LG goes all out to impress with this 55in 3D flatscreen. Time to don the silly spex again...
As soon as you clap eyes on the 55LM660T you’ll be impressed. By any stretch of the imagination, it’s one heck of a looker. Not least because its bezel is, well, hardly there. In fact, when the TV’s off, the way the black colour of what small amount of bezel there is blends with the blackness of the screen means the set appears to only have the slightest trace of silvery trim wrapped around its extreme outer edges. Spectacular.
Even with a picture showing, though, the 55in 55LM660T’s bezel is sufficiently narrow and posh that it’s at least as attractive as the skinny-framed designs of Samsung’s much-loved designer sets. Fashionistas will be pleased. I like the unconventional stand, too.
The 55LM660T’s appeal isn’t just skin deep, either. Its connections roster is up to standard, with four v1.4 HDMI ports ready for 3D playback. There’s an Ethernet jack, and built-in Wi-FI, so you can take it online with LG’s latest Smart TV platform. These same connections also let you access files stored on a networked PC. Plus you get three USB ports, which support playback of video, photo and music files from storage devices.
The TV’s PC networking capabilities are first-rate. For as well as LG’s own Smart Share system the TV supports PLEX, and was able to talk pretty much effortlessly with both by PC and Mac.
LG has drastically improved its Smart TV platform from last year. The menus look much better for starters; the higher resolution both makes them prettier and allows them to present more content icons without looking cluttered.
The 55LM660T ships with a revamped version of LG’s Magic Remote, letting you choose menu options just by pointing the remote at the correct place on the screen. The latest implementation of this idea proves extremely intuitive, especially as it now sports a wheel button for quickly scrolling up and down long menu lists. Similar to using a Wii controller, but more efficient.
There’s further improvement when it comes to the amount of Smart content on offer. I counted in excess of 150 apps. While many of these are rubbish, a selection sensibly separated out into a Premium section offers plenty of useful content. Highlights here include Netflix, LOVEFiLM, BBC iPlayer, Facebook, Twitter and Acetrax.
My favourite improvement with the Smart TV service, though, is its reliability. The dropped connections and crashed apps of the 2011 version are pretty much eradicated here.
Despite its oh-so-glamorous looks, the 55LM660T is a couple of steps down from the top of LG’s range. This means is doesn’t provide the highest level of picture processing (especially where motion reproduction is concerned). But it still offers extensive picture calibration tools. In fact, with gamma and colour management controls to its name, it’s no surprise that it’s been endorsed by the independent Imaging Science Foundation (ISF).
I’ve seen some very skinny edge LED TVs in the past struggle to produce standout pictures. However, far from suffering for its art, the 55LM660T produces possibly the best HD performance I’ve seen from LG’s edge LED technology so far.
Particularly impressive is the set’s contrast. The screen proves able to produce a surprisingly deep black – at least once you’ve eased off the backlight to a suitably low level. And even once you’ve done that the TV can deliver eye-catchingly vibrant, well-saturated colours and clean, bright whites – even within the same frame as its deepest darkest, tones.
The 55LM660T’s pictures aren’t badly sullied by the backlight consistency flaws common with edge LED TVs (and which blight Sharp’s 60in LC-60LE636E, reviewed on page 60). When using the TV’s most dynamic presets there are patches of extra brightness at the picture’s edges during dark scenes. But they don’t cover much of the panel, and if you tame the backlight to around its 50 per cent level, they become faint. Good news, considering that last year’s equivalent model, the 55LW660T, suffered quite badly with this technology flaw.
The 55LM660T colour reproduction is solid, with an expansive palette capable of serving up fine nuances. You don’t get the blotching or rather plasticky look to skin tones witnessed with cheaper LG models. Hi-def images drip with detail, too.
It’s the 55LM660T’s 3D images that steal the show, though, as they take LG’s Passive 3D tomfoolery to a higher level than any of the its 2011 sets.
After watching for a number of hours – more in a row than I could comfortably have managed with an Active 3D TV, I must admit – I was seriously impressed by the clarity, brightness, colour richness and flicker-free nature of its 3D performance. And, provided I didn’t watch from too much of a vertical viewing angle above or below the screen, I struggled to notice any crosstalk noise.
You can spot Passive 3D’s flaws if you look for them, especially on a display this large. A horizontal line structure over expanses of bright colour and a rather jagged look to some curved edges are the main offenders. These mean the picture doesn’t look as sharp as a good-quality Active 3D image can. But these issues reduce if you’re watching from a sensible distance, and don’t stop 3D Blu-rays looking downright spectacular for most of the time – something four of you can enjoy straight away, as LG includes a quartet of spex with the TV.
The 55LM660T isn’t LG’s flagship TV, though, and there are areas which I hope will be improved upon by the forthcoming LM960 ‘Nano’ models. I found motion looking a touch stuttery, in both 3D and 2D modes, resulting in reduced resolution when the screen is showing fast-moving objects, And a degree of shadow detail is squeezed out of the picture to achieve its inky blacks.
Meanwhile, the TV’s audio is nothing to write home about. It copes with undemanding daytime TV fare but pushed with an action movie and the soundstage fails to expand in any significant way, meaning loud moments sound thin and harsh. I doubt that will change with LG’s flagship sets either...
So: not perfect, but still a brilliantly watchable, feature-packed, spectacularly designed flatscreen TV.
Price: £2,100 Approx
Highs: Brilliantly watchable 2D and 3D picture quality; good controls/onscreen interface; nice design
Lows: Judder and resolution loss with fast motion; average audio
GUI: LG’s Smart TV portal has improved vastly over last year, with more content and a better design
Power consumption: We measured an average consumption of 71W, with a low of 62W – very impressive
Killer feature: The LM660T’s Passive 3D pictures really are easy on the eye and the supplied glasses are lightweight and comfortable
3D: yes Passive
Full HD: yes 1,920 x 1,080
Tuner: yes Freeview HD; analogue; CI slot
Connections: 4 x HDMI; 1 x component; 1 x D-Sub PC input; 1 x Scart; 3 x USB; 1 x optical digital audio; 1 x phono stereo audio; 1 x Ethernet
Sound: 2 x 10W
Contrast ratio: N/A
Dimensions (off stand): 1,232(w) x 723(h) x 33(d)mm
Weight (off stand): 21.3kg
Features: Built-in Wi-Fi; USB multimedia playback; edge LED panel; Motion Clarity Index; ISF endorsement; gamma controls; colour management; Smart TV functionality; ships with four pairs of 3D glasses and second ‘Magic’ remote; Grade A energy rating
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