The LG Z2 proves there’s more to 8K than just extra pixels, with amazing processing, comprehensive smarts and extensive gaming features
- Gorgeous big-screen images
- Superb image processing
- Next-gen gaming features
- No HDR10+
- Lack of native 8K content
- Very expensive
The LG Z2 is the brand’s flagship 8K OLED TV for 2022, with peerless HDR images, state-of-the-art AI-enhanced processing and incredibly accurate tone mapping.
The design is gorgeous, the sound quality impressive, the gaming features extensive, and the smart platform easy to use but comprehensive in terms of choice. There’s still a dearth of native 8K content, and the Z2 isn’t exactly cheap, but compared to previous 8K OLEDs this smart HDR TV is almost affordable.
LG Z2 OLED review: Key specifications
|Screen sizes available:||77in OLED77Z2|
|Resolution:||8K/UHD (7,680 x 4,320)|
|HDR formats:||HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ|
|Audio enhancement:||Dolby Atmos|
|HDMI inputs:||4 x HDMI 2.1|
|Freeview Play compatibility:||Yes|
|Tuners:||Terrestrial, cable, satellite|
|Gaming features:||ALLM, VRR (G-Sync and FreeSync), Game Optimiser|
|Wireless connectivity:||Wi-Fi 802.11ax (2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0|
|Smart assistants:||Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa|
|Smart platform:||webOS 22|
LG Z2 OLED review: What you need to know
The LG Z2 is an 8K (7,680 x 4,320) HDR smart TV that uses LG’s latest Alpha9 Gen5 8K processor with AI 8K upscaling, AI Picture Pro and AI Sound Pro. There’s also a 4.2-channel sound system with AI Acoustic Tuning and support for Dolby Atmos object-based audio.
The Z2 comes in two screen sizes: the 77in model reviewed here, and the Signature version, which is a whopping 88in in diameter. The design and build quality reflect the Z2’s flagship status, and there are four HDMI 2.1 inputs providing support for a whole host of next-gen gaming features.
The Z2 runs the latest version of LG’s smart platform, webOS 22. It also supports HDR10, Dolby Vision IQ and HLG – but not HDR10+. All the major content-streaming services are present and correct, including support for Freeview Play, plus a variety of other smart features.
LG Z2 OLED review: Price and competition
The LG Z2 certainly isn’t cheap, with the 77in model retailing for £11,999, and the 88in version costing an eye-watering £24,999. However, considering previous 8K OLED TVs would have set you back the same price as a decent family car, the 77in Z2 starts to look almost affordable.
The Z2’s biggest competition actually comes from elsewhere in LG’s OLED lineup. Given the lack of native 8K content, anyone looking for an OLED TV with a screen size of 77in or larger will find plenty of 4K models that offer the extra real estate without the added price premium.
The less-capable 77in B2 costs £2,900, while the higher-specced 77in LG C2 retails for £3,300, with the 83in version yours for a surprisingly reasonable £4,699. If you’d prefer an option specifically designed for wall mounting, the 77in LG G2 will set you back £4,000, while the 83in model retails for £5,499. Technically there’s even a 97in G2, but good luck actually finding one.
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LG Z2 OLED review: Design, connections and control
The LG Z2 is every inch the high-end model, with a level of build quality that reflects its hefty price tag. The design is elegant, with a nearly bezel-less screen being all that’s visible from the front, and despite its size, this TV is only 32mm at its deepest point.
Given the screen is 77in in diameter, this TV is obviously big, but it’s also very heavy and weighs in at a back-breaking 43.4kg with the feet attached. It’s also compatible with a 400 x 400 VESA bracket – assuming your wall can take the weight, of course.
The connectivity is excellent, with four full-fat 48Gbits/sec HDMI 2.1 inputs that support 8K/60 and 4K/120, 4:4:4, RGB, 12 bits, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ, VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), and eARC (enhanced audio return channel) in the case of input two.
There are also terrestrial and satellite tuners, a 3.5mm audio output, an optical digital output, an Ethernet port, three USB ports (two 2.0 and one 3.0), and a CI (common interface) slot. In terms of wireless connections, there’s built-in dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and support for Apple AirPlay 2.
While the Z2 includes LG’s excellent Magic Remote, this one has had a makeover. The onscreen pointer and controls are the same, but the wand itself is long and slim with a brushed metal finish. It looks classy but also feels balanced and comfortable in your hand.
As with any modern TV, there are a number of alternative control options, including LG’s ThinQ remote app. The Z2 also supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, plus you can access Siri via Apple’s AirPlay 2, which not only adds extra smarts but also a degree of voice control.
LG Z2 OLED review: Smart TV platform
The LG Z2 runs webOS 22, which uses a full-screen home page to access a comprehensive selection of streaming services, including a full complement of UK catch-up apps thanks to Freeview Play, along with every other streaming platform imaginable, including YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, Now and Rakuten TV.
There are “Family Settings” that provide access to Usage Limit Settings, Eye Care Mode, Volume Limit Mode and Screen Time Report. Other features include Always Ready, which turns the screen off but leaves the TV able to respond to requests or instructions, such as displaying lifestyle or personalised content. There’s also a Multi-View feature, which lets you watch live TV and content from an external input simultaneously, along with remote PC access.
The interaction is responsive and easy to navigate thanks to the Magic Remote, while the expanded ThinQ app offers full control of functions, the ability to share between the TV and mobile devices, and easy access to recently used apps, live TV or inputs. There’s also support for Alexa and Google, turning the Z2 into a fully functioning smart assistant.
LG Z2 OLED review: Image quality
The LG Z2 not only boasts an 8K panel but also uses an 8K Alpha9 Gen5 processor with AI-enhanced deep learning that reduces dither noise and improves deinterlacing and upscaling, with increased sharpness and de-jagging on lower-resolution content. This results in amazingly detailed images regardless of their original resolution, making full use of the Z2’s 33 million pixels.
The Z2 retains all the usual benefits associated with OLED, such as rich, inky blacks, well-defined shadow detail and bright highlights delivered with pixel precision. The overall screen uniformity is excellent, with no signs of banding, dirty screen effect or colour tinting anywhere on our review sample. Reflections are also handled well, and the viewing angles are very wide.
The TV ships in the Standard mode, which produces images with too much blue in the whites, oversaturated colours and excessive brightness in SDR. Switching to Filmmaker mode fixes all these issues, with greyscale and colour Delta Es (errors) below one and a gamma curve that tracks our target of 2.4. This superb level of accuracy will please even the most demanding videophile.
The Z2’s motion handling is also very good, and the TruMotion menu offers five different options: Off, Cinematic Movement, Natural, Smooth Movement and User Selection. Anyone particularly susceptible to the effects of motion smoothing on film-based content should turn TruMotion off (or select Filmmaker mode), but sports fans will enjoy experimenting with different settings.
LG Z2 OLED review: HDR performance
The LG Z2 is fairly typical of an LG OLED in terms of HDR, and actually less capable when compared to the brighter (and cheaper) G2. The 77in Z2 hit 760cd/m² on a 10% window and 136cd/m² on a full-field pattern, but when combined with the deep blacks and pixel-precise highlights of OLED display technology, the resulting HDR looks fantastic despite the limited brightness.
The colour performance is equally impressive, with the Z2 covering 99% of the DCI-P3 colour space. This means you’re getting the full benefit of HDR’s wider colour gamut, and when watching films that really push their colour gamuts, such as Pixar’s Inside Out or Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder, the result is an image with rich, nuanced and vibrant colours that pop off the screen.
The Filmmaker mode offers highly accurate images for HDR10 and HLG, while the Cinema mode does the same for Dolby Vision. Cinema Home offers Dolby Vision IQ enhancements for those who find the HDR too dark. The Z2’s dynamic tone mapping passed all of our HDR tests, ensuring any HDR10 content precisely followed the PQ curve and retained the content creator’s intent.
Watching Top Gun: Maverick with its highly detailed IMAX sequences was a revelation, with the Z2’s class-leading processing making the most of the 8K panel by employing every pixel. The exacting specular highlights were free of clipping, while the deep blacks and detailed shadows had no crush. As a result, Maverick’s aerial heroics often looked jaw-dropping in their presentation.
LG Z2 OLED review: Gaming
The LG Z2 is probably a bit expensive for the average gamer, but if that’s your passion it certainly delivers the goods. To be fair, all of LG’s higher-end TVs are first class when it comes to gaming, with their HDMI 2.1 ports supporting 4K/120Hz high frame rate, ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) – including Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync.
The inclusion of ALLM means the TV automatically switches to the low latency Game Optimiser mode when compatible consoles are detected, and this delivers a lightning-fast input lag of 10ms. The Game Optimiser hub allows users to see all the key settings and change things if necessary. There’s also the option to access more detailed settings, as well as the general menus.
The Game Genre options offer various modes optimised for specific genres, and there’s a Dark Room mode to reduce the brightness of HDR games when playing in an environment with low ambient light or at night. There’s also a Wide Aspect Ratio control to choose between settings for 16:9, 21:9 and 32:9 screens (when supported in the case of the latter two).
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LG Z2 OLED review: Sound quality
The LG Z2 sounds good for a modern TV, primarily because its size allows enough space for a decent 4.2-channel speaker layout powered by 60W of amplification. The result is a solid sonic presence, with width, a surprising amount of bass and well-defined delivery. The midrange is clear, the treble free of sibilance or harshness, and the volume able to go loud without distorting.
The Z2 supports Dolby Atmos, which it decodes internally before using psychoacoustic processing to deliver a virtual 7.1.2-channel audio experience. This is possible thanks to the increased processing power of the Alpha9 Gen5 processor, which even includes an audio scene classification feature that is enhanced by applying multi-layer deep learning processing.
LG’s AI Sound Pro mode applies acoustic processing to non-Atmos content, and this not only adds more dimensionality but also makes dialogue much clearer. As a result, the Z2 is a capable performer when it comes to audio quality, although if you’re buying a TV this expensive, you really should invest in an outboard sound solution to get the best big-screen experience possible.
LG Z2 OLED review: Verdict
The LG Z2 delivers a superb visual experience, with exceptional levels of accuracy and image quality. The AI-enhanced upscaling and picture processing are remarkable and, despite the lack of actual 8K content, allow you to take advantage of the panel’s increased resolution. HDR is also excellent in terms of luminance, specular highlights, shadow detail and black levels.
The design is elegant, the Magic Remote a joy to use, while webOS 22 is well designed and comprehensive. The 4.2-channel sound system with AI-enhanced audio processing sounds surprisingly good, and there’s an extensive set of connections, including those all-important HDMI 2.1 ports for next-gen gaming.
Overall the Z2 is a great TV, but here’s the rub: you’re paying a significant premium for an 8K panel, and the reality is there’s very little native 8K content available. There are plenty of cheaper LG 4K OLEDs that offer large screen sizes, and in the case of the 77in LG G2 you not only get increased brightness, but you save yourself eight grand in the process.