LG 42LN5400 Review

42 Inch 1080p LED edge Lit LCD HDTV 120Hz

by , Reviewer

Strengths

LG 42LN5400 LED TV
  • Direct LED backlighting shows bright colors, strong contrast, and excellent screen uniformity
  • USB port media player plays backs a large variety of digital formats (listed in review)
  • Half inch bezels add a lot to the attractive appearance of this value TV

    Weaknesses

  • 2 HDMI ports is a bit of a let down and could leave you wanting one or two more
  • There are no Smart TV features here, USB or connected computer are sources of content
  • Horizontal and verticle angle viewing shows loss of color and contrast at around 25 degrees
  • 120Hz Trumotion is great for sports, but really hurts TV shows and movies
  • Not as strong of a value option when compared against the larger sizes in the series

    The 42LN5400 is the smallest size offering in the 5400 series. It proves to be quite different from the 42LN5700 in many ways. The LN5400 basically sheds all of the internet features and the Magic Remote, but retains the full HD display with a 120Hz panel. The lack of features will definitely be a plus for those not interested in Smart Content. This places the 42LN5400 in the budget category and it can be had at a great value.

    Picture Quality Rating: 8.3/10

    Direct LED Backlighting - Very Bright

    The LN5400 series features direct lit LED backlighing. This type of backlighting still produces the same bright and colorful images as the edge-lit variety. The biggest difference is the depth of the cabinet. It can't be as thin as the edge-lit types. Screen uniformity performance can be better with this style of lighting as well since the lights are behind the screen and not around it. From what we've seen, it may be a minimal difference. Like all LED TVs, backlight levels are key to getting the best screen uniformity. A simple adjustment to reduce the back light brightness should take care of any uneven uniformity issues.

    5th Element Blu-ray on the LG 42LN5400
    This shot from the 5th Element Blu-ray highlights strong contrast and dark area detail

    Side Viewing Angles

    This is yet another stigma consumers have to deal with when it comes to LED and LCD TVs. Historically off angle viewing has been rather bad, but we can see slight improvements. The 42LN5400 starts to see contrast and color degradation around the 25 to 30 degree off center mark. This is nowhere near as wide as some of the top tier models or plasma TVs, but it is more than acceptable in our book for an LED TV.

    Trumotion 120Hz Refresh Rate

    It is nice to see a 120Hz panel on the lower end of the lineup. This feature excels at reducing motion blur and has been a solid performer on past LG TVs. In the LG 42LN5400 it works just as well. Motion blur and judder have always been known to be a problem for LED and LCD TVs. When this feature is enabled it does a decent job of keeping the two in check, though not eliminating the issue completely. Trumotion can also be turned off if any unwanted effects arise from the feature being enabled.

    Gaming

    The Game Mode isn't as hidden on this LG as it is on some other TVs. The LN5400 has a dedicated picture mode that is accessed from the top of the Picture Menu. Samsung hides their game mode deep in the menus and Panasonic puts it in the Advanced settings. LG's method makes it easy to turn the game mode on and off as many will be switching between games, movies, and TV a lot.

    If gaming is a major concern on your list while TV shopping, the 42LN5400 may not be what you are looking for. This one did not receive the upgraded GPU and dual core processor that the Smart TVs of the lineup got. This is going to be an issue for motion blur and judder. We even saw those problems on higher tier models. The Gaming picture mode is extremely handy for taking care of input lag. This is going to be the biggest concern, and the LN5400 delivers. If judder and motion blur are not problems, than this is going to be a decent choice. The rating for gaming is a 7 out of 10.

    Okami HD on the LG 42LN5400
    Action games like Okami HD really benefit fromt he Gaming picture mode. Less input lag means much faster response times for the on-screen action

    Features Rating: 7.5/10

    Connectivity Features – Digital Libraries have a New Home

    The 42LN5400 may only have 2 HDMI inputs, but it has a few connectivity options for playing back content from other sources. The single USB port is located on the side of the TV and accepts a large variety of formats to cover just about any digital movie, show, photo, or music you can throw at it. The accepted formats are: DivX HD, JPEG, JPG, MPO, AC3 (Dolby Digital), EAC3, HAAC, AAC, MPEG, MP3, PCM, DTS.

    There is also the MHL (Mobile High Definition Link) option for connecting smartphones. This requires a special cable that is able to transfer data at high rates for playing back high definition audio and video.

    Appearance and Design - Subdued

    The 42LN5400 series does not implement the Cinema Screen design, so it misses out on invisible bezels and an extremely thin profile. Besides those issues, it manages to keep a nice subdued look without grabbing too much attention.

    Sound Quality

    The lower end LG LED TVs don't have the same great speaker system as TVs like the LA7400. We think those TVs have some of the best on-board speakers on the market right now. The 42LN5400 features 2 one-way 10 watt speakers instead of 2 three-way 12 watt speakers. That makes a big difference. Volume is good on this TV, but the range of sound is empty in comparison. LG's different sound modes and Clear Voice II feature really helps round out the sound to make is more than tolerable. Sound quality scores a 6 out of 10 on the 60LN5400.

    Value – Bang for the Buck Rating: 9.0/10

    The LG 42LN5400 doesn't stand to be as great as a value as the other sizes in the series. It does hold up against competition, it just doesn't stand out. The Samsung UN40F5000 is the closest competitor that sells for about the same price, but has 2 inches less of screen space. The Panasonic TC-L42E60 is more expensive but features Panasonic's Viera Connect Smart TV suite.

    Overall Rating: 8.2/10

    Quick Specs

    • Diagonal screen measurement: 41.9"
    • Dimensions with stand (W x H x D): 38.11" x 24.72" x 9.25"
    • Dimensions without stand: 38.11" x 22.28" x 3.11"
    • Weight with stand: 22.9 lbs
    • Weight without stand: 20.5 lbs
    • 1080p Full HD resolution
    • 2 HDMI inputs / 1 USB port


    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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