LG 42LW5300 Review
All things considered, for the price you could do a lot worse than bringing this LG 42LW5300 home.
With good color performance and somewhat affordable 3D capability, the LG 42LW5300 (MSRP $899) is a good buy if you are looking for an entry-level 3D TV at a great performance to cost ratio. The tradeoff? No internet connectivity whatsoever. If you want to stream anything to this set, you’re going to have to buy a separate streaming device.
Nothing to praise, nothing to condemn.
Once you've set up the LW5300, the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s relatively easy on the eyes, as far as TVs go. It doesn’t have any obviously ugly features to the front, but it is very standard-looking. It should fit right in with an entertainment center or on a wall, where it'll fit in without being the most noticeable thing in the room—for better or worse.
If you’re someone who loves having a mix of older and newer external media sources, the LG 42LW5300 is a great TV for you to consider, as it has a refreshingly good array of options for you on the back of the TV set. Overall the set includes 3 HDMI ports, a USB port, 3.5mm headphone/audio in ports, optical audio out, an RS-232C input, a set of composite ports, and two sets of component inputs. The multiple composite/component ports are great for gamers, as you could hook up plenty of older consoles, as well as two different component devices, such as an Xbox 360 and your cable box, without the need for frequent switching.
Smart TV Features
No internet features, but decent local media playback options.
Using the USB port on the side of the TV set, you can play back photo, music, or video files using the somewhat rudimentary interface included with the set. After you select your parent folder from the main screen, you can view files individually, or in a predetermined order using the directional keys on your remote. Beware, though, that many files that are claimed to be supported sometimes run into scaling or other compatibility issues, so read up on it in the manual provided.
The menus of the LG 42LW5300 are very much like those found on the higher-end LG televisions of this year, minus the Home screen. Each menu section is represented by an icon on the left of the main screen, with the list of menu options and items in the largest box. Overall, the menus are debatably attractive, but they do tend to get in the way by being somewhat large and opaque.
On the whole, we were impressed with the LW5300's performance.
This LCD delivers some very impressive color production abilities for an MSRP of $899. Its overall color accuracy and integrity is very good, and its contrast ratio—while only a little above average—suits the make and model of this product just fine. A couple of places we couldn't really support were in viewing angle and motion. While motion effects can help smooth things out, you're also running the risk of encountering the dreaded soap opera effect. All in all, though, the LW5300 is a solid performer.
Passive 3D glasses make for an affordable 3D experience.
Cost benefit aside, the 3D performance for this TV could stand some improvement, as the depth of the image just isn’t there and we were absolutely underwhelmed by the 3D experience overall. The loss of resolution is noticeable when viewing 3D content and, to put it mildly, we’re not fans.
That isn't to say we have any love lost for 3D in the first place. It's a new addition to the market and it will take plenty of time to develop. We're still of the opinion that it isn't a compelling reason to go out and buy a totally new set; It's nice to have, and purchasing a 3D-enabled set will certainly future-proof you, but 3D isn't the revolutionary viewing experience that 1080p has been.
For the price, the LG 42LW5300 is not a bad entry-level TV.
For an MSRP of $899, you're investing in solid color accuracy and some of the best 3D color performance we’ve ever seen—in short, you could do a lot worse than bringing this LCD TV home. It may not be the best choice for videophiles, but a bright screen and the novelty of 3D may be enough for newer consumers looking to upgrade to a modern set. We're also big fans of the inclusion of so many ports and options, allowing enthusiasts and gamers alike to hook up all their various devices without issue.
Using a polarized-lens approach to 3D content, the LG 42LW5300 makes some significant tradeoffs to reduce the cost on the consumer, but like most other 3D TVs, we feel like this may not be ready for the big leagues quite yet. Even though we're not big fans of 3D in general, it doesn't feel like you're paying extra for the capability here; this is a well-performing television that would be correctly priced even without the 3D included. At its price point, this is a top contender, but those wanting better contrast performance and high-end features included will want to look to the high end of the market. For the rest of us, this is a solid buy.
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