Recent LG sets have managed to combine good looks with truckloads of features and impressive performance, so we were keen to see whether the remarkably slim, 37-inch, 1080p LG 37LE5900 LCD TV with LED edge lights was able to continue this trend, especially as it's quite reasonably priced at around £700.
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There's no denying this TV's showroom appeal. Not only is it super slim, at just 40mm deep, but the bezel is finished with a smart, glossy black coating that shows a slight tinge of red when the light hits it from the right angle. There's also a row of beautiful touch buttons perched along the bottom right-hand corner of the set.
This 37-incher isn't found wanting when it comes to the range of connections available. There are four HDMI ports (one of which is side-mounted for easy access), as well as component sockets, a Scart connector and an optical-digital audio output. This is perfect for feeding audio from the on-board Freeview HD tuner to a surround-sound amp. The TV also has two USB ports and an Ethernet socket for digital media playback.
LG is leading the charge when it comes to equipping TVs with Internet and media-streaming features, and this set certainly follows suit. The range of Internet services available on the TV's Netcast system is a little limited, however -- you only get access to YouTube, Picasa and the AccuWeather forecasting service.
On the other hand, the TV's media-streaming features are satisfyingly comprehensive. The 37LE5900 is DNLA-certified, so you can connect your PC or network-attached storage unit via its Ethernet port to stream music, photos and videos. DivX and 1080p high-definition support means video playback is especially spectacular.
Like most of LG's recent tellies, the 37LE5900's menus are easy to navigate and attractively presented thanks to colourful icons. The electronic programme guide is also well laid-out and a cinch to use.
The TV possesses an LED edge-lit, Full HD panel. LED backlighting generally improves a TV's black levels, but the 37LE5900 is a little disappointing in this area. There's some haloing around the backlights at the edge of the screen during very dark scenes and blacks just never seem as deep as we've seen on LED sets from rival manufacturers. Colours are also a smidgen less punchy and in-your-face than some of LG's own higher-end TVs, like the 42LE7900.
Nevertheless, its sharpness is hard to fault when displaying high-definition material from either the Freeview HD tuner or Blu-ray movies. Images really are superbly detailed with every blade of grass and strand of hair beautifully rendered.
When it comes to standard-definition content, however, the 37LE5900 isn't as kind as some models from the likes of Panasonic and Philips. Heavily compressed channels on Freeview, such as More4, can look decidedly ragged -- the set doesn't smooth over the rough edges in the way that other, more-forgiving TVs do. You can make the picture slightly more acceptable by turning down the sharpness setting, but this does affect the overall clarity and you'll need to adjust it back up when you're looking at less-compressed channels, like BBC One and Two.
As with a lot of LED sets, the TV's audio is compromised by the sheer slimness of the chassis -- there simply isn't enough room to fit a decent set of speakers in that skinny frame. The speakers may be rated at 10W, and are certainly capable of filling a decent-sized living room, but the audio they produce is so focused on mid and high frequencies there's very little in the way of bass, even when you crank it up to full. While soaps and game shows sound perfectly acceptable, the sound system just doesn't have the oomph needed for the explosions and pounding music of action flicks.
LG has produced a very capable set in the 37LE5900. It packs in stacks of features and produces remarkably sharp pictures in high definition. Its colours, however, aren't as punchy as other LED sets. It's also not as adept at upscaling standard-definition content as some of Panasonic's similarly priced offerings.
Edited by Emma Bayly