There's a lot common between the LG 55LA6910 and the Samsung UA55F7500BR TVs. They both are 55" LED-backlit smart TVs costing Rs 2,10,000, give or take a hundred bucks. These smart TVs even have a similar feature set, once you overlook a few additions and omissions here and there. Needless to say, this confusing similarity makes it rather difficult for a prospective smart TV buyer to make a purchase decision based on pure spec/price comparison. That's precisely why I have put the two smart TVs through the paces and presented in this head-to-head comparison to see which one of them is worth your two lakh rupees.
Both TVs look downright gorgeous with their diminutive bezels and brushed metal finish, so much so that any difference in terms of aesthetics is down to personal preference. The LG has a significantly thinner bezel that's more like a knife's edge, but Samsung's sleek steel-finish bezel looks equally good. Although Samsung has a better, more delicate and classy stand, the LG is just a shade slimmer than it. Overall, the Samsung looks positively breathtaking with its surprisingly thin bezel and a svelte silhouette, whereas LG’s delicate good looks contrasted by the stand that is too chunky and large for my liking. This is where I’ll repeat the beauty is in the eye of the beholder cliché.
The LG's stand is a tad wobbly
Design and build quality
Build quality is rarely an issue at this price range. We aren’t on the lookout for design flaws and manufacturing defects here, but the levels of refinement in fit and finish levels. A larger budget also enables the freedom to go from cost optimisation to extravagant design cues that would otherwise be prohibitive at a lower price range. While both TVs are impeccably built, the Samsung impresses with its rock solid metal stand weighing in at 4 kg. The TV stand on the LG, on the other hand, is too wobbly and plasticky for my tastes.
Samsung’s glossy panel balances the two mutually exclusive virtues of glare reduction and reproducing vibrant colours that pop. Although you have to be mindful of the lighting conditions, the glare and reflection gremlins are nevertheless kept well under control. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the LG, because its glossy panel is quite susceptible to reflections and glares. That means, unless you plan to put your TV up in the basement or in a relatively dark room, you’re better off with the Samsung.
Backlight bleed is another good measure of build quality, because this is a problem that affects even the more expensive televisions. It’s generally caused by factors ranging from fit and finish issues to the lack of uniformity in the backlight diffuser. The Samsung has significantly lower levels of backlight bleed than the LG.
The Samsung Smart TV sports a delicate and minimalist design
LG's remote control is pretty slick and well designed. It has large, chunky buttons that vary in shape and size and are well segregated. Operating the TV from afar, therefore, is intuitive and hassle free. The TV, unlike the Samsung, bears basic controls at the rear in case you lose the remote. Make that two actually, because LG throws in a fancier remote incorporating motion control capability and a minimal set of buttons. The lack of buttons isn't a hindrance at all because the on-screen cursor moves around mimicking your gestures like a mouse, while opening up the missing functions with the means of intuitive OSD prompts.
Samsung’s touchpad-enabled remote may be a delight to use, but it cannot hold a candle to the intuitiveness of LG’s Magic Remote. Nevertheless, this tiny controller has just the essential few buttons arranged intuitively, with clever tactile demarcation that's good enough to let you use it in the dark. This is a good thing too, because the remote isn't backlit. While it bears the important Volume, Channel, Power, Menu, Return and other crucial context-sensitive buttons, the touchpad at the centre takes care of the navigation and selection duties. My main issue with Samsung’s remote is that it's quite easy to inadvertently press the history shortcut on the touchpad, but this isn't something that can't be fixed by a quick press of the Return button.
Both TVs have the basic analogue video and audio inputs, Ethernet, Wi-Fi and USB connectivity options in order. However, the LG has one less HDMI input than the Samsung’s four. While this isn't a deal breaker, it's still pretty poor for a TV at this price, where the target demographic is expected to have an HDMI-equipped PC, Blu-ray player, set-top box and a console. For someone who owns more than three HDMI devices—and that’s more likely considering the target demographic—LG’s lower number of HDMI ports can be a deal breaker.
Samsung beats the LG in the connectivity stakes with an extra HDMI port
UI and Smart TV Features
Both TVs have jazzed up UIs that’s par for the course for smart TVs. This includes intuitive segregation of apps, TV programming and social networking aspects. Samsung’s UI, no doubt, is the better of the two, but there is a catch. It’s interesting to note that although the Samsung bumps up the last year's dual-core processor with its brand-new 1.35GHz quad-core processor, the same cannot be seen in the real-world performance. The idea of the updated processor is to deliver more powerful apps and complex UI animation while keeping the experience smoother. The extra horsepower has also been harnessed to optimise motion and voice control, in addition to better face recognition that works in tandem with these features.
The smart TV aspect in the LG is significantly better than the Samsung. I say this despite the fact that the TV lacks Samsung's gimmicks such as motion control and quad-core processor, but there's a good reason for that. The Samsung had frame rate issues despite the hardware, whereas the motion control feature isn't anything more than a novelty one would show off to guests. The LG, on the other hand, has a fluid and well-designed UI that runs smoothly without packing impressive hardware. At the end of the day, the actual performance is what matters.
Both TVs incorporate major apps such as YouTube, Skype and Facebook; however, those in the LG are actually better designed and usable, unlike the Samsung. The Korean competitors also include local apps for India-specific needs. What impressed me the most about the LG was the TV's ability to record cable programming onto any USB storage device. The media player on the LG plays pretty much every popular video file format, but it still cannot match Samsung's ability to play FLAC files. The LG clearly has the upper hand in the smart TV stakes thanks to a more usable and well-designed interface.