Google is more than just a search company nowadays. The mountain view-based company is now best known for the Android operating system as well as a number of other popular products and services like Gmail and Google Maps. But not so many people are so familiar with Google TV and the ones that are probably dismiss it as a poor competitor to other “Smart TV” platforms. That hasn’t stopped Google from developing the product and LG is one of the few partners that still believe in the Google TV experience. The LG 55GA7900 is a third generation Google TV product that marries LG’s proprietary Smart TV experience with some exclusive Google-powered features.
LG makes beautiful TVs in general but the company isn’t very consistent with regards to the designs of their TV stands. LG has tried all sorts of TV stands and a lot of them look pretty good. But all of LG’s Google TV have a couple of things in common – they are supported by two legs and these legs are shaped like insect legs. The display as a whole pretty much looks like a robot with a huge head where the head is the screen.
The display of the 55GA7900 has one of the thinnest bezels ever measuring just 5 mm and even by today’s standards, the bezel is just ridiculously thin. Turn the TV on and you can almost be convinced that you are looking at a borderless display.
The LG 55GA7900 has a pretty complete arrangement of ports including 4 HDMI inputs and a trio of USB ports so you can connect multiple storage devices. One of the USB ports is infused with USB 3.0 tech so you might as well plug any USB 3.0 storage drives there to take advantage of the speed benefits.
Google TV is built right into the 55GA7900 so you don’t have to purchase a separate set-top box that is powered by Google TV. Google TV is basically Android and like other Android devices, the Google TV experience gives you access to the Play Store where you can install certain apps and games that work with the TV. Because of Google Play, the app selection is far better than any other Smart TV platform. You can play highly-acclaimed titles like Where’s my water? and Plants vs. Zombies. The web browser is also nice to use if you want to access websites that don’t have any corresponding TV apps.
Although the TV’s core experience is powered by Google TV, LG went ahead and made a custom interface to make their platform look unique compared to the set-top box Google TVs. The dashboard is well-organized and the large screen allows dozens of apps to show up making launching easy. You can also discover any new or popular shows right from the dashboard. The large screen does allow many icons to be shown at once which might sound overwhelming but the overall interface is kept clean and organized.
Unlike most other devices powered by Android, the 55GA7900 isn’t touch-enabled. Many smart TV solutions rely on the remote control but it isn’t intuitive and in many cases, not so responsive. The LG 55GA7900 addresses this issue by including a special LG Magic QWERTY remote. This remote isn’t as visually attractive as the LG Magic Remote that comes with the LA8600 series and LG 4K TV models but it is a lot more functional. The front of the remote features volume and channel changer buttons along with some shortcuts to different parts of the Smart TV experience. It also has playback buttons and a directional pad so you cannot use this remote as a pointer. But the unique trick that this remote possesses can be found on the back where you can find a full QWERTY keyboard and the buttons are sized pretty well with good spacing.
Like some other competing high-end TVs, the 55GA7900 has built-in voice recognition so you can execute certain tasks such as opening an app quickly. But the Google TV integration enhances this experience allowing you to conduct Web searches. Finding a video in YouTube, for instance is as simple as talking to your remote although using the QWERTY keyboard remains as an alternative.
The Google TV PrimeTime Quick Guide is another major component of the Google TV experience. It offers a friendly interface making it easy to browse movies and TV shows by thumbnail. The PrimeTime Quick Guide also pulls content from other online streaming services including Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO and Netflix. You can filter the search results so you can find the one you want and you may optionally rate and review the video so the guide can give you better program recommendations. When it comes to accessing the streaming services directly, the interfaces are much better than ordinary Smart TVs because a good number of Android apps are optimized for Google TV.
The LG 55GA7900 works with all 3D-enabled home theater components so you can enjoy the latest Blu-ray 3D movies and next-generation games. 4 sets of flicker-free glasses are included out of the box. The 2D to 3D conversion feature allows just about any type of content to be shown in 3D.
The 55GA7900 houses an L9 dual-core processor to optimize the Web browsing experience. Google may power the software-end but LG still provides the hardware technology. The LG LED Plus technology is responsible for crisp colors and excellent contrast. The TruMotion 240Hz tech also helps reduce blurring during sports scenes and other action-packed sequences. Finally, the LG 55GA7900 features its own subwoofer to improve the overall sound experience.
The LG 55GA7900 is a pretty impressive TV for $2199 and it isn’t just because of the Google features. The design of the TV is very nice and both the picture and sound quality are good for 1080p standards. If you have a very basic home theater setup, the 55GA7900 will feel like a huge upgrade because of the great Google TV features.
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