LG 55LA8600 Review
55 inch 240Hz Passive 3D Smart TV
by Jack Burden, Reviewer
The 55LA8600 is one of LG's top tier models for 2013/2014. It's got all of the features you'd expect from the top of the line TV. To name a few, you get passive 3D, local LED dimming, smart TV, and the attractive Cinema Screen design. The biggest differences between the LA8600 and the LA7400 are the built-in camera and local dimming. It's a pretty big step up for not so many extra features. The GA7900 is also close to the LA8600 in the lineup, but that one is a Google TV. It is going to offer a lot more in terms of internet features.
Passive 3D Performance
All of LG's 3D TVs use passive 3D technology. This is beneficial in many ways. The glasses tend to be lighter and more comfortable. There are no batteries involved, so there is no need to worry about keeping glasses charged. Finally, manufacturers tend to include more passive 3D glasses in the box when you buy the TV. These are great and all, but what about the 3D performance? The overall picture quality with 3D programming does tend to lose a lot of points. Color is the high point of 3D performance in the 55LA8600 hands down. It is depth, clean lines, and image brightness that tend to drag things down a bit.
LED Local Dimming
The 55LA8600 receives the local dimming ability that helps to control contrast and black levels. We had a hard time finding it a completely beneficial feature. Luckily, it can be turned off and on as you please so it's easy to test whether you prefer to use it or not. We ended up turning it off most of the time due to some loss of dark shadow detail when using it. The picture characteristics of the LA8600 are excellent though with superb clarity, deep blacks and contrast, good color rendition. The only negative we noted was some jittery picture effects from over-processing, not something the average person will notice.
LG's Smart TV platform is a welcome addition to the 55LA8600. You are going to find many of the offerings present in all manufacturers' smart TV platforms. Thing like Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, MLB.tv, Facebook, and Twitter are now the standard. They offer an extensive array of Apps such as Puzzle Quest, Germs Palace, and the White House. The selection is complete and pretty compatible with other manufacturers. It's very attractively laid out and super easy to control with the Magic Motion Remote Control. There are a number of new interaction features as well for smartphones and tablets. Near Field Communication (NFC), Miracast, and Widi are just a few ways to bring content to the big screen from your mobile device.
Included Magic Wand Remote
The new Magic Wand Remote included with the 55LA8600 has seen a number of improvement since last year. In our reviews last year, we thought the magic remote was a handy inclusion that really helped navigation in the menus and in the web browser. We are happy to welcome it again with new voice features. The LA8600 magic remote doesn't have the QWERTY keyboard that is present on LG's new Google TVs, but that's okay.
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
The new voice features include Voice Mate which searches content on live tv and internet on-demand services. The voice recognition system uses natural speech to proform the searches, so you should be able to ask for a certain show or actor without having to issue awkward and very specific commands. From what we have seen, it works much better than voice searches in the past. A recommendation system is built into this as well. This seems to be the way many smart TV platforms are going. Once you make a search the results will show you content similar to what you are looking for. This could be a nice feature for finding new TV shows and movies in landscape where there is way too much to begin to sort through yourself.
Built-in Retractable Camera
The top tier LG models in the LCD/LED line up feature built-in camera on the top of the screen. They are retractable, so they can be hidden when not in use. The TV does not feature gesture controls like some of the top tier Samsung models. It's main use will be for video conferencing, but it will also enhance the interactivity with some apps. The possibilities with a feature are far reaching and nice to have, even if not used a lot.
Cinema Screen Appearance
The Cinema Screen design is present on this model and is quite impressive to look at. The brushed stainless steel silver bezel is as close to non-existent as it can get. LG has dubbed the redesigned branch stand the “Magic Stand.” It works with the bezel to create a borderless image that seems as if it were floating in air. The stand also allows the TV some swivel room with rollers for slight adjustments. This has the potential to be quite the useful feature depending on viewing habits and the room the TV is placed in. The profile is very thin too, typical for top end LCD/LED TVs.
|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|