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LG 65-inch CX OLED 4K TV review: A winning formula

By Ng Chong Seng - 25 Dec 2020
Launch SRP: S$5999

Performance

LG's 2020 OLED TVs run WebOS 5.0.
 

Performance

Like the other LG OLED TVs I’ve tested in the past, I disabled on the CX several settings that could potentially interfere with my calibration and manual tweaks.

These include Energy Saving, Eye Comfort Mode, AI Picture Pro, AI Brightness Control, Dynamic Contrast, Super Resolution, Noise Reduction and MPEG Noise Reduction.

Of the lot, I’ve to say the noise reduction settings did help to smooth the picture when I fed the TV low-res signals — so you might want to play around with them if you watch a lot of low-quality, standard-def content. I’ve a few other preferred settings for specific situations, which I’ll expound below.

 

1.) Bright vs. dark room

In general, OLED brightness hasn’t changed much in the last few years. At around 700 nits for HDR, the CX’s typical peak brightness is about on a par with last year’s C9.

Versus high-end LED-LCD TVs that can ratchet up their brightness to fight against high ambient light, the CX is better suited for nighttime viewing or a room in which you can draw the curtains or dim the lights at will. In a darkened room, OLED’s trademark pure blacks and infinite contrast are obvious and continue to impress.

For dark room viewing, whether it’s HDR or SDR content, the Cinema picture mode is a good starting point as it offers the most accurate grayscale and colours among all the presets. ISF Expert (Dark Room) and Filmmaker Mode, which target BT.1886, are good too if your room is really dark — the picture will look darker but pop more because of the heightened contrast and saturation.

If you want brighter specular highlights, try setting the Peak Brightness (buried under Picture > Picture Mode Settings > Advanced Controls) to High and pushing the OLED Light level to 100. In a bright room, my preference is ISF Expert (Bright Room) because it’s as accurate as Cinema mode but brighter than the for-dark-room presets.

It's OLED so deep blacks are a given. (Image: 2020 LG OLED l The Black 4K HDR 60fps demo.)

 

2.) Colours & HDR

The CX offers excellent wide colour gamut performance. This has been a longstanding strength of LG's OLEDs.

But the CX doesn’t hold the colours as well as Samsung's QLED across different luminance levels. Coupled with its relatively lower peak brightness, this means the CX won’t be able to display as bright a colour in HDR than, say, the Samsung Q950T.

Does it matter? Yes if you watch a lot of HDR content and want them to appear on the TV as close as possible to the original master. But not so much if you watch a variety of content and often do so in a darkened room. The thing with OLED is that its combination of inky blacks, infinite contrast and perceived deeply saturated colours in that setting is very good at convincing people to overlook its imperfection in the very bright areas/colours.

The CX OLED's HDR peak brightness isn't as high as QLED, but the picture still looks great due to the wide colours and high contrast. (Image: Florian Friedrich's 4K HDR remaster of NASA's First 8K Video from Space.)

 

3.) Motion

If you want to maintain 24p cadence, the quickest way is to ensure that the Real Cinema setting under Picture Options is turned on and TruMotion (LG’s motion interpolation feature) is off or at Cinema Clear.

I suggest diving into the TruMotion menu only if you’re unhappy with motion smoothness or sharpness. My habit is to skip the presets and go straight to User and adjust the De-Judder and De-Blur sliders to taste.

TruMotion User also includes a setting called OLED Motion Pro (used to be just called Motion Pro), which governs black frame insertion to help increase motion clarity. The High setting will give you the best motion resolution but you also get a dimmer picture and some judder. If you must enable BFI, Medium offers the best balance. Personally, I don’t use BFI because of its inevitable brightness dip.

If the show or movie you're watching looks too smooth, try turning off TruMotion.

 

4.) Gaming

The CX OLED TV makes for an excellent gaming display, thanks to its super-quick response time and very low input lag. For the latter, it’s about 14ms (even at 4K HDR), which is very good and on a par with last year’s C9, though not as low as the 10ms achieved by Samsung's 2020 QLEDs.

The CX also supports HDMI 2.1 and HDCP 2.2 on all its four HDMI inputs, 120Hz high refresh rate at 4K and 4K VRR (40 - 120Hz). As long as you’ve Instant Game Response enabled, ALLM (and Game mode) should engage automatically.

Speaking of VRR, the CX (and LG’s other 2020 OLED TVs) now supports FreeSync Premium after a firmware update. This is in addition to it being an NVIDIA G-Sync Compatible and HDMI VRR-capable display since launch. In all this sounds confusing to you, just know that the CX should handle all flavours of VRR just fine, whichever next-gen console you have. (Note: Xbox Series X defaults to FreeSync if your TV allows it and VRR support is coming to the PlayStation 5 at a later date.)

The CX has supported FreeSync since July, so it's ready for the Xbox Series X. When the PS5 gets HDMI VRR, the CX will support that, too.

 

5.) Sound

Regardless of screen size, the CX packs a 40W, 2.2-channel front-firing speaker system. Like Dolby Vision, you can get Dolby Atmos through the TV’s native apps. Overall, these built-in speakers sound very decent but I’d still recommend Atmos fans to get a soundbar with up-firing drivers because Atmos’ height effects are near-impossible to replicate with built-in TV speakers.

The CX also supports HDMI eARC (port 2), so you can easily loop Dolby Atmos via uncompressed Dolby TrueHD to a receiver.

For some reason, LG has dropped the onboard DTS-HD decoder for its 2020 TVs, which means the CX can’t play DTS audio and you can’t do any DTS passthrough using eARC. You need to find a way or an external device to transcode DTS to Dolby Digital (AC–3). Thankfully, as far as HD audio content goes, there are more content with Dolby Atmos than DTS:X.

All four HDMI inputs on the CX support 4K @ 120Hz. eARC is also supported.

Performance Scores
Test Score
Bright room 8.5
Dark room 9.5
Colour 9.0
4K 9.5
HDR 9.0
Motion 8.5
Gaming 9.5
Audio 7.5

 

(Credit: Florian Friedrich's reformatted 8K/4K/HDR videos of NASA's First 8K Video from Space can be downloaded from his website for free after signing up for a newsletter. A version of LG's The Black 4K HDR 60fps demo video can be found here.)

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9.0
  • Design 8
  • HD Performance 9.5
  • SD Performance 9.5
  • Features 9
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Picture quality as good as LG's top-end OLED TVs
Four HDMI 2.1 inputs with 4K @ 120Hz
FreeSync Premium, G-Sync Compatible & HDMI VRR support
Supports Dolby Vision, eARC
The Bad
Lower HDR peak brightness than Samsung's QLED
No DTS decoder
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