Here’s something to consider before you buy an LG Oled TV: the South Korean manufacturer uses the same Oled panel type for its lower-tier models as its best Oled TV.
Yes, the flagship model will likely have a more refined design, better speakers and perhaps a more powerful processor.
But the picture quality, which is impeccable due to the millions of light-emitting pixels in an Oled TV that produce perfect blacks and bright whites, is generally similar across LG’s Oled TV lineup.
Thus, it may make more sense for users – especially those who have invested in a good sound system – to choose an upper mid-range model like the latest LG CX Oled TV ($4,099 for the 55-inch version tested, available on Lazada and Shopee) over the higher-end GX model ($4,799 for 55-inch).
I would even venture to say that last year’s C9 Oled TV, the predecessor of the CX which has dropped to around $2,500 for the 55-inch model, could actually offer even better value than the CX.
This is because while the CX has excellent picture quality, I am hard-pressed to say with certainty if it is better than the C9 without a side-by-side comparison.
What I can say is that the CX exhibits virtually no dirty screen effect (uneven splotches on the screen when viewing an uniform colour, like a football pitch). Viewing angles are superb with minimal reflections.
If I am picky, the CX has a hint of banding and is not as bright as a top LED TV. But these minor issues were also present in last year’s versions.
The design of the CX is almost indistinguishable from that of the C9. Both televisions perch their ultra-thin Oled panels on an identical, low sloped stand, one that is low enough that my soundbar actually blocks a sliver of the bottom screen.
The CX’s ports and connectors are also found at the same locations at the back as the C9’s.
Like the C9, the new model has four HDMI 2.1 ports. Compared with HDMI 2.0, the newer 2.1 standard enables higher resolutions and frame rates, as well as variable refresh rates and an automatic low-latency mode for lag-free gaming.
But there are practically no HDMI 2.1 source devices available, at least not till the end of the year when the next-generation game consoles from Microsoft and Sony are expected to launch.
PC gamers, though, can enjoy a smooth gaming experience, thanks to the CX’s support for Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, which works with compatible Nvidia’s graphics cards, to reduce stuttering by synchronising the frame rates in a game with the CX’s 120Hz refresh rate.
The CX also comes with a HGiG mode – created by the HDR Gaming Interest Group industry body – that recommends how the high dynamic range (HDR) effect, which produces more lifelike and realistic visuals, are implemented in games.
For video content, HDR formats like Dolby Vision and HDR10 are supported but not the Samsung-led HDR10+ format.
Both G-Sync and HGiG are also available for the C9 with a firmware update. This is good news for C9 owners but makes the CX a less compelling upgrade.
To be fair, the CX does have a newer processor that is said to improve the TV’s ability to upscale lower-resolution content to its native 4K resolution. This works well – for instance, upscaled 720p content looks suitably sharp to my eyes and could pass off as 1,080p content.
The CX also has a black frame insertion feature, dubbed Oled Motion Pro, that adds black frames between normal frames to create the illusion of smoother motion, especially for fast-moving content like sports. When I tested it, the feature darkens the visuals, especially at High setting.
Personally, I do not use any sort of motion smoothing feature, which is why I found the CX’s new Filmmaker Mode to be very handy.
As its name suggests, this picture mode – created by the UHD Alliance industry body – gives viewers the cinematic experience as intended by the director. In practice, this mode basically turns off the TV’s processing, like motion smoothing and image sharpening.
To cater to users who watch TV in diverse lighting conditions, the CX also has a Dolby Vision IQ mode that uses the TV’s light sensors to measure ambient light and adjust picture settings accordingly.
Both these modes are great additions to the CX, though I wonder if they will be made available for the older C9, too.
The CX’s updated interface now comes with the Apple TV app, alongside popular apps like Netflix, Spotify and YouTube. Mediacorp’s CNA and meWatch apps are also available from the TV’s app store.
Navigating the CX’s responsive interface was made easier with the versatile LG Magic Remote, which has a motion-based pointer and handy shortcuts to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Overall, the LG CX is an outstanding Oled TV that offers excellent visuals and supports the latest technologies. Its gaming features are especially appealing to those who plan to buy a next-generation game console.
New picture modes
Responsive user-friendly interface
Comes with Apple TV app
Nvidia G-Sync support
Identical design as last year’s model
Still no HDR10+ support
Price: $4,099 (55 inches, version tested), $5,999 (65 inches), $17,999 (77 inches)
Picture features: Maximum resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ
Audio features: 2.2ch (40W), Dolby Surround, Dolby Atmos
Operating system: webOS 5.0
Connectivity: 4 x HDMI, 3 x USB, Optical output, headphone output, Ethernet, Wi-Fi
Value for money: 4/5
ST Tech Editor’s Choice