LG 55EA9800 Curved OLED TV Review

LG’s Curved OLED TV is a visually stunning product in both picture quality and design, but can it overcome its own hefty asking price? Updated: Can it overcome its new, lower selling price?

LG 55EA9800 Curved OLED TV: On the plus side

Editor’s note: I’ve updated this review, which originally ran in October 2013 to reflect LG’s steep price cut on the LG 55EA9800.
LG’s first OLED TV sold to the Australian market is drop dead gorgeous.
This is a stunning bit of industrial design that looks good even when it’s actually not switched on, with an integrated stand that includes tiny clear speakers, a gently curved design that makes it stand out, and edges that at their thinnest rival the current slimmest smartphones you can buy.
If you’re in the camp that thinks technology can be sexy, this is Marilyn Monroe for the digital age. I’m nominally hyper-critical of gushing sentences like that, but I can’t honestly say anything else when faced with something that looks this good switched off.

The good news continues when you switch on its 55″ 1080P OLED panel. LG’s claim with the 55EA9800 Curved OLED TV is that it uses a four-colour pixel array (RGB plus a “White” OLED pixel) for greater colour accuracy. Throwing high definition content at the 55EA9800 Curved OLED TV, I couldn’t fault it except where there were errors in the actual source material. Contrast is exceptional; this truly is a TV where if there’s a section of black on the screen, you’d swear the TV was actually off in that area.
It’s a great movie watching TV, too. The whole issue of “curved” TVs invites speculation about what happens when you’re viewing it from an angle, but in my testing, I couldn’t find an “off” angle to watch the 55EA9800 Curved OLED TV sensibly from. The curve quickly becomes coincidental to watching content on the TV itself. The presets present well, and for those who want to tinker to a specific level there’s plenty of inbuilt tweaking that can be done.
I threw a variety of source material at it; everything from Star Trek: Into Darkness, (because lens flares can be fun) through a WWE pay-per-view (lots of action, lots of skin tones, large audiences and lights) and even Highlander, where the LG 55EA9800 Curved OLED TV’s definition allowed me to fully see the wire rigging holding up Christopher Lambert as he takes in the Quickening. I can now never properly watch that movie again, but that’s not the LG 55EA9800 Curved OLED TV’s fault.
As you might expect, it’s 3D-capable as well as being a a Smart TV. LG uses passive 3D glasses, which has the benefit of not making me throw up — I’m in the percentage of folks who can’t stomach active shutter glasses for any period of time — as well as allowing cinema glasses to work with its TVs. Being a premium product, you get some very shiny Alain Mikli-designed glasses to use with this particular TV, but regular cinema cheap glasses should work just fine.
It works well as a games TV as well; I’ve tested it during an admittedly brief 3-day testing window with a variety of titles, and while it can look a little shaky if you throw something old school at it, similar to many other high-end TVs for those with more modern sensibilities, it does an admirable job.
Just for the sake of it — and because I figure nobody else is going to — I even checked if it could take a signal from a Raspberry Pi. It worked… although I can’t imagine why you’d actually buy a TV this pricey and simply hook up a $35 computer to it. But I can confirm that it will work.

I'm pretty confident that this is the first (and probably only) time that a computer has been plugged into a screen that costs 342 times more than it does.
I’m pretty confident that this is the first (and probably only) time that a computer has been plugged into a screen that costs 342 times more than it does.

Oh, and Ewan McGregor seems to really like it too. Then again, he is being paid by LG.

Next page: LG 55EA9800 Curved OLED TV: On the minus side

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