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Sony XR X90K review: an affordable 4K TV that’s perfect for PS5

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Sony’s full-array LED TV is the brand’s best-value set

(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

As Sony’s next-to-flagship LCD TV, the X90K series delivers impressive performance for the price. Its full-array LED backlight features local dimming for deep blacks, and its LCD panel has quantum dots for enhanced brightness and color. It’s not the brightest TV you can buy – you’ll need to step up to a mini-LED model for that – and some blooming and uniformity issues make it a lesser choice compared to OLED TVs, but the X90K’s video and audio quality, Google TV interface, ATSC 3.0 tuner, and extensive gaming features including 4K 120Hz support make it a great overall value.

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Cons
  • Light output doesn’t match mini-LED TVs

  • Picture fade at far off-center seats

  • Overly basic remote lacks backlighting

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Sony X90K: Two-minute review

Sony’s XR X90K is a step-up series in the company’s LCD TV lineup, slotting in just below the flagship X95K models. A key difference between the two lines is that the X95K series uses mini-LED backlighting, while the X90K has a full-array LED backlight.

Even with that difference, the 65-inch X90K series TV we tested delivered pictures with impressive brightness, and the local dimming processing used by the set’s full-array backlight created powerful blacks with good shadow detail and only limited backlight “blooming.” For the price, the X90K’s overall performance is very good and should satisfy even fussy viewers.

  • Sony XR-65X90K (Black) at Best Buy for $1,199.99

The X90K series is the next-gen version of the company’s X90J sets, a series that currently sits on our list of the best 4K TVs. X90K sets carry over many features from that line, including Sony’s XR Triluminos Pro panel, which combines with its Cognitive Processor XR and Contrast Booster XR features to deliver HDR images with powerful contrast and a rich color range. XR90K series TVs lack X-Wide Angle, a feature found in the flagship XR95K line that improves off-axis performance, but as long as you watch within a 30 degree viewing angle (basically, the width of an average sofa) that shouldn’t be an issue.

The X90K’s Acoustic Multi-Audio feature uses separate tweeters located on the top left and right sides of the TV and delivers above-average sound quality, with consistently clear dialogue and even spatial effects with Dolby Atmos soundtracks. You can get much better audio quality by using a separate soundbar system, but until you make that buying decision, the X90K’s built-in speakers will tide you over.

The X90K series uses the Google TV interface for streaming and setup and it can be voice-controlled using either the TV’s built-in mic or the one in Sony’s remote control. Most popular streaming apps are provided and Google users can sign in with their credentials to unlock other features like viewing Google Photos libraries. For US viewers, there’s also an ATSC 3. 0 tuner, a feature that makes the TV compatible with next-gen digital TV broadcasts with 4K resolution and Dolby Atmos sound.

Sony’s basic design for the X90K series is highlighted by a multi-position stand that can be elevated to clear space for a soundbar. The set’s small remote control has a busy layout and the buttons are difficult to read in the dark. On-screen menus are easy to access and navigate, but the abundant picture settings on offer will try the patience of those who don’t like to waste time on setup – something this TV definitely benefits from.

With two HDMI 2.1 inputs and support for 4K/120Hz, VRR, and ALLM, the X90K series TVs are a great option for gaming. They are also Perfect for PlayStation 5, a Sony initiative that activates both Auto HDR Tone Mapping and an Auto Genre Picture Mode to optimize the image when a PS5 console is connected.

The value of the X90K series is very good, especially now that we’re nearing the end of 2022 and discounts can be found on all screen sizes. You’ll pay twice as much to step up to Sony’s flagship X95K series, while the step-down A85K series lacks the X90K’s local-dimming backlight. In the wider context of Sony’s overall TV lineup, the X90K likely offers the most bang for the buck.

Sony X90K review: price and release date

  • Release date: April 25, 2022
  • XR-55X90K: $999 / £899 / AU$1,675
  • XR-65X90K: $1,299 / £1,299 / AU$1,885
  • XR-77X90K: $1,699 / £1,699 / AU$2,785
  • XR-85X90K: $2,299 / £2,699 / AU$4,265

Sony’s X90K series TVs are available in screen sizes ranging from 55 to 85 inches. They are the company’s mid-range LED models, slotting in between the budget X85K series and the flagship X95K series, with the latter being Sony’s first mini-LED backlit models. The X90K series uses a full-array LED backlight with local dimming processing.

The X90K’s back panel inputs include two HDMI 2. 1 ports that support 4K 120Hz. (Image credit: Future)

Sony X90K review: features

  • Google TV interface
  • Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG high dynamic range 
  • HDMI 2.1 inputs with 4K 120Hz, VRR, ALLM and eARC
  • ATSC 3.0 tuner

Like other Sony TVs, the X90K series uses the Google TV smart interface for browsing and streaming and it has Google Assistant for voice searches, either hands-free using the TV’s built-in mic or the one in the TV’s remote. Onboard apps include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Apple TV, Disney Plus, and loads more.

Picture processing on X90K TVs is handled by the company’s Cognitive Processor XR and there’s also an XR Contrast Booster feature to maximize contrast with the TV’s local dimming active. An XR Triluminos Pro panel (quantum dots, basically) ensures an enhanced color range with HDR sources.

Of the TV’s four HDMI inputs, two have the following HDMI 2. 1 features: 4K/120Hz support, variable refresh rate (VRR), and auto low latency mode (ALLM). The X90K series models also have a built-in ATSC 3.0 tuner, allowing them to receive next-gen TV broadcasts in the US with features such as 4K resolution with HDR and Dolby Atmos sound.

Overall, the feature set of X90K series TVs is competitive with models from other brands in the same price range, though it falls a bit short of some LCD models in our best 4K TVs guide specifically in terms of connectivity and the lack of a mini-LED backlight.

  • Features Score: 4/5  

Sony X90K review: picture quality

  • Rich, accurate color
  • Deep blacks and good brightness 
  • Average off-center picture uniformity

The XR90K had fairly accurate out-of-box color in its default Cinema picture mode, though there was an overly reddish balance to images. Gamma was also somewhat off, making mid-tones appear overly dark. Both of these issues were corrected using Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software.

We also used Calman to measure the set’s coverage of DCI-P3, the color gamut used for mastering movies for digital cinema and 4K Blu-ray disc, which clocked in at 95%. That’s below what we measured on Sony’s A80K OLED TV, which covered full DCI-P3, but it’s in the same range as other affordable LED-backlit TVs like Vizio’s M-Series QX.

Peak brightness of the X90K measured 964 nits (on a 10% white window) in the standard HDR picture mode, and 450 nits in Cinema HDR mode. That’s an average level of performance for a TV of this type, though it’s notably less than you’d get from a set with a mini-LED backlight. (Some of the latest-generation OLED TVs like the LG G2 series can also deliver a higher level of peak brightness.)

One picture quality weakness that the X90K shares with many other LED-backlit LCD TVs is poor off-axis uniformity, with images looking pale and desaturated when viewed from a far off-center seat. This won’t be an issue for most viewing environments and situations, however, though some LCD TVs such as Sony’s own X95K series models with their X-Wide Angle feature, do a better job here.

Key specs

Screen size:  55, 65, 75, 85 inches
Resolution: 4K
Panel technology: QLED
HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
Audio support: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, DTS
Smart TV: Google TV
HDMI ports: 4 (2 HDMI 2.1)

Even with the Sony’s more limited peak light output compared to mini-LED models, I didn’t find myself wanting for brightness when viewing in a room with overhead lights on. And with lights dimmed for movie watching, the picture looked very punchy, with strong highlights and blacks.

Watching The Green Knight on Ultra HD Blu-ray, shadows in the scene where the Green Knight enters the castle to interrupt the king’s Christmas celebration looked well-detailed and deep. I did note a slight degree of backlight blooming on the opening titles and also in some of the scenes of wintry landscapes later on, but for the most part it was negligible with the set’s local dimming set to medium.

Elvis proved a bit more challenging for the X90K, especially in the wide shots of the Las Vegas skyline at night. In these, the overall brightness level of the picture seemed to elevate to a degree, though it’s not something most viewers would notice and be bothered by unless they were specifically looking for it. 

Colors in Elvis looked both rich and clean. In the scene where the King (a different king here) films his TV Christmas special, for example, the green and red holiday hues of the set popped out in an appealing way. And in a later scene where he’s performing during his Las Vegas residency, the giant red ELVIS sign on the stage had an strikingly intense glow.

  • Picture quality score: 4/5

A multi-position stand lets you adjust the height to accommodate soundbar placement. (Image credit: Future)

Sony X90K review: sound quality

  • Uses separate tweeters for more accurate sound positioning
  • Acoustic Audio Calibration tunes sound for viewing environment
  • Dolby Atmos with effective 3D surround upscaling

Sony’s Acoustic Multi-Audio feature in X90K series TVs uses both bottom mounted speakers and tweeters located at the top left and right sides of the TV to provide a more naturalistic audio presentation, with sound seeming to come from the screen itself. (Note that this is not the same feature as the company’s Acoustic Surface Audio+, where there are audio actuators embedded behind the set’s display panel.)

Other key audio features of the X90K series are Acoustic Audio Calibration, which tunes the sound output to your viewing environment, Voice Zoom for dialogue enhancement, and 3D surround upscaling. 

I found the TV’s sound to definitely be above-average, though it had a treble-forward quality – something made more prominent by the lack of bass extension in the set’s built-in speaker package. I was able to correct for this somewhat using an onscreen audio EQ feature, however, and afterward the music in the concert scenes from Elvis were much easier on the ears.

Dialogue sounded perfectly clear on Sony’s TV. Watching Top Gun: Maverick on Ultra HD Blu-ray, voices were always easy to make out, even in the flight exercise scenes. This disc also showed off the benefits of Acoustic Multi-Audio, with the trajectory of the jets coming through in a vivid and highly directional manner.

  • Sound quality score: 4/5

Sony’s basic remote limits the button count to the most essential controls. (Image credit: Future)

Sony X90K review: design

  • Slightly bulky form factor
  • Multi-position stand clears space for soundbar
  • Remote control lacks backlit keypad

Sony’s X90K series has a utilitarian design and is somewhat bulky due to the set’s full-array LED backlight. The screen is surrounded by a slim bezel and there’s an inset panel on the set’s rear for input connections. Two “sound positioning” tweeters located at the screen’s sides are used as part of its audio system to create a more immersive experience, yet one with accurate localization of sound on screen.

The TV’s multi-position stand lets you either set the screen flush with any stand its mounted on or elevate it to clear space for a soundbar. With the latter option, you get around 3 inches of clearance – enough to accommodate most soundbars.

Sony’s remote control is compact and lightweight, with buttons at the top to switch inputs and access setup menus, and toggles in the center to adjust volume and select channels. There are also buttons to activate the remote’s built-in mic and to quickly access Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and YouTube. I found that the remote’s congested button layout and lack of backlighting made it difficult to access controls in a dark room, forcing me to use my phone’s flashlight on numerous occasions.

  • Design score: 4/5

Search features on the Google TV interface used by the X90K extend to voice commands. (Image credit: Future)

Sony X90K review: smart TV & menus

  • Google TV interface
  • Google Assistant voice control
  • Picture menu has redundant options

The X90K’s Google TV interface is somewhat busy, but that’s typically the case with most smart TVs. I found the selection of streaming apps to be more than satisfactory, with all the big-name services represented.  Those with a Google account can sign in with their credentials to access a higher level of personalization, including a stream of images from Google Photos to use as a screensaver. 

Fortunately, Google Assistant voice control is switched to off by default when you first set the TV up – a thoughtful nod to those with privacy concerns. 

When you press the remote’s input button a panel pops up on the bottom of the screen that shows inputs (HDMI 1, HDMI 2, etc.) and digital TV broadcast channels, and it can be configured to also show your most-used streaming apps. Setup menu options are mostly straightforward, though the picture menu in particular is packed with seemingly redundant options, making adjustment a more painstaking process than it should be. It would also be nice to have basic controls like brightness and contrast available from the remote rather than having to dig through menus.

  • Smart TV & menus score: 3.5/5

Sony X90K review: gaming

  • HDMI 2. 1 with 4K/120Hz, VRR, and ALLM support
  • Low 13.8ms input lag in Game mode
  • Auto HDR Tone Mapping for PS5

The X90K’s excellent suite of gaming features ranks it up there with the best 120 Hz 4K TVs. Aside from 4K/120Hz video support (available only on two of the set’s four HDMI inputs) it has both variable refresh rate (VRR) and auto low latency mode (ALLM). Input lag as measured by our 4K test meter was 13.8ms, a very good result. 

X90K TVs are also Perfect for PlayStation 5 (Sony’s phrase, not mine). This basically means that when connected to the company’s gaming console, an Auto HDR Tone Mapping feature gets activated, along with an Auto Genre Picture Mode that optimizes the image for gaming.

  • Gaming score: 4.5/5

Sony X90K review: value

  • High performance for a mid-range model
  • Affordable price
  • Bested on some fronts by budget QLED TVs

The X90K series is a very good overall value. It’s only slightly more pricey than the company’s X85K series models, while offering a full-array local dimming backlight – a feature the X85K series lacks, and one that provides a strong performance boost. The X90K sets are also half the price of Sony’s step-up X95K models, which have the primary advantage of mini-LED backlighting for higher peak brightness and improved contrast.

Looking at the competition, the Sony offers similar performance but better overall value than Samsung’s Q80B, another TV with a full-array LED backlight plus local dimming. The Hisense U8H is another TV in the X90K’s price range, though that model provides a mini-LED backlight and costs less than Sony’s TV.

  • Value score: 4.5/5 

(Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the Sony X90K?

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Sony XR X90K
Attributes Notes Rating
Features Full-array LED backlight along with HDMI 2. 1 features like 4K/120Hz, VRR, and ALLM 4/5
Picture quality Deep blacks and good brightness, but with some backlight blooming 4/5
Sound quality Good overall sound for a TV, including Dolby Atmos effects 4/5
Design Basic design is enhanced by a stand with adjustable height 4/5
Smart TV and menus The Google TV interface is fine, but picture adjustments mean digging through menus 3.5/5
Gaming A solid HDM1 2.1 feature set, with Sony’s Auto HDR Tone Mapping for PS5 games 4.5/5
Value A very good overall value, though budget brands may offer even better performance 4. 5/5

Buy it if…

Buy it if…

You want a TV offering great value
The X90K series offers very good AV performance, and is likely the best overall value in Sony’s 2022 TV lineup. 

You want a TV for both movies and sports  
The X90K series can deliver deep, detailed blacks for movie watching, and its peak light output is high enough to make it a good option for daytime sports viewing as well.

You own a PlayStation 5 console
The X90K series has a full suite of gaming features including 4K 120Hz support, along with PS5-specific features like Auto HDR Tone Mapping. 

Don’t buy it if…

You’re a picture perfectionist
While the X90K’s full array backlight with local dimming works well, it’s no match for OLED when it comes to black uniformity and detail.

You don’t like making picture adjustments
The X90K’s Cinema picture mode offers generally accurate out-of-box color, but this is a TV that also benefits greatly from careful video setup and adjustment.

You don’t want to add a soundbar
While the X90K’s overall audio quality is good, the sound lacks bass and it has a treble-heavy balance.

Also consider…

If our Sony X90K review has you considering other options, here are three more TVs to ponder.

Samsung Q80B QLED
This Samsung full-array LED model is in roughly the same price range as the Sony, though we also found some issues with local dimming in our review. It has similarly good gaming support as the X90K and its Tizen smart interface is arguably better than Google TV.

Hisense U8H QLED
This high-value model from Hisense costs even less than the Sony is almost twice as bright owing to its mini-LED backlight. It also has excellent gaming support, including 4K 120Hz display. Performance of the UK version is apparently not as good due to lesser specs, but the US version is a knockout.

LG C2 OLED
The LG C2 OLED is priced nearly twice as high as the X90K, though it has been seeing some great discounts. Picture performance of this model is nearly flawless, and it’s also brighter than average OLED TVs and offers excellent gaming support including 4K 120Hz display.

Sony XR-65X90K: Price Comparison

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Al Griffin has been writing about and reviewing A/V tech since the days LaserDiscs roamed the earth, and was previously the editor of Sound & Vision magazine. 

When not reviewing the latest and greatest gear or watching movies at home, he can usually be found out and about on a bike.

LG B2: a great budget OLED TV for movie fans and gamers

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LG’s step-up OLED looks great and has got game

By Al Griffin

published

(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The LG B2 series is the company’s step-up OLED TV line, adding on gaming-friendly features such as 120Hz, VRR, ALLM, and FreeSync Premium to the impressive basic picture quality also found in the entry level LG A2 series. Like the A2 TVs, B2 sets have limited brightness compared to the best OLED models, and the built-in sound quality is just so-so. But if you want an affordable OLED TV for watching movies that’s also got game, the B2 series is the one to buy.

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LG B2: Two-minute review

The LG B2 series is the company’s step-up OLED offering from its entry level A2 OLED TVs. It provides the same basic picture quality as the A2 series, but does it one better by offering a comprehensive set of gaming-related HDMI 2.1 features such as 120Hz, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), auto low latency mode (ALLM), and more.

Like the LG A2, LG’s B2 series TVs have limited peak brightness, making them a better option for rooms where you can carefully control lighting conditions. Otherwise, they deliver the same deep, detailed shadows, punchy HDR highlights, and excellent image uniformity you can expect from the best OLED TVs, even the pricier models. Color rendition is also a B2 series strong point, though you will need to spend time making adjustments to get it to look its best.

The B2’s webOS 22 smart TV interface is the same as you’ll find on other 2022 LG TVs. Like other smart TV interfaces that aren’t created by Roku or Apple, it has a busy appearance, though it can be edited and customized to a degree, and allows for separate profiles to be created for multiple family members. Both Alexa and Google voice assistant support is built-in, and there’s support for Apple AirPlay 2 and Homekit.

  • LG B2 55-inch OLED55B2 (Black) at Walmart for $996.99

The B2’s ultra-slim panel and bezel give it an appealing “all-picture” look, though the set’s plastic stand reveals its budget TV status. LG’s innovative magic remote is easy to use once you get the hang of it, and the on-screen point-and-click and scroll functions are preferable to attempting to identify and locate control buttons in a dark room as you would with a regular remote.

Audio performance is passable, with clear dialogue when using the B2’s built-in speakers. There’s also a bit of a sound “bubble” when you activate the set’s AI Sound Pro mode, which strives for a virtual 5.1.2 Atmos presentation. But this is a TV ideally paired with one of the best soundbars, and even a basic one will prove beneficial.

The B2 is a great choice for gaming, with its extensive HDMI 2.1 feature set rivalling what you’ll find on the best 120Hz TVs. It has a Game Optimizer mode and a Game Dashboard menu to directly access settings and GeForce Now and Utomik cloud gaming are available in the webOS 22 smart interface. The B2’s measured input lag is very low, further cementing its position as a serious gaming TV option.

There’s no question that the B2 series is a great value, especially if you’re interested in using it for gaming with a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X console. If not, the A2 series will a more sensible option if you’re simply looking for a good, cheap OLED for watching movies.

LG B2 review: price and release date

  • Release date: March 27, 2022 
  • OLED55B2: $999 / £1,199
  • OLED65B2: $1,399 / £1,599
  • OLED77B2: $2,099 / £2,899

As LG’s step-up budget OLED series, the B2 TVs are positioned between the entry level A2 and the more advanced LG C2 series models, with the latter featuring the company’s OLED Evo tech. Screen sizes are limited to 55, 65, and 77 inches. The B2 series is not sold in Australia, where the CS series (not available in the US) occupies a similar step-up budget TV slot.

The B2 OLED’s back panel inputs include 2 HDMI 2.1 ports (1 with eARC) plus 2 side-mounted HDMI 2.0b ports and an antenna connection. (Image credit: Future)

LG B2 review: features

  • WebOS 22 smart TV interface
  • Dolby Vision and Atmos
  • Great HDMI 2.1 support

LG’s B2 series features the same webOS 22 smart TV interface found in the company’s other OLED models. Here you’ll find all the top streaming apps, including Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, and Hulu. Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice control is built-in, and there’s both HomeKit support and AirPlay 2 for streaming from an Apple device.

The B2 series features LG’s α7 Gen 5 AI Processor – the same one found in LG’s entry-level A2 series OLED models. This provides features such as dynamic tone mapping and AI 4K upscaling of HD sources, along with 5.1.2-channel sound upmixing of non-Dolby Atmos sources. There’s high dynamic range support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG formats, as well as Dolby Vision IQ, which processes programs with HDR to optimize pictures for your room’s lighting conditions. Filmmaker mode is also onboard for those who want an accurate-looking picture without having to fuss with settings.

Four HDMI inputs are provided on B2 TVs, with two supporting HDMI 2.1 features like 4K 120Hz, VRR, ALLM, FreeSync Premium, and one supporting enhanced audio return channel (eARC). There’s also an optical digital output plus an RF input (we have a guide to the best indoor TV antennas, if you need one).

The overall feature package here is great for the price – particularly the gaming-related ones. When you consider that the step-down A2 series is priced fairly close to the B2 series models, the step-up in features you get here makes it worth the extra spend.

  • Features Score: 4.5/5  

The LG B2 OLED’s deep blacks remain pure even when displaying challenging high-contrast images. (Image credit: Future)

LG B2 review: picture quality

  • Rich color reproduction
  • Deep blacks with detailed shadows
  • Limited brightness for an OLED TV

Like other OLED TVs, the B2 series delivers “near-infinite” contrast, with a black level that hovers just above 0 nits. The area where it differs from higher-end OLED models is peak light output: we measured 554 nits in the calibrated Cinema (HDR) picture mode, and 568 nits in Standard (HDR) mode.

Those numbers are essentially the same as what we measured on LG’s A2 OLED, though larger models in the C2 series, and also the mid-range Sony A80K OLED, provide higher peak light output. The upshot here is that the B2 will be the best match for rooms where you can dim the lights rather than one where overhead lamps will be continuously turned on or there’ll be lots of bright sunlight.

Coverage of DCI-P3 color space when displaying 4K HDR was 98.8% – an excellent result, and another match for LG’s A2. When measured using Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software, color accuracy in Filmmaker mode was a bit off, with an overly warm, reddish cast to images, but the set’s advanced picture adjustments allow for that to be corrected.

Key specs

Sizes available: 55, 65, 77 inches
Screen type: OLED
Resolution: 4K
HDR support: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
Audio support: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital
Smart TV: webOS 22
HDMI ports: 4 (2x HDMI 2. 1)

Once all adjustments were complete, the B2’s vibrant, detailed picture made it a pleasure to watch all manner of movies and TV shows with. Viewing the opening scenes from Top Gun: Maverick, where Maverick (Tom Cruise) flies at Mach 10 speed, becoming the fastest man alive, and then pushes for… Mach 11, the dark scenes in the control tower where the flight team monitors his progress showed deep, pure-looking blacks, along with eye-popping highlights in the display monitors lining the space.

When watching 1899 on Netflix, the B2’s ability to flesh out shadows in the gloomy quarters of the ship proved a revelation. Having previously binge-watched the first few episodes of this show on an ultra short throw projector, I had no idea how much detail was contained in the blacks, but the B2 revealed it in a way the projector proved incapable of.

Brighter and more color-filled images like those from Elvis also fared well on the B2, with the reds and greens in the scenes that take place in an Elvis TV Christmas special originally shot during the 1960s looking rich and appealing. Skin tones came across as natural, and the B2’s image had an overall clean, detailed look that let it stand tall against the best 4K TVs. The B2’s handling of motion was also impressive: watching a challenging scene from the recent James Bond film No Time to Die where a camera pans slowly over a craggy hilltop, the image for the most part came across as solid and detailed.

It should be noted at this point that all viewing was done in either dim or dark room lighting conditions. With overhead lights turned on, the B2’s picture lost some of its dynamic impact. That’s not to say it looked dull, but compared to LED-backlit – and particularly mini-LED backlit – LCD TVs, which can hit a peak brightness of 2,000-plus nits and also generally have a high average brightness level, the B2’s performance was relatively lackluster in these other conditions. Something like the Samsung QN85B remains a better way to watch in bright rooms.

  • Picture quality score: 4/5

The B2 OLED’s plastic stand is sturdy enough, but seems out of step with rest of the TV’s design. (Image credit: Future)

LG B2 review: sound quality

  • AI Sound Pro mode best for general use
  • 5.1.2-channel sound upmixing 
  • Thin sound quality with most modes

B2 series sets feature two downfiring speakers, with each getting 10 watts of power. There’s Dolby Atmos support, and the set’s α7 Gen 5 AI Processor serves up virtual 5.1.2-channel sound when LG’s AI Sound Pro mode is active. AI Sound Pro will also upmix regular stereo soundtracks for a virtual 5.1.2 presentation.

Most of the B2’s sound modes imparted a thin, edgy quality that could be grating after a few minutes of viewing, though the dialogue in all modes was clear. Movies benefitted from AI Sound Pro’s virtual Atmos presentation, however, with the sound extending beyond the limits of the TV’s screen. Of the set’s various presets, this provided the most well-balanced sound and is the one we’d recommend leaving on.

With the B2 basically matching the entry level A2 series in terms of audio specs, we weren’t surprised to find the sound lacking bass and becoming congested in movie scenes with intense action. The bottom line here is that this is a TV that will greatly benefit from a soundbar. Even the addition of a basic 2.1-channel one will make for a more immersive movie viewing experience.

  • Sound quality score: 3/5

LG’s unique Magic Remote lets you carry out onscreen functions using point-and-click and scroll controls. (Image credit: Future)

LG B2 review: design

  • Sleek design with ultra-thin bezel
  • Plastic support stand
  • Magic Remote with on-screen point-and-click controls

B2 series TVs have the same ultra-thin panel as other OLED models, along with an ultra-slim bezel and small footprint stand. The look is a ‘mostly picture’ one and it should fit in with most viewing environments.

One complaint I have about the B2’s design is its stand, which is made of a somewhat flimsy plastic that seems out of step with the rest of the TV’s design. With a budget TV you have to cut corners somewhere, and the stand is clearly where cost-savings were targeted. Even so, it does a good job of holding the TV upright, though there’s no variable height option to accommodate a soundbar. If you want something more fancy and flexible, LG has an optional Gallery stand for installation in places other than a TV console or a wall.

The Magic Remote that comes with LG TVs is a unique handset with point-and-click and scrolling capabilities. Using it is a very different experience than you get with regular remotes and, once you get the hang of it, it seems in many ways superior. There’s a built-in mic for Alexa or Google voice commands, and there are also quick buttons to access the Netlix, Prime Video, and Disney Plus services.

  • Design score: 3.5/5

LG’s webOS 22 smart TV interface is somewhat cluttered, though it can be individually customized for multiple viewers. (Image credit: Future)

LG B2 review: smart TV & menus

  • webOS 22 interface
  • Google Assistant and Alexa voice control built-in
  • No ESPN Plus app

LG’s webOS 22 smart TV interface is fairly busy, though you can edit the arrangement of apps that line up horizontally across the screen. You also have the option to create multiple user profiles so that family members can sign in and get a personalized smart TV experience. A picture mode lets you display art when the set isn’t showing video. This isn’t the same “ambient” setting you get with the company’s G2 series “gallery” TVs, which can operate in low-power mode, but it’s a welcome feature nonetheless.

One thing that annoyed me during setup is that I needed to input an email address (a social media account is another option) to create my user profile – a necessity to personalize the smart interface. I was also disappointed not to find the ESPN Plus app, which is one that many US sports fans will be looking for.

Given the streamlined nature of LG’s Magic Remote, making any picture adjustments will involve digging through a few menu layers. Fortunately, you get the option to customize all picture modes for standard and high dynamic range sources, and you can also apply a set of picture adjustments across all inputs.

LG’s Home Dashboard can be used to configure inputs and control connected smart home devices. (Image credit: Future)

  • Smart TV & menus score: 3.5/5

LG B2 review: gaming

  • 4K 120Hz, VRR, ALLM, FreeSync Premium support
  • Low 9.1ms input lag
  • Game Optimizer mode with Game Dashboard

The B2 series’ main claim to fame is that it’s the least expensive OLED TV line to offer gamer-centric features like 4K 120Hz, Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low Latency Mode, and FreeSync Premium. Those are key differentiating factors between it and the slightly less pricey A2 series, and a major reason why you’d buy a B2 set instead.

Other B2 gaming features include a Game Optimizer mode with a Game Dashboard menu, GeForce Now cloud gaming, and HDR Gaming Interest Group (HGiG) support.

Input lag in our tests was extremely low. Using a 4K test meter, it measured 9.1ms in Game Optimizer mode, a level of performance that ranks the B2 series among the best gaming TVs.  

  • Gaming score: 4.5/5

LG B2 review: value

  • LG’s least expensive 120Hz OLED
  • Limited brightness compared with step-up C2 series
  • OLED TVs more expensive than QLED TVs

The B2 series is a fantastic value. What you’re getting here is a TV that looks great with movies, delivering deep blacks, rich color, and well-balanced HDR highlights. But its full suite of gaming features, including 120Hz and VRR support, is what puts it over the top value-wise, making it a great, feature-packed TV that’s also affordable.

Do you get more for your money by stepping up to LG’s C2 series OLED models? Absolutely. C2 series sets provide all the same features as the B2 series, but offer improved picture brightness and better audio performance. As we head into 2023, when new LG OLED models will be introduced, there’s only a $300 / £200 price difference between the 65-inch B2 and C2 series models, so the C2 is worth it if you have the extra money.

Another option is to buy an A2 series model. Both the B2 and A2 series offer identical video and audio performance, so if you have no use for the B2’s gaming features, you could save some money by opting for a less expensive A2 series TV.

  • Value score: 4.5/5 

The LG B2 is a good lower-cost OLED option for movie fans who are also into gaming. (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the LG B2?

Swipe to scroll horizontally

LG B2
Attributes Notes Rating
Features Feature-packed, with HDMI 2.1 ports that support 120Hz and VRR. 4.5/5
Picture quality Great picture quality, though with lower brightness than step-up OLEDs. 4/5
Sound quality Passably good sound with clear dialogue, though lacking bass impact. 3/5
Design Sleek design and cool remote, but with plastic stand 4/5
Smart TV and menus webOS 22 is an acquired taste, but gets the job done. 3.5/5
Gaming A full suite of gaming features make the B2 an excellent budget TV for gaming. 4.5/5
Value Fantastic overall value given the combination of features and performance. 4.5/5

Buy it if…

You want an affordable OLED TV
With deep, rich blacks and an ultra-wide viewing angle, OLED TVs offer many picture quality advantages, and the B2 series offers them at a reasonable price.

You want a great TV for watching movies 
The B2 series will satisfy movie fans with its deep shadows and impressive overall performance.

You want a great TV for gaming
The B2 series offers up a full range of HDMI 2.1 features like 120Hz and VRR support, making them perfect TVs for gaming with a PS5 or Xbox Series X.

Don’t buy it if…

You plan to watch in a bright room
The B2 series TVs have limited brightness compared to QLED TVs and even higher-end OLEDs, making them a lesser choice for sports or other daytime viewing. 

You don’t want to add a soundbar
The B2’s built-in audio is passably good, but loud action movies will be better served by a set with more advanced speakers or, better yet, a soundbar. 

You’re not into gaming
The B2’s picture quality is mostly identical to what you get with LG’s entry level A2 series, so if you’re not interested in gaming – the B2’s main advantage – buy an A2 instead. 

Also consider…

LG A2
LG’s entry level A2 series offers nearly identical performance to the B2 series, but omits gaming features. A budget option for anyone seeking a great TV for watching movies. 

LG C2
LG’s upper mid-tier C2 OLED models should deliver a similar level of performance, but with better brightness. C2 prices are several hundred more, but worth it depending on your needs.

Sony A80K
Like LG’s C2, Sony’s mid-level A80K OLEDs offer a great mix of performance and gaming features for roughly the same price, though the A80K series isn’t as bright as C2 sets. 

LG B2 OLED: Price Comparison

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$1,096.99

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Al Griffin has been writing about and reviewing A/V tech since the days LaserDiscs roamed the earth, and was previously the editor of Sound & Vision magazine. 

When not reviewing the latest and greatest gear or watching movies at home, he can usually be found out and about on a bike.

Best gaming TV to win

At the moment, products are not available for ordering on samsung. com/ru

At the moment, products are not available for ordering on samsung.com/ru

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  • Top performance

  • Ultimate convenience

  • Addictive gameplay

  • We will help you choose TV

Best Gaming TVs

Samsung Neo QLED

TOP 9 gaming features

Take your game to the next level

Top performance to win every game

Tear-free gaming

Motion Xcelerator Turbo Pro (4K 144Hz)

Exceptional motion and smooth action. Neo QLED with Motion Xcelerator Turbo Pro supports 4K resolution at 144Hz refresh rate.

* Supports up to 144Hz 4K for PC games connected via HDMI 2.1.
* Requires certain graphics cards to support 144Hz 4K on PC.
* For QN900B, QN90B (55”, 65”, 75”, 85” models), the refresh rate is 4K 120Hz.

Fight opponents, not tear-ups

FreeSync Premium Pro

Samsung Gaming TVs are the first TVs to feature AMD FreeSync Premium Pro technology, which prevents screen tearing and stuttering by synchronizing the TV’s frame rate with the GPU. Enjoy the smooth passage of the game even in the most dynamic scenes!

* Viewing experience varies by content type and GPU.

Lower input delay – higher chances of winning

Low input latency mode (Auto Low Latency Mode)

Victory – with one shot! Samsung gaming TVs with low input lag mode provide almost instantaneous response to any of your commands.

*Low input lag is based on internal testing and may vary based on game settings or specific conditions.
* Function certified by VDE.

Your all-seeing eye in the dark

12 bit processing

Like a cheat code for night vision, 12-bit color processing technology makes it possible to clearly convey all the details in dark scenes – even the most inventive enemy will not hide from you.

Ultimate convenience

Powerful gaming support

4 HDMI 2.1 ports

Do you have multiple gaming devices? Connect them to any of the 4 HDMI 2.1 ports and enjoy the game the way you want.

* Supports up to 144Hz 4K for PC games connected via HDMI 2.1.

Control the battlefield

Game panel

Take even more control with the Game Bar, which allows you to change the aspect ratio of your screen, position your gameplay display top, middle, and bottom, and adjust input lag and HDR. And the zoom function will enlarge any area of ​​the image, including minimaps, so that no important detail escapes you.

* Zoom mode available for 21:9, 32:9 resolution.
* Zoom support may vary by resolution/frame rate.

Look wider, win more often

Ultra wide gaming view

Support for 21:9 and 32:9 aspect ratios allows you to see more, making it easier to locate enemies, team members, in-game items and objectives, and minimize screen panning.

* Ultra-wide gaming view is only available for games that support ultra-wide mode and PC games.
* Some games may not fully or partially support this feature.
* You may need to change the screen resolution from an external device.

Addictive gameplay

Aim for sound

Object Tracking Sound+ (OTS+)

Always be at the epicenter of events! Object Tracking Sound+ technology allows sounds to follow the objects in the game, providing a new level of realism of what is happening on the screen.

More screen, more experience

big screen

Take your gaming experience to the next level on your big screen TV and feel like you’re part of the action with amazing detail, deep color and realism.

The Experts’ Choice

Discover the amazing features of Samsung Gaming TVs, winners of top gaming innovation awards for 5 consecutive years.

* On-screen game titles are simulated for illustrative purposes only. Console and other accessories sold separately.
* Appearance and design, which do not affect performance, are subject to change without notice.
* Game features vary by model and size. Detailed information on the product pages of each model.

Game TVs for console – how to choose

At the moment, products are not available for ordering on samsung.com/ru

At the moment, products are not available for ordering on samsung.com/ru

Select your location and language.

How to make the game as realistic as possible? Find out how TV can help improve your gaming experience.

Which TV to choose for gaming? Here are our recommendations:

The game begins – make the right choice!

Easy connection

If you play on Xbox One, PS4 or Nintendo Switch, check if you are comfortable entering Game Mode. Isn’t it great if the TV itself can recognize the game console connected to it, and even better – immediately connect it to the right port. The device auto-recognition function will help you quickly and comfortably start the game.

Optimized picture and sound

Seeing enemies hidden in the dark is never easy. But with Dynamic black equalizer technology, this is no longer a problem. Dynamic black balance analyzes dark scenes and recognizes objects in them. It then optimizes black levels and brings out details that were previously hard to see. Technology HDR complements the effect, making objects more realistic, while sound optimization based on the genre of the game will give you the most enjoyable gaming session.

Low input lag

Don’t blink. Whether you’re playing sports, action games, or shooters, even a second of delay can make the difference between who wins and who loses. That’s why your TV’s response time is so important, and why low input lag is essential for gaming. Input lag is the time between pressing a button on the controller and the screen responding, measured in milliseconds. The lower the input lag, the faster the screen response. That’s why a TV with smooth motion scenes without tearing (FreeSync technology) and low input lag is your best choice.