Laptop Mag Verdict
LG’s CX48 OLED delivers the best picture we’ve ever seen. Although it has a big price tag, its future proof gaming tech and cinematic value make it a great investment for years to come.
Multiple screen settings
Freesync Premium/G-Sync compatible
Filmmaker Mode is terrible
High price tag
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Refresh rate: 120 Hz
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160
Frame rate control: AMD Freesync Premium/ G=SYNC compatible
Display type: OLED
Dimensions: w/ stand 42.2" x 25.6" x 9.9", w/ no stand 42.2" x 24.3" x 1.8"
LG’s CX 48 OLED ThinQ TV is the entry-level model for the company’s latest CX OLED series released earlier last year. Despite its agreeable price tag and smaller size, it delivers, by far, the most pristine picture we’ve ever seen on a television screen. The 48-inch ThinQ offers a 3,840 x 2,160-pixel 4K Ultra HD resolution, a native refresh rate of 120Hz, and FreeSync/G-Sync capabilities among several other features available in its WebOS settings.
It's compatible with smart AI like Google Assistant and Alexa, but also includes ThinQ AI that’s able to recommend movies and shows. With four HDCP 2.2 HDMI ports, three 2.0 USB ports, and an Ethernet input, this television could double as the centerpiece for a home entertainment system as well as a gaming monitor for the bedroom, depending on the need.
LG CX 48-inch OLED ThinQ pricing and configurations
Although the price is nothing to huff at, coming in at $1,299, it is an affordable premium option for an entry-level CX set, especially when compared to the larger screens within the series. The 55-inch OLED CX costs $1,799, followed by the 65-inch at $2,499and the 77-inch at a whopping $4,999. Not only is the price for the 48-inch more affordable, but its size can make due in a living room as well as a bedroom without sacrificing the amazing picture quality.
The CX provides an array of customization options within the TV’s multiple screen settings. Display settings include Vivid, Standard, Auto Power Save, Cinema, Cinema HDR, Sports, Game, HDR Effect, FILMMAKER MODE, Expert (Bright Room), and Expert (Dark Room). Some settings are essential to viewing content as best as possible, some that make the display worse, and others are bloat, providing essentially the same settings as other modes. There are also some that are only available based on what you’re watching.
The best settings by far are HDR Effect and Cinema HDR. We felt ourselves gravitating toward HDR Effect for television and Cinema HDR for film. Both showcase the full potential of the screen’s refresh rate while also delivering a bright screen with no sight of tint. Filmmaker Mode makes every movie look terrible and bogs it down with an ugly brown/yellow tint. This is meant to showcase the natural colors captured from the filmmaker’s camera without any flourish. On the other hand, Cinema HDR puts a slightly less brown filter over the picture to recreate watching films over theater projectors.
Both Expert settings work as expected based on whether you’re viewing in a bright or dark room, but they only work depending on what you’re watching. When watching a film in HDR, there’s no need for options like HDR Effect or the Expert Settings since those functions are already in use.
It should be noted that all of these picture modes have heavy customization options that allow users to adjust simple contrast, color, and sharpness, to more advanced dynamic contrast, super resolution, white balance, and more at their discretion.
There are also picture options that let users adjust noise reduction, black level, TruMotion, and more. However, in our testing, we found adjusting the picture options ruined the integrity of some content.
Game mode, as you’d expect, is best when playing video games. The TV will automatically switch to this mode when the OS detects HDMI input from a console or PC. The CX supports Auto Low Latency Mode, which is enabled from the 'Additional Settings' menu. Additional settings showcase features that can be enabled, such as HDMI Ultra HD Deep Color, another setting that helps deliver a cleaner 10-bit color picture, and AMD FreeSync Premium, which ensures games won’t tear if users have PCs with AMD/NVIDIA graphics cards.
LG CX 48-inch OLED ThinQ display
LG boasts key OLED television features such as capabilities to deliver “Perfect Black, Intense Color” and “Infinite Contrast” in pictures. And as advertised, the display captures the empty void of space and emits the glimmer of each star from the opening section of The Mandalorian season 2 premiere. From the darkness of space to the vivid skies and striking desert of Tatooine, every color pops and blacks contrast to a completely inky tone.
This is thanks to the display’s self-lighting capabilities as well as its Dolby Vision IQ feature. The feature allows movies and shows filmed in Dolby Vision to produce the most dynamic picture, as the television’s IQ communicates with the display’s brightness sensors to auto-calibrate picture settings according to the level of light in the room. It is especially effective in darker rooms though, as the screen can sometimes show a small glare from inside light.
LG OLED CX 48-inch ThinQ design
The ThinQ sports a very thin profile with a dimension of 9.9 inches when attached to its very hefty stand. The stand has a thoughtful slot for cable management that can snap on and off with little effort. Although we wish the entry-level CX series TV was slightly bigger, the 48-incher is a decent size. It's just small enough to be used in a bedroom as the main monitor and just big enough to be the main television of the house.
At the same time, if folks are looking to take full advantage of the CX’s sleek and slender profile, the giant stand will eliminate the design’s usefulness. As such, mounting this television in most cases would be preferable, especially if aesthetics are a big factor for the consumer.
LG CX 48-inch OLED ThinQ audio
Thanks to its Smart Sound/Dolby Atmos capabilities and the television’s own beefy internal speakers, it can deliver theater-like sound without the need for surround soundbars or multiple speakers. However, when Dolby Atmos is enabled, we noticed instances when the sound could’ve improved with quality speakers.
There are also a few sound options like Standard (which allows OLED Surround to be turned on and off), Cinema, Clear Voice IV, and Music that are intended to work in their given situations, and the Additional Settings menu lets you optimize sound when the TV is mounted. But we felt most comfortable using its built-in AI Sound Pro mode. And, of course, since it's also a gaming monitor, there are a ton of Sound Out options like Optical and Wired Headphones alongside Bluetooth Surround Sound choices.
LG CX 48-inch OLED ThinQ performance
We’re using an RTX 3070 for our testing, and we could immediately tell the difference in picture tearing in Batman Arkham Knight when compared to playing the title on a Samsung Class NU6900 Series LED 4K UHD Smart TV. No matter how much Cyberpunk 2077 stutters due to its bad optimization, the gameplay may slow down or get choppy, but the screen rarely shows tearing or delays thanks to its FreeSync/G-Sync capabilities.
Although the CX’s 120Hz refresh rate is an industry-standard for gaming monitors these days, and doesn’t stack up to the ever-popular Samsung Odyssey G9 and its ability to produce 240 MHZ, its multitude of home picture settings and a bevy of adjustment settings make up for the refresh rate.
But response time is still nearly instant thanks to low latency and HDR gaming is fantastic courtesy of the screen’s wide color gamut. Although 4K gaming looks amazing here, we prefer to play titles at 1440p to achieve as high a frame rate as possible. In our opinion, 1440p looks stellar enough.
When it comes to the best picture configuration to play games, we recommend going into Picture/Picture Mode Settings/Advanced Controls to tweak a few things. Adjusting to low Dynamic Contract, HGIG Dynamic Tone Mapping, low Super Resolution, and setting the Color Temperature set to Warm2 under White Balance is crucial to getting the best visuals possible. It’s a shame that the game mode doesn’t already take toward similar settings out of the box, but thankfully, enthusiasts like HDTVTest are here to recommend optimized settings.
LG CX 48-inch OLED ThinQ special features
The LG TV supports an array of popular streaming apps, including YouTube, Twitch, and Hulu, but due to the company’s longtime dispute with HBO, the new HBO Max streaming service is not available. We ended up having to rely on the set’s Airplay 2 capabilities to watch Doctor Sleep, and even then, the connection dropped several times. Due to LG’s update track record, we wouldn’t be surprised to see connections stabilize in an upcoming update.
LG updates its operating system on the regular, fixing reported issues in a hurry. One issue we encountered with the television was randomly losing network connection, despite being linked to an Ethernet port. We updated our internet service, but the issue persisted. However, after we downloaded another update, the issue was gone.
LG’s WebOS settings also have several features. The operating system allows users to arrange applications as they wish, set up sports alerts for more than 20 teams when they’re playing live or make a score, and even hosts an Art Gallery mode that displays paintings onscreen. On the television’s home dashboard is where most of these features can be accessed, including its ability to pair with other smart devices in your home and serve as a central hub for all connected devices. Of course, all of these actions can also be controlled by talking into the remote when Google Assistant or Alexa is enabled.
LG CX 48-inch OLED ThinQ remote control
Another slight annoyance we have with the television is its remote. It’s a bit bulky and two-thirds of its layout is awkward. The top of the controller is slim before widening towards the bottom. The keypad is located on the top and, as a result, the keys are a bit smaller than we’d like. We much prefer to input numbers than to rely on the remote’s motion controls.
Although it's useful more often than not, the motion sensor is very sensitive to the touch. The volume and channel buttons are underneath the keypad, both are small, but luckily the up and down buttons are shaped like a plus and minus, making it easier to feel them in the dark. We do, however, love the convenience of dedicated Netflix and Prime Video buttons.
As it stands now, the LG CX 48 OLED TV is more than capable of creating a vivid single-playing experience for gaming and could be tweaked at the discretion of pro gamers who worry about refresh rates and input lag for shooters like Call of Duty (as long as you don’t use TruMotion). It’s sleek, slim design doesn’t tarnish the sound, and its HDMI 2.1 capabilities future proof the television for a few years as gaming companies adapt the input, which is reason alone to validate the purchase. Not only do we recommend LG’s OLED CX, we specifically recommend the 48-inch edition of the television due to its ability to serve as a home’s main television or bedroom monitor.
LG CX OLED TV (CX48OLED) Specs
|Refresh rate||120 Hz|
|Resolution||3,840 x 2,160|
|Dimensions||w/ stand 42.2" x 25.6" x 9.9" w/ no stand 42.2" x 24.3" x 1.8"|
|Frame rate control||AMD Freesync Premium/ G=SYNC compatible|