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Hisense U7N review: a budget mini-LED 4K TV that out-performs its price
5:46 pm | June 28, 2024

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

Hisense U7N review: Two minute review

The Hisense U7N is a budget to mid-range mini-LED TV that delivers much for your money. It covers all the bases and performs well for gaming and movies, making it a versatile TV choice.

Picture quality on the Hisense U7N is generally good with whatever is thrown its way. Colors are vivid and punchy, black levels and contrast are rich and details and textures are as refined as on more premium TVs. Motion handling can be a little inconsistent, but fast-paced sources such as sport are generally well-handled. There is backlight blooming and you’ll have to do some tweaking to get the most accurate picture, but the U7N is still an overall great performer, even if it doesn’t beat the best TVs

the U7N's sound quality isn’t the most impressive, with a limited soundstage and surround effects that are extremely difficult to hear despite Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support. But, the U7N provides clear dialogue and meaty bass, along with directional sound that closely follows the picture on the screen. Its performance may be good enough for some, but one of the best soundbars is recommended. 

The U7N is well-equipped for gaming, with features including 4K 120Hz, 144Hz support for PC gaming, VRR including AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, and Dolby Vision gaming. Performance is impressive, with smooth gameplay and crisp graphics. The only drawback is the TV’s two HDMI 2.1 ports as opposed to the four we typically expect from the best gaming TVs.

The Hisense U7N’s design and VIDAA smart TV platform (Google TV in the US) are on the plain side, but both are serviceable and functional. There are plenty of picture settings to experiment with – a good thing because the U7N requires adjustment for best performance. It also features the live TV streaming service Freely, which is a breath of fresh air for UK viewers. 

It may not be the ultimate TV, but the U7N is the epitome of a high-value TV – more so in the US and Australia since UK prices are higher. Compared to rivals, the U7N's smart and gaming features and picture performance make it a bargain.

Hisense U7N with late sunset on screen

The Hisense U7N great contrast makes dusk and night scenes look good (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Prices & release date

  • Release date: April 2024 
  • 55-inch price: $799 / £1,299 / AU$1,599 
  • 65-inch price: $999 / £1,599 / AU$2,299
  • 75-inch price: $1,499 / £1,899 / AU$2,999
  • 85-inch price: $2,030 / £2,799 / AU$3,999   

The Hisense U7N is the mid-range model in its mini-LED TV lineup, sitting above the U6N and below the U8N, flagship U9N and massive UX (sized at 98- and 100-inch) models. It comes in 55, 65, 75 and 85-inch sizes, though it’s worth noting the 85-inch model is not available in the UK.

We’re already seeing huge discounts on the U7N only a couple of months after release, particularly in the US where you can buy the 65-inch model (the size we tested) for $799. Whether this discount is permanent is unclear, but it’s likely the U7N will receive big discounts around Black Friday. 

Hisense U7N review: Specs

Hisense U7N review: Benchmark results

Hisense U7N with butterfly on screen

The Hisense U7N's bold colors make it look more premium than its price would indicate (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Features

  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+ high dynamic range support
  • 144Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision gaming
  • VIDAA/Google TV smart TV platform   

The U7N uses what Hisense calls ‘Mini-LED PRO’, which is mini-LED tech combined with full-array local dimming. It supports the Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range formats and is IMAX Enhanced certified. 

For gaming, the U7N has two HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K 120Hz (with up to 144Hz refresh rate), VRR including AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and Nvidia GSync, ALLM, and Dolby Vision and HDR10+ gaming. It also features Hisense’s Game Bar, which can adjust gaming settings such as Dark Detail. 

The U7N has a 2.1-channel speaker array and supports both the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtrack formats. It features several different preset sound modes including Standard and Movie plus an Enhanced (ACR) mode that uses viewing data (with permission) to enhance sound based on your viewing habits. 

Two different smart TV platforms are used for the Hisense U7N: Google TV in the US and Hisense’s own VIDAA platform in the UK. Both have access to all the major apps including Netflix, Disney Plus and Prime Video. In the UK, the U7N hosts Freely, a live TV streaming service backed by BBC, ITV and Channels 4 and 5, which enables live TV viewing without an aerial or satellite dish. Freely is also where UK viewers can find BBC iPlayer, ITVX and other UK-based catch-up services. In the US, the U7N features an ATSC 3.0 tuner for broadcast TV. 

The U7N’s design is on the basic side, with a black, plastic central stand attached to two metal feet on the 65-inch model I tested. Materials-wise, it has a silver-toned metal frame with a trim, but slightly deep bezel. It also has a slim, black remote that can be charged using its front solar panel or USB-C port. 

  • Features score: 4.5/5

Hisense U7N with lake and sunset on screen

The Hisense U7N has refined textures and detail (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Picture quality

  • Bold, colorful picture 
  • Well-defined details and textures  
  • Picture requires adjustment 

Starting off with measurements, the U7N in its default Standard and Filmmaker Mode settings yielded peak brightness results of 807 nits and 1074 nits, respectively, on a 10% HDR white window test pattern. Those numbers are lower than what we’ve measured from more premium mini-LEDs such as the Sony Bravia 9, which hit 2,280 nits peak HDR brightness in Standard mode. 

I did find that some adjustments improved brightness – setting Local Dimming to High and turning off Dynamic Contrast, for instance. With those settings, the U7N measured 1,256 nits in Standard mode. 

This was a common theme with the U7N – some picture settings needed to be adjusted to improve its performance. Before conducting my subjective tests, I found setting Local Dimming to High added more detail and contrast, and turning off Super Resolution removed the U7N’s oversharpened look, which it even displayed in Filmmaker Mode. 

After cycling through different picture presets, I established that Filmmaker Mode was the most accurate, but the brighter Standard mode better suited some TV shows and movies. 

When watching broadcast TV, lower-resolution TV shows had fuzzy textures. HD pictures, on the other hand, looked good, with solid color and detail. One thing to note for UK viewers,  lower-resolution TV shows streamed through Freely actually improved picture quality over broadcast TV, giving them a similar look to HD. 

Moving onto 4K, I first streamed Star Wars: The Last Jedi in Dolby Vision on Disney Plus. This activated the set's Dolby Vision picture modes, including Dolby Vision IQ. Colors were bold but natural, with the throne room fight scene featuring vivid, though not oversaturated reds. HDR highlights including lasers from blasters and other lightsabers also had a dazzling sheen.

The Hisense U7N’s strong color performance was confirmed by my measurements of its UHDA-P3 and BT.2020 color gamut coverage, which was 95.5% and 75.4% respectively – both excellent results for a budget mini-LED TV. Color accuracy measurements 1.75, another fantastic result. 

I next watched the  Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark 4K Blu-ray’s demo footage section. The U7N looked very good across the board, showing dynamic and vibrant colors in bright landscapes and animal shots, and excellent black depth when full black backgrounds were displayed. Contrast was also excellent in a shot of bright white city lights against a night sky. Details and textures looked accurate and refined, although they were not as good as what I’d seen on more premium mini-LED sets such as the Sony X95L.

Hisense U7N with city aerial shot at night

The Hisense U7N has very good contrast (Image credit: Future)

I next watched The Batman (also in Dolby Vision), a disc I find to be a great test for black levels and shadow detail. The U7N demonstrated good backlight control, with only minimal blooming in a scene where Batman walks down a dim hallway illuminated by bright lamps.

Black levels and contrast were rich with brilliant shadow detail in the opening crime scene investigation, though there was some black crush before I set Local Dimming to High. After that, facial features and objects such as Batman’s intricate suit looked true-to-life and realistic.

For motion testing, I used a combination of movies on 4K Blu-ray and sports. Beginning with an HD stream of a soccer game, the U7N did a credible job, though setting the motion preset to Standard or Smooth allowed the match to flow better and greatly reduced motion blur.

Watching Top Gun: Maverick’s opening Darkstar testing sequence and training mission, the U7N did a decent job handling the fast panning camera sequences and weaving jets, though there was occasional judder. Also, viewing the race in Ready Player One, the U7N did a good job handling the chaotic action and free-flowing camera, again with only minimal judder.

While I was impressed with the U7N’s picture, I noted contrast fade and more obvious backlight blooming when viewing off-axis. Also, while some of its preset modes, such as Filmmaker, are good, others require a lot more tweaking. Frustratingly, the Dolby Vision IQ preset sets motion smoothing to the overly aggressive Standard setting, making adjustments necessary.

The Hisense U7N isn’t going to beat the likes of the OLED-rivalling Sony Bravia 9 anytime soon, but for what you pay, the picture punches above its weight.

  • Picture quality score: 4/5

Hisense U7N with La La Land on screen

The Hisense U7N's sound quality was credible, but limited with movies such as La La Land (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Sound quality

  • Clear dialogue 
  • Good directional sound 
  • Lacking soundstage and virtual surround   

With a 2.1-channel speaker array totaling 40W of power, the Hisense U7N can’t rival the best TVs for sound such as the Panasonic MZ2000 or Sony A80L. It does deliver in some areas, such as dialogue and directional sound, but is lacking in others. If you're looking for great audio with the U7N, I’d consider adding one of the best soundbars

Watching the batmobile chase scene from The Batman, the U7N demonstrated clear speech even during moments of loud explosions and crunching metal with its Theater preset sound mode active. Directional sounds were also captured well by the U7N, with each sound effect connected to the action on screen, and it had somewhat weighty bass. Dolby Atmos effects in this scene such as thrashing rain were barely audible over the other sounds, however, and the soundstage was limited, with everything very much contained to the screen itself. 

Moving to La La Land, it was a similar story. The horn-heavy jazz score was well handled and never distorted even at higher volumes. Vocals came through nice and clear and warmer instruments such as double bass and drums sat nicely in the mix. However, the limited soundstage didn’t allow instruments to breathe.  

  • Sound quality score: 3.5/5

Hisense U7N stand

The Hisense U7N's stand (65-inch pictured) is easy to assemble (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Design

  • Trim bezel  
  • Easy to assemble stand 
  • Solar-powered remote control 

The Hisense U7N has a plain but solid design. Its rear panel is made of a thick but cheaper feeling plastic, though a solid silver frame gives it a more premium look. 

The U7N’s bezel is trim enough and allows the picture to take up the majority of the screen, though it’s not as trim as you’d find on more premium TVs. Its two reassuringly weighty metal feet connect to a plastic stand by simply slotting into place. This is one of the easier stand assemblies I’ve seen. It does feel a little cheap – not surprising given the U7N’s budget price.  

Hisense’s supplied remote for the U7N feels more premium than expected. It features a solar panel on the front and a USB-C charging point on the bottom, eliminating the need for batteries. Although the solar panel is a welcome addition, it gives the remote a bottom-heavy feel. 

  • Design score: 4/5

Hisense U7N with VIDAA home screen

Hisense uses VIDAA as its smart TV platform in the UK (home menu pictured) (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Smart TV & menus

  • Google TV (US), VIDAA (UK & Australia) 
  • Good selection of picture settings
  • Sometimes stuttering performance   

The U7N’s smart TV platform varies depending on the region. Since I’m based in the UK, I will be discussing Hisense’s own smart TV platform, VIDAA. For US readers, the Hisense U7N uses  Google TV, which is also featured on the Hisense U8K and Sony Bravia 9 if you’d like to read up about it. 

The VIDAA home menu is filled with recommendations from various apps; it’s a little cluttered, and this can affect scrolling speed on the home menu. Stuttering occurred at multiple points while navigating VIDAA, which lacked the smooth feel of other smart TV platforms such as LG’s web OS, Samsung’s Tizen and Google TV.

I appreciated VIDAA’s settings and menu layouts. It was very easy to find settings I was looking for and I was pleasantly surprised by how many picture adjustments were available. These turned out to be necessary, as simple changes to local dimming, motion smoothing, super-resolution, dynamic contrast and other settings transformed the U7N’s picture completely. 

VIDAA provides access to all major streaming apps including Netflix, Disney Plus, and Prime Video. Hisense TVs also host Freely, a live TV streaming service that lets viewers watch a range of live TV shows without any need to connect to an aerial or satellite dish and provides access to UK-based streaming apps including BBC iPlayer, ITVX and more. 

  • Smart TV & menus score: 4/5

Hisense U7N with Battlefield V on screen

Similar to TVs from LG, Samsung and Panasonic, the Hisense U7N features a Game Bar for gaming settings  (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Gaming

  • 4K 120Hz and 144Hz refresh rate support
  • 13.1ms input lag 
  • Only two HDMI 2.1 ports   

The U7N has plenty of gaming features on offer , including a 4K 120Hz (even up to 144Hz) refresh rate, Dolby Vision gaming, VRR including AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and Nvidia GSync, and ALLM. This list of features lets the U7N easily compete with the best gaming TVs. Hisense’s Game Bar also allows for settings such as Dark Detail and FPS Viewing to be tweaked during gaming. 

Unlike other TVs that feature dedicated Game picture modes, the U7N’s Game Mode works in tandem with its main picture preset settings, providing freedom to customize the picture during gameplay. Annoyingly, it leaves motion smoothing settings switched on, so it’s important to turn those off during gaming.

the U7N's gaming performance was very good. Playing Battlefield V on Xbox Series X, motion was smooth, with quick camera cuts to switch between targets and landscape panning shots all feeling seamless and free-flowing with no judder or stutter. The U7N also did a great job with Battlefield, displaying plenty of intricate details on objects such as weapons and landscapes and showing the same rich contrast and bold colors as with movies.

The  U7N’s measured input lag was 13.1ms. A result below 15ms is what gamers generally look for, so this will be fine for the majority of users. 

Unfortunately, the U7N only has two HDMI 2.1 ports, with the other two HDMI 2.0 ports capped at 60Hz with no gaming features supported. 

  • Gaming score: 4.5/5

Hisense U7N remote

The Hisense U7N's supplied remote is sleek and eco-friendly, but a little bottom-heavy (Image credit: Future)

Hisense U7N review: Value

  • Excellent value (in the US) 
  • Cheaper than many rivals  
  • Crowded mini-LED TV market 

Although the U7N generally represents good value, it is a significantly better value in the US. The 65-inch model I tested dropped as low as $799 since launch, which for a TV with this many features and this picture quality level is simply phenomenal. Rival sets such as the Samsung QN85D are priced at $1,699 for a 65-inch model, while premium mini-LED options such as the Sony Bravia 9 cost $2,999 for the same screen size. 

In the UK, the margin is somewhat narrowed, though the U7N is still priced cheaper than many of its rivals. The 65-inch U7N currently sits at £1,599, while the Samsung QN85D is priced at £2,099 and OLED options like the LG B4 are priced at £1,699 in a 65-inch size. So even though the U7N is still cheaper and provides plenty of features, you’re not quite getting the same bang for your buck as in the US.

But wherever you are, it is hard to argue just how many bases the Hisense U7N covers at the price it does, with its great overall picture quality, stacks of gaming features and good smart TV platform. With the money you save with the U7N, you can add a Dolby Atmos soundbar, such as the brilliant Hisense AX5125H

  • Value score: 4.5/5

Hisense U7N with La La Land 4K Blu-ray home menu on screen

The Hisense U7N accurately displays bold, bright colors such as those in the La La Land logo (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Hisense U7N?

Buy it if...

You want great picture quality
The U7N delivers dynamic pictures for both movies and gaming that look more premium than the price you pay. 

You want a TV for gaming
4K 120Hz, 144Hz, VRR, and Dolby Vision gaming are just some of the features the U7N offers that make it ideal for PS5 and Xbox Series X

You want real value from your TV
The U7N offers similar features and performance to rival sets from Samsung and Sony but has a lower price tag. 

Don't buy it if...

You don't want to adjust picture settings
To get the best out of the U7N, setup is required, and that involves digging into the nitty gritty of its picture settings. 

You want the perfect picture
Like a lot of mini-LED TVs, the U7N suffers from backlight blooming. To avoid this, you'll have to fork out more for premium mini-LED or OLED TV. 

You need the best built-in sound
It may be adequate for most, but the U7N's sound feels limited and contained. Want better TV sound? Look to Sony. 

Also consider...

Samsung QN85D
The Samsung QN85D is arguably the U7N's closest competitor, offering similar features and performance. Pictures appear more natural and Tizen is a better smart TV platform, but you'll be paying a lot more and the gap is tough to justify. We are currently testing this TV and will have a full review live soon.

Hisense U6N
The step-down model from the U7N, the U6N doesn't offer the same level of features or picture performance. It is cheaper than the U7N, however, and the performance it gives for the price is admirable. We are currently testing this TV and will have a full review live soon. 

Samsung QN90D
The Samsung QN90D is a more premium mini-LED option when compared to the U7N. Although it's pricier, you'll no doubt be getting better picture performance, especially for daytime sports viewing. There isn't much between them in terms of gaming features, so it does come down to picture vs price. 

Read our Samsung QN90D hands-on review 

Hisense U7N with testing equipment including Calman

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Hisense U7N

  • Tested in varying lighting conditions 
  • Measurements taken using Calman calibration software
  • Tested using both SDR and HDR sources

My first step in testing the U7N was casual viewing to establish the most accurate out-of-the-box picture preset using a variety of sources such as broadcast TV and DVD, 4K Blu-ray and 4K streaming. 

I then used several reference scenes from various movies, TV shows and sports streams to judge the U7N on picture criteria including contrast, color, black levels, motion handling and upscaling. I also tested it built-in sound quality for speech, bass, virtual surround sound processing and directional sound. 

To test the U7N's gaming performance, I used an Xbox Series X console, primarily playing Battlefield V

Moving onto objective testing, I analyzed the U7N's SDR and HDR brightness, HDR color gamut coverage (both UHDA-P3 and BT.2020) and grayscale and color accuracy. For this, I used a test pattern generator and colorimeter, recording the results with Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software.  

I also measured the U7N's input lag in milliseconds using a Leo Bodnar 4K HDMI Input lag tester while the U7N was in Game mode. 

For a more detailed breakdown, check out our guide on how we test TVs at TechRadar

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: a feature-rich TV that suffers from mini-LED’s biggest flaw
9:00 pm | June 2, 2024

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

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Two minute review

The LG QNED91T, the company's flagship 4K model in its mini-LED ‘QNED’ range, is a TV with mixed performance. It’s stacked with smart and gaming features that will keep many people happy, but the picture and sound quality are inconsistent, succeeding in some areas, but failing in other crucial ones. It’s worth noting that in the US, this TV is called the LG QNED90 and comes with a pair of feet instead of a central pedestal stand.

Priced at $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$2,995 for the 65-inch version I tested, this is roughly in the same category as many other mini-LED sets of this size, meaning the QNED91T has plenty of competition. 

Picture quality is the most inconsistent aspect of the QNED91T. It has fantastic picture detail and colors that stand out in brighter scenes, but poor backlight control results in blooming issues that are especially visible in darker scenes. Off-center viewing also results in faded contrast and even more obvious backlight blooming. Unfortunately, this keeps the QNED91T from fulfilling its true potential, falling short of some of the best TVs such as the Samsung QN90C, another mini-LED model. 

Audio quality on the QNED91T is again mixed, with meaty bass and clear dialogue having to coexist with average virtual surround sound performance and an uneven sound balance. The TV’s AI Sound Pro mode can improve the balance but sacrifices bass performance in turn. Some may find the QNED91T’s built-in sound adequate, but most would benefit from adding one of the best soundbars

Design-wise, LG took a simple approach with the QNED91T, favoring functionality over looks. Its bulky weight makes it feel reassuringly solid but adds a more old-school appearance. That’s not necessarily bad, but it’s something for those who place design high up in their list of requirements to bear in mind. 

LG’s smart webOS smartTV platform continues to be one of the best. The version on the QNED91T, webOS 24, presents a sleek home menu with plenty of opportunities for customization and organization, and it’s both visually appealing and user-friendly. Not much has changed since last year’s webOS 23. There are new features such as an AI Chatbot and customizable profiles, though the latter feature is currently only available in the US. 

The QNED91T is a great performer when it comes to gaming, and has all the gaming bells and whistles you could need. Gameplay is smooth and responsive in any situation. But the QNED91T is sadly held back from greatness by the same picture issues that plague it with movies and, despite valiant effort, won't find itself amongst the best 120Hz TVs

Although it has some great features, the QNED91T's picture quality issues are hard to overlook. It thrives in some settings, but ultimately there’s too much inconsistency for the QNED91T to rank among the best TVs. 

LG QNED91T with satellite on screen

The LG QNED91T has excellent picture detail. (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Prices & release date

  • Released May 2024 
  • 65-inch: $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$2,995 
  • 75-inch: $2,399 / £2,499 / AU$3,995 
  • 86-inch: $3,299 / £3,799 / AU$5,445  

The LG QNED91T (QNED90 2024 series in the US) is LG’s flagship 4K mini-LED model for 2024, with the LG QNED99 8K TV serving as the overall flagship. Available from May 2024, the LG QNED91T comes in three sizes: 65-, 75- and 86-inch. The LG QNED91T’s pricing puts it in competition with mini-LED TVs such as the Sony X95L (its 2023 flagship) and the Hisense U9N (its 2024 flagship). 

We’ve already seen price drops as much as 20% on the QNED91T across multiple sites. Whether these discounts are permanent or will disappear remains to be seen.

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Specs

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Benchmark results

LG QNED91T connections panel

The LG QNED91T's connection panel, with four HDMI 2.1 ports (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Features

  • Built-in with LG’s a8 AI Processor 4K 
  • Mini-LED backlight with LG’s NanoCell layer 
  • Dolby Vision support 

Serving as the flagship QNED, which combines a mini-LED backlight with LG’s quantum dot NanoCell technology, the LG QNED91T aims to deliver bold brightness and color while maintaining good contrast – something it does with mixed results. 

The QNED91T features LG’s a8 AI Processor, the same found in other 2024 models including the LG B4 and LG QNED87/85, that aims to emulate the performance of last year’s LG C3, particularly in terms of brightness – which it achieves. 

The a8 AI Processor enables features for AI Picture Pro, including AI Super Upscaling and Dynamic Tone Mapping, and AI Sound Pro, including Virtual Surround and AI Clear Sound. It’s also responsible for AI Picture Wizard, which helps you create your preferred picture settings. This is done by choosing your favorite images from a group of different types such as bright landscape, sunset, nighttime and more, which Ai Picture Wizard uses to create your personalized setting. 

For HDR, the QNED91T supports Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG formats, but not HDR10+. 

The QNED91T is well stocked with gaming features, with four HDMI 2.1 ports supporting 4K 120Hz, VRR including AMD Freesync, and ALLM and HGiG support. It also features LG’s Game Optimizer, which activates the optimum settings for gaming and allows customization of gaming settings on the fly such as black level, genre and more. 

Audio is provided by a 2.2 speaker system totaling 40W of power with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. While it's not the most mind-blowing of speaker configurations, it provides sufficient punch and there are several preset sound modes including AI Sound Pro. 

The QNED91T comes with the latest iteration of LG’s smart TV platform, webOS 24. While there haven’t been any major changes, the home page has been redesigned. It still has Quick Cards, which enable you to organize apps into categories such as Music, Sports, Games and more. It also supports all major apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus as well as Freeview Play and its apps in the UK such as BBC iPlayer and ITVX.  

New features in webOS 24 include an AI Chatbot assistant and the ability to create up to 10 profiles that store each user’s settings and personalized TV and movie recommendations. LG has also committed to five years’ worth of updates on select TVs, including the QNED91T, meaning the latest iteration of webOS will appear via a firmware update for the next five years. 

  • Feautres score: 4.5 / 5

LG QNED91T with hot spring on screen

The LG QNED91T's colors and textures are highlights, though picture quality is inconsistent. (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Picture quality

  • Excellent detail and bold colors 
  • Backlight blooming issues  
  • Limited viewing angle  

The LG QNED91T faces much competition in the mini-LED TV category from the likes of Samsung, Sony, TCL and Hisense, with the latter two providing more budget-friendly options. Sadly, it falls short of some of its major rivals. 

Mini-LED TVs tend to excel at brightness and the QNED91T on the surface has a bright picture, particularly when displaying HDR images. When I measured it on a 10% HDR white window, the results were 1,274 nits and 1,132 nits in Standard and Filmmaker Mode respectively. It also yielded 671 and 601 nits respectively in those modes when I measured a 100% full-screen HDR white window. Those are good numbers overall, but they fail to match the likes of the Samsung QN90C, Sony X95L and Hisense U8K

After some casual viewing with both HD and 4K HDR sources and cycling through the various picture presets, I established that the most accurate picture mode was Filmmaker Mode, although Standard and Cinema are two alternatives that deliver a brighter image. 

First starting with broadcast TV, the QNED91T did an effective job of upscaling, but lower-resolution pictures still had a comparatively fuzzy appearance. HD broadcast TV had cleaner textures overall with good contrast and color, and when viewed in Standard mode, a brighter look as well. 

Moving onto 4K HDR movies with Filmmaker Mode’s default settings active, the QNED91T demonstrated excellent image detail in faces and clothing when watching Top Gun: Maverick. This impressive detail carried over to demo footage on the Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark Blu-ray. Rocky landscapes and forests had refined edges and a good sense of depth. Studio shots of owls and lizards again showed realistic detail, with feathers and scales having a 3D-like quality. 

The QNED91T also excelled when it came to color. Viewing the throne room lightsaber sequence in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, streamed through Disney Plus, the vibrant reds carried plenty of vivid punch and never looked overblown. Lightsabers took on a bold, glossy sheen that showcased the QNED91T’s HDR highlights. Turning back to Spears & Munsil, green trees and blue skies popped off the screen. 

When measuring the QNED91T’s UHDA-P3 and BT.2020 color gamut coverage using Portrait Displays’ Calman calibration software, the QNED91T yielded 96%  and 72.2% respectively. Those are both good results so it’s no surprise colors in 4K HDR programs looked good. Color accuracy Delta E values averaged out to 1.1 (we typically look for below 3) in Filmmaker Mode, which is an outstanding result. 

When viewing both the opening Darkstar flight sequence in Top Gun: Maverick and the Batmobile chase sequence in The Batman, the QNED91T demonstrated excellent motion handling, even in Filmmaker Mode with all motion settings turned off. Quick panning shots and long left-to-right sequences showed little to no sign of judder or stutter and motion was incredibly smooth. 

The Batman is also where the QNED91T started to show weaknesses in the picture department. Black levels were decent in some cases and contrast was rich enough, but when viewing dark scenes such as the first crime scene investigation, backlight blooming was very apparent. Lights in the darkened hallway had a clouding effect that changed the deep, black shadows to a dark gray. 

Changing the Local Dimming,  set to Low by default, to High in the TV’s Brightness settings reduced some backlight blooming issues. But this also resulted in some black crush, with objects in dark scenes such as the bat symbol on Batman’s chest in The Batman starting to disappear. Even then, some backlight blooming was still present. 

An issue that some mini-LED TVs suffer from is poor viewing angles, although models such as the Samsung QN90C and Sony X95L have features to improve this. Unfortunately, viewing angles were an issue with the LG QNED91T. When viewed off-axis, backlight blooming, particularly in dark scenes, became apparent, with large, blocky squares of the backlight shining through at extreme angles. Contrast and color saturation also faded when the TV was viewed from off-center seats. 

Finally, although I didn’t expect the LG to beat the Samsung S95D’s OLED Glare Free screen or the anti-reflection features of its more premium mini-LED sets, I expected the QNED91T to handle reflections better than it did. Under harsh lighting conditions in our testing lab, mirror-like reflections were an issue, which made darker scenes very difficult to see. And with the overhead lights dimmed, other light sources in the room were still reflected on the TV’s screen. 

  • Picture quality score: 3.5 / 5

LG QNED91T with butterfly on screen

The LG QNED91T suffers from reflections, even when displaying bright HDR images.  (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Sound quality

  • Decent bass levels 
  • Clear dialogue  
  • Average virtual surround sound 

With a 40W, 2.2 speaker configuration and Dolby Atmos/DTS support, the QNED91T has perfectly adequate built-in audio, though it lacks the sound prowess of rivals such as the Sony X95L. The QNED91T’s speakers may suit some, but generally one of the best soundbars would be an improvement. 

I found Cinema with its warmer profile to be the best sound preset. The QNED91T displayed strong dialogue clarity across most movies and TV shows I watched, from broadcast TV to intense action movie sequences. During the chaotic Batmobile chase in The Batman, speech came through clearly despite loud background noise and a driving score. 

Bass was another highlight, aided by the Cinema sound preset’s warm profile and the QNED91T’s deeper design. Even with the QNED91T’s relatively average power, the rumble of the Batmobile from The Batman and jets in Top Gun: Maverick had plenty of heft and weight. 

Despite Dolby Atmos support, I found the QNED91t’s effects processing to be average. Some effects were present, such as screeching wheels in the Batmobile chase in the Batman but the pounding rain was missing altogether. And in Top Gun: Maverick, background effects from within the cockpit were lost behind the rumble of the engines. 

With AI Sound Pro active, the overall volume and surround sound effects were heightened, but I found dialogue to be on the harsher side and bass reduced. While some may prefer this brightening of the mix, I preferred the Cinema sound preset. 

  • Sound quality score: 3.5 / 5

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Design

LG QNED91T Stand

The LG QNED91T comes with reassuringly solid stand in the UK. (Image credit: Future)
  • Solid, central stand (on model tested in UK) 
  • Chunkier than other TVs 
  • Somewhat old-school, basic look 

The QNED91T has somewhat of an old-school design, with a deeper-than-average body and matte gray appearance on the back that harks back to older LCD models. It isn’t the deepest TV on the market (look at the Panasonic MZ2000 for that) but it's still surprisingly chunky. The bezel is trim, however, giving the picture nearly the full scale of the screen. 

With a central, metal stand (on the 65-inch version I tested in the UK), the QNED91T feels reassuringly solid and sturdy. However, it’s worth noting that this is a weighty TV at around 35 kg with the stand attached. In the US, the QNED90 comes with support feet and while I can’t comment on their appearance, the TV itself weighs in at 69.2 lbs with its feet attached. 

Connections are housed in a rear panel and feature four HDMI 2.1 and three USB ports, optical digital audio, and an RF for broadcast and satellite TV. The QNED91 also has  Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities as expected. 

Like most LG TVs, the QNED91T comes with LG’s Magic Remote. This has a central wheel and arrows for scrolling and navigation, or its pointer can be used instead. It also has a built-in mic for voice control and quick access options for apps including Netflix and Prime Video. 

  • Design score: 4 / 5

webOS 24 home page on LG QNED91T

webOS 24 has a tidier home screen menu and is still incredibly user-friendly.  (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Smart TV & menus

  • LG’s webOS 24 smart TV platform
  • Quick Cards for app organization
  • Home menu trimmed down from previous generation     

The QNED91T features webOS 24, the latest iteration of LG’s smart TV platform. The home menu has been trimmed down and tidied compared to previous versions, with a smaller top banner allowing more space for apps and tailored recommendations. All in all, it’s a welcome redesign. 

Carrying over last year’s Quick Cards, which lets apps be organized by category such as Music and Office, there is the introduction of a more refined Sports card and an an Accessibility feature. The Sports card features the useful My Team function that allows you to receive live updates, scores and recommended videos based on your chosen team from sports such as baseball, basketball, soccer, American football and more. Accessibility includes the AI Chatbot, which can be used to diagnose and solve technical issues such as ‘The screen is too dark’ or ‘The volume is too low’. I found it effective enough, brightening the screen when asked, but it did seem on the basic side. 

LG's webOS 24 continues to be amongst the best smart TV platforms for settings and menus, with the Quick Menu providing an easy way to change important settings such as picture and sound modes without having to navigate away from the screen. There are also plenty of advanced adjustments for those who like to play with picture and sound settings. 

  •  Smart TV & menus: 4.5 / 5 

LG QNED91T with Battlefield V on screen

Gaming performance on the LG QNED91T is good, but games suffer the same picture quality issues as movies. (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Gaming

  • Four HDMI 2.1 ports
  • LG Game Optimizer 
  • Picture still affected by backlight blooming  

The QNED91T has a good stock of gaming features across its four HDMI 2.1 ports, including 4K 120Hz, VRR with AMD FreeSync support, ALLM and HGiG. LG’s Game Optimizer also provides the best settings for gaming and allows adjustment on the go using an easy to access and navigate menu. 

Playing Battlefield V on Xbox Series X felt smooth and responsive on the QNED91T. When in graphically intense battle sequences or when quickly scoping across landscapes to spot enemies, I saw no signs of tearing, stuttering or judder. Setting the game genre to FPS on the Game Optimizer enhanced this further by smoothing out quick camera cuts. 

When I measured the QNED91T’s input lag using the Leo Bodnar 4K HDMI input lag tester, it gave a result of 15ms at 4K 60Hz. Although still an acceptable result, that’s higher than what you typically find on the best gaming TVs

For graphics, the QNED91T excelled and suffered in the same areas as it did with movies. Colors in brighter sequences were still vibrant and punchy, and textures were clear on every part of the weapon and surrounding environment. But backlight blooming was still an issue, and that meant night missions in Battlefield V took on a gray rather than a black tone, and lamps within a stealth mission had a halo around them that bled into the night sky overhead.  

  • Gaming score: 4 / 5

LG magic remote 2024

The LG QNED91T as always comes with LG's Magic Remote. (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Value

  • Competitive mini-LED market 
  • Good range of smart features 
  • Inconsistent picture affects value  

The QNED91T is priced at $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$2,995 for the 65-inch version I tested, though there are price reductions available (up to 20% off in some cases). At that price, there is plenty of new TV competition in 2024 such as the 65-inch Hisense U8N, which is priced at $1,499 / £1,799 / AU$2,795 (although we’ve seen it as low as $1,099 in the US). And there’s also the Samsung QN90D, though it's priced at a much more premium $2,699 / £2,699 / AU$3,995 for the 65-inch model.

Despite a good list of smart and gaming features, it’s tough to overlook that the QNED91T’s picture is similar to a budget TV due to its backlight blooming and viewing angle issues. It’s also tough to overlook that 2023 TVs such as the Hisense U8K and Sony X95L offer better performance and are available for less. 

  • Value score: 3 / 5

LG QNED91T with ferries wheel on screen

The LG QNED91T's backlight blooming is more visible when the picture is viewed from an angle. (Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the LG QNED90T/91T?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider...

LG QNED91T with calman and testing equipment

The LG QNED91T with testing equipment, including Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software to record measurements.  (Image credit: Future)

How I tested the LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T

  • Tested using SDR and HDR sources
  • Tested in a lab with varying lighting conditions
  • Measurements taken using Portrait Displays' Calman Calibration software

After some initial causal viewing, I determined the LG's Filmmaker Mode picture preset was the most accurate. I used this for my subjective testing and for measurements using specialized equipment.

For subjective testing, I viewed both lower-resolution and high-definition broadcast TV, and HDR sources such as 4K Blu-ray. I used reference scenes from several movies to test for black levels, contrast, color, motion and more. I also used these same reference scenes to test the QNED91T's built-in audio performance.

To test gaming performance, I used an Xbox Series X and used Battlefield V, looking for smoothness of gameplay while analyzing graphics quality. I also used a Leo Bodnar 4K HDMI Input Lag Tester to test the QNED91T's input lag. 

For objective testing I used specialized equipment including a test pattern generator, colorimeter and Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software to record the results. I tested SDR and HDR brightness levels, color and grayscale accuracy and color gamut coverage.

For a more detailed breakdown, check out our guide on how we test TVs at TechRadar

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: a unique taste of flagship values
7:08 pm | April 17, 2024

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

Xiaomi 13T Pro: Two-minute review

Given that Xiaomi's T-series phones are normally considered 'mid-range' devices, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Xiaomi 13T Pro's capabilities would be limited, its hardware poor, and its experience lacking, however, this is frankly no longer the case. The 13T Pro will, for many, provide the flagship experience you'd expect from devices sometimes twice the price, but will not only set you back significantly less, it will also, surprisingly, surpass them in many areas of day-to-day use.

Straight away, the visuals of the Xiaomi 13T Pro bear a striking resemblance to more premium competition; featuring a glass or vegan leather rear panel – both of which are more appetizing to look at than most – even if you disregard the enormity of the camera bump also present on the device.

Xiaomi chose to tailor the 13T Pro towards efficiency and performance improvements, and these couldn't have worked much better. The MediaTek Dimensity 9200 Plus ensures the Xiaomi 13T Pro sets the benchmark for what supposedly mid-range phones can achieve when pushed. Providing not only impressively smooth performance during gaming but also minimal battery drain; the performance of the 13T Pro is one of the most notable among phones in this price bracket.

This performance tailoring hasn't left the 13T Pro slacking in other areas, however, as Xiaomi's partnership with Leica proves. The Xiaomi 13T Pro boasts an impressive and authentic camera, featuring great detail and customizability to ensure a reliable experience in day-to-day usage. This does, however, mask some issues surrounding the night and selfie capabilities, which seem to have been somewhat left behind.

Rounding off its performance tailoring nicely is the 13T Pro's almost expected battery superiority; with a 5,000mAh battery, 120W wired fast charging, and numerous battery performance-based improvements over predecessors. Despite these initial wins for the 13T Pro though, it is let down by a surprising lack of wireless charging, even if the immense speeds of its wired charging do a good enough job of making up for this.

If you're able to take the Xiaomi 13T Pro's quirks as exactly that, and instead focus on the impressive performance across the majority of the device, it's easy enough to learn to love this phone and appreciate what can be possible in the mid-range market.

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Price and availability

  • Unavailable in the US
  • 256GB variant unavailable in the UK 
  • Price impressively undercuts competitors

One of the biggest limitations of the Xiaomi 13T Pro – and the Xiaomi brand as a whole – is the availability of the device. Unfortunately, Xiaomi – alongside most other Chinese brands – is not sold in the US (when it comes to the company's smartphones at least). Alongside this, Xiaomi phones are not sold via any mainstream seller in Australia either (despite numerous attempts), limiting international availability to other countries across APAC, LATAM and EMEA, including the UK. That said, even there the cheaper 256GB + 12GB RAM model remains out of reach.

If you're not in a primary region for the 13T Pro but still curious about pricing, the 512GB model would cost approximately $880 / AU$1,350, based on the UK model's £699 asking price.

Value score: 3.5 / 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Specifications

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Design

Xiaomi 13T Pro rear panel vegan leather alpine blue

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
  • Comfortable, if slightly long in the hand
  • Limited color choices, with one standout
  • Large rear camera bump

Standing out from the mid-range crowd comes in no better form than some of the design choices of the Xiaomi 13T Pro. The device opts for a 20:9 aspect ratio, with semi-rounded edges and a curved rear panel, giving the Xiaomi 13T Pro a comfortable, if slightly long, feel in the hand. With the phone using a 6.67-inch display at this ratio, you may find it occasionally problematic to use the phone one-handed if you need to reach the topmost areas of the display, and it may not be as easily pocketed as some other devices. Most noticeably, however, the curved rear panel does a superb job of making the phone look, and feel, thinner than it is, making the phone appear a much closer comparison visually to its more premium rivals.

Xiaomi 13T Pro side profile

(Image credit: Future // Rob)

Coming in three colors, the Xiaomi 13T Pro doesn't offer extensive variety in this department, however, both the black and the green glass paneled options are pleasant to look at and, in the case of the green, a nice switch from traditional colors. The standout option amongst the three available colors, however, is Alpine blue. Coming exclusively in Xiaomi's BioComfort vegan leather, the Alpine Blue variant is a fresh, and fabulous, take on how to make a premium device. The vegan leather not only looks superb on the device, but also provides added comfort over its glass counterparts, as well as significantly reduces the risk of those pesky finger marks, stains, and scratches that are almost inevitable with glass-backed phones.

As with most well-equipped phones in the current market, one of the biggest design talking points of the Xiaomi 13T Pro is the rear camera bump.  The device comes with a triple camera setup made by Leica, and on this occasion, with big camera possibilities comes an even bigger camera bump. Although it's well-designed, and definitely not too big an eyesore, the camera bump does pose the phone some issues if you choose to use it without a case, as given its position on the left-hand side of the rear of the phone, as well as its protrusion from the rest of the device, the phone can become rather wobbly on flat surfaces, although this is fixed if you choose to use the free clear case you receive with the device.

Design score: 4 / 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Display

Xiaomi 13T Pro lock screen

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
  • 6.67-inch AMOLED panel
  • Up to 144Hz refresh rate
  • HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support

The display on the Xiaomi 13T Pro is one of its most impressive attributes. The phone uses a 6.67-inch AMOLED panel at up to a 144Hz (with refresh rate intervals at 30, 60, 90, 120 and 144Hz), and supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ standards to create one of the most pleasant and visually appealing displays on a smartphone at this price. The display is capable of reaching a peak brightness of 2,600nits and offers rich color reproduction, meaning it doesn't struggle when it comes to creating superb visuals. That high nit count meant I never struggled with using the device in a full gamut of conditions; the screen even has a sunlight mode to help in especially bright environments. However, in day-to-day use, the visibility and viewing angles available on the phone proved sensational.

The 13T Pro's adaptive refresh rate is enabled by default, but you can also customize this in the settings to lock the screen at 60Hz if this is what you prefer, although I can't imagine many people will want to. When it comes to the capabilities of the adaptive refresh rate, the display copes impressively well with some of the more arduous mobile games currently available.

In testing, we enjoyed high refresh rates and crisp, detailed, and vibrant graphics; making it difficult to not applaud how enjoyable gaming on the Pro is, even without some of the device's additional gaming-oriented options activated. When using the Xiaomi 13T Pro across social media, browsing, and general usage, the phone sits comfortably at between 1Hz and 120Hz, to optimize power consumption, while still providing an impressively smooth experience.

The phone comes with three preloaded color profiles that dictate how visuals appear on-screen: Vivid, Saturated and Original. If you prefer to tinker with more precision though – whether that be for color accuracy or simply personal preference – you can also adjust a number of more advanced settings within the phone's deeper display control menu.

Display score: 4.5 / 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Software

Xiaomi 13T Pro home screen

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
  • Upgradeable to Xiaomi's latest HyperOS atop Android 14
  • Small but appreciated generational user experience improvements
  • Four major Android updates promised from launch

Despite releasing on the company's MIUI 14 atop Android 13, at the time of review, Xiaomi had already upgraded the 13T Pro to its new and improved HyperOS user experience; creating responsive, minimalist environment atop the latest Android 14. Small tweaks across areas such as the main font, app icons and user menus give the Xiaomi 13T Pro a pleasing aesthetic, and improvements in performance over the previous MIUI 14 make sure that you aren't left with intractions that aren't as smooth as the redesign itself.

Personalization is improved but still somewhat fenced-in on the Xiaomi 13T Pro, with improved lock screen options that near-enough mirror the experience on the likes of the iPhone 15. Once past the lock screen, practically all of the visual and interaction tweaks you're likely make will pass through the preinstalled Themes app, which offers an array of different elements to make your device your own; even if the personalization process itself isn't necessarily the best.

One key downside of previous iterations of Xiaomi's user experience has bloatware and the inability to remove many of Xiaomi's own preloaded apps, but with the Xiaomi 13T Pro we see a small but appreciated change to this trend. There are now only eight first-party apps that you are unable to uninstall, which is frankly nothing compared to what we've been inundated with on prior generations.

Like many devices in its weight class, the Xiaomi 13T Pro was promised four major Android updates over the course of its lifespan, which while behind market leaders, should more than long enough based on the average user's upgrade frequency. Add to that improved OS performance and battery management and the Xiaomi 13T Pro is more than likely to last you while remaining a more than capable smartphone at the end of its life.

Software score: 4 / 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Cameras

Xiaomi 13T Pro camera bump

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
  • Camera system tuned in partnership with Leica
  • Triple rear camera and 20MP selfie snapper
  • Vast array of more advanced shooting modes

Xiaomi's partnership with Leica on the Xiaomi 13T Pro has resulted in a top-notch camera experience. The 13T Pro runs a triple rear sensor setup, featuring a 50MP main camera, 50MP telephoto camera, and a 12MP ultra-wide camera, whilst the display plays host to a 20MP selfie camera; all in all, a very solid start. The rear cameras can shoot in one of two visual styles, these being 'Leica Authentic' and 'Leica Vibrant,' both of which offer pleasing results under different conditions. Vibrant, as you'd expect, serves up more vivid, contrasting color in scenes, whilst Authentic leverages a more reserved, muted, true-to-life palette, just as we've seen from previous Leica-partnered phones.

Finding a balance between advanced photography controls and satisfying the everyday user is a challenging task, but one which the Xiaomi 13T Pro tackles with aplomb. Yes, there are a large number of menus and options, some of which might never see the light of day under standard usage, but equally, the features you need most are laid out simply and efficiently for quick access in a variety of scenarios. Thanks to both the Pro's large screen and some clever UI placement options, selecting relevant shooting settings is simple enough, even when using the Xiaomi 13T Pro's 'Pro Mode,' which opens up even greater control over conventional photography variables like ISO, exposure and white balance.

Camera samples

Image 1 of 5

Xiaomi 13T camera sample of a church at dusk

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
Image 2 of 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro image sample night  shot of bridge

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
Image 3 of 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro camera sample of petrol station night shot

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
Image 4 of 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro camera sample close up shot of tree

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
Image 5 of 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro camera sample

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)

The results we saw from the main camera system were impressive, finding a pleasant and effective blend of detail and color accuracy; especially for a device at this price point. The 13T Pro has three optical zoom levels – 0.6x, 1x, and 2x – and was impressive at retaining details and color science consistency throughout. I was positively surprised by the 13T Pro's video shooting from the rear camera, with an impressive level of image stabilization, however, it struggled when trying to zoom during filming, with some notable stuttering and clear color changes when moving from optical to digital zoom ranges; an understandable stumbling block for a phone not necessarily striving to push photographic boundaries. 10-bit LOG video capture is a novel inclusion too, that adds greater post-capture versatility to footage for those looking for an affordable but capable phone for videography.

Other shortcomings noticed during testing included an unnatural level of lighting correction when shooting in dimly lit scenarios, leading to color inaccuracies and limited detail. Detail issues also persisted when using the selfie camera, though this is one area which hasn't received much in the way of generational attention; understandable, if annoying. Overall, however, an the 13T Pro serves up an impressive array of photographic capabilities and provides results that any casual mobile photographer or videographer would no doubt be happy with.

Cameras score: 3.5 / 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Performance

Xiaomi 13T Pro with Mortal Kombat gameplay

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
  • MediaTek Dimensity 9200 Plus chipset
  • Up to 1TB UFS 4.0 storage
  • Up to 16GB LPDDR5X RAM

For many, an Android device not running an ever-reliable Qualcomm Snapdragon chip might be a reason to worry, but the Dimensity 9200 Plus SoC powering the Xiaomi 13T Pro does nothing short of an impressive job at letting this phone go toe to toe with even some flagship competition. The intention of the 13T Pro's Plus-branded chip was to improve efficiency and performance over the standard 9200, with a focus on improved gaming performance and battery efficiency in day-to-day use, both of which the Xiaomi 13T Pro appears to excel at with reasonable ease.

While gaming, the phone was not only able to comfortably hold a consistent and high frame rate across the likes of Call of Duty Mobile, Genshin Impact, and Grid Autosport, but it was also able to retain an impressive amount of battery during longer gaming stints both thanks to the hardware – such as the improved Immortalis-G715 GPU – and the integrated performance optimizing software.

During testing, I did note some warmth across the device for the duration of my gaming stint, but nothing that was too uncomfortable or unexpected for the fidelity of games being played, and at no point did thermal throttling impact on competitive performance to any discernible degree.

The Xiaomi 13T Pro also stands as one of the first Xiaomi devices to dip its toe into the waters of AI. With its upgrade to HyperOS adding support for such functionality as an AI eraser tool and background editor – to help add to the already impressive camera capabilities mentioned earlier. What's more, that's only the start, with Xiaomi delivering even more AI enhancement on the Xiaomi 14 series. That said, to what extent of these will reach back to the 13T Pro remains unknown for now.

Performance score: 4.5 / 5

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Battery

Xiaomi 13T Pro charging port

(Image credit: Future // Rob Dunne)
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • 120W wired charging
  • No wireless charging

One of the most impressive areas of the Xiaomi 13T Pro – on paper at least – is its battery and charging capabilities. The phone boasts a large 5,000mAh battery, with rapid 120W wired charging – when using the power adapter provided. Xiaomi's Surge Battery Management system is also onboard to help improve battery safety and elongate the lifespan of the device over prolonged use too.

Whilst I was unable to replicate Xiaomi's charging estimate of only 19 minutes to 100% when using 120W wired charging (paired with 'boost mode') during testing, the phone was still impressively quick to charge to 100% and was comfortably able to give me over 12 hours of active screen time before beginning to creep closer to needing a charge.

Somewhat strangely, the Xiaomi 13T Pro – whilst powerful in its wired charging solutions – lacks any form of wireless charging; which presumably is a side-effect of the T-series more affordable standing in Xiaomi's extensive smartphone portfolio. Even so, the impressive wired charging speeds possible meant the inability to rest the phone on a wireless charging pad rarely felt like an issue.

Battery score: 3.5 / 5

Should you buy the Xiaomi 13T Pro?

Buy it if...

Don't buy if...

Xiaomi 13T Pro review: Also consider

How I tested the Xiaomi 13T Pro

  • Review period: one month
  • Testing included: everyday use, such as web browsing, photography, gaming, calling and messaging, music playback, as well as some benchmarking tests. 
  • Tools used: Geekbench 6, Geekbench ML, GFXBench, native device stats, Xiaomi 120W charger

True testing of the Xiaomi 13T Pro took place over the course of about a month, with the writing of the review occurring over an extended period afterwards. The Xiaomi 13T Pro reviewed here was a 512GB storage, 12GB RAM, Alpine Blue (with Xiaomi's BioComfort vegan leather) model. The Xiaomi 13T Pro was put through a variety of tests, not limited to daily usage, gaming, photography, streaming of music and video, and, as ever, benchmarking.

Having worked with phones for years – originally on shop floors and later by writing about them on TechRadar (including buying advice surrounding phones in this category) – I felt comfortable reviewing the 13T Pro, safe in the knowledge I had the expertise and context to do it justice.

Xiaomi 13T Pro deals

First reviewed April 2024

Panasonic MZ980 review: a mid-range OLED TV that punches above its weight
1:00 pm | March 16, 2024

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

Panasonic MZ980: Two-minute review

The Panasonic MZ980 is the brand's mid-range OLED TV offering from 2023. Although it stands out as a great all-rounder, it’s a bit unfortunate – and actually ultimately unfair, as we’ll see – that the most headline-grabbing thing about the MZ980 is stuff it doesn’t have. Namely the brightness-enhancing Micro Lens Array and proprietary heat sink hardware that you get with the brand’s step up MZ1500 and MZ2000 models. 

The MZ980 does still get a premium OLED panel, though, as well as the latest version of Panasonic’s Hollywood-influenced HCX Pro AI picture processor. Plus, of course, it’s significantly cheaper than its more highly specified siblings, coming in at just £1,399 for the 55-inch sized model at the time of writing.

Making this price look all the more tempting is the simple fact that the MZ980 is a brilliant performer, holding its own against the best OLED TVs. Its picture quality benefits from all of OLED’s traditional benefits – spectacular local contrast, beautifully inky black colours, rich but subtle colours and wide viewing angles – while the excellent video processor adds a truly cinematic finish to proceedings.

The MZ980 sounds good too, despite lacking the forward-facing speakers carried by Panasonic’s step-up models, and while its smart system might not be the most sophisticated in the world, it’s easy to use and these days carries all of the most important streaming services. 

Panasonic’s step up OLED TVs are even better, of course – but unless you have a particularly bright room to cope with, the MZ980’s value proposition is hard to resist.

Panasonic MZ980 Review: Price and release date

A close up of the bezel on the Panasonic MZ980 TV

(Image credit: Future)
  • Release date: Late 2023
  • Price: starting at £1,399 for the 55-inch model 

Having launched a few months back at an already then tempting £1,799, the 55MZ980 is now widely available for just £1,399. Panasonic does not currently sell its TVs in the US or Australia. 

The MZ980s are, unusually for a mid-range OLED series, only available in relatively small screen sizes. The 55-inch model we’re looking at here is actually the biggest in the range, being joined only by 48- and 42-inch models. 

As we’ll see, though, you shouldn’t let this fool you into thinking that the MZ980 is only good enough to be considered as a ‘second TV’. This is still a very serious TV – just one aimed at people who don’t have cavernous living rooms.

Panasonic MZ980 review: Features

The ports on the back of the Panasonic MZ980

(Image credit: Future)
  • 4K OLED TV
  • HCX Pro AI processor 
  • Supports all four key HDR formats

So we can get it out of the way and put behind us, let’s start with things the MZ980 does not have. Either the combination of a new high-end Micro Lens Array panel with advanced proprietary heat sink hardware that Panasonic’s MZ2000 flagship OLEDs get, or the same heat sink hardware (minus the MLA technology) that the brand’s MZ1500s get.

It does still use a mid-grade OLED panel rather than an ‘entry level’ one, but even before we got our measuring gear out we know it wouldn’t be as bright as those step up models. 

Tests confirm that while the MZ2000 hits brightness peaks on a 10% white HDR test window of around 1650 nits in Dynamic mode and 1432 nits in its more stable Cinema mode, and the MZ1500 hits around 950 nits in its Cinema mode, the 55MZ980’s Cinema mode peaks at just over 700 nits. That’s basically a 50% brightness drop versus the MZ2000, and a still significant 250 nits versus the MZ1500. You will certainly feel this with HDR content, especially if your TV is typically used in a bright room. 

It’s worth noting, too, that the MZ980 measures slightly less bright than LG’s rival C3 models – though I should stress right away that while brightness certainly matters in the HDR world, it absolutely is not the only thing that makes a great HDR picture. Especially when a TV’s picture processing knows how to get the maximum performance from the hardware available to it – something Panasonic has been a master of with self-emissive displays like OLED since its plasma days. 

With this in mind, the big positive news about the MZ980 is that it retains the top-line HCX Pro AI processor also used by its step-up MZ1500 and MZ2000 siblings. Powered and endlessly refined by Panasonic’s engineers with years of experience dealing with both Hollywood creatives and self-emissive panel technologies, always with a strong focus on recreating creative intent, HCX engines can usually be relied on to achieve subtleties, balances and details precious few other TVs can. Especially when it comes to handling the sort of ‘near dark’ image content that’s typically one of the most difficult things for OLED TVs to manage.

While the MZ980 continues Panasonic’s obsession with accuracy, though, especially with its Filmmaker Mode, and True Cinema presets, it’s also open minded enough to provide an unusually wide-ranging roster of other picture presets that put more of an emphasis on pushing the panel to its colour and brightness limits.

The same spirit of trying to cater for everyone extends, happily, to the MZ980’s HDR format support. While many brands, including, most notably, Sony, LG and Samsung, only support three of the ‘big four’ HDR formats on even their flagship TVs, the MZ980 will play all four: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. So the 55MZ980 will always be able to take in the best version of whatever HDR content you feed it. 

Gamers, meanwhile, will be pleased to learn that the MZ980 supports 4K/120Hz gaming and variable refresh rates over two of its four HDMI ports, including the AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-Sync VRR formats. We’ll cover the TV’s gaming abilities in more detail later.

Besides the four HDMIs, the MZ980’s connections include three USBs (two side, one bottom, one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0), an Ethernet port, an analogue video inout, an optical digital audio output, and a headphone jack that unusually does double duty as a potential line out for attaching an optional external subwoofer.

Smart features are provided by the eighth generation of Panasonic’s own My Home Screen operating system. Again we’ll cover this in more detail in a dedicated section later, so all I’ll add here is that this is actually the final outing for My Home Screen before it’s replaced on Panasonic’s future high-end TVs by a fully integrated version of Amazon’s Fire TV interface. 

As mentioned in passing earlier, the MZ980 doesn’t have a forward facing, truly multi-channel sound system like its step up OLED siblings do. Its 2 x 15W set up, though, still has enough power to potentially deliver some reasonably cinematic thrills, especially as it’s backed up by Theater Surround Pro processing designed to create a more immersive sound with the Dolby Atmos soundtracks the TV supports than you might expect to hear from a mere stereo speaker set up.

Features score: 4 / 5

Panasonic MZ980 Review: Picture quality

The Netflix menu on the Panasonic MZ980

(Image credit: Future)
  • Exceptional light and colour subtlety
  • Outstanding picture processing
  • Brilliant contrast disguises limited brightness

While the MZ980 might not deliver the razzle dazzle of the latest high-end OLED TVs, its pictures are so refined and immersive that it’s hard to believe they’re coming out of a 55-inch TV that only costs £1,399.

This finesse is at its peerless best when it comes to the MZ980’s handling of dark scenes. The screen’s ability to distinguish between incredibly small differences in light in even the darkest corners of the darkest pictures is mesmerising, giving such imagery a unique sense of depth and detail that feels as if it’s jumped straight off a professional mastering monitor. Especially as this extreme subtlety is delivered without a hint of the sort of instabilities, blocking or fizzing noise that can crop up with other OLED screens with near-black content. Dark scenes on the 55MZ980 are as clean and pure as bright ones, in fact.

Since this is an OLED screen there’s no need to worry about backlight clouding or blooming of the sort you would expect to see with LCD TVs. Nor is there any residual greyness hanging over dark scenes, completing the sense of insight and immersion that started with the immaculate near-dark detailing.

While it’s the MZ980’s handling of dark scenes and picture areas that makes the strongest immediate impression, its handling of light is in truth just as effective. From the subtle dark scene shading through to the brightest HDR peaks, the MZ980 delivers levels of light control (right down to individual pixel level, don’t forget, given this is an OLED screen) that appear flawless across every shade. As a result, the picture always feels completely authentic and natural, perfectly balanced and full of depth, while different objects in the image always look impeccably three dimensional, realistic and contextualised. 

Again you actually feel like you’re getting a gorgeously full sense of the subtleties of the professional masterer’s art. Despite this TV costing just £1,399 versus the many tens of thousands of pounds a professional mastering display costs.

While the processing and light control is at its most effective with the 55MZ980’s most ‘accurate’ picture settings, its profound understanding of the screen’s hardware strengths and limitations also means that it typically ensures that even the more ‘dramatic’ picture presets never stray into distractingly excessive territory.

The set’s tone mapping is astute enough, meanwhile, to pretty much exclude clipping (loss of subtle details) from the brightest parts of the picture, continuing the sense of ‘sweating the small stuff’ that’s the MZ980’s trade mark.

Colours, meanwhile, look surprisingly vibrant for a TV of relatively limited brightness - aided and abetted by a combination of the immaculate light control, exceptional colour mapping and outstanding contributions, again, from the HCX Pro AI picture processor. It helps, too, that colours are able to appear against a foundation of such deep and natural black colours. 

Obviously some picture presets push more vibrant colours than others, as you’d expect with any TV, but the True Cinema and Filmmaker Modes achieve outstanding accuracy and refinement, while even the punchier settings retain more colour balance and control than similar modes on most rival models.

Not surprisingly with a TV that puts so much store in precision, native 4K images on the 55MZ980 look gorgeously detailed and textured. The HCX Pro AI processor also manages to retain a startling amount of this detail and texture, too, when upscaling HD sources. Motion when watching 24p movies can look a touch juddery with no motion processing active (as it can on most OLED TVs, actually), but the lowest setting of Panasonic’s Intelligent Frame Creation motion compensation system is now clever enough to slightly massage the judder effect without making the image look uncinematically smooth or adding too many distracting processing side effects.

The only major elephant in the room with the MZ980’s pictures is their brightness - or lack thereof. There’s no denying that its images don’t look nearly as light and bold as those of the latest generation of MLA-equipped OLED TVs. Nor are they quite as consistently punchy as LG’s similarly priced and specified C3 OLED range, especially where a scene or shot fills the whole screen with brightness.

While this does mean you need to treat the 55MZ980 with respect by lowering light levels in your room when you want to enjoy a serious movie night, though, the MZ980’s infinite subtlety and richly cinematic qualities make it worthy of as much respect as you can muster.

Picture quality: 4.5 / 5 

Panasonic MZ980 review: Sound quality

The speakers on the Panasonic MZ980

(Image credit: Future)
  • Good volume and projection 
  • Solid, clean bass handling 
  • Male voices occasionally sound muffled 

The bad news about the MZ980’s sound is that it doesn’t deliver either the scale of sound staging you get with Panasonic’s step up models, or as much forward ‘thrust’. This lack of directness might also explain why male voices can sometimes sound a little muffled and contained.

Just because the MZ980 doesn’t sound as big and detailed as its more expensive siblings, though, doesn’t mean it’s not actually a very decent audio performer for its money. Its speakers are powerful enough to get surprisingly loud without succumbing to distortion, for starters, and despite the limited number of speakers on offer a decently wide sound stage is created into which effects are placed with excellent clarity. There’s even a slight sense of height to some effects when playing Dolby Atmos soundtracks.

The speakers are sensitive enough to pick up even the faintest of audio elements in a film mix too, ensuring that soundtracks always sound busy and involving. 

Bass doesn’t reach the sort of depths required to unlock the full weight of a potent action scene (so you may want to consider adding a subwoofer via the switchable headphone output at some point), but it does at least delve deep enough to stop loud scenes from sounding harsh or thin. It does so, too, without the low frequencies becoming overwhelming, or causing the speakers to crackle or buzz.

Sound quality score: 4 / 5 

Panasonic MZ980 review: Design

A close up of the stand of the Panasonic MZ980

(Image credit: Future)
  • Slim frame around the screen 
  • Centrally mounted desktop 'foot'
  • A bit chunky round the back 

Viewed straight on, the MZ980 is an attractive addition to your living room. Its screen and frame exist on the same single plane, the frame is on-trend narrow, and although it’s a bit more plasticky than the stands of Panasonic’s more expensive OLED TVs, its centrally mounted plate-style foot looks premium and robust. 

Having its desktop mount placed in the centre of the TV rather than using feet tucked under each bottom corner also means that the 55MZ980 can be placed on even quite narrow bits of furniture.

The MZ980 is not such a great wall mounting option, though, thanks to the way that two to three inches in from the screen’s outer edges the rear panel suddenly juts out a country mile by OLED standards.

Design score: 4 / 5 

Panasonic MZ980 review: Smart features and menus

The remote of the Panasonic MZ980

(Image credit: Future)
  • Uses the My Home Screen 8.0 smart interface 
  • Long but comprehensive set up menus
  • Covers all the main streaming services 

With Panasonic announcing recently that it’s moving to Amazon’s Fire TV platform for the smart interfaces of its future premium TVs, the 55MZ980 represents the swan song for Panasonic’s long-running proprietary My Home Screen smart TV interface. And while the platform has certainly had its struggles along the way, this eighth and final generation sees it bowing out on good form for the most part. 

It now incorporates all of the key streaming and catch up apps the vast majority of UK and European TV buyers would want, and while its interface looks a little basic at first glance, it’s actually really simple to navigate and, best of all, exceptionally easy to customise. There’s voice control support too (Alexa is built in, while Google Assistant works if you have an external Google listening device).

My Home Screen isn’t as sophisticated as some rival smart platforms when it comes to intelligently recommending content you might like, and it can occasionally become a touch sluggish. For the most part, though, I quite like it and might even miss it a bit when it’s gone. 

The 55MZ980’s set up menus contain a vast number of adjustment and tweak options for you to pick your way through. There are, of course pros and cons to this. On the negative side the menus are long, text heavy, full of sub-menus and a bit jargon-heavy in places. On the plus side, if you’re the sort of person who enjoys a good tinker the flexibility the 55MZ980 gives you for adjusting any and all aspects of its picture quality is outstanding. 

Smart features and menus score: 4 / 5

Panasonic MZ980 review: Gaming

The back of the Panasonic MZ980

(Image credit: Future)
  • 4K / 120Hz support
  • Support for multiple VRR systems
  • Dolby Vision gaming mode

Aside from only two of its four HDMIs delivering the full roster of gaming support, the 55MZ980 is impressively equipped for cutting edge gaming experiences.

Those two high bit-rate HDMIs support 4K resolution graphics at 120Hz frame rates and variable refresh rates, for starters. In fact, the VRR support actually covers both the AMD Freesync and Nvidia G-Sync systems as well as the core HDMI-based format. 

The 55MZ980’s Dolby Vision support extends to a proper gaming mode, too, meaning you can game in Dolby Vision HDR from Xboxes and compatible PC cards without having to put up with high levels of input lag. In fact, lag drops to a very respectable 14.5ms with 60Hz sources.

Gamers can call up a dedicated Game Control Board interface containing key signal information and gaming adjustment options, including two different audio profile options optimised for RPG and FPS game types.

There’s even a True Game picture preset alongside the standard Game one, which offers a properly calibrated gaming image for any picture quality enthusiasts who want that.

All of these thoughtful features contribute to a hugely enjoyable gaming experience that looks crisp, ultra-detailed and exceptionally refined. It’s true that HDR graphics don’t look as aggressively bright as they do on some more expensive OLEDs and premium LCD TVs, but as with the 55MZ980’s video performance, the subtleties Panasonic’s screen delivers provide ample compensation.

Gaming score: 4.5 / 5

Panasonic MZ980 review: Value

  • Great price for what it offers
  • £200 cheaper than Panasonic's step-up model 
  • Slightly more expensive than the LG C3

Now that it’s available for a few hundred pounds less than it was at launch, the 55MZ980 is exceptional value. Just £1,399 really doesn’t feel like a lot to ask for a TV that offers as many features and as much top-notch performance - for both gamers and video fans - as the 55MZ980 does. 

There is some pretty tough competition around, though. In particular, LG’s excellent OLED55C3 mid-range OLED model can currently be had for just £1,299, offering four full gaming HDMIs and slightly more brightness. Though it doesn’t provide quite the same picture subtlety as the Panasonic.

Stepping up to Panasonic’s 55MZ1500, with the useful step up in brightness created by its built-in heat sink, will cost you an extra £200. Whether that sounds like a better deal or not will obviously depend on how near the top of your budget you already are with the 55MZ980’s £1,399 asking price.

Value score: 4 / 5

Should I buy the Panasonic MZ980?

Buy it if...

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Panasonic MZ980 review: Also consider

How we tested the Panasonic MZ980

  • Tested over 10 days 
  • Tested with 4K/HD Blu-ray, streaming and Freeview HD broadcasts
  • Reviewed in both dark and light dedicated test room conditions, and a regular (corner position) living room set up

Given that the 55MZ980 doesn’t carry either a built-in hardware heat sink or new Micro Lens Array technology like some of the best tvs, we started our testing by measuring its brightness using Spears & Munsil HDR window test screens and a professional light meter to try and get a feel for where it lies in the great (and now more complicated) OLED scheme of things. 

With its slightly lower than typical brightness in mind, we then went on to spend time watching both HDR and SDR content on it in a wider range of light and room conditions than we normally would to see how well or otherwise it coped with different environments. Ultimately we ended up spending longer with it in a largely blacked out room than we did in brighter settings, since it was in darker surroundings where the TV most excelled, allowing us to fully appreciate its strengths. The set was tested with a selection of our favourite test 4K Blu-rays - especially Babylon, Pan, It Chapter One, Blade Runner 2049, and the Spears & Munsil test signal disc - to see how it handled key picture attributes such as contrast, colour, sharpness, fine detailing, motion and upscaling of sub-4K sources. 

We fed it a variety of resolutions from various streaming and digital broadcast sources too, using both the built-in streaming apps and a Sky Q receiver, to see how well its HCX Pro AI processor dealt with the joys of compression artefacts, while gaming was tested using both a PS5 and an Xbox Series X, with a Leo Bodnar input lag testing device being used to measure input lag.

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  • Reviewed in March 2024
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review: taken to the extreme
9:00 pm | January 17, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Phones Samsung Galaxy Phones | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: January 2024
• Camera updates continue to roll out
• Launch price: $1,299.99 / £1,249 / AU$2,199
• Lowest price on Amazon: $1,149.99 / £1,040 / AU$2,199

Update: April 2024. The Galaxy S24 Ultra is not only our pick for the best smartphone overall, it's also our favorite camera phone, at the top of our best camera phone list. That means that all eyes are on the S24 Ultra and the images it produces. Perhaps that's why Samsung keeps releasing camera updates to improve the image quality and stability of the camera system. We're on our third update since the phone launched, and image quality was always good, but Samsung is going to keep tweaking this phone, probably until we have a Galaxy S25 Ultra to play with. 

Galaxy S24 Ultra: Two-minute review

If you made a list of everything you’d want on the best phone you can buy, your list would point to one phone: the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Samsung is clearly working from the same list, and the S24 Ultra will please fans and tech enthusiasts alike. In many ways, including some I didn’t expect, the Galaxy S24 Ultra proves itself the best phone you can buy at any price. 

Do you want the best battery life? The Galaxy S24 Ultra outlasts the best iPhones and every previous Galaxy phone; it lasts more than a day with intense use. 

Do you want the best cameras around? The Galaxy S24 Ultra takes better photos than its predecessor, no matter what the spec sheet says. It remains the most versatile camera phone for all types of photographs. Your artistic friends may prefer the iPhone 15 Pro, but you’ll take better shots of everything if you have a Galaxy S24 Ultra. 

What else do you need? If you play games, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is one of the best gaming phones ever. It outperforms the best Android gaming phones, and it can even beat the blazing-fast iPhone 15 Pro Max

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra lock screen

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

If you use your phone for work, the S24 Ultra has professional features that even the Pro iPhone can’t top, like Samsung DeX software that turns your phone into a veritable laptop, complete with windows and an application dock. 

Samsung is relentless. In its pursuit to push the Galaxy S24 Ultra further than any phone that came before, it has mostly succeeded. And yet, more than ever, it’s apparent what is missing: elegance and simplicity. 

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is the best phone you can buy in all of the ways that should matter. It’s also the culmination of Samsung’s worst instincts. And while fans won’t mind suffering for Samsung’s advancements, this phone won’t be winning any switchers from the competition. 

Samsung’s software is a mess. It’s a morass of settings, hidden features, and useless options that clutter the interface. It’s a jumble of features that were old five years ago, but which haven’t been either updated or abandoned since. 

For every new feature Samsung adds to excite buyers, it takes two steps back, hiding those features beneath further settings menus and layers of options. If you were expecting to find new AI features on the Galaxy S24 Ultra you won’t be disappointed, as long as you’re willing to look three layers deep in the Settings app.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra showing tiktok

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Samsung also may have squandered its brief performance lead on fanciful AI features that don’t work very well, or aren’t useful at all. Even if you find the language translation feature magical, you’ll also find a useless AI button that will reformat your Samsung Notes (who uses those?), or offer an inaccurate summarization of the web page you’re reading (gee, thanks). 

Worst of all, these AI features add a delay. While you’re speeding around the new Galaxy at the fastest clip ever, these new AI features are speed bumps on the highway, and the results are just as welcome. I’m hopeful that useful AI advancements are coming, but right now we’re suffering through a lot of proofs of concept, and it’s only slowing down this otherwise lightning-fast phone. 

The bottom line for the Galaxy S24 Ultra is still very high in the sky. This phone is the best you can buy, and all the software frustration and useless AI features won’t keep me from appreciating the weekend-long battery life, the unfailing cameras, and the endlessly-useful S Pen.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra from the back with S Pen mostly withdrawn

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

This is the phone I use instead of my laptop or my tablet, because it’s more powerful and convenient when I need to get work done. This is the phone I show off when I want people to see what technology is coming in the near future. This is the phone I carry when I want to carry next to nothing, but still do everything. 

I wish the Galaxy S24 Ultra was much easier to use, and maybe AI can solve Samsung’s usability problems in the future. I think Samsung needs a reckoning before that happens. The iPhone 15 Pro with iOS 17 is not just simpler, it’s more fun and sociable, with cool features like Name Drop and Check In that make iPhone users proud to share among iPhone friends. 

Samsung doesn’t seem to care about that, but it should. The software problems have gotten bad enough that I won’t stick around much longer. The hardware is already great, and it somehow keeps getting better. Now it’s time for Samsung to focus on using the phones, instead of just building them.

Galaxy S24 Ultra: Price and value

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra from the back in titanium grey

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Costs more than last year’s Galaxy S23 Ultra
  • Seven years of OS updates could improve value
  • Trade in deals and launch offers aren’t as good as last year

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is more expensive at launch than last year's Ultra, and the difference is going to hurt more. The Galaxy S23 Ultra was already packed with features, and there's nothing so big and new in the Galaxy S24 Ultra. It just got a little bit better in a lot of ways. 

The real value could come down the road, thanks to Samsung's promise to deliver seven years of major Android and security updates. That length of long-term support was unheard of only last year, but now we have seven years of support for the best Android phones, with Apple lagging behind offering only five years of support. 

Samsung can promise breathlessly, but until we get to year seven, we won't know if it will truly deliver. Apple has literally delivered on this long-term promise a dozen times already across a wide range of iPhones. Google and Samsung – not once.

There's already reason to be skeptical. Buried in Samsung's latest terms of service is a notice that the current slate of AI features may only remain free for a limited time. Frankly, we have no idea what that means and it's too early to speculate. But it's weird, in a way that seems like Samsung is building legal backdoors to weasel out of expectations. Apple doesn't do that. Only time will tell if Samsung holds up.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in front of Galaxy S23 Ultra

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

I bought a Galaxy S23 Ultra last year, trading a Galaxy S21 Ultra for it, and I am sad to report that trade in deals and discounts at launch are not as enticing as they were a year ago.

If you are trading up from last year's model, expect to pay hundreds over your trade value. I'd still say it's worth making the leap, just this once. Older phones are going to be left out of the newest AI features more and more with every update. That means values could plummet the first time Samsung delivers bad news and drops the features guillotine on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, or something even newer. 

In the months since I originally published this review, we have seen some deals on the Galaxy S24 Ultra on Amazon, effectively lowering the price by around $150 / £200 or so. This is still one of the most expensive phones you can buy, and we don't see Samsung dropping the price much more, even when the next generation of Galaxy Z foldable phones shows up later this year. 

Is this phone worth such a high price? If you're asking that question, you are reading the wrong review. You want the Galaxy S24 Plus, which is probably worth it. This is the Ultra. This is the extreme phone; the one that does what no other phone can do. You can't put a normal price tag on Ultra. It doesn't fit.

  • Value Score: 3 / 5

Galaxy S24 Ultra review: Specs and benchmarks

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra showing writing on lock screen

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

In our Future Labs benchmark tests of the Galaxy S24 Ultra, an astonishing thing happened. It beat the best-performing iPhone: the iPhone 15 Pro. In almost every single benchmark test we ran, the Galaxy S24 Ultra scored higher. In multi-core tests, graphics rendering tests, battery rundown tests, and many others, the Galaxy S24 Ultra beat the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. 

Last year's Galaxy S23 Ultra was not able to top the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max, and it has been quite some time since an Android device scored a resounding win in cross-platform benchmark testing.

That said, I don't use benchmark scores in my final review score, and I only mention scores out of objective curiosity, not because benchmarks should be a part of a buying decision.

Galaxy S24 Ultra review: Design

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra from side showing buttons

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • A big ol’ slab of smartphone
  • Titanium hasn’t made it lighter
  • Polished and classy, but unchanged

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is indistinguishable from the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which doesn't mean there are no differences, but rather the changes are inconsequential. The speaker grills are different, the microphones moved a bit, but mostly the new phone looks like the old phone. That's too bad, because while Samsung's Ultra phone oozes a certain refinement, it isn't very interesting at a glance.

A deeper inspection is rewarding. The back glass is layers upon layers of metallic paint, which gives the phone an eerie depth, especially in the ghostly, natural grey titanium finish. The violet finish is my favorite, with a great contrast against the polished metal. 

Samsung pays great attention to detail when it comes to color, materials and finish. Each color has a subtly hued frame that complements the new Gorilla Glass Armor back. The titanium black is all black, while other color options edge into warmer frame tones.

Apple fans like to point out the symmetry of their phone as a pinnacle of its design. Frankly, Samsung is more smart than symmetrical. I prefer having Power and Volume buttons on the same side. It means I don't fill my photo gallery with accidental screenshots every time I grab my phone.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra beneath an iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Like Apple, Samsung has opted for titanium on the frame this year, but it doesn’t make as much difference as it does on my iPhone 15 Pro Max. The Pro Max managed to shed considerable weight this year versus last year, about half an ounce. The Galaxy Ultra? It’s a single gram lighter, at most.

If you’ve never played with an Ultra, you really need to pick one up and pop the pen. Did you know the S Pen clicks? There's no reason for it. It could just pop out, spring-loaded, but instead the S Pen has a clicky top that is extremely satisfying. Oh, the S Pen is also a motion-sensing stylus with a Bluetooth camera remote button, but Samsung hasn't neglected the clicky top. 

Of course, that S Pen isn’t just built for fun, it’s one of the most surprisingly capable accessories ever. It’s as precise as a professional drawing tool, not like a big, clumsy, rubber-tipped stylus that you can buy for an iPhone.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra held from the side

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

It also has Bluetooth built in so the side button can act as a remote control for other features on your phone, especially the camera. That’s right, the Galaxy S24 Ultra ships with a remote camera shutter release, which is an accessory I actually bought to go with my Nikon DSLR. 

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is flat this year, ending a run of screen curvature that began with the double-black-diamond slope of the Galaxy Note Edge, and subtly resolved itself into a signature Samsung look that reduced the effect of the bezel around the edges. On the front and back, the Galaxy S23 Ultra has gently-rounded curves that make the phone feel much nicer to hold. The Galaxy S24 Ultra is more sharp, and though it isn't uncomfortable, it feels conspicuously big.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

Galaxy S24 Ultra review: Display

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra showing generative AI wallpaper castle

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Fantastic display in bright light or a very dim room
  • Huge and sharp, among the best you’ll find
  • Lack of Dolby Vision support still stings

The display on the Galaxy S24 Ultra is excellent, as good as you'd hope to find on a premiere smartphone. It’s huge, bright and colorful, especially using the Vivid color tone option.

There are plenty of adaptations for this display, including adaptive brightness and color tones that measure ambient lighting and adjust the display to look its best. In bright, outdoor light, the display can boost to a stunning 2,600 nits, which isn't quite the brightest you can find, but you won't need any brighter. 

Even more interesting might be the Extra Dim option. The Galaxy S24 Ultra can maintain good color fidelity even down at one nit of brightness. That's dim enough that you could almost check your messages in a movie theater, but then you’d be an extra dim Ultra jerk. But you could.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra playing a TikTok video

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

There is an always-on display mode, but Samsung also still makes its unique S-View cases, which provide a small window for time, weather, and notifications, peeping through a wallet cover case. It's a very cool case feature that Samsung never abandoned, even if we haven't checked them out for a while. 

Could the Galaxy S24 Ultra display be any better? Absolutely. There are phone displays that can reach 144Hz refresh rate, though that may be faster than a human eye can actually see. 

It would be nice for Samsung to give up the fight against Dolby Vision on its phone displays and TV sets. If you watch a lot of Netflix, shows look better when you compare a display with Dolby Vision against a display without. It seems like a silly omission for Samsung not to support Dolby's HDR video standard, when it supports Dolby Audio.

  • Display score: 5 / 5

Galaxy S24 Ultra review: Software

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra showing Advanced Intelligence settings menu

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Terrible software hides all new features under ‘Settings’
  • New AI features are occasionally magical, but mostly useless
  • Seven year update promise already has an asterisk

It has become abundantly clear that Samsung is focused entirely on hardware and has no interest in improving its software. The software on the Galaxy S24 Ultra is terrible, and One UI is becoming unusable. Even the simplest features are bogged down with options and menus, and Samsung can’t seem to make a single decision about what’s best for its users.

I'm going to give Samsung a year to fix its software problems, though I suspect it will take two years or more to dig out of the current mess. Everything that was wrong with Samsung software has gotten worse, and the problems infect every new addition, like a disease.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is loaded with features, but where do you find them? Where do you find the new AI translation tools, or set up the AI feature that rewrites your text messages? Where do you turn on AI to edit photos, or AI to summarize a web page? All in the same place, sadly.

All of the new Samsung Galaxy AI features are buried in Settings, and they are not at the surface. There are 22 different options in the Settings menu. Option 16 of 22 is Advanced Features. Tap on this and you'll find “Advanced Intelligence,” which isn't actually what AI stands for… is it? In any case, that’s where Samsung has hidden all of the cool new features for its flagship smartphone: under the 16th Setting option, three layers down.

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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra showing

Using Google's new Circle to Search (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra showing

Google correctly identifies the lighthouse I was shooting (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

I’ve talked to Samsung about this, and they recognize that it’s a problem. Features are hidden. Everything gets buried in Settings, as if that is a place we expect to find features as disparate as wireless power sharing, parental controls for children, and always-on display widgets. 

In a feeble attempt to inform users about everything the phone can do, the Galaxy S24 Ultra will occasionally bubble up messages and suggestions for things to try. Sadly, Samsung phones are overloaded with messages and suggestions. Galaxy phones will infamously serve you an advertisement, on your brand new Galaxy phone, imploring you to buy that brand new Galaxy phone. 

That’s not how you educate people. Take it from me, a former high school teacher, if you simply tell your users about a new feature once, you haven’t taught them to use it. Samsung needs to take a big step back and figure out how to encourage users to try features they will enjoy. Samsung also needs to remove the features that aren’t being used, and hide the ones that don’t need to be visible. 

As for the new AI features, they are a mixed bag of amazing magic and useless doggerel. If you get a chance to use the AI translation on a phone call, it’s like science fiction. It feels like you’ve stuck a Babel fish into your ear and you’re living in a fantasy future. Samsung could write ‘Don’t Panic’ on the phone and ship it with a towel.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra showing AI writing style tools

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Other AI features are useful, but only to a point. The AI writing style feature can adapt your text messages to a variety of different styles, including a professional tone and more playful messages, replete with emojis and hashtags. In practice, the differences were not very useful, and I mostly just stuck with what I’d written. Samsung also over-promised on this feature. I distinctly remember reps saying the phone would convert my words to Shakespeare, but I’ve seen nothing like this on my S24 Ultra. 

These writing style and translation features are built into the Samsung Keyboard, so they work across multiple apps. Unfortunately, Samsung has utterly broken its software keyboard. During my test period, I had some of the worst trouble with autocorrect and an onscreen keyboard that I’ve ever had. 

The keyboard would often capitalize words in the middle of a sentence for no reason. Even worse, it would autocorrect partial words and automatically insert some nonsensical phrase or string of characters into my typing. While typing contractions, most keyboards are smart enough to insert the apostrophe, but on the Samsung Keyboard the autocorrect tried to insert whole new words after my contraction. It was making up content out of context, and it was completely wrong.

When I went back to change the error, the keyboard was quite unfriendly. While the Apple iPhone keyboard assumes that a backspace after autocorrect means the autocorrection was bad, the Samsung keyboard sticks to its guns and makes changing errors incredibly tedious. 

I suspect that if I am diligent with the Samsung Keyboard and I keep correcting all of its elementary errors, I will eventually teach it to write properly. I don’t have time for this. I’m not sure how Samsung broke its keyboard so badly, but it’s terrible and needs an immediate update. 

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra showing

The Galaxy S24 Ultra has generative AI wallpaper, just like the Google Pixel 8 Pro (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Some of the AI features that carried over from the Google Pixel 8 family have turned out to be a disappointment, as well. Samsung promised that its Voice Recorder app would offer transcripts and summaries, just like the Recorder app on the Google Pixel. In practice, Samsung’s app is not as advanced or useful as the Pixel version. It’s slower, less accurate, and does not provide a live transcription of the conversation as it happens. 

The image editing features are also less impressive on the Galaxy S24 Ultra than they are on the Pixel 8 Pro. The Galaxy gets Samsung’s take on the Magic Editor tool, dubbed Generative Edit, which lets you select objects in your photo to move, resize, or erase them. When you erase an object or a whole background, the phone can use AI to replace that part of the image. 

What the Samsung phone lacks are the best editing tools available on the Pixel, namely the Photo Unblur tool that sharpens even old photos you didn’t take with your smartphone, and the Best Take option that combines multiple photos to get rid of closed eyes and ugly expressions.

Yet, as much as I complain about Samsung’s software, there are simply things you can do with a Galaxy phone, especially the Galaxy S24 Ultra, that you can’t do with anything else. I love Samsung’s DeX, which turns your phone into something that acts more like a Chromebook, when you plug it into a monitor with a keyboard and mouse. You get a new home screen with windows and a dock, and everything runs smoothly. 

Why is this useful? I have a computer at home, but my corporate IT guys don’t like me using it for work stuff. Instead, I use my phone, which is already set up with work and personal accounts. If I need to get work done at home, or even while I’m traveling, I don’t need to bring my work laptop. I can just plug my Galaxy S24 Ultra into a USB hub and now I have all of my work and personal stuff in one place. 

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra connected to a monitor and keyboard using DeX

Using the Galaxy S24 Ultra (left) with DeX on my home monitor (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

I can respond to important emails using a real keyboard, or edit documents in Microsoft Word and Google Docs. I can do just about everything I need, short of running Chrome web browser extensions. I never need to add my protected work account to my own personal computer. I can just use DeX and have the best of both worlds on my Galaxy S24 Ultra.

As mentioned, Samsung promises that the entire Galaxy S24 family will get software updates and security patches for the next seven years. With brand new AI features on the phone, I wonder how Samsung will be able to pull this off, especially since AI seems to be advancing exponentially. How can a seven-year-old phone possibly survive in the year 2031?

One clue may lie in Samsung’s terms of service. Hidden deep you’ll find the following language concerning AI features: “Samsung may, at any time, change some or all of its advanced intelligence features to subscription-based features, in which case Samsung will provide prior notice. Samsung reserves the right to rate limit you to prevent quality decay or interruptions to the advanced intelligence features.”

This could be completely innocuous, or it could be a sinister sign that Samsung is looking for a loophole to get out of its seven year promise. It may offer future Android updates in regular and “Premium” flavors. It could also exclude certain models from any future premium feature and just offer the most basic, barebones OS to the Galaxy S24 Ultra by the time, say, Android 18 is launched, presumably in four years.

In any case, there is now an asterisk on Samsung’s promise of seven years of updates, until this is clarified. I want and expect Samsung to behave like Apple. Any features that aren’t entirely hardware dependent should come to every eligible phone. The five-year old iPhone XR obviously can’t get a new Dynamic Island, but the latest update brought NameDrop, which is a brand new iOS 17 feature. We expect the same when the Galaxy S24 Ultra is updated to Android 21 in 2031.

  • Software score: 3 / 5

Galaxy S24 Ultra review: Cameras

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra cameras

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Better image quality, even if the specs are suspicious
  • Less detail from the zoom lens, but better color and range
  • Still needs help with low light and noise reduction

The Galaxy S23 Ultra was our overall best camera phone of last year, so rumors that Samsung would be dropping the optical zoom from 10x to 5x set off a flurry of concern. The 10x zoom was the standout feature on the Galaxy S23 Ultra … aside from the 200MP sensor, the two zoom lenses, the 100x digital astrophotography, the AI image enhancements, and everything else the phone could do. Still, it’s odd for Samsung to take a step backwards, especially where specs are concerned.

Let’s start with the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s 5x zoom lens. Samsung has not taken a step backwards, more a step sideways. The Galaxy S24 Ultra still has the best zoom camera you can find on a smartphone. It’s better than the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 10x zoom, and it’s much better than the 5x zoom you’ll find on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Most of the time, like when you are really using the zoom to its full extent.

When you zoom in to 10x or even 100X, the Galaxy S24 Ultra produces images with better color and much better dynamic range than the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Where the older camera made images look flat, you’ll see more depth and shadow with the Galaxy S24 Ultra. What you won’t see is plenty of detail. Samsung has sacrificed the fine details in images for better overall quality.

It’s a good trade. Those 10x and 100x zoom images from the S23 UItra look terrible. Sure, you could make out some details, but they are mixed with noise and blur like a virtual chopped salad. On the Galaxy S24 Ultra, you won’t see as much, but you’ll be happier sharing those photos because they actually look like good pictures, rather than police evidence. 

In a straight comparison between the Galaxy S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max at 5x zoom, the iPhone produces better images. Once you start applying digital zoom, the Galaxy does a better job. At 5x zoom, I got a nice landscape shot of a lighthouse from both cameras. When I zoomed into 25x, the Galaxy kept more detail and even better color than the iPhone. The iPhone couldn’t zoom any farther, but the Galaxy S24 Ultra could grab enough detail from the Peck Ledge lighthouse, which sits a mile off the Connecticut coast, to count the stairs leading up from the dock.

Samsung has been criticized in the past for unnatural color in photos, and it’s clear the company took this to heart and tried to hew closer to the iPhone’s processing techniques. Colors look much more natural all around, often even cooler than the over-warm iPhone pics that cast a yellowish tint on some images. Digital sharpening problems have been reigned in, so the Galaxy S24 Ultra produces images with a nice amount of detail, without the blurriness you’ll find on some iPhone pics.

That doesn’t mean the camera isn’t without problems. Low light is still an issue, and other phones handle various night situations better. The Google Pixel 8 Pro is better at landscape and city photos at night, and even the OnePlus 12 could handle some mixed-light shots, like taking photos of food in a dark restaurant, better than Samsung’s best. 

Overall, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is the best camera phone I’ve used in the past year. It may not dominate in every area, but it performs consistently better than every other phone, whether you’re using an iPhone, a Pixel, or even a newer OnePlus phone with fancy Hasselblad processing. 

Where Samsung really excels is in the interesting shots. If you need a good macro photo up close, or an appetizing pic of the pizza you made, the Galaxy has you covered. Selfies and portraits look great, with accurate skin tones and enough detail that you won’t look like a poseur. The phone had no trouble framing my adorable dog and cropping her fuzzy ears nicely in a portrait shot. 

For photo editing, Samsung has made some advances, but you’re better off relying on third-party software, and maybe even some obscure Samsung apps. In the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s Gallery app, you can now apply the Generative Edit AI features, which can resize and move objects in your image, or completely change the background depending on the context of the shot. It’s a nice trick, but I’m not sure it counts as photography as much as mixed-media collage. If you do apply any AI tricks, though, Samsung will add a small watermark to your photo to let viewers know.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra showing

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The Samsung Gallery app will suggest photo edits, like removing reflections (above). You can see the results below:

If you miss the Photo Unblur feature from the Google Pixel 8 (and it is quite desirable), you can head to the Galaxy App Store and download Samsung’s Galaxy Enhance-X photo editor. This little-known app gives you a ton of advanced photo editing tools, many of which rely on AI and machine learning. These tools aren’t as effective as edits in Google Photos on a Google Pixel 8 Pro, but it’s cool to peek into Samsung’s software skunkworks to see what the company can create. 

You can also run more advanced photo editing software, like Adobe Lightroom and SnapSeed. These apps run very smoothly on the Galaxy S24 Ultra, and it was easier to edit photos with the S Pen than with my finger. 

I have not been able to test the AI moon photography features on the Galaxy S24 Ultra because it’s been cloudy since I received my review unit, but rest assured I will be shooting for the moon as soon as possible. Samsung says that the AI on board will recognize objects, then try to identify the subject to shoot the best photo. We’ll see if the new phone can keep up with the dazzling astrophotography of last year’s Galaxy S23 Ultra

Galaxy S24 Ultra review: Image samples

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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra camera samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

Samsung has clearly made significant improvements with image processing on the Galaxy S24 Ultra compared to last year's Galaxy S23 Ultra. This photo looks much more natural with better color and dynamic range, and without as much digital sharpening:

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Selfie taken with the Galaxy S24 Ultra

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Selfie taken with the Galaxy S24 Ultra

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
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Selfie taken with the Galaxy S24 Ultra

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Camera score: 5 / 5

Galaxy S24 Ultra review: Performance

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra playing Call of Duty Mobile

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • First Android in memory to beat the iPhone in benchmarks
  • Only delay comes with new AI features
  • Tops in gaming and productivity

Ever since Apple started making its own Bionic chipset for the iPhone, we haven’t seen an Android phone that could beat Apple’s best iPhone in raw performance. That ends with the Galaxy S24 Ultra. The Ultra is just as fast as the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and in many ways it’s even faster. You may never notice the performance gains, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Qualcomm and Samsung have managed to top Apple’s silicon for the first time in years. 

What does that mean in the real world? Everything that you could do on your smartphone you can now do faster. If you play games like Call of Duty Mobile or Genshin Impact, you can play at the highest settings and experience fluid framerates and stutter-free gaming. 

Pair your game with an Xbox or Playstation controller via Bluetooth and you will be destroying noobs on pathetic Pixels and cheap Motorola phones in your multiplayer arena of choice. Seriously, having a phone that responds so quickly to your commands and movements is a huge win for multiplayer games. 

Is the Galaxy S24 Ultra a gaming phone, then? You’d better believe it. I tested the S24 Ultra against the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro, a phone that is truly made for gaming. The S24 Ultra had no problem beating the ROG Phone 8 in every metric, even producing a higher framerate on the newest games.

If gaming isn’t your thing, you can still feel the performance benefits. I edit photos in Adobe Lightroom, and on my Galaxy S24 Ultra I can move the adjustment sliders freely and watch my photo change in real time. In side-by-side tests using the new Adobe intelligent masking features, the Galaxy S24 Ultra was able to find and select my foreground subject in seconds faster than my older Galaxy S23 Ultra. 

The only features that cause a delay on the Galaxy S24 Ultra are the new AI features, and that’s ironic. For the first time in years, Samsung commands a lead over its rival Apple, but it loaded the Galaxy S24 Ultra with AI features that Apple has skipped, so far. Instead of feeling like everything moves faster on my Galaxy, I have to wait while the AI composes new text messages, or makes edits in the photo gallery. 

Those features aren’t worth the wait. If there was no waiting, if writing suggestions appeared in real time the way Adobe Lightroom changes my photos, I’d be amazed by the AI tools and I’d use them more often. Instead, every time I see the AI stars logo appear, I see a Stop sign. 

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Galaxy S24 Ultra review: Battery life

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra battery settings menu

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)
  • Excellent battery life, among the best you’ll find
  • Fast charging, but could be faster
  • Plenty of power management options

You won’t find a phone with longer battery life than the Galaxy S24 Ultra. 

In our lab testing, which involves continuously browsing the web on 5G until the battery runs out, the Galaxy S24 Ultra in its default Adaptive display mode lasted a huge 16 hours and 45 minutes. That beats the impressive 14 hours and 2 minutes the iPhone 15 Pro Max managed in our testing. It also outlasts the Galaxy S23 Ultra by more than two hours, as beats many other Android phones too. 

You’d have to buy a hardcore gaming phone with a massive battery inside, like the Red Magic 9 Pro with its 6,500mAh cell, to get any more battery life from your phone. 

Samsung didn’t increase the size of the battery over last year’s Ultra, it just improved power management on the Galaxy S24 Ultra, so it saves more juice. The adaptive screen settings can be aggressive, but you can turn them off if you need a bright display all the time. You can also adjust settings like screen resolution and processor performance to save more power. 

There are even more extreme options. Samsung used to have an ultra power saving mode, but now that’s just another setting under the Power Saving features, letting you limit the apps available, turn off edge panels, dim the display, and generally shut down everything you don’t need to conserve every watt. 

There should be a more intelligent power management option that reads your habits and adapts the power savings to the way you use the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Oh, wait, there is such a mode and it’s called “Adaptive power saving.” But you’ll never find it.

Adaptive power saving is buried under the Settings menu, then under ‘Device care.’ Then you have to tap the Battery graph, which is a button that doesn’t actually look like a button, but trust me it’s a button. 

Then tap ‘Power saving,’ which also looks like plain text and not a button. Again, it’s a button. Hooray, you’re almost there! Just find the three little dots in the upper-right corner, which is a Samsung way to hide even more menus, and then you’ll finally be able to open the ‘Adaptive power saving’ settings. 

Why, Samsung? Why? Why does it have to be this way? Why can’t my Galaxy S24 Ultra come with adaptive power saving turned on by default? If this feature is so useful, why is it hidden beneath FIVE LAYERS of menus? Beneath buttons that don’t look like buttons, and submenus that are just cryptic dots? Enough is enough. Fix the software, or this is my last Galaxy Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra from the bottom showing USB C port

(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

The Galaxy S24 Ultra charges at 45W, which is a respectable charging speed, fast enough to get you well past 50% if you only have a half hour to charge your phone. In fifteen minutes, my Galaxy S24 Ultra was just under 40% charged, and it took around 45 minutes to charge the phone completely. That’s even faster than Samsung promises.

There are phones that charge faster, like the OnePlus 12 that comes with an 80W charger. That phone can reach 100% charge in about half an hour, and OnePlus even has a superfast (ie. SuperVOOC technology) wireless charger that is capable of 50W charging. The S24 Ultra can handle up to 15W wireless charging, including the latest Qi2 charging standard. 

The Galaxy S24 Ultra can also charge other devices wirelessly, and if you can find wireless power sharing in the Settings menu, I will personally send you a prize. Instead, just add a Wireless power sharing button to the Quick settings menu if that’s a feature you use often. 

Unlike the OnePlus 12, the Galaxy S24 Ultra does not come with a charger in the box, and if you want the fastest charging speed you’ll need to pay attention to the charger you buy. You can spend a lot of money and get a big wall wart from Samsung, or you can do the right thing and get this Anker 713 Nano Charger from Amazon for around half the price.

  • Battery score: 5 / 5

Galaxy S24 Ultra review: Score card

Buy it if...

You want to do a lot more with your phone
If you want a phone that does more than a phone should be capable of doing, you want a Galaxy S24 Ultra. This isn’t just a phone, it’s a laptop, a drawing tablet, a game console, and an entire camera bag in your pocket.

You want to see what the future feels like in your hand
Samsung tries new features before any other phone company, and if you want to make a phone call with a Star Trek universal translator, or have an AI rewrite your text messages for you, you need a Galaxy S24 Ultra. 

You want the best phone overall, no matter how hard it is to use
The Galaxy S24 Ultra is admittedly complicated, but that’s because there is so much that you can do with it. If you want uncompromising technology with every option available, get the Ultra. 

Don't buy it if...

You don’t need all that
If you have ever started a sentence with “I don’t need,” then the Galaxy S24 Ultra is not for you. It has everything you need and everything you don’t, and you can’t ask for less. It only comes with everything. 

You want a phone you can use with one hand
The Galaxy S24 Ultra is titanium, but it isn’t lighter than last year’s phone, and the Ultra is a big beast to behold. If you need something more manageable, try a different device. 

You prefer an elegant experience over tech wizardry
While the Galaxy S24 Ultra is a phone like no other, it isn’t easy to use, nor is the software elegant. If you want to appreciate intuitive design and features that feel natural, check out what Apple is doing with iOS 17 on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. 

Galaxy S24 Ultra review: Also consider

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max
If you want the absolute best phone but the Galaxy S24 Ultra doesn’t strike the right cord, there’s only one other phone to consider and that’s Apple biggest and best iPhone.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
If cameras aren’t so important, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 gives you everything you’ll find on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, with a tablet folded away inside. It’s a whole new class of device. 

Google Pixel 8 Pro
You can save a lot of money by considering the Pixel 8 Pro, which is not only simple to use with a great camera, it also gets the same seven years of Android updates that Samsung has promised. Plus, AI directly from Google with no Samsung in between.

How I tested the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

  • One week testing period
  • Used AI features extensively, plus Samsung exclusive software
  • Benchmark testing for comparison, not scoring purposes

I had the Galaxy S24 Ultra for a week before this review posted, but I have more experience with Samsung Galaxy Ultra phones than any other phone model, and perhaps more than any other reviewer. I worked for Samsung as an internal reviewer when the first Galaxy Note was launched, and I have used every Samsung S Pen-enabled smartphone ever produced, including the one that nobody else used because it exploded. 

While Samsung provides review units for me to borrow, I have purchased my past two Galaxy S21 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Ultra devices with my own cash, and this phone is calling my name. 

I used the Galaxy S24 Ultra to its utmost, testing every single new feature that Samsung has marketed, and retesting all of my favorite old features. I used AI for messaging, summaries, and transcription, in addition to testing the translation features with foreign language teachers and students. I also tested DeX for work, Bixby for interface control, and all of the other Samsung features. 

I played games with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, mostly Call of Duty Mobile and Marvel Snap, in addition to trying others, like the new Warcraft Rumble game that just launched late in 2023. I play games at the maximum settings, with Bluetooth headphones and a Bluetooth joystick attached where appropriate. 

I also tested the Galaxy S24 Ultra with accessories and external devices, including a Dell monitor, Razer Blackwidow keyboard, and Logitech Master MX 2 mouse for DeX. I used a variety of wireless earbuds, including Galaxy Buds FE, Pixel Buds Pro and Nothing Stick 2 earbuds, as well as Ray Ban Meta smart glasses. 

The Galaxy S24 Ultra was benchmarked in Future Labs by our resident benchmarking expert, and results were shared and discussed with review editors. Benchmarks do not affect review scores in any way, and are helpful for comparison but not for real-world review purposes. 

I tested the Galaxy S24 Ultra camera in a shootout against the current best cameras available, including the Galaxy S23 Ultra, the iPhone 15 Pro Max, the OnePlus 12, and the Google Pixel 8 Pro. I took hundreds of photographs under the same lighting conditions for each, with similar settings enabled. Then, I compared the photographs when viewed on a professional Dell monitor at full resolution. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed January, 2024

Panasonic DP-UB820 review: a fantastic, affordable 4K Blu-ray player that’s built to last
6:09 pm | December 20, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Blu-ray Computers Gadgets Home Theater Televisions | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Panasonic DP-UB820 review: One minute review

The Panasonic DP-UB820 is one of Panasonic’s mid-range 4K Blu-ray players that offers a strong suite of features, and supports a lot of audio and video formats including Dolby Vision and HDR10+ for video, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for audio, and can even support up to 7.1 channels of audio directly with audio analogue output options. It has Wi-Fi for streaming apps such as Netflix, too.

Performance wise, the Panasonic DP-UB820 offers fantastic 4K image reproduction with vivid colors, deep black levels and stunning contrast, particularly when it comes to Dolby Vision – it's up there with the best 4K Blu-ray players. Its 4K upscaling is effective, giving regular (non-4K) Blu-ray a whole new level of detail. Even DVDs are given a new lease on life thanks to the UB820’s upscaling efforts, though you'll notice far more that it was a lower-quality source. 

Audio performance is also superb, with Dolby Atmos effects coming through clear and adding that extra layer of immersion to any movie. Paired with one of the best TVs and best soundbars, the Panasonic DP-UB820 completes the home theater experience beautifully.

The Panasonic DP-UB820’s software feels a little cumbersome at times, but it still gives plenty of options and settings for people to adjust to get the picture and audio of their movies to just how they like it. 

Design-wise, the Panasonic DP-UB820 may not be the most remarkable bit of kit, but it’s still a solid player that keeps things simple. Whilst its front panel that covers the whole device keeps things a little neater, it does mean people will have to think about where the hinged panel will open and close with the disc tray, meaning those with shelved TV stands may have to do some Tetris-esque moving.

In terms of value, the Panasonic DP-UB820 is one of the best Blu-ray buys today. Priced at under $500/£349/AU$760, this really is a well-featured and high-performing player for the price. Thanks to some personal history with this player, I can also confirm this will work and work and work until it can't give anymore; it's a solid investment.

Panasonic DP-UB820 remote

The Panasonic DP-UB820's remote (pictured) is a little button heavy but functional nonetheless. (Image credit: Future)

Panasonic DP-UB820 review: Prices & release date

  • Released in August 2018 
  • Priced around $499/£349/AU$769 

The Panasonic DP-UB820 is a mid-range,4K Blu-ray player that sits in the middle point of Panasonic’s range of 4K Blu-ray players, above budget models such as the Panasonic UB154, but below the premium Panasonic DP-UB9000. It's officially priced with a slighter higher tag of $499 in the US, but the DP-UB820 is competitive at £349 and AU$769 in the UK and Australia respectively. 

At the time of writing, we’ve seen the DP-UB820 for much lower prices than above, falling to around $399 in the US, £249 in the UK, and as low as $538 in Australia. Whilst these prices do fluctuate, they often drop to this level or only slightly higher. For a player with this level of features and capabilities, this is an excellent price. 

Panasonic DP-UB820 picture settings menu on Panasonic MZ1500

The Panasonic DP-UB820 offers lots of settings that you can adjust to get the picture how you'd like. (Image credit: Future)

Panasonic DP-UB820 review: Specs

Panasonic DP-UB820 rear panel

The Panasonic DP-UB820 comes with plenty of connections including twin HDMI (one is audio-only). (Image credit: Future)

Panasonic DP-UB820 review: Features

  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support 
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support  
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and streaming capabilities

The Panasonic DP-UB820 is packed with features for its price tag. It supports playback of 4K Blu-ray, regular and even 3D Blu-ray, DVD, AVCHD, CD and various recordable disc formats as well. It  doesn’t support SACD, unfortunately, but you could step up to the Magnetar UDP800 if you need that.  

In terms of HDR support, the UB820 has covered all the bases with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10 and HLG included. 

For audio formats, the UB820 again supports the vital Dolby and DTS formats including Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, DTS:X and DTS:HD Master Audio. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are in bitstream output whilst Dolby TrueHD and DTS:HD MA are in bitstream and decoded outputs.

Music formats are also heavily supported including the usual FLAC, WAV, MP3 and AAC formats to name a few. There’s also support for Hi-Res Audio files including DSD at 2.8 MHz (2ch and 5.1ch), 5.6 MHz (2 ch and 5.1ch) and 11.2 MHz (2ch) and ALAC files (96 kHz/32 bit at 7.1ch and 192 kHz/32-bit at 5.1ch). 

Connectivity on the UB820 is again well-stocked, and includes two HDMI ports (one for audio and one for audio/video), digital optical output, analogue audio output (both LR and up to 7.1 channels) and two USB inputs (one 3.0 and one 2.0) for HDD playback. It also has Wi-Fi connectivity for streaming, with apps such as Netflix built into the streaming hub. 

The built-in software for the UB820 offers plenty of menus and settings to tweak so you can tailor the picture of your movies to what you need. Some particular highlights include choosing the display, labelled ‘HDR TV type’ in the Advanced Settings section, which offers options such as 'OLED' and 'Middle to High Luminance LCD', which made subtle changes to the picture based on choice. Although it didn’t make a huge difference, it was a welcome feature nonetheless.

Other settings, also in Advanced Settings, including Deep Color Output, HDR/Color Gamut Output and more for picture, and there were also adjustments for audio including Downmixing and 7.1-channel audio reformatting. Among these, there were also picture settings you could adjust such as black level, contrast and noise reduction for non-HDR sources such as regular Blu-ray.

Performance-wise, the UB820 was easy enough to navigate but there were some small frustrations. This included some settings that could only be changed when going back to the main menu of the UB820 itself, such as HDR10+ or Dolby Vision mode. During testing, the UB820 would favor HDR10+ over Dolby Vision when I tested it with a disc that supports both – which is frustrating because Dolby Vision looked better in most cases (more on that below). The only way I could find to avoid this is to deactivate HDR10+ – but I want it active for when I'm watching something that only supports it! This is only a problem if you have a TV that supports both HDR formats, but that includes the kind of home theater fan this Blu-ray is aimed at, right? There were also times where the software would stutter and pause, but this was not often. 

For the price however, the Panasonic DPUB820 is stacked with features and connectivity, especially at a very reasonable price.

  • Features score: 4.5/5  

Panasonic DP-UB820 with Godzilla on screen

Movies such as Godzilla vs Kong (pictured) looked incredible on the Panasonic DP-UB820, with vibrant colors and stunning contrast and depth. (Image credit: Future)

Panasonic DP-UB820 review: Performance

  • Excellent picture reproduction
  • Effective upscaling on most sources
  • Fantastic audio performance

Straight off the bat, the Panasonic DP-UB820 has great loading times, with the process from loading the disc into the tray to the first logos displayed on screen taking 35-40 seconds all told, not dissimilar timings to logging into some streaming apps and loading previously watched TV shows.

4K pictures look sensational through the UB820. Firstly, using Godzilla vs Kong to test both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ formats, in the climactic fight scene between Godzilla and Kong in Tokyo, the colors of the eye-watering neon signs buildings were bright, dynamic and had plenty of garish punch as you would expect. Contrast was also superb, with deep, rich black levels complementing the bright colors. Everything looks sharp and textures were crisp without being overly hard. 

When looking at Dolby Vision vs HDR10+ through the same player, on the same TV – which will only be a choice for those whose have TVs that support both formats such as the Hisense U8K, Philips OLED808 and Panasonic MZ1500 to name a few – Dolby Vision had the edge. During the same Godzilla vs Kong scene above, switching between the two HDR formats demonstrated that Dolby Vision offered deeper black levels, and this added contrast made the colors seem to pop more than through HDR10+, and even means there's an perceptive improvement in some texture and detail. That's definitely not to say HDR10+ looked bad, far from it in fact, but if you have the option of both I'd go for Dolby Vision.

In Top Gun: Maverick on 4K Blu-ray, and Dolby Vision performance was brilliant there, too. People’s skin tones and facial details during close-up shots were extremely rich, refined, and felt true-to-life. Brighter images felt natural yet vibrant. Motion was extremely well-handled by the UB820 and during any of the jet sequences, there was minimal judder and blurring. 

Moving on to lower-quality format discs, I started by viewing the same scene from Godzilla vs Kong as I’d used before for comparison, but on regular Blu-ray, and was blown away by the UB820’s picture, thanks to its effective 4K upscaling. Although it wasn’t quite as good as the 4K disc itself, the picture still carried enough vibrant color, rich contrast and crisp textures to make you look twice and question whether you’d put the 4K disc in. 

Watching a DVD of The Amazing Spider-man didn't deliver the same standard as Blu-ray upscaling (no surprise, given that it's now having to upscale to 16 times as many pixels), and textures appeared soft in places as a result – but the overall quality was still strong, as the UB820 maintained good levels of detail, punchy colors and solid textures overall.

I also tested older movies including the 4K Blu-ray of Alien and a Blu-ray of Thief to see how the UB820's processing handled film grain. Although there was film grain present, more so in Thief, the UB820 balanced keeping enough grain for the enthusiast alongside upscaling it to take advantage of a 4K screen. It didn't come across as artificially cleaned up, and there was no obvious problem of it struggling to find detail among the grainer scenes, such as the shots at dawn near the start of Thief.

Moving on to audio, the UB820 did a fantastic job of reproducing Dolby Atmos effects with the jets in Top Gun: Maverick feeling like they're gliding around the room with a suitable Dolby Atmos soundbar or surround system. 

Testing the DTS:HD Master Audio 5.1 mix of Alien, the foreboding and doom-ridden parts of the soundtrack were as claustrophobic as you’d hope, and those moments of noise cutting through the silence of the Nostromo’s landing early on were powerful and direct.

As for music, there is a built-in app called Berliner Philharmoniker featuring performances of classical music and listening to Mozart concertos, also in Dolby Atmos, which is a fun addition, and really shows off your sound system. Every instrument had room to breathe, and there was a fantastic balance between the trebles, mids and bass. 

Finally, I tested its CD playback, and although not mind-blowing, vocals were still clear, and there was a good balance between other instruments, with a healthy showing of bass. 

  • Performance score: 5/5

Panasonic DP-UB820 with disc tray open on white stand

The Panasonic DP-UB820 does have a hinged panel that opens with the disc tray which could be a problem for particular shelving in certain narrower units. (Image credit: Future)

Panasonic DP-UB820 review: Design

  • Lightweight but durable build  
  • Hinged panel in front of disc tray  
  • Plenty of connections for mid-range player  

The Panasonic DP-UB820 is lightweight compared to its more premium counterpart, the Panasonic DP-UB9000, with the former weighing in at a much lighter 2.4kg compared to the latter’s 8kg weight. Although it’s not made of metal like more premium Blu-ray players, the UB820 still feels durable.

The disc tray and digital display, which looks a bit old-school, are set behind a hinged panel that opens and closes with the disc tray itself. While this keeps things looking neat, it does mean the UB820 needs space across the whole front to allow the panel to open. This could cause a problem for those with restrictive TV stands in one way or another, though may not be a problem for most people.

There are plenty of connections on the rear panel of the UB820 including two HDMI ports, USB, digital optical output, up to 7.1 channels of analogue output, and LAN for wired network connections. For a mid-range player, this is a lot of connectivity and presents a lot of audio options for movie users.

The UB820’s supplied remote is on the smaller side and features plenty of buttons to press including a number pad. If anything, there are probably a few too many buttons, but there are also options to navigate the various menus that do make navigation that bit easier.

  • Design score: 4/5 

Panasonic DP-UB820 menu on Panasonic MZ1500

The Panasonic DP-UB820's software isn't the most dazzling, but it is effective and offers plenty of features. (Image credit: Future)

Panasonic DP-UB820 review: Value

  • Excellent price for the performance and features
  • Solid, reliable and built to work
  • Covers most of the bases extremely well

Quite simply, the Panasonic DP-UB820 is a workhorse. During my time working for a major AV retailer, the UB820 was the Blu-ray player of choice to display demo material across 15 TVs, for eight hours a day, seven days a week, using an HDMI splitter. In the nearly three years I was at that job, the HDMI splitter failed multiple times, while the UB820 simply trucked on doing its job. The UB820 is built to last and will give you years of entertainment. 

Price-wise, the UB820 has an extensive list of features and connectivity, supports a lot of physical sources, picture and audio formats and even has Wi-Fi built-in for streaming all for under $500 in the US, under £300 in the UK and $750 in Australia. Compared to similarly priced players, such as the Sony UBPX800 Mk II, the Panasonic is the total package. 

  • Value 5/5 

Panasonic DP-UB820 showing Top Gun Maverick

The Panasonic DP-UB820 produces excellent textures and sharpness, shown here on Top Gun: Maverick (pictured). (Image credit: Future)

Panasonic DP-UB820 review: Should I buy it?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Panasonic DP-UB820 review: Also consider

How I tested the Panasonic DP-UB820

Panasonic DP-UB820 with Panasonic MZ1500 and Sonos Beam (Gen 2) connected

(Image credit: Future)
  • Multiple sources including 4K and standard Blu-ray, DVD, CD
  • Tested with Panasonic MZ1500 TV
  • Tested over the course of two months

For testing the Panasonic DP-UB820, I connected it to a 55-inch Panasonic MZ1500 OLED TV, which supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10+. I then tested the DP-UB820 for picture using 4K Blu-ray, standard Blu-ray, DVD for disc playback and upscaling testing. 

Once I'd chosen the discs, I assessed pictures based on HDR performance including Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and more, and looked at 4K upscaling of non-4K formats such as DVD and Blu-ray.

For sound I tested the UB820 using CD, streaming apps and the same discs to test Dolby Atmos and DTS sound reproduction.

I also tested the software of the DP-UB820 looking at menu navigation, input speed, number of settings and more to see how comprehensive the DP-UB820 was for a mid-range Blu-ray player.

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: one of the best-featured cheap 4K TVs you can buy
2:54 pm | October 5, 2023

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

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED: Two-minute review

The Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED is the latest entry into the Amazon Fire TV market, and unlike the other 2023 Fire TV Omnis, it uses QLED technology in an effort to add extra brightness and detail to the picture compared with the more basic LED-lit 4-series and 2-series. 

Competitively – aggressively, even – priced, the Amazon Fire TV Omni QLEDs offer a big screen size for a smaller price tag compared to most of the best TVs. Launched in April 2023 (for the 65-inch) and June 2023 for all other sizes, prices for the Omni are low enough by default, but are almost certainly a Black Friday 2023 and Amazon Prime Day 2023 deal waiting to happen. 

In terms of picture quality, the Amazon Omni QLED isn’t going to rival the best OLED TVs anytime soon. But, with vivid colors, decent contrast and a surprisingly detailed and natural image with certain movies and TV shows, the Omni QLED’s picture excels for its budget price. There are some backlight blooming issues, and black levels aren’t the best, but at this price it’s hard to argue against. 

Sound quality on the Omni QLED is serviceable as long as you have the sound mode set to Movie. Bass levels are punchy and speech is clear despite its basic 2.0-channel 12w speaker system, but if you’re looking for a big sound, you’ll be better off looking at pairing the Omni QLED with one of the best soundbars.

The Amazon Omni QLED’s design is nice enough, with an attractive silver frame and slim bezel around a slightly chunkier build. Its main downfall is its supplied feet which, whilst feeling solid, are so deep and far apart that people will need to have specific stands or furniture to put the Omni QLED on.

Gaming performance on the Amazon Omni QLED is surprisingly good, as are its features, for a cheaper TV. Whilst not as kitted out as the best gaming TVs, the Omni QLED does offer 4K Dolby Vision gaming, VRR and ALLM on its one HDMI 2.1 port. 120Hz support is all it's missing, but at this price range that’s not a common feature anyway. 

Fire TV is a solid smart TV platform, which can offer recommendations based on your viewing across multiple apps. There aren’t as many picture settings to adjust as other TVs but there are still plenty to tweak. Ambient Experience offers a nice bonus feature that can turn a drab, black screen during standby into a work of art. There are definitely some stutters and stops when navigating Fire TV, but it still offers a lot of options in terms of features.

Value is one of the Amazon Omni QLED's strongest categories, with the features on offer in terms of picture, gaming and smart TV greatly exceeding its budget price. TVs from rivals like Samsung, LG, Hisense and TCL don’t offer the same in terms of overall spec when compared to the Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED. As an almost certain inclusion within Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday, we could even see that excellent value increase very soon. 

We used the 65-inch Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED for this review.

Amazon Omni QLED with dusk city landscape on screen

(Image credit: Future)

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Price and release date

  • Released: April 2023 (65-inch UK/US), June 2023 (43, 50, 55-inch UK/US and 75-inch US only)
  • Price starts from $379/£549 
  • Up to $599/£999 (65-inch) and $899 (75-inch US only) 

The Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED is part of Amazon’s 2023 Fire TV lineup, also featuring the Fire TV 4-series and Fire TV 2-series. The Amazon Omni QLED range is only available in the US and UK, and there is no official word on an Australian release at the time of writing.

The 65-inch was released first in April 2023 with prices at that time being $799/£999. In June 2023, the rest of the range was released with prices being $449/£549 for the 43-inch, $529/£649 for the 50-inch and $599/£749 for the 55-inch. The 75-inch model, priced at $1,099 at time of release, was only available in the US at the time of writing.

A few months on, and prices have dropped. At the time of writing in the US, the Omni QLED starts from $379 for the 43-inch to a very competitive $899 for the 75-inch. The 65-inch, featured in this review, currently sits at an incredibly affordable $589. The pricing for the Amazon Omni QLED is always changing and we expect this to be the case on Amazon Prime Day 2023 and Black Friday 2023, with some excellent discounts to be had. So if prices go back up again, be sure they will come back down.

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Specs

Amazon Omni QLED Ambient Experience on display showing flowers on screen

Ambient Experience (pictured) on the Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED. (Image credit: Future)

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Features

  • 4K QLED panel 
  • Ambient Experience 
  • Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive HDR support 

The Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED doesn’t have the connections a lot of more premium TVs offer, but for a budget TV it does come with a surprising amount of features packed into it.

The Omni QLED features a QLED display with full array local dimming in sizes 50-inch and up, while the 43-inch has direct LED backlighting (but no local dimming). In terms of HDR support, the Omni QLED features Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive, both of which analyze the viewing environment to adapt picture quality. 

When it comes to gaming features, the Amazon Omni QLED doesn’t support 120Hz gaming, but it does support Dolby Vision gaming, VRR and ALLM, all of which are welcome additions for a TV priced like the Amazon Omni QLED. However, its one HDMI 2.1 port is also its eARC port for connecting to a soundbar.

Fire TV is the Amazon Omni QLED's smart TV platform, and offers plenty of options in terms of recommendations and customization. If you log in with your Amazon account, you can track what you’ve been watching as well as your most recently used apps, and Amazon will make recommendations based on your viewing and show the top trending videos.

Two other features integrated within Omni QLED are Ambient Experience and hands-free Alexa voice control. The Ambient Experience uses the premise of Samsung’s Art Mode from its Frame TVs (where artwork is displayed when the TV is in standby as opposed to a blank screen) but can also show time and date, smart widgets such as weather, and also play music and podcasts in the background. Hands-free Alexa voice control, once enabled, allows navigation of the Fire TV menus without any need for touching the remote.

  • Features score: 4/5 

Amazon Omni QLED with Top Gun Maverick on screen

Facial details are surprisingly accurate on the Omni QLED, as shown on Top Gun: Maverick (pictured)  (Image credit: Future)

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Picture quality

  • Colors are surprisingly good 
  • Average black levels 
  • Natural-looking image 

For a budget TV, the Amazon Omni QLED delivers respectable brightness levels that are similar to last year’s Samsung Q60B, another entry-level QLED set. I measured the Omni QLED at HDR peak brightness of 531 nits in Standard picture mode, and 402 nits in Movie Dark mode on a 10% window when tested. Although there is a Movie Bright mode that would have no doubt yielded a higher brightness result, the Movie Dark mode was the most accurate picture preset, and displayed the best picture on the Omni QLED. For a QLED screen, these results were a little dimmer than I might like, but as I mentioned, they're comparable to other budget options.

When measuring the Delta-E values (the margin of error between an accurate test pattern source and what’s shown on screen), we typically look for the average result to be under 3, since this is considered indistinguishable from perfect to most people. When measuring grayscale results (to test how it handles different levels of darkness) in Movie Dark mode, the result was 4.3, so a little disappointing – but this is somewhat expected with an LED screen. However, in terms of color accuracy, the Omni QLED’s Delta-E average was 1.99, which is an excellent result especially for a TV at this level. It’s worth noting adjustments in picture can be made to improve those numbers, but these were the out-of-the-box results. 

I measured coverage of the DCI-P3 color range (used for mastering 4K movies and digital cinema releases) at 97.3% and BT.2020 at 74.3%. These are very good results again, and definitely rival some of the other best 4K TVs available. 

Despite these mostly positive results, there's one clear weakness to its pictures: standard definition content. It had a muddy, fuzzy look to it. HD and 4K pictures are strong, as I'll come to in a moment, whether that's in HDR or SDR. But especially on this 65-inch model, low-resolution viewing wasn't a great experience.

When testing 4K content with Dolby Vision next, I used several scenes from various Star Wars movies streamed through Disney Plus. Switching between the TV’s Dolby Vision picture modes, Dolby Vision IQ did a good job of adapting the picture to suit the different lighting conditions that could be set in the testing room, but again I found the dark preset (Dolby Vision Dark) to be the best for quality. Despite the lack of any anti-glare screen coating, the Omni QLED also did an adequate job in regards to reflections, reducing the visibility of harsh overhead lighting effectively. 

During the throne room fight in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the colors were dynamic and punchy, and the Omni QLED displayed the predominantly red color well without making it looking overblown. Whilst contrast levels were decent, any black within the scene did take on a dark-gray tone, showcasing the shortcomings of the QLED screen’s full-array local dimming compared to mini-LED or OLED TVs.

HDR demo video on the Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark disc showed that in brighter nature scenes, color again was accurate. Images had a surprisingly natural quality to them as well, with good texture to animals and landscapes. During some of the night scenes, particularly of a city, contrast levels were good overall but again the black levels weren't that deep, and there was some backlight blooming from light to dark areas, especially in scenes where the night sky took up a lot of the screen. 

When it comes to motion, the Omni QLED did a great job of processing Top Gun: Maverick's jets in full flight, cleanly capturing fast panning shots and extreme changes in motion. There was the odd judder, but after changing motions settings to off or low – some motion processing can still be helpful with the Omni's 60Hz panel – this improved. It was also here that I noted just how detailed people looked on the Omni QLED, with a close up shot of Maverick’s face showcasing surprising deep levels of detail.

The Omni QLED may not have the best picture on the market, but considering its price range, I was surprised with just how detailed and vivid its picture was and how well it punches above its weight.

  • Picture quality score: 4/5

Amazon Omni QLED with Star Wars The Last Jedi on screen

Movies like Star Wars: The Last Jedi (pictured) will sound okay on the Omni QLED's built-in speakers, but only okay. (Image credit: Future)

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Sound quality

  • Clean, direct sound in Movie mode
  • Decent speech levels
  • No Dolby Atmos support

With a 2.0-channel speaker system, the Amazon Omni QLED's sound isn’t going to set the world alight. In Standard mode, audio quality is a bit thin with very little bass and treble, as demonstrated in the opening scene of Top Gun: Maverick, where opening track music lacked any sort of drive. 

However, changing the sound mode to Movie completely altered the dynamic of the Omni QLED’s sound. Bass levels were elevated and the rumble of the engines from the jets in Top Gun: Maverick was much more powerful and direct. Speech levels were also surprisingly clear, with dialogue being audible even during moments where characters spoke through a crackling radio. 

Yes, there’s no Dolby Atmos support but it seems that Amazon’s intention was to create a powerful built-in TV sound that was direct and clear, and to an extent they have succeeded. Dolby Atmos would be nice but it’s not something you necessarily find in TVs of the Omni QLED’s price range.

The built-in TV speakers should suit most people and situations but if you are looking for a bolder sound, it may well be worth considering a soundbar just to add that extra level of depth.

  •  Sound quality score: 3.5/5 

Feet of the Amazon Omni QLED TV 65-inch

The Fire TV Omni's feet are very deep, even by 65-inch TV standards. (Image credit: Future)

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Design

  •  Attractive, gray steel frame 
  •  Deep feet supplied with TV 
  •  Fire TV Alexa remote 

The Amazon Omni QLED features an attractive steel-look frame in a silver, metallic finish. At 8.4cm, it isn’t the slimmest TV, especially in comparison to Samsung’s ultra-slim LCD TVs which sit in a similar price range. However, the trim of the screen itself is minimal, meaning you get a nice screen-filling picture.

One of the most noticeable design features, and one that could be a drawback for some people, are the feet provided with the Amazon Omni QLED. Although they are fairly sturdy, they are a little deeper than your average TV stand/feet. This could be an issue for some TV stands and other furniture. The Ikea TV stand we used for testing just about fit the 65-inch Omni QLED’s feet (as shown in above pic) – we've had the 65-inch LG G3 on here with no worries about it fitting. 

The remote supplied with the Omni QLED is the Fire TV Alexa remote. Slim and small in nature, the remote is compact and feels light. Simply by pushing the blue button at the top, you can access Alexa voice control if you don’t wish to use the hands-free option.

  • Design score: 3.5/5

Amazon Fire TV home menu on Omni QLED

The Amazon Omni QLED uses Fire TV as its smart TV platform.  (Image credit: Future)

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Smart TV and menus

  •  Fire TV smart TV platform 
  •  Extensive recommendations 
  •  Slightly clunky navigation 

The Amazon Omni QLED comes with the Fire TV smart TV platform, unsurprisingly. Offering a wealth of recommendations, Fire TV tracks your viewing habits to tailor these based on genre and across multiple streaming sites. Logging in with your Amazon account further adds to what you’ll get in terms of suggestions, customization of menus and more.

One of the most recent additions to Fire TV is a feature called Ambient Experience. Reminiscent of the Art Mode feature found on Samsung’s Frame TVs, Ambient Experience will display artworks or your own photos on screen when the TV is in standby mode. You can also display other widgets such as weather, smart home features, music and more. Speaking of music, you can even play music in the background whilst Ambient Experience is on.

In terms of menus, the main Fire TV menu is easy enough to navigate through but changing settings such as picture mode, input and so on is not as easy compared to other smart TV platforms. To access these settings, you have to hold down the home button rather than a settings button, which definitely slows down the process. 

One thing I did find during testing was that, although easy to navigate, Fire TV felt clunky at times. There were often frequent pauses and stutters when accessing apps, changing settings and browsing through menus, which hindered the experience a little, although thankfully these stutters weren’t common. 

Another feature of the Omni QLED is the Alexa voice control which can be accessed via the remote or, if enabled, via the Omni QLED's built-in mic for hands-free voice control. Alexa functioned well when it came to navigating Fire TV and when issued with the command to find a particular movie, it would find that movie on all possible sites, allowing for user choice.

  • Smart TV and menus score: 3.5/5

Amazon Omni QLED with Battlefield V on display

Graphics of Battlefield V (pictured) look good on the Amazon Omni QLED. (Image credit: Future)

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Gaming

  •  Dolby Vision gaming support 
  •  No 120Hz HDMI 2.1 support 
  •  Low 10.4ms input lag 

In terms of gaming features and performance, the Amazon Omni QLED delivers surprising results. The Omni QLED offers a decent picture with enough detail to make it a real viable budget gaming TV. During a night mission on Battlefield V, played through an Xbox Series X, landscapes looked natural and the weapon on screen had plenty of detail within it. Sadly, the night mission did showcase more of the slightly lacking black levels within the Omni QLED’s picture. 

With Game mode switched on, the Omni QLED processed intense moments well. Switching between targets and motion processing felt smooth, with changes from sections of calm into action feeling seamless. This is in part thanks to the Omni QLED's very low input lag time. Using the Leo Bodnar 4K input lag tester, the Omni QLED yielded a result of 10.4ms, which is an excellent result for a TV at this price and even rivals some of the best 120Hz TVs

Another welcome addition is the inclusion of gaming features like 4K Dolby Vision gaming support,and even VRR and ALLM, which are not always included on TVs within this price range. The Omni QLED offers multiple Dolby Vision game picture modes as well to give more choice to players on how they want their HDR to look in compatible games on the Xbox Series X.

The Omni QLED may not be the most comprehensive gaming TV, with no 120Hz support on any of its HDMI ports, but it’s hard to argue against what it does offer for gamers at such a budget price.

  • Gaming score: 4/5

Amazon Fire TV Alexa remote

The Omni QLED is supplied with the Amazon Alexa remote. (Image credit: Future)

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Value

  •  Very competitively priced 
  •  Well stocked with features compared to similar TVs 
  •  Frequently on sale

Value is where the Amazon Omni QLED range really shines. Priced at the time of writing at $599/£999 for the 65-inch model, it is an extremely competitive TV. At $599 in the US, you are getting good picture quality, Dolby Vision support, great gaming performance and an intuitive smart TV platform at a large 65-inch size. Although not as budget friendly in the UK as it is in the US, the features you get in the Omni QLED still make it a very competitively priced TV compared to ones from rivals such as Samsung and LG.

Another advantage with the Amazon Omni QLED being an Amazon product means it is a regular feature during seasonal discount events such as Black Friday, or on Amazon Prime Day. This means that the already well-priced Omni QLED will most likely end up being even cheaper during sales season.

It may not have the picture quality and full features of a more premium TV, and sometimes the budget nature of the Omni QLED shows via its sometimes lacking black levels, average sound quality, and slightly clunky software, but what you do get makes this TV a real bargain.

  • Value score: 4.5/5

Amazon Omni QLED with demo content of mountain on screen

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review: Also consider

How I tested the Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED

Amazon Omni QLED with testing equipment attached

The Amazon Omni QLED in the process of testing, with our equipment. (Image credit: Future)
  • Tested in our lab room with varying lighting conditions
  • Measurements taken using Portrait Displays' Calman software
  • Tested through a variety of sources, both SDR and HDR

When testing the Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED, I first viewed several different sources such as SDR and HDR movies and TV shows through 4K Blu-ray, streaming and live TV via antenna. I also tested video game performance using an Xbox Series X. Whilst doing this, I tested the out-of-the-box picture presets to determine which was best.

After some running-in time, I then took measurements of the Amazon Omni QLED using Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software. I used this to measure and record the Omni QLED's SDR and HDR peak brightness levels on a 10% and 100% window. Alongside this, I measured the Delta E averages (the margin of error between a test pattern and what's shown on screen) for grayscale, color accuracy and gamma. Test patterns were made using the Murideo Seven 8K test pattern generator.

As well as these tests, I also measured  DCI-P3 and BT.2020 color space coverage. This demonstrates how faithfully a TV can render extended color space from UHD sources. Finally, I used the Leo Bodnar 4K input lag tester to measure the input lag of the TV while it was in its Game mode. 

  • First reviewed: October 2023
LG B3 review: LG’s cheapest OLED TV packs a lot of performance
3:00 pm | October 1, 2023

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

LG B3: Two-minute review

The LG B3 continues a trend that LG has followed for years by providing a great-quality, more affordable OLED TV choice. Upon its release in April 2023, the LG B3 was not the best value set on the market, being roughly $100 cheaper than the step-up entry in LG’s 2023 OLED range, the LG C3, but with clear reduction in features and performance. Since then, B3 prices have dropped to a more reasonable level, putting space between it and more mid-range OLEDs.

Although the LG B3 does not feature the Micro Lens Array tech adopted by the LG G3, or even the Evo panel in the LG C3, its picture quality is nothing short of superb – something you’d expect from an OLED TV. Vibrant colors, deep black levels and great contrast mean the B3 has a picture that surprisingly rivals the C3 and even holds its own against the G3, which is one of the best TVs available in 2023. 

Sound quality is one of the weaker parts of the LG B3. The 2.0 speaker system doesn’t create the same quality sound to match the excellent picture quality even on Cinema Mode, which gives decent enough audio performance. This is a TV that  could almost benefit from a sound upgrade via one of the best soundbars

Gaming performance is another area where LG’s entry-level OLED TV shines. Thanks to excellent picture quality, smooth motion processing and an extremely useful Game Optimizer feature, the B3 is certainly a TV that gamers should consider if they want OLED gaming on a budget. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t come with HDMI 2.1 across all four HDMI ports. 

For smart TV software, the LG B3 uses webOS 23, which has seen an upgrade from last year’s webOS 22. The result is a neater home menu, more customization options and a Quick Cards feature that allows for quicker and easier navigation of apps if you need. 

When it comes to design, the LG B3 has a sleek design with an extremely slim bezel  for an “all-picture” look. Unfortunately, the stand supplied with the B3, although a nice color, is made of a cheap-feeling plastic material when other TVs like the C3 come with a more substantial stand. 

The LG B3 may not have the features and picture brightness of TVs like the LG G3 or Samsung S95C, but it’s hard to argue against what it does provide for its current price. Although other TVs may offer better sound, such as the Sony A80L or Samsung S90C, or more extensive gaming features, such as the LG C3, the B3 lets people experience OLED on a smaller budget and could certainly be one of the best 4K TVs released in 2023.

For this review, I tested the 55-inch version of the LG B3.

LG B3 TV with green butterfly on screen

Detail levels on the LG B3 rival TVs much more premium than it (Image credit: Future)

LG B3 review: Prices and release date

  •  Released April 2023 
  •  From $1,299/£1,199/AU$3,145 for the 55-inch 
  •  Up to $2,199/£3,099/$AU6,495 for the 77-inch  

The LG B3 is the most widely available entry-level TV in LG’s OLED range (with the A3 not available in several major territories). At the time of its release in April 2023, prices ranged from $1,699/£1,799/$AU3,415 for the 55-inch, $2,399/£2,699/AU$4,095 for the 65-inch and $3,299/£3,799/AU$6,495 for the 77-inch. Sadly, this meant that the B3 was only on average $100 less than the more premium LG C3, leaving people without a real ‘entry-level’ option.

Thankfully at the time of writing, several months after release, prices for the LG B3 have dropped and currently sit around $1,299 for the 55-inch, $1,499 for the 65-inch and $2,199 for the 77-inch, which puts it at a much more competitive price with other entry-level OLEDs like the Sony A80L.  (It’s worth noting that in the UK and Australia, the price for the 77-inch is significantly higher at £3,099/$AU6,495.)

LG B3 review: Specs

LG B3 TV with peacock feather on screen

Contrast is impressive on the B3 (Image credit: Future)

LG B3 review: Features

  •  Alpha 7 Gen6 processor 
  •  Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support 
  •  Two HDMI 2.1 ports for gaming  

The LG B3 may not be as well kitted out as LG's higher-end C3 and G3 models, but it does still carry a lot of the same features that those TVs do.

As other OLED TVs evolve, the LG B3 still features a standard white-OLED (W-OLED) panel as opposed to the C3’s Evo panel, which adds to the overall brightness. The G3 also features micro-lens-array technology to further enhance the brightness up to 70%. The LG B3 does however support Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG formats, but like all LG TVs doesn't support HDR10+. 

For gaming, the LG B3 has two HDMI 2.1 ports with support for 120Hz Dolby Vision gaming, VRR, ALLM, Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync. It also has the same Game Optimizer and game bar featured in the C3 and G3. although its Alpha 7 Gen6 processor won't be as powerful as the Alpha 9 Gen6 processor found in the C3 and G3, the B3 is still packing some very good performance for both movies and gaming. 

The B3 features a 2.0 audio system and Dolby Atmos support, though without height speakers it can’t  deliver Dolby Atmos effects at their full potential. While its speaker system isn’t as comprehensive as the ones in the C3 and G3, the B3 still supports a lot of the same audio features such as LG Sound Sync and AI Sound Pro sound mode to upmix sound to 5.1.2 when selected.

The LG B3 also comes installed with LG’s latest smart software, web OS23. One of the biggest updates to webOS23 is the addition of a Quick Cards system, which sorts apps into different categories such as Movies, Sport, Music and so on. These can be customized to allow for quicker navigation of your most used apps. The home menu has also been slimmed down to two pages as opposed to the four found in last year’s web OS22 and features less intrusive ads and recommendations.

  • Features score: 4.5/5

LG B3 TV with Star Wars Ahsoka on screen

Textures and details like skin look natural and life-like on the B3 (Image credit: Future)

LG B3 review: Picture quality

  •  Punchy and vibrant color 
  •  Natural quality to picture  
  •  Great black levels  

Starting with some numbers, the LG B3’s peak HDR brightness measured on a 10% window hit 619 nits in Filmmaker mode and 649 nits in Standard mode. That’s an improvement on its predecessor the LG B2 but lower than the LG C3 which we measured at 830 nits in Filmmaker mode, though this is to be expected given the C3’s brighter Evo panel. On a full 100% window, the B3 hit 133 nits in Filmmaker mode, which is a respectable result considering its peak brightness. 

Measured again using HDR Filmmaker picture mode, the LG B3’s average color Delta-E was around 1.3, which is a surprisingly fantastic result. (The Delta-E value indicates the difference between a test pattern and what is actually shown on the TV’s screen, with a number below three considered to be an undetectable margin of error.) Average grayscale Delta-E values came to 1.4, which is another excellent result. DCI-P3 coverage (which is the color space used to master 4K movies and digital cinema releases) was measured at 98% and BT.2020 was 73.14%, both of which are great results and actually match  the more premium LG G3. 

When I tested it in our lab, I expected the LG B3 to struggle with the harsh overhead lights in terms of reflections as it uses a standard W-OLED panel and not the MLA technology or Evo panel in the LG G3 or LG C3. Although there were some reflections in darker scenes, I was surprised to find the B3 fared better than expected and my general viewing experience wasn’t too badly hindered. 

Testing the out-of-the-box preset picture modes, the LG B3 had a brilliant picture. When first viewing in Standard mode, colors were dynamic and punchy and stood out on the screen. There was also a good deal of brightness to rival the effect of the overhead lights in our testing lab. Black levels and shadows weren’t quite as well-defined but were still good. However, once I settled on Filmmaker mode, the overall picture quality improved, with deeper black levels and a more natural look, whilst still maintaining punchy colors. 

First watching scenes from John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2, both of which are set in a nightclub, the pulsing colors of the lights were vibrant and contrasted well with the shadows within the scene when the lights flashed off. Blacks were deep but still had great levels of detail. This was especially obvious in Wick’s black suit, the textures of which you could see despite the overall dark scene. 

To test Dolby Vision when watching in the B3’s Dolby Vision Cinema Home picture mode, I watched some scenes from Star Wars: Ahsoka. Contrast here was again impressive, with lightsabers almost jumping out of the screen against the darker backgrounds, regardless of color. The most noticeable thing when watching Ahsoka was just how natural and true-to-life textures and skin tones looked. 

For motion testing, I used the opening scene from John Wick: Chapter 2 where John Wick pursues a motorcycle. During the chase, Wick’s car drifts around a corner and the camera quickly swipes from left to right. The B3 did a great job of processing this fast-paced scene, with the quick, panning shots looking fluid as the car and motorcycle weaved in and around traffic. 

Using the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark Blu-ray to test professional demonstration content, the B3 did a remarkable job. Night scenes within cities looked crisp, with the lights of the skyscrapers standing out from the black backgrounds. Colors were also dynamic within scenes of nature, with bright blue skies seeming natural against the rocky landscape below. One thing that became apparent however was that the B3 did impart a cooler color bias during snow demo scenes, with the white taking on a blue-ish tint. But this didn’t detract too much from the superb quality of the picture and it can be adjusted for in picture settings. 

  • Picture Quality score: 4.5/5

LG B3 OLED with music menu on screen

The music Quick Card - part of webOS 23, though music won't sound the best on the B3's lacking sound system  (Image credit: Future)

LG B3 review: Sound quality

  •  2.0 speaker system  
  •  Decent bass levels 
  •  Speech lacking a bit overall 

The LG B3 features a 2.0 speaker setup outputting 20W of power per channel, with support for Dolby Atmos. With no upward-firing speakers, LG uses its AI Sound Pro sound mode to upmix the 2.0 configuration to a 5.1.2 output in order to try and get the best out of the B3's speakers. 

In Standard sound mode, bass levels were good but sadly everything else was lacking. Speech in particular was a bit lost in the overall mix, with trebles sounding a little scratchy and brash at times. Dolby Atmos effects within this mode were almost non-existent. However, when changed to Cinema sound mode the overall sound was definitely improved, with bass, treble and mid levels being balanced to create a better overall sound. Speech was still a little lacking, but greatly improved from Standard mode. 

As mentioned above, the B3 does feature an AI Sound Pro feature that will upmix the sound to 5.1.2 configuration and although through it Dolby Atmos effects were more apparent and treble and speech levels slightly enhanced, bass took a massive hit. Playing Top Gun: Maverick through both Cinema and AI Sound Pro, I found the most balanced overall sound to be through Cinema, as the rumble I expected from the jet engines was lost in AI Sound Pro. 

The B3's sound quality is probably one of its weakest parts. Although it has better built-in sound than a lot of other TVs, the B3 is definitely lacking compared to other OLED sets like the LG C3, Sony A80L and Samsung S90C. Admittedly, these TVs cost more for better built-in sound, so it might be worth investing in a soundbar with the money you would save.

  •  Sound Quality score: 3.5/5 

LG B3 TV stand

The LG B3's stand looks nice but sadly is a bit cheap feeling  (Image credit: Future)

LG B3 review: Design

  •  Slim, attractive bezel  
  •  Nice-looking but cheap-feeling stand 
  •  LG Magic Remote supplied  

The B3 features a surprisingly thin profile and a slim bezel at the top of its screen, running to about halfway down. However, the bottom half of the TV does bulk out and although this is noticeable from the back and sides, it doesn’t stop the TV from having an attractive design when viewed from the front.  

LG designed the B3 to primarily be on a stand, which is centrally located on the TV. With a dark gray finish, its design is simple yet effective. Unfortunately, compared to its more premium models like the C3 and G3, the stand is a plastic material as opposed to metal. This makes it feel a little cheaper and with the B3 priced as it is (which is mentioned above) this is a real shame. However, unlike the G3, the B3 does come supplied with its stand.

LG’s Magic Remote that’s supplied with the B3 is as great as ever. It has a nice balance and solid quality to it, with plenty of app shortcut buttons and an easy-to-follow button layout. The central wheel is a nice way to navigate menus and the pointer allows you to explore screens without having to press arrows, but you may take some time getting the hang of this.

  •  Design score: 4/5 

LG B3 with Quick Card menu on screen

The LG Quick Card menu which can be edited to suit your needs (Image credit: Future)

LG B3 review: Smart TV and menus

  •  webOS 23 re-design for tidier home menu
  •  Quick Cards feature categorizes apps
  •  No hands-free voice control like the LG C3 and G3 

The LG B3 comes installed with the latest iteration of LG’s own smart software, webOS 23. This has been streamlined compared to last year's software, webOS 22, by limiting the amount of ads and recommendations on its home page, making for a much neater look. 

Quick Cards are probably the biggest feature introduced on webOS 23’s menu system, with the ability to categorize apps by genre such as Music, Game, Movie and so on, meaning you can easily navigate to the type of apps you like. There are plenty of customization options as well, enabling you to organize your apps into these Quick Cards as you see fit. 

The Quick Menus featured in webOS 23 are also a welcome inclusion. Pressing the gear icon on the remote will bring up a pop-up menu in the corner of the screen that enables you to quickly change settings like picture mode, sleep timer, OLED pixel brightness and so on. 

Thanks to the B3’s Alpha 7 Gen6 processor, navigating the smart TV software and menus feels seamless and easy, with no pauses or stuttering. The B3 does feature voice control capabilities while pressing the mic button on the remote, but not the new hands-free voice control found in the C3 and G3.

  •  Smart TV and menus score: 4.5/5 

LG B3 with game menu and battlefield v on display

The LG B3 comes with LG's Game Optimizer and menu, which tailors the gaming experience depending on what you're playing (Image credit: Future)

LG B3 review: Gaming

  •  4K, Dolby Vision gaming support 
  •  Game Optimizer mode for better gaming performance 
  •  Only two HDMI 2.1 ports 

Much like the other OLEDs available in LGs’ 2023 range, the B3 comes with a great selection of gaming features, including 4K 120Hz Dolby Vision support, VRR, ALLM, AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync capabilities and a Game optimizer mode to get the best settings for your gaming experience. 

Using the Leo Bodnar 4K input lag tester measuring at 60Hz, the LG B3 yielded a respectable result of 12.6ms. However, when turning on its Boost mode, found in the Game Optimizer, the result improved to 9.2ms, which is not only an excellent result but the same as I measured in the higher-end LG G3.  

The LG B3 does an excellent job in terms of gaming performance. Playing Battlefield V on Xbox Series X, with Game Optimizer mode turned on to remove any annoying picture settings like judder reduction that would hinder the game, the B3 handled graphically intense moments well. During an ambush mission in a forest, quick targeting was made easy and wide, with panning shots from one side of the screen to the other feeling seamless. 

With the Game Menu in webOS 23, there were plenty of settings to tweak to get the best possible picture including black level and even a game genre setting, which when I switched it to First-Person Shooter (FPS) automatically adjusted colors and motion settings to suit Battlefield V. After doing this, details within the picture were crisp, colors were vivid and black levels and shadow detail were superb. 

Despite brilliant overall gaming performance, the LG B3 sadly does only come with two HDMI 2.1 ports, as opposed to the four you would find on some of the best gaming TVs. Those with both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and a soundbar they hope to run through eARC (one of the two HDMI 2.1 ports) may have to seek out alternative options like the LG C3 or Samsung S90C for example. However, looking past this, the LG B3 still offers excellent gaming features and performance. 

  •  Gaming score: 4.5/5 

LG Magic Remote on brown TV stand

The LG B3 comes with LG's Magic Remote  (Image credit: Future)

LG B3 review: Value

  •  Cheaper alternative to the LG C3 
  •  Picture quality comparable to higher-end sets 
  •  Fairly priced after discounts for what features you get 

As the most widely available ‘entry-level’ OLED in LG’s range, the B3 wasn’t going to offer as many features in terms of gaming and performance as its more premium counterparts, the C3 and G3, which meant that it needed to hit a good price for those looking for a good value OLED.

At the time of its release in April 2023, the B3 was only roughly $100 cheaper than the LG C3, which comes with the superior Alpha 9 Gen 6 processor, brighter Evo panel and four HDMI 2.1 ports, meaning the B3 did not provide this cheaper alternative that should have been offered.

However, since its release, the LG B3 has seen fairly large discounts and now sits roughly $200-300 cheaper than the C3, which is a much more reasonable price and enables people to think about any soundbars or accessories they could get with the B3 with the money saved. It is worth noting, however, that at the time of writing there is quite a large disparity in prices between the US and other territories for the 77-inch model, with it being much better value in the US. 

Although there is some disparity in prices, it’s hard to argue against the B3 in terms of value, as you are getting a fantastic performing OLED TV with picture quality that in many ways rivals its more premium counterparts, for a now more reduced price.

  • Value score: 4.5/5  

LG B3 with bright image of hot spring on screen

The B3 has vibrant colors that rival some higher-end sets (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the LG B3

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

HP Omen laptop displaying Calman Portrait Displays calibration software hooked up to Murideo 8K test pattern generator

Testing equipment we use for our tests from Murideo and Calman - in this instance connected to the Panasonic MZ2000 (Image credit: Future)

How I tested the LG B3

  • 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 for a couple of days, displaying SDR content from live TV, I tested various picture modes on the LG B3 including Standard, Cinema, and Filmmaker mode through a variety of SDR and HDR sources from 4K Blu-rays to streaming and also through an Xbox Series X.

After choosing the best picture mode, Filmmaker, I tested the LG B3's picture thoroughly using Disney Plus for 4K Dolby Vision HDR content, the Xbox Series X for gaming, 4K Blu-ray for HDR content and SDR content through live tv and Full HD on ITVX and BBC iPlayer.  

When it came time to take measurements of the B3, I used Portrait Displays’ Calman calibration software. Using this, I measured peak brightness on a 10% window and 100% window in both SDR and HDR. I then recorded the Delta-E values (which demonstrates the margin of error between the test pattern and what is displayed) for color accuracy, grayscale and gamma again using Calman. I then measured the color space looking at DCI-P3 and BT.2020 coverage. For all tests, I used the Murideo Seven 8K test pattern generator.

Finally, to measure input lag for gaming, I used the Leo Bodnar 4K input lag tester.

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?

Buy it if…

Don't buy it if…

Magnetar UDP800 review: Also consider

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