Despite testing with a surprisingly good black level and decent color accuracy, this LG exhibited a high degree of grayscale error and poor overall color temperature, which really dragged down its score.
If you're in the market for an affordable TV to handle the basics (sports, cable, previous-generation console gaming), the LG 29LB4510 (MSRP $259.99) might be worth a look. If you're searching for competitive picture quality, you'd better search elsewhere.
It's not that the LB4510 is spectacularly bad. In fact, given the price and the specs, this is a fairly average television. And that's just it: From the screen size, to the resolution, to the irritating software menu, don't expect for this LG to perform beyond its lowly class—or even beyond its competition.
We test and rate every television prior to calibration, and then we dig into its menu to see what it can really do. This gives us an idea of the TV’s initial performance as well as an estimation of its potential. We understand that ultimately not every user will calibrate their TV, therefore it’s critical to take into consideration its out-of-the-box performance.
The LG 29LB4510 was a difficult television to calibrate due to the fact that most of the RGB customization options didn’t appear to do anything at all. In the end, my calibration did make a difference, but the menu's empty promises didn't make it easy.
I started in the LG 29LB4510’s “Expert1” picture mode and chose the “Warm2” color temperature. From there, I raised the gamma to 2.4, increased the backlight to 50, and adjusted the red and blue highs in the 2-point white balance control to 8 and 2 respectively.
Menu navigation is a headache.
Aesthetically speaking, the LG 29LB4510 is about as standard as televisions come. The most interesting aspect of this display's ensemble is the crosshatch texture on the back of its panel, which surrounds a single HDMI port, AV and component ports, a USB port, and a VGA dock. The USB and VGA options are always appreciated, but more than one HDMI port would have gone a long way for a TV of this caliber.
At first glance, this LG’s remote control looks like a standard, run-of-the-mill clicker, but pick it up and cycle through some of the customization options. Its flaws quickly become apparent.
There’s a button for Picture that opens a different menu than the one you’ll find under Settings. There are separate buttons for both "audio" and “sound,” and separate buttons for “menu” and “settings,” too. The result is obnoxious: There are two different menus for customizing audio options and three different ways to access them.
The remote is only half the problem, though. The LB4510’s menu software is a maze, making customization much tougher than it ought to be. Calibrating this TV is like navigating a proverbial minefield of dead ends and redundant options.
By measuring grayscale we get a fairly good indication of whether or not a TV is balancing its red, green, and blue sub-pixels. These three primary colors produce black, white, and gray, so when we measure grayscale, we’re actually measuring how the RGB sub-pixels are behaving.
Grayscale error is measured in “DeltaE” across a 10-point scale from black to peak white. An ideal result for this test is a DeltaE of 3 or less.
Before calibration, the LG 29LB4510 was averaging 8.13. After calibration, it improved significantly and dropped to exactly 4.
For our RGB balance test results, we’d like to see an equal distribution of red, green, and blue measurements throughout the middle of this graph. This would indicate that, throughout the entire grayscale, the TV emphasized its RGB sub-pixels evenly.
Despite the some of the bunk RGB customization options mentioned in the review, the LG 29LB4510 featured decent post-calibration results. However, around the 40 IRE level, the TV begins to overemphasize blue sub-pixels. It evens out as it approaches peak brightness, but it struggles consistently with reds and blues.
A great black level foiled by grayscale errors
The first thing I noticed when watching a Blu-ray on the LG 29LB4510 was how poorly it communicated various shades of gray. Shadows, architecture, and dimly lit nighttime scenes suffer the most, as objects shrouded in darkness bleed into the colors around them. Settings that ought to look deep and dynamic instead appear rather flat.
That's a shame, too, because this TV's black level is great for an entry-level model. If this panel didn't struggle so much in its delivery of darker grays, its picture would look much more convincing.
The motion performance was adequate, at least. Surprisingly, there was very little choppiness during camera pans and tracking shots, which means the 29LB4510 is a decent television for watching sports. Basic cable or console gaming could be a viable option as well, provided you're still using a last-generation console like an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3.
Overall, these are not the makings of a stellar television, but given the price and the hardware, this shouldn't come as a surprise. At the end of the day, the biggest problem with this little TV is that it can't keep up with its competitors, like this Samsung H4000.
Unless your needs are meager, save your money.
The LG 29LB4510 is a modest TV with a modest price tag. If your expectations are equally modest, it might be a decent fit. Ostensibly, it would be right at home in a dorm room, a kitchen, or a guest room.
As for its picture quality, this little panel can't handle Blu-rays particularly well, but casual daytime viewing will look good enough for most. If you care much about movie night, you may as well avoid this TV's nightmarish menu set, cough up a few more dollars, and buy a (much) better television.
The LG 29LB4510 did not do well on our viewing angle test, especially when stacked up against comparable TVs. I tested a total viewing angle of 36° (or ±18°.)
Next to the competition, this is painful. Luckily, this is a tiny television—group viewing seems an unlikely scenario.
A TV’s contrast ratio is the difference between its deepest representation of black and it’s brightest representation of white. We test these capabilities to find out how effectively a panel can render shadows and highlights, and whether its best suited to dark or bright rooms.
All things considered, the LG 29LB4510’s contrast ratio of 3260:1 is not bad at all. I tested a black level of 0.043 cd/m2 and a peak brightness of 140.20 cd/m2 . These measurements qualify this little TV for dark or sunny rooms.
Color gamut is a visual representation of a TV's color output, as compared to the international standard. There are 7 points on a color gamut: 3 primary points (red, green, and blue,) 3 secondary points (yellow, magenta and cyan,) and a center point, which represents black, gray, and white.
Ideally, each of these points should fall precisely where the international standards dictate.
In the case of the LG 29LB4510, I found that it struggled a bit with reds and blues. As I previously mentioned, several color customization options within the settings menu did not seem to do anything at all, so I was unable to correct these discrepancies in saturation/hue using the TV's built-in color controls. Fortunately, the colors weren't too terribly skewed in the first place.
Meet the tester
Senior Staff Writer@Reviewed
Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.
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