LG NanoCell 55SM9010
Last year I had the opportunity to test two LG smart TVs equipped with AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support. These were: top shelf model - 55C9PLA - equipped with OLED screen and definitely cheaper, directed to people with much thinner wallets, model with NanoCell SM86 screen. Both models offered quality and capabilities adequate to their price. However, they had a certain "flaw", they lacked the Apple TV application, allowing access to both films and series offered in the Apple TV+ service, as well as to the iTunes store and user's library of films bought there. This has fortunately changed at the beginning of this year and LG TVs now have virtually everything that Apple can offer them. I found out about this by testing a mid-range TV in recent weeks when it comes to NanoCell LCD models. We are talking about the 55SM9010 model.
Visually, the 55SM9010 does not differ from the 55SM86 at first sight. The thin frames of the TV are almost imperceptible, as the screen occupies almost the entire front surface. The only eye-catching element is the leg with a rounded foot - actually identical to the 55SM86 model. This solution ensures stability and makes it easier to place the TV on smaller surfaces, e.g. small TV cabinets. This type of single leg with a wide, rounded foot also provides easy access to what is behind the TV set (e.g. power strip).
Unlike the cheaper model 55SM86 with NanoCell LCD screen with edge illumination, this one (55SM9010) is equipped with a zone illumination screen with local LED (Full Array Dimming). The screen has a total of 40 independent zones (4 rows of 10 zones each) that are faded or backlit independently. In comparison with the 55SM86 model described last year, the difference in contrast and image quality is clearly visible on the plus of the described model (55SM910). This improves the contrast and works well in many movies and series. It happens, however, that in very contrasting scenes, where the prevailing black builds up the mood, the backlighting can sometimes go crazy and brighten unevenly the places that should remain unlit. In such situations, it would be better to automatically turn off the zone backlight. You have to remember that this is always a very subjective issue.
I can also repeat what I wrote about 55SM86 in terms of color saturation and image optimization in relation to the source material. The colors are very vivid, especially in HDR mode. Like that model, it also has a low input lag of 15.1 ms, so it's great for console games.
Like other LG TVs, this model is also equipped with the True Motion function, thanks to which the motion is very well reproduced and the degree of interpolation of the source material frames can be adjusted.
In terms of ports, this model also does not differ from the one I described in MyApple Magazine several months ago. So there are four HDMI ports (with 4K 120 Hz support), three USB ports, an Ethernet port, an optical output, a headphone output, and an antenna and composite input. The TV can of course also connect to the local WiFi network.
webOS and smart TV
I've already written about webOS and smart TV features twice during reviews of 55C9PLA (OLED) and 55SM86 (NanoCell) models. In terms of convenience of use, simplicity of interface and speed of reaction, webOS is one of the two best solutions of this type in my opinion (the second is Tizen system in Samsung TVs). As a standard several applications of popular VOD services - such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video - are installed in the factory, others - such as HBO or YouTube - can be downloaded from the store. Apple TV application was also pre-installed, which you will read about below.
Just like other LG TVs described by me, this one, too, belongs to the SmartThinQ family, so you can use it to control various smart home automation devices, namely through your home panel.
It is no different when it comes to the remote control. It is the same accessory as in the case of LG TVs described by me last year. Let me remind you that it is equipped with an accelerometer, thanks to which I can use the remote control, like a stick, to control the indicator visible on the screen.
At this point I can actually quote myself. Let me remind you that the remote control is equipped with a microphone and allows you to control your TV with voice commands issued in Polish. This way you can adjust the volume, brightness, ask about the weather, search for movies and series, ask about their cast or director. It works very well, although I must admit that I am not particularly convinced by this method of control.
HomeKit, AirPlay 2 and Apple TV
LG NanoCell 55SM9010 offers support for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit and the Apple TV application, giving - as I mentioned in the introduction - access to Apple TV+ service and movie collections in iTunes and your library. There is no need, at least for movies and music, to use Apple TV at all. With AirPlay 2, you can stream audio and video from various Apple devices, e.g. music from Apple Music or a movie, e.g. recorded with the built-in camera on your iPhone or iPad, to your TV. I can use this TV as an external monitor, e.g. for presentations or games, without the need for Apple TV. I will just mention that, as in the case of the previously described TVs, it is important to remember that the image sent by AirPlay 2 to the TV will have only Full HD resolution. However, nowadays, apart from sending the picture of the game from iPhone, iPad or Mac, or the already mentioned movie recorded with the built-in camera, I do not see much sense in sending movies. LG NanoCell 55SM9010 has everything I need, so it also has the Apple TV application mentioned several times already. Before Apple reduced the quality of streamed films (especially their bitrate), I could enjoy 4K films from my library in iTunes or films and series from Apple TV+. The Apple TV application works exactly the same way as the one on Apple TV or on Samsung TVs. It is divided into separate views: "Watch now" - with suggestions for films and series from both Apple TV+ and other channels or iTunes movie store, "Films". - iTunes Store and "Library" - a collection of films bought and borrowed by you. Apple made sure that the Apple TV application works and looks the same on all TVs and other devices.
LG NanoCell 55SM9010, like the models described last year, offers support for HomeKit. Unfortunately, it is still very limited and allows to actually only switch off and on the TV, e.g. with the "Hey Siri turn on TV" command.
With the advent of the Apple TV application, LG TVs are now the best choice for users of Apple products and services. Thanks to AirPlay 2, it can stream movies and music to the TV and use it as an additional screen, which can be useful not only for presentations, but nowadays - during the global quarantine - for displaying live broadcasts on the screen, e.g. webinars, trainings etc. Finally, it can be accessed directly from the TV to films and series in iTunes and Apple TV+, and the cherry on the cake is support for HomeKit, although limited properly to switching on and off the TV. Of course, the LG NanoCell 55SM9010 TV has other advantages as well, such as very good picture quality with intense colors and refresh rate at 120 Hz.