LG SM8050 Review • Affordable NanoCell TV with Active HDR
LG offers a range of LCD TVs with NanoCell technology. They represent a large class of “average” devices from similar lines. As we remember, in 2019, among the younger Nano models, the LG SM8000 and LG SM8200 series stood out, where the image quality was quite high.
The LG SM8050 series in question is an upgraded version of the LG SM8000 . Although the same Edge Led lighting with Local Dimming function (6 × 1) is used. The IPS matrix with 10 bit color depth is in fact 8 bit + FRC, but with good viewing angles. Perhaps these are the highlights of the LG 55SM8050 TV.
A slim profile with a beautiful finish, combined with a center crescent stand, we saw in the LG SM8200 . In LG 55SM8050, such a design option, according to the manufacturer, is superfluous, so the appearance is similar to the SM8000. A design with Y-shaped kickstand feet closer to the edges of the screen is considered more stable. There are no unnecessary vibrations of the TV screen.
The back of the TV is made of dark plastic, it is slightly rounded to the edges of the screen. The bezel around the matrix gracefully flows into the 49LG8050 TV case. The interface part with connections is located on the left, the connectors are connected to the side and back. Therefore, when installing on a wall, there may be some difficulty in accessing these ports.
LG SM8050 series is equipped with four HDMI 2.0 connectors with ARC and ALLM. Although LG claims to support 2K HFR, it has a 60fps limit. To be honest, this cannot be considered an HFR. Two HDMI and one of the two USB 2.0 ports are on the side, all other ports are at the back and face the wall.
You can forget about the WiSA function (wireless speakers and audio) announced in 2019 – it is not here. The search for a headphone jack will end in vain. You can use a Bluetooth (5.0) headset instead. As a bonus, Airplay2 is a welcome addition for Apple users. LG’s SM8050 line has a full range of tuners, but the inputs are different.
With the MR remote, you can easily control the cursor on the screen, making it easy and fun to enter information. This is a convenient way to control your LG TV, although it takes a while to get used to. However, the remote control can also be used as standard. The most important change over past remotes is the extra buttons for quick access to certain applications.
Setting up your LG remote to work with other devices
The SM8050 can be configured to control other devices. To configure this function, go to the “Home Control Panel” and click “Settings, Connected devices” or it can be configured through the general menu “Connect …” Most functions can be accessed using the “More Actions” button. It is indicated by three dots and is located in the lower right corner of the number block.
The SM8050 series, unfortunately, does not use the second generation Alpha-7 processor found in all of LG’s more expensive models. This means that functions such as “AI Picture” and “AI Brigthness” are not available. However, the overall image processing performance is adequate.
Deinterlacing is great. The 55SM8050 quickly and correctly recognizes videos at different frame rates, so moiré and jagged edges are rare. Noise cancellation is less advanced than the Alpha models, but the result is good at removing random noise.
However, compression (blocking) is less effective in this series. It is worth leaving the settings for this function at “low” so that most of the noise is not on the screen, and the image will not be too soft.
The parameter “Smooth Gradations” is responsible for the absence of color bands and for the correct processing of the contours of the image. The LG 55SM8050 gets rid of soft bugs easily, but more pronounced banding issues remain. But this is not such a global problem and it is rare.
Since the 55SM8050 uses a 50Hz IPS panel, the sharpness of the image can be lost significantly. A lot of detail in fast moving images simply disappears and a light double outline is often seen around the subject. Here you should definitely pay attention to the “TruMotion” function. If you need to make the image smoother, then select “Anti-aliasing”, although some image artifacts will be noticeable.
Adjusting basic picture parameters
Below you can consider the parameters that provide the highest quality picture in the LG SM8050:
Picture mode: Cinema.
Aspect Ratio Adjustment: Original / Scan: On
Energy Saving: Off
Dynamic Contrast: Off / Low.
Dynamic Tone Display: Off / On.
Super Resolution: Low.
Range: 2.2 / BT.1886.
White balance: warm 2.
Noise reduction: Low.
MPEG Noise Reduction: Low.
Smooth gradation: Low.
Black Level: Automatic.
Real Movie: Included.
Motion Eye Care: Off
Local dimming of LEDs: Medium.
Since most LG models use IPS panels, the viewing angle is good. The contrast level is satisfactory. It is about 900: 1. In some tests, the contrast rises to 2000: 1, but this is in limited areas of the screen.
The limited number of side lighting segments is some of LG’s problem when using heavy dimming. You can check this by setting the Local Dimming parameter to its maximum value – this effect will be immediately noticeable.
In dark scenes, you can see that the backlight columns clearly contrast with the subtitles and produce visible image distortion. Therefore, it is better to leave the backlight parameter in the settings in the middle position. This position will provide the best contrast with the least impact on the overall image.
You can, of course, use the Dynamic Contrast function to improve contrast, but the values should not be too high. Higher settings hide black details. On the other hand, image uniformity (or smoothness) is fine.
Another disadvantage that may stop you from choosing the SM8050 series is the lack of Dolby Vision. LG SM8050 TVs only support HDR10 and HLG. It’s a shame because the added value is already getting high with HDR10 + and Dolby Vision, and LG’s 8 Series is mid-range.
The IPS panel in the SM8050 series delivers a decent peak brightness of around 530 nits on a 10% window and 335 nits on an all white screen. Of course, this figure is enough to see the work in HDR, but not in all its glory. Nanocell color gamut of 86% DCI-P3 and 63% Rec. 2020, which is ideal for comparable LCD TVs.
A relatively low contrast ratio affects HDR. This is especially noticeable when the screen is dark with very bright accents. At this point, the backlight “becomes clearer” and begins to annoy the viewer.
Using the “Dynamic Tone Mapping” setting, the LG 55SM8050 TV tries to simulate the HDR10 + effect. The result, according to users, is not straightforward. In some predominantly dark images, highlights are brightened, creating a sharper image. In clear images, the picture often becomes slightly darker. Here you can recommend leaving dynamic tone mapping active in the settings.
LG SM8050: Game Mode
A few words about the matrix surface. The LG 55SM8050 does a pretty good job of dealing with on-screen glare. But attention to proper indoor lighting cannot be overlooked. In the “Cinema” mode, the video signal delay of 98 ms is a relatively large indicator. In game mode, the input lag drops to 13 ms – this is a clear plus. Note that the SM8050 series supports ALLM (Low Latency Auto Mode) but does not support VRR (Variable Refresh Rate).
LG SM8050: Sound
Dolby Atmos is not supported on the SM8050 series (replaced by DTS Virtual: X). But given the limited sound, this is a small loss. The mid-range series has a 2.0 sound scheme with a total output of 20W. This is enough for comfortable viewing in a small room.
But limitations can already be found when playing a heavy soundtrack or more aggressive musical genres. This is not surprising for this category of TVs, so an external speaker system is recommended.
LG SM8050 series uses LG’s proven formula: an IPS panel combined with limited local dimming. As a result, we see an improvement in contrast, but there are limitations compared to more expensive models. Namely, the combination of dark images with bright scenes.
However, with the correct settings, interfering effects remain under the user’s control. It should also be borne in mind that the series in question is at the bottom of the Nanocell TV segment. They have neither Dolby Vision nor HDR10 +, which is a drawback. Sound quality is good, but not above average. Sound without Dolby Atmos support.
HDMI 2.1 interfaces are also missing. This series TVs only support ALLM plus ARC. The 50Hz panel displays fast moving images with some annotations.
Looking at the LG SM8050 PLA, we can say that the models are aimed at an audience with an average budget. If viewing in natural light is intended, then the results are good in this context. The LG 55SM8050 has good color reproduction, sufficient black detail, excellent image processing and can still reproduce beautiful HDR images.
A small input lag is a definite advantage for gamers. With webOS 4.5 you get a modern and enjoyable Smart TV system in your home. The bottom line is that the price segment is correct.