Last year one of our most recommended mainstream LED-based LCDs was the LG LW5600 series, which combined very good picture quality with solid features at an attractive price, especially toward the end of the year. As the spiritual successor to that TV, the 2012 LM6700 should be just as good, but it's not. This TV takes a step or two backward from its predecessor in picture quality, with grayish black levels and a glossy screen that hampers its image in bright rooms. Yes, I do like the 2012 feature set better and its styling is an improvement too, but neither of those factors can overcome its flaws.
Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the 55-inch 55LM6700, but this review also applies to the other screen size in the series. The two sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.
Metallic silver skin makes the futuristic LM6700 stand out among the black-clad TVs common today. Whether that's a good thing depends on your tastes; I didn't care for it much, while my colleague Ty Pendlebury liked it a lot. It's worth seeing the new LG designs in person before deciding to stick one in your living room.
The most striking area lies directly below the screen, where a couch-bound viewer can see a relatively thick bar of metallic plastic hanging above the unique U-shaped ribbon pedestal stand. The upper portion of the set is subtler, consisting of a thin ring of silver framing a black strip adjacent to the screen. The obsessive-compulsive in me was mildly annoyed that the the black strip was narrower along the bottom edge of the screen than along the top and sides.
The company's new interface makes compelling use of motion control with multiple "cards" on the home screen: a live TV window and an ad below, a non-customizable Premium card of the best Smart TV apps, one card for 3D World, and another for LG Smart World. You can also create customizable cards with shortcuts to various menu items (but not individual apps). There's also a My Apps bar along the bottom of the screen where you can place shortcuts to menus, functions, and certain apps in any order.
But until Magic Motion can actually control other devices, like the necessary cable box, it's just an extra remote to clutter your coffee table with. I have a Harmony 650 at home, for example, and I don't want to go back to using more than one remote. In case you're wondering, the LM6700 does accept standard IR codes too, so it works fine with universal remotes.
|Key TV features|
|Display technology||LCD||LED backlight||Edge-lit with local dimming|
|Screen finish||Glossy||Remote||Motion control|
|Smart TV||Yes||Internet connection||Built-in Wi-Fi|
|3D technology||Passive||3D glasses included||6 pair|
|Refresh rate(s)||120Hz||Dejudder (smooth) processing||No|
The LM6700 is LG's least expensive LED to include its LED+ local-dimming scheme, so you'd think it would offer better black-level performance than non-dimming sets like the LG G2. You'd be wrong; see below for details.
The main difference between this LG and the step-up LM7600 series is refresh rate: 120Hz on the 6700 and 240Hz on the 7600 (the latter also gets a dual-core processor). According to LG, the LM6700 uses a 60Hz panel with a scanning backlight for what the company calls "Black Dimension Insertion" and claims is a 120Hz effect. The LM7600 has a 120Hz panel, which combined with a scanning backlight equals, per LG, 240Hz.
Unlike other 120Hz sets like last year's LW5600, the LM6700 does not offer smoothing (dejudder) processing. I didn't miss it, but some viewers might. The LM7600 does have a smoothing option and requisite TruMotion control that adjusts the effect. Based on those specs differences, I don't think the LM7600 would be worth the extra money (about $250 right now).
LG's passive 3D system means the company can afford to include more pairs of 3D glasses than its active competitors, so the LM6700 comes with six, count 'em, six. On the off chance that you need more, most cheap polarized glasses should work.
Smart TV: LG revamped its Smart TV interface again this year, and while we prefer the simplicity of Panasonic's menus, LG's outdo Samsung's and Sony's in terms of customization and making apps easy to access. I also appreciated that the motion remote worked with Netflix, YouTube, and Vudu (I didn't test other apps).
The company's content selection is solid aside from two missing staples: Amazon Instant for video and Pandora for audio. The major apps I'd characterize as worthwhile are grouped in the Premium section (don't worry, they're free). The "3D world" section has a few demos, clips, and full programs -- nothing you've heard of, but more content than most such add-ons offer and nearly all of it free.
The app store, separate from the main Premium section, is now called "LG Smart World" for some reason, and as usual it holds mostly junk, with a few useful additions like NBA Game Time/Game Center and XOS College Sports. Unfortunately, downloading even free apps from the World requires you to create an ID and password. LG includes a Social Center with Twitter and Facebook feeds placed alongside the live TV image. There's also a search function that hits apps, DLNA sources, and YouTube, but the only Premium service it hits is Vudu (not Netflix or any others).