Product review: LG SK8100 TV range

LG’s new range of Super UHD TVs bring an exciting range of new features to the mid-range market for 2018…

With their striking design and vibrant display, LG’s Super UHD TVs really do offer a compelling option to tempt those looking at the top of the range OLED TVs from the brand, but searching for great value at the same time. Last year’s Super UHD TVs provided some interesting options in a crowded market especially for gamers, so let’s see what the new range has to offer.

The new SK8100 range is the entry point to LG’s Super UHD range and looking at the 49″ model, I’m struck by the quality of the build right out of the box – it features a brushed aluminium finish on the entire rear of the TV, which immediately screams quality (the range also features 55″ and 65″ screen sizes. Up front, there is a compelling lack of a bezel which really draws you to the SK8100s defining feature: a gorgeous UHD panel with support for 10-bit colour and all the most popular HDR formats. As soon as you turn on the TV it springs to life with vibrant colours jumping from LG’s updated gallery app of beautiful landscapes. A nice touch which certainly makes for an improvement over the usual black screen that greets a lack of input to a TV.

To get the best out of this TV though you need to feed it some HDR (High Dynamic Range)-enabled 4K content. HDR is a new capture technology which has arrived on TVs in the last few years and allows for a far greater range of colours to be displayed. Rather than showing everything below a certain shade of black as the same, HDR shows you the detail in those parts of the screen and applies the same principle to brighter areas, too. This is particularly important for a 10-bit panel such as that on the SK8100 as it unlocks the ability to show off up to one billion different colours.

The SK8100 features the widest range of support for HDR formats currently available on the market, meaning that no matter what you’re watching you can take advantage of the best possible picture. If you’re streaming from BBC iPlayer and making use of the HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) format, you know you are getting highest contrast ratios currently available.

Additionally, LG has included support for Dolby Vision right out of the box, something some other manufacturers are still waiting to roll out. Dolby Vision gives you shot by shot enhancements for the most adaptive contrast ratios and greatest detail in every scene.

To give this a try I slotted in a copy of the new Spiderman: Homecoming film on UHD Blu-ray. The effect was a real eye opener. The colours of Peter Parker’s Spidey suit really popped out in the bright midday sun as he scaled the Washington Monument, really drawing you into the scene. There was no issue when cutting between the lighter exterior and the darker interior parts of this scene, allowing for no break in the action.

To test the SK8100 in low light conditions I switched to a scene with Peter in the back of a car on the way to prom. A really brooding scene on a normal Blu-ray, but with all the shades of black you could see all the detail on Peter’s face as he struggled to hide his identity from his arch foe Vulture in the front seat. The range of colours even at the darker end of the spectrum dramatically improved the suspense in that scene. Scenes like this is where HDR really comes into its own. Even moving around the room to check off angle viewing did not dim the colours, and you could really see the advantage of LG’s Nano Cell technology which claims to give you 60 degree viewing angles.

Another of the exciting features of the new SK8100 range is the integration of LG’s new ThinQ AI technology. Using the power of speech, ThinQ (pronounced “Think”) allows you full command of the televisions Freeview, Netflix and YouTube applications. You can easily search for new content, adjust the picture mode based on what you are viewing and switch between inputs, all with your voice. I gave this a whirl with the included LG Magic remote, which includes a microphone button. It understood all my requests without having to ask twice, showing the development of this technology (in sharp contrast to the days of shouting into your phone on a busy road to get it to understand you). This makes the TV one of the easiest to browse on the market. Additionally, this new technology can also be expanded with the addition of an Amazon Alexa or Google Home speaker to allow you to control all your smart home devices, which is a nice bonus.

You can see how much I enjoyed reviewing this television and I’m bowled over that LG have managed to improve on last year’s SJ810, but to judge this TV for yourself make your way down to your local Richer Sounds store and see it in the flesh.

Author: Robert, Brighton store