This week we reviewed the LG OLED55CX, a 55” 4K Ultra HD OLED TV designed for movies and gaming. HDR-10, HLG and Dolby Vision IQ compatible to enhance the images of movies and TV series in HRD, the LG OLED55CX also supports 4K High Frame rate content up to 120 FPS and integrates VRR G-Sync and FreeSync features. For this, it is equipped with HDMI 2.1 connectors with ALLM (automatic low latency mode) and eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel supporting HD and Atmos audio streams) features.
The LG OLED55CX is an evolution of the 2019 LG OLED55C9, a model that received awards from many specialized magazines as well as numerous positive customer reviews (more than 30 reviews with an overall score of 4.9/5). Almost identical visually, the CX differs with its next-generation video processor (LG α9 Gen3 AI Processor 4K) whose performance has been improved to provide an even more realistic and nuanced image.
Sold for €1990, can the LG OLED55CX television do better than its renowned predecessor?
LG OLED55CX: the brand
LG is a major player in the consumer electronics market whose technological expertise covers the household appliance sector as well as that of mobile phones and home theater.
Since 2017, LG has supplied its main competitors with OLED displays, as it is still the only manufacturer of OLED TV displays in the world today. Therefore, LG OLED displays are used in Panasonic OLED TVs, Philips OLED TVs and Sony OLED TVs.
The LG OLED TV 2020 catalog includes the following ranges:
LG OLED 4K B9S
The LG B9S OLED 4K TVs are the gateway into the world of LG OLED TVs. They use a second-generation LG α7 Intelligent Processor that is less powerful than the α9 Gen3 video processor of the other 2020 LG OLED TVs, but they still benefit from Deep Learning Picture and AI Brightness technologies.
LG OLED 4K CX
The LG CX OLED 4K TV range, which includes the LG OLED55CX, is the first to offer a 48 inch (122cm) model. All the 2020 LG OLED 4K TVs have the same OLED screen, features and video processing as the CX series. The main differences are their design and audio section.
LG OLED 4K GX
The OLED 4K TVs in the LG CX range feature an ultra-thin chassis that is uniformly thick and is specifically designed to be wall mounted using the included wall mount (these televisions don’t come with feet and are only intended to be placed on the wall or on a stand).
LG OLED65WX 4K
The only model in the WX range, the LG OLED65WX is characterized by its ultra-thin OLED display which is less than 4mm thick and can be installed directly on the wall thanks to the included wall mount. The electronics, connectors and audio section are all housed in a separate box that acts as a 4.2 channel Dolby Atmos compatible soundbar.
LG OLED 8K ZX
The LG Signature OLED 8K TV range (ZX series) includes two very big televisions (one 77” and one 88”) with a resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels. The overall thickness of the LG OLED77ZX is just over 3cm, making it easy to wall mount using the included support, although it also comes with feet.
The even wider LG OLED88ZX is permanently mounted on a dedicated stand that houses a 4.2-channel sound bar.
LG OLED65RX 4K
Taking advantage of the thinness and flexibility of OLED displays, the LG OLED65RX features a 65″ (164cm) rollable display that can be fully hidden in the audio section stand. It is set to be released in late 2020.
LG OLED55CX: packaging & accessories
The LG OLED55CX television comes in a box weighing almost 30kg and measuring almost 123cm in length and 81cm in height that is loaded onto a pallet. Inside the box, the screen is well protected by thick blocks of polystyrene. It comes with the stand (2 parts + a screw cover) as well as the screws and instructions necessary for assembly. The rear part of the stand is attached to the back of the TV. The front part of the stand that forms a kind of blade under the screen is made of an aluminum alloy. It acts as a sound wave guide for the speakers under the screen, which are downward-firing. The manufacturer also includes a Magic Remote control with two batteries and a cable tie to attach behind the screen.
LG OLED55CX: presentation
The LG OLED55CX television features a 55” (139cm) Ultra High Definition 4K OLED display? It is equipped with the LG α9 Gen3 AI 4K video processor that detects the type of content being viewed (sport, movie, cartoons…) to select the most appropriate image settings. The Filmmaker Mode is also included to provide a cinematographic result that is as true to the director’s vision as possible with certified movies, without any intervention from the viewer.
The LG OLED55CX TV is compatible with today’s main HDR technologies: HDR-10, HLG Dolby Vision IQ (automatic adjustment to ambient light) and HGiG (for gaming). The new LG 2020 OLED display also benefits from dynamic color management with the HDR Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro technology that we previously enjoyed during our review of the LG OLED65E9 television.
This LG 4K OLED TV is also compatible with 4K High Frame Rate video content up to 120 frames per second and supports the G-Sync and FreeSync (VRR – variable refresh rate) features. The ALLM (automatic low latency mode) feature allows the TV to automatically switch to the “gaming” image mode, which provides the lowest latency, when a game console is detected by one of its HDMI 2.1 inputs.
The LG OLED55CX’s 2.2 channel audio section is Dolby Atmos compatible (decoding and virtual spatialization) and can count on an amplification power of 40 watts (2 x 10 watts for the main drivers and 20 watts for the woofers). Bluetooth is also available for wireless listening with a pair of Bluetooth headphones.
The Smart TV part of this LG TV is handled by the 5.0 version of the proprietary webOS interface which provides access to many online services (Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+…) and also lets you play video content shared over the local network using Plex, for example. Lastly, this 2020 LG OLED television incorporates Alexa and Google Assistant and, therefore, can be controlled vocally via its integrated microphone.
LG OLED55CX: key specifications
- Screen size (diagonal): 55” (139cm)
- Definition: 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K UHD)
- Screen technology: OLED
- Light management: self-lit pixels
- Video processor: α9 Gen3 AI Processor 4K (with artificial intelligence)
- AI Upscaling (4K)
- AI Picture (content based image enhancement): AI Picture Pro
- AI Brightness (automatic adjustment to ambient light)
- Infinite contrast
- WCG (Wide Color Gamut)
- Filmmaker Mode
- Dolby Vision IQ
- Auto Genre Selection: (SDR/HDR/Dolby HDR)
- HDR Upscaler
- HDR Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro
Video game mode
- Low Input Lag
- ALLM (Auto Low latency Mode)
- 4K HFR (120 FPS): HDMI, USB & RF
- Smart TV platform: webOS 5.0
- Integrated/works with Google Assistant & Amazon Alexa
- Compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and Miracast
- Gallery mode
- Sport Alert
- Natural language recognition
- Hands-free voice control
- Magic Remote
- 2.2 channel audio system
- Total output power: 40W (2 x 10W / Lows: 20W)
- Compatible with wireless speakers and Bluetooth headphones (Bluetooth emitter mode)
- Bluetooth audio playback (Bluetooth receiver mode)
- Bluetooth Surround (ability to use LG Bluetooth speakers to wirelessly stream surround effects)
- Dolby Atmos decoder and OLED Surround virtual spatialization
- AI Sound Pro
- HDMI inputs: 1 (Rear) / 3 (Lateral), HDMI 2.1 with ARC/eARC (Audio Return Channel) on HDMI 2
- USB ports: 2 (Rear) / 1 (Lateral)
- Optical digital audio output
- Line / 3.5mm mini-jack headphone output
- Bluetooth (V5.0)
- Ethernet RJ45 (LAN) port
- WiFi (802.11ac)
- TV weight without stand: 18.9kg
- TV weight with stand: 23kg
- TV weight in box: 28.6kg
- TV dimensions without stand (WxDxH): 1288 / 46.9 / 706mm
- TV dimensions with stand (WxDxH): 1228 / 251 / 738mm
- Box dimensions (WxDxH): 1345 / 207 / 810mm
LG OLED55CX: configuration
Before we could begin testing the LG OLED55CX television, we had to take it out of the cardboard box and mount the stand. It takes two people to take the display safely out of the polystyrene base, remove the cover and place it on a flat surface. You can then move on to the assembly of the stand, which takes only a few minutes. The LG OLED55CX is then ready to be placed on a TV cabinet and plugged in.
It is also possible to mount this LG 4K OLED television on the wall or on a TV stand. In this case, you need to choose a VESA 300×200 compatible model like the NorStone Skye F3770-GC, a tilting model like the Vogel’s Wall 3315, or even a motorized model specially design for OLED TVs like the Vogel’s Next 7356 (read our review of the Vogel’s Next 7356).
Once the TV was in place, we connected it to our wall-mounted antenna socket for DTV reception. We also connected to the Pioneer UDP-LX500 4K UHD Blu-ray player to play 4K Blu-ray discs and an Android media player using two HDMI cables.
LG OLED55CX: let the show begin!
The silhouette and esthetics of the LG OLED55CX are identical to those of its predecessor the LG OLED55C9. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Consequently, the TV has the Picture On Metal design with the OLED display mounted on an aluminum alloy frame. The upper part is extremely slim (only 4mm), while the lower part that houses the electronics and connectors is thicker (47mm). On the front, the frame has very discreet edges with thin black borders that frame the image (Cinema Screen 4 frame).
The Alpine Slim base is back with its dark gray rear part that matches the cover containing the electronics and featuring a cable management system.
The front part of the stand consists of a long aluminum blade with curved edges. Very elegant, it also has an acoustic purpose as it helps direct the sound towards the viewers.
The reflections on the screen, like those on the previous model, are probably what bothered us most with the LG OLED55CX TV. In our south-facing living room with its two large French windows, it was impossible to not be bothered by these reflections during the day, especially when sitting at the side. Thankfully they were mainly visible in the dark parts of the image and we simply had to draw our drapes (blackout fabric) for them to disappear almost entirely. In the evening, when the room was dark or completely black, the reflections were pretty much non-existent, except for the “light pollution” in the room. Make sure there aren’t any light sources behind the viewers!
It is therefore necessary to carefully consider the placement of this TV as well as the viewing conditions in order to fully benefit from its image quality.
Preset image modes
For several years now, TV manufacturers have offered image modes that are becoming more and more accurate. This is the case for the LG OLED55CX TV, particularly its Cinema mode that appeared to be excellently calibrated based on what we saw with the 4K Ultra HD Spears & Munsil calibration Blu-ray.
With both HDR sources and standard dynamic range sources, the contrast and brightness were perfectly calibrated and the colors were accurate and natural in the Cinema mode.
The Standard mode was suitable for TV programs.
Not enough internal memory?
We installed the Plex app on the LG OLED55CX to watch the movies and series stored on our NAS and shared over the local network. Although the app was particularly smooth and perfectly integrated, we encountered some difficulties during playback. We were unable to enjoy our 4K movies through the app. The TV buffer seemed to be either insufficient or poorly handled by the application. Approximately every 10 seconds, the movie would pause and the message “buffering” appeared on the screen. This happened whether the TV was connected to the local network via WiFi or Ethernet cable. Very annoying! However, we didn’t have any problems with 1080p playback.
To watch the 4K HDR movies on our NAS, we abandoned the Plex app installed on the TV to use the version we had installed on the Android media player (Shield TV).
We didn’t encounter any playback issues via USB, with both 1080p and 4K HDR movies. It’s a pity that the integrated USB player doesn’t allow you to index movies and navigate any other way than by folder. However, the biggest drawback is the lack of DTS support in USB mode…
To get an idea of the LG OLED55CX’s HDR performance, we watched some 4K HDR movies stored on our NAS using Plex Media Player.
During the opening scene of Ford v Ferrari, the images of Carroll Shelby speeding around the Le Mans circuit in the middle of the night are exceptional. Here, we can fully appreciate the utility of OLED, which is the only technology to provide true blacks. The LG OLED55CX was therefore able to display the smallest details with excellent contrast in the dark scenes, all while preserving the intensity of the brightest areas (the headlights of the different competitors and the powerful spotlights in the pits during refuelling) without them appearing over-exposed.
The close-ups on Matt Damon’s face were remarkably smooth and realistic, helping us delve into the heart of the race by making us feel the driver’s fatigue and tension.
During the daytime racing scene with Miles behind the wheel of a Shelby, the light of the setting sun on the horizon was exquisitely rendered without affecting the contrast of the image. The colors were nicely saturated and weren’t washed out.
Later on in the movie, when the bakes of the Ford GT40 were overheating during the tests, causing Ken Miles’ (Christain Bale) accident, the qualities of OLED made a difference by offering a stunning contrast between the night sky and the lighting of the track and the glow of the brakes before the explosion of the GT40.
We were also amazed by the incredibly accurate colors throughout James Mangold’s movie as they really did justice to the cinematographer’s wonderful work.
With a 4K HDR Blu-ray of Mad Max: Fury Road, the LG OLED55CX provided an exhilarating cinematic experience. The image was superb with scenes shot outdoors under the blazing sun, but also those that took place in the mesa’s underground tunnels and night-time scenes in the desert. The orange ochres of the desert sand offered subtle nuances, with intense highlights that weren’t overexposed. The excellent contrast of the OLED display provided perfect legibility throughout the underground chase, when Max tries to escape after being tattooed. The LG OLED55CX offered the viewer incredible shades of blue and consistently perfect clarity in the smallest details thanks to its high contrast, even in desert night scenes. It was a real treat.
TV programs & Upscaling
After watching 4K Ultra HD movies on the LG OLED55CX TV, we almost forgot that it had a DTV tuner to watch TV programs.
Naturally, we noticed a decrease in definition compared to 4K and even 1080p sources, but it was far from being catastrophic. By default, the Standard mode ensured good results with rather well-defined and smooth images. The contrast was satisfactory while the colors seemed accurate and nicely saturated without being over the top. The α9 Gen3 artificial intelligence boosted video processor was very effective.
Like all of the 2020 LG OLED TVs, the LG OLED55CX television is optimized for gaming with the ALLM (auto low latency mode) feature, VRR (variable refresh rate) and compatibility with 4K content up to 120Hz over its four HDMI 2.1 inputs. As a result, it is fully equipped to be connected to a Playstation 5, an Xbox One X or even a PC.
While awaiting the release of these two consoles, we connected the TV to a Playstation 4 on which we launched several games, including the Hatsune Miku rhythm game. The result was pretty convincing with perfect reactivity and image synchronization when pressing the different keys on the controller.
The same can be said for Monster Hunter and God of War, which both require precise timing to launch attacks and avoid monster and enemy charges. The LG OLED55CX passed the test with flying colors.
In night time scenes and very dark environments, the excellent contrast management and visibility in low light allowed the player to avoid many traps and attacks, but also to find various objects and hidden passages more easily.
There’s no point beating around the bush: the LG OLED55CX television’s 2.2 channel audio section really impressed us. The progress accomplished by TV manufacturers over the past few years was evident and it wasn’t at all frustrating to watch a movie on this TV without a home theater system. However, this is only if AI Sound and Surround Mode are activated, otherwise the sound will remain flat.
The horizontal spatialization was very effective with very realistic lateral sound effects, as we observed on Mad Max: Fury Road, Alita: Battle Angel and Ford v Ferrari. The sound went far beyond the limits of the screen, which really accentuated the immersion. With the Atmos mode activated, the sound gained pleasant height. It didn’t really seem like the sound was going over our heads, but there was definitely a vertical dimension. Even though it was rather frontal, it did provide a definite advantage.
Lastly, the lows have also made progress, with genuine presence that effectively emphasizes the action during movies. Naturally, the sound remained in the upper bass/midbass range given the size of the drivers, but the result was very good. This is just as well because the LG OLED55CX doesn’t have a subwoofer output.
On the TV, the control panel is limited to a single button located underneath the front panel, at the center. A first press activates the pop-up menu, then each short press switches between the controls, and each long press confirms the selected action. It’s not very practical, but most users use the remote control on a daily basis.
The remote control doesn’t have any new features, as the 2020 Magic Remote is identical to the 2019 model. Radio frequency control (no need to point it at the TV for the command to work), a curved silhouette, and the same pointer and click wheel. The latter two allow you to control the TV intuitively. It is also possible to navigate the LG OLED TV’s interface using the directional keys around the scroll wheel.
The Korean manufacturer could be criticized for still not having added key backlighting to this remote control, which would make it easier to use in the dark. But because the wheel and control circle fall naturally under the thumb when holding the remote in your hand, it probably isn’t necessary.
Like all LG smart TVs, the LG OLED55CX features the proprietary LG WebOS software interface (version 5.0). Still just as smooth and intuitive, it is characterized by the banner that appears at the bottom of the screen without completely hiding the program being watched. This banner is displayed by pressing the Home button on the remote control, displaying the tabs corresponding to a service or application. Simply point and click on a tab using the remote control to launch the service.
WebOS 5.0 also features the extra contextual banner above the main banner, which was introduced with webOS 4.6. It displays additional information about the service you hover over in the main banner. For example, if you place the remote control pointer on Netflix, Prime Video or Rakuten TV, the top banner displays the thumbnails of recent or popular content offered by the service.
The banner that displays the apps and services at the bottom of the screen is customizable, allowing the user to select which tabs to display and in which order.
This is a new feature offered by the Korean manufacturer on its Smart TVs and, consequently, the LG OLED55CX. The Sport Alert feature keeps you informed of upcoming matches for your favorite team(s) and even lets you see the score in real time at the bottom of the screen while watching another program.
This feature is accessible via the webOS menu by clicking on the Sport Alert banner. You can then choose between several different sports (currently baseball, basketball, soccer, American football and ice hockey) and then select the league and team(s) you wish to follow. For each of them, you can activate different alarms to be reminded about the start of a game, to see the score in real time or to be notified of the score at the end of the game.
LG OLED55CX: compared to…
LG OLED65E9: the HDR management and excellent tone mapping work of the LG OLED65E9 were a treat for the eyes. The LG OLED55CX seems even better, with colors that appeared more accurate and natural as well as extraordinary contrast, especially in night scenes. The spatialization of the sound also seemed to be even better.
Sony KD-55A8: the Sony TV is also equipped with the latest LG OLED display with proprietary image processing provided by the Sony X1 Ultimate processor. The LG OLED55CX seemed to be virtually equal to the Sony model, both for colorimetry and contrast and rendering of night scenes. In terms of sound performance, the Sony Acoustic Surface Audio technology is still slightly better than LG’s audio system, notably because voices seem to actually emanate from the screen. That said, the sound produced by the LG OLED55CX didn’t disappoint and actually really impressed us. The horizontal and vertical spatialization of sound effects is excellent.
LG OLED55CX: conclusion
Let’s start with the drawbacks: it’s a real shame that LG still hasn’t done anything to address the problem of the reflections that are present on OLED displays and become annoying during the day. Once you’re immersed in the movie you usually forget about them, but they can still be distracting at times. Naturally, one could disagree with this statement based on the fact that many other TVs have reflections on their screens during the day. While this is true, Samsung has achieved great results (see our review of the Samsung QE55Q90R, which has a very good anti-reflection filter) while at the same time providing very deep blacks for a QLED LCD TV.
It’s a real shame for the LG OLED55CX because the image it provides is magnificent.
Whether it was with 4K HDR or 1080p content, the LG OLED55CX worked wonders. Excellently calibrated, the Cinema image mode provided us with great results during this review. The deep blacks provided by the OLED display, as well as the excellent contrast and impeccable management of high and low lights, ensure a high quality experience. The level of legibility in dark scenes is amazing with perfectly managed shades and colors. When it comes to highlight support for HDR content, despite a lower maximum brightness than QLED TVs, the LG does extremely well and once again provides a nuanced and legible image. In fact, we prefer the image of an OLED TV such as the LG OLED55CX, which is able to subtly explore the darkest areas of the picture and provide nuanced highlights that aren’t blinding or fatiguing over time, unlike some HDR TVs that have a higher peak brightness and don’t offer true blacks.
What we liked
- The richness of 4K HDR images
- The contrast, nuance and details in night scenes
- The natural and nuanced colors
- The excellently calibrated Cinema mode
- The upscaling with artificial intelligence, which was effective without being over the top
- The effective sound spatialization
What we would have liked
- An anti-reflection filter
- HDR10+ compatibility
- Backlighting on the remote control