In recent years LG has set the standard of what a great OLED TV should look like. The new 2018 LG E8 is no exception, and with a series of significant updates to the hardware and software inside, it’s a more enticing package than ever before.
Upon unpacking it out of the box, we were immediately amazed at just how light a 55” TV can be. Depending on your arm span, it’s entirely possible to lift and move the TV around without assistance. Being the Picture-On-Glass model in their current line-up, there is only a thin bezel around the screen. It looks as though the picture is floating in the air, particularly if it’s wall mounted, and with high-resolution photos on display it could be mistaken for an art piece in passing.
The inputs are located on the sides and back, are easily accessible and have a plentiful selection of ports for those with a large collection of devices. Though an external connection box would make hiding cable clutter a bit easier, as they can distract from the ultra-clean aesthetic of the TV.
Picture + Sound
LG’s OLED screens are already best-in-class, but the new Alpha 9 (α9) processor does bring some noticeable improvements to the picture. The area we noticed it most was in the E8’s ability to upscale lower resolution content, with the α9 able to smooth out large amounts of the noise and grain in the image. It works for all sources you feed it; from DVDs and Blu-rays, to streaming content, and it even does a decent job with Australia’s relatively poor free-to-air feeds. It won’t magically transform older content into 4K, but we’ve never seen The Wire look this good before.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) has been a significant selling point for TVs in the last few years. Even though an OLED panel already has impressive contrast, LG has taken it a step further including the Dolby Vision, Technicolour and HDR10 standards. The E8 features High Frame Rate (HFR) of up to 120 frames per second, though this is limited to streamed content as the HDMI 2.1 protocol wasn’t ready at the time of production. It’s particularly great for watching fast-paced sports such as tennis and AFL, with the motion of the players and ball much smoother and truer to life than any other TV we’ve tested. The speakers on the LG E8 fit in the thin strip between the bottom of the display and the glass stand. They sound quite good considering the size but we’d wager that if you’re going to spend $4,999 AUD on a TV, it will most likely be paired with a premium sound setup.
We’re still convinced that LG’s webOS, coupled with the Magic Remote, is the fastest and most intuitive way to navigate through a Smart TV. The E8 also introduces LG’s smart assistant software, ThinQ, which will let you control the TV with voice commands. ThinQ is still very new, so asking it to check the weather, search YouTube for videos, order food or to change settings on the fly can be hit and miss. It’s certainly not as reliable as using Google, Alexa or Siri. In saying that, those smart assistants were also patchy when they started, and with regular updates, they’ve continued to get better over time. We’re expecting the same thing for ThinQ with it not only drawing data from their TV lineup but also their recent smartphone releases. For now, ThinQ is pretty good at searching for content within apps like YouTube and Netflix, or setting sleep timers for the TV.
A recent update from LG that has implemented Google Assistant into their 2018 lineup letting you control Google Home compatible devices with the E8 acting as the hub. Google Assistant handles certain tasks better than ThinQ, but thankfully LG has streamlined the integration so that both assistants can coexist at once. When an instruction is fired off to the E8, it will automatically select the appropriate assistant for the task so whatever the instructions are, they happen quickly. Televisions are often the centrepiece of most living rooms, and this update makes the LG E8 a convenient way to control all your smart home devices from a single source.
LG E8 | The Wrap-Up
The LG E8 is perhaps the perfect encapsulation of the future of television. OLED panels will drop in price and soon become the norm, built in assistants will dramatically change the way we interact with our TVs, and they’ll continue to get thinner. We’re always keen to get outside rather than spending all day in front of the TV. But, when our favourite shows and films look as good as they do on the LG E8, leaving the couch often feels like a less appealing option. Next rainy weekend you’ll know where we’ll be; staying indoors, watching TV and ordering a pizza without moving from the couch.