LG 47LA860W review

A hugely impressive user experience makes this 47-inch flagship LED TV fun to use, but it lacks contrast and black levels.

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Is this the best-looking TV around? Possibly, and it looks good on paper, too, with a bevy of features including a pointer-style remote and a second screen app. It's also one of the easiest TVs to use.

However, judged on picture quality alone it sinks to slightly below our expectations, which could dissuade those looking for a flagship TV.

We liked

SmartShare and Plex are quite brilliant, since no other TV treats external devices and digital files with such ease or polish. The user interface in general is the best around, and one of the quickest - there's always one more great feature to explore. One of those is the LG TV Remote app, which acts as a fabulous second screen.

Kudos to the Magic Remote, too, for making a web browser on a TV finally usable, and for the ISF modes that provide a great out-of-box picture. Picture-wise, the LG 47LA860W's detail, motion clarity and SD upscaling are hard to argue with.

We disliked

The Magic Remote just isn't reliable enough for a solo gig, while the Universal Control didn't work for our AV gear. The lack of buttons on the Magic Remote also means that it's necessary to keep visiting the full-screen smart TV page to make adjustments, which adds an extra step.

We're also left feeling underwhelmed by the EPG. Lastly, though perhaps most importantly for anyone looking for a big TV for a home cinema, the LG 47LA860W just doesn't have enough in the way of convincing black levels and contrast to compete with the best of the rest.

Final verdict

The LG 47LA860W is best thought of as a massively impressive TV for a living room. It doesn't have the characteristics demanded of a great home cinema, but most other kinds of users will love both its looks and its fabulous best-in-class user interface.

Downloaders and those of you wanting to network other devices with the TV will love Plex and SmartShare, which together create a peerless networking experience. OK, so it's a few apps down on some smart TVs, but the way the apps and widgets here are presented is clean, quick and easily navigated. However, we do have a query over the Magic Remote, which isn't always reliable.

Also consider

Before taking the plunge it's only right that you consider a few other flagship TVs that offer different strengths. If you're after more catch-up TV apps, the Samsung UE46F8000 at £1,800 has the finest app selection around, as well as (failing) gesture control, while the Panasonic TX-L47DT65B at £1,400 offers the finest in smart TV - My Home Screen - as well as a second screen smartphone app to rival this LG 47LA860W.

Still, the LG 47LA860W has the edge on both of those TVs in terms of user interface, but not pictures. Both of those rival TV sets manage better blacks, though the finest picture exponent so far in 2013 is Sony's W9 Series. The 46-inch version, the Sony KDL-46W905A is worth a look at £1,500.