An ideal TV for wall-mounting, but disappointing image quality considering the claimed contrast ratio and LED backlighting
42in, Freeview, analogue, 1,920×1,080 resolution, 3D: , 4x HDMI
LG’s 42SL9000 is the thinnest TV we’ve seen in our labs at just 28mm thick. This is made possible by LED backlighting, which takes up less room than traditional fluorescent backlights. This might make it seem ideal for wall-mounting, except for the fact that most of the ports on the back face backward, especially the TV aerial port which sticks out an extra 10mm.
We like the ‘frameless’ glass fascia, which covers the entire front of the TV. It’s highly reflective, but it certainly looks stylish. The remote is curvy and stylish too, with a glossy black control surface and a chrome strip around the edge. The buttons are large and clearly labelled, and there’s a useful backlight to help you see them in the dark.
We’ve always been impressed by LG’s menu system, which is illustrated by large graphical icons and intuitively laid out. There’s a wizard that helps you choose image quality settings using simple graphics to demonstrate how to adjust contrast, colour and other basic settings. If you want to tweak even further, there are separate brightness and contrast controls for the three primary colours, plus further tint and colour controls for all six primary and secondary colours.
LG has its fair share of proprietary technologies, such as edge sharpening and contrast tweaking. Not all of them are as vague as Real Cinema, a setting whose effect we simply couldn’t spot. TruMotion 100MHz is effective, adding a surreal smoothness to Hollywood films that many people will find unsettling. Like Philips’ Natural Motion technology, you may prefer it turned off.
Unfortunately the EPG isn’t as good as the rest of the menu system. It shows only six channels and two hours at a time, with a button to change between the standard list and a now-and-next view. You can set a timer to remind you of an upcoming programme, or set it to record the programme if you have a compatible device attached.
We found the 42SL9000’s contrast wasn’t quite up to the standard of other TVs, and in side-by-side comparisons the image looked a little washed out. Despite the multitude of controls, we were unable to find a reasonable balance between more vivid colours and better contrast. It certainly proves that manufacturers’ quoted figures – in this case, a frankly unbelievable 3,000,000:1 – should be taken with a pinch of salt. Colours were reasonably accurate and after we’d reduced edge sharpening, the image was smoother. DVD upscaling was reasonably good, with few compression artefacts, and PC display quality was fine.
The 42SL9000’s svelte form has its downsides, notably that the ports on the side have little room for leeway. We couldn’t plug our HDMI cable into the side socket as it proved too fat, and we needed a USB extension cable to plug in a USB flash drive. The built-in media player supports playback of JPEG images, MP3 music and MPEG4 and WMV movies from a USB flash drive. Sound quality is decent enough, although the 42SL9000 lacks bass. Just 50 per cent volume was loud enough to fill our labs. There’s an optical audio output but no stereo phono output.
If you want to wall-mount your TV, the 42SL9000 will look fantastic, but despite the LED backlight we found image quality to be underwhelming for the price.
|Not disclosed (3,000,000:1 dynamic)
|Stand size (WxD)
|optical S/PDIF out
|headphone output, 3.5mm minijack audio input, CI slot, USB in, Bluetooth
|8-day, Now and Next
|Power consumption standby
|Power consumption on
|one year RTB