The LG 2021 TV range is finally here, and it is superb. The entire range – OLED A, C, G Evo and Z; the Q NED (mini-LED coming Q3) and the NanoCell (Quantum Dot) all share the impressive new webOS 6.0 technology and advanced hardware not seen on other TVs this year.
Let’s explore that tech because almost all models (apart from entry-level models) have
Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos decoding and passthrough*
HDMI 2.1 port/s 40Gbps bandwidth for 4K@120fps (necessary for the latest Xbox and PS consoles)
VRR (variable-rate refresh) ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), AMD Freesync Premium and NVIDIA G-Sync, as well as dedicated game mode optimiser
Magic Remote and Magic Touch (links your smartphone)
LG Voice control and search across multiple streaming subscriptions as well as Voice Assistant compatibility (Google, Alexa and Siri)
Decent inbuilt speaker systems from 20W to 80W, although you need a Dolby Atmos soundbar for 3D spatial sound
AI Sound Pro feature analyses and classifies the audio content among five categories –music, movies, sports, drama or news–for clearer voices and richer, more textured background sound.
All major streaming including Apple TV
And the biggie – from 43″ to 88″ screens
* Most of the LG 2021 TV range support full Dolby Vision and Atmos. Its main competitor does not, instead of decoding Dolby Vision to HDR10 that completely ruins the experience.
Essentially all models (apart from entry-level) have similar video and sound. As you move up, the processors get faster, and backlights get brighter. This is kind of good, better, betterer, and best situation. Note the table only rates within the technology. For example, it is not implying that the NANO91 is as good as the QNED96 or OLED G1
LG 2021 TV range
Prices and specs subject to change
UP80 site 43/50/55/65/75/86″ Edge-lit Quad-core except 86″ has α7 Gen 4 and Dolby Vision/Atmos HDMI 2.0 except 86″ HDMI 2.1 x 2 20W 2.0 $949/1049/1249/1599/2099/3505
QNED91 4K 65/75/86 α7 Gen 4 HDMI 2.1 x 4 Up to 1400 Dimming zones 40W $4799/5999/8399
QNED96 8K 65/75″ 8K α9 Gen 4 same Up to 2400 dimming zones 40W $5599/6599
QNED99 8K 65/75/86″ same same same Mini Led Pro backlight 60W $5999/7799/10799
A1 site 48/55/65″ α7 Gen 4 HDMI 2.0 20W $2749/2999/4099
C1 site 48/55/65/77/83 α9, Gen 4 HDMI 2.1 x 4 40W $2999/3499/4699/8999/12599
G1 Evo site 55/65/77 α9, Gen 4 same 60W $3799/5299/9999
Z1 site 8K 77/88″ 8K α9 Gen 4 same 77″ 60W 88″ 80W $31,999/62,999
Note that there is also a B1 OLED in 55/65″ for $3399/4599, which appears very similar to the A1 series but adds HDMI 2.1 (HFR), BFI, AMD Freesync, VRR, NVIDIA G-sync and 40W speakers. It would be the minimum OLED standard for gamers.
LG had a tough time last year – not. It sold practically every 2020 TV, soundbar, and everything in the COVID fuelled buying spree. That its 2021 TV range is so late in arriving and the admission that it did not get as much stock it would have liked means that early buyers will pay full-price, and late buyers hunting for a bargain may not find any stock.
We only have one complaint about LG (and its the same with most TV makers) – a 12-months warranty on any device costing a few thousand dollars is inadequate. LG’s response is that Australian Consumer Law protects the consumer for breakdowns that are out of warranty.
To wait for Mini LED or not – hmmm?
We wrote a guide to Mini-LED, and I have to say that adding a stronger backlight to old LCD technology only exacerbates the LCD limitations – blooming, response times, etc. LG doesn’t make the Mini LED panels – they come from Chinese maker BOE and LG add the electronics and webOS. We saw an engineering sample of the 75″ QNED91 beside the 86″ Nano91. Yes, the Mini-LED was brighter, but the image quality was no better. Mini-LED is a step forward for LCD panels for sure, but it is nowhere an OLED challenger. It will have a niche in the 8K market where you can get a 65/75″ for $5599/6599.
Big screen – hell yes!
LG stated that over 35% of sales in 2020 were for 75″ or greater. Interestingly the 86″ UP80, Nano75/86/91 have the α7 Gen 4 processor, Dolby Vision and Atmos, HDMI 2.1 eARC and 200 TrueMotion, so you have this huge panel from $3505/4199/5249/6299 – I predict a rush on the Nano75 as that sweet spot.
Edge-Lit – for the masses.
The UP80, Nano75 and Nono86 are edge-lit (apart from the 86″ version mentioned). These make a TV for a lower price, but the TV snob in me says the Nano91 is the sweet spot for 2021.
OLED – the only true self-emmisive pixel technology for perfect blacks and colours
The A1 is entry-level, and frankly, it is quite good enough for Dolby Vision and Atmos movies and sport. It is not a gamer’s device. Note there is also a B1 OLED in 55/65″ for $3399/4599 that appears very similar to the A1 series but adds HDMI 2.1 (HFR), BFI, AMD Freesync, VRR, NVIDIA G-sync and 40W speakers. It would be the minimum OLED standard for gamers.
The C1 is what everyone will focus on. It has everything and perfect for gamers.
The G1 Evo means the next-generation OLED panel, and it adds an extra layer of green pixels. Yes, it’s a little brighter – not perhaps enough to justify the extra $600/1000 (65/75″). But its gallery design and slim wall mount included may tip the scales. And there is an attractive optional Gallery stand (and cable management system) that may appeal.
And the lovely Z1 8K – sorry but $32000/63000 for a TV.
We also heard about the 4K rollable 65″
It is available to order at the bargain price of $130,000 – I bet Gerry Harvey takes five!