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LG CX (OLED55CX) TV Review

10 reasons to pick an OLED TV

by Phil Hinton
SRP: £1,800.00

What is the LG CX?

The LG CX (C10) is the latest midrange sweet spot in the LG OLED TV range for 2020. We have an LG OLED65CX review published already and the vast majority of that review and findings also apply to this 55-inch version. 

In this review, we will concentrate more on the performance aspects to check they are similar to the 65-inch. If you want a full-on in-depth review then you should refer to the 65-inch version.

The current pricing for the LG CX makes it even more competitive this year with the 48-inch listed at £1,499.99, the 55-inch we are reviewing here is £1,799.99, the 65-inch is £2,799.99, and the 77-inch is £4999.99 at the time of this review in August 2020.

Related: LG 65-inch CX Review

We guess the big question to answer here is whether the 2020 CX model is any better than the previously reviewed 2019 C9 OLED, which does at this time offer more in the way of catch-up services and a lower price point.

Related: LG C9 Review

Video Review

Design, Connections and Control

The LG CX has exactly the same style of design as the previous C8 and C9 versions with a sloped stand to the front and a near bezel-less design to the panel. The stand supports the downward-firing speaker system by directing the sound out to the front of the set.

LG OLED55CX
Rear connections

The layout of the connections is sideways and rearward with a hardwired power chord. To the side are a CI slot and three HDMI 2.1 (40Gbps) inputs and a USB 3.0 port. Rearwards we have two USB 2.0 ports and a further HDMI 2.1 slot, plus antenna and satellite ports, a LAN port, optical digital output and audio/headphone output.

Related: What is HDMI 2.1?

LG OLED55CX
Magic remote control

The remote control is the standard LG magic remote which is plastic in construction with the main OK and direction keys towards the centre and within easy thumb reach. We really like the magic cursor approach which makes interaction easy. You can, of course, use the LG app on your phone or tablet if you prefer. 


Measurements

Out of the Box

As normal within our reviews, we measured the out of the box picture presets to find those that get as close as possible to the industry standards. The idea is that a TV must get close to these standards in at least one of its picture modes so end users can see content as it was mastered and intended to be seen. On the LG CX that picture preset is Filmmaker Mode.

We use Calman colour calibration software, a Murideo Seven Generator and Klein K-10A meter for measurement and calibration.

LG OLED55CX
Filmmaker Mode greyscale and gamma

Looking at the greyscale, we can see that Filmmaker Mode (FMM) is very accurate for an out of the box preset. While the tracking is not completely flat in the graph, with a slight dip in red by 2% and a very slight excess of green at around 2%, our DeltaE errors are all under the visible threshold of three. This means that there are no visible colour tint errors in TV and Film content we watch on the CX. Gamma also tracks well to the BT.1886 standard.

LG OLED55CX
Filmmaker Mode Rec.709 results

Looking at the Rec.709 HD colour gamut we can see that once again the Filmmaker Mode on the LG CX is very accurate with a few very slight errors at some points, but they are well under the visible threshold of three and are completely unseen within TV and Film content. This means that out of the box this 55-inch CX sample is very accurate in Filmmaker Mode, as it should be.

Calibrated

There is a whole suite of calibration controls available on the LG CX along with Calman AutoCal if you have the correct equipment or hire a professional calibrator.  

LG OLED55CX
Calibrated greyscale and gamma

We managed to achieve complete accuracy with the Greyscale and gamma tracking with DelatE errors at a maximum of 0.7, which is well below the visible threshold of three. The Filmmaker Mode was accurate out of the box with no visible errors and calibration just refines those results down to near perfection.

LG OLED55CX
Calibrated Rec.709 colour gamut

The Rec.709 HD colour gamut is also perfect with DeltaE errors at a maximum of 0.7 which is obviously well below the threshold of three, meaning no errors are visible in colour when viewing TV and Film content. Out of the box was very good to start with and calibration just tidies up the graphs. 

HDR Results

The LG CX has HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR capabilities. As always, we measured peak brightness across window sizes in the most accurate image preset (Filmmaker Mode) to the standards and D65 white.

LG OLED55CX
Peak Brightness vs. Window Size

There are some small variances between panels when it comes to peak brightness measurements and as we always point out, these figures are just one part of what makes an HDR image. We measured a peak of 700 nits at 2%, 5% and the industry-standard 10% window size. Full-field white was 130 nits. 

LG OLED55CX
1000 nits HDR Master results for PQ EOTF

Looking at the PQ EOTF we have two slightly different tone maps tracking for 1000 and 4000 nits mastered content. With 1000 nit content it follows the standard perfectly until a roll-off and hard clip at 700 nits. 

LG OLED55CX
4000 nits HDR Master results for PQ EOTF

With 4000 nit content the tracking is again accurate to around 250 nits and then it rolls off gently towards the peak of 700 nits, thus allowing more specular highlight details to be retained within the HDR image.

LG OLED55CX
DCI-P3 within BT.2020 colour gamut results

The DCI-P3 within BT.2020 colour gamut saturation tracking is also very good with most points landing close to where they should be without any major errors. This will produce accurate colour performance with UHD wide colour gamut coverage and at decent saturation values. As with all OLED TVs, the colour volume is a weak point, but overall we couldn’t complain about the performance measured here, but it does fall short of complete gamut coverage. 

LG OLED55CX
BT.2020 coverage

We measured BT.2020 coverage at 72% XY and 76% UV with P3 measuring in at 96% XY and 99% UV.

LG OLED55CX
P3 coverage

Performance

For the full in-depth testing, you should head over to our LG OLED65CX review where we go into more detail. Here we will look at the main performance areas to check that it is in line with the CX we have already covered.

Related: LG 65-inch CX Review

If you are a movie fan and picture purist to the industry standards then the new Filmmaker Mode (FMM) is excellent for out of the box SDR and HDR content. It relaces the Technicolor preset in the menu system and in both CX models we have tested so far it is incredibly accurate. It is a one-button press setting which puts the TV into the correct Rec.709 colour, D65 white and BT.1886 gamma for SDR, and BT.2020 colour, D65 white and ST2084 EOTF for HDR content. It also switches off all the unnecessary video processing and image smoothing features so you see the content as it was mastered and intended to be seen, and why wouldn’t you want to do that?

Related: What is Filmmaker Mode?

 

DV IQ should not have processing switched on as default and greyed out

Also included for 2020 is Dolby Vision IQ. Sadly, like the Panasonic version of IQ there are image manipulation features switched on and for TruMotion, it is also on and greyed out as default. You need to enter the AI Service menu and switch off Genre, then go back to DV IQ and you should now be able to change those items that were greyed out previously, such as TruMotion. Once set correctly, the Dolby Vision IQ preset uses the light sensor and dynamic metadata in DV to produce an image that fits the viewing conditions in your room so the content remains accurate, but is brighter if you are in bright surroundings, allowing you to see more detail. This is a great feature that helps those who don’t live in a room like a grading suite, so basically everyone in a normal living room with some lights on. We would feedback to LG that DV IQ should not have processing switched on as default and greyed out, it should be like FMM in that respect.

Related: What is Dolby Vision IQ?

Panel uniformity was decent at most brightness points with no obvious signs of colour shift, dirty screen effect or banding. Using slides we found a very clean panel uniformity at 5% with only a few small visible bands towards the centre of the panel, but these were never visible when viewing normal film and TV content. The panel also remained clean at all other brightness levels up to 100%. 

TruMotion has had a few tweaks for 2020 and the biggest plus point for OLED fans is that Black Frame Insertion (BFI) is now usable in various settings without introducing obvious flickering. While we didn’t notice any image resolution improvements, Min and Mid are the best settings for no obvious flicker with content. However, if you do decide on using BFI Min or Mid, be aware that image brightness is lowered and we also noticed some light interpolation being added, even when Blur and Judder adjustments were set to off within the Motion Pro menu. BFI is not recommended for use with HDR due to the brightness drop. 

 

HDR viewing is good with decent image brightness and specular highlight details mixed with accurate colours and superb skin tones.

Another new motion setting is Cinema Clear which LG states improves motion and resolution but without the side effects of motion interpolation and Soap Opera Effect (SOE). If you are like me and sensitive to interpolation or changes in frame rate you will notice it is still present when using Cinema Clear, but your mileage may vary as everyone sees motion slightly differently. 

The α9 Gen3 AI-enhanced processor is behind this new video processing and with upscaling we have some of the best we have seen from an LG TV. 576i and 1080i/p content is scaled very well indeed with no obvious edge enhancement or ringing or jaggies to fine lines with excellent detail retrieval. Motion with 24fps material is also very good indeed with no induced judder or frame skipping when truMotion is switched off.

The HDMI inputs this year are HDMI 2.1 but at 40Gbps instead of 48Gbps as seen within tests using our new Murideo Seven Generator. We also noted that within the EDID information extracted from the CX that there is no support for DTS audio decoding onboard. 

Of course, the LG CX is set up for modern gaming with features that will be useful to many end-users including VRR (variable refresh rate), ALLM (auto low latency mode) and an HGiG (HDR Gaming Interest Group) setting under the Dynamic Tone Mapping sub-menu in the Game mode. Plus, LG 2020 TVs are the first to be G-Sync validated by NVIDIA. Input lag was measured using our Murideo Seven Generator in 1080/2160p 60Hz at 13ms (incl HDR) and at 1080/120 (incl HDR) at 6ms. Gaming is great in HDR on the LG CX and even if you are rubbish like me and always getting killed, it has never looked so good! This is an OLED TV so you should also be aware of the possibility of image retention and use the mitigation built-in to the TV to avoid this ending up as screen burn, especially when using it with HDR games that have static HUDs.

As a movie watching TV the LG CX is an impressive model with excellent accuracy for grayscale and colour in SDR. Films look suitably cinematic although whites do still look slightly cyan when side-by-side with the Panasonic HZ1500, which has a more natural looking video white. Plus, the Panasonic HZ1500 and HZ2000 are more capable with just above black with no signs of black flashing issues. The LG CX does have issues with just above and we encountered artefacts and flashing with some tricky content, such as Stranger Things where Eleven enters the completely black searching scenes. It only really happens with tricky scenes, but it would be nice to see a fix at some point from LG.

 

Black Frame Insertion (BFI) is now usable in various settings without introducing obvious flickering.

Because we are dealing with an OLED TV the pixel level performance allows the CX to have fantastic stops of dynamic range like most of the competition, which translates to very good blacks, excellent shadow detail and real image depth and detail. Having pure black pixels next to 100% white is something no other available display is capable of and this is what adds to the stunning dynamics on show. 

HDR viewing is good with decent image brightness and specular highlight details mixed with accurate colours and superb skin tones. Favourites like The Greatest Showman have musical numbers taking place in the circus ring with spotlights, flames and dancers all standing out in fantastic detail with bright yet natural colours and very good specular details. Dolby Vision is just as good with even more noticeable details in the brightest highlights thanks to the dynamic metadata. John Wick 3 opens in a rain covered New York with strong lights from the signs and screens of Times Square and then dark alleys lit by neon signs, against the wet and dark blacks of night. Shadow details are superb as the neon pierces the darkness with strong colours making everything feel wet and look like they are from the pages of a visual novel or comic book. The dynamic range is what brings these scenes to life and there is a nice cinematic edge to the images from the LG.

 

... the LG is a multi use TV that performs exceptionally well at any given role. 

Rounding off the performance is the WebOS system and it is still one of the very best on the market. It is unfortunate that Freeview Play and LG couldn’t reach agreement to have the catch up services available this year, but at the time of writing this review in late August, BBC iPlayer will now be available very soon and hopefully that will also include the other terrestrial apps, but there is no confirmation of that just yet.

Overall, the CX is yet another superb OLED TV for gaming, sports and movie fans with excellent accurate images in SDR and HDR.

Verdict

The good

  • Very good image accuracy out of the box
  • Excellent Filmmaker mode
  • Dolby Vision IQ
  • Superb calibrated accuracy
  • CalMAN AutoCal
  • Excellent HDR images
  • Dolby Atmos
  • HDMI 2.1 inputs (40Gbps)
  • 4K/120 support
  • The gaming performance and input lag
  • Excellent build quality

The not so good

  • No Freeview Play and Catch-up Apps
  • No DTS audio decoding or HDR10+ compatibility
  • Some small issues with floating blacks and flashing with some content

LG CX (OLED55CX) TV Review

While being the new model for 2020, the CX doesn’t make any massive strides ahead in terms of design or performance. It matches the C9 in most respects and adds a few new features into the mix.

These include the new α9 Gen 3 AI processor, Filmmaker Mode and Dolby Vision IQ. There’s also a host of new gaming features, HDMI 2.1 inputs (40Gbps), and improved CalMAN auto-calibration. The webOS smart platform now includes Disney+ and Apple TV+ and for non-UK territories, it offers excellent app support. In the UK we are still waiting for the terrestrial apps being added as there is no Freeview Play for 2020. At the time this review was written BBC iPlayer had just been confirmed as returning to WebOS, so we hope all the others follow suit quickly.

While you still need to take care with OLED TVs when it comes to bright and static images causing image retention if left on screen for hours on end, the new mitigation technologies do help to combat these potential issues, and of course you should be aware when buying an OLED that it needs some care when used for gaming for example. The LG CX is probably the best current OLED on the market for gaming with HDMI 2.1 (40Gbps) ports, VRR (variable refresh rate), ALLM (auto low latency mode) and an HGiG (HDR Gaming Interest Group) setting along with Freesync and G-Sync.

As a movie watching TV the LG CX also excels with excellent image accuracy, blacks and shadow details. There are a few slight niggles with black flashing and just above black artefacts and while colour accurate, they are not as good as Sony and Panasonic, the LG is a multi use TV that performs exceptionally well at any given role. 

We found this 55-inch CX performed just as well as it’s bigger 65-inch brother and as such it grabs a Highly Recommended badge in the process.

Highly Recommended

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

10

Screen Uniformity

.
9

Colour Accuracy

.
9

Greyscale Accuracy

10

Video Processing

.
9

Picture Quality

.
9

SDR Picture Quality

.
9

HDR Picture Quality

.
9

Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box

.
9

Picture Quality Calibrated

10

Sound Quality

.
9

Smart Features

.
9

Build Quality

.
9

Ease of Use

.
9

Value for Money

.
9

Verdict

.
9
9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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