If you happen to missed it, LG’s W7 series “wallpaper” OLED TV was the toast of CES 2017, and once and for all reason. For most, it represents the best in TV design. At only 2.57mm thin – about the thickness of three quarters stacked together – it looks similar to a window on the wall than any TV you’ve seen before. And at about 16.5 pounds, the display panel is light enough to hold like a artwork, held fast by a couple of magnets. In conditions of cool-factor, no other TV can touch it.

Except, of course, its upcoming follow-up, the LG W8 OLED. Keeping yet design cues, because of the included soundbar, the W8 boosts on the W7 in several ways. LG’s new a9 (pronounced Alpha 9) chip not merely offers a speedier experience with webOS 3.5, but offers increased picture quality with decrease in color banding and a bunch of other improvements. The W8 also features Google Assistant and LG’s new ThinQ platform, which interact to provide up a strikingly large numbers of unique voice commands. As the W8 may be the new kid on the market, that could mean a cost drop in the W7, so if you’re enthusiastic about possibly saving a few bucks on a TV that’s still an excellent pick, read on.

Striking design is merely the start of the story here. Certainly, since it can be an OLED TV, reviewers such as for example myself are necessarily likely to trip over themselves discovering new methods to describe the amount of of a feast for the eyes it really is, however the W7 series is part of a fresh variety of OLED televisions for LG – the one which is brighter, more accurate, and more capable than those of days gone by – making the duty even tougher.

What’s more, as the W7 itself is obviously a exceptional TV, perhaps more exciting may be the fact that each series in LG’s OLED lineup this season uses the same panel and the same processing chips. Which means that, according to your demand for fancy design factors and improved music systems, you can find the same spectacular display quality throughout the line, because of the “entry-level” B7 series, likely to be unleashed in April 2017.

Given the Signature W7 OLED’s unique must-mount requirement, LG opted to bring reviewers to the TVs instead of send TVs to reviewers, who likely wouldn’t manage to temporarily use a panel that uses an unconventional mounting system. I was flown to SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA for a reviewer’s workshop and given a rundown on what’s new for LG’s OLEDs, a remarkable tour of Dolby’s laboratories, and roughly 4 hours of alone time with a production version of the Signature W7 to judge its place within this year’s crop of ultra-premium TVs.

Honestly, I only needed a couple of minutes.

Unusual, but eventually simple to setup
I didn’t get an possibility to un-box the 65-inch Signature W7 OLED myself, but I really know what will come in the box and what goes on once you open it. Now could be as good a period as any to handle the 25-pound, silver-backed gorilla in the area.

Okay, maybe likening this TV’s requisite soundbar to a gorilla is somewhat of an exaggeration, but considering how svelte the display is, it’s hard for the sizeable soundbar never to come off as a bit imposing. It really is neither slim, neither is it light. You can’t wall-mount it, and there’s no point in trying to tuck it away, either, since it may be the TVs sole way to obtain sound. Enjoy it or not, the W7 includes company – but at least it sounds good.

You’ll be needing a bit of furniture big enough to support a sound bar measuring 57.5 × 3.3 × 8.2-inches (W×H×D) and weighing in at 23 pounds. This may be a credenza, entertainment cabinet, or a stout shelf deep enough to permit cable connections.

Not merely does the W7’s Dolby Atmos-equipped sound bar serve as the system’s sonic source, in addition, it houses the display panel’s power, processing, input/output jacks, and the rest of the goodies you’ll find hiding behind the bump-out on the trunk of a typical TV. That hardware had to go somewhere, and since that is LG’s first go at an extremely imaginative product, they made a decision to bundle it in a sound bar.

The hardware had to go somewhere. LG decided it could go in a sound bar.

I understand many will stop wasting time to question why LG didn’t tend to put all of the TV’s guts in the black box that could be tucked away within an entertainment cabinet or closet. In the end, anyone who drops $8,000 or even more on a TV is most likely going to have reduced audio system at the prepared to pair with it. However, bear in mind that is LG’s first go at such product, and the business had good reason to believe customers would want speakers of some kind. LG will be taking all types of heat if it made a decision to drop speakers entirely.

So, show patience. Your speaker-less wallpaper OLED with black-box companion could possibly be right nearby. For now, if you wish what’s arguably the coolest-looking TV on earth, it includes a big-ass sound bar. First-world problems, am I right?

The cable that connects the sound bar to the display panel is a wide, flat, off-white cable with a subtle texture well suited for painting over. If you wish, you can stretch the cable from the sound bar to it and paint it the same color as your wall. Alternatively, you could run it through a conduit or more through the wall to adhere to building codes. The cable itself isn’t rated for in-wall use.

Caleb Denison/Digital Trends
Caleb Denison/Digital Trends

All source elements will hook up to the soundbar, more likely to among four available HDMI (HDCP 2.2) ports, though a composite or component video connection can even be made utilizing a group of provided break-out cables. Three USB ports (among which is USB 3.0) are also designed for playing back photos, video, or music files. Those that do desire to employ some kind of outboard audio tracks system may use an optical cable, or the ARC-enabled HDMI 2 port. If you prefer a Dolby Atmos signal from the TV’s software (Vudu currently supports this) then your latter is the strategy to use. The sound bar will go through Dolby Atmos from other sources with a Dolby Digital Plus signal.

Mounting the panel is simple. A few drywall anchors is all it requires to secure a thin and light mounting plate to the wall. From there, the panel is affixed to the plate by hanging on two key-hole style mounts, and is further secured by a range of magnets. The panel literally snaps into place.

Flagship TV, flagship features
The W7 doesn’t sport a huge amount of new features over last year’s 6-series models, but what’s new is notable, and everything has a significant influence on the entire performance of it.

LG has added a “Neutral Black OLED polarizer” to the TV’s existing anti-reflective film to keep black levels looking great in bright rooms. Previously, you’d get yourself a little purple haze when bright light shone on it. The polarizer works, and the screen looks black generally in most circumstances now, though in the event that you shine a flashlight onto it, you will notice some purple glow returning at you. LG in addition has enabled finer brightness controls in order that each amount of adjustment includes a smaller effect, and there is currently a broader selection of adjustment available.

The W7 Signature OLED TV has been improved to provide roughly twenty five percent more luminance. For Cinema settings, this implies it will max out at about 540 nits, although TV is with the capacity of higher peak brightness in Vivid and Standard picture modes.

Blacks also have see some welcome improvement. Among my criticisms of past LG OLED TVs has been that the TVs lacked some detail in the shadows because they might go from dark grey to pitch black a touch too quickly. LG has added some finer gradation here, and the shadow detail is noticeably improved while you’re watching content. I verified this observation by using a test pattern disc.

Color banding has reduced drastically because of these improvements. You’ll still view it on compressed content via streaming services, but it’s greater than it had been before. Everything you see is extremely near whatever the foundation content produces.

Rich Shibley/Digital Trends
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Finally, I pointed out that whites on the 2017 OLED samples seem to be purer than in years prior. Previously, I’ve noticed hook, greenish cast to whites, but that are gone now. I also noted much less color shift at extreme viewing angles than I’ve in the past.

All in all, I believe LG has nearly fixed all of the tiny conditions that reviewers have raised during the past, and therefore I really believe the W7 is a universally well-reviewed TV.

Here, have significantly more HDR
As before, LG continues to aid both Dolby Vision and HDR10, but this season adds support for Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) for over-the-air HDR broadcasts, plus a new flavor of HDR being produced by Technicolor. If that appears like way too many HDR formats, you’d be right. All of the HDR flavors remains a spot of confusion. Fortunately, LG is preparing to handle every one of them.

The ‘Magic Motion’ remote is really magic
I continue steadily to find LG’s TVs extremely simple to use because of its WebOS interface, now in version 3.5. LG’s elongated “Magic Motion” handy remote control continues to be among the better laid-out TV remotes I’ve used, with numerical keys that can be mapped out to contact specific software and inputs when “long-pressed.” There already are dedicated buttons for Netflix and Amazon toward underneath, though.

Settings are often accessed using LG’s WebOS 3.5 software, and today there are a lot more picture presets. For SDR mode, there can be an ISF-Night and ISD-Day mode, so professional calibrators can configure it for optimized performance in bright and dark rooms.

Similarly, LG has added a HDR Cinema Home mode to its existing HDR Cinema preset. This enables users to have bright-room and dark-room HDR settings, that i find particularly useful because excess brightness can inspire squinting in dark viewing environments. I also appreciated that the HDR modes switch off motion smoothing by default. I wish I possibly could say the same was true for the set’s SDR Cinema pre-set, but, alas, users will still need to go in and turn this off in order to avoid the dreaded “soap opera effect.”

It’s worth mentioning that LG’s factory presets are really good this year. If you aren’t a specialist calibrator and/or don’t plan to hire one, i quickly wouldn’t bother messing with the settings save to carefully turn off the motion smoothing feature – you stand to accomplish more harm than good. I’ll also add here that LG’s presets are so excellent, I would even question the worthiness of anyone attracting a calibrator, save for many who demand absolute cinematic standard perfection.