The latest version of LG's G series, G3, introduces a new OLED panel with MLA (Micro Lens Array) technology that should significantly boost both overall and peak brightness in 55, 65 and 77 inches, while the larger sizes remain non-MLA for now. In addition, G3 features a refreshed webOS homescreen, HDMI 2.1 QMS, and a couple of other improvements.
LG G3 exists in 55 to 97 inches. FlatpanelsHD is testing the 77-inch version.
Also read: LG 2023 TV line-up
Price and retailers:
LG G3 is designed to be mounted on the wall using the bundled no-gap wall bracket, but it can also be placed on an optional tabletop stand that must be purchased separately. Not keen on drilling holes in our wall to mount a temporary TV, we opted to place the 77-inch G3 on the new center-aligned tabletop stand, which differs from the two-legged feet solution available for the earlier G2/G1/GX models.
LG G3 slightly leans back when placed on its tabletop stand. It features a silver aluminum bezel and a streamlined back without the 'hump' since LG has distributed the electronics evenly across the surface. All ports are positioned on the side, allowing the TV to be mounted flush to the wall. However, accessing the ports when the TV is wall-mounted is not possible due to the raised part of the back closer to the frame, as seen in the photo.
While G3 still looks impressive on a stand, wall mounting is highly recommended given LG's efforts in streamlining the design. It boasts an elegant appearance that sets it apart from mainstream OLED TVs including its smaller counterpart, the C3.
User experience & features
Seemingly in response to customer criticism, LG has yet again redesigned webOS in the 2023 models to make the homescreen more streamlined by dividing it into content hubs such as Music, Game, Sports, and Home. It makes sense but lacks polish, as argued in our review of LG C3 where we examined the changes in details. webOS 23 is identical in G3 so we refer to our LG C3 review for more details.
Here is a short video tour of webOS 23:
It is worth adding that G3 also features a new 'Enjoy TV Sound Together' accessibility feature to let you independently control audio volume in a Bluetooth headset and the internal TV speakers.
Something I forgot to mention in the LG C3 review is that LG'a 2023 models have a quick menu for TV settings that you can customize to your liking.
For example, if you often change picture mode you can place the picture mode selector at the top together with a sleep timer or something else. See the photo on the right.
While LG has put a lot of effort into the design of the G3 screen, the same level of care is not reflected in the remote control. G3 comes bundled with the exact same remote as the cheaper models. The 'Magic Remote' has a glossy black finish, lightweight construction, rubber buttons, and no less than six sponsored buttons.
Unfortunately, it is still not possible to disable the motion-controlled cursor on-screen, even though webOS was designed for traditional left-right-up-down user interaction. Disabling the feature is only possible in the software-modified LG OLEDs found in Bang & Olufsen TVs – where it works great.
This cheap plastic clicker feels out of place with an expensive premium TV like G3. Our recommendation to you would be to enhance the TV experience by adding an Apple TV 4K box and using Apple's aluminum remote instead, which can turn on/off G3 and adjust the volume.
LG's premium G3 comes with the same remote control as the mainstream C3
2023 LG OLED TV support both DTS:X and DTS-HD
The internal speakers are hidden and not very powerful, and the algorithms designed to enhance audio often make things worse. This is not surprising considering the slim cabinet. LG offers a nice-looking – but overpriced – G series soundbar to match G series OLED TVs, but obviously you can connect any soundbar or receiver to G3 via HDMI ARC/eARC. We recommend doing that when watching movies/series or playing games.
Like C3, G3 supports Dolby audio formats up to Dolby Atmos for internal playback and output via HDMI ARC/eARC, which worked as expected in our testing with Apple's eARC receiver function in Apple TV 4K (2022) that can take TV audio and transmit it wirelessly to a pair HomePods – more on that in a separate review.
LG has also added back support for DTS audio, meaning that you can output DTS to an external device; DTS via optical and HDMI ARC as well as DTS-HD MA and DTS:X via HDMI eARC according to LG's specifications. When asked earlier this year, LG would not commit to DTS decoding for the internal TV speakers but in our testing C3 and G3 decoded both DTS:X og DTS-HD MA sources for playback on the TV speakers. We applaud LG for listening to users to once again partner with both of the most popular audio companies.
Like previous LG OLED TVs, G3 supports Calman auto-calibration. However, as we noted in our review of C3 only few users will need to do SDR calibration and the same applies to G3 when set to Filmmaker Mode or ISF Dark, both of which are very accurate. Compared to C3, LG is pushing G3 to higher SDR brightness in the pre-calibrated modes but you can easily adjust this based on your viewing environment. Remember to deactivate the energy saving function (see calibration table for full calibration settings), which is found in a separate menu: Settings -> Generel - Energy Saving -> Energy Saving Step -> Off.
Avoid Vivid and Standard mode. Game mode is OK and LG is not pushing SDR colors into the OLED's larger native color space but again – like C3 – it has a too high color temperature which makes all games look too bluish. Consider using one of the more accurate picture modes together with ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) if your game console / PC also supports ALLM.
Moving on to HDR, this is of course the most interesting aspect of G3 as both LG Display and LG Electronics have promised significantly increased brightness. We measured peak brightness to almost 1400 nits in Filmmaker Mode and over 1800 nits in the very inaccurate and bluish Vivid mode on our 77-inch G3. 1800 nits in Vivid mode was only possible if we first gave the screen a break to cool down – maximum 1300-1400 nits is what you will most often get with real content.
We did not find any ways to push the panel beyond 2000 nits, as mentioned in the marketing material by LG Display. Still, the higher peak brightness represents a 50% jump (in Filmmaker Mode) over last year's G2 and a 70% jump (in Filmmaker Mode) over 2023's C3. This is a real difference as opposed to past years where the G series felt more like a polished C series with a nice design.
The improvement is achieved through MLA (Micro Lens Array) technology that we will discuss in more detail in the picture quality section. We've heard that LG Display had planned to introduce MLA later than 2023, so we are fairly certain that the accelerated timeline has to do with intensified competition from QD-OLED. Competition is great for consumers! LG Display has confirmed to FlatpanelsHD that MLA will eventually make its way into all panels produced so we can expect to see MLA in the C series at some point in the future, too. The question of course is when.
In HDR, you should go with Filmmaker Mode or Cinema for the best picture quality, although both have slightly elevated brightness in the mid-tones. Our comments about the SDR Game mode also apply to the HDR Game mode. Game Mode reaches close to 1300 nits peak brightness. In Dolby Vision you should select 'Cinema'.
DCI-P3 coverage reached 98% and Rec.2020 reached 73%, in line with previous WOLED panels from LG Display. MLA does not increase the color gamut, but it does increase color volume (see picture quality section). WOLED is still behind QD-OLED in this area.
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 in 2021, we implemented a new method for measurement of average power consumption in SDR and HDR, meaning that earlier measurements are not 1:1 comparable. Power consumption in 'Calibrated' SDR mode is measured with the screen to approx. 100-120 nits to normalize the measurement across TV models (our recommended calibrated picture settings may differ). 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.
The big news in G3 is MLA (Micro Lens Array) technology for the first time in an OLED TV. LG Display refers to its as its third generation OLED panel, with OLED EX (the recent update that provided close to no picture quality upgrade) being the second generation. There are gaps in this marketing message as LG Display also had a Full HD OLED panel, later a 4K OLED panel, and later a 4K HDR OLED panel, with modifications to the pixel layout along the way. A more accurate sentiment is that LG Display is on an annual cadence and some years we simply get bigger upgrades – the 2023 OLED panel is one of the big upgrades. New panels are phased in gradually on LG Display's product lines – it has two factories producing OLED TV panels in South Korea and China – so some production lines are still producing "older" panels. LG Display has confirmed that its will eventually expand MLA to all of its OLED panels, meaning that it will eventually upgrade all production lines. G3 is the first OLED TV to utilize MLA but the technology will come to more TVs starting with Philips OLED908 and Panasonic MZ2000 later in 2023.
LG says that the main advantages of MLA are increased brightness and improved energy efficiency – the two being directly related in OLEDs – as more of the existing light in the OLED pixels can be directed towards the user. Our fear has been that MLA would increase brightness mainly by further boosting the white subpixel, but luckily this is not the case. MLA OLED also delivers increased RGB (red, green, blue) brightness, as evidenced by our measurements below:
MLA OLED (G3) vs. non-MLA OLED (C3) - RGB brightness
WOLED is not using RGB to reproduce white, as it has the extra white subpixel, so the RGB-to-white ratio outlined in the table is instead meant to illustrate if it could, technically, to tell us more about the MLA OLED panel's capabilities. There is an advanced algorithm that controls how WRGB (white, red, green, blue) subpixels engage to create any combination of color and luminance, and it would be almost impossible to document it only through measurements. However, notice that at any given nits target from 500 nits and up the MLA OLED panel in G3 can deliver higher brightness in each of its RGB subpixels compared to the non-MLA OLED panel in C3.
In practical terms it means that in any movie or game in HDR that requests it, the MLA OLED panel in G3 is capable of reproducing more saturated bright colors than the OLED EX panel in C3 while also delivering significantly higher peak brightness that is as color saturated as the highest peak brightness on C3. The MLA OLED panel does not just boost peak brightness in white but also boosts peak brightness for each of the three RGB subpixels. It does not reach the same high RGB saturation levels at high luminance as QD-OLED (see Samsung S95C review), but it is a good step forward for WOLED. It is also known as color volume although the comparisons of color volume between display technologies are often wrong or misleading as the measured black level, rather than the absolute black level, as well as the measured peak brightness, rather than the targeted peak brightness, are used. Or some arbitrary custom-defined targets so that TV makers can claims 100% color volume...
Note that only the 55, 65 and 77 inch versions of G3 feature MLA. The larger version have the OLED EX panel without MLA.
On the other hand WOLED (MLA or not) maintains black levels even in bright environments and does not suffer from the color fringing effect around text and objects that affects QD-OLED.
How does all of this translate into HDR picture quality with real movies and games? Well, we had LG G3 and C3 at the same time so it is perhaps best explained by comparing the two. Our comparison was made somewhat tricky by the fact that we had a 77-inch G3 and a 55-inch C3, which gives G3 a natural advantage in both picture experience and brightness as the same level of brightness on a larger panel looks brighter to the eye than on a smaller panel.
Nevertheless, it was clear that G3 (MLA OLED) has much more headroom in brightness and also delivers somewhat more saturated colors at high luminance levels. A clear night sky full of stars is one of the hardest scenes to reproduce in HDR but OLED's self-emissive nature ensures pixel-level luminance control and the jump from around 800 nits on C3 to 1400 nits on G3 makes the stars sparkle with so much extra intensity that it actually made the scene look noticeably more realistic – I had not expected the difference to be so significant.
In another scene of a landscape with a blue sky and green grass, G3 delivered visibly more saturated colors and an overall brighter picture with calibrated settings, and it also delivered higher overall brightness in general while watching other outdoor scenes with a large sky, snow or similar. Other HDR scenes – even with some of these elements – looked almost exactly the same between C3 and G3, which can be explained by the fact that the content is mastered to look more muted, less bright or less colorful. The advantages of G3 are seen in specific HDR scenes mastered to look colorful and bright.
Now, some LCD TVs already deliver 2000 nits on paper but they do not come close to matching LG G3's 1400 nits peak brightness capabilities in HDR scenes with small bright objects, which is clear just by watching the picture – no side-by-side comparison needed. During the review of G3, we also had some of the latest LCD TVs with miniLED and FALD zone dimming including TCL C845 and Sony X90L, and HDR content simply looked markedly better and more accurate on LG G3. It is the difference between quantity in nits and quality in nits. And G3 does all of this while maintaining accuracy in color and luminance in other parts of the picture which is something that cannot be said for LCD TVs with zone dimming.
Even after extensive testing, G3's panel remained only mildly warm which is a testament to the improved efficiency in the MLA OLED panel that consumes less power at comparable brightness levels versus the non-MLA OLED panel. In theory, this should reduce the risk of burn-in as burn-in is accelerated by heat, but we cannot ascertain the MLA OLED panel's burn-in characteristics yet. Buyers must chime in after a few years. We observed some temporary retention after long measurement/calibration sessions but it disappeared quickly again.
LG Display's 2023 MLA OLED panel has new anti-reflection. It effectively reduced direct reflections that appear more subdued and diffuse, but still purple-tinted. When off, the new filter makes the MLA OLED panel look less black especially in a bright environment but this effect is not really observed with real content or at least the effect is so minimal that we don't think it's worth worrying about. Overall I would say that the new filter is an improvement. We did not observe rainbow effects in the screen with the lights in our testing facilities.
Are there no down-sides to MLA OLED besides the higher cost? We did observe some macro-blocking at times; in other gradients than on the normal WOLED panel, which most likely has to do with the micro-lenses inside the panel. It is not a major issue but it would be nice if LG can mitigate it somewhat.
The boost in brightness and color comes on top of already-excellent performance of earlier LG C- and G ranges of OLED TVs. The video processor is great for both SDR and HDR content but as always we prefer to turn off the picture enhancement systems including dynamic tone-mapping.
For SDR content, the much higher peak brightness is not relevant but the higher full-screen brightness is. Compared to LG C3's full-screen brightness of approx. 160 nits, we measured full-screen brightness (100% window) to around 220 nits on G3 and 320-360 nits on a 75% window (75% of the screen is white while the rest is black), depending on the picture mode. Now, you don't view content that is full white so full-screen brightness between 220-360 nits is more indicative and a good improvement for watching soccer (football), winter olympics or other very bright scenes in a brightly lit environment. High-end LCD TVs still pull away from OLEDs in terms of full-screen brightness so further improvements are welcome to satisfy the bright living room crowd but also to reduce brightness (ABL) fluctuations on OLED TVs in dark rooms. For comparison, Samsung's S95C 2023 QD-OLED flagship delivered 240 nits full-screen and 262 nits at 75%.
LG G3 is quite simply one of the best TVs for SDR and HDR ever, and the G series finally represents a meaningful step up from the C series.
Like C3, G3 no longer employs the overzealous auto-dimming algorithm that has for years erroneously dimmed over time prolonged dark scenes – and some brighter scenes – with minimal movement to a point where they get so dark that it is hard to see what is happening, until a scene change resets things. And like C3, G3 also supports HDMI 2.1 QMS (Quick Media Switching) which eliminates the "HDMI bonk" (black screen) when switching between refresh rates (50Hz, 60Hz etc.). It works exactly the same way on G3 as on C3 so we have embedded our earlier video from our HDMI QMS review with Apple TV 4K (2022) here. The problem with QMS on 2023 LG TVs is the annoying banner that pops up to reveal that QMS is active. LG must issue a firmware update to let users remove it!
In terms of HDR gaming, MLA OLED takes things to the next level. Because all of the discussed picture capabilities, including 1300 nits peak brightness with pixel-level luminance control in Game mode, are native to the MLA OLED panel, you get all of the benefits, which stands in contrast to high-end LCD TVs that significantly reduce the effectiveness of, or fully deactivate, their zone dimming systems to keep input lag low. So with LG G3 you get absolutely gorgeous HDR in games, only matched or slightly surpassed by QD-OLED depending on your preferences (color fringing is an issue when gaming on QD-OLED). And personally, I would be even more comfortable playing console and PC games on G3 than on my existing OLED TV knowing that the panel has significantly increased energy efficiency.
We did not have a 77-inch non-MLA OLED TV for comparison but power consumption on our 77-inch G3 was actually roughly the same (89W) after calibration as we measured on a 65-inch LG C2 or G2 from 2022. That's impressive. HDR power consumption is higher than other OLED TVs but lower than miniLED LCD TVs.
We measured input lag to 13.0ms in Game Mode with 4K 60Hz, which can be brought down to 9.3ms by activating LG's boost function from the Game Optimizer menu. Input lag will be even lower in 4K 120Hz and lower still in VRR mode. TVs have really become excellent gaming displays in recent years. LG also continues to be the only brand to support 4K120 Dolby Vision – until Philips and Sony's flagship models arrive in a few weeks. There are four HDMI 2.1 ports with support for all of this (4K120, VRR) in G3.
Unfortunately, LG Display has not solved the issue of VRR flicker and raised blacks in VRR mode so it still affects G3. The BFI (Black Frame Insertion) function, called OLED Motion, is still limited to 60Hz and not really usable in practice due to heavy flicker. LG's Game Mode is OK but has a too high color temperature making games appear too bluish overall. We recommend that you instead use ALLM with a compatible game console to enable Game mode on top of one of the more accurate picture modes.
MLA OLED has even better viewing angles than the non-MLA OLED panel. We did not observe issues with panel homogeneity on our sample.
LG G3 is an impressive OLED TV for both SDR and HDR viewing, and finally a significant step up from the C series. It delivers approx. 1400 nits peak brightness with accurate picture settings and up to 1800 nits at a higher color temperature (but not sustained). MLA OLED (Micro Lens Array) is not just boosting the white subpixel but actually increases luminance of the RGB subpixels, too, although it still cannot match QD-OLED in color volume. Only the 55, 65 and 77 inch G3 screens feature MLA, though.
It builds on top of the already-excellent performance of WOLED to challenge QD-OLED for the throne. Both OLED TV panel types have advantages and disadvantages. MLA OLED's advantages over QD-OLED are in black levels in bright rooms and the absence of color fringing around text and objects. G3 also delivered higher peak brightness than Samsung S95C in our testing and supports Dolby Vision at up to 4K 120Hz.
Despite a more streamlined look, webOS 23 is still not great and is turning into a billboard of ads. The built-in speakers are adequate only for casual viewing, so you will be looking at an extra investment in good speakers to match the picture. HDMI 2.1 QMS is great but not perfect and LG first and foremost needs to add a toggle to turn off the annoying QMS notification banner. VRR flicker remains. Added DTS audio support is good news.
After 10 generations of WOLED, the 2023 panel with MLA represents the biggest jump since the first HDR OLED panel. However, it is a shame that MLA technology is reserved for G3 and that LG has decided to hike the price. If you are willing to pay the premium, LG G3 is without doubt one of the best TVs for both SDR and HDR content on the market – from watching movies to playing games. It is a strong candidate to become our reference TV as it delivers the highest real peak brightness of any consumer TV on the market but in the end we think that LG should do more to match QD-OLED's advantage in color volume.
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:
Amazing HDR & SDR picture quality Highest real peak brightness Improved energy efficiency HDMI 2.1 ports & QMS Gaming performance DTS audio support
Price Fullscreen webOS 23 still not great webOS not receiving upgrades Raised blacks / flicker in VRR Remote control