With its Nanocell LCD TVs, LG offers a whole range of models that make up a large middle class. The LG 49SM8200PLA LCD LED is the lowest model that still belongs to this series. Is the quality still sufficient here and what do you specify?
LG 49SM8200PLA – specifications
- What: Ultra HD 4K LCD TV, edge led with local dimming (6 × 1)
- Screen size: 49 inch ( 123 cm), flat
- Connections: 4x HDMI (v2.0, ARC, ALLM), 1x optical digital out, 2x USB, 2x antenna, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2
- Extras: HDR10, HLG, WiFi (802.11ac ) built-in, WebOS 4.5, USB / DLNA media player, DVB-T2 / C / S2, single CI + slot
- Dimensions: 1,096 x 710 x 263 mm (incl. base)
- Weight: 15.5 kg ( incl. base)
- Consumption: 89 / 0.5 watt (Energy rating A)
- List price: 799 euros
LG 49SM8200PLA – Design
Slim profile, simple but beautiful finish, the SM8200 series has the looks that you expect from a modern television. The back has a brushed metal finish.
The 49SM8200PLA stands on a beautiful, sickle-shaped base that leaves room in the neck to route the cables under a cover plate. The construction was a bit more robust, the screen clearly moves when you touch it.
LG 49SM8200PLA – Connections
This television is equipped with four HDMI 2.0 connections with ARC and ALLM. Although LG does claim support for 2K HFR, it is limited to 60fps, and we strictly do not count that as HFR .
Two HDMI connections and one of the two USB connections are on the side, all other connections are at the back and point to the wall. That can be difficult if you want a flat wall mounting.
WiSA (Wireless Speaker and Audio), a feature that LG introduced this year, is missing. You will also find a headphone jack in vain. You can use a Bluetooth headset. Airplay2 is a welcome addition for Apple users.
LG 49SM8200PLA – Ease of use and smart TV
Like all LG smart TVs, the 49SM8200PLA is equipped with WebOS 4.5. You can read all the possibilities of this smart TV system in our WebOS background article . For smart speech support you can count on the Google Assistant, although it is still waiting for full Dutch support for ThinQ AI. The SM8200 series has a full set of tuners, although not dual tuners. You can record to USB hard disk.
With the Magic Remote you point to the screen and control the cursor that appears on the screen with small movements. It is a handy way to control the TV although it may take some time to get used to it. However, the remote also has full complement keys so that you can use it in the traditional way, if you wish. The most important change compared to last year is the three tests below. The first is a shortcut for Rakuten TV (although the caption says “Movies”), and the other two keys are for “play” and “pause.”
The remote can now also be configured to to use other connected devices. To set this up, go to the “Home Dashboard” and click on “Settings, Device Connection”. Or alternatively, via the general menu, “Connection, Device Connection”. The most functions can be reached via the ‘more actions’ key, recognizable by the three dots, it is at the bottom right of the numeric block.
LG 49SM8200PLA – Image processing
The SM8200 series, unlike all higher models from LG, no use of the second generation Alpha7 processor. That means that features such as AI Picture and AI Brigthness are not available. Nevertheless, the overall performance for image processing is still excellent. Deinterlacing is excellent, and the television quickly and reliably recognizes different video and film frame rates, so you rarely see moiré or jagged edges. The noise reduction is less sophisticated than on the Alpha processors, but still delivers good results for random noise. Compression noise (block formation), however, is less effective. Leave both settings on “low”, so you eliminate most noise without making the image excessively soft. The “Smooth gradations” setting is available to prevent color bands and contouring. The LG eliminates soft errors so easily, but more pronounced banding problems remain visible. Because the image makes a generally quite soft impression, that is rarely a problem.
Since this 49SM8200PLA uses a 50Hz panel, you significantly lose in terms of motion sharpness . A lot of detail disappears in fast-moving images, and you often see a slight double border around moving objects. Keep TruMotion in the “clear” position. If you also want to make pan-images smoother, choose ‘Fluent’, even if you have to include some image artifacts if the action is rather complex.
Here you will find an explanation of the most important image settings and tips for setting up your TV.
|General||Advanced operation||Image Options|
|Image Mode: Cinema
Aspect Ratio Setting: Original / Scan: On
Energy saving: Off
|Dynamic Contrast: Off / low
Dynamic tone mapping: Off / On
Super resolution: Low
Color range: Auto
Gamma: 2.2 / BT.1886
White balance: Warm2
|Noise reduction: Low
MPEG noise reduction: Low
Smooth Gradation: Low
Black Level: Automatic
Real Cinema: On
Motion Eye Care: Off
Local Dimming LED: Medium
LG 49SM8200PLA – Image Quality
LG uses IPS panels in its LCD models. They provide a good viewing angle, but a moderate contrast of around 900: 1. To improve performance a bit, the edge LED background lighting is subdivided into six columns that can be dimmed individually. This increases the contrast in some tests to 2,000: 1. The limited number of segments and the fact that it concerns full columns limits LG of course to make strong use of dimming. If you set the “LED local dimming” setting to the highest position, you will notice immediately.
In dark scenes you can easily see the columns light up and subtitles have a visible impact on the image. Therefore, keep this setting on average, which offers the best contrast improvement with the least impact on the image. If you want to improve contrast a little, activate ‘Dynamic Contrast’, but remain the lowest setting. Higher settings hide too much black detail. The uniformity of the screen is excellent.
In the Cinema image mode we see a well-calibrated image. The gray scale is predominantly neutral, with a very slight tendency to turn blue in the dark parts and a hint of yellow in the clear parts. The color reproduction is generally excellent. The screen shows fine black detail, and you can choose to set the gamma setting to BT.1886 for a slightly darker, more intense image, at least if you look at darkening. This is not required in the typical living room viewing conditions.
The LG performs best with clear images, where it creates a relatively soft but very pleasant image.
Another one the features you leave behind when choosing the SM8200 series is Dolby Vision. The LG SM8200 only supports HDR10 and HLG. That is a shame because the added value of HDR10 + and Dolby Vision is high on these mid-sized cars. The dynamic tone mapping performed by the TV itself is still available.
The IPS screen delivers a decent peak luminance of around 530 nits on a 10% window and 336 nits on a completely white screen. That is sufficient to clearly see the impact of HDR. The color range of the Nanocell technology is good: 86% DCI-P3 and 63% Rec.2020, perfectly in line with other LCD TVs. The relatively weak contrast weighs somewhat more clearly in the results in HDR if you have dark images with very clear accents. Then you see the background lighting a bit more clearly at work.
With the “Dynamic Tonemapping” setting, LG tries to imitate the effect of HDR10 +. The results can vary. In some predominantly dark images, the light accents became brighter, creating a more punchy image. In predominantly clear images, the image often becomes slightly darker, but the light accents and white nuances come into their own better. In that case, you exchange some brightness for more visible nuance. Unless you really prefer more brightness, we recommend that Dynamic Tone Mapping be activated.
The calibration of the 49SM8200PLA is good, with fairly pure color reproduction. The brightness curve does show that low and medium tones are shown too brightly. Given the ideal viewing conditions for this device, we assume that the ambient light is not too heavy.
Gaming, reflections and viewing angle
The viewing angle of the IPS screen in the 49SM8200PLA is fine. The image loses further contrast, but shifts relatively little in color. Because the gamma curve is well preserved, you also have a good view from a wide angle. The LG repels reflections well, but attention to the correct lighting remains required. In cinema mode we measure a lag of 98.2 ms, as with all manufacturers this is quite high. The lag drops to 13.3 ms in game mode, an excellent result. The SM8200 supports ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) but no Variable Refresh Rate (VRR).
LG 49SM8200PLA – Sound quality
Dolby Atmos support is missing on the SM8200 series models (replaced by DTS Virtual: X but given the limited audio performance, that’s not a big loss. This mid-sized car comes at the start with a 20W 2.0 solution. It delivers good sound for normal TV viewing, but quickly shows its limitations when you play some more robust soundtracks or more aggressive music genres. That is no surprise in this category.
LG 49SM8200PLA – Conclusion
The 49SM8200PLS (SM8200 series) also uses LG’s proven formula: an IPS panel, combined with relatively limited local dimming. The result is a clear improvement in contrast, but as in higher models, you encounter limitations when you combine dark images with clear accents. Nevertheless, the disruptive effect remains fairly well under control, provided the correct settings are made. It is clear that you have to give something up at the bottom of the Nanocell LCD TV segment: the device has neither Dolby Vision nor HDR10 +, while it would benefit greatly from that. The sound performance is not bad, but does not rise above average, and there is no support for Dolby Atmos. Also, HDMI 2.1 connections are missing, the TV only supports ALLM in addition to ARC. The 50 Hz panel is also forced to reveal detail in fast-moving images.
With that in mind, this LG 49SM8200PLA clearly aims at an average family situation. You watch varied content, usually with some ambient light. The results are good in that context. The LG has a nice color reproduction, sufficient black detail, excellent image processing and he can still display good-looking HDR images. The short input lag is an asset for gamers. And with WebOS 4.5 you get a modern and pleasant smart TV system at home. The price seems correct, especially if you know that you can often find the device considerably cheaper than the official price.