Product review: LG QNED81 4K HDR Smart TV 2023

Not content with dominating the premium OLED TV market, LG has the TV tech to lead the mid-range, too. It’s known as QNED and is represented here by the top-value QNED81 model.

First off, we should establish exactly what QNED is. QNED came about when LG combined two innovative TV technologies – NanoCell and Quantum dot. Both are technologies for improving colour output, and here LG is using them to affect different parts of the colour spectrum, and ultimately provide the most accurate and vivid colour output yet from an LG LED TV.

With class-leading picture precision and colour established, the next essential for any mid-range TV is smooth motion and, thanks to its 120Hz refresh rate, the QNED81 ticks that box as well. The adoption of a native 100Hz screen means that the image is refreshed twice as often as a regular 50Hz TV. By ‘redrawing’ the image twice as fast, you get smoother flow and far less motion blur. You’ll really notice this when watching fast-moving sports or action movies. And when playing on your next-gen games console such as a Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X, you’ll benefit from up to 120Hz refresh rate for smoother gaming.

(Screen) power is nothing without control, which is why LG’s QNED81 uses the latest Gen 6 version of their impressive Alpha 7 processor. The processor makes extensive use of AI to enhance both the picture and sound. The latest version is even better at upscaling images to 4K, meaning that when you’re watching any non-4K content, such as regular TV or older movies, you’ll enjoy detail that’s closer than ever to ‘true’ 4K. AI Genre Selection is another neat feature. This recognises the content playing and then automatically applies the ideal image settings, meaning that you don’t have to worry about finding the perfect setting every time you watch something new.

Focused around an impressive QNED screen, the LG 50QNED816RE brings new levels of clarity and realism to everything you watch.

It’s not just the picture processing that’s smart, either. LG’s webOS Smart TV operating system is widely regarded as one of the best in the business and it’s easy to see why. A vast range of streaming content, accessed via an intuitive operating system makes it easy to find precisely what you’re looking for. The latest webOS 23 system has the option for up to six individual, personalised profiles. With individual viewing suggestions, sport alerts and app lists, the entire household now enjoys a Smart TV service that’s bespoke to them. The new Quick Cards feature further enhances the experience. This makes it easier to access the features you use the most and is handily split into Home Office, Gaming, Music and Sports, plus other categories.

Thanks to their Gallery OLED TV range, LG is rapidly gaining an enviable reputation for slimline style and we can see that with the QNED81, too. The latest is over 30% slimmer than last year’s model, with the typical depth now just under 30mm (50” to 65” models). This sleek presence means that, when mounted with a low profile bracket, the TV now ‘hugs’ the wall. Prefer not to wall mount your TV? The LG excels here, too. Supplied with a height-adjustable pedestal stand*, you not only get the perfect viewing angle, but also a clean fit with your soundbar.

Considering just how slim this TV is, the sound quality is surprisingly good. This is thanks in part to the powerful Alpha 7 processor using AI to enhance the sound’s spatial qualities. Pair with a compatible LG soundbar, however, and the sound leaps from ‘good’ to ‘great’. LG’s WOW Orchestra very cleverly mixes the audio from both soundbar** and TV, creating an even more immersive and powerful sound.

As mid-priced TVs go, we think that the QNED81 is up there with the best and certainly deserves to be on your shortlist. With screen options from 50” to 86”, there’s a size to suit every room. To experience this impressive TV for yourself, why not visit your local store today, or give our Telesales team a call for a full run-through of its extensive features.

*Height adjustment only available on 75/65/55” screen sizes.

** WOW Orchestra feature only available on certain LG Soundbars.