A while back, I wrote a few tips on choosing the right television for your bachelor pad and it turns out that I myself needed a new TV set a few weeks ago. I am in the slow process of renovating a small corner of my basement but it’s nothing fancy at the moment because I’m trying to stay on a budget. Luckily for me, we got an email from a PR company called Oglivy and they wanted us to review the LG 42LS3400 LED TV. How can an Unfinished Man say no to an offer like that, we took on the task of reviewing this 42″ LED TV, all opinions expressed here are my own with no input from LG Electronics or Oglivy.
Since I was on a budget, reviewing this TV makes good sense for me and those of you that want to get a nice TV without breaking the bank. The LG LS3400 Series is available in 32LS3400 (32-Inch screen) and 42LS3400 (42-Inch screen). We got the 42-inch 42LS3400 and since I already have an older 42-inch LG plasma television, I am quite familiar with the brand and quality products LG makes. The LS3400 Series LED TV uses Edge LED as opposed to Direct LED meaning that the LEDs of the back-light are mounted along the edges of the panel rather than directly behind the TV screen resulting in a thinner television set.
This television is relatively slim and aesthetically pleasing especially when you take into account how affordable it is with a suggested retail price of only $749.99 (you can find it cheaper, around $500, at big online retailers). When I got my LG Plasma TV back in the day, I was so excited at how much lighter it was in weight compared to other the TV’s back then and now, I feel the same excitement with this television. The 42LS3400 weighs in at 32 pounds with the TV stand and 28.9 pounds without the stand. It’s not the lightest TV out there but light enough for me to handle by myself and it’s not like I’m going to be hauling it around on a daily basis.
Setting the TV up is very simple and all the functions and basic inputs are well thought out. The 42LS3400 features one USB input, two HDMI inputs, AV input, Component Video In, and RF In (Antenna/Cable). One of my favorite features is the Intelligent Sensor which automatically adjusts the picture quality according to the lighting and color conditions in the room. So no more messing around with all those settings unless you really, really have a trained eye for that sort of thing. The USB feature is also very neat and you can input all your pictures and music files onto the TV. Unfortunately, it will not play video files which would be really cool and handy. Perhaps you can with higher-end models from LG and other brands?
The Design & Functionality
As mentioned, the 42LS3400 is a nice looking TV for this price range. I know LG offers some super sexy televisions in the high-end models but we’re only talking $750 (or less) here, which by the way offers great picture quality. On the TV set, the controls for the device are on the bottom, front right corner. The controls here are all touch sensitive and this is where you have access to basic functions such as volume, changing the channel, input, accessing settings and of course, the power on/off button. The remote control does what it was intended to do and one cool feature on it is the handy energy savings button which can control the brightness of the screen. The motion control remote controller offered on the high-end LG model would be pretty sweet on this TV but perhaps I’ll upgrade in the next couple of years or get another offer from LG to review it.
Performance & Interface
What makes the LS3400 Series a great bang for the buck is the picture quality in this price range. The colors displayed are impressive and the refresh rate of 60Hz on the television set was sufficient enough for my viewing needs. I also really enjoyed the wide viewing angle especially at my place which has seating all over the place. So even those poor people in the corner of the room can enjoy the movies and crappy reality shows I watch. The 42-inch I have here has a resolution of 1080p while the smaller, 32-inch 32LS3400 offers 720p. For those of you who are super picky about picture quality, this television has a number of settings to choose from. For those who are lazy, the Intelligent Sensor would be ideal which lets the TV adjusts everything automatically according to lighting conditions in the room. In Vivid mode, the colors are very bright and saturated. The Standard setting averages all the colors out and gives an “average” look to anything being viewed. The Sports mode makes adjustments for viewing…..sports. Even though the TV is 60Hz, it’s not bad to watch sports and I had no viewing issues. In Cinema mode, expect to see color accuracy over brightness. I haven’t tried the Game mode yet but again, 60Hz might not be sufficient although the game mode might make things a bit better. There are also two other Expert modes which I’m not even going to touch with my lack of “Audio/Visual know how”.
The menu interface on the LS3400 Series is not very fancy looking but it gets the job done well and it’s very easy to to navigate. The menu option has eight settings: channel, picture, audio, option, time, lock, input, and USB. Most of these settings are adjustable including more advanced settings such as vertical and horizontal sharpness.
Although I didn’t mess around too much with the settings, I did calibrate the television a tiny bit to make it a little easier on the eyes. For example, I calibrated the default settings to the following and I’m happy with the changes in picture quality and sharpness.
Overall, I’m very happy with the quality and performance of the LG 42LS3400 LED TV. Even with the backlight cranked all the way up, the device uses far less electricity than other brands in this range. It may not have as many ports as other higher priced televisions but it makes up for it in its great picture quality and accuracy. If you are looking for a great LED television on a budget, the LG 42LS3400 is your best bet with prices ranging from $500 – $749.99 on Amazon, depending on where you look, and with the holidays right around the corner, this TV could make for a perfect last minute gift. For more information, check out the official LG Electronics website.