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LG 42LA740V review

 Review: May 2013  

Last updated November 2013

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: An almost-perfect 42 inch TV and now very affordable thanks to a big price drop after launch.


Design & looks

The LG 42LA740V is the 2013 upgrade of last year's highly-praised 42LM760T model, and it updates the striking Cinema Screen design with a stunning makeover. If you're under the impression that all modern TVs are near-identical flat slabs, you really need to take a close look at the LA740V. From the razor-thin screen with its ultra-narrow edge bezel to the stylish stand, subtle LG logo and metal finish, this is a TV that shows off its style from every angle. It's a very modern-looking TV that will grace any setting.

You'll also enjoy using the new Magic Motion remote with a scrolling wheel, which you point at the screen and use to scroll, zoom and select. The remote also incorporates voice recognition. There's a standard remote control too, if you prefer the old-fashioned way of operating your TV.

Picture quality

The picture quality from this high-end TV is outstanding. Although 40 inches seems to be a more common size, if you've got the space you'll appreciate the extra 10% screen size that 42 inches gives you compared with a 40 inch screen. It's an excellent size for a family TV.

The screen uses IPS technology which is able to generate very dark blacks and high brightness levels to give an excellent contrast ratio. Viewing angles are wide, so you avoid the problems in most Samsung LED TVs where the picture fades or loses colour fidelity if you move your head a few feet to the left or right of centre. Again, this makes it a good option for family viewing.

It's a Full HD screen of course, and very fast with a Motion Clarity Index of 800Hz, which is much faster than cheaper LCD TVs. There's no risk of any motion blur here, even when watching fast moving sports or when console gaming. Input lag in Game Mode is minimised, again making this a suitable option for gamers. As well as Game Mode there are six other modes including Cinema and custom modes.

The LCD panel is backlit using low-energy LED lighting, giving it an A+ energy rating. Although it uses edge lighting instead of full array backlighting, LG's "LED Plus" local-dimming technology is able to locally dim the backlighting to avoid any problems of light leaking from bright regions of the scene into dark regions. The result is that the TV manages to preserve high contrast ratios and largely avoid any clouding effect which can be a problem in cheaper edgelit screens.

Broadly speaking, the picture quality is on a par with the UE40F7000 from Samsung.


LG is a champion of passive 3D display technology, in contrast to the active 3D used by Samsung. The benefits of passive glasses are that they're cheap, lightweight, comfortable and flicker-free, and that counts for a lot. Opponents of passive 3D say that they're unable to fully display 1080p HD images, but LG disagree. The jury's still out on this one.

At S21, we definitely prefer the passive 3D approach. There's nothing worse than uncomfortable glasses and a flickering effect while watching TV, and you won't find those problems here. 3D viewing is just as good as 2D, with stunning effects available and no evidence of crosstalk or "ghosting" effects unless you start moving your head around a lot. The TV can even convert 2D images to 3D.

An added benefit of LG's approach is Dual Play full screen gaming, which uses the 3D display to turn a split-screen game into a full screen game, with each player seeing the game from their own perspective.

We should also point out that 6 pairs of glasses are included with the TV, in contrast with the 2 you get if you buy a Samsung TV!

Audio quality

Audio quality has been upgraded for this 2013 model compared with last year. The TV is equipped with twin stereo speakers rated at 12W + 12W RMS power. A built-in subwoofer gives the system more growl and enables it to pack a punch when watching action movies. Dialogue too is crisp and easy to follow and this is certainly one of the better televisions for sound quality.

The Virtual Surround Plus effect attempts to reproduce full 3D surround sound, with arguable success. Clear Voice 2 does a pretty good job of boosting vocals for added clarity. For those who like to tinker with settings, there are no fewer than 6 sound modes available, including Game, Cinema and Sport options.

Smart TV

LG is chasing the market-leader Samsung when it comes to Smart TV, and the 2013 look and feel is close to what Samsung has to offer. The user interface is graphically-based and best accessed using the Magic Motion remote. Apps include Catch-up TV from the BBC iPlayer, video streaming from LoveFilm, Netflix and YouTube, plus social media like Facebook and Twitter. There are other content options provided by LG, including games and 3D content. Games can be played using the Magic Remote like a games console controller.

It's an impressive system, but Samsung have the edge with their 2013 Smart TV functionality including a full range of catch-up TV services and the S Recommendation system that suggests programmes based on your viewing history.


The TV can connect to the internet via the built-in Wi-Fi or ethernet port, and with support for DLNA and Miracast, you can easily stream music, videos and photos from your PC, laptop or smartphone.

For connecting to your other audiovisual equipment, the TV gives you 3 HDMI connections and 3 USBs. There's also a SCART, component, composite AV, a variety of audio inputs and outputs, a headphone jack and a CI slot.

The TV supports NFC-enabled smartphones with an NFC tag supplied with the TV. You can use this to share content between your TV and phone just by touching the phone to the sticker.

You can also download a free app to turn your smartphone into a remote control.

A Freeview HD tuner is provided, but not Freesat.

Conclusion - impressive and now affordable

The LA740V series is very impressive indeed, and in its 42 inch incarnation it's ideal for most families. It's a stunningly beautiful piece of equipment that will look fantastic in a contemporary or traditional setting. When it comes to picture quality, it's a match for anything Samsung can offer apart from Samsung's very expensive Series 8 TVs. In 3D in particular, it is peerless. Smart TV is also a close match for Samsung, and connectivity is excellent, although we would have liked 4 HDMI ports instead of just 3, and the lack of Freesat may irritate some buyers. Audio quality is above average.

We originally reviewed this TV back in May 2013  and awarded it 4 stars, moaning about its high price. Now, in the run up to Christmas, the price has been slashed, and we can award this TV the 5 stars it deserves and recommend it without hesitation.

LG 42LA740V features include:

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Does the sound mute if headphones are plugged into the tv?

Asked by Leighton from UK on 21st Nov 2017

Reply by Tim Dawson from UK on 3rd Aug 2018

LG 42LA740V user reviews

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Average rating from 3 reviews:

Reviewed by Juha from Finland on 26th Apr 2014
I have LG 42LA740S and LG 47LA740S and these tv:s are the best ones you can buy under 900. I'm very satisfied at both ones. Piece of art and technology.

Reviewed by Paul from Glasgow on 23rd Apr 2014
This TV uses a low contrast IPS panel that results in poor black levels that look grey and washed out.

Every other stand up review site gives this TV between 3 and 4 stars with one even giving it 2 out of 5.

S21 really need to do a bit more research and revise their review process if they want to be taken seriously.

Reviewed by Muddles from Thailand on 24th Dec 2013
Have seen in retail display only, looks fantastic. Samsung had led the way with their styling.
The LG is now on par or better with it's cabinets and stand design. Very modern and stylish.
Display model had outstanding features in all key areas, sound, picture, 3d, menu and remote use was fairly easy.
I am going out tomorrow to buy mine.
This review was a factor in my decision. I was a Samsung fan for appearance of unit but this is a work of art.

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