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

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LG has boldly decided not to just make its debut 65in UHD TV as cheaply as possible. Rather it's tried to sell UHD's association with high-end quality by allying the 3840x2160 pixel count to such premium features as direct LED lighting, an ultra-slim design and a unique mechanised speaker bar.

This premium approach has led to the 65LA970W costing more than some key rivals, but when you're talking about prices of £5,000 and above, maybe the LG's extra £500 isn't that big a deal?

The 65LA970W also enjoys full-resolution 3D Blu-ray playback, and LG's latest, content-rich Smart TV platform, accessed via LG's unique and excellent Magic Remote 'point and click' interface.

The 65LA970W's pictures excel in many ways too. Native UHD images look astonishing, upscaled pictures look good, colours are explosive, and contrast is surprisingly impressive if you set the TV up right. Just bear in mind that pictures go fairly nastily pear-shaped if you have to watch the TV from any sort of angle.

We liked

The 65LA970W looks every inch the cutting edge TV with its super-slim design and the groovy way its speakers slide gracefully out of its bottom edge. These speakers pump out a great audio performance too, which accompanies arguably the cleanest, richest UHD pictures we've seen so far.

We disliked

While LG's Smart TV system is packed to bursting point with content, it could do with adding the ITV Player, 4OD and Demand 5 to its catch-up TV roster. It's also a shame the screen doesn't boast a better native contrast performance, since you have to be very careful with some of the TV's settings to work round this fundamental problem. The biggest concern, though, is the way the picture becomes almost unwatchable from any sort of off-axis viewing angle.

Final verdict

After suffering a pretty disappointing year overall with its HD TVs, it's good to see LG bringing its A game to the burgeoning world of UHD. Its handling of native UHD sources is second to none, its sound quality is streets ahead of most skinny TV rivals thanks to an innovative dropdown speaker bar, and the use of direct LED lighting delivers some tangible advantages.

Admittedly it also causes some tangible disadvantages – including, most troublingly, a very limited effective viewing angle.

So long as you can work within this limitation, though, and can stand its £500 price hike over Sony and Samsung's rival 65in UHD/4K TVs, then the LG 65LA970W is another spectacular example of what UHD is capable of.

Also consider

Despite UHD/4K being a new TV technology, there are already four rivals for the LG 65LA970W.

Panasonic's £5500 TX-L65WT600 scores a major coup over all its rivals by sporting a true HDMI 2.0 input for higher quality carriage of 50/60Hz 4K material. We rate its picture quality highly too. Its online service isn't as content-rich as LG's, though.

Samsung has the £5000 UE65F9000 (we reviewed the UE55F9000). This combines terrific UHD image playback with strong, detail-rich upscaling and the richest online video streaming platform in town. Its use of edge LED lighting with no local dimming means its pictures sometimes lack some of the punch you get from the LG, though.

Sony, meanwhile, offers the 65X9005A. This £5000 model is an extremely large bit of kit thanks to the addition of a pair of 'wings' containing powerful magnetic fluid speakers, and we guess its size could put some people off. Its picture quality is terrific, though, with Triluminos technology on hand to enhance the extra colour resolution you get with UHD, and local dimming to bolster the contrast of its edge LED array. Those magnetic fluid speakers really deliver the goods too.

Finally there's Toshiba's £5,500 65L9363. This again impresses with its native UHD playback, but feels a little soft with upscaled material and is let down by a sluggish operating system and content-challenged Smart TV platform.

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.