Without strong competition in Brazil, LG continues to swim in the OLED TV segment. THE CX is an option for those looking for the best 4K TV from the Korean manufacturer in 2020, offering pure OLED black, an updated image processor and features focused on gamers, especially those that are going to make a buck in the next generation of consoles.
CX has integration with Google Assistant and Alexa, offers the latest connectivity technologies and charges a hefty amount for that, with prices between R $ 8,399 for the 55-inch version and R $ 39,999 for the 77-inch giant. Is it worth it to spend it all on a TV? I have tested the CX in the past few weeks and count my impressions in the next few minutes.
Video OLED TV LG CX Review
THE Tecnoblog is a technology-independent journalistic vehicle that helps people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our product reviews are opinionated and have no advertising intent. For this reason, we always transparently highlight the positive and negative points of each product.
No company, manufacturer or store has paid the Tecnoblog to produce this content. Our reviews are not reviewed or approved by external agents. The CX was provided by LG by donation. The product will be used in future content and will not be returned to the company.
Design, connections and remote control
The CX design is practically the same as the C9 and I like the minimalist aspect. The OLED screen is thinner than any cell phone, while the edges are so discreet that they are imperceptible. This design would not be possible on an LCD TV, which needs a backlight to illuminate the pixels, and LG exploits this differential well in its organic panels.
For those who install the TV on a shelf or rack, the base is made up of two pieces. The largest has a plastic finish and is on the back to support the weight of the TV and serve as a cable organizer. On the front, there is only a small strip of brushed metal, which is very elegant.
In relation to the B9, the CX is in a lower position in the furniture. This can be a nuisance if you have a taller soundbar, which can obstruct the bottom of the TV. Fortunately, unlike other low-end TVs, having a soundbar in the front is not a problem for the remote control, which is Bluetooth and works even if you are in another room.
The remote control is the same Smart Magic that comes with many LG TVs. It is not exactly compact, it has more buttons than you will use and it works like a mouse to navigate the webOS interface, which requires a certain amount of motor coordination. A button allows you to quickly open Netflix, while the Amazon Prime Video shortcut has a dual function and can also trigger Alexa.
In the connections, which are concentrated on the left side, LG has done a lot of work. The highlights are the four HDMI ports, all in the 2.1 standard, which supports the 4K resolution at 120 Hz, adopted by the new generation of video games. In 2020, it is still difficult to find TVs with a single HDMI 2.1 input, so it is good to see that LG has prepared its products for the future.
Also on the left rear, the CX includes three USB 2.0 ports, an optical audio output, a digital TV antenna input and an Ethernet connection. The tests were performed on a Wi-Fi 802.11ac network at a frequency of 5 GHz, which showed no instability.
It is difficult to critically analyze CX’s image quality because LG’s OLED panels come very close to perfection, which was already true in the previous two generations, B9 and B8. Two important points that I consider in TV reviews are the contrast and the uniformity of black, which need to be good to ensure a good experience when watching content in the dark. But OLED has already reached the limit of what is possible in these two aspects.
A few criteria remain. The viewing angle is excellent and better than any LCD, allowing you to view the screen without loss of brightness or saturation even sitting on your side towards the TV. The volume of colors is great, with no noticeable color banding in real content. In the standard mode, which will be used by most people, the colors are slightly saturated and with a cooler tone, which I like a lot.
The “least good” point of the CX is the brightness. In the OLED, each pixel is illuminated individually, which obviously tends to spend more energy than in the LCD. The result is that the lighter the content, the less bright the screen becomes, since there is a limit on the consumption of the panel. At times, I found the automatic brightness limiter very aggressive, even increasing the peak brightness in the settings. Fortunately, as the TV has infinite contrast, it can handle well in very bright environments.
For those who are gamer, CX fits like a glove. In game mode, in 4K at 60 Hz, the input lag was below 15 milliseconds in my tests, which guarantees a gaming experience without delays. The fact that all HDMI ports are 2.1, with automatic low-latency mode, variable refresh rate from 40 to 120 Hz and support for AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync technologies, counts many points in favor.
The burn-in caveat
In an OLED TV review, I will never fail to highlight the issue of burn-in. OLED is formed by organic compounds that wear out with use, which can cause permanent marks on the screen in regions with static images, such as the TV station logo, for example. This problem is virtually non-existent on the LCD, but it is a point of concern on the OLED, just as it was on plasma TVs.
The CX has a series of protections to prevent this from happening in a domestic environment, making periodic cleaning cycles on the pixels when it is off. The software itself is designed to reduce wear and tear: the TV activates a screen saver when an image has been standing still for a long time and dims static areas. In fact, the fact that it is less bright when the content is lighter is directly linked to the protections.
It is only possible to analyze the susceptibility to burn-in after years of use, and CX has just been launched in the Brazilian market. My B9 test unit has 450 hours of use and, for the time being, shows no sign of permanent image retention. Anyway, as promised, I’ll be back in mid-2021 to show how the OLED panel has aged.
The sound quality of the CX surprised me positively. On paper, we continue with four speakers on 2.2 channels with a total power of 40 watts, as well as on the B9 and C9. But LG added a feature called Som IA Pro, which automatically identifies the sound being played (music, movie, sport, drama or news) to adjust the equalizer more appropriately.
The result is that, despite having no deep bass or the last drop of definition, the CX’s integrated sound goes well, risking even some low frequencies and making the voices very clear. I always analyze the integrated sound of TVs and this is one of the few times that I didn’t feel the need to turn on my soundbar as soon as possible.
Of course, for a variety of content, especially shooting games and action movies, a dedicated sound system will be an excellent upgrade to bring audio up to the TV’s image quality. But if you are one of the many Brazilians who don’t spend more money besides the TV, CX offers a very convincing sound experience.
Smart TV software and functions
CX runs the webOS 5 operating system, which has gained some refinements over the previous version, but remains on the same basis, full of colorful screens with various animations to highlight the fluidity of the interface.
The app offering is one of LG’s strengths, with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Apple TV +, Spotify, Google Play, Vivo Play, Globoplay, Globosat Play, Telecine Play, Plex, HBO Go and more. A new pre-installed application is the Sports Alert, which allows you to register your favorite football, basketball, baseball and other sports teams to receive notifications when a match starts and check the results in real time.
LG’s operating system is like a Swiss Army knife. You can mirror your phone by either Miracast or Apple AirPlay. The Control Panel shows the devices on the network, lists connected home equipment and can turn the TV into a Bluetooth speaker for your cell phone.
And two personal assistants are available: Google Assistant, activated by the microphone button; and Alexa, which appears when you hold the Prime Video shortcut. Unfortunately, the TV does not have the hands free feature, which allows you to activate the personal assistant just by speaking the activation command; this function was restricted to GX.
My criticism is due to the lack of polishing in the software, which has been a constant in recent years, especially in the function of universal remote control, which allows to control other devices via infrared, such as the cable TV decoder. This feature worked with a workaround on the B8, improved on the B9 (but it still wasn’t perfect) and stopped on the CX. The TV no longer shows a list of compatible devices and did not allow me to configure the feature.
I no longer had much to compete with LG’s OLEDs in image quality. The perfect black, the strong shine and the wide volume of colors guaranteed an excellent experience with any type of content even in past generations. CX only consolidates this leadership position at LG. And the fact that it is the only major manufacturer of OLED panel for TVs also helps to make prices less salty.
But it is clear that there is no perfect product and this rule also applies to CX. The software could receive greater care: for me, Tizen, adopted by Samsung, is still ahead. And, obviously, there is a risk of burn-in that needs to be assumed by the consumer: under the same conditions, the OLED will have a shorter life span than the LCD. Although protection mechanisms exist, it is a matter of time before one pixel wears out more than the other.
The CX is not a cheap product: for R $ 8,399, the 55-inch version is more expensive than many 75-inch TVs out there. But the price of the best OLED is less than that of the best LCD TVs. If you’re looking to bet on OLED, LG delivers a very balanced set in the premium segment, with interesting cost-benefit, quality integrated sound and connections prepared for the future.
LG CX OLED TV
- Infinite contrast, strong shine and perfect black
- Ultra-thin design with compact metal base
- HDMI 2.1 on all four ports and support 4K120
- Low latency in game mode
- Very complete app store
- Above-average integrated sound
- Software needs refinements
- Model: LG OLED 55CXPSA
- Panel size: 54.6 inches (138.8 cm)
- Resolution: 3840 × 2160 pixels
- Refresh rate: 120 Hz
- Panel type: OLED (WRGB)
- Supported imaging technologies: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, Dolby Vision IQ
- Speaker power: 40 watts (2.2 channels)
- Supported audio technologies: Dolby Atmos
- Operating system: webOS 5.0
- Power consumption: 347 watts (maximum) and 0.5 watt (standby)
- Video inputs: 4 HDMI 2.1 (ARC, HDMI-CEC), 2 RF
- Audio outputs: 1 digital optical audio output
- Other connections: 3 USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA
- Dimensions (width x height x depth): 122.8 × 70.6 × 4.7 cm (without the base) and 122.8 × 73.8 × 25.1 cm (with the base)
- Weight: 18.9 kg (without base), 23 kg (with base)