LG 49UF7600 Review
49 INCH SMART 4K LED TV
by Jack Burden, Reviewer
The 49UF7600 is one of the better priced 4K LED TVs in the market this year. This model forgoes some of the fanciest features such as Harmon Kardon speaks and the cinema screen (almost frameless) design. Instead it offers a better price for a 4K TV but still has some of the necessary upgrades like a TruMotion 240Hz refresh rate and the ultra cool and easy to use Magic Remote. If you remember the LED 7600 series, add the 4K resolution and you basically have this model. The 7600 has a very nice clear coat front panel for increased depth as well. marks the 3rd generation of LG's premium 4K LED TVs. A few key upgrades from previous 4Ks from LG include 4 HDMI 2.0 inputs, IPS panels for increased brightness and better side angle viewing, and Ultra Clarity for even better motion blur reduction. As typical of LG, the built-in audio quality is just about as good as it gets without a home theater system. HD to 4K upscaling is another high point since native 4K content is not widespread yet.
Initially we were told by LG this the UF7600 would have 3D compatibility, so we were surprised when the feature was not include especially in a high end TV like this one.
Tru 4K Upscaler – Mastering Engine
There is no more important component of a 4K UHD TV than the video engine – particularly the ability to upscale/upconvert resolution to the native resolution of the panel. While LG's offerings in general are not as strong as the best Sony models in this regard, they do offer considerably more value. The lack of 4K content is going to continue well into the future, so stellar upconverting all manner of HD resolutions 720p, 1080p, 480p is essential. LG ranks in the middle of the pack in this regard. There are some processing artifact with lower 480p and 720p signals. The higher up the HD chain you go, the better the clarity and detail to show off the native 4K resolution. This Video engine and upscaler quality is also one of the differentiating factors moving up the price scale between models within LG. The UF7600 uses a 4 step process to examine and enhance broadcasts, recorded video, and home video game consoles.
Color Prime / Color Rendition
Colors do to render more depth and slightly better saturation in these new 4K models. LG contends this is due to their new Color Prime technology-which uses phosphor (colored) based LED lighting. Out of the box colors are over saturated but after calibrating the picture settings or using the cinema (user) setting with contrast at around 80% you get natural, crisp colors.
Side Viewing Angles (IPS Panel)
LG's UF7600 uses an IPS (in-plane-switching) panel. The IPS panels do a better job from side viewing angles but introduce more artifacts and have less black saturation than the non-IPS panels. There are still weaknesses in both with side angle viewing as contrast degrades, but generally the IPS panel is 20%-30% better from angles than non-IPS panel LED TVs.
Our recommendation is to turn the TruMotion settings feature off with all but sports programming. It adds that kitschy fake look to the picture by removing too much of the intended background blur. It's especially detracting from BluRay movies.
WebOS 2.0 Smart TV Features
After taking flack from us and others two years ago, LG has put some effort into speeding Smart TV function with the first WebOS and now WebOS 2.0. Boot up times are faster, though not as fast as the new Android TV platform. The interface layout is simpler and more intuitive and makes sorting your favorite programs very easy with the point and click operation of the new LG Magic Remote (we love the Magic Remote).
Smart TV options are Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, HSN, Showtime, Drama Fever, iHeart Radio, and newly DirecTV, and GoPro. The GoPro Channel App is only available to LG webOS and allows LG TV owners to stream GoPro videos on-demand. The channel anticipates adding 4K content soon.
The one I like for you cable-cutters out there is Sling TV, which for a monthly fee ($20) gets the all important ESPN and ESPN 2 taken care of. It also gives you the addictive and entertaining Food Network.
IheartRadio is an digital audio service which allows streaming of live radio stations.
The point and click navigation on the new LG Magic Remote works as fast and seamless as ever. It's the best remote in the market.
Simple is the name of the game here. Instead of a home screen with tons of buttons, you get a nice colored strip across the bottom of the screen populated with your favorite apps and the LG store. What you are currently viewing stays on the screen. Click the left arrow on the screen to see your open apps and the right arrow to show all the app downloaded to your TV. We are impressed with the speed of switching between apps. It is instantaneous. Two years ago a big complaint of ours was the poor streaming ability of LG's Smart TV platform. That's not the case this year thanks to the complete overhaul of the entire platform. This means the buffering times of streaming content are greatly reduced. Overall, the move to a WebOS based system was a good move on LG's part.
Sound Mode Options – Solid Sound Quality!
Even though the UF7600 does not have the upgraded Harmon Kardon speaker package, sound quality is nevertheless better than the majority of flat screen TVs on the market. The Clear Voice II setting is our choice for settings.
Design and Appearance
The 49UF7600 has nice clean lines and a small half inch bezel frame. There is an indention for the bezel frame which is absent in the seemless design of the higher priced cinema screen design TVs. But for the price difference I like this one better.
With an MAP price of $1699 and sale price of $1300, the 49UF7600 is priced very competitively. It's a nice “bridge” model for those wanting to future-proof for 4K content arrival. It compares favorably in value terms with other offerings in the 4K market from Samsung, Sony and Vizio.
- Resolution 3840 x 2160
- Dual Core Processor
- Tru 4K Engine
- Tru 4K Upscaler
- Just Scan (1:1 Pixel Matching) 0% Overscan (HDMI/Component/RF)
- 9 Picture Modes
- 20 Watt Audio Output
- 3 HDMI 2.0
- 4K UHD File Playback
|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|