47LM690V

Given the success LG is enjoying with its mid-range TVs right now, there was every hope as we started testing it that the flagship 47LM960V was going to be some sort of TV masterpiece. Especially as it uses premium direct LED lighting.

It makes a mighty fine first impression, too, thanks to arguably the most stunning, borderless TV design LG - or anyone! - has created to date. The set is stuffed to bursting point with multimedia savviness too, especially when you get into its extremely content rich - and beautifully presented - Smart TV online system.

Its pictures don't disappoint during bright scenes either, thanks to some outstanding colour and brightness. Heck, it even sounds good, despite its stunning slimness.

All of which makes it crushingly disappointing that the 47LM960V doesn't deliver on the one picture element direct LED was really invented for: convincing black level response.

We liked

LG has pulled out all the stops with the 47LM960V's design, which is as pretty and 'science-defying' as anything we've ever seen. Its onscreen menus have been revamped in superb style too, and the inclusion of the Magic Remote provides a great alternative control system for technophobes. Bright scenes frequently look terrific on the TV too, and 3D images are both fun and satisfying. The 47LM960V even sounds good, thanks to its rear 'woofer'.

We disliked

As usual with passive 3D TVs, the 47LM960V can go from zero crosstalk to excessive crosstalk if you watch from even quite a slight angle above or below the screen. Side viewing angles are rather limited too. Gamers, meanwhile, will be troubled by the up to 100ms input lag the screen suffers with. By far the most troubling thing about the 47LM960V, though, is its inability to deliver dark scenes with anything like the sort of conviction you would expect to get with direct LED technology.

Final verdict

LG's designers deserve a serious bonus for the 47LM960V's looks. It's stunning. But it doesn't rely on looks alone to justify its flagship status.

For instance, it also serves up a spectacular combination of online Smart TV features, as well as multimedia playback from USB sticks or PCs/Macs. It's amazingly easy to use, too, given how many features it's got, thanks to its innovative remote controls and sumptuous onscreen menus.

Unfortunately, however, it falls at the picture hurdle, as its Nano technology fails to deliver dark scenes with anything like the authority we'd hope to see from a flagship TV - especially a direct LED one.

Also consider

There are precious few brands doing direct LED TVs right now. One that does, however, is Sony, with its HX923 range. However, while these sets generally produce superior pictures to those of the 47LM960V, they're let down by a flaw which causes shadowy vertical lines to appear around 1cm in from each of the TV's sides.

The other two closest rivals are actually both edge LED models. Samsung's UE46ES8000 is arguably even better in Smart TV terms than this LG, and it also looks great with its ultra-thin bezel. It needs care with its picture set up, though, and there are backlight consistency problems with 3D.

Panasonic's WT50 series, meanwhile, which we'll be reviewing here in the very near future, offers some excellent 2D and 3D picture quality, complete with an even backlight - though as with this LG, black levels could have been deeper. And Panasonic's online services aren't currently as rich or well presented as LGs.