LG is one of the most advanced TV manufacturers in the world right now. Every year, you can expect some sort of innovation coming from the Korean giant whether it is a massive 100-inch laser TV or an even bigger 105-inch 4K curved display. But that does not necessarily mean that the LG has no competition in the TV space. 55-inch TVs continue to be a sweet spot for consumers so it is very important for LG to dominate that category too. The LG 55UB9500 is positioned as one of LG’s high-end products for 2014 as it tries to cater to the 4K enthusiasts while keeping the price reasonable for new TV buyers to consider.
Many 55-inch TV models come with a stand that is about half the width of the display panel to allow the TV to be placed on a small sound bar or narrower surface. However, the 55UB9500 does not fall under that category so you should measure your table to see if you need to buy a new table or consider wall mounting. Despite the minor disadvantage, the TV looks simple and elegant with a thin bezels on the side and top, along with a slightly thicker bezel on the bottom to show off the LG logo. It is supported by two legs joined by a long horizontal bar to keep the panel stable. As a result, you cannot expect the LG 55UB9500 to swivel either.
While the 55UB9500 has a bigger 65-inch sibling, you will get the same number of connection ports with the 55-inch version. The 2 USB 2.0 ports and single USB 3.0 port allow multiple storage drives to be connected including the high-speed ones. There is also convenient access to 4 HDMI 2.0 ports on the side along with the lesser-used ports on the back that are found in virtually every modern 55-inch LED display.
The operating system of the LG 55UB9500 is special because it is based on webOS – the mobile OS that powered the ill-fated Palm Pre. Despite the lack of traction of webOS, it was still a highly innovative OS at the time and LG leveraged that by molding it into an outstanding Smart TV interface. This heavily refined interface can be experienced the moment you turn on the TV for the first time. You will experience some fun animation starring LG’s new TV mascot named Bean Bird. This cute character will guide you to setting up the TV so you can make the most of its features. Since there is built-in Wi-Fi onboard, the setup process should be very easy. The overall look of the interface really shows that LG and the webOS team worked hard on the design.
Like most TVs with Web capabilities, you can bring up the interface by pressing the “Home” button on the remote control. This will bring up a cool-looking looking bar called the Launcher Bar on the bottom of the screen as well as a status bar on the top showing the live input source and date and time. The Launcher Bar is the main focus as it shows off several apps each with their own colors for easy selecting. Two of the nicest things about webOS is the quick loading times of the apps and the fact that you can easily bring up the Launcher Bar again should you want to load a different app. This is all possible through the Quick Resume feature. The Content Store offers a nice selection of apps and has a very inviting user interface.
The part that some users may have to adjust to is the way you navigate using the remote control. The 55UB9500 comes with a refined version of the LG Magic Remote and it retains its basic functions including volume and channel changing, 3D and input toggling, voice search and the 4 custom colored buttons. The LG Magic Remote doubles as a pointing device where you have to move an onscreen cursor to the app you want to launch. It can also connect to most other LG home theater components that have Bluetooth functionality.
Connecting the LG 55UB9500 to the home network has more advantages than just Internet access alone. With Smart Share, smartphones, tablet and laptops can send pictures or stream content to the TV. Laptops must support WiDi for this to function.
The 55UB9500 blends the modern technology of 4K with the aging but still relevant technology of 3D. Together, LG calls this 4K 3D+ and you can use the Cinema 3D Glasses to enjoy the effect without any need for batteries.
The LG 55UB9500 has an Ultra Clarity Index of 1500 at a 120 Hz refresh rate. This is a small step below the 240 Hz refresh rate that is featured in the UB9800 models but the difference is minimal. Having a high Ultra Clarity Index value is enough for action movies and video games to look well above average. The fact that it uses an IPS 4K display panel helps too as it makes the colors more vibrant with wide viewing angles. The Tru-4K Engine Pro can even upscale non-4K video so that the content looks great on the 55UB9500. Native 4K sources coming from Netflix and future sources can look good too because of the HEVC decoder.
The MSRP of the LG 55UB9500 is $3,299 which is pretty decent for a 55-inch 4K TV. If you can find it for less than $3,000, it becomes more of a must-buy especially if you are looking for a good Smart TV interface without needing to hook up a separate set-top box. You won’t be able to enjoy a vast selection of 4K content and Netflix is still in the growing stage but the video upscaling feature makes this a more future proof display and the HDMI 2.0 standard is enough for the TV to be ready for ultra-high quality sources. Its main weakness is the black levels but that can be mitigated if you spend a bit of time calibrating the display.
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