LG SM9000 NanoCell TV 55-inch 4K HDR Smart LG TV review

LG SM9000 NanoCell TV 55-inch 4K HDR Smart LG TV review

LG SM9000 NanoCell TV 55-inch 4K HDR Smart LG TV review

LG is this year calling its best performing LED LCD series NanoCell LG SM9000 TV. And it now consists of 5 different UHD 4K models. The models are SM82, SM85, SM86, SM90, and SM98. SM90 is available in screen sizes from 49 up to 86 inches. While other models have a more limited selection of sizes. 

LG also introduced SM99 – company’s first Ultra HD 8K LCD TV. Which is available exclusively in 75 inches and on selected markets. SM90, SM98, and SM99 are the only LED LCD TVs from LG. This year to feature HDMI 2.1 ports as well as full-array local dimming.

Starting from SM85 and going up, all models have the second generation of alpha 7 picture processor. 120 Hz UHD 4K IPS panel and support for HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG.

Sony OLED A8G 4K TV: Sony Bravia TV

LG SM9000 NanoCell TV 55-inch 4K HDR Smart LG TV


LG’s recognizable crescent stand is present on many LCD models this year and SM9000 is one of them. Full Cinema screen design means that the bezel is very thin. And that the panel itself is pushed in front of it which looks quite elegant. 

The stand, the bezel, and the backside are all made of plastic. The build quality is good. Elements are firmly joined together and the only thing that I would like to see improved is the firmness of the screen when it is assembled on the stand. It wobbles when touched more that I would like to see in this price category.

LG SM9000 NanoCell TV 55-inch 4K HDR Smart LG TV


Connection options include 4 side-facing HDMI 2.1 connectors, 3 USBs, antenna, and satellite inputs, Ethernet, 3.5-millimeter audio out, Toslink and PC MCIA card slot. 

The bezel is free of any marking as LG NanoCell text is moved on the stand. If you mount the TV on the wall which is possible using 300×300 millimeter VESA mount, then all that would clearly show that this is a TV from LG is a webOS operating system. 

Version 4.5 brings small changes to the design, but still keep the same overall look and feel of the platform that has over the years become truly excellent, especially if you combine it with a magic remote.

LG SM9000 NanoCell TV 55-inch magic remote

The same model of Magic remote LG is supplying this year with all of their OLED TVs, as well as with many LED LCD models – all the way to the UM74 series.
webOS 4.5 was working excellent during the test, there were no stability issues but I noticed that it is slower in opening menus compared to C9 OLED TV.

LG SM9000 NanoCell TV Picture quality

Coming to picture quality, tested members of LG SM9000 NanoCell series performed the same as last year’s SK85 in all critical aspects. 

That means that all the good things are here – like good upscaling and cadence detection, peak brightness of 1000 nits in HDR mode, 90% of DCI-P3 coverage, good motion resolution, wide viewing angles for an LCD TV and accurate picture presets like Expert Bright room and Expert Darkroom.

Alpha 7 gen 2 picture processor mainly improves noise reduction which is now more effective and there is also AI picture an option that should help with better upscaling someday. For now, I couldn’t see any improvement just as I couldn’t see it on C9 OLED TV.

Now for the not so great aspects which are low contrast, poor resolution of local dimming and annoying global dimming. At peak brightness of 200 nits in SDR, ANSI contrast with local dimming turned off was around 820:1. With local dimming at Low, it rises to 1300:1 and will local dimming High the measured value was 1800:1. I kept Local dimming at Low at it gave the best result in terms of contrast and picture stability.

IPS Panel

The low contrast of IPS panels is not enough for convincing SDR content and in HDR situation is even worse. 

My other complaint is the fact that LG again implemented global dimming in both SDR and HDR modes and that in HDR it works even if the Local dimming option is disabled.

This can be distracted when there is a cut from a bright scene to the dark or vice versa as you can notice in images.

How the whole scene gets brighter or dimmer with a small delay. In dark scenes, this also leads to loss of details in shadows which are anyway not really convincing due to low contrast so this makes it even worse. 

You can see these variations clearly if you take a look at the brightness of subtitles or if you just pull up the home menu and look at the white cards.

LG SM9000 NanoCell TV 55-inch 4K HDR Smart LG TV review

LG SM9000 NanoCell TV 55-inch 4K HDR Smart LG TV review

LG SM9000 NanoCell TV 55-inch has 40 dimming zones with only 4 vertical columns. Which leads to visible blooming around objects and constant variations of contrast across the screen.
You can see on this pattern that when the vertical line is on the left side of the screen. LEDs light up not only behind the column 1 but also in adjacent column 2.

Dirty screen effect was visible on my unit and I noticed it when watching sports with a panning camera.
IPS screens with direct LED backlight are prone to this. So, my advice is better to get IPS with edge LEDs. If you’ll be mainly watching sports. The screen also had slightly dimmer corners that weren’t distracting.

LG SM9000 NanoCell TV  Sound quality

Coming to sound quality, it is also on the same level as last year. Dolby Atmos and AI sound can improve soundstage and bass response. But I still prefer A/V receiver and at least a pair of speakers for the much better sonic experience.

Gaming was good thanks to low input lag in Game picture preset, accurate colors and sharp image. I played Diablo 3 in Full HD at 120 Hz. 

And was like I was using a really big gaming PC monitor. Of course, there were no issues in terms of image retention, screen tearing and sharpness was excellent. So, I can recommend this TV for PC and gaming usage.
LG SM9000 NanoCell TV series performs on the same level as the SK85/SK90 series from 2018. With the upgraded HDMI ports, updated picture processor. And the latest version of WebOS.

If you don’t need HDMI 2.1. And the very latest features of webOS 4.5. and want to save some cash better get last year’s series. Because of all the mentioned issues regarding contrast and dimming. I simply cannot recommend this TV for dim or dark room viewing.

For such purposes, there are better options out there, like Samsung’s RU8000 series that I’ve tested. I would consider this TV mainly for bright rooms. Were full-screen content like live TV, cartoons and bright content will be viewed most of the time.

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