Build Quality and DesignNot only does the 32LW450U have to do without these online features, it also has just one USB port in place of the two offered by the LW550T. That isn't necessarily the end of the world, though, as the vast majority of people still don't use the second USB port, or connected services on their TV for that matter. A welcome side-effect is a noticeable drop in price. The only real disappointment is the reduction in the number of HDMI ports from four to three.
Other than that, LG's latest TV uses the same IPS display with a matte finish and Edge LED backlighting, helping keep it to a very slim 3.5 cm. That USB port is connected straight to the media player, and by plugging in an external storage device, you can access your own photos, music and videos. LG's media player is one of the best out there. It might not be able to handle MTS or M2TS files, but the majority of HD video played without any problems, as did subtitles. The addition of the DivxV Plus HD standard is far from indispensable, but does guarantee support for chapters and multiple subtitle and audio tracks in MKV files.
The design has had some work too: the rather dubious red trim on the edge of the LW550T has disappeared in favour of a more refined look.
The TV has the same remote as its predecessors. It has a modern design with backlit buttons, which can be very handy when you're watching a film with the lights turned down.
Good quality anti-glare coating on the screen
Ghosting and Input LagWe're pretty sure that the LW450U has the same display as the LG 47LW550T, and it pulled off the same less than impressive result of 20 ms in our ghosting time test. The current avearge for other TVs is closer to 12 ms, so you can expect to notice ghosting when watching films on the LW450U.
The input lag is also pretty high. We measured it at 66 ms, or an average of four frames, which is enough to hold dedicated gamers back if their rivals are playing using CRT monitors or LCD screens without any lag.
Image QualityIt might have as much ghosting and input lag as the LG 47LW550T, but the default image settings on the LW450U are much better, despite the difference in price. It manages to accurately reproduce colours, with an average delta of 2.7 and has almost perfect gamma straight out of the box, which is a rare feat indeed. The only real problem is greys that occasionally look too blue, but it's a very subtle nuance.
Switching to IFS Expert mode gets rid of that extra blue note to greys. The change of modes doesn't affect anything else, and it's just as well. The viewing angles are much wider than on an ordinary LCD TV, scoring 2.5/5, even if plasma technology still has a clear lead.
Other than that, the picture quality of HD video is absolutely perfect. The TruMotion 200 Hz filter does a good job of smoothing out fast-moving objects without adding visual artefacts or making films look like they've been shot using a camcorder. Our recommended settings are to put Judder at 3 and Blur at 8, which is enough to almost completely remove any trace of ghosting.
As with all televisions, upscaling of SD content remains somewhat blurry. A good Blu-ray or DVD player, or a games console, will do a much better job and leave you with a sharper, more detailed picture.
Not only does the LW450U arrive with a well-adjusted display, it doesn't suffer from any clouding either. That's welcome news as most TVs with Edge LED have this problem with light leaking around the side of the display.
Image Quality: 3DLet's start this section by looking at the 2D-to-3D conversion, and the results are far from spectacular. It only adds a touch more depth of field and isn't going to blow anybody away.
Instead we recommend you stick to genuine 3D content, even if there aren't that many programmes, films or games available just yet. If you do, the quality is absolutely stunjning. There's no denying it: the 32LW450U is quite simply the best 3D TV with an LCD display that we've ever tested in the lab. It's alsmost as good as plasma TVs, the usual reference in this field. The only problem is a slight hint of crosstalk, interference between the signals destined for each eye. It's most visible in highly-contrasted areas, which can affect subtitles against a black background.
NB: it's worth pointing out that we tested the 32'' version of the LG LW450U, but we tested both the LW550T and the LW650S in 47''. It's perfectly possible that the 3D filters are better suited to a 32'' display. We're hoping to compare the quality of the 3D across several different sizes of TV in the same range.
Here's what we saw through the glasses (LG 32LW450U above, Samsung UE40D6500 below):
The LG LW450U comes with two pairs of passive 3D glasses similar to those you'll find in your local cinema. If you want enough for the whole family, you'll need to buy some more, but that's much less expensive than with active glasses. One of the main advantages of passive technology is that the polarised glasses it relies on are not just cheaper but also lighter and more comfortable because they don't contain any battery-powered electronics.
There are, however, some drawbacks as well. Because the display is polarised, the vertical resolution is divided in two, leaving two frames measuring 1920 x 540 pixels, producing reasonable quality 720p video, unlike the Full HD 3D 1920 x 1080 pixel video produced by active technology.
Another problem, which can be a real concern for some people, is that the vertical viewing angles are much narrower. You need to be careful to sit not too low and not too high to get a good quality 3D picture. Otherwise, crosstalk becomes a real problem.
Audio QualityThe LW450U very clearly has the same speakers as the LG 47LW550T. There's hardly any bass, but the treble and mid-range are both well handled, meaning that it will be more than enough for watching most TV programmes. A Home Cinema kit would be a worthwhile investment if you're planning on watching a lot of films.
Energy ConsumptionThe energy consumption is under control, but other TVs do better. We found that this 32'' version of the LW450U used 70 W, or 248 W/m², which compares less favourably with the LG 47LW550T's 128 W/m², meaning it can't receive the same five-star rating as its big brother.
- Attractive results in 2D and 3D
- Matte display (not many reflections) and accurate colour reproduction (average deltaE: 2.7)
- Light, comfortable 3D glasses
- Good media player and low energy consumption (70 W)
- One of the best LCD 3D TVs: not much crosstalk and less eyestrain than with active 3D technology
- Contrast ratio not quite perfect (1270:1)
- Media player doesn't support M2TS or MTS files
- Only 3 HDMI ports
With great picture quality and excellent results in 3D, the LG LW450U could easily have earned our top five-star rating. Unfortunately, however, the low contrast ratio produced by the IPS display technology isn't quite good enough.