Since their arrival in the US in the summer of 2013, OLED-based HDTVs have made a big splash in the television market. LG’s 55EA9800 was the predecessor to this year’s current model and received critical acclaim from reviewers, industry experts and enthusiasts as having some of the best TV images ever displayed. See my review of the EA9800 here.
Fast forward to 2014 and LG’s second-generation line-up of OLED HDTVs featuring the 65EC9700 and the 55EC9300, which continue with the superb performance standard set by last year’s model. More on performance later.
The EC9300’s design resembles and appears more like an art sculpture than an HDTV display. The modest curve of this 55″ set adds to its thin and sleek gorgeous appearance, measuring only 0.17″ thick at its thinnest point.
The stand for this display comes pre-installed so no installation is necessary. Speaking of the stand, it has a very unique design, like none I’ve ever seen before. Its appearance is that of a flattened curve design, that starts out thin at the ends of the display and begins to bow outward as it flows inward under the set. I must say it definitely adds to the beauty of this already gorgeous set.
LG’s WebOS smart TV platform is nicely laid out with selection boxes or icons along the bottom of the screen. Operation is simple and straightforward, which makes choosing an app or program hassle-free. These Icons can be custom organized with your favorite apps such as Netflix, YouTube and Pandora to name a few, which makes for fast and easy access. All TV functions are available from WebOS including a selection of HDMI ports and etc. for example.
My only complaint about LG’s smart TV platform is using and making your selections with the Magic Remote in “point-and-click” mode. Getting used to its functionality involved a short learning curve for me due to the on-screen cursor being very sensitive to movement. However, over a short period of time, I became comfortable with its use, and I actually began to like this feature.
You can always avoid the point-and-click function if it proves problematic for you by using the Magic Remote like any other standard remote.
The Magic Remote is an oval-shaped compact design that fits nicely in my hand with easy access to all buttons, although I felt the buttons were not that intuitive as far as user-friendliness goes.
The remote has a voice recognition feature that allows you to access certain functions like channel changing, volume control and app selection all by the natural sound of your voice.
This display is 3D capable and includes 4 pairs of passive 3D glasses.
You also get built-in Wi-Fi to connect wirelessly to your home network, and a full web browser for surfing the internet.
The EC9300 is well equipped with all the A/V inputs and outputs you will likely need and include:
- 4 HDMI (3 side, 1 rear)
- 1 Component video in (rear)
- 1 Composite video in (rear/shared with component)
- 1 RF in (antenna/Cable rear)
- 1 Optical digital audio out (rear)
- 3 USB 0 (side)
- 1 Ethernet (rear)
- 1 RS-232 (mini-jack – side)
OLED HDTV displays are quickly setting a new standard for overall picture quality, and in my opinion, once OLED 4K TVs hit the market, (supposedly this October and November with two models – see more info here) will become the standard for which all display technologies are judged by.
What truly sets OLED displays apart from other technologies such as LED/LCD and plasma are their infinite contrast, absolute black level, and color reproduction. These three key components give OLED displays the best HDTV images currently available in my experience and opinion.
LG’s 55EC9300 delivers in all three of the areas mentioned above to give you outstanding picture quality.
The contrast output of this set was nothing short of amazing… from the brightest whites to the darkest blacks, this display produced them with absolute authority.
Black levels on this set were simply superb and were absolutely black, and were the deepest, darkest and most inky blacks I have ever seen with the exception of LG’s previous EA 9800 OLED TV which delivered the same black level performance. No plasma TV I have ever seen could produce black levels as deep and dark as this display.
Color reproduction on the EC9300 was the most true-to-life I have ever experienced. The colors were extremely rich, bold and very vibrant. The color rendition of this set really drew me into the image to the point where you do not want to take your eyes off of it.
And of course, shadow detail was excellent on this set allowing me to see objects in dark scenes with plenty of clarity and detail.
Side Angle Viewing
Screen dimming is not an issue with OLED technology. So no matter how far off-axis I viewed the image, the screen remained consistently bright.
If you want the absolute best, in contrast, black levels and color rendition, then you must consider and have a look at LG’s 55EC9300. It may not give you the best in fine detail reproduction, transparency and image depth as some of the best 4K Ultra HD TVs such as Sony’s excellent performing XBR950B 4K LED HDTV.
However, for me personally, I would choose a 1080p OLED TV over a 4K model any day of the week, (with the possible exception of the XBR950B mentioned above) simply because of the color reproduction, deep black levels and the natural look of the OLED picture image; which I consider a better trade-off in comparison of what a 4K display has to offer.
So is now a good time to purchase an OLED HDTV? If you are not concerned about 4K at this time and don’t mind paying a bit more in price compared to the best-LED TVs on the market of similar size, then my answer is yes. Prices will continue to fall if that is your only hold-out.
On the other hand, If you desire a 4K OLED HDTV then you may want to wait a bit longer. However, there is a huge caveat on waiting for this type of display… and that is their retail pricing which starts at $10,000 for a 65″ screen and $25,000 for a 77″ screen on the soon-to-be-released LG models.
I truly appreciated the outstanding picture quality of the 55EC9300 and all OLED TVs I have recently seen, and in my opinion and observations are about the best there is of any other HDTV technology on the market. Highly recommended!
My Rating & Specs
LG 55EC9300 OLED HDTV
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• Offers the best in contrast, black levels and color reproduction
• Very natural looking picture image
• Beautiful design
• Excellent shadow detail
• Excellent WebOS smart TV platform
• There have been reports of picture motion issues (judder)
• Still a bit pricey
Screen size: 55″
Dimensions (W x H x D): TV without stand: 48.2” x 28.1″ x 3.1”, TV with stand: 48.2” x 29.6” x 8.0′
Weight without stand: 31.7 lbs.
Weight with stand: 36.1 lbs
Warranty: One year parts and labor
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