Not content with making some of the best budget screens around, LG is now targeting the premium end of the market with this gorgeous 55-inch LCD TV that packs in a huge range of features, including direct LED backlighting, Internet streaming and active 3D support. All this technology doesn't come cheap, though. The LG Infinia 55LX9900 weighs in at a wallet-bashing £2,600.
Dapper design for your dosh
As you would expect when you're shelling out this kind of dosh, the LX9900's design is absolutely top class. Viewed from the front, the bezel around the screen looks practically non-existent -- it extends just 20mm from the edge of the display, and that's including a narrow transparent lip on the outer edge.
The effect is further enhanced by the telly's unibody-style construction, where the display and bezel blend seamlessly together. But the innovation doesn't end there. Despite having direct LED backlighting, the display is actually slimmer than some edge-lit LED screens that we've seen, measuring just 32mm deep.
Given its waif-like dimensions, you'd be forgiven for thinking LG would struggle to find enough space for a reasonable line-up of ports, but that's certainly not the case. In fact, you'll find a full four HDMI ports along with two USB ports, a VGA connector and Ethernet port.
As with pretty much all of LG's current TVs, this set's menus are impeccably presented -- they make liberal use of bright colours and large icons. The layout of the menu system is also first-rate, making it easy to adjust the TV's comprehensive picture controls.
What about the Web?
What's not so impressive is the selection of Internet features. While Sony and Panasonic now offer services like Lovefilm and the BBC iPlayer, with this model you only get YouTube, Picasa and AccuWeather, which is very disappointing given the high price tag.
Nevertheless, it does support media playback of photos, music and videos either from the USB port or from a PC across your home network. The LX9900 worked without any problems with video formats like Xvid and DivX.
2D with flying colours
With 2D pictures, the set is difficult to fault. The colour palette is bright and punchy and rarely wanders into over-saturated territory. Blacks are deep and detail is very sharp, too, especially when displaying high-definition pictures either from the Freeview HD tuner or movies on Blu-ray. It's also refreshingly sure-footed when it comes to dealing with subtle shadow detail.
LG claims the TV has an impressive 400Hz refresh rate, but this is an embellishment on the Korean manufacturer's part. It actually has a 200Hz refresh rate plus a scanning backlight that allows it to bump up to figure. Nevertheless, motion is handled with aplomb making the set great for sports fans.
There is a downside to the direct LED backlighting, however. When you have a very bright subject against a dark backdrop -- white text on a jet-black background during the credits, for instance -- you can see haloing around the text. In saying that, it doesn't happen too often, and during action-packed movie scenes, you'd be hard pushed to spot it.
What's harder to stomach, given the high price of the set, is its 3D performance. On the plus side, LG has included two pairs of comfortable active shutter glasses. The TV's high level of brightness means that even when you're wearing the specs, images still look very punchy. That said, we found the LX9900 suffered from severe crosstalk -- much more so than some of Samsung's recent 3D models. This manifests itself as ghosting or doubling of objects in the far and mid distance, and it is very distracting. In fact, we'd go so far as to say this is not a TV we'd recommend for 3D viewing at all.
As is often the case with these slimline TVs, the set's audio isn't exactly what you'd describe as full-bodied. The built-in 10W speakers struggle to produce much in the way of bass, but then with a screen of this size, it would be criminal not to twin it with a decent surround-sound set-up.
Overall, the LG Infinia 55LX9900 is a stunning TV with excellent 2D performance thanks to its deep black levels and rich, natural colours. On the flip side, major problems with crosstalk mean it's difficult to recommend for 3D viewing, and the line-up of Internet services is disappointing on a set that slots into the premium end of the market.
Edited by Emma Bayly