John Lewis 40JL9100 (£500)
What’s the story?
We don’t know what’s more perplexing: the fact that this is a TV by John Lewis, or that it’s another 4K TV for just £499.
As with the John Lewis 55JL9100, this 40JL9100 is actually ‘powered’ by LG, so it uses the same panel, same remote, same interface as the Korean giant’s typical fare. It runs on WebOS too, which has quickly become the darling of TV software platforms with its intuitive, Nan-friendly operation. Whether you’re changing inputs, tinkering with picture settings, or pinning your favourite apps and content to the pop-up tile menu, it feels natural and undemanding.
There’s more apps than you can shake a remote at as well, including Amazon Instant Video and Netflix for weekend movie binges; Sky’s NOWTV for rolling-contract sports and entertainment packages; and BBC iPlayer for hours of catch-up TV. John Lewis hopes you’re punctual for the midweek’s Dinner Date and Gogglebox as ITV Player and All 4 are sadly AWOL.
As for design? It’s not often a £500 TV elicits ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as it’s assembled, but the ribbon stand (no, it isn’t wrapped up in a bow) is easy on the eye with its cradling shape and brushed finish. Just know that it’s a tabletop hugger, nearly spreading the screen’s girth.
The 40in display may not have the initial wow factor of a room-hogging, domestic-inducing 65in screen, but not everyone has room in their lives for that. It’s also as sharp as a tack and impressive in all areas of the picture department.
In The Ridiculous 6 (in 4K), the dessert landscapes are tangible enough to give you dry mouth as you watch the foolishness escalade. Contrast is incredible: black eye patches and the inside of gun barrels match the TV’s bezel for blackness, while white horses and shirts are clean without being too clinical.
Colours aren’t as subtle as we’ve seen elsewhere, but upscaling on Blu-rays, DVDs and broadcast offers good levels of crispness, colour depth and detail. Mad Max: Fury Road doesn’t lose its eye-popping edge, nor Stoker its warm charm. So if you’re looking to dip your toes in the 4K pond, perhaps the 40JL9100 should be what’s written all over your next paycheck.