If you’re on the market for a new Blu-ray player I can highly recommend the LG UBK80. The reason for this is because, it’s a 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range) player with plenty of different uses such as, it can play all Blu-ray movies, standard DVDs, CD’s and you can connect your own USB stick or Android phone to give it that personal touch.
This 4K Blu-ray player from LG offers you the capability to upscale any of your old Blu-rays to give you the best picture on your Ultra HD TV, which means you haven’t got to go through the trouble of getting all new 4K Blu-rays for your new player.
So today we will be looking at it’s smaller brother released for 2018, the UBK80 and although at first sight it looks like the same player the lower price reveals that there are some glaring omissions under the hood compared to the UBK90.
So without further delay let start our LG UBK80 review.
LG UBK80 Design and Build
The UBK80 has exactly the same design as it’s bigger brother so what we will say here is exactly the same as we said last week in our review for the UBK90.
When you look at the UBK80 is gives you the impression that it was made with price in mind.
Both the UBK90 and UBK80 look very similar to last year’s UP970 and LG seems that didn’t want to bother making any major changes for this year.
The only visible difference from last year is that the UBK80 has an exposed front USB port and the different positioning of the LG logo at the top.
LG seems that was not kin in making any other changes so you basically buy the same chassis this year.
The UBK80 is similar to a plain black rectangular box with a brushed metal finish plastic cover on top. No front display here but this would be a given as we are talking about a budget player so this should be expected.
Even the UBK90 didn’t have a front display so it didn’t surprise us not to see one here also. In the right side you will find four icon shaped buttons for eject, play/pause, stop and power.
The buttons are exactly the same as the ones in the UBK90 so our opinion about them is exactly the same, we didn’t like them then and our opinion hasn’t changed this week either.
Why LG cannot use so more simple shaped buttons when the rest of the design could not be more plain than this is a mystery to us.
Next to the control buttons, there is a small power LED indicator that may well be the only visible confirmation if the player is working or not.
Since there is no display at least this light is something to help you identify the status of the player.
In the far right we find the USB port that LG decided this year to leave exposed and we think that they decided to do so for practical reasons.
We tend to disagree with this decision and a covered port would be much better and less dust gathering.
Naturally all other ports are placed at the back and we will talk about them in our dedicated section.
As with the UBK90, the UBK80 follows the same uninspiring design as it seems LG didn’t want to spend any budget on creating a new chassis.
And although we agree that looks is not that important to a 4K UHD player we hope that next year LG will put a bit more effort in offering us a more interesting and different design.
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LG UBK80 Video / Audio Quality
Performance-wise the UBK80 impressed us as it offered exactly the same performance as its bigger brother, the UBK90 but with one big omission.
Of course when Dolby Vision content is utilized then the UBK90 is able to offer better image even by a margin.
But if you take that out of the picture then it will be hard to find any differences between the two.
The image we got out of the UBK80 was very good for such a cheap player especially when we are talking about 4K playback with HDR.
For our testing we used the 4K UHD disc of Pacific Rim: Uprising and the results we got was excellent image reproduction and very good HDR that is not missing anything that more premium models offer.
The image had an extraordinary amount of clarity to it with an amount of sharpness enough to reveal even the tinniest of details.
Colors were vivid and alive and with the help of Wide Color Gamut more accurate than ever. HDR offered dazzling highlights that make the image even more pronounced and with bigger depth.
There may be no Dolby Vision but even HDR10 is enough to create a visual spectacle and the UBK80 delivered on that front.
Naturally there is no HDR10+ and probably there will never be even with the omission of Dolby Vision.
The UBK80 is also a very good upscaler of Full HD and SD content to 4K and we got the same performance we saw from the UBK90 we tested last week.
1080p content upscaled very good providing an extra layer of details even if the improvement is minor.
SD content was also upscaled to 4K without problems but the end result is not as good as we saw with Full HD content.
If you still use DVDs then the player will do the job more that adequately just don’t expect any miracles.
Audio performance was also very good and on par with the UBK90. The UBK80 can reproduce all types of official formats like Dolby Digital and DTS tracks even the most recent Dolby Atmos and DTS:X ones.
As with all our testing we tried the UHD disc of Pacific Rim: Uprising and the results we got were exactly the same as with it’s bigger brother.
The player fed the receiver with all the necessary information in order to get a powerful and encompassing sound field with surround effects that were flying all around and above us.
High-res audio is supported by this player also through it’s USB port for those that utilize it.
The disc was loading fast and silently so we assume it has the same hardware as the UBK90. There were no bothering noises or sounds from the tray or when the disc was spinning.
In total if we exclude the omission of Dolby Vision then the results we got are very good for such a low priced player.
Sharp 4K image, vivid colors, great HDR and sound reproduction that throws you right in the middle of the action is the characteristics of this player and in the end this is what matters the most.
Inputs / Ports
Another difference between the UBK80 and the top tier UBK90 is the connection ports as the UBK80 is missing some that it’s bigger brother has.
At the front we have already mentioned the USB port for connecting external storage so what we get in the back is an HDMI 2.0a with HDCP 2.2 support which means it supports 4K/60p, HDR and Wide Color Gamut (WCG).
As we mentioned above there is no Dolby Vision support so the HDR supported is only HDR10.
The UBK80 drops the second HDMI port so you are left with only one HDMI out to make all necessary connections.
In all honesty, the second HDMI port was very welcome in the UBK90 but it’s natural to cut a few corners in order to offer the UBK80 at a lower price.
As for the rest we get an optical audio out port as well as an Ethernet port but since there is no online functionality this port is used only for firmware updates.
In all we have three ports in the back and for a budget player we think we cannot expect anything more.
What you pay is what you get and unless you want to make some fancy connections setup the HDMI port will be all that you will ever need for the most basic of setups.
The optical out port is welcome but very few will utilize this but nevertheless the more you can get the better.
The LG UBK80 is probably the cheapest and most affordable 4K UHD player that we have seen.
On appearance it seems almost the same as it’s bigger brother, the UBK90, but the differences in some key specs is what keeps these two players apart.
Frequently Asked Question
Below are some Frequently Asked Questions by Users before making a Purchase. We took our time to answer these questions so you have no need to worry. Check it out!
QUES: Does this player support Dolby Vision?
ANS: The LG 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray Disc™ Player, Model # UBK80 does not support Dolby Vision
QUES: What Streaming Services are available?
ANS: This model doesn’t feature streaming. If you want to stream you want the UBK90 which is identical but has streaming.
QUES: Can the regular dvd movies play on the 4 K DVD players
ANS: Yes, of course. 4 K DVD players play anything, DVDs, Blue Ray Discs, 4K videos, even music CDs.
QUES: Does it support Dolby Atmos?
ANS: Yes it does support Dolby Atmos
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