Over the last month or so, I’ve had the pleasure of having LG’s 42LH5000 television in my living room. There’s plenty to like about this, LG’s first 200Hz LCD, so read on for the full review.
First of all, let’s talk styling. The 42LH5000 will fit comfortably in pretty much any living room, unless it’s bright pink with “Hello Kitty” curtains. A transparent plastic ‘halo’ around the screen suits it nicely, with only a slight dip that indicates where the power button is to spoil the lines.
Although you can tilt it 20 degrees or so left and right, you can’t tilt it up or down. Happily, I didn’t have any issues with viewing angle, so that wasn’t an issue, but if you’re planning to mount it high or low, it might be worth some consideration.
A sensor on the front will adjust the brightness of the display to match ambient light, which works well. I only had one issue with the feature, on a stormy day when the television kept adjusting up and down, having difficulty working out the strange light of just before a thunderstorm.
The UI, luckily, allows you to turn this feature off if you want to. It’s a good UI too – clearly laid out and sensible. You can generally find what you’re looking for without having to resort to the manual.
The TV is also packed with environmentally friendly features. The fact that it consumes 210W typically while running isn’t that great, but a physical on-off switch, easily dimmable display, and even the ability to turn the display off entirely if you’re just listening to the radio, are all very welcome.
The built-in freeview tuner looks exactly how you’d expect it to – fine for soaps or documentaries, but a little lackluster for news, sports, action movies or anything else with fast-paced action going on. Plug in an HD source, however, and all that changes.
In HD, the picture is bright, clear and vibrant, even before applying any scene-specific image processing. The contrast is perfectly acceptable for most applications, but more muted scenes suffered a little from a lack of definition. There wasn’t quite enough detail in the shadow for my liking.
Beware if you’re wanting to plug in a Wii or a similar 480p source. The upscaling that the TV has to do to get it to fit the screen means that there’s horrible lag between your input and the image. It’s most noticible in rhythm games like Guitar Hero (which thankfully lets you compensate in the game’s settings), but this TV is very poor – even in game mode – at rendering the Wii’s signal on the larger resolution display.
I also encountered a little bit of picture corruption from time to time when turning it on. Vertical lines would appear, on all input sources, maybe one in 10 times that we powered up. They disappeared within sixty seconds, but it was still a little unnerving.
One of the 42LH5000’s best features is its USB port. You can plug in a portable hard drive or flash memory stick and watch any music, video or photo content that resides upon it, with minimal worries about codec support. I only encountered one video that wouldn’t play, and a quick bit of conversion on my PC sorted that out.
The sound is acceptable. Punchy stereo speakers give more than enough volume, though there isn’t an audio-out, so you’ll need to use the headphone socket if you want to plug it into a stereo.
On the whole, though, some minor picture quibbles aren’t enough to stop me from recommending the 42LH5000 to an average buyer. If you’re plugging in an HD source, expect it to look fantastic, particularly with the 200Hz refresh rate. Beware if you’re a heavy Wii gamer, because the lag proved irritating, but the majority of buyers would be very happy with LG’s latest effort.
You can pick up the LG 42LH5000 for £899 from Currys or about £100 pounds cheaper from somewhere slightly shadier.