LG 40UB800T Ultra HD TV: Australian Review

If you have a gutsy gaming PC or even a next-gen console, or if you watch a lot of movies on Blu-ray, there's a very real reason to buy a 4K TV. Native-resolution Ultra HD content looks amazing, but upscaling tech is getting good enough to make Full HD video look pretty damn good as well. But it's not necessarily the most expensive and high-end 4K TVs that are interesting me most at the moment.

There's one particular display out now that hits the perfect compromise between size, price and quality. It's small enough to make for a great computer monitor, it's large enough to serve as the main TV in a small apartment, its display is of a high enough standard to make movie watching and gaming equally fun, and it's affordable enough for everyone to buy. LG's new 40-inch UB800T Ultra HD TV is just $949 at RRP — and you can find it even cheaper if you look around.

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What Is It?

Specifications
  • Screen Size: 40-inch
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 widescreen
  • Resolution: 3840x2160
  • Inputs: 3x HDMI 2.0, 2x USB 2.0, USB 3.0, composite, component A/V, Wi-Fi, Ethernet
  • Outputs: 3.5mm analog audio, optical digital audio
  • Smart TV: Yes

The $949 40UB800T is LG's cheapest Ultra HD TV. It's a 40-inch LED edge-lit LCD panel — that's 102 centimetres of screen real estate from corner to corner diagonally — with a 100Hz refresh rate. Being a UHD TV, it has a native resolution of 3840x2160 pixels, four times the pixel density of an equivalent 1080p Full HD screen.

In the photo at the top of this article, you'll see the LG 40UB800T in its natural environment — on my review desk, surrounded by some nice speakers, a gaming PC and a PS4. This is where it screams to be used — for some PC productivity courtesy of that high-res screen, some Ultra HD PC gaming, some PlayStation gaming, and the occasional Blu-ray. It's a screen that can serve perfectly well as a monitor for your computer and as a beautiful cinematic display.

Despite its low price and its low placement within LG's product lineup, the UB800T doesn't miss out on all the bells and whistles (a la the Panasonic A430A). You still get a Magic Remote, control via your smartphone on the LG TV Remote app, you still get integrated Wi-Fi and Smart TV and Miracast wireless display streaming.

As designs go, the UB800T doesn't stand out from the crowd of other low- to mid-range LG LED TVs. Its equally skinny top, left and right bezels are finished in a simple satin black plastic, while the slightly thicker lower bezel has an additional curved strip further down with a central LG logo on a slight bulge. The two legs on the extreme outer edge of the UB800T's chassis individually attach to the rear, with two Phillips screws connecting each foot to its vertical stem, which themselves attach to the TV with two screws each.

For external inputs and onboard outputs, the LG 40UB800T sits in the middle of the road. It has three HDCP 2.2-compatible HDMI 2.0 ports, capable of 3840x2160 pixels resolution at a 60Hz refresh rate, along with breakout inputs for both component and composite A/V. 3.5mm analog audio input is joined by SP/DIF optical audio output, and external media comes in courtesy of the aforementioned Wi-Fi or wired LAN port, or one of the two USB 2.0 or single USB 3.0 ports. Along with a digital TV antenna jack, of course.

What Is It Good At?

Being an Ultra HD TV, the LG 40UB800T looks just as good as you'd expect when it's fed a native 3840x2160 pixel video source through its HDMI 2.0 inputs. I started off extremely sceptical of the everyday advantages of 4K, but when you're displaying a 4K native video or computer game, it looks crisp. It's that same feeling of seeing a Retina display iPhone for the first time, making that jump from decent pixel density to insane levels. Resolution isn't even the most important aspect of a TV's picture quality — outright contrast, saturation, white balance and sharpness are arguably more important — but it certainly does help, and the 40UB800T has it in spades.

Similarly, a high quality 1080p video source — that is, a nice clean Blu-ray transfer like The Art Of Flight or Frozen or Samsara, or a new and visually gifted title for the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One like Destiny or even a PC game running at 1080p on a mid-range gaming machine rather than a high-end one — looks great when being displayed through the 40UB800T's internal upscaler. Said upscaler hits a good compromise between aggressive edge sharpening and smooth blurring to make sure that your Full HD sources look just right.

Whether you're supplying native 4K or upscaled video, the LCD panel of the LG 40UB800T is better than any sub-$1000 TV has any right to be. It's glossy, so you'll have to deal with incidental reflections if you're using it in daylight, but its static contrast ratio is good enough that you get deep blacks alongside appreciably bright whites, with an excellent range of gradation in between the two. Colours are vibrant without being completely overblown, although there's a slight bias towards a blue colour cast. Sharpness is a little high straight out of the box, but once you back it off a little you're presented with an image that genuinely looks good and that flatters the high quality content presented on it.t

The UB800T has a good amount of display adjustment hidden away in its straightforward onscreen menu system, too. You can fiddle with white balance, colour saturation, contrast, tint, brightness, sharpening, and the severity of the onboard 100Hz frame rate interpolation. Everything is straightforward, and there's a fair bit you can do to improve the 40UB800T's image if you so care to calibrate it. It looks good out of the box, of course, but if you're a stickler you can make some incremental improvements.

LG touts the 40UB800T as a gaming display, and they couldn't be more right. Stick it in its Game mode, which disables the majority of the image processing — but that crucially doesn't ruin the Ultra HD upscaling — and you'll get a TV with very low input lag. It's perfectly capable when it comes to twitch gaming on console and on PC, which was one of my biggest concerns before actually receiving one and testing it out. Laggy inputs can ruin a TV for gamers, and I am so pleased to report that the 40UB800T is a good performer in this respect.

This is a $949 TV. No, in fact, it's cheaper than that; I've seen it for sub-$800 street prices with just a cursory Google search, which is just crazy. Wait for Christmas sales and you might even find it cheaper. For less than $800, you get the most pixel-dense — and therefore most detailed — Ultra HD TV on the market, with integrated Smart TV features and Wi-Fi and a swathe of picture adjustment options. It's wasted on regular ol' broadcast digital TV; it excels with a high quality Blu-ray or next-gen console game like Destiny or an even more graphically blessed game like Far Cry 4 on PC.

What Is It Not Good At?

Being one of LG's cheapest TVs, and its cheapest Ultra HD TV by a pretty significant margin, the 40UB800T doesn't have the most recent of LG's Smart TV interfaces. It misses out on the beautiful WebOS TV GUI with all its multitasking and bright block colours and great range of integrated apps. Instead, you get the old NetCast 4.5 interface that gives you YouTube and a Web browser and all the standard gubbins, but that's about it.

That's a pity, because that inclusion of WebOS TV — although it would likely require a more powerful processor and would drive the price up — would honestly make this the perfect sub-$1000 TV in my book. Don't get me wrong, it's still at the top of my list, but it could be better. Similarly, it doesn't have 3D, and it doesn't have Dual Play (not that I'm a fan of that last one). Another caveat is that you don't actually get the regular ol' candybar remote control any more, only the Magic Motion Voice remote.

As with almost every edge-lit LED TV that I've seen, from the budget of the sub-$1000 UB800T up to much more premium $3000+ models, this display has some small incidence of torchlighting, where the LEDs at the screen's edge are slightly brighter than the reflected light towards the centre of the panel. To be honest, on my sample, it really was pretty minor, and you can't expect the world for the UB800T's genuinely bargain basement price, but the fact remains that you will get a more consistent image with an OLED or plasma or LED-backlit LCD TV.

The TV's speakers are adequate, but they aren't spectacular. They aren't necessarily a negative, but they aren't as excessively impressive for the price you pay as the 40-inch display. If you want good sound, you should hook up a pair of quality stereo speakers through the optical or analog audio outputs or invest in a good surround sound system. They have decent but unnoteworthy treble and not a great deal of bass — just fine for TV and occasional bouts of PS4, but you'll want something better for movies.

This is the most minor of gripes, because I really do like them, but the fact that the UB800T's feet have two segments — both a ball and a heel, if you catch my drift — makes the TV a little harder to push towards the absolute back of a desk or entertainment unit. You can't slide it back further than the rearmost part of its rear foot, and as such you can't push it flush with a wall. To be honest, I'm getting picky because there's really not that much that the 40UB800T does wrong, especially for the price you'll pay for it.

Should You Buy It?

LG 40UB800T
91

Price: $949

Like
  • Beautiful display.
  • Ultra HD resolution.
  • Very low price.
Don't Like
  • Old Smart TV interface.
  • Minor backlight variance.
  • Two-segment stand.

The $949 LG 40UB800T, which actually started life with a $1149 price tag attached to it, can be found for less than $800 if you take a few seconds to do a quick Google price search. That's an amazing price for the panel that you're getting, for the quality of the Ultra HD display and its colour reproduction and its adjustability. It's a truly up-to-date TV, apart from its decent but not groundbreaking Smart TV features and a few notable but relatively unimportant omissions.

What impresses me most is just how no-bullshit this TV is. It has an impressively detailed 110dpi 3840x2160 pixel resolution but doesn't make a song and dance about it; it has most of the visual features of significantly more expensive TVs available to adjust if you so desire but looks perfectly fine straight out of the box. You can use its Smart features or leave them entirely alone and pretend it's an oversized PC monitor. What it is is versatile.

There is the occasional rare moment in this job where you come across a genuinely exciting piece of technology. The LG UB800T is one of those devices — it just gets things right, but you don't have to spend excessively for the privilege. I'll admit I've been excited about this 40-inch display since it was first introduced, because I'm actually in the market for a screen that can serve double duty as a PC gaming monitor and for playing PS4. But the 40UB800T impressed me, and continues to impress me as I write about it.

I'm going to buy one. That's just about the strongest endorsement I can give.


Comments

    i have a several year old samsung 1080p edge lit lcd and lately all this new tech has made me really keen on upgrading. but unfortunately the thing still works and can't justify the cost to upgrade just 'cause. hopefully it dies soon haha

    Currently running an 24" ASUS monitor for my PC and console gaming - maybe I should look at an upgrade.

      In between review TVs, I dual-purpose a 24" Dell U2413 -- it's great, but this is the TV that I'll be upgrading to!

    Great review Campbell. I remember discussing this panel with you in Giz comments a few months ago and input lag was the only real concern you had, so it's awesome to hear that it's not an issue. I'm impressed that this panel supports HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 and hence 4K @ 60hz. That definitely futureproofs it for 4K Blu-Ray.

    In regards to the 100hz frame interpolation - you said this can be dialled down, but I'm hoping it can also be also switched off altogether? Preferably maintaining a 100hz frame rate with 50hz material by doubling frames instead of interpolating any new ones. I can't stand the "shot on video" look that frame interpolation creates when dealing with 24p content.

    And do blacks truly look "deep black" in dark scenes? I'm coming from a plasma so naturally blacks wont be as good (and this is always hard to test in brightly lit stores) but as long as they don't stand out as 'washed-out-greys' I'll be happy.

    I think I'm going to buy this as a christmas gift to myself. Now I just need a new graphics card to run games in 4K at an acceptable frame rate :)

      100Hz can be switched 'off', inasmuch as you can set the frame interpolation to that setting. I *believe* it just doubles each frame in one of the settings (Clear, not Smooth?) -- in any case, it has a 24p True Cinema mode for Blu-rays.

      The blacks are OK, but not plasma-deep -- probably the TV's weakest point if you're going to be using it in a bright room and have to have overall backlight turned up. I'm in a dim setting, so I have brightness/backlight set quite low. That glossy screen also helps.

        That's a shame, guess I'll keep saving for an oled.

        did you figure out to get rid of the bit of input lag ?.. big no no for pc gaming with that :(

        Last edited 18/12/14 3:23 pm

    its interesting that not too long ago i paid $1300 for a 30inch Dell monitor (2560x1600) but you can now get this 40 inch monitor sub 1k, out of curiosity I'm assuming this TV doesn't have a tilt or swivel function, is it compatible with some sort of VESA mount?

    Also that PS4 must get mighty hot sitting on top of that pc :P

      x2 on this, does it have a VESA mount? I don't have a lot of desk space, but with an arm I have enough desk space.

      Yup! VESA 200x200 mount. But no tilt or swivel, the legs are really basic + @dknigs

      The PS4 is now standing alongside the PC since I installed a watercooling radiator up top!

        Awesome. So many times I've found my "next monitor" only to find out it had no VESA mounts and a terrible stand.

    Are you playing games from your PC at 4K res? You'd probably need dual GTX 970s or 980s in SLI to accomplish that.

      Single GTX 980. It handled all my usual benchmarking games at playable frame rates in either Medium or High settings -- Tomb Raider, Metro: Last Light, Far Cry 4.

        The Maxwell cards are indeed amazing. I have a single GTX 970 from Amazon and a 1440p monitor and I already think that resolution is amazing. 4K gaming, well, it's gotta be seen to be believed.

    RE this display has some small incidence of torchlighting, where the LEDs at the screen’s edge are slightly brighter than the reflected light towards the centre of the panel. To be honest, on my sample, it really was pretty minor ...
    Q as compared with a back lit FHD ? [i cant find any 40" OLEDs]
    and RE The TV’s speakers are adequate ...
    Q how are the Kef X300As [wireless?] ?

      Some LED backlit LCDs are still not perfect, but by and large they're a fair bit better than LED edge-lit; as well as local dimming (for increased contrast) the lighting is more consistent as a general rule. The 40UB800T is 90 per cent of the way there, most edge LED TVs are 80-85pc.

      The KEFs are great! I love them: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/07/kef-x300a-wireless-speakers-australian-review/

    Interested in this as a PC monitor. Ignoring games and thinking more productivity and general use, what level of laptop would be powerful enough to drive this thing? Would a Surface Pro 3 be gutsy enough or are these kinds of resolutions purely in the realm of desktops with dedicated graphics?

    In the past I've seen PCs hooked up to TVs via HDMI and it never worked perfectly (image quality not 100% or edges cut off).

      You'd need a newer laptop with a dedicated GPU to drive a display at 4K, a Surface Pro 3 might be able to, but it would probably slow it down a lot.
      The problem with the edges being cut off is easy, most TVs have an option called "overscan", which expands the picture slightly. If you turn it off the desktop will display properly.

    I have the same screen, with a gtx970 , Are you able to display color in 4:4:4 chroma, with 60 hz?
    Use this link picture on your screen at 100% to know if you are actualy in 4:2:0 http://cdn.avsforum.com/b/b4/b4a44044_vbattach208609.png

    If the red and blue appear to be blury / not sharp, it means you are in 4:2:0
    I am afraid this screen does not support 4:4:4 at 60 hz 4k.

    Also if you want to see how 4:4:4 looks like, just go in resolution and put 4k at 30 hz. youll see that the picture is now sharp and perfect.

    Thanks.

    Not cool, we just purchased two of these & we weren't aware of this limitation prior. Now we've got them home & putting them through their paces we've found to get accurate colour you have to run 4K UHD @ 30Hz, if you switch to 60Hz there's numerous occasions where things just won't look right.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroma_subsampling

    Last edited 08/12/14 7:45 pm

    Hey guys, picked up one of these today. I'm just a WoW player, and thought my existing rig would run it OK (2xGTX670's) as I was running 3 x 24's in portrait at essentially the same res, 3600x1920. While the game "looks" amazing, input lag is killing me. I've got it running in 3840x2160 @ 30hz. Seems I can't get 60hz. Having trouble confirming why... would you think that's what giving me lag, and that's a limitation of my existing 670s? If so, my 670's have given me a good run, might have to head up to a 970/980.

      Hi Unc,

      Try going into the 'Game' profile & then set all of the enhancements to off, you'll have to play around with it a bit to get it right, but that will help with the input lag to a degree.... the 30Hz you cannot do without a Video card that supports HDMI 2.0, which is currently only the latest gen of cards.

      We've got that screen running UHD @ 60Hz, & it does look good for WoW & isn't laggy at all. Our only issue is the colours due to the Chroma Subsampling.

        indeed all the games looks very nice, not laggy at all, gtx 670 is probably not good enough to get you a proper 4k @ 60 hz in 4:2:0.
        Another issue I noticed was that the mouse on desktop feels jerky but as soon as I move/translate an icon/ window, then the cursor feels * perfect and responsive *
        that problem added to the 4:2:0 issue I had to get a refund and I am about to get the New Philips 40'' 3ms / with display port.

        Also on GTX970/980 nvidia forums, tons of people have had the same issue of sub sampling.
        It appears that Serie from UB800 to UB830 does not support 4:4:4 at 60 hz, While series after UB850T does support it. Some people noticed aswell that the Hdmi cable is important because chroma 444 at 60 hz require more that 10.6 gbps . Just a few cables are capable of more.

        I did not try the UB800t with a 18.6 Gbps cable, but I think it worths the try.

        4K LG TVs that DO support full 4:4:4 (8bit):
        49UB850T,55UB850T,60UB850T,65UB930T,65UB950T,55UC970T,65UC970T,79UC970T,79UB980T,84UB980T,98UB980T,105UC9T.

        4K LG TVs that DON'T support full 4:4:4 (4:2:0 Only, 8bit)

        40UB800T,42UB820T,49UB820T,55UB820T,49UB830T,55UB830T.

        Last edited 09/12/14 12:26 pm

      Go to inputs from your remote controller, then select the Hdmi that you use, press the red button to rename, and change the name to PC. ( that will cancel all the picture process and you will get a better input lag )
      Then go in geforce settings, and change the resolution to computer / 3840*2160 @ 60 Hz.

      With theses settings, wow feels responsive and nice.

      If you cannot get the 3840*2160 @ 60 Hz , it means that your graphic card does not support it.
      I would consider in that case to get a GTX970, the best ratio Price/Performance card atm.
      This card will let you run wow in ultra at 60 fps / 4k easy.

      Again, this screen at 30Hz feels very slow, even if you put PC mode like I said. so if you plan to use this Tv for video games only,( as long as you can get a new graphic card ) the Sub sampling issue will not be a problem for you.

      Last edited 09/12/14 12:36 pm

    Hi,

    Just bought this based on the review, and now rather disappointed.

    As some have pointed out, there is no 4:4:4 at 60Hz, only 30Hz (Im running a GTX 970 on Win 8.1)

    More importantly, there is an issue with aliased/fuzzy text when using as a PC monitor, even when game mode is selected - every few hours the display decides to either be good and display fonts smoothly as it should, or go back to aliased/fuzzy text. I have to reset the TV several times and re-initiate all the right settings to fix it.

    This is irrespective of DPI, cleartype, game mode, resolution, and sharpness setting. I've sent LG an email with regards to this and am awaiting their response.

    The other issue is with a jerky mouse cursor movement - I have a RAT 7 mouse and with slow, constant velocity movement is mouse is jerky, even when game mode is selected (otherwise input lag is huge)

    Renaming the HDMI port to "PC" fixed this temporarily but now it is jerky irrespective of the setting.

    Great potential TV/monitor but so far a let-down...

      not sure about 4:4:4 sigh

      Last edited 18/12/14 3:24 pm

    Quick update,

    I think I have narrowed the the issue of aliased/fuzzy text - I believe it is a software bug in the TV.

    It is called "Super Resolution" - Despite turning it off, this TV resets the super-resolution setting and activates it every time it is turned off and on again, despite the setting saying "off" - switching the setting on and off again fixes the issue, until the next reboot.

    This is obviously hugely concerning as this TV is pitched as a gaming monitor and not all buyers will have the patience of going through each setting numerous times to try and find the culprit.

    Overall, a bit disappointed in this set and considering returning it (If they accept a return + refund).

    The mouse issue and obviously, 4:2:0 chroma issue still exist...

    I just bought this TV and am rather happy with it. Only problem I have is there seems to be some slight lip sync / audio synch issues with the picture. I haven't been able to figure out why. It's only a few frames, but once you notice it, it's the sort of thing you can;t ignore easily.

      Turns out putting it in game mode and turning off all the fancy processing stuff reduces the lip sync issues. A bit of a disappointment really because that means a reduction in picture quality.

        Calibrate your settings and it should look better than with post processing anyway. I run my 4k Bravia X series in game mode permanently.

    bought 3 from the harvey norman vip sale last week, at 692 each.. good value for what you get.

    Text work better if set to 3840 x 2160 instead of the 4XXX that the tv allows you to under pc settings..

    Not great for pc gaming..( there is a bit of input lag even with the hdmi 2.0 @ 60htz ) but good for watching content.. bought it for console gaming and streaming things.. works great

      I can 2nd the '3840 x 2160 instead of the 4XXX'.
      I've seen this man use it and drop it to 3840 works much better

    Hello, nice review. Planning to buy this tv. Anyway, is there really input lag when using this in PS4? one of my friend told me that there is. But in your article, you mentioned that playing it with PS4 is smooth.

    per @chucco above for 4:4:4 try LG 49" (124cm) Ultra HD 3D Smart LED TV 49UB850T currently @DickSmith $1,369 until 24 Dec 2014

    Hi all,

    Am looking for this for office productivity.... text clarity is a absolute must. Notice someone mention clear type and fuzzy text... this is not an option...
    Is there any issue with this at all???

    Regards

    Just bought one for a measy $698. Upgraded from a 28" analog tv with an SD digital set top box. Still have normal round antenna cable from the wall to the back of the unit. What cabling improvements can/must be made? We are not tech-heads, so keep it simple please.

      If you're just using it for TV, probably no improvements to be honest. The round antenna cable from the wall is the best way to get TV signal.

        Thanks. When I go to buy a blu-ray player will it come with an HDMI cable? I was told at HN I would need a quad-filtered HDMI cable but not sure if I was being upsold and a regular HDMI cable would do just as well. The guy said it had two layers of protection at each end to block out "noise".

    $699 on sale at Domayne at the moment, with a further 10% off until COB Australia Day.

    This mode is discontinued.
    The only complain: ub8000 has only one 'digital audio out'.
    If your stereo has no 'digital audio in', you are out of luck.
    Most TVs have both analog and digital out.
    For movie, music and games , you definitely want better speakers.

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