The LG 26LC2R is one of LG's smaller units in their range of flat screen TVs. It is a high resolution 1366x786 pixel screen with a design incorporating the screen, speakers, stand and analog tuner all in the one unit. It is almost completely black with a thin line of dark grey under the screen. Overall, the look of the LG is a little bit outdated with the finish of matte black plastic and sharp corners.
Being 26 inches, this particular TV is more suited to a small to medium lounge or a larger bedroom. It sits on a fairly large stand which does not have the ability to swivel or tilt. There are attachment points on the back for the optional wall mounting unit but because all the input ports are on the back panel of the TV, it would be very difficult to connect or remove any new devices without taking the TV off the wall first. For convenience, LG has included side inputs for temporarily connecting a game console or video camera.
The tabbed menu system is quite large and easy to read, which adds to its overall ease of use. What we do not like is its reliance on abbreviations. Take for instance the picture menu; we are presented with the options PSM, CSM, XD and Reset. In the sound menu, you are presented with SSM, AVL, balance and speaker. With so much space available on the screen, it would not have been difficult for LG to expand these with meaningful words.
The remote is extremely comprehensive. It includes a very large selection of controls, and it can also control LG branded DVDs and VCRs as well as the TV. It is quite physically large however, and the button placement could have been planned better, with many common button combinations spread too far apart. For example, after you press your Input selection, you'll find yourself shuffling your fingers way down the remote to the navigation pad -- a minor issue, but worth noting.
The LG can accept signals from five separate inputs. There are two component, one composite/S-video combo, one HDMI and one VGA for your PC. The component inputs are 1080i capable.
The TV comes equipped with two 10w built-in speakers which have a digital equaliser and two user configurable presets. Factory presets include Surround Max which adds depth, Flat which is standard, Music which adds bass, Movie, similar to music but with less bass, and Sports which optimises the equaliser for voice.
There are also various picture modes that adjust contrast including Dynamic, Standard, Mild and one user configurable mode as well as adjustments for colour temperature which is covered by Cool, Neutral, Warm and another user configurable setting which gives you full red, green and blue level adjustments.
The screen has a large viewing angle of 178 degrees and there is also picture in picture functionality.
We put the LG through its paces using various media including connecting an HD TV digital tuner via component as well as playing high resolution media via PC. The HD TV looks great. We had no issues with combing and the image was crisp and vibrant with colour. We did notice that generally with studio based broadcasts skin tones were a little on the red side and when viewing outdoor footage, skin tones appeared neutral, so it is probably poor colour on the broadcasters end rather than the TV itself. There was plenty of detail in highlights and shadows. We could see detail and creases in a newsreaders white jacket as well as detail in black hair.
This is reinforced by the same results watching The Matrix Reloaded on DVD as well as the HD theatrical trailer. There was just as much detail in the LCD image as there was on our professional CRT monitor. Not only was there plenty of tonality and detail in hard to see areas, the LG also managed to produce very jet blacks.
The integrated analog TV tuner produced reasonable results. It was very good for what it was, but with a high resolution TV like this, you really want to be using an HD tuner.
The sound quality from the dual 10w speakers is quite good. There is plenty of volume and with normal viewing we had it set to 25 percent of its maximum, which left plenty of room to move if you need more sound. The speakers are quite small so there is not a great deal of bass reproduction, but otherwise it puts out a relatively full sound sufficient for a small to medium sized room.
We also connected the TV to our PC running at the TV's 1366x768 native resolution. The TV automatically performed an auto adjustment to align all the pixels correctly. We played Half Life 2: Lost Coast and had absolutely no problems with motion blur and again, as with our previous observations, there was good detail throughout.
We have mixed feeling about the LG LCD TV. We think it looks a little bit dated and at AU$1,499, it is priced higher than similarly equipped TVs from competing brands. However, it did perform well in most aspects of our testing and it has a great screen with a lot of detail in all areas of the image.