LG vs. Samsung: Battle of the curved OLED TVs

lg vs samsung curved oled tv comparison kn55s9c
Samsung's KN55S9C curved OLED HDTV

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had a chance to spend some quality time alone with both LG and Samsung’s curved OLED TVs. And while the technology behind the TV’s and their shapes are similar, there are plenty of factors distinguishing one from the other. With that in mind, let’s compare them. 

Frames and stands

First, let’s start with the obvious stuff. Samsung has gone with what it calls a “Timeless Arena” design. We call it a frame. This frame provides some advantages in that it houses a built-in camera up top and speakers at the bottom. On the other hand, the frame obscures the visual appeal of the TV’s curvature and takes up a lot more space than if the panel stood alone.

samsung kn55s9c oled tv bottom right corner macro
Samsung’s “Timeless Arena” frame.

LG’s panel does stand alone, opting for a clear acrylic base. This shows off the TV’s thin profile and gentle curves much better. However, the clear speakers in use here don’t sound very good.

lg 55ea9800 curved oled base angle
LG’s 55EA9800 clear base with clear speakers

Speaking of speakers, Samsung houses a small subwoofer inside the sealed panel of the TV. There’s no grill and no port to be found anywhere. It actually uses the TV cabinet as a sort of radiator – a weird design choice, but effective.

Breakout box vs. integrated inputs

LG’s OLED houses its inputs like most TV’s do: on the back of the TV. This makes for a little bit of a bump on the center of the TV’s back panel, though LG’s is thinner overall.

Samsung KN55S9C OLED TV breakout box top ports
Samsung’s breakout box with “one connect” output port on the right.

Samsung’s OLED has a completely smooth back panel, with all of the inputs housed in a breakout box. From there, signal is sent to the TV by a proprietary “one connect” cable. If you could mount this TV on the wall, that would be a real advantage.

Remotes: Magic motion vs. Touch-sensitive

LG is sticking with its Magic Motion remote. It took us some getting used to, but now we really like it. So does our 4-year-old daughter. She’s a master with this thing. That’s probably because it’s such a familiar feel. You use it like you would a Wii remote, pointing and clicking at the TV. 

lg 55ea9800 curved oled remote
LG’s “Magic Motion” remote

Samsung, however, uses a touch-pad remote, so you do more swiping than you do waving. We’ve not had as much time with this remote, but didn’t enjoy it the first time out, like we’d hoped. That may change as we get a little more used to it, though.

Smart TV platforms

To be frank, Samsung’s got a pretty clear advantage when it comes to a smart TV interface. And we’re not talking about its inclusion of gesture control or voice recognition elements, which we don’t think add any value to the user experience. Rather, Samsung’s got the edge because of its live TV integration and content recommendation engine. You can also search across all available video-on-demand apps to help find out which service has what you want to watch. Samsung’s five-segment smart TV interface just works. This isn’t to say LG’s is poor – it isn’t. We just like Samsung’s better.  

Image retention abatement 

When we tested LG’s OLED, we noticed that bright white test patterns were dimmed over time. We confirmed with LG that this was intentional and is a sort of image retention abatement measure.

lg 55ea9800 curved oled front
LG’s 55EA9800 curved OLED with clear base

Samsung’s TV doesn’t do this. However, we never noted any image retention issues during our testing of Samsung’s TV, either. This may have something to do with the difference in approach to OLED panel design discussed next.

White sub-pixels vs. double-blue pixel

Samsung and LG take slightly different design approaches to their OLED panels. LG uses four white sub-pixels, then lays color filters over three of them to create red, green, blue, and white. The design is meant to increase efficiency and brightness.

samsung kn55s9c oled tv front
Wide shot of Samsung’s KN55S9C curved OLED HDTV

Samsung, on the other hand, uses red, green, and blue OLED pixels, but the blue sub-pixel is twice as large as the red and green one. This may be a measure to combat the faster decay of the compound used for the blue OLED.

Picture quality

Both of these TV’s look excellent. We spent a lot of time staring in awe at their perfect black levels, impressive brightness, eye-popping color and quick response times. We’d love to tell you how the two compare side-by-side – but that would be irresponsible because we haven’t actually seen the two side-by-side. We’re working on that, though, and hope to have an update soon. For now, try to be satisfied knowing that both look outstanding. 


We believe it is too soon to make a big deal out of one of the most obvious considerations: price. That’s because we believe the price on LG’s TV will go down in the near future. Presently, LG’s model is priced at $15,000 and Samsung’s is priced at $9,000. That’s a huge gap, and although LG’s official statement is that it is staying the course on its price, we can’t imagine that will last too long. A chasm that wide simply must be narrowed. 


Startup Smartcar accuses bigger rival Otonomo of stealing intellectual property

California-based startup Smartcar claims its intellectual property was stolen by a much bigger (and better-funded) rival named Otonomo. Otonomo hasn't given its side of the story yet.
Movies & TV

Sling TV vs. Hulu: Which live TV streaming service is best for you?

Hulu Live TV and Sling TV both offer convenient ways to cut the cord without giving up your favorite television shows, but which one fits with your lifestyle -- and your budget? Our guide will help you decide.
Home Theater

The best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2019.

Bigger isn’t always better: 5 of the smallest smartphones worth buying

Phones are getting larger and larger, but what options exist for the small-of-hand, or people who just want a phone they can use one-handed? In a world of phablets, some of the smallest smartphones can still pack a punch.
Home Theater

Don’t cash in that 401(k)! These are the best 4K TVs you can get for under $500

These days, you can land a pretty epic 4K TV for under $500. Still, sorting through the litany of options online can be both time-consuming and overwhelming. Check out our list of the best 4K TVs under $500 to cut through the clutter.
Home Theater

Roland’s Amazon-exclusive BTM-1 Bluetooth speaker doubles as a guitar amp

Roland, long known for its many digital instruments, has made an Amazon-exclusive Bluetooth speaker for musicians on the go. With a guitar cable input and overdrive effect, it might be the perfect portable rig for guitarists.
Product Review

Sony’s Z9G paints a bright, beautiful future for 8K TVs

The Sony Z9G 85-inch 8K TV is majestic to behold. No doubt, this TV is a looker, and you’ll know what we mean when you see it. Does this TV make sense, though? Should you buy it? We have the answers.
Home Theater

The best noise-canceling headphones paint your music on a cleaner canvas

Drowning out the sound of babies, jet engines, and the outside world isn't as difficult as it seems. Here are the best noise-canceling headphones, whether you're concerned with style, comfort, or sound.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Home Theater

5 gorgeous turntables that spin stacks of wax in style for less than $500

Vinyl records are awesome, but they're also finicky. To get the best out of your stacks of wax, it's best to play them on a quality turntable. Here are the best turntables to be had for under $500.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Six sensational subwoofers that will shake any room on any budget

Whether you're a film buff or a music junkie, sometimes you just need to go lower. Luckily, we've put together a guide to the best subwoofers, so you can feel your favorite movies instead of just hearing them.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Alexa knows where you live, lab-grown meat, and more

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss how Amazon Alexa's audit team has access to locations, additions to Verizon's 5G road map, the future of food technology, a review of Sony's 8K TV, and more.
Movies & TV

The outlaw days are over in new trailer for HBO’s Deadwood movie

This spring, HBO's long-awaited Deadwood movie will explore what happened 10 years after the events of HBO's award-winning drama, giving the series a finale 13 years after the show was canceled.