LG 15EL9500 review

Full review: The world's largest ultra-slim OLED TV

Image 1 of 2 LG 15EL9500 front
LG 15EL9500
Image 2 of 2 LG 15EL9500 side
LG 15EL9500 side

LG's OLED set produces great images at a rather steep price

Clearly, this is no ordinary 15-inch portable. At just 3mm thick, it looks like the picture is printed onto the steel frame in magic moving ink. It is in fact the world’s largest commercial OLED TV, which means dazzling brightness, blistering resolution and unfeasibly thin proportions.

Sony was first to market with an the Sony EXL-1 OLED TV, by a comfortable margin of two years, but with a price tag of £2,000 for its seven inch set, the move was more about proving a point than selling TVs. LG’s proposition, over two years later, still isn’t exactly mass market, but it’s at least a feasible proposition. In fact, the stunning OLED screen, combined with LG’s superb new GUI and slick design, is a tempting one.

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The fantastically detailed OLED screen is set in a brushed aluminium frame, with mini USB and HDMI ports built into the stand and a separate power brick. Cable adapters are included so you can plug in your Blu-ray player and external hard drive and terrestrial TV arial to get started straight away.

What it doesn’t have is a Freeview HD tuner or an Ethernet port. The screen is the big attraction here and with a native HD Ready resolution of 720p and an almost unbelievable contrast ratio of 10 million:1, it’s clear that this is where your money is going. And because of OLED’s negligible power demands, it’s actually waterproof. Yes, we were a bit nervous about soaking our new £2,000 TV too, but it survived a soapy screenwash.

LG 15EL9500: EASE OF USE

LG’s crisp on screen interface is very intuitive. From the tiled home page, it’s easy to adjust the settings or jump into the contents of the hard drive if you connected one. Best of all is the picture wizard feature, which helps you calibrate the image with a series of test cards.

The slim remote control is supplied with two flat watch-type batteries and has all the useful shortcut buttons in just the right places. It’s a responsive set, so channel hopping is instantaneous.

LG 15EL9500: PICTURE QUALITY

OLED screens tend to look sharper and brighter than LCD panels because the pixels are more densely packed and there’s no backlight. That also helps it achieve darker blacks and brighter whites. The result is an eye-catching display that looks almost too good to be true.

For a small screen, there are a lot of pixels, 1366 x 768 to be precise, and that means a very sharp picture. It’s not quite 1080p of course, but downscaling slightly from Blu-ray produces an incredibly vivid image. Only by squinting up close can you begin to see the structure of the screen.

Its own Freeview channels look slightly softer, but it still gives the impression of a very high contrast and sharply resolved TV.

The bright illumination means vibrant colours too. Even more impressive is the smooth transition between them. There’s a complete lack of the circular banding effect you often see around the sun in a blue sky.

One more advantage of OLED technology is the rapid response time, in this case it’s given as 0.1ms. Combine that with a 100Hz refresh rate and you won’t have to worry motion blur. Something else you notice is the exceptionally wide viewing angle. There’s no real loss of contrast or brightness even when you’re peering around the side.

LG 15EL9500: SOUND QUALITY

The advantages of OLED are pretty clear, but what’s the downside? Aside from the sky high price of the new technology, there are none. This particular set gets strangely warm at the back, despite the very low claimed power consumption and the 2W speakers could be a little louder, but that’s it.

There are few TVs that can stop people in their tracks, but this is OLED set deserves the double take. Its OLED screen is mesmerizing and the design is just as sharp as the picture. Of course, cheaper OLED TVs will come and Freeview HD tuners will become standard, but for now, this is the poshest portable TV available.

Find out more from LG

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SPECIFICATIONS

SCREEN: 15-inch
RESOLUTION: 1366 x 768 HD Ready
TECHNOLOGY: OLED (organic light emitting diode)
TV TUNER: DVB-T and analogue tuners
CONNECTIONS: Mini HDMI, USB 2.0, Mini USB (for service only)
ETHERNET: No network connection
AUDIO: 2x 2W
DIMENSIONS (with stand): 351 (w) x 235 (h) x 43 (d) mm
WEIGHT: 1.6kg

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