A tense position awaits the LG BX OLED in LG’s upcoming 2020 OLED TV line. For those who want to try OLED for the first time, this is a more affordable option. However, the OLED screen’s advantages are somewhat compromised in the model with the lowest spec. In the end, it’s up to you to decide if the LG BX’s sacrifices are worth it.
It’s safe to assume that the answer is yes.
The new a7 Gen 3 chip in the BX is a step down in processing power from the a9 Gen 3 chip found in the LG CX, LG C1, and Gallery Series OLED models, which is the only significant difference between the BX and the 2019 B9.
Color vibrancy, black depth, and contrast are all still among the features it offers over its predecessor for photos that really stand out. In addition, the same picture flaws are still present. After testing, it was found that the LG B9 OLED had similar issues with motion stuttering around moving objects and persistent grain and banding in low-contrast scenes. While OLED’s ability to turn all of its pixels off results in a stunning black, less defined shadows aren’t as well realized.
Even so, the picture is largely impressive, and its flaws aren’t enough to dampen our enthusiasm for what the LG BX can deliver. The webOS smart TV platform and HDMI 2.1 support, as well as VRR (variable refresh rate), are all included at a lower price point than the CX. Dolby Atmos is also supported, but without the CX’s TV stand design that directs downward-firing audio toward viewers.
A Series OLED will replace the B Series in 2021, which is important to note. LG’s a7 processor powers the A Series. If you expect OLED evo brightness or AI picture processing, you’ll be disappointed.
There’s no denying that the LG BX OLED TV we’re reviewing here is an excellent choice, but if you’re looking for the newest LG TV, you might want to check out the entire 2021 LG TV lineup.
Price and availability
At just $1,199 / £1,099 / AU$2,995 for a 55-inch model, the LG BX OLED is the cheapest 2020 LG OLED TV Even though it was originally priced at $1,399 (GBP) and £1,299 (USD), it’s now available for a much lower price.
There is also a 65-inch version of the BX, but only the 55-inch model is currently available in Australia.
The LG BX OLED is similar to its 2019 counterpart, the B9, in terms of features. OLED panel, thin bezel, and even if it doesn’t match Samsung’s zero-bezel infinity screen on the Q950TS, it is still a TV with a minimal outline.
Because of its size and weight, it’s a surprise that this TV stand can be screwed into place so easily and is so light. Although the CX’s curved stand is designed to funnel down-firing audio toward the viewer, this model’s trapezoid stand sits lower to the counter and is less in your line of sight than the step-up model.
There are four HDMI 2.1 ports on the back of the TV, which is a lot for a TV at this price point. Next-generation consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X will be able to stream 4K/120Hz video through LG’s OLED screens in 2021, as well as benefit from VRR (variable refresh rate) and low-latency gaming modes (more on that below).
A PCMCIA card slot is also included in the package, as well as USB ports for three devices.
The LG BX’s remote control, on the other hand, may be its most appealing feature. LG’s so-called Magic Remote has an incredible amount of flexibility, allowing you to navigate using a standard D-pad, a mouse-like scroller, or by using the remote’s on-screen cursor to point-and-click on the display. There are a lot of people in your household who have different preferences when it comes to how they interact with their devices, which is why the Magic Remote is a great option for you if you frequently switch between content libraries.
As with Netflix, the remote has a ‘Movies’ input that goes to Rakuten TV, with a red font against a white background, just like Netflix. There are dedicated Netflix and Amazon Prime Video buttons on the remote as well. More than making up for it is the inclusion of braille around volume and power controls, along with a convenient Source button that allows you to switch between HDMI sources.
Smart TV (webOS)
It is hard to find a better user interface today than webOS, which LG TVs make use of. Individual app and streaming service icons are displayed in slanting tiles on a horizontal content row, giving the home screen an appealing slant.
For example, you can see a list of popular Netflix shows above the Netflix icon so you know what you’re getting into and can shortcut to key titles if you wish, as with Samsung’s Tizen. A secondary content row will appear above selected apps to show you recent or relevant content.
Getting around is a breeze thanks to LG’s implementation of voice recognition and the Magic Remote’s extensive feature set. LG’s ThinQ AI platform, as well as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, are all supported by the BX without the use of third-party smart speakers (although you can connect to other smart devices, if you wish). The ThinQ assistant can be summoned via a central voice button on the remote, and it can quickly transport you to desired apps, settings, or content.
With Netflix and Amazon Prime Video (both in 4K HDR) and Sky, Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Now TV, and an internet browser, webOS offers a wide range of app support. In 2020, a Sports feature will help you keep track of broadcasts featuring your favorite team. It’s a small addition, but it’s a personal one.
Because Freeview Play isn’t available, viewers in the United Kingdom will have to rely on the catch-up services offered by the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4.
Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit are also supported.
With a few notable exceptions, the LG BX’s picture quality is very close to that of the CX.
Unfortunately, this means that if you opt for a less expensive model, you won’t be sacrificing much in terms of picture quality The BX, on the other hand, falls short in a few key areas when it comes to cinephiles and picture purists.
There are a variety of picture settings to choose from in webOS. If you’re watching TV shows or movies, the contrast and saturation will be increased in the Cinema mode, but that’s only if you’re watching them on the big screen.
If you’re more concerned about the environment, you can turn on Eco mode, which reduces the amount of power the screen uses, but you may notice a decrease in brightness. The Sports mode, on the other hand, enhances contrast and motion smoothing for watching fast-paced sports.
When you’re watching HDR-compatible content, you’ll see additional HDR presets, with Home Cinema making more concessions for ambient light.
In order to achieve a more dynamic image, we always advise against using the Vivid mode, which degrades color accuracy. Please don’t do it.
On this 4K screen, upscaling HD content isn’t a problem. With the BX’s many pixels, facial or environmental details can be convincingly upscaled to fit. Unfortunately, the quality does not extend to darker scenes, which is a pity.
Having finished the excellent pilot episode of How To Get Away With Murder, we were impressed by how much attention to detail had gone into the characters’ clothing, hair, and even Viola Davis’ expressions. When Davis draws with white chalk on a blackboard, the contrast between the light and dark is breathtaking thanks to OLED technology.
In contrast to the cheerleader’s costume being flung into the air and the dark woods that the show frequently cuts to, we noticed an obvious difference between the bright objects and colors.
The BX’s processor does an excellent job of bringing images to life in well-lit shots or scenes with a variety of colors. There is a noticeable grain that isn’t visible in brighter scenes when the chip appears to be struggling.
The mid-spec a7 Gen 3 processor is clearly to blame for this problem, which on its own shouldn’t ruin a movie night. The same issue arose with the LG B9 OLED model from the previous year, but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm much either.
Even with black letterboxing on films with wide aspect ratios, the BX OLED offers a firm, lightless outline that enhances the punch and vibrancy of the enclosed images.
Watching the opening number of The Greatest Showman in 4K Blu-ray on an OLED screen was a breathtaking experience. Hugh Jackman’s red coat and the delicate gold detailing on it looked absolutely stunning. Amber lights and flaming torches from the film’s central circus practically burned their way into our retinas on the BX, and it’s no joke.
Light bulbs and flames alike are brilliantly illuminated and tightly controlled by OLED’s ability to switch off pixels completely, a flicker of destruction held in loving hands.
Frame stutter is an issue with the BX, and even in well-lit scenes, sudden movements can cause a brief glitch of video noise. When Beth, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, shakes hands with a rival player in The Queen’s Gambit, even if it’s just for a split second, it could set things off.
Last but not least, we haven’t mentioned the Game mode, which is a picture preset. To avoid screen tearing and minimize input lag for responsive gameplay, gamer-specific features like VRR (variable refresh rate) and ALLM (auto low latency mode) are activated. Since we didn’t notice any of the video noise or motion issues mentioned above when playing in Game mode, we believe the BX could be a viable option for PS5 and Xbox Series S. With a 120Hz panel and HDMI 2.1 support, these consoles can deliver next-generation performance as well.
As a result of their high-contrast picture, OLED panels are ideal for most video games, as they help to keep character models distinct from their computer-generated backgrounds. Yakuza 0’s OLED picture quality impressed us, making even small puddles on the pavement appear eerily dark. The neon signs dotting the game’s 1980s Tokyo setting also looked striking.
In the event that you want to connect a gaming PC to your LG TV, you can take advantage of Nvidia G-Sync on all 2020 models. In spite of Bill Thomas’s insistence that this will only benefit a small number of gamers, we can’t argue with his assessment.
Make sure that you’re in the best picture and audio settings for the type of content you’re watching when you switch from a console to a TV streaming service.
But what about the sound? A 2.2-channel system provides 40W of total output, just like the CX OLED (and last year’s B9). There are sets out there with more accomplished built-in audio systems, such as Panasonic’s HZ2000, which has 140W audio and upward-firing speakers, but this is fine for living room volume and we rarely found ourselves pushing to the upper limits of this.
In addition, the CX utilizes a TV stand that directs the sound downward toward the listener, whereas the BX does not. If you’re using a 2.2-channel system, you won’t get the same level of separation as if you were using a 5.1.2-channel system. Despite this, it’s a good value for the money and far superior to the standard 20W built-in speakers.
Whether bringing out the timbres of an actor’s husky voice, creating an ominous knock on the door, or launching into a punchy pop soundtrack, the sound is consistently strong and impactful.
However, the sound quality varies greatly among the various audio presets. With The Greatest Showman, you want to hear the full impact of its showtunes so switching to Cinema audio was a welcome addition. In this mode, voices and dialogue take a back seat, and you can choose to use the Clear Voice option instead. This improves voice clarity and is especially useful at lower volume levels, but it reduces bass and can be irritating to the ears at higher volumes.
AI Sound, on the other hand, is a solid middle ground between the two, if lacking Cinema’s deep bass. There are also settings for Sports, Music, and Game modes.