LG 55LA7400 Review
55 inch 1080p Cinema 3D 240Hz LED TV
by Jack Burden, Reviewer
The 55LA7400 is a direct replacement of last year's 55LM7600. The 7400 series is third down from the top of the line model, not including LG's 4K TV. The 240Hz panel is the most distinctive feature from all the models below it. This model is also equipped with a dual core processor to keep the Smart TV feature running smoothly.
Picture Quality Rating: 8.7
Picture quality on the LA7400 is very strong with great dark shadow detail which is not overshadowed by good black performance. Colors are natural looking and not oversaturated, while picture depth is also very good for the LED edge lit LCD TV. This TV will not win best picture quality awards due to it not having quite enough zip from the backlight to gain superior peak whites or enough black depth to win there, but it's a solid contender with a very good picture. The screen is clear coat with a bit of anti glare matte in it, which also hurts your side angle viewing quality.
This shot from the 5th Element Blu-ray show the great amount of detail can be seen in bright and dark areas of the screen
Viewing Angle Quality
At 25 degrees off center there is notable contrast loss and this is especially noticeable if you are viewing the TV from above or below eye level. For instance, you would be affected by this loss of color and contrast if you had the TV mounted above a fireplace.
3D Picture Quality
LG's Passive 3D is growing on me even more. I think it's about as good if not equivalent to active 3D now. The numbers work better for active (1080p to each eye) but when I view the 3D content I cant really tell the difference and the glasses are cheap, comfortable, and light. Unfortuntely, we couldnt really test the 3D content located through the TVs Smart menu very well due to lack of processor power in the TV. But with BluRay 3D content the TV displayed a great amount of depth, rich colors, and good contrast.
2D to 3D Conversion Testing and Quality
First, make sure the TruMotion feature is on (Standard picture with Smooth TruMotion setting is fine). With a push of the 3D button on the Magic remote control you can convert any 2D programming you are watching to 3D. Obviously LG is keen on everyone trying this – thus the dedicated key on the remote. We tried out the 2D to 3D conversion much more extensively with a couple of Blu-Ray discs. The 3D effects are fairly subtle with the conversion – pretty good, but we still preferred a BluRay without the 2D to 3D conversion. Side angle viewing quality is affected severely with 2D to 3D conversion with contrast and colors fading. Normal DVDs may be brought to life, especially older ones by the conversion to 3D. Give it a try.
Picture Setting Preset Mode Options
Vivid – Complete over-saturation of colors with lots of artificial image edges, everything fake overblown.
Standard – 100% backlight with 100 contrast setting.
Eco - has backlight set at 70% with contrast at 100. Not a favorite.
Cinema (User) – Backlight at 100% , contrast at 80 much better picture more natural, brings out the expert controls options
Game Mode – specifically for gaming supposed to help reduce motion lag but it was still noticeable. This setting turns off the TruMotion feature and is best for gaming from our tests (even though there are many drawbacks).
Expert 1 ISF – for use with ISF calibration equipment
Expert 2 ISF – for use with ISF calibration equipment
TruMotion Feature Settings (De-judder and De-Blur)
Setting Options: Clear Plus, User, Off, Smooth, and Clear
This is possibly going to be the control you will most want to access and play around with to find out what is most desirable for you. Purists will likely need to turn this feature Off but will experience a bit of judder (super fast skipping). All of the TruMotion options cut out natural background blur and add a kitchy soap opera effect to programming. Although the De-Blur portion of the settings only has a minimal impact we recommend for normal:
Shadow detail is great in this shot, but you can also see a bit of screen reflection
Features Rating: 8.3
Remote Control and Menu – Magic Remote and Voice Control get an A
This is the updated look for the Magic Remote accessory. It's got all of the necessary buttons as well as a mic button on the bottom of the 5-way controller for engaging the voice controls
Magic Remote Control Initial Set up very easy. Shake the remote to get the courser working, the courser arrow pops up immediately if you have a hot signal going into the TV. If not, it's a little sluggish to get it working for instance if you are just accessing the Smart TV options. We have always liked the point and click operation of the Magic remote and still do. It speeds section and browsing. But now this voice control feature has trumped everything before it. It is amazingly accurate. Just press the mic button and speak. We tested the TV browser (Bing) with our favorite difficult site url, “LCD TV Buying Guide” and the 55LA7400 had no problem, pulling up our site #1. We tested again and the results were the same. I tried, “movies with Gwyneth Paltrow,” (a difficult name) and the 55LA7400 nailed it perfectly bringing up movie App selections, You Tube video clips and more choices for movies with the the actress. The voice recognition technology is fantastic. Drawbacks to the remote are no Input or Aspect ration keys even though there is a quick menu key that accesses the Input icon. We wished the LG Smart TV processing matched it the excellence of the remote.
Voice Recognition Test
The LA7400 menu system Straight forward, easy to use and well laid out. One drawback is that you have to click on the Smart TV key on the remote to access the picture settings menu. They are not available through the Quick menu settings.
Sound Mode Options Choices – Excellent Sound Quality!
Clear Voice II and Virtual Surround Plus options here add interesting choices, but our choice is the Cinema setting with Clear Voice II setting enabled with the level set at 3. The Standard setting is our second favorite with Clear voice II enabled. Overall we rate the sound quality of this TV as excellent and a high point. It is better than the other manufacturers we've tested as well by a long shot. The speaker in the bottom back of the TV adds most of the overall depth to the TV but we believe it is well worth it to have good sound from the TV. These minimalist TV designs are often used in spaces without home theater systems.
Appearance and Design - Wonderful
The LG 55LA7400 continues with the Cinema Screen nearly frame-less design with brushed dark silver sides and thin half inch brushed silver across the bottom. Great looking set. What else can you say. The screen is not as black as the Samsung F8000 when turned off but aside from that it's gorgeous. It is deeper this year at almost 3 inches at the bottom to accommodate an excellent speaker. The stand looks good very curvaceous and sharp, brushed silver.
Gaming Quality – Not Quite Good Enough!
We hooked up a Playstation 3 and loaded Gran Turismo 5 and Okami HD to test of the gaming capabilities of the 55LA7400. This TV may not be the best choice for games. The picture is great, but motion blur or input lag always seemed to be a problem. I recommend using the Game picture mode to get rid of input lag, but motion blur and judder remain a problem. On the flip side, the Standard picture mode with TruMotion set to 'Clear' makes for a smoother image, but input lag hurts the experience. We also tried out 3D with Gran Turismo 5. I don't recommend this either because the quality degraded badly enough to cause jagged image edges. The benefits from TruMotion were lost in 3D too, leaving a good bit of motion blur. In the end, I would look elsewhere for a gaming TV if that is of primary concern.
Smart TV Features - Offerings held back by lack of Video Processing Power
Smart TV options are accessed by one press of the far right button on the Magic remote. One problem we ran across consistently with streaming content was a lack of processing power from the LA7400 with movies or TV but even more noticeably with 3D content (where more processing is required). The signal buffers and sputters constantly. This was not the case last year when I tested 3D world Apps. When we viewed some You Tube videos as a last test the LA7400 buffered for a while when loading, then played it OK. But when we switched the resolution even to just 480p the buffering delay resumed.
The Smart TV menu is clearly laid out with options:
Premium – Lists premium providers like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu HD movies, You Tube, MLB.tv (major leage baseball app), Cinema Now, Crackly, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Google Maps, AP, and vTuner, Picasa, Viewster. As one notable change, NBA Game Time is no longer listed in the Apps for this year. Another notable miss is TED.
vTuner - is an internet radio provider App which contains among other things BBC Radio 4, 1.fm Chillout Lounge (good flowing ambient music and a favorite), Kassik Radio 98.1 classical Germany. This is a pretty strong free App worthy of a 4 out of 5 rating.
Viewster - is a new addition this year and has movies that you can either choose to pay $2.99 for or watch free with ads like Crackle. Limited selection and not great quality give it a 3 out of 5.
MLB.tv – This App is found in the LG Premium section and has mixed reviews. My guess is that many of those negative votes came from those that were not able to find the video highlights – which is not that easy.
3D World - is the next section which consists of lots of 3D shorts free content (maybe 40 total) and other paid 3D content movies mostly animated costing $5.99 or so. Smart TV wireless reception was spotty and pixelated with 3D content (and really all movies in general), buffering frequently, slowing down, stopping. We then decided to hard-wire the connection through an Ethernet cable to the modem and got a little better results, but not a lot. The LG's TV processor just could not keep up. For this reason we do not recommend 3D content be viewed over the Smart TV network.
Kpop Zone: Pretty cool fun little app that has some proprietary 3D concert programming in both English and Korean, but solely Korean artists. Sounds and looks interesting. Again, the speakers are impressively powerful. However, then a quick search quickly gets you into paid for entertainment – usually .99 each. Rating: 3 out of 5.
Smart World and Game World - are made up mostly of games. I played a little Air Attack with the point and click Magic remote and it was pretty good. The Magic remote allows for lots of little games. But alas, one must pay for the games $2.99 is a standard price.
The best selling paid Apps under Smart World are Accupressure $1.99, Dino Tales ($2.74 childrens App), Dibo Defense ($.99 game App). That gives you a general idea about how worthless they are.
Watch Big! And Picasa are two of the top listed free Apps under Smart World. Picasa we all like, Watch Big! Required Google Play to load.
Under the Education menu I found a decent free App called CNN Student News which has daily news geared toward kids, but really it just looks like the news especially political and Supreme Court oriented. The main difference being that the reporters wear casual clothing rather than suit and tie. This is about the only useful App in the “Education” section. Rating 3 out of 5.
I downloaded two free Apps from the LG Smart Apps Education section – recommended ones at that – Robinson Crusoe, and Animal Farm. They are both farcically bad and useless. They are both readings of these popular books – and not only is the reading poor, it's obviously not even a native English speaking person doing the reading. To make matters worse, the user has to use the remote control to click to the next section every paragraph or two. To compound this worthless effort, LG's menu lists Animal Farm several different times because each App only has a couple of chapters. Robinson Crusoe is split up into 8 different Apps. Obviously, this is just a ploy to be able to claim more Apps than they really have. Rating: 0 out of 5 .
My Interests - section hones in on your local locale to give you the weather from Accu weather. You can just leave your favorite subject input and this section will post 3 of the latest articles from the Internet on whichever subject you choose as your favorite.
On Now - section gives mostly TV show selections which cost $1.99 per episode.
Smart Share – this section shows your content from USB, PC, or mobile devices.
Value Rating: 8.1/10
The LG 55LA7400 promises to be a pretty good seller for LG with the excellent Magic Remote, 3D, and faster 240Hz processing speed, and superior sound quality. Competition is from the Samsung UN55F7500 and UN55F7100, as well as many plasma TVs such as the Panasonic TC-P55VT60. Overall the TV has lots to offer though as of this writing may not be the best value on the market at around $2000.
Overall Rating: 8.4/10
|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|