, Peacock, and ESPN Plus. The TV Works with Siri, Alexa, and Hey Google and it has AirPlay 2 support for casting from an iOS device or Mac computer.

TCL’s 6-Series sets are QLED models that feature a quantum dot layer for enhanced color and brightness and they use a mini-LED backlight with full array local dimming (288 zones). The company’s AiPQ Engine handles video processing and high dynamic range support extends to Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+, and HLG. 

Two of the set’s four HDMI inputs are version HDMI 2.1 with support for 4K 120Hz input, Variable Refresh Rate (up to 144Hz), and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). One port supports HDMI eARC for a soundbar connection, and there’s an optical digital audio output and an RF input to connect an indoor TV antenna for use with the set’s ATSC 1.0 broadcast tuner. When viewing TV broadcasts, you can rewind live TV up to 30 minutes when a storage device is plugged into the set’s USB port.

Overall, the feature package is excellent for the price, with the TV’s mini-LED backlight and local dimming features, along with extensive HDR support, making it an excellent choice for movie viewing. And 120Hz, VRR, and ALLM support, along with FreeSync Premium Pro, make it a great option for gaming as well.

  • Features Score: 4.5/5  

TCL-6-series-2022 TV side view in living room

The 6-Series offers sufficient brightness to work in well-lit rooms. (Image credit: Future)

TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: picture quality

  • Rich color reproduction
  • Deep blacks with detailed shadows
  • Limited brightness for an OLED TV

The 65-inch 6-Series TV I tested offered up the impressive brightness you’d expect from a mini-LED TV, with standard dynamic range peak light output measured at 1,326 nits and high dynamic range at 1,317 nits. That’s a bit less than the 1,775 nits I measured on the Hisense U8H, another budget mini-LED model, but still well above what you’d get from an average QLED or OLED TV.

With the set’s High Brightness and and High Local Contrast settings selected, it was capable of displaying black at 0 nits to deliver “infinite contrast.” With the Local Contrast setting switched off, the set’s native contrast ratio was 5,965:1 – still a very good result for an LCD-based TV. For most of my testing, I set Local Contrast at High, which delivered the best black depth and black uniformity.

The TCL’s color balance in its default Warm color temperature setting was slightly reddish across the full grayscale, though that could be corrected for using the advanced picture settings in the Roku control app, along with Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software. Coverage of DCI-P3 (the color space used for mastering 4K Blu-rays and digital cinema releases) was 96.2%, and BT.2020 was 76.3%. Those results are very good, and basically match what I measured on the Hisense U8H.

Screen reflections from overhead lights were minimal on the 6-Series TV I tested. This, combined with the set’s prodigious light output, makes it a great option for viewing in a well-illuminated space. Picture contrast and color saturation faded when viewing from off-center seats, but that’s a common effect with LCD-based TVs.

Moving on to how the TCL looked with movies and TV, I started my viewing by watching some high-definition documentaries broadcast on a local PBS channel, and the set’s 4K upconversion was impressively clean and crisp. Soccer games streamed via ESPN Plus looked somewhat softer, but overall the picture quality was very good for sports streamed in HD resolution. The Bond film No Time to Die has a scene where the camera does a long slow pan across a craggy hillside, and this appeared mostly smooth on TCL’s 6-Series TV. (I’ve seen that scene literally vibrate with judder on some other sets.)

Streaming the The Last of Us on HBO Max in Dolby Vision, the set’s Dolby Vision IQ processing presented a well balanced picture packed with subtle yet powerful highlights. In a scene where Joel, Tess, and Ellie wander outside an abandoned museum, for example, the golden sunlight hitting them and their surroundings made the ravaged landscape look almost beautiful. Detail in this scene was also rich, with the CGI-created textures of the fungi crisply rendered.

All Quiet on the Western Front, a 2022 Oscar Best Picture nominee, also looked fantastic on the TCL when streamed in Dolby Vision from Netflix. Shadows in the film’s many dark scenes came across as a deep, inky black, and there was a good amount of detail in the dark trenches where the French and German soldiers do battle. I did see a small degree of backlight blooming, mostly on the black letterbox bars at the top and bottom of the picture when flares or some other very bright object appeared. But instances of this were minimal and I only noted it when specifically looking for it.

Overall, I was very impressed with the TCL 6-Series TV’s picture quality. Its light output proved to be more than enough for my regular dark room viewing habits, and I ended up scaling it back considerably for most shows I watched.

  • Picture quality score: 4.5/5

TCL 6-series 2022 TV back cable management close-up

A flap on the back of the TV stand provides holes for cable management. (Image credit: Future)

TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: sound quality

  • 2 x 10 watt speakers
  • Dolby Atmos support
  • Thin sound quality with most modes

The 6-Series’ audio features are very basic, with a pair of downfiring speakers each powered by 10 watts, handling sound chores. TCL’s specs state Dolby Atmos support, but that’s limited to virtual Atmos from the set’s speaker pair.

I cycled through the TV’s multiple sound processing modes, including Theater and Bass Boost, but couldn’t find one that didn’t have thin audio quality. You do get the option to turn on virtual surround sound for all programs or just for ones with Dolby Atmos, and when used with Atmos soundtracks there is a notable sense of spaciousness to the sound.

Dialogue was very clear with all programs I watched, even ones with medium-loud soundtracks. Even so, this was a case where I felt almost desperate to add a Dolby Atmos soundbar to the TV, and when I did, the sound filled out and made dialogue more balanced with other elements like music and effects. 

  • Sound quality score: 3.5/5

TCL-6-series-2022 TV stand close-up

A highlight of the new 6-Series design is an aluminum plate center-mounted stand. (Image credit: Future)

TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: design

  • FullView edge-to-edge glass design
  • Aluminum base with center placement
  • Roku remote control with built-in mic

The 6-Series has a great look for a budget TV line. TCL’s FullView edge-to-edge glass design, along with an extremely thin bezel, means there’s an “all picture” appearance, and the aluminum base at center screen provides a sturdy foundation for it to rest upon. 

The base has adjustable height, and after setup there was plenty of space between the screen’s lower edge and my TV stand's surface to accommodate a rather sizeable soundbar – always a plus with a TV. Around back, the set has a cable management system, and you can use this to route wires from connected components located on shelves beneath to the inputs section on the TV’s side. 

The Roku remote used to control the set will be familiar to anyone who has used that company’s streamers. It has a simple button layout, including quick keys to easily access apps like Netflix, and a button to activate the built-in mic for voice searches. It’s basic enough to use in a dark room and provides all the controls needed for accessing inputs and picture and sound adjustments via the onscreen menu. 

  • Design score: 4.5/5

TCL-6-series-2022 smart TV interface

The easy-to-navigate Roku smart TV interface combines apps with input selection and other settings. (Image credit: Future)

TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: smart TV & menus

  • Roku TV interface
  • Works with Siri, Alexa, and Hey Google
  • Picture adjustments require lots of scrolling

A Roku product was my very first streamer, and I had used several of them over the years before making a switch to the Apple TV 4K. It’s a great interface – easy to navigate, and with extensive app support. One of the issues I have with smart TV interfaces is that they’ll often be missing several key apps that I use on a regular basis (Criterion Channel and ESPN Plus among others), but Roku always seems to have it all and more. Unlike other smart TV platforms like Google TV and Amazon, the Roku interface also isn’t overloaded with ads and program options being “pushed” at you.

Voice searches can be easily carried out by pressing the mic button on the remote control, and the TV also “Works with” Siri, Alexa, and Hey Google when you add your own device for those platforms. AirPlay 2 is supported for streaming, letting you cast video and music to the TV from your iOS device or Mac computer.

Having never tested a set with Roku baked in before, it took some time to get used to the TV functions being embedded in the long-familiar streaming interface. You navigate and select inputs the same as you do with streaming apps, and a press of the remote’s star button calls up the picture settings menu. TCL makes it easy to get up and running, with basic and very general categories like TV Brightness, Local Contrast, and HDR Picture modes (with Dark and Bright settings). But you’ll need to keep scrolling, a bit annoyingly, to the Picture Fine Tune menu to access other adjustments like Brightness, Contrast, and Color. There’s also a more advanced picture menu with 11-point color temperature adjustments located in the Roku control app (iOS and Android).

When using the set’s built in ATSC 1.0 broadcast TV tuner, you’ll get program guide-like on-screen overlays with details about the show you’ve selected, and you can edit the channel list to limit it to just the ones you regularly watch. A neat feature is Live TV Rewind, which lets you scroll back up to 30 minutes when a storage device is plugged into the set’s USB port.

TCL 6-series 2022 TV remote control in a hand

The Roku TV remote control has a basic layout and limited button count, but it gets the job done. (Image credit: Future)
  • Smart TV & menus score: 4.5/5

TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: gaming

  • VRR up to 144Hz, ALLM, FreeSync Premium Pro support
  • Low 10.1ms input lag
  • Auto Game Mode

TCL says its 6-Series TVs have Game Studio Pro. And while what that exactly means is unclear, it appears to be an umbrella term for the set’s many gaming-related features. Of these, the most notable is VRR with up to 144Hz support. Another is ALLM, along with FreeSync Premium Pro. These are all great gaming extras to find in an affordable TV.

The 6-Series sets also have Auto Game Mode, which basically means that the TV automatically switches over to settings optimized for gaming when it detects an input from a compatible console. Otherwise, there’s no “Gaming Dashboard” similar to the ones on LG’s TVs, or the Gaming Hub interface found on Samsung’s sets.

I measured input lag in the set’s Gaming picture mode at 10.1ms using a 4K test meter. That’s a great result, and one that ranks the 6-Series among the the best gaming TVs when combined with its impressive feature-set.

  • Gaming score: 4.5/5

TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022) review: value

  • Affordable for a mini-LED TV
  • Great picture quality for the price
  • Gaming features rival those found on expensive TVs

This is the second budget TV I’ve tested with a mini-LED backlight (the first was the Hisense U8H), and I’m astonished at the difference that feature makes, and that it can be incorporated into such an affordable set.

The 6-Series TV I tested delivered the kind of deep, rich blacks I’m used to seeing on much more expensive models, and its impressive local dimming ensured that visible artifacts like backlight blooming were kept to a minimum. Overall, this TV delivers a very clean and punchy looking picture for the price.

If you’re a gamer, the value of the 6-Series goes up even further. (Unfortunately, our value scale only extends to 5, so I can’t give it higher points.) It offers the kind of gamer-oriented features normally found in pricier TVs, and in key ways appears specifically designed to cater to the gaming crowd.

  • Value score: 5/5 

TCL-6-series-2022 TV Netflix interface

Netflix is one of the many apps available in the Roku smart TV interface. (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022)?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if…

Also consider...

Hisense U8H mini-LED
Hisense’s U8H series sets are another example of a budget TV lineup with mini-LED backlighting and high brightness. The U8H series also has gaming oriented features like 4K 120Hz and VRR, though its local dimming isn’t as effective as the 6-Series. 

How I tested the TCL 6-Series Roku TV (2022)

Test pattern displayed on TV screen in living room

(Image credit: Future)
  • I spent about 15 hours measuring and evaluating the TCL 6-Series Roku TV
  • Measurements were made using Calman color calibration software
  • A full calibration was made before proceeding with subjective tests

When I test TVs, my first step is to spend a few days using it for casual viewing for break-in and to assess the out-of-box picture presets. The next step is to select the most accurate-looking preset (typically labeled Movie or Cinema) and measure the white balance (grayscale), gamma, and color point accuracy using Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software. The resulting measurements provide Delta-E values (the margin of error between the test pattern source and what’s shown on-screen) for each category, and they allow for an assessment of the TV’s overall accuracy.

Along with those tests, I make measurements of peak light output (recorded in nits) for both standard high-definition and 4K high dynamic range using a 10% white window pattern. Coverage of DCI-P3 and BT.2020 color space is also measured, with the results providing a sense of how faithfully the TV can render the extended color range in ultra high-definition sources.

For the TCL 6-Series Roku TV, I used the CalMan ISF workflow, along with the advanced picture menu settings in the Roku control app, to calibrate the image for best accuracy with SDR and HDR sources. Once done, I watched a range of reference scenes on 4K Blu-ray discs that I’ve gathered after years of TV and projector testing to assess the TV’s performance, as well as new Dolby Vision-encoded material streamed from sources like Netflix and HBO Max.

LG C3 OLED review: a picture-perfect TV for movies and gaming
11:47 pm | January 8, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

LG C3 OLED TV: Two-minute review

In 2022, the LG C2 OLED got the nod for best TV of the Year in the TechRadar Choice Awards, and that designation came after sitting for many months at the top of our list for best 4K TV. It was the C2’s combination of performance, features, and price that sealed the deal for us, and it ended up being a very easy recommendation for anyone looking for a high-performance TV that wasn’t over-the-top expensive.

Given the C2’s success, I had high expectations going into this 65-inch LG C3 OLED TV review. You’ll have to read on to find out exactly how the new model fared, but I don’t think I’m spoiling much to say that it’s every bit as impressive as its predecessor, and then some. 

Prices for the C3 series are around the same as for the C2 series. And while I had expected (hoped?) that they would be lower, the C3 series, which is available in screen sizes ranging from 42 inches up to 83 inches, is still an approachable option, and ultimately a good value considering all that’s on offer.

The C3’s extensive feature set makes it a great choice for gamers and movie fans alike. It has four HDMI 2.1 inputs with support for 4K 120Hz, VRR, ALLM, along with FreeSync Premium Pro and Nvidia G-Sync. Cloud gaming options include Nvidia GeForce Now and Utomik.

LG’s Alpha9 Gen6 chip used for picture processing brings new HDR-improving features including OLED Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro and Expression Enhancer, both of which have an impact on image quality. And while the C3 delivers roughly the same picture brightness as the C2, the level of contrast, clarity, and definition it delivers is notable.

The webOS 23 smart TV interface used in the C3 is also a step above the version found in last year’s LG models. It has a more streamlined and pleasing appearance, as well as new features like Quick Cards for grouping apps by theme and an editable Quick Menu for accessing picture, sound, and other adjustments. As usual with LG TVs, it comes with the company’s innovative Magic Remote.

Audio performance isn’t dramatically different compared to the C2 series, but the C3 has a new Wow Orchestra feature that lets you combine the output of the TV’s built-in speakers with select LG Dolby Atmos soundbars for even more immersive audio.

LG’s C3 OLED also has a nice look, with a slim bezel and aluminum-faced center stand. Connectivity options are excellent, though it does lack the built-in ATSC 3.0 digital TV tuner found in LG’s step-up G3 series models, a feature that’s important for viewers in the US. It may not be a dramatic advancement over last year’s C2, but LG has delivered another winner with the C3 OLED.

LG C3 OLED TV review: price and release date

  • Release date:  March, 2023 
  • OLED83C3: $5,299 / £6,499 / around AU$7,900
  • OLED77C3: $3,599 / £3,999 / around AU$5,370
  • OLED65C3: $2,600 / £2,899 / around AU$3,900
  • OLED55C3: $1,899 / £2,099 / around AU$2,830
  • OLED48C3 $1,499 / £1,599 / around AU$2,240
  • OLED42C3: $1,399 / £1,499 / around AU$2,100

The LG C3 series is the company’s mid-tier 4K OLED TV model, slotting in between the flagship G3 series and entry-level B3 series. Pricing so far has been announced for the US and the UK, but not for Australia. 

LG C3 OLED TV review: Specs

LG C3 OLED TV rear panel inputs

Back panel inputs include four side-mounted HDMI 2.1 ports (one with eARC), an optical digital output, and an antenna connection. (Image credit: Future)

LG C3 OLED TV review: features

  • webOS23 smart TV interface
  • Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG high dynamic range
  • HDMI 2.1 inputs with 4K 120Hz, VRR, and ALLM support

The C3 series is a feature-packed TV option, with a great mix of amenities for both movie fans and gamers. LG’s proprietary webOS 23 smart TV interface runs the show here, and it provides many of the best streaming apps, including Netflix, HBO Max, Prime Video, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, Hulu, Paramount Plus, Peacock, Youtube TV, and Spotify. 

You can use AirPlay 2 to cast video to the LG C3 from an iOS device, and it features Alexa built-in for hands-free voice control and also works with Siri and Hey Google.

LG’s new Alpha9 Gen6 chip is used for picture processing on C3 series sets, which have a 120Hz refresh rate. HDR support extends to Dolby Vision (Dolby Vision IQ), HDR10, and HLG, but not the HDR10+ format. 

The four HDMI 2.1 ports on C3 series TVs support 4K 120Hz input, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and enhanced audio return channel (on Input 2). A new HDMI feature called Quick Media Switching (QMS) is also making its debut on LG’s 2023 OLED models. When used with a source that also supports QMS, such as an Apple TV 4K streamer, this lets the C3 seamlessly match changes in video frame rates to prevent momentary screen blackouts when switching programs.

  • Features Score: 5/5  

LG C3 OLED smart interface shown from angle

It may not be the brightest OLED TV available, but the C3's picture looked perfectly fine even in a well-lit room. (Image credit: Future)

LG C3 OLED TV review: picture quality

  • Good brightness
  • Deep blacks with detailed shadows
  • Excellent picture detail

With the LG C3 in Filmmaker HDR mode, peak light output measured 830 nits, and it was 670 nits in Standard mode. That’s a slight improvement on last year’s C2, though it’s definitely overshadowed by the 70% brightness increase LG is claiming for its new flagship G3 series in comparison with more basic OLEDs like its B3 series. (The G3 series uses an optical component called Micro Lens Array, along with a new brightness-boosting algorithm called META, to achieve that high light output, which is one reason why G3 sets are priced significantly higher than C3 models.)

The LG’s color balance in its default Filmmaker mode was very accurate, with Delta-E values (the margin of error between the test pattern source and what’s shown on-screen) of 3 or less for most of its brightness range. Coverage of DCI-P3 (the color space used for mastering 4K Blu-rays and digital cinema releases) was 98.9%, and BT.2020 coverage was 74.7%. These are excellent results that are typical of the best OLED TVs.

There was some screen glare from overhead lights, but it wasn’t much of a problem overall for the C3. Screen uniformity with white full-field test patterns was also excellent and color remained fully saturated at far off-center viewing positions. I found the set’s brightness to be perfectly adequate even for daytime viewing, and with lights dimmed, the picture had notably punchy contrast.

Watching the Netflix series 1899 with the TV set to Dolby Vision Cinema Home picture mode, the dark scenes in the ship’s boiler room showed endlessly deep blacks, with plenty of detail in the shadows. Above-board scenes where the passengers search the ship for the boy revealed a perfectly crisp and noise-free picture, with excellent delineation of skin tones among the disquieted crowd.

Moving on to something with more Dolby Vision HDR punch, I watched a scene from Elvis where The King performs his freewheeling Christmas special. The stage lights in the background popped in a dramatic manner and I could easily see the detail in Elvis’s black outfit. The yellows and reds in clothing worn by fans looked bright without being garish, while The King’s face had the correct artificial orange hue that TV studio makeup creates.

Playing GTA5 on Xbox Series X, the picture remained extremely solid as I drove around the city streets. The lurid colors of Michael’s home’s interior jumped out in an appealing manner, and textures and patterns were cleanly displayed.

Checking out the montage section of the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR test disc, the TV’s high contrast made images with a black background look near 3D-like. Viewing the clips mastered at 4,000 nits showed only minor highlight detail loss from HDR tone mapping, while the 1,000 nits version looked spectacularly good. OLED Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro, a Alpha9 Gen6 processor feature that divides pictures into 20,000 blocks and optimizes each in real time, was clearly  working some magic, and while I didn’t have a C2 OLED on hand to make a comparison, the C3 exceeded my memories of that model.

I took the opportunity here to play with the HDR Expression Enhancer feature and while it worked as advertised to dynamically boost brightness and detail, I found myself perfectly happy to leave it off. Yes, the LG C3’s basic picture performance is so good, there’s not much you need to mess with.

  • Picture quality score: 4.5/5

LG C3 OLED quick menu with sound output options

The C3's Quick Menu provides easy access to most-used settings and can be customized according to your needs. (Image credit: Future)

LG C3 OLED TV review: sound quality

  • 2.2 channels
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS support
  • Wow Orchestra mode

The C3 has a 2.2-channel built-in speaker system along with decoding for Dolby Atmos and DTS immersive soundtrack formats. An AI sound mixer feature also upscales stereo audio for Atmos output.

There’s the usual slew of sound modes such as Music, Cinema, Sports, etc., but the one that works best for most content is AI Sound Pro. The C3’s audio quality is fairly average for a TV: voices have a somewhat thin quality, and there’s not much in the way of bass. Dialogue comes across as clear, though, and the sound can hit loud levels if you push the volume.

A new LG feature, Wow Orchestra, lets you combine the output of the TV’s built-in speakers with an LG Dolby Atmos soundbar. The company sent me its new SC9 soundbar, a model that was designed specifically for the C3 TV, to test, and this gave me a chance to give Wow Orchestra a whirl. LG’s SC9 also comes with a combination bracket/TV stand that lets you mount it directly to 55-, 65-, and 77-inch C3 series TVs (along with C2 series models with the same screen size), and I used that as well for my review.

After selecting the Wow Orchestra option from the TV’s quick menu, I soon discovered that it wasn’t plug-and-play, with audio delay between the soundbar and the TV’s built-in speakers creating an echo effect. There’s an adjustment in the Advanced Setting menu to fix this, however, and once adjusted, the echo disappeared. I also found that with AI Sound Pro mode selected on the TV, the set’s built-in speakers had a tinny quality when Wow Orchestra was selected. In this case, switching to the Standard sound mode was the remedy, and I used that for the remainder of my test.

Once everything was sorted, Wow Orchestra worked really well to expand the soundfield with Dolby Atmos soundtracks. The 3.1.3-channel SC9 soundbar already provided a big improvement on the TV’s built-in audio, but combining the two made it even more immersive, and noticeably louder. I also liked the look of the SC9 mounted directly to the C3, with LG’s bracket providing a slight uplift from my TV stand’s surface that made it seem like it was levitating.

  • Sound quality score: 3.5/5

LG C3 OLED TV included stand

The C3's sturdy, aluminum-faced stand looks good and provides excellent support. (Image credit: Future)

LG C3 OLED TV review: design

  • New, lighter composite fiber construction
  • Aluminum stand with center placement
  • Magic Remote control

The C3 series has a composite fiber construction that’s more lightweight than last year’s C2 OLEDs. Its panel is thin, though the integrated input section adds a degree of bulk that you won’t find on the flagship G3 series. An included aluminum center-mounted stand has a good look and provides solid support for the TV, though I preferred the design of the stand that came with the SC9 soundbar, which provided a cable management option.

Along with its four HDMI 2.1 inputs, the C3 features an RF plug for connecting one of the best indoor TV antennas, an Ethernet port, an RS-232 mini-jack input, and three USB type-A ports.

LG’s Magic Remote controls an onscreen pointer that can click on apps and menu options and you can use it to scroll through them. It has a built-in mic for Alexa or Google voice commands, and there are quick access buttons for Netlix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, Sling TV, and the LG Channels free TV options. Using the Magic Remote is a very different experience than a typical TV handset, but it’s something you quickly get used to.

  • Design score: 4.5/5

LG C3 OLED smart TV interface

New tweaks to LG's webOS 23 smart TV interface include Quick Cards with themes based around gaming, music, smart home, and more. (Image credit: Future)

LG C3 OLED TV review: smart TV & menus

  • webOS 23 smart TV interface
  • Themed Quick Cards
  • Quick Menu eases adjustment process

LG’s webOS 23 smart TV interface has a pleasing, streamlined look and is now mercifully free of ads. A strip of apps lines the screen’s bottom and the order of these can be edited or automatically positioned by selecting the Intelligent Edit mode, which orders them by frequency of usage.

A new feature for LG’s smart interface is Quick Cards, with options for Home Office, Game, Music, Home Hub, and Sports. These let you store relevant apps according to theme, with Home Hub letting you configure LG or Matter-supported smart home devices for control via the TV, and Game giving you access to the set’s Nvidia GeForce Now and Utomik cloud gaming selections.

A Quick Menu pops up on the screen’s left side when you press the asterisk button on the remote control. This lets you easily switch picture modes and settings, change the sound output and settings, and access the Game Optimizer menu. The options that appear here can also be edited. A Multi View mode lets you display two sources side-by-side or in picture-in-picture format, though there are limitations on the type of content that can be displayed simultaneously.

Getting to the TV’s advanced settings for picture and sound is made easy with the Quick Menu – I didn’t have to endure endless button pushes to do something as simple as boost brightness. The advanced picture menu has an Expression Enhancer option, and while that’s a somewhat baffling name, what it basically does is dynamically adjust brightness to emphasize areas of focus onscreen, or apply the same process to emphasize detail.

  • Smart TV & menus score: 4.5/5

LG C3 OLED TV game menu overlaid on GTA 5 image

The C3's Game Dashboard lets you make quick and easy adjustments to gaming-related settings. (Image credit: Future)

LG C3 OLED TV review: gaming

  • Extensive gaming support
  • Nvidia GeForce Now and Utomik cloud gaming
  • Game Optimizer mode with Game Dashboard menu

The C3 series is very well outfitted for gaming, with 4K 120Hz, VRR, ALLM, FreeSync Premium Pro, and Nvidia G-Sync support. When its Game Optimizer picture mode is active a transparent Game Dashboard menu can be accessed that lets you adjust settings like game genre picture presets, VRR, and Black Stabilizer, and it also shows you frames-per-second data for the game you are playing.

Both Nvidia GeForce Now and Utomik cloud gaming can be accessed from within the Game card in the C3’s smart interface, giving you access to a wide range of titles for cloud-based gaming.

With the TV in Game Optimizer mode with the Low Latency setting turned on I measured 9.2ms input lag (Boost mode) – a great result and one that ranks the C3 among the best gaming TVs

  • Gaming score: 5/5

LG C3 OLED remote control held in hand

LG's Magic Remote offers point-and-click and scrolling control options to navigate the set's menus and interface. (Image credit: Future)

LG C3 OLED TV review: value

  • Similar cost as last year’s C2
  • Great performance and features for price
  • Meaningful smart UI improvements

 The LG C3’s value ultimately depends on what you expect from a TV – and how much you’re willing to pay for a model that meets those expectations. 

Performance-wise, the C3 roughly matches what we saw from last year’s C2. Image processing has improved, and there’s a resulting slight increase in peak light output and perceived contrast. The WebOS interface has also received meaningful design tweaks to make it more streamlined, and there are useful additions such as the themed Quick Cards for accessing games, smart home control, and more.

I think that anyone looking for a TV with fantastic picture quality and a full range of features will find the C3 to be a good value, and if the price trajectory of last year’s C2 is any indication, it will cost even less as we approach the holiday season. But anyone looking to save money will find the C2 to be an equally good option, though one with a less refined user interface, and a somewhat less refined picture.

  • Value score: 4.5/5 

LG C3 OLED TV showing orange butterfly onscreen

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the LG C3 OLED TV?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if…

Also consider...

LG’s C2 series OLED TV offers nearly equivalent performance to the C3 in most respects, though it has a less refined smart TV interface and less advanced picture processing. You’ll save a good deal by picking up a C2 and we’re sure you’ll be happy with it.

How I tested the LG C3 OLED TV

LG C3 OLED TV showing image of sunset on water onscreen

(Image credit: Future)
  • I spent about 15 hours measuring and evaluating the LG C3 OLED TV
  • Measurements were made using Calman color calibration software
  • A full calibration was made before proceeding with subjective tests


When I test TVs, my first step is to spend a few days using it for casual viewing for break-in and to assess the out-of-box picture presets. The next step is to select the most accurate-looking preset (typically labeled Movie or Cinema) and measure the white balance (grayscale), gamma, and color point accuracy using Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software. The resulting measurements provide Delta-E values (the margin of error between the test pattern source and what’s shown on-screen) for each category, and they allow for an assessment of the TV’s overall accuracy.

Along with those tests, I make measurements of peak light output (recorded in nits) for both standard high-definition and 4K high dynamic range using a 10% white window pattern. Coverage of DCI-P3 and BT.2020 color space is also measured, with the results providing a sense of how faithfully the TV can render the extended color range in ultra high-definition sources.

For the LG C3 series OLED TV, I used the CalMan ISF workflow, along with the advanced picture menu settings in the set’s Filmmaker mode, to calibrate the image for best accuracy with SDR and HDR sources. Once done, I watched a range of reference scenes on 4K Blu-ray discs that I’ve gathered after years of TV and projector testing to assess the TV’s performance, as well as new Dolby Vision-encoded material streamed from sources like Netflix and HBO Max.

  • First reviewed: March 28, 2023

One welcome change to the C3 (as well as the other models) is a new version of webOS that has some great new organization features. It's inching more to becoming like Android (on phones, not TVs) with a new notification icon at the top now, so any useful messages can be found easily, and can stay out of your way the rest of the time. You also now have the ability to group any apps you have into folders.