With LG’s LA7400 series of HDTVs you get an LED screen that looks and performs great. The 55LA7400 reviewed here boasts a 55-inch 3D-capable screen with local dimming and an impressive array of features, including WiDi, lots of Web apps, and even voice-activated commands. With a list price of $2,299.99, the 55LA7400 is a fairly expensive, but solid screen.
Design and Features
If the LG 55LA7400 looks familiar, that’s because it looks almost identical to the company’s flagship LA8600, which we reviewed back in July. Both use a sleek, bezel-less “floating screen” design and are supported by a silver sliding stand that swivels left and right at the base. This model doesn’t have a flip-up camera, though, and the bottom edge is silver rather than black.
The rear of the cabinet on the right side holds Channel Up/Down, Volume Up/Down, Enter, Settings, Input, and Power buttons. Around back, facing left, sit three HDMI ports and three USB ports. If you require a fourth HDMI port, you’ll have to upgrade to the more expensive LA8600 model. Down facing ports include a set of shared component/composite AV inputs, an Ethernet port, headphone and optical audio outputs, and an antenna/cable coaxial connector.
As with the LA8600, the LA7400 has two down-firing speakers and a built-in subwoofer that combine to deliver rich audio with plenty of volume and decent bass. In addition to the wired LAN port and built in Wi-Fi, the LA7400 supports WiDi (Intel’s Wireless Display protocol), Wi-Fi Direct, and MHL (Mobile High-definition Link). These offer a lot of options for connecting your smartphone, tablet, or computer to your HDTV.
The 55LA7400 offers a good selection of Web apps with streaming channels from Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Hulu Plus, and more. LG’s Smart World portal gives you access to scores of free and subscription-based apps that offer current movie titles, games, TV programming, and education apps. The HDTV also supports LG’s subscription-based LG Cloud app that lets you access photos, videos, and other content stored online.
The 55LA7400′s Magic Remote is 5.5 inches long and has a matte silver face with a glossy black base. The top of the wand is round and contains a scroll wheel with four directional keys and four function buttons (Power, Smart TV, Voice, and Back). The rest of the remote is tapered to fit nicely in the hand and contains Channel Up/Down, Volume Up/Down, 3D, Menu, and Mute buttons. The remote acts like an air mouse, controlling an on-screen cursor like a magic wand and using it to make selections and enter information. As was the case with the LA8600, I found the cursor to be a bit jumpy and actually made a few accidental changes while playing with it.
The voice command feature functioned much better than it did with the LA8600, though. Pressing the Voice button and saying “Sopranos” into the microphone on the remote yielded dozens of choices from YouTube, Hulu Plus, and other streaming Web channels. Results were similar when using an actor’s name; saying “Jack Black” brought up dozens of movie titles and TV appearances to choose from.
As always, LG offers a wide variety of settings to help you obtain the optimal picture. Preset modes include Vivid, Standard, Cinema, Eco, and ISF (professional calibration), and basic calibration lets you change the usual Brightness, Contrast, Color Temperature, and Backlight settings. Professional calibrators can fine-tune the HDTV using the CMS (Color Management System), White Balance, Color Filter, and Expert Patterns as additional tools.
The LA7400 produces a solid picture. Using a Klein K10-A colorimeter, SpectraCal’s CalMAN5 software, and images from the DisplayMate HDTV diagnostic suite, we measured a peak brightness of 243.89 cd/m2 and a nice dark black level of 0.028 cd/m2. The resulting 8,710:1 contrast ratio produced relatively good shadow and highlight detail while playing scenes from Planet Earth on Blu-ray. Shadow detail from the Jungles episode was quite sharp, but couldn’t match the quality of Samsung’s PN60F8500, a high-end plasma set with a incredibly low black level of 0.0054 cd/m2 (with an even higher $2,800 price tag to go with it).
Out of the box, color accuracy was decent but not ideal. As shown on the CIE chromaticity chart above, red, green, and blue (represented by the dots) were all close to their ideal color coordinates (represented by the boxes), but were a tad heavy across the board. Fortunately, none of the colors were skewed to the point where they appeared oversaturated.
Viewing angles are wide with no noticeable color shifting while watching 2D content. For 3D, LG includes four sets of passive glasses and you can buy additional glasses for $9.99 each. There were some minor crosstalk artifacts while watching Sharks 3D from the side, which is fairly common with passive 3D technology. However, watching flicker-free 3D through a pair of lightweight glasses is quite comfortable and the depth of field is great.
The LA7400 consumed 99 watts of power during testing while set to standard picture mode and 73 watts while set to cinema mode. Eco mode power consumption came in at 77 watts. These numbers are fairly average for a 55-inch LED-backlit HDTV; the Vizio M551D-A2R used 97 watts and the Samsung UN55F6400AF used 101 watts.
The LG LA7400 series offers a premium picture and premium features for a premium price, making it a strong choice if you have the budget. You can spend a little more on the excellent Samsung PN60F8500 HDTV for am even better picture, or you can save a load of money with our midrange Editors’ Choice, the Vizio M551D-A2R, which offers strong performance for its class, along with a ton of online services and features. The LG 55LA7400 is a great screen, even if its price and performance sandwich it between two choices that offer either better price or better performance.
|Video Inputs||Component, Composite, HDMI, USB|
|Diagonal Screen Size||55 inches|
|Pixel Refresh Rate Speed||240Hz|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc