As we drift into the latter end of 2019, the question on many consumers’ lips will be this: how exactly does the new LG B9 OLED compare to last year’s LG B8?
These are two of the cheapest OLED TVs on the market – only beaten by the Hisense O8B – and remain the entry-level model in LG’s OLED lineup. But their equivalent position in the lineup doesn’t mean they’re equal in all things.
With the LG B9 OLED now on sale in the UK, and due to follow shortly in the US, Australia, and elsewhere, we’ve pulled together a side by side comparison of the pricing, specifications, and format support of the two televisions, to give any prospective buyers the best idea of whether to go for LG B9 or LG B8 in their hunt for an affordable OLED.
LG B9 vs LG B8 pricing
This is an easy one. Almost exactly the same as the B8 model, the LG B9 is starting at £1,529 (around $1,995 / AU$2,900) RRP for the 55-inch model, and £2,499 (around $3,055 / AU$4,530) RRP for the 65-inch model.
For reference, the B8 retailed at £1,599 for the 55-inch at launch, but has yet to see any price reduction. We expect it to shortly to acknowledge and incentivize the updated model – if LG doesn’t take it off shelves entirely.
Like the B8, the LG B9 undercuts this year’s C9 OLED by a good $200/£200, making it the most affordable of the LG TV 2019 range, and quite a bit cheaper than the LG E9 or LG W9 sets, which feature even more premium materials and higher-end speakers – despite all having the same OLED panel.
LG B9 vs LG B8 processor
What makes that price drop especially impressive, though, is that the LG B9 has the same a7 Gen 2 Intelligent processor of its higher-end siblings.
The lower price of the B8 last year was largely credited with the set’s use of an older processor than the more advanced OLED TVs in the range. By keeping the same price difference, without a drop in processing smarts, it makes this B series a much stronger proposition than its predecessor.
Our only complaints with the B8 last year were the middling HD upscaling and occasional video noise in dark scenes – but it’s unlikely you’ll see as much of that in the B9.
LG B9 vs LG B8 specs and design
Processor aside, is anything materially different with the design, formats, or inputs of the LG B8 and LG B9?
The B9’s screen appears to be the same size, though the TV stand it rests on has a slightly different shape that’s a bit shorter and slimmer than the B8’s stand, measuring 38 mm high and 246 mm deep rather than 45 mm high and 220 mm deep. The weight of the set, too, has risen, coming in at 19.9kg rather than the B8’s 17.7kg (including the stand).
In terms of audio, the output has gone up considerably too, doubling the volume of the B8’s 20W speakers, to 40W output on the B9. The B9 also adds in a subwoofer, making for 2.2 channel speakers rather than the B8’s 2.0 channel setup.
If you’re connecting your headphones or smartphone to the TV via Bluetooth, you’ll be pleased to know that the B9 uses the latest 5.0 standard instead of the B8’s older 4.2 connection, meaning the B9 should connect faster and more reliably.
Both are 4K TVs with HDR panels, and support the dynamic Dolby Vision HDR format, as well as Dolby Atmos surround sound. They both ship with LG’s sleek magic remote and streamlined webOS smart TV platform. With LG’s ThinQ AI integrated, too, you’re getting a very smart system, with built-in Alexa / Google Assistant support and the ability to connect to Google Home and Amazon Echo devices.
LG B9 vs LG B8: takeaway
We’ll be looking to publish our review of the LG B9 OLED in the coming weeks, for anyone who can wait before making a purchase. If you’re an impulse buyer, though, or just need a new television set for that big movie night you have planned, you may be considering buying the LG B9 now.
Our previous experience testing the 2019 LG TV range makes us think you won’t be too surprised by anything in the B9. With the same panel and processor, you can expect the same kind of standout OLED picture – with gorgeously deep blacks and incredible color contrast – of the LG C9 and E9 OLED we reviewed earlier in the year. Given it doesn’t ditch the a7 Gen 2 processor for an older chip, either, it may be the best buy in the LG range for price vs performance.
Keep in mind, though, that the B8 OLED was still a truly capable TV from 2018, and well worth the price in its own right.