LG CX OLED – The LG CX OLED - The best TV in its price range?
With the LG CX OLED, the South Korean manufacturer has launched a successor to the excellent C9 in 2020. Due to its OLED construction it already has some advantages in comparison to others, like the perfect blacks or the great contrast. But will the CX set standards in its price category just like the C9? In the following article we will check it out and see if an upgrade to the CX is worthwhile!
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Processing and design of the LG CX
The design of the CX is excellent and makes a first-class impression. It is very similar to the look of its predecessor, the C9. The look is almost the same, so it’s not easy to tell them apart when the power is off. The front of the CX is made of metal, which makes it look very high quality. Only the back is made of plastic, but still makes a good impression.
The TV has a very narrow frame and is extremely flat. Therefore it looks great when mounted on the wall. If the stand is used, it supports the TV very well so that it has a firm stand and does not wobble. However, the stand is quite large and protrudes far back. It should therefore only be used in a setup with enough space. The cables can be bundled through the stand for neat cable management, giving a very tidy impression.
The connections are partially oriented to the side and to the back, which can be a bit annoying when mounted on the wall.
High quality design
Front side made of metal
Stands very securely
Clean cable management through stand
Partly rear-facing connections
Looks exactly like the C9
Compatible with this:
TV Mount swivel
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Excellent image quality through maximum possible contrast and deepest black
Because OLED displays do not require backlighting, the CX has a perfect black that is unattainable for LCDLCD = Liquid Crystal Display – a type of screen using liquid crystals for creating the image or ordinary LED displays. This design also has a very positive effect on the contrast. OLEDs have the great advantage that each pixel can be individually controlled. Therefore, its brightness can be controlled independently of its nearby pixels. This means that, theoretically, an infinite contrast ratio is possible if one pixel is lit at full brightness and the nearby pixel is switched off.
In order for HDRHigh Dynamic Range – image/video with more dynamic range (contrast range) content to be displayed to its best effect, a sufficiently high brightness is required. At slightly more than 800 nitsSI unit of luminance: 1 nit = 1 cd/m2 – The best way of measuring and comparing a TVs brightness , the CX is sufficiently bright to present highlights well, but the Automatic Brightness Limiter reduces the brightness in large bright scenes. This is a kind of protective function of the TV, so that the organic LEDs do not get too hot and burn-in does not happen. Therefore, the ABL cannot be deactivated.
Another advantage of the OLED design is the extremely wide viewing angle. Even at very oblique viewing angles, there are only slight color changes and the black level remains almost unchanged.
In a dark environment, the CX can develop its full potential. The image result is underlined by the perfect black and the colors look even more realistic than they already do. In a very bright room, the quality is not quite as convincing, but the brightness and reflection handling are also sufficient for this.
Just like the 2019 models, the device also has HDR10HDR10 Media Profile – HDR with a color depth of 10 Bit in the Rec. 2020 colorspace and Dolby VisionDynamic HDR-format with a color depth of up to 12 Bits and Mastering of up to 10,000 Nits. For calculating the algorithms of image processing, the powerful LG Alpha 9 of the third generation is built in – which definitely has enough power.
10 Bit OLED Panel
Contrast ratio ∞:1
Good maximum brightness ~800 Nits
Automatic Brightness Limiter
Powerful Alpha 9 Gen 3 processor
First-class motion handling
The motion handling is, as with its predecessor the C9, exceptionally good. The display has a Refresh Rate of 120 HzHertz is the derived SI-unit of frequency with 1Hz=1/s – When talking about TVs this means how many different pictures a TV can display in one second., which is indispensable for good motion handling. The CX’s Response TimeTime it takes for a pixel to change color of 0.3 ms is almost perfect, which is especially excellent for fast content; there is therefore almost no motion blur. However, this has a negative effect on content with a low refresh rateHertz is the derived SI-unit of frequency with 1Hz=1/s – When talking about TVs this means how many different pictures a TV can display in one second., as there is no blur to smooth the image transitions between two frames. This can result in jarring movements during slow camera pans, which can be corrected well by motion interpolationArtificial calculation of more frames than the source material has to offer. To further minimize motion blur, the CX is equipped with an excellent black frame insertion feature that ensures a very clear picture.
Response Time <1ms
Stutter can be removed
120Hz Black Frame Insertion Feature
Gaming on the CX
With the CX’s excellent motion handling, the gaming experience is also outstanding. The minimum input lag is ~7 ms at 120 fps and a resolution of 1080p. At 4K @ 60 fps, the input lag is higher at 14 ms, but this is still a good value. In combination with the good response time there is hardly any delay or blurring, which is excellent for gaming.
To avoid Screen-Tearing, a Variable Refresh RateVariable Refresh Rate – synchronizes the display’s refresh rate with the output refresh rate of the graphics card is available, which can be used either via HMDI Forum VRRVariable Refresh Rate – synchronizes the display’s refresh rate with the output refresh rate of the graphics card or via Nvidia G-SyncVariable Refresh Rate for Nvidia graphics cards. With G-Sync the TV is also compatible with PCs that contain a newer GeForce graphic card. There is no FreeSyncVariable Refresh Rate with AMD graphics cards or consoles available, but this is less important, because HDMI Forum VRR is also supported by the Xbox One and therefore there is also a possibility to use VRR. Due to an Auto Low Latency Mode a connected console is recognized and the input lag is reduced to a minimum value. Like the C9, the CX is also equipped with HDMI 2.1. Therefore it is well prepared for the upcoming consoles, as this interface allows the TV to receive and display content with 120 HzHertz is the derived SI-unit of frequency with 1Hz=1/s – When talking about TVs this means how many different pictures a TV can display in one second. at a 4K resolution. This should be available on both the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X.
Although it does not make much of a difference, the HDMI 2.1 port does not have the standard bandwidth of 48 Gbps, but only 40 Gbps which allows 4K @ 120 Hz @ 4:4:4.
Update: Yes, we also noticed that with the LG CX you can measure a shift in the gamma curve when using the VRR. But we don’t want to spread panic now, we just want to answer the most important question, if this is bad:
It means that when you are using VRR, areas that are not black but very very dark (near blacks) will appear brighter than they should be. In OLEDs, this is only noticeable because of the almost perfect black level, which remains the same by the way. Nevertheless, LG OLEDs still follow the EOTF curve very closely, even with VRR enabled. Most users won’t notice this little flaw, especially if you aren’t looking for it. If your TV is not professionally calibrated it might even look worse without VRR. By the way, all LCD TVs with VRR look much worse in this regard.
Input Lag ~14ms
HDMI Forum VRR
Auto Low Latency Mode
Decent sound but missing basses
The CX has an integrated 2.2 channel sound system with 40 W (RMS). Dialogues are reproduced clearly and the speakers can become quite loud. The sound is reasonable, but as with most integrated speaker systems, the bass is a bit weak. Strong basses are especially effective to create the right atmosphere in action scenes or while gaming. Unfortunately, the CX is lacking this possibility to create the appreciated atmosphere. For a home cinema or gaming setup, an upgrade with a soundbar or hi-fi system could help here. Since the TV has an integrated HDMI eARC interface, the dynamic sound format Dolby AtmosObject-based surround sound format with 3D-Sound from any direction is supported. Unfortunately, the TV does not support DTSMulti-channel-sound-system (Surround Sound) competing with Dolby Digital, which is probably the case with all 2020 devices from LG.
2.2 channels with 40W
Quite loud highs and mids
Dolby Atmos (Dolby True-HD)
For stronger basses :
LG SN5Y 2.1 Soundbar
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Well developed Smart Features
The LG CX uses the smart WebOS 5.0 operating system, which is very easy and intuitive to use and is controlled by LG’s Magic Remote. This allows the user to control a cursor with hand movements, which is very similar to the way the Nintendo Wii is controlled. But it’s also possible to use classic navigation using the arrow keys on the remote, depending on your preference. The included remote control is excellently designed and allows the user to navigate very smoothly through the interface. The CX also has integrated Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, which allows the voice control of the device. Apple Airplay 2 is also integrated. The choice of apps is huge and app classics like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube are pre-installed.
With LG ThinQ, the TV becomes the control center of other smart home applications, which can be conveniently displayed and controlled on a dashboard.
In addition, a twin tuner is integrated, which enables the Time Shift function and recording to external USB storage devices.
The LG model GX OLED has the same technical features as the CX, but brings an elegant look and the so-called “Gallery Design”. The TV is intended to look like an art object and thus to fit seamlessly into the interior of the room. To achieve this, LG has opted for a seamless wall mount and a narrow, stylish frame and makes use of the wide viewing angle of the panel. The TV can also be set up on desire, but the matching stand must be purchased separately.
Excellent picture quality and matching all-round package
The LG CX OLED, like its predecessor the C9, has a great picture quality that is hard to beat. This is mainly due to the perfect black and contrast. Even fast movements are sharply displayed thanks to excellent motion handling. This should be of great interest especially for sports and gaming fans. Gaming is already a lot of fun on the CX, but it is also prepared for next-gen consoles through its HDMI 2.1 port. There are really few downsides, but one might be the integrated sound system, which due to missing basses does not provide the atmosphere that is still needed for a real home cinema experience. But this problem can easily be solved by soundbars or hifi systems. It should also be noted that although the CX is sufficiently bright, it does not deliver a very good picture in very bright rooms. Therefore a QLED might be a better choice under these conditions.
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Alternatives to the LG CX OLED
LG OLED C9 The previous model
The LG C9 and CX are two very similar televisions. This is already noticeable in the design of the devices. When switched off, they are almost indistinguishable.
Technically, not much has changed either. The picture quality is equally convincing on both units, but the C9 can get a little brighter and has a slightly better viewing angle. In return, the CX has better built-in speakers and the Black Frame InsertionProcess that inserts black “blank images” as intermediate images. This makes movements appear finer and clearer. feature is available at 120 HzHertz is the derived SI-unit of frequency with 1Hz=1/s – When talking about TVs this means how many different pictures a TV can display in one second., which wasn’t the case with the C9. So both devices are excellent TVs with only slight differences and will satisfy most users.
All in all, the LG CX is the better TV than the Samsung Q80T. Thanks to OLED technology, the CX clearly scores higher in terms of picture quality due to the significantly better black and higher contrast ratio. Samsung’s QLED simply can not keep up with the response time of 0.3 ms, even though this incredibly low value can lead to stuttering. But this is not a real flaw, as it is very easily corrected by motion interpolationArtificial calculation of more frames than the source material has to offer.
However, the Q80T has a lower input lag in game mode and can also be used better in bright rooms due to its better maximum brightness and more pleasant reflection handling. There is also no need for a disturbing Automatic Brightness Limiter to reduce the risk of burn-in, as is the case with the CX.
The Sony AG9 is the better choice especially as a home cinema system. The comparison chart doesn’t suggest this because the AG9’s essential characteristics can’t be considered in our calculation. The picture quality of both devices is equally convincing, allowing HDRHigh Dynamic Range – image/video with more dynamic range (contrast range) content to be reproduced brilliantly; however, the AG9 has more sophisticated image processing than LG’s competitor. But the big plus of the AG9 is the Sound from Screen feature, which only the AG9 has so far. This allows the TV itself to become the centre speaker of a sound system, and the sound comes directly from the centre of the screen, creating a real cinema atmosphere.
Unfortunately, the AG9 is not really suitable for gamers, because important features such as VRRVariable Refresh Rate – synchronizes the display’s refresh rate with the output refresh rate of the graphics card or a low input lag are missing and it does not support HDMI 2.1. Gamers who want to buy next-gen consoles should therefore rather go for the CX.