The LG SM8600 is part of LG’s 2019 Nano Cell Display Lineup. The SM series replaces the SK series from last year. Its technical features make it a great device for bright rooms and a tough competitor to the Samsung QLED Q60R. Here’s what makes the affordable 4K TV performance and why it’s a good TV for tight budgets.
Workmanship and design
The LG SM8500 is beautifully designed and well crafted, which falls in line with LG’s style of design. It is available in two different designs that don’t differ technically. The SM8600 is equipped with a half moon shaped central stand. It is available in sizes 49, 55, 65 and 75 inches. Be careful with the model numbers, though: While the smaller sizes are marketed under xxSM8600, the 75 inch model is called LG 75SM8670. Optically and technically, these TVs are all the same.
Picture quality of the LG SM8600
The picture quality of the LG SM8600 is good and especially suitable for bright rooms. The built-in 120 Hertz is the derived SI-unit of frequency with 1Hz=1/s - When talking about TVs this means how many different pictures a TV can display in one second. In-Plane Switching, type of LCD Panel panel provides a pleasant brightness and the screen is hardly susceptible to reflections. In dark rooms, however, things are different: Black tones look rather greyish, as IPS panels are rather low-contrast and the local dimming delivers only weak performance. For this reason, the TV gets its difficulties with demanding High Dynamic Range - image/video with more dynamic range (contrast range) content. The viewing angle, on the other hand, is very wide and the picture remains equally bright and rich in color when viewed from the side. Inside lies the second generation Alpha 7 image processor, which also resides in the LG B9.
These features make the LG SM8600 an excellent alternative to the Samsung RU8000 or the Samsung Q60R for light rooms. The RU8000 and Q60R with their Vertical Alignment, type of LCD Panel panel are, on the other hand, good performers for dark rooms.
Motion handling and gaming
The LG SM8500 has very good values in terms of motion handling. The response time is only 4 ms. This extremely short time can only be exceeded by OLED TVs (1 ms). In addition, the input lag for gaming is very low. At 1080p @ 60 Hz and 4k @ 60 Hz we are at 14 ms. 1080p @ 120 Hz and 1440p @ 120 Hz are even better with 6 ms.
However you’ll have to switch to game mode in order to have those specs. It performs equally well for consoles and PC gaming. As a little extra there is Auto Low Latency Mode. Unfortunately Variable Refresh Rate - synchronizes the display's refresh rate with the output refresh rate of the graphics card is not supported. Thanks to the wide viewing angle through the IPS panel, gaming with many friends is a lot of fun.
Poor sound quality
As usual for flat screen TVs, the sound of the SM8600 is unfortunately only poor. While it gets loud enough without distorting and plays dialogues pleasantly understandable, the bass range is barely pronounced. You won’t find a decent rumble for action movies here. Even high frequencies lack airiness. It’s definitely enough for the occasional movie night or the afternoon program – but if you’re a sound enthusiast, you’re well advised to buy a soundbar to improve your sound.
Smart TV features of the LG SM8600
The Smart TV features are very good and very easy to use. All apps run on LG webOS 4.5, which is known for its wide range of apps and features. Of course, the most important applications are already pre-installed, this concerns Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, so that you can start streaming immediately after unpacking and installation.
Variants of the LG SM8600
In terms of performance, the LG SM8100 is the entry-level device in the LG NanoCell series of 2019. It features a 60 Hz IPS panel, as opposed to 120 Hz in the SM8600. It also doesn’t have the Alpha 7 Gen2 image processor. It also has only four HDMI 2.0b ports, so there is neither VRR nor eARC.
The HDR formats are similarly limited: there are only HDR10 Media Profile - HDR with a color depth of 10 Bit in the Rec. 2020 colorspace and HLG, no Dynamic HDR-format with a color depth of up to 12 Bits and Mastering of up to 10,000 Nits and no HDR10+. Dolby Atmos is not supported either, but DTS:X is. The SM8200 is aimed at an audience that doesn’t have much interest in HDR content and doesn’t need the very best 4K image. That makes it correspondingly affordable.
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