LG A1 OLED TV Assessment: Nice image on the expense of options


The A1’s comparatively reasonably priced price ticket is a trade-off for lacking options and efficiency shortcomings.

The A1 might be an excellent match for people who covet the characteristically deep black ranges and broad viewing angles of an OLED TV, however who haven’t any want for gaming-centric options aimed on the Xbox Sequence X- or PlayStation 5. The TV’s wonderful distinction is a sight to behold, however its comparatively dim panel will even wrestle to carry up in brightly lit environments. And, if you happen to’re a stickler for shade accuracy, the A1’s blue-tinted out-of-the-box shade might necessitate an expert calibration.

Basically, the LG A1 is barely a terrific TV as a result of it’s an OLED TV. And regardless of being a notably reasonably priced OLED, there are higher TVs on this worth vary for avid gamers or of us with brilliant dwelling areas. Contemplating you will get LG’s C1 OLED—which is each brighter and kitted out with a number of different enhancements—for just a bit more cash, the perfect purchaser for the A1 could also be restricted.

In regards to the LG A1 OLED

The LG A1 OLED TV displaying 4K content in a living room setting

Credit score: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The A1 is out there in 4 sizes, together with this lovely 48-inch mannequin.

LG’s A1 OLED TV sequence is out there in 4 sizes, starting from 48 inches all the best way as much as 77 inches. Our overview unit is a 48-inch mannequin that we bought ourselves. Right here’s how the sequence’ sizes stack up by way of worth:

  • 48-inch (LG OLED48A1PUA), MSRP $1,099.99
  • 55-inch (LG OLED55A1PUA), MSRP $1,199.99
  • 65-inch (LG OLED65A1PUA), MSRP $1,599.99
  • 77-inch (LG OLED77A1PUA), MSRP $2,699.99

Usually, we don’t count on there to be vital variations between varied sizes belonging to the identical sequence, and that is very true for OLED TVs since their panel {hardware} is kind of the identical from one measurement to the subsequent.

Right here’s a rundown of specs shared by every measurement within the A1 sequence:

  • Decision: 4K (3,840 x 2,160)
  • Show sort: OLED
  • HDR help: Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HDR10, HLG
  • Dolby Atmos: Sure (native decoding and over eARC)
  • eARC help: Sure
  • Native refresh fee: 60Hz
  • Good platform: webOS 6.0
  • Shade: DCI-P3 shade house/10-bit chroma decision
  • Variable Refresh Fee (VRR): No
  • Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM): Sure
  • Different options: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple AirPlay 2, Apple HomeKit
A close-up of LG's Magic Remote

Credit score: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The LG Magic Distant gives gesture controls, so customers can level and click on their means via menu choices as in the event that they have been utilizing a Nintendo Wii distant.

Every A1 OLED TV arrives with the most recent iteration of LG’s Magic Distant, which incorporates gesture-based movement controls. If a conventional clicker expertise is what you’re comfy with, you’ll be able to at all times forgo the Magic Distant’s point-and-click performance in favor of its directional pad.

Efficiency knowledge

Earlier than testing every TV, we ensure that the panel is on and receiving a steady sign for a minimum of 24 hours, permitting the pixels loads of time to heat up. Our 48-inch A1 obtained this normal warm-up time earlier than any readings have been taken. As well as, the TV obtained the newest firmware updates on the time of testing.

For SDR checks, we used LG’s “ISF Skilled (Vibrant Room)” image mode. For HDR checks, we opted for LG’s “Cinema House” image mode. We’ve chosen these image modes due to their accuracy, however efficiency might range relying on which image mode is enabled. For instance, you’re more likely to expertise a brighter image with totally different settings enabled, however it might intrude with shade temperature and general shade accuracy.

To get a way for the TV’s common efficiency, we use a regular ANSI checkerboard sample for many of our primary distinction checks. We additionally use white and black home windows starting from 2% to 90% to check how effectively the distinction holds up whereas displaying various levels of brightness.

Our peak brightness measurements are taken with sustained home windows to characterize the TV’s peak brightness over a sustained time frame. Specular highlights (like transient flashes of mirrored gentle) would possibly attain larger brightness ranges, however not for sustained intervals of time.

All of our checks are created with a Murideo Seven 8K sign generator and tabulated by way of Portrait Shows’ Calman Final shade calibration software program. I am going to broaden on our take a look at outcomes all through the overview, however for now, listed here are some key takeaways:

• HDR distinction (brightness/black stage): 217.2 nits/0.001 nits (ANSI checkerboard)
• SDR distinction (brightness/black stage): 211 nits/0.001 nits (ANSI checkerboard)
• HDR peak brightness (sustained): 503.8 nits (2% white window)
• HDR shade gamut protection (DCI-P3/10-bit): 96%
• SDR shade gamut protection (Rec.709): 100%

These checks have been carried out with the A1’s energy-saving settings disabled. As well as, many of the in-depth settings (“Black Stage,” “Auto Dynamic Distinction,” “Noise Discount,” and many others.) have been saved at their default setting for every chosen image mode, and the “Gamma” setting was mounted at “2.2.”

Connectivity

A close-up of the connectivity inputs on the back of the LG A1's panel

Credit score: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

There are three complete HDMI 2.0 ports.

The A1 is outfitted with sufficient connectivity choices for most folk, however A/V fans would possibly discover the choice missing, because the A1 doesn’t provide any HDMI 2.1 inputs—a facet I’ll contact on later within the overview.

Right here’s what you’ll discover in two small cutouts on the again of the panel:

  • 3x HDMI 2.0 (1x eARC)
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • RF connection (cable/antenna)
  • Ethernet (LAN) enter
  • Digital audio output (optical)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

What we like

Terrific distinction regardless of a comparatively dim image

The LG A1 OLED TV displaying 4K content in a living room setting

Credit score: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Being an OLED, the LG A1 is able to excellent black ranges.

The principle advantage of OLED show expertise isn’t its potential to get brilliant, however slightly, its potential to get darkish. Whereas most TVs depend on LED backlighting in an effort to illuminate the show’s pixels, OLED TVs are self-illuminating, which means every particular person pixel can totally modify its illumination independently of the others. The outcomes are picture-perfect black ranges (0.001 nits) and pixel-level distinction management, which not solely seems superior but additionally improves nearly each different facet of efficiency, from shade manufacturing to display uniformity.

This spectacular tech is the explanation the LG A1 seems phenomenal it doesn’t matter what you occur to be watching—although HDR content material stands out specifically. It’s an image free from gentle bloom (current when LED TVs’ backlight components are seen after they shouldn’t be), with completely rendered shadow gradation and an immense quantity of element.

When seen side-by-side with an LCD/LED TV, the advantages of OLED TVs are unmistakable. However whereas top-of-the-line LED TVs can’t fairly match an OLED TV’s shadow depth, OLED TVs aren’t but in a position to match the sheer brightness of a premium LED or QLED TV (extra on this later).

Nonetheless, until you’ve acquired a very well-lit dwelling house, you don’t essentially want the blazing brightness of a high-end LED TV just like the Samsung QN90A or the Hisense U8G. As well as, if you happen to’re the kind of one that prefers to dim the lights throughout film evening, the LG A1 is a superb match—the unimaginable distinction makes for an image that pops in the dead of night.

Razor-thin design that’s quintessentially OLED

A close-up of the LG A1's ultra-thin OLED panel

Credit score: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The panel itself is about as skinny as an iPhone.

As talked about above, OLEDs do not have backlights and their self-lighting pixels make for superior image high quality—however additionally they make for some super-thin TVs. No backlight means there’s rather a lot much less tech to slot in the show. The A1 is as skinny as an iPhone from the aspect, solely gaining bulk across the midsection to accommodate for internals. It’s a design component that’s certain to show heads.

If there’s one factor concerning the A1’s feel and look that’s a bit disappointing, it’s the TV’s stand design. I’m used to seeing OLED TVs with stands that give off a considerably quirky air of sophistication, however the A1 is caught with a decidedly garden-variety stand design: two boomerang-shaped toes that raise the panel from out in direction of the corners. It’s a well-known look if you happen to’ve seen nearly any new TV in the previous couple of years.

The LG A1 displaying Netflix's home screen

Credit score: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Like most up to date TVs, the LG A1 sits atop two wide-set, boomerang formed toes.

Regardless of LG punting on this facet of the design, the A1 is bound to look good in nearly each room, whatever the room’s aesthetic. Because of its slender profile and ultra-slim panel, it’ll look particularly pleasing from a wall-mounted place.

A number of the widest viewing angles within the sport

If world-class distinction and a wildly skinny panel weren’t sufficient to get you on the OLED bandwagon, take into account this: OLED TVs function the widest viewing angles cash should buy proper now.

The LG A1 is sort of accommodating for group viewings for that reason. Even if you happen to occur to be sitting at an off-angle place—say, two to 4 toes away from a head-on seat—the image retains its spectacular distinction and there’s no shade shifting to talk of. That is not the case for almost all of LED TVs, whose image high quality tends to degrade (generally drastically) throughout off-angle viewing.

The LG A1 OLED TV displaying 4K content in a living room setting

Credit score: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

OLED TVs provide a number of the widest viewing angles you’ll be able to at the moment get. Even if you happen to sit a couple of toes away from a direct viewing angle, the image holds up.

A TV’s viewing angles are essential it doesn’t matter what measurement you’re purchasing for, however they’re particularly essential if you happen to’re out there for something 65 inches or above. Relating to viewing angle reliability, the 77-inch A1 is among the many greatest in its measurement bracket because of the character of OLED shows. It’ll be a terrific match for group viewings.

A sensible platform that will get the job finished

The LG A1 displaying the webOS smart platform home screen

Credit score: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

webOS is not our favourite good platform going proper now, but it surely gives loads of software program flexibility and it is typically simple to make use of.

Though LG’s webOS isn’t at the moment my favourite good platform (that honor goes to Roku), it’s nonetheless an excellent companion to have alongside for the journey because of its flexibility and primary navigational expertise.

Whereas older variations of webOS principally remoted its consumer interface to a bubbly menu on the underside third of the display, this new iteration gives a extra conventional strategy: a house display with customizable app icons, the TV’s enter choice, and sure—a bunch of sponsored content material. Luckily, it by no means appears like I’m drowning in sponsored content material whereas utilizing webOS (although I’d admire a option to restrict my publicity).

If there’s something you’re lacking out of the field, LG’s app retailer gives loads of content material.

If there’s something you’re lacking out of the field, LG’s app retailer gives loads of content material, and there’s an excellent probability that the app you’re searching for is there. The software program itself hustles alongside with none lag time, too, which works a great distance in making the general expertise a pleasing one.

When you’d slightly not depend on webOS, you may at all times pair the A1 with a devoted streaming machine, however if you happen to’re not significantly fussy about your good TV expertise, LG’s software program is versatile and pleasant sufficient to do the job every day.

What we don’t like

Dimmer than most TVs in its worth vary

The LG A1 OLED TV displaying 4K content in a living room setting

Credit score: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The A1 incorporates a dim panel in comparison with different TVs in its worth vary and in comparison with different, pricier OLED TVs.

OLED shows nonetheless lag behind conventional LED shows in the case of brightness, and the distinction is particularly stark when the LED TV in query is within the A1’s worth vary. At its brightest in HDR, the A1 is able to a bit of over 500 nits. Nonetheless, an upper-tier LED TV with the same price ticket—one thing just like the Hisense U8G or the Vizio P-Sequence Quantum—would possibly provide peak brightness ranges of between 900 and a pair of,000 nits, relying on the content material.

The A1 can be dimmer than many of the OLED TVs at the moment occupying the identical retailer cabinets. The LG G1 and Sony A90J, whereas an order of magnitude dearer than the A1, provide HDR brightness within the 700- to 800-nit vary. The LG C1 is barely marginally dearer than the A1 however nonetheless pushes its panel to 700-750 nits throughout HDR.

The A1 is dimmer than many of the OLED TVs at the moment occupied on the identical retailer cabinets.

And if you happen to actually need to dive deep, final yr’s Vizio OLED, which continues to be obtainable for roughly the identical worth because the LG A1, is a hair brighter than the A1 throughout HDR (we clocked Vizio’s OLED at round 500 to 600 nits).

Make no mistake: Thanks partially to the A1’s excellent black ranges, it’ll certainly look unbelievable in most conditions, significantly when the viewing atmosphere is dimly lit or fully darkish. However if you happen to’ve already dedicated your self to spending A1-level cash on a TV and your front room will get a good quantity of sunshine, you might discover {that a} brighter OLED—one thing just like the LG C1—is price the additional dough. Alternatively, an LED TV on this worth bracket will ship a a lot brighter expertise.

Out-of-the-box shade wants calibrating

The LG A1 OLED TV displaying 4K content in a living room setting

Credit score: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Whereas the A1’s shade manufacturing is sort of spectacular, its out-of-the-box calibration tends to emphasise blue. Knowledgeable calibration will go a great distance in correcting these shade factors.

The LG A1 is bursting with wealthy, well-saturated colours. It gives 100% protection of the SDR shade gamut (Rec.709) and covers about 97% of the broader HDR gamut (DCI-P3), and to the bare eye, greens and reds pop about as a lot as they do on an LED TV enriched with quantum dots, sometimes called “QLED.” Sadly, the A1’s out-of-the-box shade is pushing blue one thing fierce—even on its most correct, pre-calibrated image modes.

I think about most folk received’t discover the TV’s penchant for blue hues, significantly in the event that they spend most of their time utilizing one of many A1’s brighter, extra vivid image modes. To my eye, the cooler coloration was most noticeable throughout darker scenes, the place darkish grey shadows, materials, and set dressings seem to have a blue tinge. The impact was considerably worse throughout HDR content material, and testing solely confirmed the story my eyes have been telling me: the TV’s white level is skewed considerably towards blue, which has a cascading impact on the remainder of the grayscale.

That stated, my job includes gazing—and infrequently over-analyzing—a number of TVs per 30 days. So, because the saying goes, your mileage might range.

The TV’s white level is skewed considerably in direction of blue.

Nonetheless, I do suspect {that a} vital quantity of buyers out there for an OLED would possibly discover (and care about) such a difficulty. In spite of everything, if you happen to’re aware of high-end show tech, there’s an excellent probability you’re anticipating an OLED TV—even one on the reasonably priced finish of the spectrum—to easily hit its marks nearer proper out of the field. Heck, I anticipated it.

You possibly can at all times pay an expert to have your A1 calibrated, which might go a great distance towards getting these cooler tones in examine. At that fee, nevertheless, you start to spend the cash you thought you have been saving by buying one of the crucial reasonably priced OLED TVs available on the market.

It’s additionally price mentioning that this type of blue push is commonly the results of attempting to eke as a lot brightness out of a panel as attainable. This might imply that, have been its shade balanced out throughout calibration, the already-dim A1 may be even dimmer.

Occasional movement judder

Whereas most OLED TVs come outfitted with a local refresh fee of 120Hz (which permits for playback at 120 frames per second, relying on decision), the LG A1 is locked in at 60Hz. Not solely does this imply native 120fps content material is out of the query, it additionally hampers the A1’s potential to show comparatively judder-free movement throughout sure movie content material.

Along with some normal motion-related take a look at patterns, one of many movement checks I administer to many of the TVs I overview nowadays includes the opening title sequence of Our Planet on Netflix. The sequence depicts Earth quickly spinning, its landmasses shifting out of darkness into the sunshine of day. At its greatest—on a 120Hz TV with top-of-the-line movement dealing with—this scene carries alongside easily, because the picture is processed in such a means that limits judder and smearing. When a TV struggles to show movement easily, the globe—and its continents—seem to stutter.

The A1 isn’t outfitted to cope with fast-paced visible data as successfully as different OLED TVs.

That is exactly what I observed when watching the title sequence unfold on the LG A1. From there, sweeping monitoring pictures throughout the episode solely served to strengthen the difficulty. The A1 simply isn’t outfitted to cope with fast-paced visible data as successfully as a number of the pricier OLED TVs we’ve examined this yr, together with the LG C1, the Sony A90J, and the LG G1.

The A1 gives a number of onboard movement enhancements that may be tinkered with to your liking. “Cinema Display screen” limits judder throughout cinematic content material (24fps), whereas the “De-Blur” and “De-Judder” sliders will be tweaked on an incremental foundation, must you favor movement interpolation customization over a preset. That stated, these settings aren’t a magic wand, and should introduce movement results that you just would possibly discover to be extra distracting than the judder itself.

Lacks essential next-gen gaming options

A close-up of the LG A1's connectivity inputs

Credit score: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The LG A1 lacks HDMI 2.1 ports and doesn’t help 4K gaming at 120fps, nor does it help Variable Refresh Fee (VRR).

Because of the limitations of the A1’s {hardware} (and its lack of HDMI 2.1), 4K gaming at 120fps is out of the query. And though the A1 helps Auto Low Latency Mode (a function that routinely optimizes the TV’s settings for gaming each time a console is detected), it doesn’t help Variable Refresh Fee (VRR). VRR is a sought-after function amongst avid gamers as a result of it ensures that the frames on the TV are correctly synchronized with regardless of the console is outputting, successfully eliminating display tears throughout gameplay.

When you personal (or plan on proudly owning) a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Sequence X, it’s price asking your self if it makes extra sense to spend money on a TV that helps options like 4K gaming at 120fps and VRR. In spite of everything, this superior stage of gaming is exactly what these next-gen consoles are all about, and in the event that they’re essential to you, you would possibly come to remorse not having them in your again pocket for a number of years to return.

Must you purchase it?

Perhaps—however provided that you fall into a really particular class of customer

The LG A1 displaying Netflix's home screen

Credit score: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The LG A1 is an effective match for people who do not thoughts lacking out on next-gen gaming options and do not plan on placing their new TV in a brightly lit atmosphere.

It’s arduous to not be impressed with the LG A1’s image; one look at an OLED TV’s ultra-deep black ranges and terrific uniformity is sufficient to cease videophiles of their tracks. However the story doesn’t cease there, and until you meet a selected standards, there are higher choices on the market to discover.

If OLED efficiency is what you crave and also you’re not an avid gamer, the A1 is an effective compromise, because it principally delivers the form of image high quality we’ve come to count on from an OLED TV for lower than these TVs usually value. Simply keep in mind that the A1’s image is dimmer than most TVs on this worth vary, and its out-of-the-box shade calibration falls wanting higher-end OLEDs.

If all you want is an OLED show for the bottom attainable worth, the A1 delivers simply that.

When you’re planning on getting a ton of mileage out of next-gen consoles for the foreseeable future, or if you happen to simply have a extremely brilliant dwelling atmosphere, the A1 most likely isn’t your greatest guess. The LG C1, our Greatest TV of the yr at time of publication, comes outfitted with all the next-gen gaming options you’ll want—and it will get considerably brighter than the A1. For an excellent brighter expertise, the Hisense U8G and Vizio P-Sequence Quantum are equally priced to the A1, and can maintain their very own in brilliant rooms higher. Plus, they’re a a lot better match for avid gamers.

If all you need is an OLED show for the bottom attainable worth, the A1 delivers simply that. However its limitations—particularly, its lack of gaming options, the dim image, and its oft troublesome movement dealing with—can all be addressed by spending extra on a greater OLED or shopping for a equally priced LED TV. The A1 is an effective TV, but it surely’s greatest suited to a really slender slice of the TV-shopping crowd.

Meet the tester

Michael Desjardin

Michael Desjardin

Senior Employees Author


@Reviewed

Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson School after having studied media manufacturing and screenwriting. He makes a speciality of tech for Reviewed, but additionally loves movie criticism, bizarre ambient music, cooking, and meals typically.

See all of Michael Desjardin’s critiques

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