LG SJ8500 Review (55SJ8500, 65SJ8500) – 2017 Model LG 4K HDR SUHD TV
LG SJ8500 is part of LG’s 2017 4K HDR SUHD TV lineup and also the successor of UH8500. In the market, there are only two screen size options available, 55 Inch (55SJ8500) and 65 Inch (65SJ8500). Like the predecessor UH8500, SJ8500 also has low contrast ratio that makes it is not suitable when used in a dark room, but overall, it has good picture quality. On the other hand, since it uses IPS panel, it has wider side viewing angle coverage than VA TVs that makes it is very suitable when used in a wide room with a lot viewers watch TV from multiple side viewing angles. So, what features that offered by SJ8500 and how is its performance?
Technology and Features
As we have mentioned, like the predecessor UH8500, LG SJ8500 also comes with IPS panel technology and use edge-Lit backlight with local dimming technology. This allows SJ8500 has deeper black level and stronger native contrast ratio than most of IPS TVs. On the other hand, for maximizing its peak luminance, there is Ultra Luminance technology behind it. One of the advantages that offered, though SJ8500 is only a mid-end TV but it already supports most of HDR formats that available in the market. With Active HDR Engine as its HDR processor, SJ8500 is able to play HDR 10 format by UDH Alliance, Dolby Vision by Dolby Laboratories, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) by BBC and NHX, and also advanced HDR by Technicolor. As the comparison, Samsung QLED TV as the flagship of Samsung’s TV only supports HDR 10 and Dolby Vision while for Sony TV, there is only X930E or higher series that already support Dolby Vision. The other advantage that offered by SJ8500 is about Nano Cell Display where with this technology, SJ8500 can cover most of colors in DCI P3 Color space and also properly show most of them. Paired with Tru Color Accuracy, this makes its renditions of colors is fairly good. Essentially, Nano Cell Display has the same concept to quantum dot panel, but it has far smaller particle. And with IPS panel technology, this make the quality of the picture displayed on its screen looks more consistently, even if viewed from side viewing angle.
For minimizing motion blur that may appear when used for watching fast moving videos or removing the judder when used for playing 24p movies, LG SJ8500 is powered by Tru Motion 240 Hz based on native 120 Hz panel and since it has 120 Hz panel, it certainly also has ability to interpolate both 30 fps and 60 fps contents. Additionally, for allowing you to enjoy any videos in 4K resolution, LG SJ8500 is equipped with great performance 4K Up-scaling engine called “Tru 4K Up-Scaler”. Even not juts able to up-convert lower resolution video close to 4k quality, with a feature called “HDR Effect”, it is also able to improve the brightness and color range of the video source, so you can enjoy them with the quality close to 4K HDR. For connecting with other devices, LG SJ8500 is equipped with 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB ports and other inputs/outputs, allow you to connect most of your electronic devices. And for offering simple, responsive, and attractive smart TV experience, SJ8500 features WebOS 3.5 as its smart TV platform with LG’s Magic Remote as its controller.
LG SJ8500 Key Specs
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Size Available||55 Inch (55SJ8500), 65 Inch (65SJ8500)|
|Panel technology||IPS Panel|
|Backlight Technology||Edge-Lit LED|
|Local Dimming technology||Yes|
|Color Technology||Nano Cell Display with Tru Color Accuracy|
|HDR Engine||Active HDR|
|HD Format||HDR 10, HLG, Dolby Vision, Advanced HDR|
|Brightness Improvement||Ultra Luminance|
|Clarity Improvement||Tru 4K Up-Scaler, HDR Effect|
|Motion Clarity||Tru Motion 240 Hz with 120 Hz native refresh rate panel|
|Features||Full Browser, LG Content Store, Magic Mobile Connection, etc|
|Remote||LG Magic Remote Control|
|RF (Terrestrial Cable)||1|
|Composite In (AV)||1|
|Wi-Fi Built In||802.11 a/c|
|Sound Design by HarmanKardon||Yes|
|Total Audio Output||40 Watts|
|Sound Effect||DTS Premium Sound 5.1|
|Price||See the price on Amazon|
LG SJ8500 Performance
As long as it is not used in a dark room, overall, LG SJ8500 has good picture quality. As we know, since it use IPS panel, its native contrast ratio is not so strong even with local dimming enabled, makes black level produced is also not so deep. Additionally, the use of IPS panel also makes the black uniformity of SJ8500 is not so good. The result, when set in a dark room, the picture displayed on its screen doesn’t look so good, particularly on dark scene. This is caused black part of images doesn’t look really black but it precisely will look tend to grey. This certainly makes dark scene of images will looks unnatural and indirectly, this also makes colors especially dark color cannot be shown properly. On the other hand, HDR images need strong native contrast ratio and very deep black level to show details of images in shadow or darks scene look clearly. UHD Alliance even has set 0.05 nits or lower as the recommendation where a HDR should have. While with about 1400:1 of native contrast ratio, it is able to produce about 0.07 nits of black level only. This certainly is not quite dark to display dark scene of HDR images like what intended. On the other hand, its local dimming technology is not as effective as Full Array Local Dimming to boost the contrast of SJ8500, so despite its local dimming technology is enabled, it is not still able to show shadow details of HDR image like what intended.
Meanwhile when set in a room with natural ambient light where the impact of high native contrast ratio is less noticeable, dark scene of the picture displayed on the screen of LG SJ8500 looks fairly good, though it is not still able to show shadow details of HDR image like what intended. On the other hand, peak brightness reached by SJ8500 is also quite bright and its reflection handling is good, make bright scenes looks fairly good when it is set in a room with this light condition. Additionally, highlight of dark scene also looks quite bright since its local dimming is very effective to brighten peak brightness in small % window. This is the best light conditions where the picture displayed on the screen of SJ8500 looks fairly good. But unfortunately, when set in brighter room with a lot of ambient light or sunny window, its peak brightness is not quite bright to fight the glare, makes picture displayed on its screen looks degraded. Additionally, although its peak brightness is bright enough to makes highlight HDR images looks bright, but it is not still quite bright to show highlight of HDR images brighter than 1000 nits like what intended.
Although not as wide as high end TV, with Nano Cell Display technology, LG SJ8500 can cover most of colors in DCI P3 color space. As we know, for displaying HDR 10 videos fully like what intended, a HDR TV must be able to cover more than 90% of DCI P3 color space like what recommended by UHD alliance. The certain color like green might not be able to show fully saturated but overall, most colors in its color coverage can be shown properly, makes the color of HDR images looks accurate and natural. But unfortunately, since it has low native contrast ratio, its color gamut in very dark color narrows significantly, so very dark colors might not be shown properly. Meanwhile, when displaying SDR videos with Rec. 709 color space that has narrower color coverage than DCI P3 color space, there is not a major issue. On the other hand, LG SJ8500 also already support 10 bit depth of colors, makes it can deliver more than 1.07 billion shades of colors. As the comparison, TV with 8 bit panel is only able to deliver about 16 million shades of colors. The result color gradient of the picture displayed on its screen looks very smooth without any major color gradation. In dark blue and green, some little imperfection might be seen, but overall, its color gradient is great, even better than most of TVs which available in the market.
For anticipating the many lower resolution videos which available in the market, LG SJ8500 is equipped with great performance of UHD Up-scaling engine called “Tru 4K Up-Scaler. No matter the resolution of the source, whether it is 1080p videos like Blu ray Movies, 720p videos like movies from HDTV or cable TV, or 480p videos like DVDs movies, all of them will be up-converted to near 4K resolution very well. The result, the final images in 4K that produced looks sharply and clearly, even when the source of low resolution videos liked DVDs movies, the final images in 4K produced still looks sharply with a lot of details are still preserved well. And the higher resolution of the source, the final images in 4K quality displayed will looks sharper and clearer. Its ability even is not only that. With “HDR Effect” feature, it also can improve the brightness and color range of the videos source as close as possible to 4K HDR.
The use of IPS panel might make LG SJ8500 has low native contrast ratio and poor black uniformity but on the other hand, this makes the quality of the picture displayed on its screen will look more consistently if viewed from side viewing angle. As we know, poor side viewing angle coverage is the major drawback of VA TV where the picture displayed will look degraded, usually started at 20 degrees off center and front. With wide viewing angle coverage, this certainly makes LG SJ8500 is a good TV when used in a wide room where the viewers watch TV from multiple viewing angles.
Motion Handling and 24p Playback
When used for watching fast paced contents like sport program or fast movies, LG SJ8500 offer a good performance. Combination of Tru Motion 240 Hz technology and its low pixel response time produce smooth and clear picture quality with less motion blur that almost no visible. Motion blur is just a short trail following fast moving object where most of people might not notice about that. Additionally, LG SJ8500 also offers great performance when used for playing 24p movies. No matter the source of the movie, whether it is native 24p videos like Blu Ray Movies, 24p videos via 60i signal like movies from satellite TV or even 24p movies via 60p signal like movies from streaming device, all of them displayed clearly and smoothly with judder free. But of course, for removing judder from any source, you must make certain settings like turn on “Real Cinema” option from the “Picture Options” and set both sliders “De-Judder” and “De-Blur” to “0”.
Like most of middle to high end TVs which available in the market, LG SJ8500 is equipped with 3 USB Ports and 4 HDMI ports that already support most of formats required for HDMI connection like HDCP 2.2, CEC, Audio Return Channel, and more. In addition to USB and HDMI Ports, there are also 1 Component In, 1 Composite In, RF In, Ethernet, and Digital Audio Out (Optical). With all inputs and outputs which provided by SJ8500, I thinks they are more than enough to cover most of your other electronic devices. Meanwhile, talking about its input lag, overall, LG SJ8500 has low input lags at any source under “Game Mode” or “PC Mode”. With about 15 ms of input lags at any sources, this might not be the best, but at least, it is quite low to makes it is very comfortable when used for playing any kind of games, even for fast paced games that requires fast reflexes. Additionally, since it also has low input lags under PC mode, this TV is also very comfortable when used as PC monitor.
Like other models of LG’s 2017 4K TV Lineup, LG SJ8500 also features WebOS 3.5 as its Smart TV platform. Compare to last year model, there are not many changes. One of the advantages of WebOS 3.5 is about its ease to navigation. Although it has a lot of low level options and features, it is still easy to navigate. Additionally, the “Home Screen” is also designed attractively with strip bar across the bottom of the screen contains quick access to a lot of popular apps. Meanwhile, talking about preinstalled apps available, there are a lot of apps provided. There are VoD Service like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Videos, and more, Live TV, Games, Social Networking, and many more. If you are not yet satisfied with the available preinstalled apps, there is also LG’s Apps Store that provides tons of useful and interesting apps, games, and contents where you can directly download them from your LG TV. On the hand, its performance is also fairly fast and responsive. Once the app is launched, it will open quickly. Additionally, switching between opened apps is also very responsive. Essentially, WebOS 3.5 is one of the best smart TV platforms that offers simple, responsive, and attractive smart TV experience with apps available are very complete.
As the controller, LG SJ8500 is equipped with an excellent LG’s magic remote where it is similar to the remote have been used by the predecessor UH8500. One of the most useful features that offered is about “Point and Click” function that can be used like mouse on PC. There is “Scroll Wheel” located at the center of navigation pad that allows you to scroll menu items quickly, while to select the menu item you want, you just need pressing down the “scroll wheel”. Additionally, the other interesting point that offered, it is also equipped with built-in remote for voice command functionality.
As long as you don’t use it in a dark room where there is no ambient light, LG SJ8500 has good picture quality. The use of IPS panel might make its performance in a dark room is not so good, but on the other hand, it has wide side viewing angle coverage that makes the picture displayed on its screen looks consistently from side. Additionally, although not as great as what offered by Samsung QLED TV, with Nano Cell Display technology behind it, this makes it has fairly good color renditions, better than most of its competitors. Additionally, although it is not able to show HDR images like what intended due its low native contrast ratio and its peak brightness is still below 1000 nits, but overall, HDR picture displayed on its screen still looks fairly good, whether is displaying HDR 10 videos or Dolby Vision Videos. The other great performance offered by SJ8500 is about its ability when handling motion blur and judder, result in smooth and clear picture quality when used for watching fast paced contents or 24p movies. LG SJ8500 also has low input lags at any source under game mode, make it very comfortable when used for playing any kind of games or is functioned as a PC monitor. And that is not less attractive is about its smart TV platform where with WebOS 3.5, SJ8500 offers attractive, responsive and simple smart TV experience.
Should I Buy this TV? As we have discussed a lot above, LG SJ8500 has low native contrast ratio and its peak brightness is also not so bright. This means, it only offers good picture quality when used in a moderately lit room with natural ambient light. So, as long as you don’t have a plan to use it in a dark room or an extremely bright room with a lot of ambient lights or sunny windows, LG SJ8500 might be a good option for you. Additionally, with its wide viewing angle coverage, it is also a good TV when used in a wide room with a lot of viewers watch TV from multiple side viewing angles. Nevertheless, before you decide to buy it and as your further consideration, this would be better if you read first a lot of opinions from the people who have purchased it.
- Good Renditions of color
- Wide Side Viewing Angle Coverage
- Low Input Lags at any source
- Excellent WebOS 3.5
- Low native contrast ratio
- Poor Black Uniformity