The Bottom Line
The LG 49UH850V is a fantastic TV with HDR and 4k capability, and with recent price drops it’s probably currently the best deal on the market from the TVs we’ve reviewed. It has a beautiful sleek design while somehow managing to fit in a top class sound system that can rival some soundbars. LG’s webOS is also a smart but straightforward system that covers all the bases that a modern smart TV needs to. Oh, and picture quality is pretty stunning too. It also has a novelty passive 3D feature with some glasses included – but it’s 2017 so you’re probably over that fad by now.
Overall, this LG is the all-round package, and if you have £700 quid to spare then you can’t go far wrong.
We’ve always felt that LG lagged behind Samsung and Sony when it came to TV design, but the South Korean manufacturer decided to launch a fightback in 2016. The 49UH850V was central to this. There’s no flimsy black plastic here, instead there’s a silver 1cm bezel surrounding a black inset. The crescent shaped stand looks modern and shows that the manufacturer has put a bit more thought into this model. Though we did feel this could be a bit more secure, overall build quality is stellar.
We’re not huge fans of the white plastic back, but given it’s safely out of sight we can overlook this. Also while slim, this model is not as razor thin as some other TVs currently available, but given this goes towards a much better sound quality we’re more than willing to forgive LG on this score too. We are reviewing the 49-inch model but it also comes in 55, 60, 65 and, if you want to go extreme, 75 inches.
If you are upgrading from a standard HD telly then prepare to be blown away as this model meets HDR and UHD standards. But what does that mean in practice?
Well, UHD basically means the TV is 4k, i.e. it fits in twice as many pixels as a standard HD. HDR is a bit more difficult to explain, but essentially it makes darks darker and whites brighter, which gives you a much more nuanced view of shadow and light. The picture below shows it most clearly. It also has LG’s ColourPrime Plus technology, which essentially gives the TV a greater number of colours to pick from. The end result is simply an incredibly bright and vivid picture. To our eyes, the red tones can be slightly overemphasised, but not in a distracting way (and it took us a while to notice). If you want to get super technical and critical then you might say that its IPS screen might not rival the blackest blacks of a VA screen, but it does have still have an exceptional colour palette.
The screen has a native 200Hz response rate which makes it ideal for watching quick action movies, sport or fast-paced video games without even a trace of motion blurring (trust us – this is an area that lots of TVs let themselves down in).
Viewing angles are fairly wide making this a good choice for an open plan living room.
The TV handles standard HD content well, which is important because the bulk of programming is still going out in this format and will continue to do so throughout 2017. However, the UH850V range has behind the scenes technology to upgrade this type of picture. Colour and clarity are not quite as sharp as true 4K content, but LG’s upscaling technology does an excellent job at filling in the missing pixels and you will definitely notice a bump in quality, even if you’re just watching Coronation Street.
The TV packs a Harman/Kardon 2.2 speaker system within its thin frame. The midrange and highs are clear and accurate and the built-in subwoofer means it still packs a bassy punch. The relentless demand for modern TVs to be thin has meant we haven’t heard a realistic explosion without the aid of a sound bar in some time, but in our review the 49UH850V handled a J.J. Abrams film with ease and managed to succeed where so many have failed.
Smart TV Features
webOS 3.0 is LG’s own smart TV system and it’s one our favourites because of its simplicity. Press the Smart button on your remote and a launcher bar pops up on the bottom of your TV which allows you to navigate to recently used apps and to install more apps. Netflix and other popular apps come pre-installed.
Out of the box you will be asked to connect to WiFi, but set up is simple and it only took us about 5 minutes to be up and running. It also contains Freeview and Freeview HD which is easy to tune and install.
The TV comes with a smart remote that is ergonomically designed and fits quite naturally into your hand. You can use it like a Wii remote by simply pointing at the TV and this makes browsing the web so much easier than other televisions, but typing can still be a pain. You can of course still use the remote the old fashioned way.
There’s also 3D capability which performs well, but with such limited genuine 3D content around we still consider this to be a bit of a gimmick.
You get 3 HDMI ports (one with ARC compatibility) and 3 USB ports. There isn’t a SCART input, so if you are using a really old device that requires this type of connection we would advise you to upgrade.