Online-only electronics retailer Kogan has only recently dipped its toes into the 3D TV market. The company has two 3D models — this 55in and a smaller 46in — that differ in size only. We’re taking a look at the 55in to decide whether it’s as good as a Sony or Samsung or LG despite being at least $500 cheaper.
- Cheaper than competing 55in 3D TVs
- Decent image quality in 2D mode, OK in 3D
- 2D to 3D needs a lot of work
- 3D shows some ghosting on fast-moving scenes
Kogan's debut 3D TV is cheaper than its competitors, although we'll likely see prices become closer around Christmas. It's not quite equal when it comes to either 2D or 3D picture quality, but given it's at least $500 cheaper we can forgive a few small areas of inferiority. If you're looking for a cut-price big-screen TV, there are worse choices than this Kogan.
Kogan 55” 3D LED TV: Design and setup
The Kogan 55” 3D LED TV reminds us of Samsung’s 2010 Series 7 plasmas, which had a flat-fronted bezel and dark grey finish. The Kogan is largely similar, although the plastics used in its construction are a little cheaper. The TV’s stand doesn’t wobble significantly, and the base is reassuringly large. There’s around 30 degrees of swivel available in the stand, so you can adjust the set to point directly at wherever you’re sitting (which is ideal for 3D viewing on an LED panel).
Kogan’s 55” 3D LED TV has the usual suite of digital and analog video and audio connectors: there’s no missing features here. Four HDMI ports (all of which support 3D), composite, VGA and component analog video connectors, digital and analog audio outputs for connecting a home theatre system. There are also two USB ports arranged across the TV’s side- and downward-facing panels on the rear. The TV’s included active 3D shutter glasses (there’s one pair in the box) sync up through an in-built infrared transmitter.
Kogan 55” 3D LED TV: Picture quality
Kogan TVs have never been quite on par with the top models from the big brands in terms of outright picture quality, and the 55” 3D LED TV doesn’t buck this trend. It is the best-looking Kogan TV that we’ve seen, though, so it’s nice to know that the company isn’t resting on its laurels. It’s a Full HD 1080p panel, obviously
2D (that’s normal, good ol’ fashioned TV) viewing is generally good with the crucial combination of vibrant colours, clean image processing and decent dynamic contrast. It’s definitely not on equal footing with a TV like the Samsung Series 8, but the price disparity is immense (you could buy two Kogans for the price of one Samsung) and for its sub-$1600 price tag the Kogan does a perfectly acceptable job. Detail levels when playing back a Full HD Blu-ray movie are good, with all the detail we’d expect from a mid-level LED TV. We’d consider the Kogan 55” 3D LED TV roughly on par with the Panasonic ST30A and Sony EX720 in terms of 2D picture quality.
The Kogan 55” 3D LED TV does struggle a small amount when presented with a scene that has bright whites and dark blacks on-screen — the overall image shifts to slightly grey. This is a problem that almost all LED TVs (and some plasmas) suffer with, though, so the Kogan shouldn’t fail instantly on that regard.
The Kogan 55” 3D LED TV has a fairly large screen at 55in diagonal, which means it should have generally good 3D video playback — the larger the screen the more impressive 3D is. Being a budget TV though, its 3D technology is about a year behind the 3D of its up-to-date competitors from Sony and Samsung, and LG again differentiates itself with cinema-style passive 3D. Casual viewers might not notice the difference, but in our testing we noticed that the Kogan was prone to displaying minor ghosting (a very slight double-image) on the fast motion in our Ocean Wonderland 3D and Avatar 3D test Blu-ray movies where the 2010-era Panasonic VT20A and 2011’s LG LW6500 didn’t. Static video and 3D images look good, though — we were hard-pressed to find many differences between the Kogan and Panasonic.
The TV’s 2D-to-3D mode, where normal TV is interpolated into almost-3D using edge-detecting algorithms and video trickery, is where the Kogan 55” 3D LED TV is weakest. We generally don’t recommend using this mode as it’s a very forced and almost always noticeably fake faux-3D, but it is worth mentioning that all other 3D TVs do it better than the Kogan.
Kogan 55” 3D LED TV: Conclusion
The Kogan 55” 3D LED TV is one of the cheapest ways to watch 3D TV on a large screen — the only other way is to wait until the post-Christmas sales or buy a model on run-out. It’s not perfect, but it’s reasonably good at displaying 2D video and OK at ‘proper’ 3D. We just don’t advise using the 2D-to-3D function.