televisions

LG 55LE5500 LED LCD HDTV Review

55 in.

Color performance is outstanding, but TVs with nearly-as-good performance that can be had for a lot less.

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Blacks & Whites

Blacks & Whites Summary
Editorial Note: This is a review of the LG 55LE5500. Test results are for this model, but should indicate the general performance of other sizes in the xxLE5500 series. The xxLE5500 series includes the following models: 42LE5500, 47LE5500, and 55LE5500.  Read here for more details on series differences.

{{article.attachments['LG-55LE5500-vanity.jpg']}} • The local dimming feature makes things worse

• Mediocre black level, but great peak brightness

• Decent contrast ratio • Steep greyscale gamma • Testing done using DisplayMate Software
{{article.attachments['tvi-prev.jpg']}} Tour & Design Page 3 of 18 Color Accuracy {{article.attachments['tvi-next.jpg']}}

Black Level*(5.54)*


The LG 55LE5500 did not perform fantastically in our black level test, which is pretty standard for the LGs we've reviewed so far. (Their strength tends to be in color performance.) As you can see in the chart below, it was far less effective than the similarly priced Samsung and Sony. It did, however, do a whole lot better than the Vizio. (More on how we test Black Level.)

Black Level
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Compare the LG 55LE5500 to other HDTVs
{{article.attachments['Vizio-XVT553SV-vanity.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Sony-KDL-52EX700-vanity.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Samsung-PN50C6500-vanity.jpg']}}
Vizio XVT553SV 55 inches Sony KDL-52EX700 52 inches Samsung PN50C6500 50 inches

Peak Brightness*(9.62)*


The LG 55LE5500 had no problems with producing a bright enough white. In fact, it was brighter than any of the TVs in comparison pool. (More on how we test Peak Brightness.)

Peak Brightness
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Contrast*(6.59)*


The LG 55LE5500 has a contrast ratio of 1410:1, which is pretty good, but not as strong as what we tested on the the average Sony and Samsung LCD TVs.  (More on how we test Contrast.)

We'd like to make an important note here. The LG 55LE5500, like many TVs, features local dimming, which breaks the TV panel up into a series of zones. The backlighting for these zones can be turned on and off depending on the content being displayed, which is supposed to increase contrast. We are skeptical about these claims, and have had frank conversations with industry experts that share our skepticism. We make it a point to calibrate and test TVs with this feature disabled. However, we've heard complaints from both readers and manufacturers.

We're reasonable people, and curious by nature. So we tested the LG 55LE5500 with the local dimming on and off. The results were clear. The black level got brighter, the peak brightness got dimmer, and the contrast ratio narrowed to 1077:1. Also, the TV showed serious problems with white falloff.

Below are the results we actually used, with local dimming off.

Contrast
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Tunnel Contrast*(8.94)*


The LG 55LE5500 had no trouble maintaining a consistent black level. (More on how we test Tunnel Contrast.)

Tunnel Contrast
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White Falloff*(9.8)*


The LG 55LE5500 can maintain a perfectly consistent brightness level, no matter how much or how little white is on the screen. (More on how we test White Falloff.)

White Falloff
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Uniformity*(5.0)*


The LG 55LE5500 does not offer the best screen uniformity, which is a problem we've seen with a lot of very large-screened, LED-lit TVs. On an all-white screen, you'll notice that the corners are much dimmer and more yellow. There's a general unevenness to it. On an all-black screen, you don't notice it as much, but the corners are brighter. (More on how we test Uniformity.)

Greyscale Gamma*(7.59)*


The greyscale gamma measures how a TV transitions from black to white. Look at the chart below. First notice the general smoothness of the curve. That's good. But the lower-left portion, representing the shadows, flattens. That means the TV has a little trouble showing details in this area. There's also the slope of the curve to consider. It's slopes up too quickly. An ideal slope is because 2.1 and 2.2. A slope of 2.6, like the LG 55LE5500 produced, is going to miss some of the fine gradations in the greyscale. (More on how we test Greyscale Gamma.)

Greyscale Gamma
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Other Models in the xxLE5500 Series
This is a review of the LG 55LE5500. The other sizes of HDTVs in this series should be similar in terms of performance and usability. For details about any differences, click on the image to jump to the Series Comparison page.
{{article.attachments['LG-42LE5500-120.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['LG-47LE5500-120.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['LG-55LE5500-120.jpg']}}
LG 42LE5500 42 inches LG 47LE5500 47 inches LG 55LE5500 55 inches
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.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Tour & Design
  3. Blacks & Whites
  4. Color Accuracy
  5. Motion
  6. Viewing Effects
  7. Calibration
  8. Remote Control
  9. Connectivity
  10. Audio & Menus
  11. Multimedia & Internet
  12. Power Consumption
  13. Vs Vizio XVT553SV
  14. Vs Sony KDL-52EX700
  15. Vs Samsung PN50C6500
  16. Conclusion
  17. Series Comparison
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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