The Bottom Line
The LG SH5 is a soundbar and subwoofer combination that boasts 320W of power (basically enough for most of your street to hate you) while still delivering OK sound. It’s really easy to setup and use. We have some quibbles with the clarity of vocals, but it’s a good deal at £200.
The silver finish looks nicer in real life than in pictures. The soundbar stands out especially for its uncomplicated design and LG have restrained themselves in only placing a small logo on the top edge. It is 94.5 cm long, which means it will match the width of a 43-inch TV and at 55mm tall it could easily squeeze under most TVs. A wall mount bracket is also included if you want to go down that route.However, all depends on the style of your living room. If you have a silver TV then this is going to fit in perfectly. If you have a black plastic TV then it might stand out somewhat but certainly won’t be an eyesore. The silver subwoofer is likely to be placed out of the line of sight anyway and at only 17.1 x 32 x 25.2cm we found it quite unintrusive.
The LG SH5 has a great balanced sound and performs particularly well in the midrange and treble and mixes in just the right amount of bass, which means it handles music in a very pleasant way.
It also deals with higher volumes well. You have to get close to using all 320w before the sound clarity starts to wane. This makes it perfect for large open plan rooms. However, the soundstage is not as wide as we hoped, with sound from TV being noticeably better when you are sat in front of the bar rather than off to the side.
The thing that lets this model down is speech. As is common with devices at this price point, voice can come across a little slurred. As part of the review, we watched (the notoriously difficult to understand) Tom Hardy in Taboo and found ourselves having to rewind to try to figure out what exactly he had just said. We shifted into Cinema Mode and this helped the problem a bit, but we still found ourselves craning forward at points. However, watching an episode of Emmerdale this problem was not really noticeable, so will probably only cause a problem in marginal cases.
LG has added its own proprietary technology called “ASC” (Adaptive Voice Control) that adjusts sound in real time so that voices are not drowned out. This seems to work as we had no complaint with voices being drowned out, just the clarity with which they were rendered.
Bass response had a split second delay sometimes too, but it took us a little while to notice this (but once we were listening out for it, it did become slightly annoying).
A feature of note is LG’s “Night Mode” that automatically adjusts the volume as the evening rolls on. This works well and can be a godsend if you tend to get lost in a movie after you have sent the children to bed.
It’s really easy to connect and get started. It has HDMI connections (including on ARC) -though only 1.4 rather than the newer 2.0. Don’t worry, you can still connect it via any HDMI port, but it can’t quite match the quality of a 2.0 connection when watching 4k content. It also has a USB port, a 3.5mm headphone jack connection and an optical output.
Bluetooth is also available so you can connect your phone and blast out a song from Spotify or an audiobook from Audible, depending on your inclination.
There is a pretty standard LG remote in the box but if you have an LG, Sony, Philips, Sharp, Panasonic, Vizio, Toshiba or Samsung telly then you should be able to use the soundbar with your existing remote.
We have seen a user comment that this bar was not compatible with Panasonic TX-58dx750B.