LG QNED91 – a superb 4K MiniLED TV (review)
Any reviewer that says anything other than the LG QNED91 image is superb has obviously not lived with the TV for a few weeks. It gets Cybershacks 100% buy recommendation.
Sure, it is not quite up to OLED standard, but it is not far off for the average bright Aussie lounge room. My observations on the differences:
- The screen is more reflective, so make sure you don’t have direct light behind your sitting position
- Colours are saturated (good), but skin tones are a little harsher than OLED
- Black levels for an LCD panel are excellent
- And no matter how many MiniLED backlights and dimming zones you have, there will still be some blooming around captions.
In all other respects – electronics, remote, operating, HDMI, and gaming the 2021 MiniLED and OLED TV are the same.
None of which are deal-breakers. No, the real deal-breaker is the price (these are recommended prices and given severe stock shortages, discounts may be hard to find).
A 65” LG QNED91 is $4679. An LG C1 mid-range series OLED is $4076, and a G1 evo is $4676. I know which way I would go.
|QNED||Price RRP||OLED||Price RRP|
G1 evo 55/65/77
LG QNED91 Series 4K TV w/ Quantum Dot, NanoCell and MiniLED Technology
|Website||MiniLED range and Product Page|
|Price||See table above|
|From||LG Online or most quality CE retailers|
|LG||LG (formerly Lucky-Goldstar from 1983 to 1995) is a South Korean multinational conglomerate. It makes electronics, chemicals, and telecommunications products.|
|More||Cybershack LG News and reviews|
What is MiniLED?
Most LCD TVs use full sizes LEDs. At the low end is edge-lit, followed by backlit and Full Array Local Dimming (FALD).
Without getting too deep into the tech, MiniLED is the brightest backlight to an LCD screen.
This all sounds good, but a 4K screen is 3840×2160 or about 8.3 million pixels. It uses thousands MiniLEDs (instead of hundreds of full-sized LEDs) and has from 960-1440 (65/77/85”) dimming zones (compared to 100s in FALD). Compare this to OLED, where each pixel is self-emissive (turns on or off).
The MiniLED gives increased brightness and contrast and combined with LGs, NanoCell (Quantum Dot) colour provides nice, bright, saturated colours.
First impression and setup
Minimalist simplicity – the LG QNED91 is a big, black, small bezel panel with a chrome arced desktop stand. It is pretty thin and can use an LG fold-flat wall mount ($250 LSW440B 65/75” or LSW640B 86”).
You can also use standard VESA 400 x 400 or 400 x 600 mounts.
Connect an RF Antenna for Free-to-Air, an HDMI (ARC/eARC) to an optional soundbar, apply power and follow the LG webOS Setup Wizard. You can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi 5Ghz or Ethernet cable, which is best. You need at least 25/5Mbps NBN for 1080p streaming and 50/20Mbps for 4K streaming.
LG wants to know all about you and requests you establish an LG Account. This gives LG access to everything you watch and enables it to serve tailored advertisements and content to you. You have the option to opt-out.
LG webOS 6.0
I want to say that I like it, but I can’t. It is more complex than the latest Android/Google TV. Finding and adding apps is not as easy as it should be. But there is a lot to say for muscle memory, and after a couple of weeks, it was intuitive enough.
It navigates via the LG Magic Remote MR21GA, which includes dedicated streaming buttons, an on-screen cursor (easy to use) and voice activation (ThinQ).
The Australian LG Content Store has about 850 apps. It includes iView, 9 Now, 7 Plus, SBS on Demand, Optus Sport, Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, Foxtel (old 2019 V3.1.5), Stan, YouTube/Kids, and Telstra TV Box Office
It does not have all Foxtel, Kayo or 10 Play. These may be available via a Google TV 4K Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV 4K or may be part of another app. Please check the Content store if you must have a particular app.
How does it look? Note LG does not publish these specs
All tests are in default mode – usually AI, auto or standard – but you can choose from Cinema, Sports, Game, Filmmaker, isf Expert (Bright space, daytime) and ifs Expert (Dark space night). My advice – stick to standard or vivid depending on your tastes – sometimes a little choice is too much.
Contrast – the difference between its blackest black and whitest white
Out of the box, it is about 1100:1, but you can adjust the local dimming to high, and it really makes a difference taking HDR to as high as 6000:1. In layman’s terms, it has blacker blacks than any other LCD TV we have reviewed. OLED, of course, is infinite as black is pixel off and white is pixel on.
Brightness – depends on the size of the bright area
You can adjust panel brightness and contrast (0-100), but this is more about energy saving.
SDR – Standard Dynamic Range (Free to Air TV): The panel is relatively bright at around 500 nits but can reach twice that if you adjust LED Local Dimming and Colour mode – all at the expense of colour accuracy. In laymen’s terms, it is bright enough to watch in office light.
HDR – High Dynamic Range (Streaming and gaming mode) easily reaches 1000 nits required for Dolby Vision/HDR 10+.
Colours and purity
It reproduces over 1 billion 10-bit colours. In our tests, primary colours red, green, and blue (RGB) were 100% accurate. Secondary and tertiary colours were accurate and tonally correct. It has about 97% DCI-P3 gamut support, and out of the box, a Delta E of about 2 (<4 is excellent). If you wish, you can get professional calibration and get that <1 – (superb).
The screen is a little cold – blue tint bit it can be adjusted.
Blooming – white around subtitles
Yes, it blooms – no matter how good or how many dimming zones, you will see a white glow around captions. This is very well controlled, most evident in exacting tests but not normal viewing. If it concerns you, set local dimming to high, but that may ‘crush’ stars in a starfield.
While IPS screens theoretically can have a 170° horizontal viewing angle, you get colour washout at 135°. It is better than most LCD panels, and the extra brightness means you can watch past that angle.
Reflection – struggles
The semi-gloss screen does not diffuse direct light. Do not have any ambient light sources like windows or lights behind the viewing area, as you will see them day and night.
Upscale – AI really works well
All content is intelligently upscaled. That means it looks at pre-and-post frames and adds what it thinks the pixels will be. It also uses onboard AI to fill in recognised shapes and objects. This is vastly better than most LCD TVs that simply wrap the same colour pixels around the original.
Dolby Vision – excellent
It really shines when playing Dolby Vision content. All images are 4K
No PWM Dimming
It is flicker-free and has blue light eye care.
It is a 100/120Hz panel (2×50/60Hz where electricity is that rate) and uses black frame insertion to achieve 200 Truemotion smoothing. It seems to work without the juddering ‘soap opera’ effect. But we notice some stutter/tearing when a large area of one colour moves over the screen (like a green cricket pitch).
Game response – almost as fast as OLED
G-T-G is 13ms. Games mode reduces typical LCD screen lag from over 120ms.
Ports and HDMI 2.1 – all features supported.
Please read HDMI cables are not all the same. Which one do you need? VRR and ALLM work with the latest Xbox X and PS5 for Dolby Vision and Atmos 4K@120Hz.
It has two HDMI 2.1 ports (4K@120Hz one is eARC) and two HDMI 2.0 ports (4K@60Hz)
It has three USB-A 2.0 5V/1A. We tested with an OWC 1TB External SSD, and it was fine playing all standard video and audio content.
Digital Optical Out and Ethernet complete the ports. There is no 3.5mm – use BT headphones instead.
The maximum volume is 80dB, but it sounds so much louder. We suspect that it can be driven higher.
The onboard sound is a maximum of 40W, which we understand is 2.2 – left and right stereo (2x10W) and two sub-woofers (2 x 10W).
Sound-wise, the TV speakers are very good. It has a decent mid-bass that kicks in at 50Hz and builds solidly to 150Hz, where it flattens (good) to nearly 10kHz. But it keeps going quite strongly from 10-20kHz. Read How to tell if you have good music (sound signature is the key) if you want to know more.
This is an almost neutral sound signature and allows various pre-sets to tailor the sound to your needs – sport, movies, games, music, clear dialogue or use an Equaliser. We tested without a soundbar, and it is quite acceptable, albeit there is no room-shaking bass.
You can use the TV speakers, a pair of Bluetooth speakers (in stereo), WiSA (wireless, high-resolution, multi-channel audio with an adapter), HDMI soundbar and Digital Optical Out.
It does not have a 3.5mm 3-pole headphone jack, but you can simultaneously use a Bluetooth Headphone/speaker and the TV speaker. You can also use Digital Optical Out and the TV speakers simultaneously, which means you can use Sennheiser’s excellent Wireless TV headphones as others listen to the TV speakers.
You cannot use an HDMI ARC/eARC soundbar with any other speaker.
Dolby Atmos (DA)
To be clear this when this TV encounters DA metadata, it decodes it and downmixes to the 2.2 channel speakers. It has no 3D spatial height or surround sound. The TV can also pass through the DA signal to a DA soundbar. If the soundbar supports HDMI 2.1 eARC, then the signal is uncompressed.
It can also downmix up other sound formats to 5.1 to the 2.2 speakers.
Power – cheap to run
It is rated five stars (out of six) and 440kWh per year for 10 hours a day. At around 30 cents per kWh, about 36 cents a day.
To MiniLED or NanoCell or IPS LCD?
Having seen the LG NANO91 (Quantum Dot), the LG QNED91 (MiniLED) is a little brighter. Still, if you do not want to pay as much, it is an excellent choice for a Full Array Local Dimming Pro LCD TV with a similar feature set.
Then the next level down is the LG NANO86 with Edge-lit Full Array Local Dimming (not Pro), and it is noticeably less bright than the NANO91. Ditto to the features. Still, it’s a good TV for most rooms.
There is nothing wrong with the edge-lit LG UHD 80 series, either. It is what you aspire to if you would normally buy a generic TV and want better quality.
Cybershack’s view – LG QNED91 is a terrific TV, shame about the price
To the trained eye, there are a few foibles. The colour is a little harsher than OLED. Or, in very dark screens, there is some caption and motion blooming. To the average user, it is a damned good SDR, HDR and Dolby Vision IQ picture.
We don’t usually comment on price, but it is as expensive as a comparable LG C1 or G1 OLED. Faced with that choice, OLED is the winner. Still, LG has empty warehouses, so it must be doing something right. The only stock is what is on retailers’ floors.
Recommended retail prices are often discounted, so at present, you can get a 65” LG QNED91 for about $3230 if you hurry. Still, the 65” C1 OLED is currently $2888 on special. I guarantee these prices will not last so don’t leave it to Christmas.
LG QNED91 Basic specs
|Panel||MiniLED and NanoCell IPS LCD 100/120Hz native 3840 x 2160 4K, 960 dimming zones|
|Processor||Alpha 7 Gen4 AI Processor 4|
|Gamut||Dolby Vision or lower HDR or SDR|
|Colours||>1billion colours and tones|
|Motion smoothing||Using AI and Black frame insertion up to 200 Tru Motion (not Hz)|
|Magic Remote||On-screen cursor and voice control. Also, Siri, OK Google and Alexa with a speaker|
|Gaming||Game optimiser supports VRR, ALLM, HGiG, AMD FreeSync Premium|
|Comms||Wi-FI 5 AC, Bluetooth, Miracast, Single Digital TV tuner|
|Ports||2 x HDM1 2.1 (one eARC), 2x HDMI 2.0, 3 x USB-A 2.0 5V/.9A, Optical out|
|Video codecs||AV1, H.264, HEVC, MOTION JPEG, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, RV30, RV40, VC1, VP8, VP9, XVID|
|Audio Decode||AAC, MP2/3, L/PCM, WMA, apt-X, MPEG-1, AC3, EAC3 and AC-5 DA|
|Size||Stand: 1673 x 1035 x 405mm x 41.6kg. No Stand: 1673 x 963 x 45mm x 38.2kg|
LG QNED91 review
LG QNED91 65" MiniLED$4679 but shop around
- Excellent brightness for daylight viewing
- HDMI 2.1 eARC for true Dolby Vision and Atmos
- Great 2.2 sound
- Excellent picture - almost as good as OLED
- No 3.5mm headphone jack
- Currently OLED is presenting better value