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LG NANO86 (2020) TV: The most affordable next-gen gaming TV

14 Jul 2021
49in model

Available from just £699, the LG NANO86 is by far the cheapest 4K TV with support for VRR, 4K at 120Hz and ALLM

Pros 
Affordable
Multi-HDR support
4K@120Hz, VRR and ALLM
Cons 
No HDR10+
No Nvidia G-Sync
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Anyone who owns – or is planning on owning – a PS5 or Xbox Series X should be looking to pair their brand-new console with a top-notch 4K gaming TV. But with so many great new TVs on the market, it can be hard to make up your mind. There are all sorts of things to take into account, from budget and brand to screen size and smart features. Most important of all, however, are those next-gen gaming capabilities. 

To get the most from the new generation of consoles, you’ll want a TV with at least one HDMI 2.1 input that supports Variable Refresh Rate, 4K at 120Hz refresh rates and Auto Low-Latency Mode (ALLM). And if you’d like all that for the cheapest price possible, the LG NANO86 is the obvious choice. Available from just £699, it’s an affordable 4K HDR set that covers all the key next-gen gaming features listed above. Outside of gaming, it’s a well-rounded TV with multi-format HDR support, Dolby Atmos audio and a smooth, intuitive smart platform in WebOS. Is there any reason not to buy it? 

LG NANO86: Key specifications

Screen sizes available:

49in 49NANO866NA,
55in 55NANO866NA,
65in 65NANO866NA

Panel type:

IPS-type LED LCD (NanoCell)

Resolution:

4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160)

Refresh rate:

120Hz

HDR formats:

Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG

Audio enhancement:

eARC, Dolby Atmos

HDMI inputs:

2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0

Streaming services:

Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, Apple TV, Google Play Movies, BBC iPlayer, YouTube etc.

Tuners:

Terrestrial, Cable, Satellite

Gaming features:

4K@120Hz, VRR (FreeSync), ALLM

Wireless connectivity:

Wi-Fi 802.11ac

Smart platform:

LG WebOS

LG NANO86: What you need to know

LG’s NanoCell TVs are the premium LCD models in LG’s TV lineup, sitting above the standard LED LCDs but below the pricier, self-emissive OLED sets. NanoCell is a proprietary technology developed by LG and is comparable to the QLED (or quantum dot) technology seen in Samsung and Hisense TVs, among others. These NanoCell TVs use a particle film that absorbs unwanted light wavelengths and enhances the vibrancy of colours, retaining colour depth even when the panel is viewed off-axis. 

In 2020 there are seven different series of LG NanoCell TV to choose from, ranging from the entry-level NANO79 right up to the flagship NANO99. The LG NANO86 is one of the cheaper options in the NanoCell family.

Available in 49in, 55in and 65in panel sizes, the NANO86 has a 4K IPS-type LED LCD panel that offers wider viewing angles than TVs with VA-type panels, such as Samsung’s 2020 QLEDs.

Crucially, it’s the most affordable TV of 2020 with next-gen gaming capabilities, packing two HDMI 2.1 inputs that support VRR, ALLM and 4K at 120Hz. These new features are essential to making the most of the Xbox Series X and PS5, although it’s worth noting that VRR has yet to make its way to the new PlayStation console. So, what do these terms mean?

Variable Refresh Rate or VRR allows the display to match its refresh rate to the frame rate of the game being played, eliminating screen tearing. The LG NANO86’s VRR support includes AMD FreeSync but does not extend to Nvidia G-Sync. PC gamers may want to opt for a more premium TV like the LG CX OLED, which supports both FreeSync and G-Sync. 

Next up is ALLM, or Auto Low-Latency Mode, a feature that has actually been around for a year or two. When compatible consoles are connected, ALLM will automatically engage the TV’s low-latency Game Mode, dialling down the picture processing in favour of faster response times that can make all the difference in fast-paced, competitive games. 

As for 4K at 120Hz, this simply means the TV can display a 4K signal at up to 120fps. In gaming terms, 4K at 120Hz is more of a hypothetical scenario than a reality, as neither the PS5 or the Xbox Series X can run 4K games at anywhere near that high a frame rate. Many new games (as well as older games optimised for the new generation) will be able to run in 120fps mode but to achieve this they need to dial down the resolution to 1440p or 1080p.  

Elsewhere, the LG NANO86 is well-equipped for movie nights and TV binges, with support for the three mainstream HDR formats: HDR10, Dolby Vision and the broadcast-friendly HLG. And thanks to the TV’s eARC (enhanced audio return channel) support, it’s nice and convenient to pass high-quality Dolby Digital or Dolby Atmos audio through to a compatible surround sound setup or soundbar. 

The user experience is top-notch too. LG’s WebOS smart TV platform is one of the best of its kind, with an intuitive layout and a “Magic Remote” that speeds up the process of searching for content across apps like Netflix, Disney Plus, Now  TV, Prime Video and more. The only real downside is the lack of Freeview Play on LG’s 2020 TVs. Of the free UK catch-up apps, BBC iPlayer is the only service available through WebOS. It’s not a deal-breaker, however, as a cheap streaming stick will get you the rest.  

LG NANO86: Price and competition

Available from just £699 (for the 49in model), the LG NANO86 is by far the most wallet-friendly option on the market when it comes to next-gen gaming features. The list price is £899 but this has fallen steadily since launch day and it’s now £200 cheaper. 

While that entry-level 49in set is plenty big enough for the bedroom or spare room, the larger 55in and 65in sets will look much better in a spacious living room. Thankfully, these aren’t too pricey either. The 55in is available for around £860, down from an RRP of £999, and the massive NANO86 65in is now £300 off the launch price at £999. Considering what the LG NANO86 has to offer in terms of gaming and HDR features, these asking prices are more than reasonable.    

The next cheapest TV with HDMI 2.1 gaming features is Samsung’s Q70T 55in, which goes for £790 at Amazon – a £309 reduction on the RRP. This 4K QLED TV is comparable to the NANO86 in many ways: it supports VRR, 4K at 120Hz, ALLM, Dolby Atmos and eARC. However, it only has one HDMI 2.1 port to the LG NANO86’s two and misses out on Dolby Vision.

Finally, Samsung’s Q80T is well worth considering if you want something a little fancier. It’s the most affordable TV of the year to have both HDMI 2.1 support and FALD (Full-Array Local Dimming) lighting, and at the time of our review, it cost a mere £899, making it the best-value TV under £1,000. Just make sure to get the 55in model or larger; the smallest 49in model is limited to 60Hz and has no VRR.

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