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Review: LG G2 OLED 'Evo'

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LG G2 is the 2022 version of LG's Gallery design OLED TV, which now comes with the latest panel generation as part of OLED Evo that is supposed to be brighter and have slimmer bezels this year. G2 is now also available in up to 83 inches as opposed to last year's G1 which topped out at 77 inches.

We have tested the 65-inch version. 

 Also read: LG 2022 TV line-up

Price and retailers:

US retailer
UK retailer
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First impressions

The design has changed somewhat compared to last year's G1. While it is still essentially just an OLED panel with a slim frame, the bezel is now brushed steel with very defined corners as opposed to the more rounded look last year. If you move very close to the screen you may also notice that the black edge around the OLED panel has been reduced in width by a few millimeters. Small changes, but it makes the G2 look and feel more premium. The build quality is high with attention for detail. The G series is LG's design OLED TV. As compared to the cheaper B and C series' bulky electronics box, the G series has a completely flat back where a small cut-out at the top leaves a hole for the included slim wall bracket that allows you to mount the screen flush to the wall. In addition, the bracket lets you pull out the screen from the wall to access the connector panel. The price you pay for a flat back is a slightly thicker profile overall (the C series is thinner on its top part). For any buyer who is planning to wall-mount their TV, we suggest that you at least consider G2 over C2.
If you are not planning to wall-mount your TV be aware that a tabletop stand is not included in the box with G2. The tabletop or floor stand must be purchased separately. Plastic panels on the other hand are included in the box to let you hide the cut-outs on the back for cable managements so you can still enjoy the refined design. It is also worth noting that the new center-aligned tabletop stand for G2 is different from the two-legged feet option for last year's G1. The new stand also lets you turn G2. On the tabletop stand, LG G2 is slightly leaning back and this is an effect that most people will have to get used to. Personally, I think that buying a TV designed for wall mounting only to put it on a tabletop stand that costs extra is a wasted opportunity. On the other hand the new stand probably appeals to more buyers than last year's version as it accommodates narrow TV furniture.
If you have boxes and equipment stored in a cabinet underneath the TV, G2 comes with an IR emitter (connects via minijack) that can forward IR signals to places that would otherwise be shielded from IR commands. Most newer devices support HDMI CEC so the ability to control them via the HDMI connection may obviate the need for this type of IR emitter. But the option is there. We found four HDMI 2.1 ports at the back and this year they support 48 Gbps bandwidth for 4K120 at 12-bit although the OLED panel is still "only" 10-bit. There are 3 USB ports, too. If you are planning to connect a USB hard drive for USB recording of TV shows, be aware that it needs to be very slim to fit behind the TV. For manual operation of the TV, there are physical buttons hidden underneath next to the on/off LED. It is a single multi-function button that can turn on / off the TV, change channels, input, and volume. The reflections in G2's panel are more or less the same as those seen in virtually all other OLED panels.

User experience & features

Last year, LG wiped the plate clean to give its TV operating system, webOS, a new look. LG abandoned the small cards at the bottom of the screen that provided quick access to apps to switch to a fullscreen user interface. WebOS 22 is an iteration on last year's fullscreen concept and even though we understand LG's motivation to take control over more of the screen, it is still a shame that the new menu completely takes you out whatever you were doing before you hit the home button.
On the new fullscreen homescreen, app icons appear very small and seem almost secondary to the myriad of ads for LG's own services or third-party content available on various streaming services – much like the user interface on Android TV and Google TV devices. You have no control over what content you see on 3/4 of the homescreen as it is filled with a weather widget, ads for LG services and a "trending now" bar which in my case only showed content from one of the services that I subscribe to – the rest were either purchases or content from apps that I do not use. Some of the content rows found further down the homescreen can be moved around, but not removed or replaced. Of all the content shown on my homescreen, only Youtube and Disney+ were actually relevant to me, and to be quite honest ads for YouTube content is not something I appreciate. Of course, LG is not highlighting content only to annoy me but in order for apps to be highlighted on the homescreen the developer must take advantage of LG's API. Disney+ has embraced it while Netflix in general is a lot more restrictive in terms of where its content appears outside its app. Apps such as HBO Max also support it but curiously I did not see any recommendations from HBO during the test. Most local streaming services do not take advantage of the API.

LG G2 review

The user experience suffers from the fact that the homescreen provides very little relevant content besides the app row (which has tiny icons). There is a sports row but only few teams and leagues are supported and if you are not into sports at all then you would probably like the option to remove it, too. On the plus side, the UI is reasonably smooth and most apps launch without much delay. The selection of apps leaves little to be desired as most popular services are present – including many local services. If you own Apple devices, you also get AirPlay 2 (video/music receiver) and HomeKit. Chromecast on the other hand is not supported which is a bit odd considering that Google Assistant is built in, in addition to Amazon Alexa. There is a microphone in the remote control. A new feature in G2 and C2 is 'Always Ready' which turns the screen into a digital canvas for showcasing artwork and more. Always Ready must be activated manually from General -> Always Ready. Enabling it means that once you push the power button on the remote control to turn off the TV, it switches to art pieces, 'movements', a clock or moments (your own photos that can be uploaded from a phone with the LG ThinQ app). You can also download mind-soothing sounds to use a soundtrack in the background. Push the off button again to put the TV into standby – or double-press initially.

LG G2 test

LG G2 test

With Always Ready activated, the TV will afterwards go into a light sleep mode from which it can wake up quickly (but not instantaneously). In this state it also accepts the 'Hi LG' wake-word which brings up a new voice prompt from which you can open an app by saying "open Netflix" or switch to a specific input by saying "switch to HDMI1". However, be aware that Always Ready consumes around 34W when the screen is off, which is too much for a mode that should involve only minimal processing. For comparison, the Apple TV 4K consumes just 1.5W in its 'always ready' standby mode. Despite G2 being a high-end TV, LG has not seen it fit to upgrade the remote control as compared to the cheaper C2 model. G2 still comes bundled with the tacky plastic clicker and it is a shame that it does not come with a more premium remote to match the TV's elegant design and build quality. Of the 6 sponsored buttons at the bottom, only two were relevant to me, but if you use both Alexa and Google Assistant, and subscribe to or rent from Amazon, Disney+, Netflix and Rakuten, then you are in the target group. While the 1-9 buttons on top can be used as shortcuts to apps and HDMI ports (long press), I did not use them at any time during the review for their original purpose (channel surfing). These shortcut buttons could easily be repurposed. We hope that LG dares to change the remote control next year.

LG G2 review

LG G2's built-in speakers do not match the sleek exterior and LG's AI sound algorithm in many cases made the sound significantly worse – especially in games. For news broadcasts and documentaries it can work but we would still repeat our recommendation to pair a TV like G2 to a proper sound system. LG G2 supports Dolby Atmos but once again it is important to distinguish between signal support and reproduction. The physical preconditions for reproducing Dolby Atmos sound are simply not present in G2 but it is fine that the TV can output Atmos from built-in apps. There are tons of different soundbars available on the market – even one from LG that matches LG G2 – so even if you don't want to invest in a large sound system you can get decent sound. B&O's Beosound Stage would fit nicely with G2 as it is also designed to integrate with it through special B&O software in LG's TVs that let you use B&O's own (albeit somewhat pricey) BeoRemote One for operation. LG G2 was tested with the Sonos Arc connected via HDMI eARC. It worked as intended and there were no problems in outputting Dolby Atmos from external players connected to G2 or built-in apps. On one occasion handshake between the soundbar and the TV failed but restarting the TV solved it.

Calibration

LG TVs offer some of the most advanced calibration options on the market in the form of auto-calibration and 3D LUT calibration support via the Calman software from SpectraCal – see how it works in our LG C9 review from 2019 . Normally we would recommend that you calibrate a high-end TV with support for these advanced options. However, today I skip that recommendation because after measuring all picture profiles, as we normally do, we had to find the magnifying glass rather than the calibration handles. Strictly speaking, we cannot be sure that this review sample was not handpicked but our sample of G2 delivered very accurate grey tones and colors in the ISF picture modes. We gave the blue primary (high) a single notch mostly just because we are sticklers – the change would not be visible even in a side-by-side comparison. There are several other picture modes to choose from, but none of them deliver more accurate pictures than the ISF profiles in SDR or Cinema profile in HDR. In our calibration, we aim for gamma 2.2 which fits the ISF Bright Room mode whereas ISF Dark Room is optimized for BT.1886, which is closer to gamma 2.4 and thus somewhat darker. In anything but a completely dark room, BT.1886 / gamma 2.4 will often crush some shadow details, which is also why we favor gamma 2.2 even though it is a relic from the good old days of cathode ray tubes. Since the measurements were made with gamma 2.2 as a reference, for example ISF Dark room thus appears as an offset and not as accurate as ISF Bright Room, but that is simply because it is actually compared to an incorrect reference in relation to what it was created for by LG. Also note that that when the TV detects a game console, it will per default enable LG's Game Optimizer which is a series of "AI" features that aim to adjust the picture to specific types of players or scenarios. While this can be helpful for some users, be aware that it changes the color profile significantly as compared to the reference picture, so if you want to see the right colors and the game as the game creators intended, disable these features. For HDR, the TV measured DCI-P3 coverage came out to 98% and BT.2020 coverage to 71%, which is on par with other OLED TVs based on LG Display's panel. See the HDR Cinema picture mode in the tabe menu below. We will comment on HDR brightness in the next section.

Measurements

In our "measurements" section we include all measurements and our suggested calibration settings. If you want to learn more about our test methodology click here. Note: Starting last year, we implemented a new method for measurement of average power consumption in SDR and HDR, meaning that earlier measurements are not 1:1 comparable. The new method will be used in all TV reviews going forward. Note: We include calibration settings only for SDR, not HDR. For our calibration we have deactivated the ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the backlight setting according to your environment. You may prefer to have it enabled.
LG G2 review

Picture quality

LG G2 is equipped with what LG refers to an "advanced panel" as part of 'OLED EVO', most likely what LG Display (the panel manufacturer) refers to as OLED EX. The panel can reach higher light output and offers better heat dissipation (in combination with a heatsink), which should theoretically reduce the risk of burn-in. Compared to last year's G1 that we measured to 800 nits peak brightness, G2 surpassed 900 nits in our testing. However, for some reason the higher brightness did not extend to areas that make up more than 10% of the screen. In these instances, G2 actually delivers lower brightness than G1 (and in particular Panasonic HZ2000). See our graph in the measurements section for more details. Of course, brightness is only one element of good picture quality but it is a still disappointing that G2 does not match or exceed G1 in all respects, and still does not match Panasonic HZ2000 in peak brightness. We notice that some have managed to push G2 to 1000 nits but this is not possible with our recommended settings on our sample – meaning accurate picture settings. With all that being said, we did not at any point notice any lack of brightness with "real" content such as movies, series and games. As discussed in the calibration section, G2 was delivered with pre-calibrated picture modes that more or less deliver reference pictures – if you select the right profile, that is. Modern OLED TVs do not differ all that much but it is still rare to see so accurate picture modes without various "AI" and other enhance systems engaged to ruin the picture. It's simply great! Color reproduction in both SDR and HDR is what you would expect from a high-end OLED TV with an LG Display panel, and in practice skin tones etc. were reproduced naturally without the red push that some OLED models exhibit in the out-of-box modes. Picture quality is in the reference league. This applies to reproduction of colors as well as content in lower resolution than 4K. G2 also manages to reproduce very smooth gradients (helped by the 'Smooth Gradation' option) but it is not perfect as evidenced by the Sony A95K (QD-OLED) standing next to it during our review. Sony A95K (spoiler alert!) performs exceptionally well in this area – look forward to our full review. G2 has very subtle lines in some gradient test patterns but as you start watching real content including movies it is almost impossible to spot any of this – pure gradients are not seen very often. Some of my favorite titles for testing a TV's abilities in real life include Bladerunner 2049, Mad Max Fury Road, Tenet, the Marvel universe, and the Hobbit movies that include multiple scenes to test motion, shadow details, instant changes in luminance intensity with explosions, and tiny glowing objects in the picture. LG G2 impresses with its handling of shadow details in Bladerunner and The Hobbit, while brightness peaks are precise and well-defined in Tenet in scenes where fire or lighting to illuminate the runway appears. If you activate dynamic tone-mapping to boost highlights and more, you sometimes see a boost but in other sequences G2 raised the shadow details too much which took the focus away from the intended objects in the scene, for example in the intro scene with Tony Stark and Nebula in Avengers: Endgame. You should rather go for the neutral setting option and enjoy the deep black levels and potentially perfect tracking of the white balance, which ensures that movies are shown as the filmmaker intended.
For a few years now, LG has offered various setting options for its motion smoothing system (TruMotion). If you want to engage it to counteract the 'stroboscopic' effect in bright 24fps scenes in movies or series, our recommendation used to be the 'Custom' option but I now prefer the recently introduced 'Cinema Smooth' option which only on a few occasions produces picture artifacts. Errors are a little more evident than in Sony's MotionFlow, for example, but still minimal and unless you specifically look for errors (which you probably shouldn't do) it is not a problem in normal use. Hollywood and filmmakers are eager to get us to turn off these smoothing systems, but especially on OLED TV it can be tiring and distracting at times to look at low frame rate 24fps content, as bright scenes tend to flash repeatedly (what we call the stroboscopic effect). A good motion algorithm could therefore be defined as one that maintains the cinematic effect but at the same time compensates for the display's "issues". LG has in recent years succeeded in improving its algorithm and that could be a consideration for some buyers when considering whether to spend extra on 100/120Hz OLED TV as opposed to the inexpensive 50/60Hz OLED TVs that are starting to show up on the market. For example, Mad Max: Fury Road makes heavy use of varying speeds, which helps give the movie its special look, and Cinema Smooth retains that look while ensuring that you are not bothered by the OLED panel's very fast response time in bright desert scenes. LG introduced BFI (Black Frame Insertion) a few years ago as another approach to improve motion, specifically to reduce blur, but as seen in previous OLED TVs activation of BFI leads to visibly flicker and drastically lower brightness (mainly in HDR). In addition, LG's BFI system (OLED Motion) is now locked to 60Hz in this year's models so the benefits of BFI are getting even harder to spot. For gaming, G2 – like its predecessors – supports HDMI 2.1, AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync Compatible. It has a VRR range of 40–120Hz but unfortunately issues such as raised black levels and flicker persist (in all of LG Display's OLED panels in all OLED TVs). LG has introduced a Black Stabilizer setting option in an attempt to mitigate the effect but it is only a patch solution – we are still waiting for a real solution. Input lag depends on the type of signal and in 120Hz mode it drops to less than 6 ms. In Game mode at 60Hz it hovers around 13 ms in Game mode, while it goes much higher outside of game mode. Both 13 and 6 ms should satisfy most console users but FPS games who are used to +200Hz gaming monitors with 2 ms or less may still feel a difference. I only play console games and mostly on PS5 and for this purpose G2's picture performance is a joy to behold. Personally, I would prioritize deep black levels over VRR but this is a matter of personal preference. I usually play in a dark room after the kids are put to bed so raised black levels take away from the picture experience. LG has added a separate game menu, which automatically becomes available when the TV detects a game console on its active HDMI input. The menu provides shortcuts to shadows and highlights toggles as well as other settings. As mentioned earlier, such tools may help you spot enemies lurking in the dark but at the same time you will change the look of the game. I therefore only recommend using Game Optimizer to gain an advantage in competitive gaming. For my type of games I found all of the settings detrimental to the picture experience. I prefer using a calibrated Game mode instead.
Looking at the darkest shades, the panel is not perfectly homogenous. We spotted some banding as evidenced by the shots below. It is probably not something most viewers would notice but even after all these years LG Display still has work to do on panel homogeneity. While calibrating the screen, we spotted only very little retention from the rather aggressive HDR test patterns. LG G2 seems as resilient as Sony A90J but the nature of OLED means that burn-in will always be a risk if you just drive the panel hard enough. We cannot test the real risk but simply state that as compared to previous models the retention effect from our test patterns wears off faster, which is reassuring and most likely related to the addition of a cooling profile – or heatsink – on the back of the OLED panel.

Conclusion

G2 is an iteration over LG's previous G series and is still a winning formula for buyers who want some of the best picture quality in a slim design that can hang flush to the wall – an ultra-slim wall bracket is included in the box. Our only gripe in terms of design is that it comes bundled with LG's cheap plastic remote control.
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LG G2 delivers some of the best picture quality money can buy including great colors, relatively high peak brightness, and a good motion system. Unfortunately, LG still has not caught up to Panasonic's 2000 series and hit the 1000 nits milestone and it even struggled to match last year's G1 in some contexts, which is disappointing. After last year's webOS redesign to a fullscreen user interface, LG has introduced a couple of new features such as 'Always Ready' but overall webOS 22 (short for 2022) remains largely unchanged. Unfortunately, promoted content and ads take a dominant role on the revamped homescreen, and unless your interests align perfectly with LG's partners, including the sponsored buttons on the remote control, it is hard not to think of it as a step back compared to the simple and sleek webOS of the past. LG is following the footsteps of others here, mostly Google with Android TV / Google TV, but on webOS you have even fewer option to customize your homescreen. For gamers, LG remains at the forefront with HDMI 2.1 and several flavors of VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) combined with excellent picture quality and inherent HDR capabilities that do not suffer in Game mode. The main issue remains VRR's raised blacks and flicker – issues that have been mitigated but not solved. Most OLED TVs in this price segment are worthy of their "high-end" labels so the final decision will perhaps come down to your preference for TV operating system, design, and sound system – or maybe peak brightness. As compared to LG's more affordable models you should pick G2 for its slim 'gallery' design but make no mistake; it is a great alternative to both Sony A90J and Panasonic's 2000 series in terms of picture quality, and in its third iteration G2 deserves our recommendation.
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Change in test parameters: In 2018, we made a change to a test parameter that relates to the features score, following years of poor practice in the TV industry. Unless a manufacturer of a given "Smart TV" can provide FlatpanelsHD with assurance that the TV platform will be updated to the next major version, the feature score will be lowered by 10 points. We hope that our initiative can help highlight the problem, start a discussion, and change the practice.

LG has not been able to give us such a guarantee for webOS.

Price and retailers:

US retailer
UK retailer
DE retailer

Sleek design
Exceptional precalibrated colors
HDMI 2.1 ports & features
Gaming features inkl. 4K120, VRR


New webOS has too many ad, promoted content
webOS not receiving updates
Raised blacks in VRR
Remote control does not match TV's design







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