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For the last 5 years, LG has placed its OLED TVs on the podium of our selection of the best 4K TVs. And although the competition has become fiercer, especially from Philips, LG Display is still the only source for the entire OLED market. Those of us who want the best possible image quality have only one option and that is OLED. The problem is that it is still fairly expensive, up to twice the price of a high-end LCD TV. Yes, even though prices have dropped significantly and LG offers a good value for money, switching to an OLED is a big investment. The positive thing is that all recent OLED TVs have a very similar picture quality, namely superb. In other words, you can easily opt for an “entry-level” model without worrying about making too many sacrifices. At LG, it is in the B range that offers the most affordable models. And between this LG OLED B9 (Check on Amazon) and a C9 (Check on Amazon), the differences are small. You will find a more powerful image processor on the C9 (a second-generation α9 chip versus a second-generation α7 chip on the B9) and different support. But the image quality is almost identical, and that is what matters most!
Read more: LG OLED C9 review: the best got even better
LG OLED B9 – Design
The B9 is available in 55, 65 and 75 inches. Compared to LCD TVs, the OLED panel is surprisingly thin. There is a bulge in the lower part that spoils the razor-thin profile somewhat, but it houses the ports, power supply, speakers and other components.
On the back we find four HDMI 2.1 ports – compatible with the eARC audio return channel, promising a much higher bandwidth and tailored for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which will be exploited by a compatible soundbar – and three USB 2.0 ports. Unlike many Samsung devices, the B9 also includes an analog video input for non-HDMI devices. The full list is as follows:
- Four HDMI inputs with HDMI 2.1, HDCP 2.2
- Three USB ports
- Composite video/audio input
- Optical digital audio output
- 3.5mm analog headphone output
- RF input (antenna)
- RS-232 port (minijack, for service only)
- Ethernet port (LAN)
The remote control has not changed from last year and still does not have backlit buttons. On the other hand, it tracks the movements of the hand perfectly with its gyroscope, which is especially useful when connecting to apps, performing a search using the virtual keyboard, and makes navigation in menus easier. The scroll wheel also provides valuable support for moving through menus.
The B9 is not overly flashy with a clean and minimalist design compared to other LG OLED TVs.
LG OLED B9 – Features
The LG OLED B9 benefits from LG’s amazing WebOS smart TV platform, which offers a fast, responsive and well-organized interface with which you can access all the online and TV broadcasting capabilities.
The most important part of the remote control is the Home button, which displays the main menu on the screen. It looks like a horizontal bar with slender, slanted icons for various apps with a sub bar that shows specific titles when you hover over the main icon.
These include Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, with the most frequently used apps shown on the left side.
LG’s 2019 OLED TVs are the first to integrate both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. In practice, the microphone key on the remote activates Google Assistant while pressing the Amazon Prime Video button allows you to access Alexa. Both voice assistants can take control of the connected ecosystem of the two market leaders, answer questions and offer personalized recommendations. We didn’t dive into too much detail into their use but it seemed to us that Google Assistant was better integrated than Alexa.
In addition to Google and Amazon, the B9 takes a step towards Apple by being compatible with AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. We were able to turn on our iPhone and share photos and videos on the B9’s screen from the Photos app. Screen mirroring mode also worked as expected and we were able to play videos on the TV and control them from the smartphone both on Amazon Prime and YouTube.
Connecting a game console will also display a notification of a connected device, making it easy to access the correct input. As we said before all LG 2019 OLED models include the latest 2.1 version of the HDMI standard, so their ports can handle 4K at 120 fps. They also offer two options that should talk to gamers (and Xbox One X owners in particular): Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode. Two technologies that offer appreciable gaming responsiveness by reducing screen tear and input lag for almost immediate response time.
LG OLED B9 – Performance
The most important thing, of course, is the image – and the LG OLED B9 benefits from the same OLED panel as its high-end siblings.
The display offers the same natural tones and tone mapping, as well as a wide color gamut for rich and shaded images, along with enhanced contrast, brightness control and a higher refresh rate for a smoother image, although the B9 might lack the processing power to push your panel to the max.
The B9 implements a less advanced processor than the C9, using a second-generation a7 chip instead of the latest a9.
There is a noticeable improvement over last year’s B8 model, but the relatively low price leads to a reduction in visual quality compared to premium LG models; we can see a slight increase in blur in fast-moving scenes and SD or HD upscaling is not optimal.
Still, this is a quality image and one you could expect from an OLED panel.
4K Ultra HD playback adds incredibly accurate detail to the images, showcasing the true potential of the B9.
It can reach the dynamic Dolby Vision HDR standard for titles and apps that support it, such as with Netflix and some 4K Blu-ray discs, however, it doesn’t support HDR10+.
Most premium TVs only support one of two formats, however, some brands like Panasonic are producing mid-range TVs compatible with both. There is also HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) support, for what it’s worth.
The B9 also excels in dark areas of the screen; the capabilities of the OLED panel ensure a contrast with bright colors and lights. However, its mid-range processor can not completely block out the noise, at least when the image is largely dark and has to distinguish between similar shades or trace the movement through the shadows.
The B9 is not particularly bright, so the HDR format does not have the necessary light to make the colors really pop out and differentiate between neighboring shades.
In short, there is a noticeable drop in brightness compared to high-end models, which means that HDR scenes do not match expectations.
Overall, however, the B9 and C9 are really very close and both deserve our maximum score of 10 in image quality. Also, the 2019 LG OLED TVs did not have a major advantage over last year’s models and the differences between the C9 and C8 (Check on Amazon), and the B9 and B8 (Check on Amazon) are also very small.
Read more: LG OLED B8 review: best bang for your buck
The LG OLED B9 features the same 2.2 channel audio configuration as the C9, with 40W Dolby Atmos speakers that deliver a detailed sound panorama and deep low, medium and high frequencies, with the ability to simulate Surround sound. This is a significant boost compared to the B8’s 20W speakers.
As always, an AV configuration or a dedicated soundbar would be an interesting upgrade.
The LG OLED B9 keeps its promise to offer buyers a cheaper entryway to the OLED world. Inevitably there are small flaws, and you won’t achieve the excellent experience of the C9 or E9 (Check on Amazon).
It is also worth noting that the C9, having been on the market for a considerably longer time, can now be found at (Check on Amazon), which brings it closer to the B9’s asking price (Check on Amazon).
If you have the extra money, we recommend the C9, but the B9 is still an excellent OLED panel.