You can adjust almost all aspects of the picture and sound, but LG has helpfully included several presets, including an 'Intelligent Eye' picture mode which automatically tweaks the image to suit your room's current light levels. It doesn't replace a bit of judicious human adjustment, but comes in handy all the same.
Feed the television some 1080p content and you get a fantastic picture -- although we're not entirely convinced that a 42-inch screen is really large enough to demonstrate the format's added detail and smooth motion. Unless you're sitting very close to the screen, you'll be hard-pressed to tell the difference between 720p, 1080i and 1080p material.
Still, it all looks excellent on the LG, and for several reasons. First, the image is sharp when it needs to be: stick on a football match via Sky HD and you'll be able to pick out tiny details such as individual blades of grass on a football field, and the faces of spectators will be frighteningly crisp.
This TV also does a good job of colour reproduction. It comes with 'Wide Colour Gamut', which essentially means that certain colours appear to be incredibly bright and saturated. Reds are a particularly notable example: the England footie team's away shirt looks incredibly vibrant on this screen, to the point where several people in the testing room enquired as to whether something odd was going on with the broadcast. It's not for everybody, but then that's what the TV's colour adjustment settings are for.
While the black levels of the screen aren't especially impressive, they are fairly respectable for an affordable LCD TV. Large areas of black can look slightly weak at times, but during general viewing you'll be unlikely to notice anything bad enough to put you off the programme you're watching.
Motion is smooth and free from smearing, which, along with the vibrant colour reproduction, makes the TV well suited to gaming.
The TV's virtues of blazing colours and smooth motion mean it also does a fine job with standard-definition material. DVDs look great here, and even pictures from the built-in Freeview tuner look reasonably clean and noise-free after a touch of tweaking in the menus.
Sound quality also gets the thumbs up from us. Don't expect anything particularly bassy or crystal clear, but the small speakers deliver strong audio in a wide arc -- sit directly in front of the screen and you get the impression that sound is coming from spots quite far to the left and right of it.
All things considered, this is a great buy for £1,300. While it might not be quite large enough to really show what 1080p can do, you're still guaranteed a sharp, vibrant image with an HD source.
The fact that it supports 1:1 pixel mapping for 1080i and 1080p means that PC users are also well catered for, and the design and usability are both rock solid.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Kate Macefield