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I tested LG's new Mini LED TV for a month, and it beat my G2 OLED in 3 major ways

Exceptional brightness and color accuracy, supported by a snappy new AI processor, make LG's latest Mini LED model a formidable TV in 2024.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
LG QNED90T TV
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The LG QNED90T model features the company's latest Mini LED technology, delivering high brightness and eye-pleasing colors.
  • New AI features ultimately make the user experience more intuitive, and gamers will be satisfied with the 120Hz VRR display, paired with LG's dedicated software features.
  • At its price, several alternatives are available from Samsung, TCL, and Hisense. But if you prefer LG's brand offerings, the QNED90T is worth considering.

In the case of TVs, LG's OLED offerings are arguably the cream of the crop. Their picture quality is exceptional, viewing angles are consistent, and all that visual gadgetry is somehow fitted into a slim and often lightweight form factor. Case in point: My LG G2 OLED of two years is still the centerpiece of my living room.

Also: LG TVs are getting a free audio upgrade that Apple users will absolutely love

But within those two years, we've also seen a renewed focus on Mini LED TVs; manufacturers like TCL, Hisense, and Sony have gone all-in on the miniature light-emitting diode technology, achieving contrast and black levels that nearly match that of OLED panels while producing much higher brightness. So when LG pitched its new QNED90T -- the company's latest Mini LED model -- I bit.

For the past month, replacing my LG G2 with the QNED90T has been a mostly positive experience, with some expected drawbacks and surprising benefits.

View at Best Buy

Let's start at the very beginning: setting up the TV. I tested a 65-inch QNED90T model, which retails for $1,899. The TV won't win any awards for being the thinnest and lightest, but it's manageable enough for two people to lift and move around a living room. 

My original plan was to wall-mount the set where my LG C2 was, but then I placed it closer to my window to evaluate the QNED90T's brightness (and just how reliable it was). This process was less hassle than a 68-pound TV would make it seem.

LG QNED90T Stand
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

The QNED90T comes with two legs that can be mounted closer or further away from the center, giving you just enough space to fit a soundbar if desired. With heavier TVs, I generally prefer this type of stand over the central ones (common with Hisense, TCL, and Sony sets) because the weight feels more evenly distributed, and there's less wobbling.

Also: LG vs Samsung TV: Which brand should you buy in 2024?

LG includes a Magic Remote with the QNED90T -- the same model and design that came with my C2 OLED a few years ago -- and it's just as useful and buggy as the original. Swiping on the scroll wheel activates the mouse-like pointer, which is great when you're typing Wi-Fi passwords and streaming service credentials, but the sensor often miscalibrates after a few seconds, so you have to switch back to what I'll call button-pressing mode and then turn on the feature again.

The QNED90T has four HDMI 2.1 ports, three USB ports, and eARC support -- should you want to hook up a soundbar. That's a rather generous assortment of connections, and most gamers and media buffs shouldn't have a problem pairing multiple consoles, Blu-ray players, and other devices to the TV.

LG QNED90T Controller

The Magic Remote supports voice inputs, which plays well with the various new AI features on the QNED90T.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Before I jumped into my usual cycle of Netflix and Disney+ films, I tested my QNED90T unit for any inconsistencies with the display panel. This typically involves playing a video of a small white square drifting from corner to corner, edge to edge, to detect any blooming, a common downside of non-OLED TVs. (I also do an eye test by examining how subtitles are presented in darker scenes.) To my surprise, the haloing wasn't too noticeable, though the backlighting became more obvious when looking at the TV off-angle, roughly three feet from the center.

Also: I changed these 5 TV settings to drastically improve the picture quality

To detect any Dirty Screen Effect (DSE), I cycle through several colored slides like white, gray, yellow, and red and look for splotches or lines of inconsistent color. This is where my QNED90T review unit fell short, with areas of darker pixels in the bottom middle area of the screen. 

Throughout the movie Interstellar, sweeping shots of the uniform expanses of space made the LG's DSE more apparent, though it didn't detract from the overall viewing experience too much -- I still sat on the edge of the sofa during the wave scene.

LG QNED90T
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

The Saving Grace of the QNED90T is its brightness, which, thanks to LG's Quantum Dot NanoCell technology (composed of tiny semiconductor particles that focus on color accuracy and brightness while absorbing excess light wavelengths), has a notably higher peak brightness than my older C2 OLED. The practical result is better picture quality, even when the TV is near a window or ceiling light.

Also: I saw Samsung and LG's new transparent TVs at CES, and there's a clear winner

I'm also mostly satisfied with the QNED90T's new AI features, which are powered by the TV's A8 AI Processor 4K and generously embedded throughout WebOS 24. The AI-enhanced picture mode is generally brighter and more saturated, which plays well with gaming and sports, while the tailored audio mode gives the TV's built-in speakers some much-needed oomph -- pushing out however much bass output there is (which is not a lot) in favor of clarity. 

The TV's initial setup process makes opting into the AI enhancements intuitive and user-friendly, with helpful visual and audio comparisons, and there's a dedicated settings tab should you ever want to opt out.

LG QNED90T AI Settings
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Lastly, WebOS 24 is much cleaner and more organized than previous software versions, with dedicated Quick Cards for office, gaming, smart home, sports, and other modes and improved accessibility features. I just wish the top banner, which takes up about one-third of the screen, displayed more useful information than simply ads or no ads. 

ZDNET's buying advice

The LG QNED90T is a confusingly good TV; it's no OLED TV, but it performed well enough to make me forget about my C2 OLED for several weeks. For a Mini LED set, you can expect superior picture detail and colors that get plenty bright while staying accurate. The additional AI features are helpful if you're unfamiliar with how to best tweak your TV's display settings, but you won't miss out on much if you opt out of the services.

With a starting price of $1,899 for the 65-inch size, the LG QNED90T sits awkwardly between the company's more expensive, entry-level OLED models and cheaper Mini LED TVs like the Hisense U8N and TCL QM8. If good audio quality and flexible viewing angles are at the top of your priority list, and you're shopping on a budget, I'd advise picking up one of the less-expensive TVs and pairing them with a soundbar/speaker system. Otherwise, the QNED90T is a safe place to start your buying journey.

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