LG Nanocell TV Review: SM8100, SK8500, SM8600, UK7500, SM9000

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Nanocell TV can be considered as LG’s offering to compete Samsung’s QLED TV. Better than LED, but not as splendid as OLED, Nanocell and QLED are the options for those who don’t want to spend a bomb of OLED, but yet want better visual experience. But does it meet the expectations? Let us delve in it it.

In this article, we look in to what exactly is LG’s Nanocell TV and how it fares in terms of performance, build quality, display, audio and smart features. Finally, we compare between the 4 popular Indian model series. 

What is Nanocell TV?

Nanocell is an improvement on traditional LED display panel. In a Nanocell TV, there is a coating of nano crystals between the display panel and the backlight. This coating with phosphorus properties can filter unwanted light frequencies. Thus it enhances colors and brightness in such a way that visuals pop out with its vibrancy. 

Nanocell and QLED utilizes similar technology.

Variants

SM8100 series- Available in 49, 55 and 65 inch screen size ( Click for price and purchase link)

SK8500 series- Available in 49, 55 and 65 inch screen size ( Click for price and purchase link)

SM8600 series- Available in 55 and 65 inch screen size ( Click for price and purchase link)

SM9000 series- Available in 55 and 65 inch screen size ( Click for price and purchase link)

UK7500 series- Available in 49, 55 and 65 inch screen size ( Click for price and purchase link)

Built and Appearance

Keeping up with the hype, the LG NanoCell series look sophisticated and stylish. The display is almost bezel-less. In fact, LG has even forgone its logo in the front bezel so as not to compromise on the aesthetics.

LG nanocell TV review

The backside is equally pleasing to view. As with all TVs, there is a slight bulge at the back. Even then, the TV is pretty slim compared to other TVs in the price range. On the sides, you have the various ports to connect to external devices. There are 4 HDMI port including one which features ARC. For the uninitiated, HDMI ARC is an option by which you can connect to sound bar or other audio output devices. Usually, if you connect this way, the sound bar too can be controlled using the TV’s remote controller. 

As with all flat panel TVs, it can either be wall-mounted or kept on the stand that comes along. When you wall mount, you might find it a bit difficult to access the ports. 

As for the stand, the crescent design sure looks sophisticated. However, it does take up a bit of table space. Also, the TV wobbles a bit when kept on the stand- Not something you really want while buying a TV worth close to a lakh. 

Overall, though it looks aesthetically pleasing, the wobbly stand is a bit of a let down.

You may also like our article on: Best 55 Inch LED TVs In India

Display

As mentioned earlier, LG promises close to OLED display quality with the Nanocell TV series. The display is 4K UHD screen resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. The nano particles filters the unwanted color frequency. LG’s wide color gamut technology called LG Nanocell Color pro also facilitates displaying wider color range. 

The IPS display panel assures wide viewing angle. The TV supports HDR content. While SM8100 supports just HDR 10 Pro and HLG content, the rest of the models support HDR 10 Pro, HLG and Dolby Vision too. 

LG nanocell TV review

To get that intense HDR effect, the SM8600 and SM9000 supports full array local dimming, while SK8500 and SM8100 has local dimming.

Difference between local dimming and full array local dimming
In full array local dimming, the entire display panel is divided into sections with LED light behind each section. The zone is lit on or off depending on the visual to create intense blacks and brighter whites. The effectiveness of full array local dimming would depend on the number of zones. However, most manufacturers do not disclose the number of zones. In local dimming, the LED lights behind the screen are along the edge and they are lit on or off depending on the visual to create enhanced contrast. While they are generally effective in enhancing the picture quality, compared to full array local dimming, it lacks richness and depth. Also, contrast and color may not be even throughout the screen.

On watching video in Nanocell TV, you do find the blacks very prominent. But sometimes it spreads over to the other colors and the display overall looks a bit dark and dim. Changing the settings helps a bit. But overall, the display lacks a bit of vibrancy and color.
Reviewers who viewed 4K HDR video were quite impressed with the display quality, its richness and vibrancy. Watching Discovery channel and nature shows like Our Planet is definitely a visual treat. However, when you watch movies or shows that are shot in dim light settings, you do find a significant blooming effect. It becomes evident that there are not many zones behind the panel which results in large lit and unlit sections. A normal viewer who is not a video critic isn’t likely to notice this blooming effect. But when you do a side by side comparison, you do find the colors a bit dim with 

Blooming effect happens in full array local dimming TVs when a zone is lit and the adjacent one if off. The light from the lit zone bleeds in to the adjacent zone to create a kind of halo effect which is referred to a blooming effect.

Now, coming to the upscaling technology. The SK8500, SM8600 and SM9000 have AI powered picture processor called the α7 Gen 2 Intelligent Processor, while the other models have their standard 4K upscaler. Reviewers are of the opinion that Full HD content is beautifully upscaled to near 4K quality. The visuals are clear, noise free and has really good definition. But when you try viewing SD content typically broadcasted by cable TV (DTH), you do find significant fall in the picture quality. This is especially noticed in the 65 inch plus size Televisions. Again, a regular viewer who isn’t really a video critic might not find much of a difference. It is highly advisable to opt for HD Set Top Box.

So does LG stick to its promise of near OLED display? Not quite so. Viewing 4K content is a treat. No doubt. But other videos lack vibrancy and color. Colors looks a bit dim and the visuals are a bit dark. In fact, you find some other models far better. For example, the LG UM7600 series and Sony X80G series with enhanced contrast have a lot better visuals with better color reproduction and contrast than Nanocell series.

  Audio

The SK8500 and SM9000 series have 40 Watt sound output 2.2 channel speakers and 20 watt subwoofer. Others have standard 20 W sound output.  

The audio quality seems pretty good with decent bass and surround sound effect. However, sometimes you do find that the dialogues are a bit inaudible. Also, the volume drop and rise drastically especially while viewing heavy action English movies that you might have to constantly adjust the volume. 

The TV has various sound modes like Standard, Cinema, Clear Voice III, Cricket, Music and Game. And these modes really do enhance the audio reproduction in terms of surround sound effect, bass and clarity. You can also connect to external speaker wirelessly as it is Bluetooth enabled. 

The audio quality overall is far better than what you find in a low end sound bar. However, audiophiles who want to enjoy Dolby Atmos supported content would be better off connecting to a good quality external sound bar.

Smart Features

Toms Guide rates LG’s WebOs as the best smart TV interphase. With easy navigation, plethora of functionalities, easy integration to smart home devices and LG’s proprietary Magic remote, the LG TVs are truly smart.

The ThinQ AI Smart TV has in-built Google Assistant and Alexa and can work in sync with your other home automation devices. It is also one of the few TVs which works with Apple AirPlay and is in sync with Apple Home Kit. So, you can control your TV using your iPhone’s Siri. AirPlay works just like how Chromecast works with Android.This is a feature you don’t find in Sony and Samsung as of the date of publishing this article. A future update may change this.

Popular VOD apps like Netflix, YouTube and Prime are pre-installed. The remote also has hotkeys for Netflix and Prime. The LG web app store has numerous VOD apps both international and regional. There are a number of gaming apps too. Overall, you do find a fairly vast range of apps that you can install in your TV.

Casting from mobile and laptop is facilitated by Miracast. Overall, navigation, streaming and casting is quite seamless and almost lag free provided you have internet connection of sufficient speed. 

LG nanocell TV review

Now, coming to the Magic remote, which is definitely one of the best aspects of premium LG Televisions. The magic remote makes navigation truly a breeze. It is voice recognition enabled. So, you can provide voice commands to operate the TV. The AI is pretty quick to learn. Initially, it might be a bit difficult to recognition regional words. But it soon learns to recognize them.

The magic remote also acts like a mouse with which you can point and click to choose. Moreover, you can use it to control both TV as well as STB. 

Comparison Of LG Nanocell Models: SM8100, SK8500, SM8600, UK7500, SM9000

Though basic technologies behind all the Nanocell models are similar, there are quite a few differences between the four models and obviously price difference too. 

Verdict

Overall, with decent display, superior audio quality and pretty dope smart features, the Nanocell series is a decent option. However, there are a few other models in similar or even lesser price range offering better display quality that you might want to consider too.

Image courtesy: lg.com/in

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