LG NANO81

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NANO81 - The entry-level model for the 2020 NanoCell Series

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Our conclusion

With the Nano81 the Korean manufacturer LG releases a low-cost TV that uses the NanoCell technology to create purer colors. The NanoCell series is not new at all. Indeed, LG is clearly trying to focus more on the NanoCell technology that gave the series its name.  But of course, the question arises whether the series will stand out from the even cheaper UHD 4K TV series, or whether it is a marketing strategy to increase the price. We will get to the bottom of this question and take a closer look at the NANO81.

Design of the NANO81

Despite its low price, the LG NANO81 has a well-done design and makes a classy impression. It looks very similar to the other 2020 NanoCell TVs and the quality of the build is equally good. We did criticize the simple design of the NANO86 a bit, but for a TV in the price range of the NANO81, it is quite impressive.

Its narrow frame does not distract from its picture. In combination with the shallow depth, it also looks great when mounted on the wall. Unfortunately, LG has not integrated any arrangements for clean cable management in the entire NanoCell range – which is really annoying.

verarbeitung LG NANO81
Design
  • Simple, but great design
  • Narrow frame
  • Made completely of plastic
  • Solid stand
  • No cable management
Narrow frame of the NANO81
Narrow frame of the NANO81

Rather for brighter rooms - but with wide viewing angle

Since the NANO81 uses a 10-bit IPS panel (8-bit + FRC), its picture quality is not really convincing in dark surroundings. This is due to a not very deep black and a low contrast ratio of 1350:1 – including local dimming. The Edge Lit Local Dimming is also not really convincing, as it only consists of 6 zones. So you can see the individual zones with different brightness levels, which is unfortunately a bit annoying. Furthermore, you can see blooming around very bright objects on a black background. Subtitles are a typical example of this issue.
But in return, the IPS panel has a very wide viewing angle and a great reflection behavior. Thus, it can create a quite respectable image in not too bright surroundings. Due to the NanoCell technology, colors are nicely displayed and the color gamut is quite large. The brightness is sufficient for brighter rooms, but for HDR content the NANO81 just does not get bright enough. Highlights can not really be brought into the spotlight, which means that HDR content is only slightly different from SDR content. In addition, the NanoCell TV is neither equipped with Dolby Vision nor with HDR10+, so that a dynamic HDR optimization is not possible.

bildqualitaet LG NANO81
Picture Quality
  • 10 Bit IPS panel (8 Bit + FRC)
  • Black levels
  • Contrast ratio 1350:1
  • Edge Lit Local Dimming (6 zones only)
  • Viewing angle
  • Reflection handling
  • Peak Brightness ~550 Nits
  • No Dolby Vision
  • HDR10+

Reasonable motion handling

The IPS panel of the NANO81 has a refresh rate of 60Hz and a response time of about 6ms. Therefore, its motion handling is rather average. Fast movements lead to slight motion blur, which the TV cannot reduce further because it is not equipped with the Black Frame Insertion feature. But there is hardly any stutter visible and in 30Hz content it can be removed by the motion interpolation feature.

The backlight flickers at a frequency of 240Hz, which is high enough for the human eye to perceive it as continuous illumination.

Judder can be removed from most sources – but unfortunately not from all.

motionhandling LG NANO81
Motion Handling
  • 60Hz Panel
  • Response time ~6ms
  • Almost no stutter
  • 240Hz backlight
  • Removes Judder from many sources

Entry level TV for gaming

Gaming can be a lot of fun with the NanoCell TV. It has a very low input lag of 10ms at a 4K resolution with a refresh rate of 60Hz. LG has also equipped it with an Auto Low Latency Mode, which automatically switches the TV into game mode as soon as a switched-on console is detected. In game mode, the input lag is kept as low as possible, because outside of this mode the input lag is much higher with about 100ms. In game mode, the NANO81 feels very responsive, which will please gamers with Xbox One X or Playstation 4 Pro. However, it can not really push the upcoming Next Gen consoles to their limits. It lacks a variable refresh rate for screen tearing free gaming and an HDMI 2.1 interface is also missing – which was not to be expected at this low price.

gaming LG NANO81
Gaming
  • Input Lag 10ms
  • Auto Low Latency Mode
  • Variable Refresh Rate
  • No HDMI 2.1

Disappointing Sound

The 2.0 channel 20W sound system does not really stand out among other TVs in this price range. The speakers produce a passable sound with clear dialogues due to well rounded trebles and mid-ranges – but it lacks bass. Unfortunately, the sound system does not really get loud either, so the TV should rather be placed in a more quiet environment. If you want to make up for this flaw with a soundbar, you should keep in mind when buying that the NANO81 supports neither Dolby Atmos nor DTS. An HDMI eARC interface is also not included – which is certainly the case with televisions with a similar, or even lower price level – such as the TU8000. Due to the ARC or the optical interface, only Dolby Digital is supported to create surround sound.

sound LG NANO81
Sound
  • 2.0 channel with 20W (RMS)
  • Well balanced trebles and mid-ranges
  • Missing basses
  • DTS
  • No Dolby Atmos
  • No HDMI eARC

Smart webOS operating system

With webOS 5.0, the NANO81 is equipped with an excellent Smart OS. It can be controlled very intuitively by hand movements with the included Magic Remote, which is undeniably similar to the operation of the Nintendo Wii. However, those who do not like this can also use the conventional control via the remote’s arrow keys. If that also seems too cumbersome, the voice assistants Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can also be used. To make the data exchange between the TV and Apple devices as easy as possible Apple Airplay 2 is also available.
The number of installable apps is huge and the most popular streaming providers such as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Disney+ are pre-installed.
Like the expensive OLEDs, the NANO81 also has LG ThinQ, which allows the TV to display other smart home applications on a dashboard. These can then also be controlled with the Magic Remote, as long as the external applications are compatible.

smarttv LG NANO81
Smart TV
  • Intuitive WebOS 5.0
  • Good remote control
  • Smooth navigation
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Assistant
  • Apple Airplay 2
  • Large selection of apps
  • LG ThinQ
  • No Twin Tuner
  • PVR & Time Shift

Entry into the NanoCell technology

The NANO81 is a well designed television that delivers a good picture quality – especially in brighter environments thanks to the IPS panel. Moreover, it can be used very flexibly due to the wide viewing angle. Thus it can be used for gaming with several people without players having a disadvantage due to fading colors.
Because of the IPS panel, its black looks rather greyish in dark surroundings and the contrast ratio is not really high with 1350:1. As a result, its picture quality is not very convincing in dark surroundings, which is the case with all IPS TVs.The wide color gamut ensures vivid colors, but the HDR performance is still not very good, which is due to the average peak brightness. As this is the entry level TV in the NanoCell series, LG has saved most of the extra features for the more expensive models. It lacks Dolby Vision and Atmos, as well as a few functions that improve the gaming experience. But gaming is still a lot of fun on the NANO81, even if it does not have a variable refresh rate and an HDMI 2.1 port.
Its smart features are very good and are in no way inferior to the more expensive models, except for the missing twin tuner.
So if you’re looking for a smart TV for bright environments, with a wide viewing angle and a good gaming performance for the Xbox One X or PS4, you can not do a huge mistake when buying the NANO81.

Solid Smart TV for brighter rooms, but somewhat limited by missing extra features
PROS
  • Bildqualität in heller Umgebung
  • Betrachtungswinkel
  • Gaming Performance
  • Gute Smart Features
CONS
  • Bildqualität in dunkler Umgebung
  • Schwache HDR Performance
  • Schwacher Sound

LG NANO81 Prices

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Alternatives to the LG NANO81

LG NANO85
The next larger NanoCell TV

The NANO86 is quite similar to the NANO81, even though it has a lot more extra features, which LG saved on the NANO81. The picture quality in bright and dark surroundings is quite similar, which also applies to the wide viewing angle. However, its HDR performance is clearly better due to Dolby Vision IQ and a wider color gamut. Better motion handling is made possible by the 120Hz panel and it also has an HDMI 2.1 interface, which means that the upcoming consoles can be maxed out with [email protected]. Additionally, screen tearing is prevented by a variable refresh rate via HDMI Forum VRR.

The weak sound system of both TVs can be better extended by the NANO86, though, as it has an enhanced Audio Return Chanel (HDMI eARC). This allows you to create uncompressed Dolby Atmos sound via Dolby True HD using external sound systems.

LG 55NANO86

Samsung QLED Q60T
NanoCell vs QLED

The Q60T is the direct competitor from Samsung’s QLED series. The two TVs show quite similar overall performance, even though the Q60T does slightly better. They differ mainly in the panels used. The VA panel used by the Q60T provides better picture quality in dark surroundings, as it has a deeper black and a much better contrast ratio of 7000:1. Because the QLED can get brighter, its picture quality in bright surroundings is very similar to that of the NANO81 – even though the LG TV is better at dealing with reflections. IPS panels also have the advantage of a wide viewing angle – which is a major weakness of the QLED. The motion handling and gaming performance also vary only slightly. However, the NANO81 is ahead in this area due to a slightly shorter response time.
The Q60T does have an HDMI eARC, which allows it to use soundbars supporting a rich, spatial Dolby Atmos sound.

Samsung 55Q60T

Sony X800H
Similar performance with more extra features

Since both the LG and the NanoCell TV use an IPS panel, their picture characteristics are very similar. They can be used equally well in brighter rooms and have a wide viewing angle. In return, their picture quality is rather disappointing in dark surroundings. Both TVs can be used very well for gaming, but you should keep in mind that high-end features like HDMI 2.1 or a variable refresh rate are not integrated – which is not really to be expected in this price level. However, the X80H’s motion handling is a bit better due to its lower response time, which is probably not noticeable under normal conditions.

The Sony TV has a better equipment, though. It supports Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and DTS. In other words, everything that the NANO81 does not support.

Sony 55XH8096

Data sheets LG NANO81

LG 55NANO81 technical specifications

Dimensions
Screen diagonal55 Inch
Dimensions without stand (WxHxD)1232 x 716 x 64 mm
Weight without stand17.6 kg
Dimensions with stand (WxHxD)1232 x 771 x 232 mm
Weight with stand17.4 kg
Footprint (WxD)1037 x 232 mm
VESA Norm300x300 mm
Removable stand
Image properties
Panel typeIPS Panel
Panel ManufacturerLG
Colour depth10 Bit
FRC
Resolution3840 x 2160 pixels Ultra HD (UHD) / 4K / 2160p
Contrast ratio1400 :1
Color space coverage71 %
REC 202054 %
Average brightness430 Nits
Maximum brightness540 Nits
BacklightingEdge LED
Local dimmingEdge Lit Local Dimming
Dimming ZonesN/A
Curved
Improved viewing angle
Motion Handling
Response Time< 6 ms
Input Lag< 10 ms
Frequency60 Hz
VRR
HDR
HDR
HDR10
HLG
HDR10+
Dolby Vision
Energy
Energy consumption standby (W)0.5 W
Energy consumption On (W)98 W
Energy consumption per year (kWh)136 kWh
Energy efficiency classA
Smart TV
Operating systemwebOS 5.0
Bluetooth
WLAN
USB recording PVR
Timeshift
Picture-in-pictureN/A
TunerAnalog (NTSC/PAL/SECAM) DVB-T DVB-T2 DVB-C DVB-S DVB-S2
Twin Tuner
Audio
Audio Channels2.0
Power (W)20 W
Dolby Digital
DTS
Dolby Atmos
Integrated soundbar
Connections
HDMI 2.04
HDMI 2.10
HDMI ARC
USB 2.02
USB 3.00
Ethernet RJ451
3.5mm jack0
Digital optical1
Satellite1
Antenna1
Ci+ 1.41
All information without guarantee.

LG 65NANO81 technical specifications

Dimensions
Screen diagonal65 Inch
Dimensions without stand (WxHxD)1451 x 840 x 64 mm
Weight without stand24.1 kg
Dimensions with stand (WxHxD)1451 x 910 x 324 mm
Weight with stand25.8 kg
Footprint (WxD)1220 x 271 mm
VESA Norm300x300 mm
Removable stand
Image properties
Panel typeIPS Panel
Panel ManufacturerLG
Colour depth10 Bit
FRC
Resolution3840 x 2160 pixels Ultra HD (UHD) / 4K / 2160p
Contrast ratio1400 :1
Color space coverage71 %
REC 202054 %
Average brightness430 Nits
Maximum brightness540 Nits
BacklightingEdge LED
Local dimmingEdge Lit Local Dimming
Dimming ZonesN/A
Curved
Improved viewing angle
Motion Handling
Response Time< 6 ms
Input Lag< 10 ms
Frequency60 Hz
VRR
HDR
HDR
HDR10
HLG
HDR10+
Dolby Vision
Energy
Energy consumption standby (W)0.5 W
Energy consumption On (W)116 W
Energy consumption per year (kWh)161 kWh
Energy efficiency classA+
Smart TV
Operating systemwebOS 5.0
Bluetooth
WLAN
USB recording PVR
Timeshift
Picture-in-pictureN/A
TunerAnalog (NTSC/PAL/SECAM) DVB-T DVB-T2 DVB-C DVB-S DVB-S2
Twin Tuner
Audio
Audio Channels2.0
Power (W)20 W
Dolby Digital
DTS
Dolby Atmos
Integrated soundbar
Connections
HDMI 2.04
HDMI 2.10
HDMI ARC
USB 2.02
USB 3.00
Ethernet RJ451
3.5mm jack0
Digital optical1
Satellite1
Antenna1
Ci+ 1.41
All information without guarantee.

Frequently asked questions about LG NANO81

The LG 55NANO81ANA has 4 HDMI 2.0 inputs but no HDMI 2.1 input, 2 USB 2.0 ports, a digital optical TOSLINK output, an analogue video input e.g. for older gaming consoles and just a Single Tuner.
The LG NANO81 is dimensioned without stand as follows (WxHxD):
  • 55 Inch: 1232 x 716 x 64 mm
  • 65 Inch: 1451 x 840 x 64 mm
The LG NANO81 is compatible with the following wall mounts:
  • 55 Inch: 300x300 mm
  • 65 Inch: 300x300 mm
The LG NANO81 costs as follows:
* All prices are in USD incl. VAT, if necessary plus shipping. Interim changes of prices, ranking, delivery time and costs are possible. Last update 2020-09-26 13:48:35