LG G4 OLED TV: Stunning Picture Quality Available In Larger Sizes

Date:

LG G4 series OLED TV (2024)

Pros

  • Superb overall image quality
  • Preserves black levels well in bright rooms
  • Superior contrast and off-angle viewing
  • Wide variety of size offerings

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Glossy screen catches reflections in bright rooms

OLED TVs deliver the best picture we’ve ever tested at CNET, and over the last few years LG has continued to improve its highest-end models in the G series. In 2023 we awarded the G3 the title of the best TV for picture quality, and this year’s version, the G4, is even better. In our side-by-side comparisons it beat its predecessor in brightness and overall image quality with the kind of jaw-dropping images you can only get from a topflight OLED TV.

In a bright room, however, the G4 fell short of the performance of its direct competitor, the Samsung S95D. That’s because the Samsung uses an all-new matte screen finish, which in our tests did a better job fighting reflections than the more typical glossy screen of the Samsung. The S95D’s matte finish has its downside, namely a reduction in contrast, but overall we preferred its bright-room image quality over the G4’s.

Both of those two high-end OLED TVs looked incredible, and largely identical, in darker rooms; aside from the screen finish neither showed a marked advantage over the other. Yes, the Samsung’s color was a bit more saturated at times and it got slightly brighter, but those aren’t major differences. And the G4 has other advantages over the S95D, including an 83-inch size.

Here’s where we mention that most TV viewers will be perfectly satisfied with something less expensive but still excellent, like the step-down LG C4 or a mini-LED model. That said, the G4 is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a high-performance television and is willing to pay for it.

Watch this: LG’s 2024 OLED TVs Cut Wires, Boost Brightness

LG G4 OLED TV sizes, series comparison

  • LG OLED97G4, 97 inches

  • LG OLED83G4, 83 inches

  • LG OLED77G4, 77 inches

  • LG OLED65G4, 65 inches

  • LG OLED55G4, 55 inches

LG also offers a less-expensive OLED range, the C series, which isn’t as bright and lacks the G series “gallery” style design. Last year we considered the C3 the best high-end TV for the money, thanks to its excellent quality and substantially lower price than the G3. We’ll review the 2024 C4 soon, but we don’t expect any major year-over-year advancements, so the C3 remains a great value as long as it’s available. 

Super-thin panel, flawed stand

lg-g4-09

The 65-inch G4 tilted slightly to the right on its stand.

Josh Goldman/CNET

The G4 panel is super-thin and sleek with a nearly unnoticeable bezel, allowing the picture to take up seemingly the entire screen. LG designed the TV with wall-mounting in mind – there’s an indentation on the back that allows it to sit nearly flush against the wall when you use LG’s special bracket – and calls the design “gallery.” The 55- and 65-inch sizes come with a tabletop stand (the bracket costs $70 and works on all sizes), while the larger sizes include the bracket (its stand costs $200).

The stand, while super-thin and sleek, is flawed. It had a noticeable tilt to the left (a half-inch difference between the right and left sides, to be exact; we measured), despite the stand being securely screwed on. Apart from the aesthetics, the TV itself was also wobbly on the stand. It’s not a deal-breaker but we expect a more supportive stand on a TV this expensive — last year’s G3 had a much more solid stand (although you had to pay extra for it).

lg-g4-11
Josh Goldman/CNET

The LG G4 remote is at least twice the size of the Samsung remote and much more feature heavy. It includes numbers to navigate to specific channels, which I’m not sure is so necessary anymore, as cable fades into the distance and is replaced by streaming services that require less complex remotes. The input list is easier to access than the Samsung remote with a designated button on the remote. There are also six shortcuts including Netflix, Disney Plus, Prime Video, Alexa, Sling and LG Channels.

The LG remote uses a point-and-shoot approach, which we found pretty clumsy and unnecessary in everyday use. It’s over complicated at best, and frustrating at the least because it’s super-easy to overshoot buttons. There’s no real reason to have such a sensitive cursor on a TV remote.

The main menu is made up of a bunch of modular, applike categories that allow you to adjust common settings, including your picture mode. People who like to experiment with picture modes and have a finely tuned eye would likely appreciate this ease of access to picture mode settings, as opposed to having to dig deep into a settings menu. 

lg-g4-15
Josh Goldman/CNET

MLA technology boosts picture quality

The G4 has all the features we’d expect from a high-end OLED TV. Its main picture-enhancing extra compared to the “C” series is LG’s MLA display technology, which stands for micro-lens array. Billions of tiny lenses inside the OLED panel help focus the light, reduce scatter and improve efficiency. 

The G4 supports Dolby Vision HDR, unlike Samsung’s OLED TVs (but we don’t consider that a major drawback in the Samsung OLEDs). Both companies’ OLED lines support Dolby Atmos and a 144 Hz refresh rate.

LG continues to excel at connection options. Like its competition, the G4 has the latest version of the HDMI standard: 2.1. That means the HDMI ports can handle 4K at 120 frames per second and variable refresh rate, as well as enhanced audio return channel and automatic low-latency mode (auto game mode). In other words, they can take advantage of the latest graphics features available from PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S consoles as well as high-end graphics cards. As with the Samsung S95D, all four of the G4’s HDMI ports support 4K/120 – great for hard-core gamers with multiple next-gen devices. 

  • Four HDMI inputs with HDMI 2.1, HDCP 2.2

  • Three USB 2.0 ports

  • Optical digital audio output

  • RF (antenna) input

  • RS-232 port (minijack, for service only)

  • Ethernet (LAN) port

lg-g4 connections panel on its rear.
Josh Goldman/CNET

Excellent picture quality, despite some glare 

For this side-by-side comparison test, we set up the G4 next to three other OLED TVs, including its direct competitor, the Samsung S95D, as well as the less-expensive LG C4 and the LG G3, the G4’s predecessor from last year. The G4 looked better than the two other LG models but a bit worse overall than the Samsung, thanks to its the S95D’s better bright-room image and was slightly brighter with a bit more impactful color.

lg-g4-10
Josh Goldman/CNET

TV and movies: We started with the Spears and Munsil 4K benchmark and the S95D vs. the G4 were so close as to be almost indistinguishable. Colors appeared slightly different, with a more saturated red in the tulips and strawberries on the Samsung and the grass under the cows looking deeper and more realistic on the LG. In highlights, both looked equally bright to the eye, but the Samsung measured slightly brighter in most cases. With the sun rising over the mountains, for example, the S95D measured about 520 nits to the LG’s 450, according to a spot check on the light meter. The other two LGs were also dimmer than the Samsung, but notably, the C4 was brighter (440 nits, basically the same as the G4) than the G3 (390).

Black levels on all four were perfect, as expected on any OLED TV. We looked closely at the objects against black backgrounds, for example, a honey dripper. Black areas closest to the honey looked basically identical. In the shot of a Ferris wheel, the Samsung revealed slightly more detail in the dark areas under the pier and above the buildings, but the difference was very subtle. 

When we watched The Umbrella Academy on Netflix, the differences were similarly slight between the two best OLEDs, the G4 and S95D. In relatively dim cinematic scenes those two looked a bit better, with more depth, contrast and realism in backgrounds and faces. The C4 and G3 appeared a bit flatter and less impactful, but I don’t think the difference would be obvious outside of a side-by-side comparison.

lg-g4-03
Josh Goldman/CNET

Gaming: The G4 remains a superb gaming TV, with more options in its Game Optimizer menu than other televisions, including the Samsung. It gathers all of the gaming settings in one place and verifies refresh rate, VRR status and more at a glance. I also appreciated the ability to edit the gaming dashboard to swap in more status indicators (resolution, Dolby Atmos and so on), but I’m pretty nerdy like that. Samsung’s Game bar has a cleaner design, however.

The Dark Room mode is designed to reduce eye fatigue, but it also dulls the image so I’d avoid using it unless you need to. Among the various gaming image modes I liked Standard best for most games with its balance of shadow detail and contrast – and a more dramatic, cinematic look than the Samsung’s standard. FPS is best if you want more visibility into shadows, or you can just crank the Black Stabilizer control up (at the expense of a washed-out image).

Buried within Game Optimizer is another setting labeled “Reduce input delay (input lag)” with two options, Standard and Boost. The former, which is the default for any game, serves up an excellent input lag result: around 13.6ms for both 1080p and 4K HDR sources. Engaging Boost cuts lag even further, to around 10ms for both, similar to the Samsung. The catch is that Boost is only available for 60Hz sources, so you can’t use it with 120Hz games or VRR. And no, I don’t think many humans would notice the extra 3ms of lag.

According to my Xbox’s details screen, the G4 supported 4K/120Hz and VRR as well as Dolby Vision gaming (which Samsung does not support).

lg-g4-08
Josh Goldman/CNET

Bright lighting: The G4 is an excellent TV in both bright rooms and dark, but the Samsung S95D and its matte screen have the advantage. When we set the two up side-by-side opposite a bright window, the Samsung’s screen markedly reduced the brightness of the windows reflected on the screen. Meanwhile the LG G4, much like other OLED TVs we’ve tested, showed a bright, mirrorlike reflection. On the other hand the LG preserved black levels better for a more contrasty, impactful image, but we preferred the performance of the Samsung overall in bright rooms.

Below are my measurements in nits for select comparison TVs in their brightest and most accurate picture modes, using both standard dynamic range (SDR) and high dynamic range (HDR) test patterns. In short, the G4 and S95D are neck-and-neck for the title of brightest OLED TV ever, and both are brighter than their 2023 predecessors.

Light output in nits

TV Brightest mode (HDR) Accurate mode (HDR) Brightest mode (SDR) Accurate mode (SDR)
TCL 65QM850G 1,975 1,975 1,739 1,448
LG G4 1,799 1,420 792 792
Samsung S95D 1,734 1,666 544 265
LG OLED65G3 1,378 1,378 725 724
Samsung QN65S95C 1,348 1,326 238 648
LG OLED65C3 861 817 501 464
Roku TV Plus 514 455 579 404

The brightest mode for SDR (Vivid) is horribly inaccurate. For the accurate results listed above on the G4, I used ISF Expert Bright picture mode. Note that with SDR, you’ll need to disable the Auto Energy Saving setting (General > Energy Saving > Energy Saving Step > Off) and engage Peak Brightness (Picture > Advanced Settings > Brightness > (Peak Brightness: High) to get full brightness. HDR is a different and much simpler story. Filmmaker is the brightest mode and the most accurate, so you can set it and forget it regardless of room lighting.

The G4 maintained its peak brightness over time. I ran a test pattern for a full minute and it stayed the same brightness.

Like all OLED TVs including the Samsung S95D, the G4’s brightness was significantly lower when a larger percentage of the screen was white. With windows larger than 10% of the screen its brightness fell steadily, hitting 450 nits with 50% of the screen white and reaching a low of 220 nits with a full 100% white screen. I’ve rarely noticed this drop-off when watching normal TV shows or movies, however, so I don’t consider it a big deal.

Uniformity and viewing angle: Like most OLEDs I’ve tested including the Samsung S95D, the G4 was exemplary in this area compared to LCD-based TVs, with no significant brightness or color variations across the screen and nearly perfect image quality from off-angle. 

Picture settings and testing notes

I like that LG TVs have the ability, introduced last year, to customize the settings menu by adding shortcuts and moving them around. I added the setting that disables the ambient light sensor, for example, making it easier to access for my measurements (which require it to be turned off). According to those measurements, Filmmaker was the most-accurate preset mode with HDR, but Cinema was exceedingly accurate too. I chose Filmmaker for most of my viewing, and unlike last year’s G3, it wasn’t significantly darker than Cinema. For SDR I also went with Cinema because it was quite accurate and targeted my preferred 2.2 gamma (Filmmaker targeted 2.4). Both ISF modes were also very accurate.

Game Optimizer is best for gaming, thanks to its processing, but quite blue; for the best color accuracy for gaming you should adjust the color temperature control toward red (Picture > Advanced Settings > Color > White Balance > Color temperature). Note that unless you select Game Optimizer in the sound settings as well, some settings like game genre switching might be grayed out and unable to be adjusted.

Like most TVs, the G4 offers settings that engage smoothing, aka the soap opera effect, as I prefer to turn it off for TV shows and movies (and it’s off in Game Optimizer mode because it increases input lag). You can experiment with the settings (Picture > Advanced Settings > Clarity > TruMotion).

Geek Box

Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.000 Good
Peak white luminance (SDR) 782 Good
Avg. gamma (10-100%) 2.14 Good
Avg. grayscale error (10-100%) 1.20 Good
Dark gray error (30%) 0.91 Good
Bright gray error (80%) 0.80 Good
Avg. color checker error 1.32 Good
Avg. saturation sweeps error 0.82 Good
Avg. color error 0.71 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
Input lag (Game mode) 13.60 Good
HDR10
Black luminance (0%) 0.000 Good
Peak white luminance (10% win) 1799 Good
Gamut % UHDA/P3 (CIE 1976) 98.45 Good
ColorMatch HDR error 1.87 Good
Avg. color checker error 1.27 Good
Input lag (Game mode, 4K HDR) 13.50 Good

Portrait Displays Calman calibration software was used in this review. 

How We Test TVs

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