LG NANO81 vs NANO85 TV Comparison 2020/08

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The NanoCell series takes the position of the middle class 4K TVs in LG’s lineup and consists of three TVs, all equipped with an IPS LCD panel. With IPS panels the viewing angle is quite wide, but the performance in dark surroundings is not as convincing as for example devices with VA panels – for a comparison of the two panel types you can have a look at our comparison NanoCell vs QLED. In this article we will compare the two cheaper models of the NanoCell series and we will investigate whether it has to be the more expensive NANO85 or the cheaper NANO81 is completely sufficient.

LG NANO81 and NANO85 compared
Which TV is better?

LG NANO81
Entry-level NanoCell TV
  • Low input lag
  • Viewing angle
  • Smart TV Features
  • 60Hz panel
  • Contrast ratio 1400:1
  • Black levels
  • No Dolby Vision & HDR10+
  • No DTS & Dolby Atmos
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LG NANO85
Mid-range NanoCell TV
  • 120Hz IPS panel
  • HDMI Forum VRR
  • Input Lag
  • Viewing angle
  • Reflection behavior
  • Dolby Vision & Atmos
  • HDMI 2.1
  • Black levels
  • Contrast ratio 1700 : 1
  • Peak brightness ~550 Nits
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Detailed comparison: LG NANO81 or NANO85

Like all televisions with IPS panel, the NANO81 has a wide viewing angle with a quite respectable picture quality in bright surroundings. However, the picture quality gets worse the brighter the surroundings are, which is due to the low contrast ratio of 1400:1 and the shallow black. Its local dimming feature does not really enhance the performance as it is only Edge Lit local dimming, which causes problems like blooming or noticeable dimming zones - that can be quite annoying in dark scenes.
Since the NANO81 is the entry level model in the NanoCell series, LG has saved some of the equipment for the more expensive models. Therefore, not much has been integrated besides an Auto Low Latency Mode and a well-done Smart Operating System.
Due to the response time of 6ms the motion handling of the 60Hz panel is rather average, which is not necessarily bad in this price range. With fast movements a certain degree of motion blur can be seen.

The NANO85 has a quite similar performance in bright and dark surroundings, but can clearly display HDR content better due to the wider color gamut and Dolby Vision IQ, even if it cannot be displayed very impressively. Unfortunately, also the Nano86 does not get very bright, which is not really helpful for HDR content, because bright highlights cannot stand out.
The biggest difference can be found in the equipment. The NANO85 has been equipped with an 120Hz display and also has an HDMI 2.1 interface with VRR and ALLM. So it is perfectly prepared for the upcoming Next Gen consoles and can already use them to full capacity with [email protected] - at least for SDR content.
In addition there is a HDMI eARC, which supports uncompressed Dolby Atmos via Dolby True HD.

Panel typeIPS PanelIPS Panel
Resolution3840 x 2160 pixels Ultra HD (UHD) / 4K / 2160p3840 x 2160 pixels Ultra HD (UHD) / 4K / 2160p
Contrast ratio1400 :11700 :1
Local DimmingEdge Lit Local DimmingEdge Lit Local Dimming
Frequency60 Hz120 Hz
VRRNeinHDMI 2.1
Input Lag< 10 ms< 17 ms
Motion Handling
Color space coverage
Ø brightness
Max brightness
Reflections
Operating systemwebOS 5.0webOS 5.0
HDR10+
Dolby Vision
Dolby Atmos
DTS
HDMI 2.1
Improved viewing angle
* All prices are in USD incl. VAT, if necessary plus shipping. Interim changes of prices, ranking, delivery time and costs are possible.
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Our conclusion: Same performance, but with more features

The picture characteristics of the two TVs are almost identical. So if you are looking for a Smart TV for SDR content in bright rooms, which has a wide viewing angle, you can certainly choose the NANO81. However, due to its reduced features it lacks some of the features that are essential for a more advanced TV experience. The NANO85 has Dolby Vision IQ, which allows HDR content to be displayed better.

For those who want to purchase the new Xbox Series X or Playstation 5 consoles, the NANO85 is clearly the better choice. With the 120Hz panel and the HDMI 2.1 interface a 4K resolution with 120Hz refresh rate is supported, which will be possible with both consoles.

We compared the following televisions:
LG NANO81 LG NANO85
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