LG 32LN530B LED TV Review
This entry-level LG packs decent picture quality for an affordable price.
Behind the Screens
Overall, the LG 32LN530B is a decent performer. It lacks the contrast performance and deep black levels of higher-end, theater-grade televisions, but its color production, motion handling, viewing angle, and gamma correction range from acceptable to very good. While its final score was hurt drastically by its poor minimum luminance rating, this TV is still a solid performer for its price point.
Plenty bright, but nothing to rave about otherwise
Contrast ratio, the measure of a television's dynamic range, is a very important part of creating an immersive, lifelike picture. Televisions with high contrast ratios are capable of creating more dynamic pictures, and are more flexible within various ambient lighting conditions. Black level, our highest rated test category, is what truly determines a television's contrast efficacy. Unfortunately, the LN530B's black level is too luminous.
We tested a 20% APL black level of 0.29 cd/m2, which is just shy of 0.3—in other words, not very dark. When discussing black level, less is better, as even small changes in this non-linear minimum light level creates a massive visual difference on screen. Plenty of LCDs have hit less than 0.1 this year, which spells bad things for the LN530B.
For peak brightness, we measured a 20% APL white of 228.20 cd/m2, which is plenty bright for most environments, though we've certainly tested much brighter TVs from LG in the past. The final contrast ratio—787:1—is quite poor by 2013 standards.
Grab your skinniest friends.
Our horizontal viewing angle test helps determine a TV's flexibility. While it's more important to have a wide viewing angle on larger TVs—especially those destined for wall mounting—maintaining contrast and color integrity at off angles is something every TV should do, to some degree. Generally, we like to see about ±45° (90° total) from LCDs. The LN530B falls a bit short.
Compared to similarly priced 32-inch units, this LG's total 57° of viewing flexibility is a bit short. Sitting more than 28° from the center of the screen is going to result in graying blacks, dampened whites, and mild color shifting. Really, your best bet is to watch head-on; this limits the ability to share the screen with other people, though two viewers could pack in if necessary.
A strong adherent to standards
The LN530B produces a very accurate color gamut. TVs are meant to adhere to a set of color standards—called Rec.709 in shorthand—and the LN530B does this beautifully. Its gamut is almost perfect: Red, green, and blue are right where they should be. By necessity, this means that cyan, magenta, and yellow are also very accurate. The only drawback is white, as we'll see in the next paragraph.
The LN530B's version of white is a little off; this became very apparent during our color temperature test. Color temperature is a measurement, in Kelvins, of the temperature of a light source. TVs typically should produce the same temperature from the darkest grays all the way to peak white—the temperature should stay the same, only the intensity should change. The LN530B struggles, and ultimately fails to do this, producing visible color temperature errors as it darkens from white to black.
Gamma is a measurement of how a TV interpolates an incoming signal; in the digital world, varying degrees of luminance would all be spaced a set interval apart. However, our analog eyes require that the difference increase dramatically as more light output is added—it takes more of a difference for us to see a difference. The LN530B's color and grayscale curves favor shadowy hues, and ramp evenly and uniformly in an impressive manner.
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