LG 65LA970W review

LG's debut 65-inch Ultra HD TV costs £500 more than key rivals from Sony and Samsung, but might just get away with it.

LG's 4K ready 65LA970W

TechRadar Verdict

So long as you can stand the price, the LG 65LA970W is another spectacular example of what UHD is capable of.


  • +

    Seriously pretty looks

  • +

    Stunning native 4K pictures

  • +

    Good audio

  • +

    Magic Remote interface


  • -

    Very limited effective viewing angle

  • -

    Occasional light blocking

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    HDMI uncertainties

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    Average native panel contrast

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While the 65LA970W isn't LG's first UHD/4K TV, it's the first one us 'normal' folk have half a hope of being able to afford and house.

For while LG's UHD debutante was an 84in model costing £17,000, the 65LA970W is a relatively manageable 65 inches - and currently on sale for around £5,500.

Obviously this is hardly peanuts. It costs £500 more than two of its biggest UHD/4K rivals, the Sony 65X9005A and Samsung UE65F9000.

But LG has a pretty significant excuse for its higher price in the shape of a direct LED lighting engine.

We'll go into this in more detail in the features section, but briefly with direct LED TVs their LED lights are positioned directly behind the screen rather than around its edges - a configuration that consistently results in better contrast and light uniformity than the more common (and cheaper to make) edge LED approach.

The 65LA970W also enjoys 3D playback using LG's passive system, while Smart features are prodigious in quantity and well handled by LG's brilliant Magic Remote innovation.

LG has even gone to town with the set's audio, including a 4.1 speaker 'bar' that can retract into the TV's bodywork when the set's switched off.

LG also makes a 55in UHD sibling for the 65LA970W, the 55LA970W, and its 84in UHD option, the 84LM960V, is still available too for people lucky enough to be able to handle its size and cost.

Other alternatives to consider are the already mentioned 65in UHD/4K rival models from Sony and Samsung, while if you like the cut of LG's jib but can't run to this UHD model, LG's top-end normal HD models are the LA860Ws, available in 60in, 55in, 47in and 42in sizes.

Today, though, it's all about 4K. So let's find out if LG's new UHD beast lives up to the 4K hype.

LG 65LA970W

Design and features

LG understands very well that looks sell televisions. So for its new UHD flag-waver it's really gone to town, wrapping the huge screen in an unfeasibly slim frame and sitting it atop a striking, 'industrial chic' stand that runs almost the full width of the screen.

It's a nice touch, too, to find the mostly black bezel being offset tastefully by a silver metallic outer trim.

So slim is the 65LA970W that it's hard to imagine how LG could have fitted any speakers at all into its frame. As soon as you turn the TV on, though, the answer to this conundrum becomes clear, as a silver speaker bar glides smoothly out from the TV's bottom edge.

This bar is almost as wide as the TV, and remarkably carries no less than four front-firing drivers, slightly angled to boost the scale of the soundstage. The speakers in the slide-down bar are underpinned, moreover, by a bass speaker positioned on the set's rear.

Aside from the magnetic fluid speakers in Sony's 65X9005A, we're struggling to think of any other mainstream TV in recent memory that's gone as far as the 65LA970W to accompany pictures with some decent audio. Let's just hope the retractable speaker bar turns out to be more than just a show pony.

The speaker bar isn't actually the only retractable thing tucked into the 65LA970W either. For at the centre of its top edge can be found a pop-up camera, to support Skyping or LG's motion control system.

This motion control system isn't as well developed as Samsung's, but it can occasionally come in handy if you've lost the TV's remotes. There's a voice recognition system too, which again isn't as sophisticated as Samsung's but again has its uses, not least when it comes to inputting text into search fields.

Magic remote

One thing the 65LA970W has that no other Smart TV brands do, though, is a 'magic remote'. This inspired device enables you to select options in the screen menus by just pointing the remote directly at the relevant part of the screen.

Making this alternative control system all the more useful is the exceptionally rich array of content available from LG's prettily designed but densely populated Smart TV onscreen menus. There are literally scores of apps to explore here, from video streaming services through to games and information apps.

The quality of many of these apps is questionable, it must be said. But even if you only use the video streaming services you'll find a decently long list of options, including the BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm, Netflix, BlinkBox, KnowHow Movies, YouTube, BBC Sport, and Sky's NowTV platform.

LG is currently the only brand able to offer NowTV via a TV interface, which is quite a coup. Though before we get too carried away, LG doesn't offer the ITV Player, 4OD or Demand 5 catch-up services that Samsung's current TVs do.

It's important to add here that LG's attractive Smart Hub also handles access to video, photo and music files stored on USB devices or networked computers.

John Archer
AV Technology Contributor

John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.