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LG 50LF652V review

Michael Passingham
19 Feb 2016
Best TV 2016
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
539
inc VAT

A good-value smart TV, but image quality quibbles limit its appeal to less fussy buyers

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Specifications

Screen size: 50in, Native resolution: 1,920x1,080, Video inputs: 3x HDMI, 3x USB2, Component, Composite, Common Interface, Tuner: Freeview HD, Dimensions: 1127x710x267mm

LG's range of LF652V smart TVs sit at the top of its Full HD range. You don't get the premium stand design, advanced image enhancement or OLED technology that you would in LG's Ultra HD range, but it does at least come with LG's latest WebOS 2.0 smart TV system. The model we reviewed was the 50in 50LF652V, but there are also 55in (55LF652V) and 42in (42LF652V) variants available. We would expect overall image quality to be largely the same across the range.

The 50LF652V has an understated design, with thin, dark silver bezels and a single centre stand. It's not particularly awe-inspiring but you shouldn't have any problem fitting into your living room, and its central stand means it'll sit happily on any sound base you choose to pair with it.

It has plenty of inputs, too. There are three HDMI ports on the side along, with three USB2 ports and a Common Interface slot. At the rear you get the Freeview HD antenna input, SCART, component and composite connectors, an optical audio S/PDIF port and a 3.5mm audio output. Network connectivity comes from built-in Wi-Fi and an RJ45 connector.

Want something else? Check out our best TVs to buy in 2016

LG's WebOS smart TV software still ranks among our favourite smart TV operating systems in terms of layout, although there are still a couple of catch-up services missing on its new WebOS 2 interface. Out of the box you get BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Wuaki.tv, Netflix, Amazon Video, Google Play Movies & TV, NowTV (exclusive to LG at the moment) and Demand5 (soon to be My5). However, All4 and ITV Player are both missing, which is a little irritating but not a complete deal breaker, as this can be easily remedied by buying a £30 Chromecast and project pretty much every media app you can think of.


The overall WebOS 2.0 experience is as good as ever; the interface is bright and colourful and free of bugs, and there are plenty of extra features including Miracast and Intel WiDi for wirelessly projecting content from other devices to the TV. Our only complaint is that the settings menus doesn't behave quite as nicely as the rest of the operating system. It's slow and rather clunky, which makes adjustments a bit of a chore. That said, once you have the TV set up to your liking you probably won't need to spend too much time in those menus.

The EPG could also be better. For instance, there's a Freeview HD tuner, but LG doesn't use the Freeview Play catch-up system, which means you can't select previously-aired programmes from the EPG and open them directly in the relevant app. It's also not clear how the 'recommended programmes' which appear in the Live Menu sidebar are selected, as it seemed to be very keen for us to watch Take Me Out and Birds of a Feather on a weekday afternoon.

We're big fans of how the TV handles external inputs. Whenever an external source switches on, the TV suggests that you might want to switch over to that source, which is much easier than hunting around in the menus for it. In addition, the source list only shows sources that are actually switched on, which helps keep the interface nice and tidy.

While its user interface is colourful and easy to use, we had reservations about the TV's overall image quality. The first and most striking problem is its mismanagement of motion judder reduction. We've never had problems with LG's TruMotion settings before, and enabling TruMotion did indeed eliminate all jerky motions from our test footage, including the docking scene from Interstellar. However, it ended up creating horrible artefacts instead, which caused the moving objects in question to lose their definition and occasionally meld with the background.

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