LG 65E7T Ultra HD OLED TV review: The South Korean thoroughbred is still first past the post
Australia's Ultra HD OLED television market is no longer a one-horse race, with LG facing stiff competition from Sony and Panasonic, but the South Korean thoroughbred is still first past the post.
OLED's exquisite image quality is thanks to the fact that, unlike LED LCD, it doesn't rely on a backlight. This lets OLED panels produce perfect blacks and phenomenal contrast, to deliver a picture which really sings when you kill the lights for movie night.
Meanwhile you've got Ultra HD resolution, along with High Dynamic Range to add more detail in the highlights and shadows, all helping to do the latest blockbuster movies justice.
Thanks to OLED's lack of a backlight LG's 65-inch E7T is only 10mm thick, with almost half of that due to the glass panel on the back. The result is far more elegant than Sony's monolithic OLED.
The E7T's rear glass panel is slightly larger than the display, creating a transparent 5mm bezel along the top and sizes of the screen. LG dubs this design "Picture on Glass", which looks a little more attractive than the black bezel around LG's cheaper $6899 65-inch C7T. Not that you'd notice when engrossed in a movie after dark.
To offer better sound than the cheaper C7T, the E7T features a speaker grill across the bottom. Sitting flush with the screen, the grill hides dual tweeters, mid-range speakers and woofers along with a built-in subwoofer to boost the low-end. Meanwhile the C7T only relies on dual high-mid-range speakers and woofers.
The result is more full-bodied sound, but it won't replace a high-end soundbar or even a mid-range surround sound system. The television supports the high-end Dolby Atmos soundtrack, but you can barely hear the improvement when listening via the television instead of a full home theatre system.
If your budget doesn't stretch to this television but you'd rather not compromise on sound with the C7T, you might consider the $5199 55-inch E7T which sacrifices screen real estate but retains the speaker array and soundbar.
Look to the rear of the E7T and the bottom third of the back sticks out about 50mm, which is where you'll find the VESA wall-mounting points along with the video ports and other connectors. The connectors point backwards rather than downwards, meaning even if you removed the stand you couldn't mount this television flush against the wall like LG's more expensive OLED models. Instead it would need to be mounted on a bracket. You'd also be hampered by the built-in subwoofer, which extends out another 15mm to the rear.
You've got four HDMI2.0 ports at your disposal supporting High Dynamic Range – both HDR10 and the advanced Dolby Vision. The latter is coming to Ultra HD Blu-ray players and a handful of set-top boxes like the Apple TV 4K.
You'll also discover composite and component video adaptors in the box, which is important if you're still attached to older AV gear such as pre-HDMI games consoles. Unfortunately these video adaptors share a single audio socket, so you're forced to choose between them.
As for audio, you'll find an S/PDIF optical digital output for connecting to your home theatre system. Alternatively you can use ARC (Audio Return Channel) to turn the second HDMI port into an audio output for connecting to your amplifier.
If you're looking to keep the noise down at night you can use the old-school headphone jack or else take advantage of Bluetooth APT-X to connect wireless headphones.
Finally you'll find a USB3.0 port and two USB2.0 ports, along with Ethernet and onboard Wi-Fi 802.11ac for connecting to the internet. You can also stream video to the television from your handheld devices thanks to support for Miracast and Intel Wireless Display (WiDi). A few apps will also recognise the box as a streaming player, including Netflix but not Stan.
Smart TV features
LG televisions run the slick WebOS 3.5 Smart TV interface, which has matured over the last few years. It's still lacking the depth of the Android TV app store, but WebOS is likely to meet most of the entertainment needs of your typical Aussie home.
Netflix and Amazon Prime Video get dedicated buttons on the television's remote, which you can wave around to control an onscreen pointer. There's a microphone button for dictating cross-platform content searches to the television, plus LG offers a remote control smartphone app.
Dive into WebOS' app store and you'll find Stan, Google Play Movies, Bigpond Movies and YouTube along with an assortment of second-tier streaming services and the Plex media player.
As for the free-to-air catch up services you've got ABC iView, SBS on Demand and 9Now. Unfortunately you're missing Tenplay and Plus7, but you can access them via the oft-maligned FreeviewPlus HbbTV service, which is launched by pressing the green button when watching live television.
OLED is the gold standard when it comes to televisions, especially when you kill the lights for movie night.
The lack of a backlight eliminates unsightly halos around bright objects on a dark background, letting stars shine like jewels in the inky black of space. Meanwhile OLED's lack of motion blur makes it great for watching fast-moving action, from blockbuster movies to live sport.
Ultra HD content on disc or streaming from Netflix looks stunning, with High Dynamic Range revealing more detail in the very brightest and darkest parts of a scene. When it comes to lower-res content, LG offers some of the best upscaling in the business to ensure the picture looks its best.
LG applies a “Neutral Black” anti-reflective filter to all of its OLEDs to cut down on glare, unlike Panasonic which forgoes it on the entry-level model. Even then, you need to concede that OLED still falls short of LCD when it comes to overall brightness, perhaps making LCD the better choice if you'll mostly watch television with sunshine streaming in the windows.
If you're after the very best image quality from OLED you'll need to dive into the E7T's Picture Modes, with Cinema making a good starting point for movie night. While the overall picture quality surpasses Samsung "QLED" side-lit LED LCDs, Samsung still has a slight advantage when it comes to brightness and vivid colours. As such you might be tempted to bump up the LG's colour a notch and tweak the colour temperature and gamma to taste while ensuring the picture still looks natural.
Unfortunately LG's TruMotion motion interpolation is a little too aggressive by default – you'll need to curb it to eliminate the occasional glitch as the television tries too hard to smooth out the action. You'll also want to turn down the Sharpness, which by default makes faces look too harsh.
The Bottom Line
The E7T is a stunning television – combining phenomenal picture quality and Dolby Vision HDR with respectable Smart TV features, extensive connectivity options and an elegant design. When you weigh all these up, LG's Ultra HD OLED range comes out ahead of Panasonic and Sony's OLED offerings while also stacking up well in terms of price.
Realistically, the E7T's strongest competitor is LG's own C7T, which offers exactly the same stunning OLED picture quality but is a step down in terms of sound quality and design. Considering you could put the savings towards a decent surround sound system, it's worth weighing up your options before laying down your money.
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