(Pocket-lint) - A TV is just a TV, right? Not when it's as good-looking as the LG OLED E6 (or OLED55E6V). This super-slim panel comes with a dazzling display mounted in a glass border, has a rear that has a carbon fibre appearance about it, and a built-in metallic soundbar that not only looks brilliant but sounds brilliant too. It is, quite simply, stunning.
This step-down model in LG's OLED TV range also happens to be a lot less cash than the top-end G6 - a model that we loved but couldn't quite fathom why it was so expensive, given the E6 is almost every bit as good.
If you're looking for a TV that can deliver the blackest of blacks, 4K and HDR 9high dynamic range) then you'll be wanting an OLED just like the E6. And from the week we've spent with this TV, it sure seems like the best choice you could make from LG's OLED range.
LG OLED55E6V review: Design and connections
The sight of the LG E6's screen sitting on a frame that's less than 3mm deep looks like the eighth wonder of the modern world. Especially given that the majority of the sub-3mm panel has been made of glass rather than boring old metal or plastic, which can be seen towards the outer edge and gives a floating-like sensation to the image.
However, and here's the biggest difference between the higher-spec G6 model, the E6 is more standard in its design make-up to the rear: there's no soundbase to incorporate all the processing gubbins and ports, making for a conventional additional protrusion.
Does this matter? Not really. Ok, so it's not quite as drop-dead gorgeous as the G6, but unless you plan on having the telly in the middle of a room then it simply won't be seen. Which is almost a shame, because the carbon fibre-like patterning on the rear looks delightful.
The OLED55E6V's connections are comprehensive, too, including four HDMI, three USB and the usual Wi-Fi and wired network options. The USB ports support recording from the built-in Freeview Play HD tuner (if you have a separate drive, anyway), or playback of multimedia from USB drives.
LG E6 4K OLED TV review: Apps and OS
We've long supported LG's webOS smart interface - and the sentiment is just the same with the E6 OLED. This pop-up overlay makes it quick and easy to navigate to your favourite apps, sources and channels.
This includes the good stuff like the subscription streaming services of Amazon and Netflix - both offering native 4K and HDR streaming for some content - as well as Now TV, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, My5, plus Freeview Play to scroll back through live TV that you've missed to catch-up without needing to dig through individual apps.
If you're using an external box for your TV, like Sky Q, then you'll be pleased to know that the HDMI ports of the E6 are HDCP 2.2 compliant, which means they can receive 4K broadcast signals no problems. Hoorah.
LG OLED55E6V review: Incredible OLED panel
As we said of the LG G6, the E6 has an incredible panel. Because of the way OLED works, each pixel produces its own light independently, which means there's none of the halo-ing or backlight bleed that you're likely to get from LED edge-lit LCD TVs. The E6 has a wonderful uniformity and can display dark areas that are blacker than black.
Being able to deliver these deep black pixels right alongside bright white ones without any of that light bleeding gives OLED an upper hand in delivering a cleaner image when it comes to HDR content too. On the other hand, however, an OLED panel is simply not as bright as many top-end LED-LCD models, so won't ever get the same brightness peaks as some of its rivals.
Talking of HDR, the E6 supports both the common "HDR10" format, and Dolby Vision - the latter which very little is displayed in just yet, except for Marco Polo via Netflix. Amazon has also promised Dolby Vision support, so that's something to look forward to in the future. It's good to see LG capable of supporting both the HDR formats, because it means the best possible colour content - and no other maker can offer this dual support. Not yet, anyway.
There is something of an HDR conundrum, however, and that comes down to brightness. For an OLED panel to be awarded an Ultra HD Premium rating it needs only produce an peak brightness level of 540-nits - which is some way short of the 1,000-nits required by an LCD panel to achieve the same badge.
Now the LG E6 outputs around 650-700-nits maximum, so it's not dull by any means, but it's half as bright as the Samsung KS9500, for example. In isolation you might not notice, but if you want the best peaks from HDR then OLED might not be the way to go. Saying that, we watched The Man in High Castle (in 4K HDR via Amazon Video) and it looked astoundingly good.
LG E6 OLED TV review: The deepest blacks
On the flip side to that HDR argument is the black level, which has to be 0.0005-nits for OLED and 0.03-nits for LCD. You needn't worry about those numbers, really, as just looking at how dark the E6 is will blow you away. Even the default screen saver is mind-boggling in its ability to show ultra-bright coloured squares, exploding firework-style, when it looks as though the TV is otherwise off. It's like AV magic.
Plus, let's face it, there's not that much HDR content out there right now. So the way the E6 handles normal “SDR” everyday content is stunning. Indeed, the E6, likes its G6 brother, delivers the best black reproduction on a flatscreen TV that you can get. It's so good it's almost silly.
Add to that dazzlingly rich colours (sometimes a little too much so, but you can tweak things in the settings), remarkable amounts of shadow detail in dark areas, and the whole experience is leaps and bounds ahead of where the company's 2015 range say. Just don't tweak the brightness settings too much, otherwise you'll ruin the whole OLED effect.
Ultimately you need to make a choice: if you're an AV nut and want the black level then the E6 is perfect; if you're an AV nut and want the brightest peaks for HDR then it has to be LCD - and the Sony ZD9 is the way to go, if you can afford it.
LG E6 OLED 4K HDR TV review: Sound quality
One of the other great things about the E6 is that it comes with an integrated soundbar in the design. It might not be as beefy as that of the G6's integrated base, but it does a darn good job of delivering crystal clear audio straight out of the box. There's plenty of bass, without overdoing things, while voices, music and movies are well handled throughout.
So no need for fussy speakers to obscure your view, nor to necessarily fork out yet more cash for any extras. And given the 55-inch E6's £3,000 asking price, the all-in-one solution makes heaps of sense.
Amazed as we were by the top-end LG G6 OLED, we couldn't shake off its ultra-high price tag. Now the step-down E6 model isn't exactly cheap - it's £2,999 for the 55-inch model - but you do get your money's worth and that notion of “step-down” doesn't feel like it, because the picture quality, to our eyes, is one and the same.
Once you see OLED in action it'll make you pine to own one. Your wallet will open, your cards will shed those thousands of pounds. And you'll get to cry AV-tinted tears of joy as a result. Because, yes, the E6 OLED really is that good.
Ok, so you won't get to see HDR content in its near-blinding levels of brightness as you would from a Sony ZD9 or Samsung KS9500 LCD telly, but those models aren't going to deliver the same blacker-than-black levels of the E6. Which is where this LG really shines.
Indeed, as an overall package to grace the living room with its gorgeous looks, the LG E6 is about as close to flawless a TV as you can get for the money. It makes for a premier movie-watching experience, while catering for the future of 4K HDR steaming content too.
So if OLED is for you then the LG E6 is your likely perfect match. Pound for pound it's the best OLED panel we've seen this year.
From £2,999, Amazon