In this article we are going to review LG OLED48CX6LB. We had to wait a long time, but finally the time has come, an OLED TV that is smaller than 55 inches. LG launched a 48-inch model, the OLED48CX6LB, in its CX series. Can junior deliver the same results as the larger models?
LG OLED48CX6LB specifications
- What: Ultra HD OLED TV
- Screen size: 48 inch (122 cm), flat
- Connections: 4x HDMI (4x v2) .1 (40 Gbps), eARC, ALLM, VRR, HFR), 1x optical digital out, 3x USB, 1x headphones, 2x antenna, Bluetooth 5.0, WiSA
- Extras: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, WebOS 5.0, AirPlay 2, USB / DLNA media player, DVB-T2 / C / S2, CI + slot, Alpha 9 Gen 3 processor
- Dimensions: 1,071 656 x 246 mm (incl. Foot)
- Weight: 18.9 kg (including base)
- Consumption: 89 / 0.5 watt (Energy label A)
- List price: 1,699 euros
A complete overview of all LG 2020 OLED models with their specifications can be found in the LG 2020 oled tv line-up.
LG OLED48CX6LB – Design
The design of the 48 inch model is no different from that of the larger models in the CX series. The smaller size makes the slim screen a little less eye-catching.
Of course, the base looks slightly larger compared to the relatively small screen, but the whole still looks balanced. The finish remains excellent. The OLED screen has a metal back, with a fine edge. The brushed metal base plate is a nice accent.
The device is sturdy, keep in mind that you need a fair amount of space behind the device to accommodate the foot.
LG OLED48CX6LB – Connections
Net like the larger models, this 48 inch version is equipped with four HDMI 2.1 connections with support for ALLM, VRR, eARC, 2K and 4K HFR. The CX can process up to 4K120 10 bit 4: 4: 4, which should be more than enough for the foreseeable future. More on that when we talk about the gaming aspect.
Three of the four HDMI connections are on the side, along with a USB connection. The fourth HDMI connection and all other connections (two USB, an optical digital output, headphone output, network connection and antenna connections) are at the back. All those connections point backwards, and can be difficult to reach if you choose wall mounting.
The headphone output is also placed on this version so that you have to reach far behind the device. But on this smaller size that is a little less problematic, and you can always connect and leave an adapter cable, which remains a good solution. Or you use a wireless Bluetooth headset.
The 48CX is equipped with WiSA (Wireless Speaker and Audio Association). A handy solution if you want surround without the hassle of cables, read more about WiSA. The WiSA range remains relatively limited
LG OLED48CX6LB – Ease of use and smart TV
Also in terms of ease of use and features you do not have to compromise on the 48 inch version. We largely retake here the review of the 65CX . The new WebOS 5.0 version is mainly a cosmetic adjustment. The color scheme is a bit more sedate, but there are also minor functional changes. This is evident from the first installation that was completely renewed and even more clear and simpler than before. The device now also tries to recognize connected devices, so that you no longer have to configure them yourself.
The Quick Menu is now adjustable, so you can choose which settings appear and in what order. 19659024]
The ‘Home Dashboard’ still groups all connections, as well as network sources, the option to quickly select a different audio output and things like Sound Share or Airplay. The dashboard now also offers a PiP (Picture In Picture) for the current source. Of course you can still add smart devices that support OCF (Open Connectivity Foundation) and turn it into an IoT dashboard. With those devices you can create “routines” to, for example, switch off everything at once in the evening.
A new feature is Sports Alert. You can choose teams from different sports and competitions. When a match of your favorite team starts on live TV, or someone scores, you will receive a message. The Belgian or Dutch football leagues are not available, but they may still come.
WebOS remains one of our favorite smart TV systems, but it is very unfortunate that LG does not make the new versions available on older models.
For a complete overview of WebOS you can provisionally visit our overview of the previous version (WebOS 4.5). As soon as we have a new overview ready, we will make it available.
With the Magic Remote you point to the screen, and with small movements you move the cursor on the screen. You can also use the arrow keys and the other keys if you prefer not to work with that pointing.
The remote fits well in the hand and the keys are, with the exception of the two bottom rows, sufficiently large . They are easy to press and provide good feedback. The layout is fine, and there are shortcuts for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Rakuten tv (Movies). You can also configure it via the ‘Home Dashboard’ for use with your connected devices.
The CX is equipped with a single TV tuner for digital TV (DVB-T2 / C / S2) and CI + slot . You cannot watch and record another channel at the same time.
You can use Apple Airplay 2 and YouTube videos can be sent via Google Cast. The media player is fine, it supports subtitles and HDR, but has lost support for DTS since this year. LG’s ThinQ AI provides an extensive list of voice commands.
LG OLED48CX6LB – Image Processing
Image processing is performed by the Alpha 9 Gen 3 processor. So you can expect the same results as on the larger models. It provides very good deinterlacing and easily recognizes different video and film frame rates. Jagged edges are therefore a rarity. The noise reduction works fine for random noise, but just like last year, the effect on block formation (MPEG noise reduction) is relatively weak, LG still has to work on that. Also ‘Smooth Gradations’, the setting that has to eliminate color bands seems to have relatively little effect unless the color bands are already very subtle.
Upscaling results are excellent, and LG claims with AI Picture Pro (can be activated via General / AI service) now also sharpen the appearance of text and faces. That effect must be very small, we couldn’t really see it. Overall, the overall results are excellent, but LG is not making big strides here. We recommend leaving the three noise canceling settings at the lowest setting for general viewing pleasure.
Also on this model you can enjoy “OLED Motion Pro” an improved version of Black Frame Insertion. The lowest setting of OLED Motion Pro brought significantly improved motion sharpness without excessive loss of brightness. The middle and high setting deliver slightly better results, but then the brightness drops significantly. In the highest position, a slight flicker is noticeable, but that is less noticeable than on the C9. For games and sports, the lowest OLED Motion Pro setting seems like a great choice. For film, the new Cinema Clear (translated as Cinema Wissen) seems a good solution. It does a decent job of reducing stuttering in pan images, but doesn’t cause too many image problems. The Smooth mode delivers good, smooth images but causes slightly more visual problems.
In our article about you can read all about the possibilities of working with a professional to the best picture settings. Here you will find an explanation of the most important picture settings and tips for setting up your TV.
|General||Advanced Operation||Picture Options|
|Picture Mode: Cinema
Aspect Ratio Setting: Original / Scan: On
Energy Saving: Off
OLED Bulb: 80
|Dynamic Contrast: Off
Dynamic Tone Mapping: Off / On
Super Resolution: Low
Color Range: Auto
Gamma: 2.2 / BT.1886
White Balance: Warm2
Maximum Brightness: Off
|Noise Reduction: Low
MPEG Noise Reduction: Low
Smooth Gradation: Low
Black Level: Auto
Real Cinema: On
Motion Eye Care: Off
TruMotion: Cinema Clear or Adjust with OLED Motion Pro: Low LG OLED48CX6LB – Picture quality
A new screen size means one new OLED panel, but essentially nothing changes. It remains an RGBW sub-pixel structure and according to LG the performance is the same as on the larger formats.
The screen had slightly less uniformity than we are used to from recent OLED panels. On a dark screen, the central part is slightly brighter, and vertical banding is visible. The photo below is heavily overexposed to show the effect. With real footage we found it barely visible, especially when there is little ambient light. Also keep in mind that this can vary from screen to screen. Uniformity on clear images was good
This model also features Filmmaker Mode . This is no more than the Cinema image mode, but with all image processing (noise reduction, TruMotion) turned off. This mode is also relatively dark (around 100 nits), and uses the BT.1886 gamma curve, making it really aim at viewing in darkening. You can adjust Filmmaker mode, for example you can incorporate some of our recommendations. In the future, this mode can be automatically activated by the content.
The Cinema mode is well calibrated. On paper, the results of our test model seem slightly less good than those of the 65-inch version, but in practice the differences are negligible, and probably almost invisible. The gray scale is neutral, and uses a gamma of 2.2 which is slightly better suited for the ordinary average living room (slightly less dark). He shows excellent black detail, without the pronounced difficult flickering in the darkest scenes. The deep contrast and the excellent color reproduction together provide very good images.
LG OLED48CX6LB – HDR
This LG supports HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, HDR10 + remains absent on this smaller model. When we measure the peak luminance, the results appear to closely match those of the 65-inch version. The peak luminance on a 10% window is 679 nits, rising to 729 nits after just over a minute. On a completely white screen, the maximum is 128 nits. These are typical OLED results, enough for beautiful HDR images, but slightly less intense than high-end LCD models, especially when the image is generally very clear.
The color range also delivers typical OLED values: 94% DCI-P3 and 68% Rec. 2020. That is a bit smaller than on the 65 inch, but falls within the variation that we see on OLED models. The calibration is very good, and the color accuracy is even better than on the 65 inch model. The HDR Cinema mode delivers beautiful results. The brightness perfectly follows the required curve and the screen shows all white detail, based on the metadata.
LG also offers “Dynamic Tonemapping” on this 48 inch model. This algorithm analyzes the image signal and optimizes the HDR display. Especially the perceptual contrast seems to improve. Very bright images get a little more depth, but appear a little less bright. There is often no effect on dark images. Colors can become slightly more intense, but never very harsh. In our opinion, LG has found a good balance between perceived contrast and brightness. Whether you activate dynamic Tonemapping seems to us largely a personal choice, but if you want a true-to-life image, it is best to leave it out. Please note, LG also activates Dynamic Tone Mapping in Filmmaker Mode, so you may have to switch it off.
Thanks to ‘AI brightness’ you have the option to switch HDR images on. according to the ambient light. The TV then lifts the black detail a bit so that you see more shadow nuances. This year, with the introduction of Dolby Vision IQ, this is also the case for Dolby Vision content. All you have to do is activate the light sensor (in the general picture settings, set Energy saving to Automatic).
LG OLED48CX6LB – Gaming, Reflections and viewing angles
OLED screens have an excellent viewing angle, so that even those who are not right in front of the image can enjoy excellent contrast and colors. The LG rejects reflections well, but attention to the correct lighting is still required.
In cinema image mode we measure a lag of 88.4 ms, as with all manufacturers this is quite high. In game mode, the lag drops to 13.2 ms and that is a fantastic result. LG positions this model as the gamer TV par excellence. And the CX is indeed well equipped for that.
Thanks to their 40Gbps bandwidth, the HDMI 2.1 connections offer the possibility to deliver up to 4K120fps images in 10 bit and 444 chroma subsampling. With that you can expect the very best image quality from the soon to come PS5 and Xbox Series X. After all, you can game on it in HDR at 4K @ 120fps. There was some confusion about the difference between the HDMI 2.1 connections on the C9 and the ones on the CX. After all, the C9 (2019) has connections that provide the full 48Gbps bandwidth, while those of the CX deliver “only” 40GBps. Communication about this from LG could be better, but in practice that difference will be insignificant. As we stated, that 40Gbps is sufficient for the best image quality, and we already know for sure that the HDMI 2.1 output of the Xbox Series X is also limited to 40Gbps. So you don’t have to worry about that.
In addition, the CX also supports ALLM and VRR (more information about all features can be found in our( HDMI 2.1 article ). The VRR support is very extensive, you can use NVIDIA Gsync (for PC gamers) as well as AMD Freesync and HDMI VRR (both for the latest consoles). The range of the VRR is 40-120Hz. An important note is that when you activate AMD Freesync in the menu, you will lose support for Dolby Vision. These two things are mutually exclusive, and the technical reason for that seems to rule out that this could change. But that does not necessarily have to be a problem. If you don’t use the CX for gaming, just leave AMD Freesync switched off. Gaming in Dolby Vision was not possible until recently, but now it has been announced that the Xbox Series X will support it, so you have to choose. Fortunately, in that case you can still opt for regular HDMI VRR, and leave AMD Freesync disabled. Only in exceptional cases would you want to activate AMD Freesync.
Finally, for HDR gaming there is also support for HGIG which you can activate via the Dynamic Tonemapping settings in the image menu. The CX therefore seems an excellent choice for both PC and next-gen consoles.
It has already been established that all this new technology is not without minor teething problems. Gamers have determined that activating VRR can make dark scenes brighter. And with the release of the latest NVIDIA RTX 30 cards, there were also some compatibility issues (activating GSync leads to a black screen, and when delivering a 4K @ 120fps RGB / 444 signal, the LG switches that to a 422 choma subsampling).
LG has already prepared a fix for these last two problems, the firmware update is expected within a few weeks.
LG has been made aware that some LG OLED TVs are experiencing certain compatibility issues with the recently launched Nvidia RTX 30 Series graphics card. An updated firmware has been in development with plans for a roll out within the next few weeks to LG’s 2020 and 2019 HDMI 2.1 capable TVs, which should address these incompatibility issues. When ready, additional information will be available on the LG website and in the software update section of owners’ LG TVs. We apologize for the inconvenience to our loyal customers and thank them for their support as we continue to push the boundaries of gaming technology and innovation.
However, the luminance changes in dark images caused by VRR seem more difficult. LG acknowledges this problem, but was unable to provide a timeline for a fix.
LG Electronics is aware there can be situations when luminance changes in dark scenes with gaming content in VRR mode. The changes may look more visible than they are on LCD panel devices because the OLED black is basically deeper, which makes brightness differences seen to the eyes in the low gray area appear greater. As an early adopter of VRR in the TV market, despite the challenges of implementing advanced gaming features in the current panel technology, we always look to best integrate new technology and improve the experience for our customers. We are looking into finding solutions.
LG OLED48CX6LB – Sound Quality
The 2.2 channel 40 Watt sound system provides a lot of volume with audible bass. Distortion is audible at too much volume. As long as we don’t open the volume too far, we are very satisfied with the sound. It is warm and pleasant, sufficiently detailed, and has a lot of punch. Besides Standard, the Cinema and Music preset were our preference (for film and music respectively, of course). Also use AI Acoustic Tuning to adjust the sound to the room acoustics.
The television supports Dolby Atmos and manages to create a beautiful surround experience, but you should of course not expect any miracles. The AI Sound Pro sound preset amplifies voices and creates a virtual surround. The result was nice in some programs but sometimes also distracted us too much, you can experiment with it yourself.
For the lag measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. We use an HDFury Vertex to analyze any HDR problems.
LG OLED48CX6LB – Conclusion
Looking for a TV that can serve gaming, and really has everything to offer? The LG OLED48CX6LB seems to us without a doubt the best choice of the moment. The lack of HDR10 + on the feature list is a minor downside, but LG’s own Dynamic Tone Mapping copes well. The screen delivers the same contrast, brightness and color gamut performance as the major models, so yes the peak brightness is slightly lower compared to a C9. And the price, which is relatively expensive. At launch, the difference between the 48 and 55 inches was 400 euros, which seemed fine. But in the meantime, the price of the 55 inch has fallen sharply (we already see online prices of 1699, – and even lower), while the 48 inch still costs 1699. That means that you currently pay a hefty premium for this smaller model.
But still, we cannot deny that the 48-inch CX is very attractive. WebOS provides excellent ease of use, and the sound quality is fine. Its real assets are in the image quality. The perfect OLED black, deep contrast, intense colors and top calibration give all your viewing experiences a solid boost, both in SDR and HDR. This TV has a lot to offer for gamers. From low input lag, over excellent motion sharpness to the widest game-oriented feature set. Yes, even those small teething problems about VRR do not seem enough to us to lose its top position. If you have already ordered the next generation game console, then this OLED TV seems like the perfect companion.
We would have liked to see this smaller size a few years earlier, but now it is here it deserves praise and our FWD Excellent award. Maybe just wait a little longer until it gets a little cheaper.