LG 50LB5900 LED TV Review
A 50-inch deal with an emphasis on simplicity
Of course, many consumers aren't ready for all the expensive new tech, which can make shopping for a new television in 2014 feel a bit like wandering through television purgatory.
Meet the LG 50LB5900 (MSRP $799.99), a fantastic option for those in search of something simple to put in the living room. This 50-inch TV doesn't harbor a smart platform, doesn't display 3D content, and doesn't pack piles of bells and whistles. What it does do, however, is produce a great picture for a modest price. I spotted the 50-inch model online for just $579, and LG also offers the series in 47-, 55-, and 60-inch panels.
Looks & Experience
Silver is the new black.
The LB5900 features a sleek, minimalist design that bucks the trend of charcoal-on-black televisions. Its silver-tinted panel rests on two feet, leaving the space below the screen free of clutter. The visage is simple and elegant without sacrificing style.
On the back of the panel are indents housing the TV's hook-ups. There are two HDMI ports, component and composite inputs, a USB 2.0 port, an RS-232 input, a digital audio output, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a coaxial connector.
Lastly, a basic remote offers every button you'll need to navigate this simple, non-smart TV.
A bevy of customization options
LG loves to pack TVs with a wide variety of picture customization options. The LB5900 is no exception, with more calibration settings than you can shake a remote at. There are 20-point white balance controls, a robust color management system, and a healthy batch of picture settings—a toolbox sure to please anyone hoping to calibrate their new TV. In a perfect world, every mid-range TV would offer a similar set of options.
A handsome TV isn't worth much if its picture doesn't hold up. Thankfully, the LB5900 boasts a great picture with only a few minor flaws. From contrast, to color, to motion, this set won't let you down.
Beginning from the top, this panel isn't troubled by shabby shadow performance. Due to the LB5900's deep black level and the ability to differentiate similar shades of gray, images onscreen look lifelike and convincing. The color output is also phenomenal, which is where most of this TV's value is. Since all of its primary and secondary color points render accurately, watching Blu-rays on the LB5900 is truly enjoyable. Skin tones, landscapes, and skies all appear lush and accurate, just as they should.
The LB5900 delivers a native 120Hz refresh rate, as well, so motion flows quite smoothly. Action movies and sports broadcasts will benefit the most from a sterling refresh rate, making the LB5900 an excellent TV for game day.
There are some minor blemishes, of course: The LB5900's viewing angle is crushingly narrow, meaning your guest list for this week's movie night might need to be shaved down. The corners of the LB5900's screen are also slightly darker than the rest of the picture. That said, the center of the screen is impressively uniform.
Unlike higher-end models that require professional calibration in order to produce a decent picture, the LB5900 packs a great picture right out of the box. This isn't to say that minor calibration tweaks won't make a noticeable difference, but its performance doesn't hinge on it. Unwrap this TV, pop it on your entertainment stand, and enjoy.
A worthy midrange competitor that trades flash for value
What the LB5900 lacks in smart features, 3D functionality, and flashy extras it more than makes up for in picture quality and value. If the absence of a smart platform is deal-breaker, the Panasonic TC-50AS530U is available online for comparable prices, and the ever-competitive Vizio E series is a phenomenal alternative you just can't help but consider.
Nevertheless, for those hoping to stave off the adoption of ultra-HD or busy smart features, the value of the LB5900 is unmistakeable: This panel is ready and able to deliver great-looking TV shows and movies on a budget many can afford.
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