LG UH8500 4K Super UHD 120Hz Smart LED TV Review
55UH8500, 60UH8500, 65UH8500, 75UH8500
LG’s 2016 4K Ultra HD LED TVs feature a two tier lineup of standard models and what the company is calling the Super UHD LED TVs. So you may be asking what sets these two lines apart?
Well, two key differences are enhanced quantum dot color and HDR Plus capabilities. These improvements should allow the Super UHD TVs to achieve better performance.
The Super UHD Series Quantum Display TVs use quantum dots and Color Prime Plus technology for a wider color gamut revealing more vibrant and dynamically richer colors, in addition to a more natural and realistic color pallet in comparison to their standard 4K UHD counterparts which use last year’s Color Prime Pro technology.
The Super UHD displays also features HDR Super with Dolby Vision HDR technology vs. the standard line’s HDR Pro.
How much of a difference these enhancements may bring to picture quality between the two model lines, I cannot be sure, since I wasn’t able to do a direct comparison among them. However, I have seen one of LG’s new standard 4K models (UH6550) in action, and found its overall image quality to be pleasing to my own eyes.
Furthermore, the Super LED TVs have a better native refresh rate: 120Hz vs. 60Hz. They also contain a different video processing engine: a Super Mastering Engine vs. a UHD Mastering Engine.
The Super UHD TVs also have a better sounding audio system designed by harmon/kardon which delivers above average sound quality when compared to a typical flat panel TV.
UH8500 Design and Features
At first glance, and thereafter, the LG UH8500 exudes a distinctive and very attractive form factor. Its overall design is very slim and trim with a maximum panel depth of just over 1-3/4″ thick. Facing the display panel head-on reveals its very thin metal-finish silver bezel trim, which is accented by black borders that surround the inside edges of the screen.
The curved stand adds to the overall beauty of the display panel and is also made of metal and features the same silver color finish as the bezel trim.
Although it won’t be seen much, if at all, the back panel on this TV has an attractive white color finish that draws attention to itself to the point that some owners of this TV may actually want to show it off, since it’s not your typical black or gray finish found on most other TVs.
The transparent glossy screen is illuminated with edge-lit LEDs and contains a local dimming feature which I will cover in the performance section below.
Remote Control and webOS 3.0
The supplied Magic Remote’s size and design has remained unchanged from last year, which is a good thing in my opinion since this is probably my favorite manufacturer supplied remote to use. However, the button layout has changed a bit, most notably with the addition of the “Focus/ Live Zoom” button which allows you to use the Magic Zoom feature to zoom in and enlarge picture images to full screen to see more detail.
With that said, the functionality and layout is still very user friendly, and I continue to love using its point-and-click feature. It also contains a voice command function that can be used to operate LG’s new and improved webOS 3.0 smart TV platform which is one of the best available.
And speaking of webOS 3.0, this latest interface is easy to learn and use. Initial setup is smooth and simple, making connecting to other devices and searching for content very convenient. The redesigned Launch menu allows for quick navigation and makes it easy to find and access all of your favorite app choices such as Amazon Instant, Vudu, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Spotify and lots more.
The webOS 3.0 smart platform also gives you entertainment options that organize your recent viewing history, what’s on Live TV, and what you might like to watch next.
All of these features and seamless functionality add up to what I consider a great smart TV viewing experience.
Other features include:
- IPS 4K Quantum Display panel – LG Super UHD TVs can reproduce a wider pallet of over a billion rich colors for a more lifelike picture, consistent at a wider viewing angle thanks to IPS 4K Quantum Display technology
- True Black Panel – An antiglare, low-reflection screen coating helps the TV to achieve superb black levels and a high contrast ratio for an exceptional Ultra HD picture
- Cinema Screen – This premium LG Cinema Screen design features a beautifully slender bezel along the sides and top edge for minimal distraction from the picture
- Ultra Luminance – Picture quality becomes even more dynamic with Ultra Luminance, boosting peak brightness and increasing the overall contrast ratio
- Full 10-bit display panel and processing
- Super UHD TVs deliver up to 90% of the DCI-P3 color spectrum
- HEVC/VP9 decoding for watching streamed 4K video sources
- DIRECTV 4K Ready – DIRECTV subscribers with the Genie Whole-Home HD DVR can enjoy 4K service and full DVR features without an additional receiver
- 3D capable using passive technology and includes two pairs of 3D glasses
- TruMotion 240Hz for motion blur and judder reduction
- HDR (High Dynamic Range) with Dolby Vision for extended picture contrast and brightness with streamed and external HDR sources such as 4K HDR blu-ray disc
- Netflix Recommended TV – Certification that allows consumers to know which TVs work best with Netflix’s streaming service
- 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi to connect to your wireless network
- Quad-core processor for seamless web browsing and app multitasking
- 40-watt harmon/kardon designed audio speaker system for better audio quality
- Bluetooth wireless audio streaming to a compatible speaker system or set of headphones
- 3 HDMI inputs – 2.0a/HDCP 2.2
- 1 Component input (shared with composite input)
- 1 Composite input
- 1 Digital optical output
- 3 USB inputs
- 1 Ethernet input
- 1 RF input for antenna/cable/satellite
- Built-in Wi-Fi and full web browser capability
- Wi-Fi Direct
When set to the Expert – Dark Room or Expert – Bright Room picture modes, the UH8500 presents an overall very accurate picture image, delivering a color palette that is refined and natural looking. However some viewers may find these pictures modes not to their liking because it may leave the image a little dull and flat for their taste.
In this case I recommend you try the Standard picture mode setting which presents a more dynamic picture image with increased color vibrancy without looking oversaturated or unnatural. To get the best results using this picture mode, I recommend at least a basic calibration using a calibration software disc. Cinema mode is also a good choice for viewing movies.
The 4K and standard HD images I viewed on the UH8500 were delivered with plenty of picture detail and an abundance of clarity, with very good image depth. Furthermore, close-up shots of objects on-screen revealed very good fine detail and texture. Images were also very sharp and clean with no picture banding, light bleed or clouding that I could detect.
While viewing my 4K HDR film and video footage that I use for picture evaluation, I could clearly see a jump in picture brightness and detail, along with increased visual highlights of objects, especially during nighttime scenes. Colors were also rendered with more vibrancy and pop.
Since HDR is still in its infancy, I believe what I’ve seen so far is only the tip of the iceberg as far as picture quality is concerned, and will only get better as this new technology progresses.
4K upscaling was good with the 1080p footage I viewed from the movie Gravity. The perceived increase in picture quality gave on-screen images a bit more sharpness and clarity for a 4K-like appearance.
Contrast and black levels on the UH8500 aren’t the greatest, which was I expected since this TV uses an IPS panel which are known for not having the ability to produce deep black levels. This issue was readily apparent in the dark images I viewed, which were rendered with a slight grayish appearance instead of deep black. This issue may only be a problem when this TV is viewed in dark or dimly lit room. Otherwise, the picture will look much better in a room with natural or bright lighting.
The UH8500 does have a local dimming feature that can be used to help increase black levels, yet still will not give you the deep blacks provided by a VA type display panel.
This dimming feature can be set to Off, Low, Medium or High. I found that the “High” setting increased perceived black levels the most, but at the expensive of decreasing peak white output. So choosing “Off”, “Low” or “Medium” will be a better choice to avoid this issue.
My advice is to use this local dimming feature at you own discretion and see what works best for you.
Note: The type of edge-lit local dimming used on the UH8500 is not the same and isn’t as effective as TVs that use full-array LED backlighting with local dimming, which places zones of LEDs directly behind the screen and allows for more precise dimming.
Side angle viewing is very good on this TV thanks to its IPS panel and is idea for consumers who will have seating arrangements placed at wide angles from the TV’s screen. Color saturation and contrast loss at a 45 degree was practically undetectable. Moving out to extreme angles only reveals a very slight loss in the picture elements listed above.
Motion blur control on sporting events appeared to be very good when set to either the Clear or Smooth settings. I did not care for the Clear Plus setting which noticeably dims the picture image.
The sound quality from the harmon/kardon designed speaker system was above average for what I’m used to hearing from your typical flat panel TV. The sound was more open and spacious and a bit more full-bodied. Bass output, however, was very limited with no real impact or punch.
The LG UH8500 provides good picture quality with 4K UHD and standard HD content, especially when viewed in a well lit viewing environment. It’s excellent side angle viewing performance make it a great choice for off-axis viewing.
It has many features including its webOS 3.0 smart TV platform, which ranks among the best in the industry and is very easy to use thanks to its intuitive user interface.
The UH8500 does come up a bit short in its performance with its less than stellar contrast and black levels which may be a problem for some individuals while viewing this TV in a dark room; however, if you feel this will not be an issue, you may want to check out LG’s UH8500.
Click here to see LG’s complete 2016 lineup of 4K Super UHD LED and OLED UHD TVs.