Review: LG QNED81 (55QNED816RE)

Affordable gaming TV

This LG monitor boasts a 120Hz panel at a great price. But the contrast isn't outstanding.

Published 15 January 2024 - 9:00 am
LG QNED81 (55QNED816RE)
Audun Hage

Korean company LG is perhaps best known for their OLED TVs, where they have been one of the market leaders for the past 10 years. But the manufacturer also has a wide range of LCD screens at the more affordable end of the scale. The QNED81 series comes in sizes from 50 to 86 inches and has some interesting features that cater specifically to gaming enthusiasts.

The LG monitor has a sleek design and stands on a central base for easy placement (Photo: LG)

Ease of use and features

The LG monitor is equipped with the WebOS 23 user interface, which provides a good overview of apps and content offerings. You also get the classic Magic Remote, where you use a “mouse pointer” to navigate around the menus.

On the features front, the QNED81 boasts four HDMI inputs, two of which support the latest 2.1 standard at up to 4K/120Hz. Curiously, however, there is no support for the popular Dolby Vision HDR format (only HDR10 and HLG) on this model. This contrasts with LG’s OLED displays, which do support Dolby and also feature HDMI 2.1 on all four inputs.

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Image quality

The LCD panel of the LG QNED81 series is of the IPS (In Plane Switching) type, which is known to provide better viewing angles. In addition, the display has a refresh rate of 120 Hz, which provides smoother movements and better gaming performance. The video processor is an Alpha 7.

The backlighting, however, is of the standard Edge LED type. The 55-inch also has no local dimming – only the 86-inch in the series has it.

So what does this mean in practice? Well, firstly, the viewing angle is very good – exactly as expected. While many of its competitors struggle with washed-out colours when viewed from the side, the LG screen manages to maintain a rich and nuanced colour palette.

In addition, the LG QNED81 draws a sharp and detailed picture with very little noise. Video processing is good and we notice that the LG display also has good sharpness during motion.

The TV has good brightness (measured at around 700 nits in a 10% window), making it suitable for bright environments. It also adds a little extra punch in the brightest HDR sequences.

The QNED81 is almost similar to an OLED display in the way it handles colours. However, the contrast is far from OLED quality. The downside of IPS panels is that the contrast is noticeably paler and the black level looks more grey. Here, for example, the TCL QLED770 with its VA panel looks significantly more contrasty. Clearly, it’s hard to get it everything at once in this price range.

Conclusion

The LG QNED81 is an LCD TV suitable for sports and gaming thanks to a bright screen with a high refresh rate (120 Hz). The picture quality is characterised by good brightness and sharpness, excellent viewing angles – but unfortunately rather average contrast. Connectivity is good with four HDMI inputs (2 x 2.1). The LG monitor also has a well-functioning smart user interface. All in all, we think this LG monitor is a good buy in its price range.

Note that this LG monitor is not to be confused with the 2022 model, which has almost the same model code as this one, but a different design with a curved base. To get the latest 2023 model, look for the model code QNED816, which has a square base.

Karakter
LG QNED81 (55QNED816RE)
Basic

We think

The LG QNED81 has a wide viewing angle, which will be an advantage if you have a wide seating area. Connectivity is also good. The contrast is mediocre and the LG display does not support the popular HDR format Dolby Vision.

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