LG 42LE4900 review

LG's great value 42-inch edge-LED set has some tasty features, but can its pictures cut the mustard at this price?

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First impressions are generally positive, with the 42LE4900 delivering a bright, punchy picture that lends itself well to high-definition material. That means blockbusting films like Avatar look instantly dazzling, with Pandora's cartoon-like colours beaming from the screen with eye-popping intensity.

But there's a pleasing subtlety to the set's colour reproduction too, conveying tonal blends smoothly and tackling Sam Worthington's tricky, stubbly skin with a convincing tone. Not quite the lucid, life-like reproduction of some sets, but certainly a great effort at this price.

Detail reproduction is also terrific. The XD Engine at the heart of the set lets none of those pixels slip through the net, making the movie's complex CG textures and landscapes look razor sharp, while objects are strongly defined around the edges. Shots of Pandora's wild and wonderful creatures ram the point home, as the set picks out hairs, scaly skin patterns and fine glimmers of light with ease.

The 42LE4900 isn't quite as assured when it comes to black levels. Switching over to a darker, moodier movie, such as Inception, shows up the set's unconvincing attempts at conveying blacks and picking out shadow detail.

LG 42le4900 review picture

This becomes a problem when it's asked to display scenes like the night-time aerial sweep over Paris – the screen looks mushy and indistinct, with the different buildings merging into a mass of black in certain areas. Inside Sato's in-dream apartment, dark areas in the background are black holes, while the definition of the lapels and pockets on Cobb's black jacket aren't as pronounced as they might be.

Another problem is that the edge LED backlighting causes some pooling of light in the corners of the screen, which is clearly visible when you play a movie with black bars and during dark scenes.

And one final negative concerns the set's lack of fluidity when it comes to motion. With none of LG's TruMotion anti-blur processing on board, you get a fairly smeary trail behind fast moving objects and hints of judder here and there, particularly during camera pans.

Test clips from a calibration disc showing fast-moving trains and quick camera pans up and down buildings display enough judder and blur to make you feel queasy.

But despite these shortcomings, which to be fair most people might expect from a sub-£600 set missing powerful picture processing, it produces very vibrant, engaging pictures with lots of detail and radiant colours.

This lends itself well to digital TV, which looks particularly crisp and solid. Hi-def channels look terrific, and although there's evidence of noise on SD channels the images are eminently watchable. And as an upscaler of SD material the set does a decent job, giving our Avatar DVD pleasing clarity and depth when fed in at 576p

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyLE4900
Brand NameLG
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
Weight with Stand (Approximate)16.70 kg
Backlight TechnologyDirect LED
Operating Power Consumption88.40 W
Standby Power Consumption200 mW
Dynamic Contrast Ratio2,000,000:1
RMS Output Power20 W
DLNA CertifiedYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand692 mm
Width with Stand1018 mm
Depth with Stand270 mm
Number of Common Interface1
Component VideoYes
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
Height627 mm
Width1018 mm
Depth35.3 mm
Product SeriesLE4900
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
ManufacturerLG Electronics
Product Model42LE4900
Product Name42LE4900 LED-LCD TV
Manufacturer Part Number42LE4900
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.lge.co.uk
Marketing Information

The LG LE4900 LED TV series provides Full HD 1080p picture quality with an ultra slim design which is perfect for hanging on the wall. Also on board is built in Freeview HD and NetCast for access to your favourite internet applications so that you and your family will be entertained for hours.

Weight (Approximate)14.20 kg