OLED TVs are usually good for two things: contrast and their ultra-thin design. Even by those standards, LG’s new Signature W7 Wallpaper OLED is absolutely breathtaking.
At just 2.57mm thin, it’s slimline enough to almost hang flush to any wall and hangs off a wall bracket with the help of magnets. Naturally, it’ll do the business with a whole host of 4K and HDR content as well. If you’ve got what’s likely to be several thousand pounds going spare, the Wallpaper OLED should be top of your shopping list.
Here are our first impressions of the set from CES 2017.
LG W7 Design: the world's thinnest TV
We’ve seen a lot of TVs at CES this year, but this Wallpaper OLED is undoubtedly the best-looking set in Las Vegas. Available in 77 or 65-inch form factors, it really is impressive to behold.
How has LG been able to make a TV that’s only 1/10 of an inch thick? That’s all down to its OLED tech, where each pixel illuminates itself individually. In comparison, more traditional TVs like Samsung’s QLED models use LCD panels that rely on a backlight to operate. Since OLEDs don’t require a backlight, the LG is able to make the Wallpaper W7 as thin as a pound coin. It’s a TV that’s fit for the Queen.
This ultra-thin build isn’t flawless though. Its ribbon-cable connecting the TV to a Dolby Atmos soundbar and all its image processing gubbins isn’t in-wall rated. That means you’ll be able to see it running down from the Wallpaper OLED to its soundbar and that could look a little bit ugly.
LG W7 picture: brighter than ever before
As you’d expect, the Wallpaper OLED was running some special 4K HDR test footage at CES 2017 that’s designed to showcase the superb contrast capabilities that are inherent to OLEDs. The W7’s ability to illuminate individual pixels means deep blacks and vibrant shades of colour can sit right next to each other in pin-sharp detail.
In a new development for LG’s flagship Signature OLEDs, the W7 also features a 25% brighter screen (up to 1,000 nits) than previous models. This will both help futureproof it for later innovations, and help make the most out its High Dynamic Range capabilities. Even if Samsung’s QLED TVs can go a achieve between 1,500 and 2,000 nits.
Speaking of HDR, the W7 supports a whopping great four standards for the TV tech: HDR10, Dolby Vision, High Log-Gamma and Technicolor's Advanced HDR. Don’t know what those all do? Don’t worry about it. The important thing is that LG’s W7 has them, and you won’t force you into an upgrade anytime soon.
LG W7 sound: Dolby Atmos audio
As mentioned above, the extreme thinness of the LG Signature W means there's no room around the panel for speaker. The answer? A bundled soundbar.
But this is no ordinary soundbar - this is a Dolby Atmos soundbar, which means it's - at least in theory - able to produce a surround sound effect not just around you, but also above you.
We were pretty sceptical about how good the sound from this one-box solution could be, but having now heard it in action we're actually quite impressed. This relatively slim unit can create a seriously room-filling sound with effects that appear distinctively above you.
Admittedly, we heard the speaker in a purpose-built demo room that was perfectly rectangular and had very reflective surfaces - so the perfect environment for bouncing sound off walls in order to generate that virtual surround sound effect. Whether the performance will be quite as accomplished in a more typical living room remains to be seen, but it's certainly fair to say that the concept works well.
A proper surround sound system will of course still sound better, especially when it comes to pin-pointing specific effects in the surround field, which is why it's a bit of a shame that LG isn't launching a version of the W7 without the soundbar. Yes, you'd still need an external unit for the processors and inputs and all of that jazz, but it could be much smaller and easier to hide, not to mention potentially cheaper. As it is, those people who've already got a sound solution still have to take and find a place for the chunky soundbar, which is just a little bit of a shame.
LG W7 webOS 3.5: VR-ready TV
And if that’s not enough TV wizardry for you, then LG’s webOS 3.5 update now includes support for 360 degree VR content. Just connect a VR-capable PC or smartphone to the W7 via USB and you’ll be able to scroll around the scene using the Magic Remote handset. That same remote has also been updated for binge-watching pros as well with a dedicated button for your favourite streaming service e.g. Netflix or Amazon.
Aside from some iterative updates to its Magic Link and Zoom features - for accessing info on what you’re watching and zooming in on an image - this year’s version of webOS isn’t all that different from its previous incarnation.
LG Wallpaper OLED W7 initial verdict
So that’s the shape of LG’s Wallpaper OLED W7, and what an impressive TV it is.
Set to launch around April this year, it won’t be long until we’re able to try it out for review. If it’s picture quality lives up to that jaw-dropping design then we’ll have quite the telly on our hands.
It's worth pointing out, though, that every OLED model in LG's 2017 TV range uses the same panel and has the same processing bits, so if you were happy to forego the Signature W's stunning design you could theoretically get the same picture quality for (presumably) a lot less cash.