LG B9 (OLED65B9) Review

LG B9 (OLED65B9) Review

Last Updated on October 1, 2021 by Daniel Osakwe

With its extremely low price tag, LG’s B9 OLED TV may be the most intriguing OLED set of its 2019 lineup. We are often looking for the cheapest way to add an OLED television to our home, as there is an abundance of high-performance OLED televisions on the market.

In an attempt to keep its price below that of its more premium siblings, the LG C9, LG E9, and LG W9 OLED, this new television has an OLED display housed in a less expensive casing and is powered by older processors.

The question is whether the B9’s panel can reach its full potential if its processing speed is dropped, or if it is a price-saving compromise. The answer is both. Check out our LG B9 OLED TV review for what we thought.

Design

LG B9

LG’s B9 OLED TV looks similar to LG’s C9 with its slim bezel surrounding LG’s 2019 OLED panel and a small LED on the bottom bezel showing the TV’s power state, as well as a sharply angled trapezium TV stand, a contrast to the C9’s curved stand, which is designed to funnel audio out of the downward-firing speakers towards the viewer.

While the 55-inch B9 is virtually identical in size to the C9, it measures 1228 x 744 x 246 mm.

The B9 is also the cheapest OLED this year from LG, so the materials are a little less premium, yet the thin flatscreen panel still displays well in spite of the plastic casing at the back.

Besides HDMI 2.0 ports with HDMI ARC, the back panel also features three USB 2.0 inputs, CI, Ethernet, an antenna, and optical inputs.

The smallest of LG’s OLED televisions also includes LG’s Magic Remote (batteries included), which features precise IR navigation, a responsive clicker wheel, and a stylish wooden surface within a black plastic case. Sadly, Freeview Play (UK) is not accessible through the dedicated buttons for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Smart TV: WebOS

In addition to LG’s intuitive webOS smart TV platform that offers an organized interface that allows you to access every aspect of the TV’s online and broadcast capabilities, the B9 OLED features LG’s standout webOS smart TV platform.

The home button on your remote is essential, as it launches the main menu above whatever screen you’re on. As you hover over the main icon of the TV, it appears as a horizontal bar with thin, slanting icons displaying the various inputs and apps you might use, as well as a secondary bar displaying specific titles.

On the right-hand side are NOW TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Rakuten TV, and (in the UK) BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, and My5.

Using a mic on the remote control, you can hear yourself speak and look up relevant results on the smart platform – and it’s an easy way to explore what’s out there. As you ask questions, Google Assistant will answer them, with the option to link up with Google Home speakers for hands-free voice commands from other devices, or with Alexa through connected Amazon Echo devices.

In addition to bringing up a notification, connecting a console like the PS4 or Xbox One allows you to easily switch inputs without digging around multiple menus.

HD/SDR Performance

Of course, the most important thing is the display, and the LG B9 OLED has an OLED panel just like its more expensive siblings. Thus, natural-looking shade mapping and a wide color gamut are included, along with enhanced contrast, brightness controls, and fast refresh rates for a smoother image.

In addition, OLED sets have better viewing angles since their backlight doesn’t shine in one direction – through the QLED Samsung TVs have worked to avoid this.

In watching AMC’s Mad Men in HD, the B9 accurately shows the period drama’s pastel-colored cars, cigarette cases, and textured blue and black suits, even though it lacks the processing power to perform to its full potential.

A7 Gen 2 rather than the revolutionary A9 Gen 2 processor is employed by the B9, which is less advanced than the C9. In terms of visual quality, you’re still seeing improvements over last year’s B8, though the low price tag means there is a slight judder in fast-moving scenes as well as a soft upscaling of content from SD or HD sources. Nevertheless, it’s still a quality picture, as you’d expect from an OLED panel.

Aside from gaming in HD, the OLED panel provided brilliant contrast between the glowing HUDs of the demons and the dark landscape around them. We played Doom 2016 with less than 13.1ms input lag, which was very smooth.

4K/HDR Performance

When you playback 4K UHD, you get incredibly fine details onscreen – and the OLED B9 is at its best in terms of viewing comfort.

Getting Dolby Vision HDR is helpful if you’re watching Netflix or Blu-ray discs that support it – although Samsung’s competing HDR10+ standard isn’t available.

Despite some brands like Panasonic engineering their mid-and high-end TVs to be compatible with both formats, most premium models still only support one. It’s a shame not to see everyone the following suit. HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) is also supported.

In addition to having truly black areas of the screen, the B9’s OLED panel is also capable of contrasting those with vibrant colors and lights. The mid-priced processor, however, can’t prevent some video noise from creeping in, especially in dark settings when tracking motion through shadows or trying to discern between similar shades of gray.

HBO’s new series Watchmen has remarkably different picture quality when it comes to daytime scenes vs. nighttime scenes. While the former has no trouble maintaining a crisp and clear image, the latter is less successful – even as it still maintains a strong overall picture.

Despite the B9’s decent brightness, even HDR formats don’t have enough light to make colors appear vivid and distinguish between shades that are close to each other.

In spite of the generally bad reputation of OLED TVs for dim screens, their infinite contrast usually prevents them from becoming an issue – and this isn’t the case here. The LG C9 won’t provide the same knockout experience, however.

Sound

Its performance in the audio department, however, doesn’t suffer much from the drop in processing. With Dolby Atmos, you can enjoy a nuanced soundscape and depth throughout the entire audio frequency spectrum – even through the built-in speakers. In contrast, the B8’s speakers put out 20W.

As compared to the C9, the B9 doesn’t have the same thoughtful design. As a result, the B9’s audio isn’t as immediate as its C9 counterpart.

It is always better to have a dedicated audio-visual setup. However, any additional hardware should provide more than the B9.

Pros Cons
webOS smart platform No HDR10+
Rich colors and sharp detail Some noise in dark scenes
LG’s cheapest 2019 OLED Not the latest processing

Verdict

LG’s B9 OLED delivers on its promise – offering consumers a way to get into OLEDs at a lower price, with vivid colors and sharp contrast.

As a result, you’re not getting the excellent experience of the C9 or E9 – and due to the delayed launch of the budget B9 model and continuing price cuts to the more premium models, the B Series isn’t quite the excellent value it used to be.

In the long run, it might be better to save and buy the LG C9 OLED – and possibly wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to get it – if the B9 is the only option available to you.