LG 42GA6400 Review

42" Google TV 1080p LED Cinema 3D HDTV

by , Reviewer

LG 55GA6400 Google TV LED TVThis 42-inch is the smallest size offering in LG's new line of Google TVs. The most important parts of a television are the insides. LG hasn't skimped on this one. A dual core processor is used in this TV to power Google TV and the normal Smart TV platform. The processor is key to running apps and graphic heavy menu systems smoothly. The TruPicture XD Engine is also powered by the processor enabling the TV to produce deep contrast, rich colors, and quick image processing. These important features powering the TV should make the Smart TV experience frustration free when it comes to load times and picture performance.

Strengths

More on the 42GA6400
55GA6400 vs 55GA7900
  • Very strong passive 3D performance – bright and clear with strong side angle viewing
  • 4 HDMI inputs and 3 USB ports should hold over any home theater aficionado
  • Large selection of Smart TV apps along with Google TV makes for a great experience
  • Voice controlled searching works better than any other Smart TV suite
  • QWERTY Magic Remote makes an excellent remote even better
  • Google Play store gives users access to even more fun and useful apps

    Weaknesses

  • Currently runs an older version of Android (3.2) – There is potential for an update in the future
  • Long wait times to buffer streaming content really hurts the experience
  • The Gaming picture mode presents a lot of judder

    Neutral

  • Google log in requirements – Those who don't have an account or want to shy away from sharing their viewing and downloading information may not like this

    Picture Quality Rating: 8.7/10

    Picture quality on the 42GA6400 is very strong for a mid tier LED TV. The bright LED backlights push a lot of light through the panel to create bright and clear pictures. Excellent light flow-through is one of the highlights of this TV. Peak whites are very bright as well. Colors are another strong point as they are presented in a very natural way after dialing in a good calibration. Color rendition isn't over saturated as we have seen on a lot of current generation LED TVs. Black levels and dark shadow detail are where the GA6400 does fall short. Blacks don't measure up to the levels of a decent plasma or an upper tier level TV and dark shadow detail leaves a bit to be desired. This TV produces an excellent overall picture when viewed from front and center.

    Side Angle Viewing

    The 42GA6400 is not a major offender in this area, but it has its downside. Note, we have seen far worse this year. Color and contrast begin to degrade at about the 25 degrees of center mark. This applies to horizontal and vertical viewing angles alike. Take note of this in case this TV is going to be wall mounted or placed in a room where front and center viewing is hard to achieve.

    TruMotion 120Hzv – Get Familiar with this Feature

    This is one of those features that will have to be turned on or off depending on the content being watched. The best use of it lies in live sports programming to take full advantage of the 120Hz panel to smooth out the fast action. Film based content and TV programming are best with this setting disabled. Disabling this feature gets rid negative by-products like the “soap opera” effect and reduced natural background blur. We found that the User setting with De-Judder at 0 and De-Blur at 10 produces a great middle ground between the two. In the end, it is important to try out all the different ways to see which you like the best.


    A shot of the Google TV interface.
    A shot of the Google TV interface. You can see easy access to the Chrome browser, Google Play, and a host of other useful apps

    Passive 3D Performance - Excellent

    We have been very impressed with the passive 3D technology LG has put into their TVs this year. I honestly have preferred it. The picture remains as bright and clear as Full HD 2D images (even though there is a reduction in resolution due to the tech). Try to get an active 3D TV to do that. The perception of depth is also very strong. The glasses are cheap, comfortable, and light. Unfortunately, we couldn't really test the streaming 3D content through the TVs Smart menu very well due to lack of processor power in the TV. But with 3D Blu-ray content the TV displayed a great amount of depth, rich colors, and good contrast. 4 pairs of glasses are included in the box. This is a great TV for 3D lovers.

    Features Rating: 8.6/10

    Google TV Features

    It has the standard Smart TV feature set that is included in most of LG's TVs and Google TV as well. Those two things alone mean it is a feature packed television. Google TV means it will play a little nicer with the internet, as well has having a wider choice of apps (Google Play app store). The already excellent voice features are expanded even further with the addition of Android apps, Google Chrome's ability to scour the internet, and a connection to live TV programming. LG's Google TVs also receive a QWERTY Magic Remote to improve the functionality.

    One of the nicest features is the cross platform functionality thanks to Google. You must sign in to a Google account to take advantage of any of these features. (This is an upside or a downside depending on your stance on Google's privacy policies). An example is browsing and downloading apps for your TV through a tablet or smartphone that can access the Google Play store. This is a great addition that aims to fully integrate the TV with all of your smart gadgets.

    Internet Applications and Connectivity

    Smart TV made a lot of progress in 2012. From what we have seen, we thought LG has been a pretty solid contender. Mix a well established platform with power of Google TV to the 42GA6400 and the possibilities are endless. An updated Home Dashboard includes apps like HBO GO, Youtube, and many other choices to bring you the best content at any moment. LG also included a very cool feature that will make the day of any gamer. OnLive, a streaming gaming service, is installed out of the box granting access to a large library of games. The days of the dedicated gaming console just might be numbered. It's a great app and it's nice to see LG incorporating it into their TVs. See the following page for a full review of LG's Smart TV Platform.

    Magic Wand Remote


    Top side of LG's New Magic Remote for Google TV
    This is the side of the Google TV magic remote that will probably get the most use. Notice the easy to access mic button on top right of the remote. The placement makes it a breeze to activate the new voice recognition features.

    Included with the GA6400 is the new version of LG's innovative Magic QWERTY Remote. It is a motion control remote that we think is one of the best ways out there right now to control a Smart TV. The point and click operation makes this one of the fastest navigation systems on any TV on the market. What it boils down to is a much more enjoyable experience when it comes to surfing the internet and looking through your library of apps. Aside from the QWERTY keyboard, LG has implemented a surprisingly useful voice recognition feature. These additions will further the usability of the remote by making searches by simply saying what you are looking for. The feature enables voice controls for a user to change channels, look for a certain genre of movie, or find a specific show available on the Google TV platform.

    LG's QWERTY Magic Remote for Google TV
    The QWERTY side of the Google TV magic remote has keys that aren't too small for your fingers.

    Sound Quality – Loud with a Wide Range

    LG has really hit a home run with their built in speakers this year. As far as on-board speakers, they are the best you are going to find. The GA6400 doesn't has the 2.1 speaker configuration found on the LA6900, so the low end of the sound range isn't going to be as deep. This doesn't keep the GA6400 from having a great sound. The volume is plenty loud as well and doesn't have a problem filling the room. Our preferred sound setting is the Cinema mode with Clear Voice II enabled and set to 3.

    Appearance and Design

    The LG42GA6400 screen does not have the Cinema Screen design that the higher end LG LEDs are equipped with. The bezel is a little wider, so you miss out on the floating image illusion.

    Value Rating: 8.8/10

    The smallest size in the series, the 42GA6400, doesn't provide as great of a deal as the other sizes in the lineup. The difference between this one and the 47 inch is less than $100. The only reason not to go up in size would be for space restrictions. When compared to similar models, the value becomes a little more clear. The Samsung UN40F6400 is the closest competitor, but sells for more.

    Overall Rating: 8.7/10

    Dimensions

  • TV without stand (WxHxD): 38.31" x 23.2" x 1.43"
  • TV with stand: 38.31" x 25.67" x 11.26"
  • TV without stand weight: 27.3 lbs
  • TV with stand weight: 31.1 lbs

    Jack Burden Jack Burden has been reviewing and writing reviews in the consumer electronics category for 7 years with CEAG. He considers grayscale gradation, film patterned retarders, and focus field drives to be fun topics. Read more about Jack
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