LG 50LN5400 Review

50 Inch 1080p LED edge Lit LCD HDTV 120Hz

by , Reviewer

Strengths

LG 50LN5400 LED TV
  • Excellent value offering for screen space and picture quality compared to competition
  • Direct LED backlighting creates bright colors and strong contrast
  • USB port has a media player that reads many formats
  • Half inch bezels look nice for a value TV

    Weaknesses

  • Only 2 HDMI inputs may not be enough for some
  • Smart TV and Magic Remote are left out on this one
  • Off axis viewing has typical loss of color and contrast for LED TVs
  • 120Hz Trumotion is great for sports, but really hurts TV shows and movies

    Neutral

  • Black plastic frame and stand
  • Lack of the attractive Cinema Screen design isn't a total loss
  • Sound quality provides room filling volume but ends up sounding somewhat flat

    LG is expanding their LEDs into the 50” class this year with the 50LN5400. 50 inch sizes have normally been a standard plasma TV size, but not any more. LG wants to make sure they have an affordable LED option for shoppers looking in this size range. To make it an affordable option, the TV shed its internet functionality, 3D viewing, and the Cinema Screen design. Picture quality remains, as the 50LN5400 can display a 1080p picture with a 120Hz refresh rate.

    Picture Quality Rating: 8.3/10

    Direct LED Backlighting - Very Bright

    The LN5400 series, like the 5300 below it, is a direct lit LED TV. This keeps the cabinet to from being very thin like a lot of the top tier LEDs from LG. This type of backlighting still produces the same bright and colorful images as the edge-lit variety. Screen uniformity performance can be better with this style of lighting as well, even if it is minimal. 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 50LN5400
    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 50LN5400 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 50LN5400 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

    If gaming is a major concern on your list while TV shopping, the 50LN5400 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 50LN5400
    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 50LN5400 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 - Very Simple

    The 50LN5400 series does not implement the Cinema Screen design, so it misses out on invisible bezels and an extremely thin profile. The direct LED lighting adds some depth to the TV, so keep that in mind for wall mounting. The depth without the stand is right above 3 inches. The black plastic bezels measure in at half an inch. They have a brushed texture that give off the appearance that they are metal. This one 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 50LN5400 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: 9.4/10

    The 50LN5400 is up against a lot of competition in the 50 inch size class with light features. The LN5400 wins out on price in the end, making it a very good value for the money. Competitors with similar feature sets include the Panasonic TC-L50EM60, the Samsung UN50F5000, and the Toshiba 50L2300U. The 50LN5400 can be had for $100 to $200 less than all three of these TVs.

    Overall Rating: 8.5/10

    Quick Specs

    • Diagonal screen measurement: 49.5"
    • Dimensions with stand (W x H x D): 44.72" x 28.50" x 10.35"
    • Dimensions without stand: 44.72" x 26.02" x 3.23"
    • Weight with stand: 34.4 lbs
    • Weight without stand: 31.3 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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