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Lifewire / Sandra Stafford
LG webOS operating systems
Magic remote included
IPS panel for wide viewing angles
No local dimming
The LG 49-inch UM7300 is a great TV for anyone who wants to make use of the best new 4K technology on a budget.
LG is a giant in the American television market, consistently making OLED televisions with all of the best new technology on the market, but that doesn't mean they can compete in the budget price range. To find a 4K TV under $400 will require some sacrifice, but with an IPS panel for wide viewing angles, the convenient Magic Remote, and beautiful display, LG hasn't skimped on the features that make a difference, read on to see how it fares compared to the other TVs on our list of the best cheap TVs.
The LG UM7300 isn't trying to break new ground with this entry into the budget TV market. The bezels are fairly thick, almost half an inch, but just tapered enough not to appear boxy. The legs have clean, modern lines, and feel perfectly stable. At almost 3.5 inches thick, the LG UM7300 is a bit bulky for wall mounting, but that is an option if space considerations went out.
USB and HDMI slots on the left-facing panel are easy to reach whether the UM7300 is wall-mounted or standing. The other connectors like AV and power are on a rear-facing panel, but they need to be moved so rarely that it wasn’t an inconvenience. The design may be basic, but it works.
The LG UM7300 is shipped with LG’s Magic Remote, a universal remote that allows navigation with a pointer rather than arrow buttons. Entering information into an on-screen keyboard is usually the most frustrating part of using a remote, but signing into Netflix and Hulu for the first time with the Magic Remote took seconds. The pointer tracks smoothly along the screen, and input buttons work reliably, so I never needed to go back and input a missed letter. By the time the setup process was over, I loved the Magic Remote enough to want one for every TV I own.
By the time the setup process was over, I loved the Magic Remote enough to want one for every TV I own.
The LG UM7300 combines its very brief setup with an introduction to the Magic Remote. Location and Wi-Fi login are among the few prompts that the UM7300 doesn’t provide the option to skip. The longest part of the process is scanning for channels. Cord-cutters can be using their TV within three minutes.
With an IPS panel, the LG UM7300 is able to bring wide viewing angles to an entry-level 4K display. VA panels suffer from noticeable loss of color and contrast when viewed from an angle greater than around 30 degrees. The LG UM7300, on the other hand, had very little color shift even when viewed at 70 degrees or more from the center of the television. In large living rooms with abundant seating, the IPS panel makes a big difference.
One downside to the IPS display is an inability to achieve dark, true blacks. Without local dimming, the darkest parts of the picture still have a faint glow that softens the black to gray. Mediocre contrast means small details are lost in shows with a lot of dark settings, like “What We Do In The Shadows.” The UM7300 performs best in a room with some lighting.
The UM7300 has a refresh rate of 60Hz, but does not include FreeSync or any other variable refresh rate technologies. There was a little stuttering during the sweeping landscape shots of “The Aeronauts,” but the fast response time kept action scenes crisp. With wide viewing angles and low input lag, the UM7300 is a good choice for gaming together without having to squeeze onto the same couch.
With wide viewing angles and low input lag, the UM7300 is a good choice for gaming together without having to squeeze onto the same couch.
The UM7300 has several picture modes to fit different settings. The Cinema preset has a lower light level that’s perfect for watching during the evening. The warmer color temperature on this preset is more comfortable to watch in the evening, too. During the day, natural light made Cinema look less accurate. ISF Expert - Dark Room worked well in my dimly-lit living room, and the ISF modes have more advanced settings that can be calibrated by technicians.
The Sports Mode has a faster response time that helps reduce motion blur, a common problem with budget TVs. There is also a Game Mode that activates with Instant Game Response, reducing latency and disabling motion enhancement features that can cause blurring and other problems.
The UM7300 has 20W built-in speakers that produce perfectly clear audio. Unfortunately, there is little depth or body to the sound. Dialogue and music are well-balanced, but the lack of rumble in the bass means the audio sounds remote and contained. I found myself adjusting the volume between commercials or to compensate for ambient noises in my house, like the air conditioner turning on or off. The built-in speakers will do the job, but the UM7300 would benefit from a sound system.
The UM7300 runs on LG's webOS, an operating system for smart TVs unique to LG. LG’s webOS has an uncluttered interface with a row of cards along the bottom to allow for quickly switching between apps. Instability is a common problem with Android’s Smart TV operating system, but LG’s simpler operating system works perfectly. During the numerous hours of testing, webOS never crashed or failed to load an app even a single time. There are fewer apps available for LG’s webOS, but a Fire Stick or Roku can fill in the gaps.
For under $350, the LG UM7300 achieves a great deal of versatility. There are enough connectivity options and smart features to satisfy most tech needs, from gaming consoles to a home theater system. To see any appreciable improvement in quality of TV the size cost another $150, so while there are better options, this is a great price for an entry-level 4K TV.
Another option in the budget price range is the Hisense 50H8F (view online) . These TVs are practically identical in terms of specs, with small differences like an additional HDMI port on the 50H8F so choosing one comes down to small details and preferences. If you intend to mount your new TV on the wall, the 50H8F is almost half an inch thinner, creating a lower profile. The Android Smart TV operating system has some stability problems, but offers a much wider app selection and functionality exclusive to Android phone users.
A great 4K TV with an IPS display.
The 49-inch LG UM7300 is a great 4K TV for the price. An IPS display guarantees that no other budget television can compete with the UM7300's wide viewing angles. Excellent response time and low input lag make this a great choice for gaming, too.