The LG SM9900 Nanocell 8K TV has excellent upscaling, low input lag and great motion handling. Unfortunately, it also comes with some drawbacks in terms of contrast, color accuracy and use in dark rooms, as well as an 8K resolution for which there is currently no real use.
Design of the LG SM9900 Nanocell 8K
The LG SM9900 is characterized by its flat, elegant design. The casing is high quality and solid and is made entirely of metal on the back. The supporting leg is made of a mixture of metal and plastic. It ensures a stable stand, but may not fit every surface due to its curved shape. Cables from external devices can be placed inside the stand. The LG SM9900 can be easily mounted on a wall with a VESA mount if required.
In contrast to similar Samsung models, such as the Q950R, the LG doesn’t come with a One Connect Box. This means that all cables from external devices must be connected directly to the TV. In this respect, Samsung found the much more elegant solution.
High viewing angle thanks to NanoCell technology, but low contrast
The LG SM9900’s built-in IPS panel has 10 bit color depth, a 120Hz refresh rate and offers an 8K resolution of up to 7680 x 4320p. The SM9900’s panel also has excellent anti-reflective properties, making it ideal for bright rooms. LG’s in-house Nanocell technology also ensures a wide viewing angle. A drawback of Nanocell TVs is a low to medium contrast.
The contrast value of SM9900 is very low. Its local dimming function increases the contrast to 2500:1, but the increased contrast value unfortunately comes at a high price. The local dimming of the SM9900 is disappointing. In dark scenes, there can be a noticeable flicker. In bright scenes and subtitles there is often annoying blooming. In short: If you want to compensate for the weak contrast of the SM9900 with Local Dimming, you create a new, much bigger drop in the picture quality.
The SM9900 offers outstanding motion handling, a low input lag of 14 ms, a solid response time of 6 ms, and an HDMI 2.1 port that allows it to play back a pure 4K signal at 120Hz or an 8K signal at 60Hz. These technical features make the SM9900 a top television for gamers. Thanks to the HDMI 2.1 connection, the SM9900 is also well equipped for the new console generation.
Customers who primarily want to use the SM9900 to watch movies have to expect some disadvantages. The color accuracy of the SM9900 leaves much to be desired. There are some impurities in the color display and a weak gamma value, which makes scenes appear brighter than they should. The SM9900’s low response time also means that stuttering can occur when watching lower frame rate content. This is a drawback that the motion interpolation function smoothes out, but doesn’t completely eliminate. The SM9900 is also not ideal for use in dark rooms, because it doesn’t have a very good contrast ratio and its IPS panel appears darker in some areas than others.
8K – Useful or useless?
As our review of the Samsung Q950R has already shown, there is currently no real benefit from the 8K resolution. The double-blind study shows that most subjects cannot tell the difference between 4K and 8K footage. 1/4 of all people who participated in the study even claim that the 4K footage looks better.
The current game consoles do not support 8K. In most countries there are no TV stations that broadcast in 8K. Streaming providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime do not currently have streaming options in 8K. We can clearly see here that the technical requirements necessary to use the 8K resolution properly are not yet in place. When this will change is still uncertain. What is certain however, is that the new game consoles will be equipped with an HDMI 2.1 connection and (theoretically) will be able to display 8K. It remains to be seen whether the games will actually be programmed for 8K and whether the new consoles will have enough hardware power to play 8K smoothly.
In terms of upscaling, the LG SM9900 is on a very high level. 480p, 720p and 1080p can be displayed without loss of image quality. At 4K, the SM9900 is significantly better than the Samsung Q950R. 4K footage looks great on the SM9900 and is in no way inferior to high-quality 4K televisions. To display an 8K signal you need an external “Upgrader Box”, which you can order for free from LG. Not a real drawback, but in terms of comfort and customer service, a somewhat odd choice from LG’s side.
The extra price for the 8K resolution doesn’t make much sense at the moment, but thanks to the HDMI 2.1 connection, DTS, Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos compatibility, as well as excellent input lag and motion handling, the LG is a TV set that can be described as absolutely future-proof. Especially for gamers.
Solid sound that can be easily improved
The LG SM9900 has a 2.2 sound system with 40 watts. Even at high volumes it ensures a clear, noise-free sound image. The bass is fine, but it doesn’t have the depth or pop to be considered superior to other LG models.
What makes the LG SM9900 stand out in terms of sound is its expandability, which is considerably greater than that of the Samsung Q950R. It is DTS, Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos compatible and thus supports all common formats that sound fanatics need in a television set. If you want to bring cinema sound into your own four walls with the help of a high-quality soundbar or hi-fi system, the LG SM9900 is the right TV for you.
Smart Features of the LG SM9900 Nanocell 8K
The LG SM9900 uses the in-house WebOS operating system. The operation is simple and user-friendly. If required, additional apps can be installed and sorted by priority. Except for a few minor bugs, the app usage and menu navigation is smooth. The only unpleasant thing here is the advertising. Unfortunately LG offers no option to turn this off. The remote control can be used classically via buttons or like a computer mouse. The movements are smooth and jerk-free and guarantee a pleasant menu use.
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