You may have heard about LG‘s NanoCell TVs and their promises of enhanced color and picture quality. But as a discerning shopper in the market for a new premium television, you should be aware of the considerable drawbacks of LG‘s NanoCell 90 Series before making any purchase decisions.
As an experienced tech analyst, I‘ve put together the nine most compelling reasons why you may want to steer clear of the NanoCell 90 Series based on extensive research into its technology, reviews, and performance data. This article provides helpful insights to guide your search for the ideal TV.
What Exactly is NanoCell TV Technology?
First, let‘s quickly demystify what NanoCell technology is and what it aims to achieve. LG touts its proprietary NanoCell as an advanced display innovation that uses nanoparticles to absorb excess light wavelengths, enhancing color accuracy and purity on screen. This is meant to provide more vibrant, realistic colors compared to conventional LED TVs.
LG positions its premium NanoCell 90 Series as 4K TVs with AI-powered picture and sound, promising an immersive viewing experience. But does the technology truly live up to its claims in real-world performance? As we‘ll see, the answer for many buyers is unfortunately no.
The Steep Premium Price
The NanoCell 90 Series demands a serious price premium that sets it far apart from average 4K LED TVs. To put it into perspective, here is a comparison of LG 55-inch NanoCell models versus competitors:
|Sony X90J 55-inch||$998|
As you can see, LG‘s NanoCell commands at least a $100 premium over Sony‘s comparable X90J series, and over $400 more than a similar Samsung QLED model. This difficult-to-justify price gap is one of the main detractors for the NanoCell 90 Series.
Limited Sizes Leave Few Options
Another limitation buyers should note is the restricted range of available screen sizes in the NanoCell 90 lineup, focused predominantly on 55-inch and larger models. The full range of sizes includes:
- 55 inches
- 65 inches
- 75 inches
- 86 inches
With no sizes under 55 inches, consumers needing a TV for a bedroom or smaller space won‘t have an option among these NanoCell models. Brands like Samsung, Sony, and Vizio offer a wider selection of 40-50 inch sizes catering to consumers with smaller rooms.
Edge-Lit Backlighting Fails to Impress
Here‘s where we start to uncover the underlying technology shortcomings of the NanoCell 90 Series…
Rather than utilize full-array local dimming backlight technology like some competing models, the 90 Series relies on basic edge-lit LED lighting. This positions LEDs only at the edges of the screen.
The result is uneven backlight distribution and brightness across the display, light blooming around bright objects, and clouding/halo effects in dark scenes. Full-array local dimming provides vastly improved illumination uniformity.
|LG NanoCell 90 Series||Edge-lit LED|
|Sony X90J||Full array LED with local dimming|
As you can see, the LG falls short of competitors here despite its premium price.
Disappointing Gaming Experience
Gamers may be drawn to features like the NanoCell 90 Series‘ native 120Hz refresh rate and support for Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). But in reality, enabling VRR results in flickering, pulsing, and instability.
This disjointed, inconsistent gaming performance ruins the experience of high-action titles and fast-paced scenes. Competing TVs like the Sony X90J deliver buttery-smooth, tear-free gaming with VRR enabled.
NanoCell‘s Weak Off-Angle Viewing
One area where NanoCell technology should particularly stand out is in off-angle viewing. By enhancing color accuracy, NanoCell aims to maintain image fidelity even when viewing the TV from the side.
Unfortunately, reviewers confirm the NanoCell 90 Series still exhibits a pronounced shift to washed-out, de-saturated colors and reduced contrast when viewed off-center. This defeats the purpose of NanoCell‘s wide viewing angle benefits.
Lackluster Brightness Lets Down Picture Quality
With a peak brightness of around 650 nits, the NanoCell 90 Series lags behind its competitors and fails to deliver satisfactory performance in bright rooms with daylight or glare.
For comparison, Samsung‘s Q80T QLED TV achieves nearly 1000 nits peak brightness for superior HDR highlights and visibility in ambient lighting.
|LG NanoCell 90 Series||650 nits|
|Samsung Q80T QLED||Up to 1000 nits|
Big differences in brightness like this impact the vividness of colors, clarity of detail, and overall picture quality. The NanoCell 90 Series‘ dim output is a downgrade for buyers.
HDR Visuals Lose Their Punch
While the NanoCell 90 Series is compatible with HDR content, its mid-range brightness prevents the expanded contrast and color from truly popping the way HDR is meant to.
Scenes don‘t showcase the specular highlights and realistic details that make HDR so compelling. Comparable Sony and Samsung models with higher brightness and full-array local dimming outshine the NanoCell 90 Series for HDR.
Black Levels Leave You in the Dark
Here‘s another area where the limitations of edge lighting become apparent. With large zones of LEDs instead of more granular local dimming control, the 90 Series TVs struggle to achieve deep black levels for improved contrast.
Dark scene content comes across washed out and grayish rather than truly black. This reduces that cinematic appeal. Sony‘s X90J, with its direct LED backlighting, delivers far superior black level depth.
Quality Control Concerns Run Rampant
Diving into forums and reviews reveals an alarming pattern of quality control issues with the NanoCell 90 Series, including:
- Dead and stuck pixels
- Backlight bleeding along edges
- Blotching and mottling in dark areas
- Flickering or flashing on screen
While not universal, these problems reported by users indicate inconsistencies in LG‘s manufacturing processes. For a premium 4K TV, quality issues like these are concerning and risk early failure.
Compelling Alternatives Exist
Given its drawbacks, you‘ll be better off with one of these alternatives that offer similar premium features without the same compromises:
Sony X90J – Starting under $1000, Sony‘s 55-inch X90J provides equivalent image quality with full-array local dimming for superior contrast. Smooth HDR and great off-angle viewing make it a superior option.
Samsung QN85A Neo QLED – With next-level contrast thanks to quantum dot color and mini-LED backlighting, the Samsung QN85 delivers incredible vibrance even in bright rooms.
Vizio P-Series Quantum – Vizio‘s P-Series Quantum models pair quantum dots and full-array backlighting at a more affordable price point. You still get excellent cinematic visuals worthy of films.
|LG NanoCell 90 Series||Vibrant colors in some content||Expensive, edge lighting hurts contrast|
|Sony X90J||Excellent contrast and viewing angles||Interface not as smooth|
|Samsung QN85A QLED||Unmatched brightness and color||More expensive|
|Vizio P-Series Quantum||Cinematic picture at lower cost||Not as bright|
While NanoCell technology sounds enticing on paper, the actual real-world performance of LG‘s 90 Series falls short in many important categories like contrast, brightness, and viewing angles. These TVs fail to justify their lofty pricing.
As a savvy shopper, you are better off choosing one of the superior alternatives from Sony, Samsung, and Vizio. Avoid buyer‘s remorse down the line by steering clear of the NanoCell 90 Series despite the hype. Your home theater will thank you!