Picture quality

Something we've long loved about LG TVs is their use of preset Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) picture modes, which once again work a treat (though there's also a full suite of colour management tweaks, from white balance right through to colour gamut).

In our test we plumped for the ISF 1 mode as a base for our test discs, the first of which was a 2D run-though of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

LED Local Dimming is best set to its lowest setting, where it helps create a clean and precise image. If this setting is left off, the TV tends to produce a bluish tone to images where black is dominant, as well as some light spillage in the corners of the screen and a touch of haloing.

LG 47LA860W review

Light spillage is not endemic to the panel at all, though overall it is the lack of convincing black levels that is the LG 47LA860W's key weakness, which will rule it out for home cinemas.

Elsewhere, though, it puts in a fine performance - colour is well saturated and natural-looking, while detail from HD sources is stunning even during fast-paced sequences.

We didn't feel much need to engage TruMotion, though on its lowest Smooth setting it makes chaotic scenes look deliciously smoother, though with some bubbling artefacts around the actors who move quickly across the shot. The Clear and Clear Plus settings remove too much brightness while adding artefacts, so are best avoided.

LG 47LA860W review

Smooth proves useful when watching 3D, too, though the visible lines of the FPR filter - and lower resolution generally - make judder less of an issue.

Unusually for a 3D TV, the LG 47LA860W can convert anything to 3D - from live TV to a DVD or even something you're streaming over SmartShare, it's all fair game. Except that converting sources to 3D isn't really something that's worth bothering with, because the 3D effect isn't at all consistent.

In our test we watched some golf being broadcast in HD, and found that in 3D mode the resolution drops in half, those lines are clearly visible, and though the on-screen graphics lift up nicely from the screen, the putting greens lack depth. Even when there's a near-ground shot of a crowd, the theoretical depth isn't presented cleanly enough.

LG 47LA860W review

It can all get a bit confusing, too, since only the middle of the screen seems to get a full 3D effect, regardless of the shot.

No, what the LG 47LA860W upscales to a far higher standard is non-HD sources, so that even a YouTube video full-screen looks acceptable, while regular Freeview channels excel.

Sound

It could do with some extra welly, but the LG 47LA860W's 24W speakers are more than fit for purpose. A Virtual Surround Plus mode drags out some sonic detail lurking in the background, but doesn't exactly surround you.

LG 47LA860W review

On other modes the LG 47LA860W does well, and it's relatively good with music, though dialogue can sometimes sound harsh.

Value

It's hard to argue with the breadth of features on the LG 47LA860W. As a flagship LED TV it's priced about right considering that it ships with six pairs of 3D specs and a boat-load of HDMI and USB ports and other features.

It's also worth noting that the remote control app for smartphones and tablets - supplied by almost all brands these days - is far more ambitious than most.

LG 47LA860W review

The free LG TV Remote app for iOS and Android acts as a second screen by putting a live TV picture on a smartphone that mirrors what's playing on the LG 47LA860W.

Live TV is about six seconds behind on the app, from which it's possible to take and share screen grabs, though it doesn't work if the source you're watching is in, or is being converted, to 3D.

The app goes on and on, presenting a grid of icons for apps and widgets and full mastery of the TV. It's a viable alternative to those who don't get on with the Magic Remote supplied with the LG 47LA860W.