LG 42LH5000 review

Solid green credentials join forces with good performance and sumptuous design

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Our Verdict

Good features and connectivity are let down by average handling of blacks


  • 200Hz
  • Green features
  • Lots of picture tweaks


  • Poor black levels

Korean manufacturer LG may not make the biggest noise about its green credentials, but it has been quietly making impressive inroads into power consumption for longer than most with the release of the 42LH5000.

While its 141W power consumption might not be the best ever, it's still a respectable figure, and is backed up by a healthy set of features designed to keep energy use as low as possible.

These include automatic backlight controls; the unusually sophisticated Intelligent Sensor II system for reducing image brightness in response to dwindling light levels in your room; a proper mechanical power off button; and, most unusually of all, six 'smart energy saving' modes for adjusting the screen's overall brightness level.

The most extreme of these turns the screen off completely. Shallow folk might not even notice these green extras, as they'll be too busy eyeing up the set's delectable design and taking in the impressive feature count.

The amount of picture tweaks at your disposal, for instance, is so extreme that the TV carries two ISF Expert image setting memory slots, so that an Imaging Science Foundation technician can professionally calibrate your images to suit your particular viewing room conditions.

Four HDMIs and an MP3/JPEG/ DiVX-compatible USB slot dominate a fine connections roster, meanwhile, and pictures should benefit from LG's Twin XD Engine video processing system, a full HD resolution, a high claimed contrast ratio of 80,000:1, and 200Hz processing. Yes, that's 200Hz processing.

For what seems like mere weeks after Sony made such a big song and dance about its own, then world-first 200Hz Z4500 TVs, LG has got in on the act with its version of the motion sharpening and smoothing processing technology.

Everybody hertz

LG makes decent use of its 200Hz engine. It certainly does an excellent job of removing judder, as even speedy camera pans cross the screen with good fluidity and sharpness. What's more, provided you stick with the Low setting for the 200Hz system, its benefits are delivered without distracting amounts of processing side effects.

If pushed to pick between them, we'd probably say that Sony's 200Hz engine is slightly more accomplished – or glitch-free – than that of the 42LH5000. But it's a close-run thing – and this LG is cheaper than the equivalent Sony model.

Other strengths of the 42LH5000 include its extremely aggressive, eye-catching but credible colours, and bags of brightness even when running in a pretty eco-friendly mode.

HD pictures look sharp and detailed, and standard-definition images are respectably clean and crisp too – certainly an improvement over the messy efforts seen on numerous previous LG full HD TVs.

The only area letting the 42LH5000's pictures down a little is black level response. Things look fine and punchy with normal day-to-day TV and bright movie footage. But very dark scenes can look grey and lacking in depth, thanks to some uninspired shadow detailing.

The 42LH5000's sound is solid. There's not enough power or dynamic range on hand to open the soundstage up enough to accommodate an action scene as potently or clearly as we'd like. But bass levels are generally punchy, vocals always sound clear and believable, and treble detailing is nicely handled.

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