LG 65SK9500 Super UHD 65-Inch Review: The Smartest TV Yet

LG is best known in the TV world for its impressive OLED sets, but let's not forget that LG also makes some fantastic LCD TVs. The 65-inch LG 65SK9500 Super UHD ($2,499) is more affordable than LG's premium OLED offerings, but it still offers 4K resolution, brilliant HDR support, fantastic audio and a full array of smart features. We'd love to see better out-of-the-box color accuracy, but this is definitely one of the best LCD TVs we've seen.

LG 65SK9500 Super UHD 65-Inch Specs

Price
$2,499
Screen Size
65 inches
Resolution
3840 x 2160
HDR
HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, Technicolor HDR
Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Ports

4 HDMI, 3 USB

Audio
2.2 channel with Dolby Atmos
Smart TV Software
webOS 3.0 with ThinQ AI
Size
57.2 x 32.8 x 2.5 inches [w/o stand]
Weight
59.7 pounds [w/o stand]

Design

It's worth noting that the LG Super UHD line differs from LG's OLED TVs in a couple of major ways. The first is the display technology, which uses LCD displays with LG's Nano Cell technology for improved color accuracy and black levels. This is similar in many respects to Samsung's QLED displays.

The other major difference is the overall design of the TV chassis. To accommodate the full LCD stack — backlight, polarized filters and the LCD panel itself — the TV has a thicker, heavier cabinet than LG's impressively slim OLED models. The 65SK9500 Super UHD TV measures 57.2 x 32.8 x 2.5 inches without the stand and weighs a hefty 59.7 pounds.

Despite the thicker profile, the design of LG's Super UHD sets still manages to be sleek and attractive.The back has a plastic panel with an attractive, textured finish. The edges are clear polycarbonate with copper accents around the outside edge of the LCD panel and around the panel's thin bezels.

The stand on the 65SK9500 Super UHD TV has a wide, curved base, with metal construction and a gold-tinted brushed finish. The stand comes in two parts: You attach the base of the stand to a separate mounting plate before screwing it onto the back of the TV chassis. Compared with most other TV stands, the design and assembly are a bit more complicated, for two reasons: The stand requires assembling multiple pieces, and the curved stand is a little unwieldy while you're trying to get it positioned to attach.

You can also skip the stand and hang the TV directly on the wall with a 300 x 300-millimeter VESA wall mount.

Ports

The 65SK9500 has a number of ports on the back and side, including four HDMI ports (including one with ARC support), three USB ports, an RF connector for antenna and cable, digital audio optical output and an Ethernet port should you want a wired connection instead of the built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Most of these ports are on the left edge of the rear panel, which is set 14 inches in from the edge of the chassis. That's a little inconvenient to reach but not unusually so.

A few ports, like the Ethernet port and the RF connector, are on a rear-facing panel. Unfortunately, those are positioned in such a way that if the TV is wall-mounted, the ports become pretty much unreachable.

Smart Features

LG's webOS smart TV interface remains largely the same from last year, with a scrolling ribbon of apps and input selections running along the bottom of the screen. All of the usual apps are available, including popular options like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube. In fact, LG's app store boasts a wide selection of more than 200 apps.

Behind the familiar interface, however, LG has made some significant improvements, starting with the processor, which enables a range of new smart functions. Chief among these is LG's ThinQ AI, which combines voice commands, content search and Google Assistant. In the past, LG's voice interaction was limited to changing the channel, adjusting the volume and tweaking display settings, such as brightness or contrast. Now, it's so much more.

LG's new ThinQ AI combines voice commands, content search and Google Assistant.

Google Assistant functionality is a first on a non-Android smart TV and makes current LG TVs the only non-Android sets that offer Google Assistant without pairing it to a separate device, such as Google Home. The set is still compatible with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, but you'll need to provide your own Alexa-enabled device.

The addition of Google Assistant allows quick web searches for information on everything from current weather to up-to-the-minute sports scores, and offers connected features to do things like order a pizza from Domino's or hail an Uber, all from the comfort of your couch. It also integrates with a wide array of smart home devices, letting you dim your Philips Hue smart bulbs and adjust the temperature on your Nest thermostat using voice commands.

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Another, though perhaps less useful, feature is the addition of a screen-saver mode that displays artwork on the TV when no input is selected or the television is idle for too long. Included artwork offers selections from Renoir, Monet, Kandinsky, Van Gogh and Pissarro. If you're not in the mood for art, you can download photos, with your choice of curated collections from LG or your own snapshots.

Performance

This LG Super UHD has a 65-inch LCD panel with a 4K resolution and a 120-Hz refresh rate. In the rooftop scene in Blade Runner 2049, the dark cityscape was filled with glowing windows, giant holographic signs and rainfall illuminated by the city lights. The LG faithfully produced bright colors and subtle shades of skin tones.

The 65SK9500's wide color gamut (99.96 percent) is excellent, as expected for a premium TV, and only the Sony Bravia X900F came close(99.95 percent) in this area.

Color accuracy was a different story. The LG notched a Delta-E rating of 3.0 in Cinema mode, which offered the best accuracy. That's not terrible for out-of-the-box color accuracy, but all competing models offered better. The TCL 6 Series Roku TV (1.09) offered the best color accuracy in our testing, but the Sony XBR-X900F (1.26) and the Samsung Q6F (1.5) also beat the LG. (Lower numbers are better in this test.)

HDR enhancement really shines on the LG 65SK9500, which boasts a peak brightness of 1,555 nits —  the brightest we've seen on the new 2018 models.

When we viewed the LG TV, we saw some subtly skewed colors, with whites looking slightly yellow and pinks looking a bit too purple, but you would notice them only in side-by-side comparisons with other sets. It's the sort of inaccuracy that should clear up completely with calibration, but for the many people who use whatever factory defaults come on their new TV, it may be disappointing.

With a full-array backlight and LG's intelligent local dimming, the 65SK9500 offers broad support for high dynamic range (HDR) content. The TV supports Dolby Vision, the industry-leading standard, as well as the upcoming Advanced HDR by Technicolor and basic standards like HDR10 and HLG. HDR enhancement really shines on this set, which boasts a peak brightness of 1,555 nits — the brightest we've seen on the new 2018 models. The Samsung Q6F came the closest (1,422 nits), and the Sony XBR-X900F was close behind (1,276 nits), but the TCL 6 Series Roku TV fell far behind (607 nits).

When we watched Spider-Man battle the Shocker in his high school parking lot, the HDR effect not only brought out the bright colors of the Shocker's electrically augmented punches but also made the darker, shadowy corners of the parking lot believably dim but still quite viewable. As Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford fought it out in a darkened casino in Blade Runner 2049, the HDR support really boosted the vibrance of stage lighting as a holographic show came to life.

Black levels on the LG 65SK9500 are actually pretty good for an LCD panel. While you won't get the perfect black levels offered by OLED displays, the LG manages to bring down the brightness on most blacks and near blacks enough that the glowing of the backlight doesn't leave everything looking gray. There is some minor haloing on bright objects isolated against a dark background, but that's not substantially different from what we saw on the Sony XBR-X900F. And the LG TV's picture was substantially better than anything offered by the Samsung Q6F, which has no local dimming.

Gaming performance was also pretty impressive. The LG65SK9500 not only supports 4K gaming but also handles both HDR and 10-bit color at 50 and 60 Hz for high-frame-rate gaming with all the eye candy. Unlike some sets, particularly the Sony XBR-X900F, the LG doesn't require any special setup for you to enjoy the full capabilities of the Xbox One X. We simply plugged it in, and it was ready to go.

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When we tested the signal lag in Game mode, the LG 65SK9500 registered a lag time of 15 milliseconds. That's dramatically more responsive than competing TVs, which usually had lag times four or five times that. The TCL 6 Series Roku TV (62 ms) came closest, while both the Samsung Q6F (80 ms) and the Sony XBR-X900F (98 ms) trailed behind.

Audio

The 65SK9500 Super UHD TV is outfitted with a 2.2-channel speaker system. The set includes a pair of 40-watt speakers and a 20-watt woofer. Whether the speakers were producing the rumbling of flying cars in Blade Runner 2049 or the sound of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love," the sound was clear and rich. Even at full volume, the audio was clean and distortion-free.

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Most impressive, however, is the built-in Dolby Atmos support, which offers richer sound than most TVs.  In Spider-Man: Homecoming (which has Atmos audio), every scene seemed more expansive, whether it was the crashing sounds of a collapsing building or a conversation between characters.

Remote Control

LG's smart remote is largely unchanged from previous models. The Magic Remote is sculpted to fit well in the hand, and the numerous buttons and controls are mostly easy to read.

The remote's 39 buttons mean it's not as simple as, say, Samsung's minimalist One Remote, but it has the usual number buttons, controls for channel and volume, and a directional pad for navigating through apps and options.

The remote features both voice and gesture control, in addition to the usual remote control buttons. A clickable scroll wheel makes it easy to cycle through menu options and select the apps and features you want.

Motion-control input lets you control the on-screen cursor by pointing and waggling the remote, intuitively pointing and clicking on the option you want. Voice control is activated by pressing and holding a microphone button, which lets you search with simple phrases and integrates with all of LG's ThinQ AI smart features.

Bottom Line

The LG 65SK9500 Super UHD 65-inch TV impressed us quite a bit for an LCD TV, thanks in no small part to LG's excellent smart TV features. The combination of intelligent content search and Google Assistant is a nice step up from last year's models, and the combination of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support provides excellent picture and sound for the latest games and movies. It's not perfect — we look forward to seeing these smart TV enhancements on something more like the LG E7 OLED. But compared with the Sony XBR-X900F and the Samsung Q6F, the LG 65SK9500 Super UHD TV is easily better.

Credit: Tom's Guide

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