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LG SM9000 vs SM9500 Review (65SM9000 vs 65SM9500)

by on July 20, 2019
 
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LG SM9000 vs SM9500 Review

LG SM9000 and SM9500 are parts of LG’s 2019 Nano 9 Series 4K HDR TV. The LG SM9500 is the replacement of 2018’s SK9000 while the SM9000 is the replacement of SK9000. Just like most models of LG 4K LED TVs lineup, they both also come with IPS panel that offer good viewing angle. But on the other hand, can be ascertained, both of them have low native contrast ratio that makes their performance in a dark room is not so good. But even so, as long as they both are not used in a dark room, their performance is equally excellent.

In the market, the SM9000 comes in some screen size options, which are 55 inches (55SM9000), 65 Inches (65SM9000), 75 Inches (75SM9070), and 86 inches (86SM9070). Special for the 75 inches and 86 inches, they have different market name due to they have different level of Full Array Local Dimming than the 55 inches and 65 inches. This indicates the 75 inches and 86 inches have more dimming zones than the 55 inches and 65 inches. On the other hand, the SM9500 comes in one screen sizes only, which is 65 inches with market name by 65SM9500. Meanwhile, with the same screen (65SM9000 vs 65SM9500), the SM9000 is priced hundreds dollar cheaper than the SM9500. So, what are their differences and which one is better choice between them?

LG SM9000 vs SM9500 Key Specs

Technologies and Features LG SM9000 LG SM9500
Screen Sizes Available 55 inches (55SM9000), 65 inches (65SM9500), 75 inches (75SM9070), 86 inches (86SM9070) 65 inches (65SM9500)
Screen Resolution 4K (3840 x 2160) 4K (3840 x 2160)
Panel Technology IPS with NanoCell IPS with Nano Cell
Backlight Technology Slim Direct LED Slim Direct LED
Local Dimming Full Array Local Dimming, 75 inches and 86 inches: Full Array Local Dimming Pro Full Array Local Dimming Pro
Support 10 bit panel 10 bit dithering True 10 bit
Image Processor Alpha 7 Gen 2 Alpha 7 Gen 2
HDR format Support HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
HDR Technology HDR Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro HDR Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro
Contrast Enhancement Object Depth Enhancer, Ultra Luminance Pro Object Depth Enhancer, Ultra Luminance Pro
Color Enhancement Nano Color, Nano Accuracy, Billion Rich Colors, Advanced Color Enhancer Nano Color, Nano Accuracy, Billion Rich Colors, Advanced Color Enhancer
Clarity Enhancement Quad Step Noise Reduction, Frequency Based Sharpness Enhancer Quad Step Noise Reduction, Frequency Based Sharpness Enhancer
Up-Scaler Technology 4K Up-Scaler 4K Up-Scaler
Motion Enhancement TruMotion 240 TruMotion 240
Native Refresh Rate 120 Hz 120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate Support Yes (HDMI Forum VRR) Yes (HDMI Forum VRR)
Smart TV Platform WebOS 4.5 with LG ThinQ AI WebOS 4.5 with LG ThinQ AI
Google Home Compatible Yes Yes
Amazon Alexa Compatible Yes Yes
Alexa Built-In Yes Yes
Remote LG Magic Remote LG Magic Remote
Speaker Channel 2.2 2.2
Sound Output 40 watts (20 watts Woofer) 40 watts (20 watts Woofer)
Dolby Atmos Support Yes Yes
HDMI Ports 4 4
HDMI Supports HDCP 2.2, HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth, HDMI 2.1 Full Bandwidth, CEC HDCP 2.2, HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth, HDMI 2.1 Full Bandwidth, CEC
ARC Yes (HDMI 2) Yes (HDMI 2)
eARC Support Yes Yes
USB Ports 3 (USB 2.0) Yes (HDMI 2)
Composite Input 1 1
Component Input No No
RF Input 1 1
Digital Audio Out (optical) 1 1
Price See the price on Amazon See the price on Amazon

Technologies and Features of LG SM9500 and SM8600

Panel Technology

As we have mentioned, both LG SM9000 and SM9000 use IPS panel. And we all know, the main advantage of IPS panel is it can deliver better side viewing angle than VA panel. But on the other hand, a TV wit IPS panel usually has poor native contrast ratio, make it cannot produce deep black. If they are set in a bright room, this might not be an issue, but once they are set in a dark room, their performance is not so good.  Additionally, both of them also use the same backlight technology, which is Direct LED backlight with Full Array Local Dimming. But in this case, they have difference in the number of dimming zones. Nevertheless, the IPS panel that used for SM9000 and SM9500 is not just standard IPS panel. LG has embedded the Nanomaterial technology called “NanoCell” on their IPS panel to deliver Wide Color Gamut

Image Processor

Alpha 7 Gen 2

As their image processor, both LG SM9500 and SM9000 are powered by a new image processor called “Alpha 7 Gen 2”. It is the second generation of Alpha 7 processor that first introduced in 2018 as the image processor of some models of LG’s 2018 TV lineup. Its performance may be still less powerful and it has fewer features than the Alpha 9 Gen 2 Processor, but it brings some improvement over the first generation of Alpha 7 Processor particularly in handling motion and up-scaling non 4K content to 4K resolution.  Additionally, the algorithm of the Alpha 7 Gen 2 processor also has been generated by AI. This allows them have some AI-based features like AI Picture, AI Brightness, AI Sound, and AI sound Tuning.

Motion Technology

For maximizing its performance in handling motion, both LG SM9000 and SM9500 are powered by TruMotion 240 technology and they both have native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. Nevertheless, they both also already support HDMI Forum VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) technology that will maximize its performance when used for gaming. But unfortunately, at the moment, there are not many sources that support this new format and only Xbox one that support this format.

Meanwhile, to dim their backlight, they both use PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) System with dimming frequency by 120 Hz. This dimming frequency is actually fairly high to make the backlight flicker is barely noticeable for most people. But even so, on the other hand, this will make some duplication in motion, particularly when they are playing 60 fps content like sports or video games.  Nevertheless, both LG SM9500 and SM900 have an optional BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode that can be used for resolving this issue. By enabling this feature, their dimming frequency will automatically change to 60 Hz when they are playing 60 fps content. The result, the motion will looks crisper and smoother. But on the other hand, this will make the brightness is decreased and backlight’s flicker is more noticeable. When they are playing 120 fps content, their dimming frequency will automatically change to 120 Hz. To enable the BFI mode, you must set “On” the “Motion Pro” in the “Tru Motion” menu.

Additionally, since they both have native 120 Hz native refresh rate panel, they both are also able to interpolate the lower frame rate content up to 120 Hz. This feature is very helpful to reduce stutter, particularly when they are playing low frame rate content like 24p movies. But even so, by enabling the motion interpolation, this will cause an effect known as the “Soap Opera Effect” that may bother some people.

Inputs

As their major connectivity, LG SM9500 and SM9000 both have 4 HDMI ports. Their HDMI ports already support most of latest HDMI formats like HDMI 2.0, HDMI 2.1 Full Bandwidth, HDCP 2.2, CEC, and ARC (HDMI2). Additionally, they both also already support eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) that allow their HDMI ports pass-through Dolby Atmos via TrueHD and DTS:X via DTS-HD MA signal. Additionally, both LG SM9500 and SM9000 also already support most of resolution. With 60 fps content, they both support 1080p, 1080p @ 4:4:4, 1440p, 4K, and 4K @4:4:4, while with 120 fps, they support 1080p and 1440p. According to the LG advertiser, since they both already support HDMI 2.1, both the SM9000 and SM9500 actually support 4K @ 120 Hz content or HFR (High Frame Rate), but at this moment, this doesn’t work. This might need a firmware update or a HDMI 2.1 source.

In addition to HDMI ports, they both also have 3 USB ports. But unfortunately, all of them are USB 2.0 and none of them are USB 3.0. Additionally, they both also have 1 AV input. This means, if you have old devices with AV output as their major connectivity, you can still connect them to these TVs without additional adapter.  They both also have RF IN (Tuner), 1 Digital Audio Out (optical), and 1 Ethernet port. And for wireless connectivity, they both are equipped with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Smart TV Platform

Just like other models of LG’s 2019 TV lineup, as their smart TV platform, LG SM9500 and SM9000 both run WebOS 4.5 that has been integrated with LG ThinQ AI. As we know, the WebOS has smart, intuitive, smooth, fast, and easy to use interface. Compared to the 2018’s WebOS 4.0, there is a minor change offered by the WebOS 4.5 or 2019 version. It now has a new feature called “Home Dashboard”. This feature is similar to Samsung’s Smart Thing system and allows the TV can interact with many loT devices, mobile devices, and inputs and collate them into a single menu. This allows you to monitor and control the connected devices in your smart home.

WebOS 4.5

Furthermore, the WebOS 4.5 also has a lot of preinstalled apps. Most of popular apps are provided like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Videos, Live TV, Games, Web Browser, and many more. Additionally, it also has an app store called “LG’s apps store” that provide a huge selection of apps. WebOS 4.5 also already works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Meanwhile, with Alexa Built-in, you don’t need buy additional Alexa’s device like smart speaker or others if you want to use this app.  Additionally, both of these TVs also have built-in media player that already supports most of video smarts. Not only that, the “Recommendation Feature” of WebOS 4.5 has been also integrated with AI. This feature will monitor and analyze your viewing habits based on the time of day and content. This will make the recommendation content that suggested will be more accurate.

Remote

LG MAgic Remote 2019

As main controller, both Sony SM9000 and SM9500 come with a smart remote called “LG Magic Remote”. This remote is similar to the remote of the last year’s model like SK9000, SK8500, OLED B8, and others. This remote is a bit large and have a lot of buttons. In addition to standard buttons like “Number” buttons, “Power” button, “Volume” button, it also has some common buttons that provided quick access to most functions. It also has two dedicated buttons for Amazon Videos and Netflix, allow you to launch these apps without entering menu. Meanwhile, to support the voice navigation, this remote is also equipped with built-in microphone and has “microphone button”. It has many features voice control. On the center of the remote, in addition to “Directional” button, there is also a clickable “scroll wheel”. This allows this remote can act as the virtual pointer, makes the navigation is far easier. Not only that, this remote also can act as the universal remote, allow it can be used to control other devices connected on the TV. Not only HDMI-CEC supported devices but also non HDMI-CEC devices that can be controlled by this remote.

The Differences between LG SM9500 and SM9000

 The Number of Dimming Zones

The main difference between LG SM9000 and SM9500 is about the number of dimming zones of their local dimming. As we see on comparison table above, for the 55 inches (55SM9500) and 65 inches model (65SM9000), the SM9000 comes with Full Array Local Dimming while the SM9500 comes with Full Array Local Dimming Pro. This indicates the Pro version has more number of dimming zones than the basic version. With more number of dimming zones, the light precision will be more accurate. This will have an impact on their performance in handling blooming. When they are showing small bright object while the rest is dark, blooming that visible around the bright object will be look smaller on the screen of SM9500 than SM9000.

Bit Depth of Panel

LG SM9500 already supports real 10 bit panel, while the SM9000 supports 10 bit panel with dithering. This means, the panel of SM9500 can produce more than a billion shades of colors without dithering. On the other hand, the SM9000 only has true 8 bit panel. But even so, it can still produce a billion shades of colors that required by HDR content with dithering technique. And expected, with true 10 bit panel, the SM9500 can produce smoother color gradient than SM9000.

>> Please click here to see the price of LG SM9000 on Amazon <<

>> Please click here to see the price of LG SM9500 on Amazon <<

LG SM9000 vs SM9500 Performance

Contrast and Black Level

As we have mentioned above, with IPS panel, the native contrast ratio of the LG SM9000 and S9500 is not so good. Their native contrast ratio is only around 1000:1, makes the deepest black level produced is only around 0.1 nits.  This certainly is not dark enough to make black looks really black when they are set in a dark room.  Black produced even looks tend to grey in a dark room. Meanwhile, the superiority of SM9500 to SM9000 is on its local dimming performance. Even though the SM9000 already has full array local dimming, its local dimming is not able to boost its native contrast ratio. The result, regardless the local dimming of SM9000 is activated or not, contrast ratio produced is not far different. But even so, once it is set in a bright room where the impact of native contrast ratio is not major, its picture quality is far better.

On the other hand, the local dimming of SM9500 is very effective to boost its native contrast ratio significantly, up to around 2400:1. Even though still not as deep as what produced by VA TVs, but black produced by SM9500 is far deeper than SM9000 and still acceptable for HDR content.  As we know, the highest black level recommended for displaying HDR images fully is 0.05 nits. Meanwhile, with its contrast ratio, the deepest black level produced by SM9500 is around 0.04 nits. This is lower than 0.05 as the recommendation that means it is good. So, although its performance in a dark room is not as good as VA TVs, but its performance is not too bad and better than SM9000.

Winner: SM9500

SDR Peak Brightness

With SDR content, LG SM9000 has good peak brightness. With real content, it can get around 350 nits of peak brightness, bright enough to fight the glare in most bright rooms. But unlike other TVs with local dimming where the small highlights can be shown brighter, on the screen SM9000, small bright window (25 % of screen is bright while the rest is bright) precisely is aggressively dimmed to around 150 nits. This means, small highlight in a dark scene will look too dim. Meanwhile, SDR peak brightness of LG SM9500 is far brighter than SM9000. With real content, it can hit around 700 nits, makes it easily to overcome the glare in a most bright room. Just like the SM9000, its peak brightness is also dimmed on 2% window, but not as aggressive as the SM9000 and still brighter than 500 nits. This means, small highlight in a dark scene can be still shown fairly bright on its screen. Overall, combined to their good reflection handling, their picture looks fairly well in most bright rooms. But since the SM9500 has much brighter peak brightness, it is able to overcome the glare in very bright room better than SM9000.

All of the resulted above is achieved by setting the “Picture Mode” to “ISF Expert (Dark room)”, “Backlight” to “100”, “LED Local Dimming” to “Medium”, and “Color Temperature” to “Warm 2”. The different setting may get the brighter peak brightness, but this will reduce the image accuracy.

Winner: SM9500

HDR Peak Brightness

With HDR Content, the LG SM9000 can get brighter than with SDR content. With Real content, it can get brighter than 400 nits. However, just like with SDR content, on 2% window (2% of screen is bright while the rest is bright), its peak brightness is significantly dimmed to around 150 nits. When showing small bright object (2% window), it actually can get brighter 450 nits or even brighter than 900 nits on 10% window, but its peak brightness is quickly dimmed after it has stabilized. Peak brightness reached by SM9000 is actually bright enough to make the HDR images looks fairly bright in a bright room. But it is still far from 1000 nits as the minimum peak brightness required for showing HDR images excellently like the intended of content’s creator.

On the other hand, with SDR content, SM9500 also can get brighter than SM9000. With real content, it can hit around 800 nits that means it is excellent. Actually, on 2% window, it can get around 1100 nits and around 1500 nits on 10% window. But unfortunately, its peak brightness is quickly dimmed at around 450 nits on 2% window and around 650 nits on 10 % window once it is stabilized. Even though its peak brightness is still less than 1000 nits that means it cannot show HDR images like the intended, but its peak brightness is fairly bright to make HDR images looks very bright in a bright room.

All of the resulted above is achieved by setting the “Picture Mode” to “Movie”, “Backlight” to “100”, “LED Local Dimming” to “Medium”, and “Color Temperature” to “Warm 2”. The different setting may get the brighter peak brightness, but this will reduce the image accuracy.

Winner: SM9500

Color Reproduction

Both LG SM9000 and SM9500 have excellent color gamut and their color gamut is almost similar. The combination of Nano Cell display technology and IPS panel make them can produce wide color gamut. Their color gamut can cover more than 94% of DCI P3 color space. This means it is great for HDR content that mastered in DCI P3 like HDR 10. Additionally, their color coverage in Rec.2020 is also more than 70%, wide enough to show colors of HDR images that mastered in Rec.2020 like Dolby Vision looks fairly accurate. Meanwhile, they both also have similar color volume and their color volume is decent. Since they are not able to produce really black, the dark colors cannot be shown very well.  And like most of LED TVS, the both also cannot show bright blues as bright as other colors. Nevertheless, regardless their flaws, their color reproduction is great and colors of HDR images can be shown fairly accurate on their screen.

Wide Color Gamut vs Normal

 

Additionally, both of them also has excellent color gradient. When showing content with 10 depth of colors like HDR images, their color gradients looks very smooth. With regular HDR content, there might be some little imperfection in some certain colors, but for most people, this should not be noticeable. Meanwhile, compare among them, the color gradient of LG SM9500 is a bit better. This might be caused it has true 10 bit panel while the SM9000 only has 8 bit panel with dithering. This means, to produce billion shades of colors, the SM9000 uses dithering technique. Nevertheless, even though it doesn’t have real 10 bit panel, color gradient produced by the LG SM9000 is even better than some TVs from other manufacturers which have real 10 bit panel.

Winner: SM9500

Side Viewing Angle

VA Panel vs IPS Panel

As we have mentioned, the use of IPS panel might make both LG SM9500 and SM9000 have low native contrast ratio, but on the other hand, this makes they both have good side viewing angle coverage. This means, when watched from the side, the picture displayed on their screen looks remains accurate. Not far different to VA TV, started at around 30 degrees off center and front, brightness might still be decreased, but black level produced still looks consistent up to 70 degrees off center and front.  Additionally, they both are also able to maintain the color accuracy at much wider angle than VA TVs.  With very good side viewing angle coverage, both of them are very suitable when used in a wide room with wide seating or for you who often watch TV with a group of your family.

Winner: Draw

Motion

Both of LG SM9000 and SM9500 have similar pixel response time and their pixel response time is excellent, which is around 13 ms. And this is great for fast moving images like sports or fast movies. The result, when they are showing fast sports, fast games, or other content with fast moving objects, the picture produced looks very smooth and clear. There might be still a faint trail following the fast moving object, but for most people, this should not be noticeable. Meanwhile, the blur that might still be visible is more caused by backlight flicker, particularly when they are playing 60 fps content like sport or video games. Nevertheless, they both have an optional BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode that is very helpful to make motion looks crisper by reducing blur that caused by persistence or backlight flicker. But as we have mentioned, enabling the BFI mode might make backlight flicker is more noticeable.

Additionally, they both also can do a great job when handling 24p judder. Regardless the source of content, both of the SM9000 and SM9500 can show them with judder-free. This means, whether you are playing native 24p videos like Blu-Ray or DVD movies, 24p videos via 60i signal like movies from satellite TV, 60p signal like movies from streaming device, or 24p videos from streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Videos, and others, you can enjoy them clearly and smoothly with judder-free. And to remove the judder without adding soap opera effect, you just need to enable the “Real Cinema” in the “Picture Option Setting”.

Winner: Draw

Input Lags

LG SM9000 and SM9500 have outstanding low input lags in “PC” and “Game” mode. Their input lags are also almost the same. With 60 fps content, regardless the resolution, their input lags are around 14 ms. This means, regardless the resolution of the source is 1080p, 1080p @ 4:4:4, 1440p, 4K, 4K @4:4:4, 4K with HDR, their input lags are almost similar. This certainly makes them are very responsive when used for playing 60 fps games, whether it is casual or fast paced games. Meanwhile, with 120 fps, their input lags are even more excellent. At both 1080p and 1440p resolution, their input lags are around 7 ms. This certainly is great for any 120 fps games. The SM9000 and SM9500 actually already support 4K resolution @ 120 Hz or HVR (High Frame Rate) content. But we have not measure their input lags because there is no device which already supports HDMI 2.1.

Additionally, the SM9000 and SM9500 also already support Auto Low Latency Mode, known as ‘Instant Game Response’. This allows the TV Automatically switches to game mode once it is connected to supported devices. This means, once you connect this TV with a supported game console, the TV will automatically switch to “Game Mode”, ensures you get the lowest input lags when playing games.

Winner: Draw

>> Please click here to see the price of LG SM9000 on Amazon <<

>> Please click here to see the price of LG SM9500 on Amazon <<

Summary

Performance LG SM9000 LG SM9500
Picture Quality (3.8/5) (3.9/5)
HDR (3.5/5) (3.7/5)
Motion Handling (4.1/5) (4.1/5)
Inputs (4.9/5) (4.9/5)
Sound Quality (3.5/5) (3.5/5)
Smart TV (4.1/5) (4.1/5)

Conclusion

As we have mentioned above, there are not many differences in technology and features offered by LG SM9500 and SM9000. The main difference between them is on the number of dimming zones of their local dimming. Nevertheless, this difference has a significant impact on the quality of the picture produced. With the more number of dimming zones, the SM9500 can deliver deeper black and brighter peak brightness than the SM9000. This has an impact on their performance when used in a dark room or very bright room, or their HDR Performance. This means, when they are set in a dark room or very bright room or when they are playing HDR content, the SM9500 is much better than SM9000. Meanwhile, their difference in bit depth of panel only has an impact on the color gradient produced. And with Tru 10 bit panel, the SM9500 can deliver smoother color gradient than SM9000 that has 8 bit panel dithering.

Overall, for each of their class, with excellent performance in almost all aspect of picture quality, good viewing angle, excellent performance in handling motion, outstanding low input lags, and great Smart TV platform, both LG SM9000 and SM9500 are great TVs for mixed usage. Regardless you use them for watching movies, sports, TV shows, HDR, playing games, or Smart TV experience, their performance is great for each of their class. But with one note, they both are not used in a dark room. But even so, if you often watch movies in a dark room, they both might not be a good choice and considering a TV with VA panel like Sony X950G or Samsung Q7FN might be better option.

So, which is a better choice between them? As we have mentioned above, with the same screen size (65SM9000 and 65SM9500), the SM9000 is priced much cheaper than SM9500. But its performance is less powerful, particularly on peak brightness and black level produced. No, decision comes back to you according to your budgets and your own preference. If you have extra budget, the SM9500 certainly is better. Unfortunately, the SM9500 only comes in 65 inches. So, if you need a TV with other screen size, you might be disappointed. On the other hand, if your budget is limited, the SM9000 is also a good TV for its price range.  It even gives you many options in screen sizes.

>> Please click here to buy LG SM9000 on Amazon <<

>> Please click here to buy LG SM9500 on Amazon <<

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