LG 42LW5300 Review
All things considered, for the price you could do a lot worse than bringing this LG 42LW5300 home.
For a TV more on the side of entry-level than high-end, its color adherence and integrity was top-notch. Its contrast ratio wasn't huge, but offers enough black/white differentiation to satisfy the needs of the general public. We took a few issues with its motion and viewing angle performance, however, which we'll detail below.
A notably narrow viewing angle spells out some problems for the LW5300.
The LG 42LW5300's total viewing angle of 42° does a number on this set's overall flexibility. If you put a TV in a large room, you probably would prefer to be able to watch it from more than one chair/area without losing contrast performance (and, in turn, your ability to see what the screen is displaying). The LW5300's viewing angle is just small enough to cause problems in this regard, and likewise will result in a risky experience if you try to watch with a big group of friends.
It's a bit of a letdown, given that this set has all the makings of a nice addition to a basic home theater setup. You can still comfortably spread out on the couch in front of it, but having the whole family over for the big game might not work out so well.
Motion is very important for all kinds of content and the LW5300 stumbles in its execution.
A television can have perfect color accuracy and a massive contrast ratio, but if it can't handle basic motion on screen, none of its content is going to look good. The LW5300's motion performance wasn't atrocious, but it did show some notable blurring and interlacing during our complex motion tests. LG's ClearMotion setting can help to remedy this problem to some degree, but not entirely; you're running the risk of over-smoothing familiar content to the point that it looks alien. The LW5300's motion performance could be a lot worse, but the problems we saw are worth mentioning and should be kept in mind by film fans and gamers if they're considering purchasing this television.
Not the Achilles heel of this television, but certainly not its moment in the sun.
The LG 42LW5300 is an exceptionally bright set with great uniformity across the screen. We measured its peak brightness at 408.82cd/m 2, which was well above most of its competition in this part of the market. Unfortunately, the set is let down a bit by a sub-par black level, which only got as dark as 0.28cd/m 2. This is quite a bit higher than we like to see, even from entry-level LCDs. The result is a contrast ratio of just 1460:1, a disappointing result given the stellar peak brightness.
We saw a similar issue with LG's 47LW5600 set as well, which measured with similar black levels, though a slightly worse peak brightness. It's comforting knowing that stepping up to the LW5600 won't ease the issue, but there are plenty of similarly-sized displays from other companies that offer better black level performance.
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