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LG 32LK330 LCD TV Review

32 in.

LG’s entry-level LCD television is among the better budget models we’ve seen.

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Introduction

The 32LK330 ($399 MSRP) is LG’s 2011 entry-level LCD television. We’re pleased to see that the color performance is once again outstanding. Unfortunately, the overall performance was marred by resolution scaling issues and motion blurriness. It’s not a perfect TV, but for the price it is among the better budget models we’ve seen.

Design

LG's entry-level LCD is a standard-looking, mildly attractive TV.

The LG 32LK330 has a thick, glossy black bezel around all four sides. Along the bottom there’s a thin, silvery strip. All in all, it’s a pretty standard looking TV—a bit boxy and lacking the glamor of its higher-end siblings. The indicator light on the front is particularly large, but if you find it distracting there’s an option in the menu to disable it.

A bit boxy and lacking the glamor of its higher-end siblings. Tweet It

The LG 32LK330 houses most of its ports on the back of the TV. There, you’ll find two HDMIs, a composite AV input, a component AV input, a coax input, and a VGA input with accompanying mini audio input. There’s also a digital audio output and an RS-232C port, which should appeal to some enthusiasts simply looking for a budget display.

Smart TV Features

A well-designed menu from LG

When you’re playing with the 32LK330's menu, you forget for a little while that you’re dealing with a budget TV. Even among the major television brands that’s a very pleasant and rare thing (trust us). It’s more or less the same menu that you get on LG’s flagship TVs, full of attractive and intuitive graphics and structure.

That isn't to say that it's a perfect system, as there is a little redundancy we could have done without. When you first hit the Menu button on the remote, for example, you’re presented with a a grid-view of the sub-menus. No matter which one you choose, you’re then transported to the menu you see below, where the same sub-menus appear in a left-aligned column. It's a small frustration, to be sure, but it's something that could've been done better.

Picture Quality

This LG tested with excellent color accuracy, but as usual for entry-level LCDs, its contrast ratio was poor.

We always enjoy running LG's TVs through our color tests—they invariably produce a wide range of rich, accurate colors, making the tests look easier than they really are. Unfortunately, as soon as we moved onto other tests problems began to arise. The most notable issue was the display's limited contrast ratio, followed closely by its lackluster total viewing angle. Overall, not bad, but still of entry-level quality.

The most notable issue was the display's limited contrast ratio. Tweet It

The LG 32LK330 did not do fantastically well in our motion tests. When we drove complex images, like photographs, across the screen, there was heavy blur. Much of the fine detail, such as facial features, were lost. The TV also created distracting artifacts. High contrast patterns, like color blocks, left false color trails. If you sit far enough away and you’re watching typical TV shows and movies, you may not find these problems too distracting, but we’ve seen far better from LG.

The big issue with this display is the native resolution, which at 1366 x 768 doesn't match any conventional broadcast standard. This means that every single frame of content has to be stretched or shrunk in order to match up correctly. That constant scaling is likely behind the major motion and blur issues we saw in our tests. It's not a deal-breaker, but put this beside a nicer display and you'll immediately notice the difference.

Conclusion

The LG 32LK330 ($399 MSRP) isn't a bad budget display, but you get what you pay for.

There’s not much to capture the techie’s imagination here, but that’s not really the point of a $400 TV, is it? So let’s get down to nuts and bolts.

Overall, this is among the better entry-level TVs we’ve reviewed. The menu is the same great version found on the highest-end LGs. We were pleased to see that the color performance was exemplary, as it has been with every LG LCD television we’ve reviewed this year. The same certainly can’t be said about the company’s plasma TVs, but that’s a different matter.

At this price, there are always some major picture performance trade-offs you have to accept. On the LG 32LK330, it’s the resolution scaling. The TV has a native resolution of 1366 × 768, which doesn’t match up to any broadcast standard. As a result, everything has to be re-sized to fit the screen. The TV doesn’t do the best job of this, and it shows in our performance testing.

If you're in the market for an affordable display with average performance, a design that won't offend anyone, and a basic feature set then the LG 32LK330 is a good choice. It's not going to blow your hair back, but it's about as good as we've seen in this price range.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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