Without any controversial and expensive 3D baggage to potentially hold it back, LG's highly specified 47LE8900 direct LED TV arrives full of promise. It sets a great first tone too, thanks to its minimalist, classy and surprisingly slim chassis.
It doesn't take long to uncover all the connections most people could ever wish for, including a cornucopia of multimedia bits and bobs including DivX HD playback from USB. LG's NetCast online system turns out to be rather impoverished versus rival platforms, but the content level is likely to be increased in the coming months.
The 47LE8900's star turn, though, is its picture quality. It uses its direct LED technology to great effect, producing a truly exceptional contrast performance together with rich but natural colours and plenty of sharpness and detail during HD viewing.
Throw in some excellent calibration tools and good motion handling and the only things taking even a little gloss off the 47LE8900's startlingly good performance are average sonics and some gentle input lag.
The thing we like the most about the 47LE8900 is its terrific picture quality. This enjoys all the benefits we're now becoming familiar with where direct LED technology is used, yet manages to suppress the usual direct LED haloing weakness.
The set also looks chic and is impressively slim for a direct LED set, and it enjoys arguably the most comprehensive suite of calibration aids in the TV world. Its multimedia talents are mostly good, too.
The local dimming technology can hide shadow details a little during very dark scenes, and the set's standard-definition upscaling isn't anything special. Also, as with most slim TVs the 47LE8900's sound quality is nothing to write home about.
Considering that LG used pretty much the same picture engine inside its previously reviewed 55LX9900 TV, which we only gave an overall mark of four to, it might seem perverse that we have no hesitation in giving the less well-specified 47LE8900 a five-star recommendation.
But there are two reasons for our enthusiasm. First, the 47LE8900 is much cheaper than the LX9900 range, actually looking very affordable by current direct LED/local dimming standards. Even more importantly, since it doesn't have 3D on board, the 47LE8900 doesn't have the crosstalk noise issue with 3D on the LX9900 models.
Being able to focus solely on its 2D quality and cheaper price point means we can find precious little negative to say about the 47LE8900, leaving us feeling confident that it's LG's finest TV yet.
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