Review: LG 65″ G2 Gallery Series 4K TV Sets New Bar For WOLED Performance
The LG G2 OLED series is the company’s flagship line of 4K models for 2022 that we found delivers nicely on promised new levels of brightness, gaming and smart TV performance for today’s rapidly advancing marketplace.
Our review found the set competes very well in picture contrast and color performance against the latest 4K Mini LED sets with quantum dot technology, keeping in mind that OLED technology tends to do best in dark viewing conditions where super-bright 4K Mini LED televisions tend to perform at their best in well-lit rooms.
For most conditions watching movies, sports or playing advanced-level video games on a big-screen, the LG G2 evo Gallery Series will be hard to beat this year.
The series includes five screen sizes in 2022: 55- ($2,1996.99), 65- ($2,999.99), 77- ($4,1996.99), 83- ($6,4997.99) and 97-inches (pricing to come). (Check links for the latest pricing). All come with the latest ATSC 3.0 NextGenTV tuners as well as traditional ATSC 1.0 tuners to receive free over-the-air broadcasts where available.
All models include LG’s latest Alpha9 “a9” Gen 5 processor with Brightness Booster Max that produces excellent picture processing, upscaling and image brightness.
As always, the range of LG OLEDs support most of the top high dynamic range (HDR) profiles, including HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detail. They don’t support HDR10+ natively but will still produce a nice HDR result playing this content.
The processor also drives a veritable boatload of AI picture and AI sound processing applications that do a nice job of automatically optimizing performance on the fly for the particular room conditions. This is helpful to anyone who doesn’t plan on getting a professional calibration or that has the set placed in a room with continually varying light levels.
The G2 is part of LG’s “Gallery Series” range of televisions, meaning the design of the set is intended to resemble a framed picture or painting when hung on the wall. It will fit nearly flush to surface using the supplied bracket, and maintains the look of a painting or portrait positioned on an optional “Gallery Stand.” If this is important to the room design, LG offers access to classic photography, digitized paintings and other images along with other set amenities to make the disguise even more convincing.
In dark room conditions, the television is excellent for movie and sports viewing, and presents dazzling HDR specular highlights and wide accurate color gamut coverage. Handling of standard definition BT.709 images is similarly very accurate.
Of course no TV is perfect, and a minor knock on the G2 is that viewing in brightly lit rooms can generate distracting reflections from the reflective screen surface, which can take away from the set’s ability to reproduce fine-shadow detail. However, LG has reduced the condition significantly this year. You will still need to be cognizant that any lights on in the room can become distracting at times, so for best results, this should be placed in an area where room brightness can be controlled for optimal results.
Depending on the content and the particular scene, the new high brightness level of the set will also cancel out or diminish some of this visible glare. Where the G2 series really stands out this year is with the use of a new adaptation of LG Display’s high-brightness OLED “evo” technology, first introduced last year.
The new and improved evo used in the G2 models is based on a combination of hardware and processing. LG calls this year’s adaptation of the processing element Brightness Booster Max. This boosts the self-emitting light output of the OLED panel to higher levels than previously possible, and supposedly without increasing the risk of panel image retention or premature pixel aging, thanks to the heat sync.
Time will tell if this is true, but in our brief time with the set we found no reason to doubt the claim, providing the set isn’t abused by displaying static images for long periods. Just keep in mind that any OLED TV or monitor is susceptible to image retention under such conditions and you won’t want to treat these products carelessly. LG adds a feature to reduce logo brightness, and it’s recommended that be engaged if you tend to leave news or financial channels on all day long, or if you use the set a lot for computer applications.
Unlike the new quantum dot blue OLED panel technology (QD-OLED) being introduced this year by some Samsung and Sony 4K TV models, LG continues to champion its white OLED panel technology that has been gaining popularity steadily for a decade now, and for good reason: WOLED has set the bar for self-emitting TV technology since the demise of plasma sets. It was of little surprise to us, then, that this was the best implementation of a 4K WOLED TV we’ve seen and tested yet. Images, even from upconverted 1080p Blu-ray movies, was sharp and colorful enough that they took on 3D qualities.
As with most OLED TVs we’ve tested, the LG 65G2 continues to benefit from its ability to virtually eliminate haloing/blooming around bright objects on black grounds, by nature of the ability to completely shut off light at the pixel level. This produces a near-perfect contrast ratio when viewing in dark rooms, and a deep inky black that holds up well against bright elements in the same frame, as we would see in the real world.
To step up the high-brightness performance of last year’s evo technology, LG has added a new heat sync implementation that further stabilizes panel operating temperatures. This helps boost total peak HDR brightness to above 1000 nits. After calibration, the set tested at over 910 nits peak brightness inside a 10% D65 window pattern under dark room conditions. This is about where we would expect it to perform in most real world applications.
The peak brightness is still well shy of the 2000 nit plus levels seen in some of today’s best Mini LED TVs, but it looks exceptionally bright to the eye in contrast to the technology’s ability to achieve nearly pure black. The light processing also allows LG to get up to 100% color volume coverage to compete with the best LED LCD TV models in color brightness accuracy. (Think of the differing shades of green that appear in a leaf backlit by the sun).
As ever, the technology continues to handle true black reproduction with aplomb. Black level measures from zero nits by the virtue of the OLED panel’s self-emitting pixel-level light control. This serves to produce a pure black base to colors to make them pop and appear lifelike on screen. LG has stepped up the set’s Dynamic Tone Mapping functionality to analyze 5,184 areas of the picture (up from 500 a year ago), and bring out further depth of fine shadow detail.
This can be seen especially well on this display in the dark street scenes present throughout much of the new film The Batman. This does a convincing job of keeping viewers emotionally engaged by providing a dark, shadowy visual backdrop to draw out the darker edge of the new narrative for this oft-redone comic book narrative.
Color Gamut Accuracy
Even without the help of quantum dots, this set is capable of covering a very high 99.37% of the P3 color gamut (1976 uv pattern) used for professional movie theaters, and an equally impressive 75.72% of the aspirational BT.2020 ultra wide color gamut (1976 uv). We used a Spectracal C6-HDR colorimeter and Murideo Six-G test pattern generator along with the latest version of Calman Ultra for Business calibration software in testing and calibrating the test sample for this review.
One of our go-to demo discs for color analysis is the BBC’s Blue Planet II 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc. Here the color reef scenes just dazzle on this screen with rich, vibrant natural colors in the diverse marine life. In the sister disc, the 4K UHD Blu-ray of Planet Earth II, the viewer can just how effective this set is at presenting high color volume in the rain forest scenes with the bright tropical sun beaming through the green opaque leafy jungle canopy.
For viewing SDR/BT.709 content the G2 tested very accurately out of the box in “Filmmaker” picture mode. The average Delta E color error measured below 2, where anything below 3 is considered imperceptible to the eye. The gamma tracking measured very flat at 2.2 for a partially lit room.
Also on the plus side, we didn’t observe any appreciable uniformity color shift issues with our sample.
OLED TVs, like LCD TVs, can have issues in handling motion without artifacts or image judder. Naturally, the G2 series uses a native 120Hz refresh rate panel, which is an excellent start. On top of this, LG’s processing is very good at reducing or eliminating most of noise and judder for live video like news broadcasts or live sports. For movies, Flimmaker Mode in the picture mode settings will turn off most/all of the motion processing to avoid the dreaded Soap Opera Effect that makes film-based content look overly sharp, and drives directors and cinematographers nutty. Unfortunately, this will bring out issues like judder in camera pans and some fast motion can be visible. If it bothers you, LG offers a TruMotion function in the settings menu with options for Cinematic Movement, Natural, Smooth Movement and User adjustment. Everyone’s preference for this tends to differ, so if you notice anything that distracts from the sense immersion in the story try experimenting with these settings until you find a level that satisfies.
Picture Noise Processing, Upscaling
As mentioned, the a9 Gen 5 is a nice assortment of picture processing tools reduce picture artifacts from both native 4K content and upscaled lower-resolution material. The processing did a nice job in reducing low-light noise from movies like the standard Blu-ray version of Pirates of Caribbean: At World’s End, where the night harbor sequences in the opening chapters of the film present some challenges with dancing mosquito noise. The processing reduces some of this to keep it from distracting the eye too much, without removing the natural film grain the content creators might like to keep.
We also enjoyed the presentation of upscaled sub-HD content, like DVD movies. The black-&-white 4:3 images from DVD of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho were well presented without a lot of the block noise we’ve observed on lesser sets around overlaying titles and credits. Similarly, the set doesn’t add to the distraction of artifacts present in the original content in the line-quadrupling process.
We expect gamers will especially enjoy using any one of LG’s OLED 2022 TV series, and the G2 series is no exception. For the past several years, LG has been delivering some of the most capable advanced gaming-ready televisions in the market, and this year LG continues to include four HDMI 2.1 inputs with support for 4K/120 (with HDR10 an Dolby Vision gaming content) and even 144 Hz high frame rates games and has an upgraded its Advanced Game Optimizer/Dashboard that when activated allows users to adjust picture settings on the fly to improve reaction times by reducing visual impediments like shadow-detail crushing, while eliminating frame tearing from games played on advanced PCs and consoles. In addition, lag times are among the fastest of any large-screen TV.
The LG 2022 OLED series also support HGiG, Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and have excellently low lag times. We measured the 65G2 at approximately 13.5ms for 1080p/60Hz and 4K/60Hz signals.
The LG G2 OLED supports all current variable refresh rate formats, including generic Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and proprietary (AMD) FreeSync and (NVIDIA) G-Sync iterations when connected via HDMI to a supporting console or gaming PC. The sets also support the emerging new games supporting 4K HDR for both static HDR10 and dynamic Dolby Vision metadata for gaming.
Almost paper-thin panel thicknesses has been one of the attributes of LG’s best OLED TVs, but this model is a bit thicker than its old “wall paper” models and certain than the LG Rollable OLED TV. At the edges the panel depth measure just under 1/2 inches, which is still thinner than Mini LED TVs. In addition, panel depth increases slightly toward the center of the screen to provide a firm backing for wall mounting and access to rear-mounted inputs. LG provides a well-thought out set of channels for cable management behind the screen. The G2 (or Gallery Series) is designed specifically for wall-mounted applications and comes with a minimal-gap wall bracket for that purpose.
However, LG makes optional tabletop Gallery stands available for an additional fee for those who require it. Gallery Series OLED TVs feature a narrow bezel design to make the screen resemble a mounted picture or painting when not being used to view video content. The supplied bracket keeps the panel almost flush against the wall to complete the effect. The narrow bezel border trim measures just under 1/4 inches wide, producing a visible, though very thin black edge around the frame. The outer edges of the framing is a metallic silver.
LG includes in its 2022 TVs its WebOs 22 smart TV platform, which switches to a new numbering nomenclature this year. This version has an interface that’s been improved with even more levels of personalization than in the past key to up to six user profiles to perform searches and make recommendations based on each user’s viewing preferences and viewing pattern history.
The OS provides support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 and Homekit for smart home control operation, as well as support for LG ThinQ home control devices.
The new user interface also supports a new “NFC Magic Tap” feature that lets users tap a compatible smartphone against the Magic Remote to quickly and easily link the devices to mirror the screen from the mobile device on the big screen set. For cable or satellite TV subscribers with a couple of recent model LG TVs, a new Room To Room Share function will enable sending a channel from the LG TV in the main viewing room to an LG TV in a remote room without the need for a separate thin-client cable box.
LG’s webOS 22 has a nice, large selection of most of today’s popular streaming apps, and this tends to be updated occasionally as new services come along. In addition, the webOS platform supports some of the latest codecs like AV1, which is now starting to rollout from services like YouTube and Netflix, with many more likely to follow in the future.
Built-in sound is quite good for on-board 4.2-channel 60-watt system. Dialog is clear and understandable and sound is embellished with virtual effects. This is accomplished with the latest AI Sound Pro processing application, which adds virtual rear and overhead channels, to expand the sound stage for a 7.1.2-channel-lite experience. It’s not exactly native Dolby Atmos sound, but it does a fairly nice job at establishing the illusion for the listener when a soundbar or multi-channel speaker system are not possible.
However, users will get even more dynamic results with a high quality Dolby Atmos soundbar, Dolby Atmos AVR and multi-channel speakers or WiSA-supporting wireless speaker setup, which is compatible with the television to add on real surround speakers without connecting wires.
For external sound applications, one of the TV’s 4 HDMI inputs supports the new Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) format that sends large bandwidth audio formats like Dolby Atmos with Dolby Digital Plus and AC-4 (used in NextGenTV broadcasts) out to a supporting external decoder. It will also decode these internally for use on the built-in speakers.
The LG 65G2 4K Gallery Series OLED TV is one of the best 4K TVs we’ve ever tested and should be a great addition for anyone in the market for a top-line set designed with both form and function in mind. The clever portrait-style design should help the big screen set fit impressively well into almost any room design without sticking out in the surroundings, while the picture and sound delivery should satisfy even the most particular videophiles and advanced gamers.
As a flagship 4K series, these models don’t come cheap, but pricing for LG’s OLED technology has come down appreciably over the years. The 65G2 model we tested here rings in at just under $3,000, which isn’t outrageous for a top-rated premium level OLED television any longer. But it will be competing against a new OLED technology this year from Sony and Samsung that we’ve yet to test. It should come as some reassurance that LG’s White OLED displays have a decade of successful performance in the field. With either technology, we encourage purchasers not to leave static images playing on screen for more than a few minutes at time, but if you forget, LG offers some built in screen safety features to help with image retention prevention or removal.
This is one of our highly recommended premium televisions for 2022; We therefore award the LG 65G2 five out of five hearts.
The LG 65G2 4K OLED TV used for this review was a company loan.
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By Greg Tarr
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