On paper, the LG 55LA740V seems tailor-made to make a big impact on the mid-range of the big screen TV market. Its £1,500 (around US$2,290 / AU$2,485) price isn't by any means unreasonable for a well-specified 55-inch TV, and its design offers an exciting twist on the super-slim designs that are currently all the rage.

Its feature count is strong too, dominated as it is by a content-rich, beautifully interfaced multimedia/online system, a superbly intuitive 'point and click' Magic Remote handset and more picture calibration tools than you'd expect to find on many rival brands' flagship TVs.

There are times, too, where the LG 55LA740V's performance really shines - predominantly with bright, colourful content. But unfortunately the TV has a weak point that's revealed whenever you're watching something dark. It struggles to produce dark scenes with real conviction, leaving you frequently feeling unable to get totally immersed in dark content.

The TV also suffers enough with input lag to make it a compromised option for gamers.

We liked

The TV looks posher than you'd expect, given its price, and LG's latest smart TV interface is both attractive and winningly easy to find your way around.

The Magic Remote handset is a work of genius too, and bright, colourful image content looks engaging and bold. The LG 55LA740V's 3D images are relaxing and involving, as well.

We disliked

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The TV struggles with dark scenes, thanks to a fundamental lack of contrast that the onboard local dimming engine isn't quite clever enough to work around without causing distracting backlight block inconsistencies.

Input lag is too high for gaming too, and the addition of a few more of the key UK catch-up TV services to LG's smart TV offering would be greatly appreciated.

Final verdict

LG has done a good job of serving up on the LG 55LA740V all the key design tricks and features users increasingly demand from a respectable mid-range TV. And it's put all of these design tricks and features on sale at a respectable price. LG has also clearly worked extremely hard on making its quite sophisticated smart TV platform feel easy and intuitive to use.

The TV's pictures know how to make an impact too, with their bold colours and high brightness and sharpness levels.

However, the LG 55LA740V sadly comes a bit of a cropper when asked to reproduce dark sequences, thanks to a below-par native contrast performance and a somewhat rough and ready local dimming system.

Add to this a fairly high input lag figure, and you've got a TV that will likely frustrate both film fans and serious gamers - a fairly significant portion, in other words, of its potential audience.

Also consider

The Panasonic L55ET60 is a very close alternative to the LG 55LA740V, offering as it does passive 3D and a super-friendly smart TV interface inside a hugely attractive body. It doesn't have as many online content services as the LG, but it handles dark scenes slightly better (if hardly perfectly) and is beautifully designed.

The Sony 55W805A is a potential rival too. However, while the Sony model offers an impressive array of video content on its online service, its contrast performance is no better than that of the LG. In fact, its handling of dark scenes is arguably even less convincing.