Curved OLED is here, but whether it's for good remains to be seen. As long as we have it though, we're going to enjoy every last moment with it. We've been eyes-on with the new LG Curved OLED TV, and found that it's not all curvy rainbows underneath.
The LG Curved OLED is very similar to the Samsung one we saw recently. 55-inches of panel, all accented with a beautiful concave curve designed to immerse you in the image. It does it brilliantly, with glare being offset by the angle of the panel while pretty much every spot across the 120-degree viewing angle looks beautiful.
Sure, the panel is pretty and the colour is crisper than anything we've ever seen, but the real stand-out feature of this TV is the phenomenal built-in speakers. Usually, built-in speakers are pretty rubbish, even on the best TVs.
For example, Samsung's Curved OLED packs a 2.1-channels system into the frame for built-in sound, while Sony puts magnetic fluid speakers into its 4K panel for a bit of oomph. Both are clever, but ultimately aren't going to placate your movie watching habits if you're the sort of person who would drop that much cash on a panel. The same is not to be said of the LG Curved OLED.
Despite the fact that the speakers are mounted facing away from the viewer, the sound still projects forward beautifully. That's thanks to the fact that the centre speaker points downward, allowing the sound to be caught and pushed forward by the clever wave stand LG have integrated into the unit. There are also two smaller speakers facing forward, although from what we can tell, they don't do as much to project sound forward as the wave stand does with the centre channel.
Just on that stand, LG has integrated it directly into the TV, so all you need to do with the Curved OLED is pull it out of the box and stick it on your entertainment unit. Handy.
The biggest concern we have with the LG Curved OLED is the amount of motion blur you get while watching. If you turn the MPEG Noise Reduction off as well as the picture smoothing, naturally you're going to get a jagged image. However, I don't think I have seen an image as jilted as this. Presumably, it could be remedied with the liberal application of the aforementioned smoothing gadgets, but that just makes it overly buttery and blurry. There's no middle ground. The image almost flickrs no matter what you do with it, and that would make me mighty cross if I had just spent $11,999 on this unit.
Having said all that, the blacks are deeper than anything we've ever seen before, and the colours are stunningly vibrant. There are a bunch of tweaks in the picture settings so that you can get your Curved OLED just right. Shame about that jerking, though.
LG's patented Smart Home technology is back, and it's just as annoying as ever to use as a piece of software. We've complained before about Smart Home -- the UI is clunky, it takes up a huge amount of memory normally reserved for your apps and all in all it's not very intuitive to navigate -- and it doesn't look to be getting any better.
Worst of all, there's still an ad unit in the bottom left-hand side of the Smart Home module. Why would you still be served obnoxious ads on your home screen if you've just dropped $11,999 on a panel?! It's beyond me.
The only saving grace of interfacing with this TV is the pleasant, Wii-mote style remote. It's terribly elegant and a very nice way of getting around this slightly jilted experience.