Nintendo’s new Switch OLED promises a bigger and better screen – here’s how it compares to the standard Switch and Switch Lite

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Image of Nintendo's new Switch OLED in white being placed into dock
The Nintendo Switch OLED features an improved screen.

  • Nintendo’s new Switch OLED console has slimmer bezels and a bigger screen with better contrast.
  • It still offers the same 720p screen resolution and 1080p TV output as the previous model, however.
  • The Nintendo Switch OLED will launch on October 8 for $350 -that’s $50 more than the standard model.

Nintendo Switch (small)Switch Lite (small)

Nintendo announced its new Switch OLED console on July 6. The new model costs $350 and will be available to buy on October 8. The Switch OLED will join the previously released standard Switch ($300) and the Switch Lite ($200).

The upgrades on the Nintendo Switch OLED are mainly focused on its built-in screen. The new model has a larger display that uses OLED technology rather than LCD. OLED screens offer better contrast than LCD displays thanks to self-illuminating pixels that enable true black levels. OLEDs are also capable of better viewing angles than most LCDs.

Apart from the screen, the new Nintendo Switch OLED comes with a slight design refresh for the console itself, including slimmer bezels and a wider stand that is now adjustable. Nintendo also said the new Switch OLED comes with improved audio and 64GB of built-in storage compared to the 32GB in the standard Switch and Switch Lite.

The new Nintendo Switch dock, which comes included with the Switch OLED, also looks sleeker with more rounded corners and a white color option, and it includes an Ethernet port. Nintendo also touted white JoyCon controllers, but the controllers themselves are otherwise identical to the original. There’s no information as of yet whether Nintendo addressed the widely reported joystick drifting issues.

On the downside, the Nintendo Switch OLED is missing some key hardware improvements that many buyers were expecting. Namely, video resolution in TV mode is still capped at 1080p rather than the expected, sharper 4K resolution. Nintendo hasn’t added Bluetooth connectivity for wireless headphones, either. Under the hood, the chip used in the OLED model is the same NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor used in the standard Switch and Switch Lite.

Below, we’ve put together a full comparison of key specifications for every Nintendo Switch model.

Nintendo Switch OLED vs. Switch vs. Switch Lite specifications

Nintendo Switch OLED Nintendo Switch Nintendo Switch Lite
Price: $350 $300 $200
Screen: 7-inch OLED, 720p 6.2-inch LCD, 720p 5.5-inch LCD, 720p
TV video output: 1080p 1080p No TV output
Storage: 64GB, expandable up to 2TB with microSDHC or microSDXC cards 32GB, expandable up to 2TB with microSDHC or microSDXC cards 32GB, expandable up to 2TB with microSDHC or microSDXC cards
Connectivity: Wi-Fi AC, Bluetooth 4.1 for controllers W-Fi AC, Bluetooth 4.1 for controllers Wi-Fi AC, Bluetooth 4.1 for controllers
Bluetooth Audio: None None None
Speakers: Front-facing stereo Front-facing stereo Bottom-facing stereo
Battery: 4,310mAh; 4.5 to nine hours; three hours charging time 4,310mAh; 4.5 to nine hours; three hours charging time 3,570mAh; three to seven hours; three hours charging time
Ports on console: USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
Ports on dock: 2X USB 2.0, HDMI, Ethernet, AC power port 2X USB 2.0, HDMI, AC power port Not compatible with dock
Size: 4 x 9.5 x 0.55 inches with JoyCon controllers attached 4 x 9.4 x 0.55 inches with JoyCon controllers attached 3.6 x 8.2 x 0.55 inches
Weight: 0.93 lbs with JoyCon controllers attached 0.88 lbs with JoyCon controllers attached 0.61 lbs with JoyCon controllers attached

Nintendo Switch (small)Switch Lite (small)

For more Nintendo Switch and gaming coverage check out our buying guides and deals roundups below:

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Nintendo just announced a new $350 Switch with a fancy new screen, but you probably don’t need it

Nintendo Switch (OLED model) that's expected to launch in October 2021.
The 2021 Nintendo Switch “OLED Model” was announced on July 6, 2021. It’s scheduled to launch on October 8 for $350.

  • Nintendo just announced a new, more expensive, slightly upgraded Nintendo Switch model.
  • Whether or not you already own a Switch, there aren’t a lot of good reasons to get this one.
  • Its main feature is a larger, higher-quality screen. It’s otherwise nearly identical to existing models.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

After years of speculation about a more powerful, upgraded Nintendo Switch model, Nintendo announced the “Nintendo Switch OLED Model” on Tuesday morning.

It’s got a bigger screen from previous models that uses OLED display technology, and it’s got a higher price tag to match: $350 for the new OLED model compared to $300 for the original Nintendo Switch.

Beyond the bigger, better screen, the “new” model is almost identical to the original Nintendo Switch that launched in March 2017.

It runs games at the same resolution and frame speed because it’s powered by the same processor and has the same amount of RAM that’s in the other Switch models. The same Joy-Con controllers that attach to the original Switch attach to this new model, and the new Dock even functions as a replacement for the original.

There are a few other subtle physical changes: a larger rear kickstand, a slight overall increase in weight, and a few design changes to the Dock.

Some Nintendo fans balked at the news.

“Finally, a Nintendo Switch that’s basically the same as the old Nintendo Switch,” one said. “New Nintendo Switch upgrade is a lot worse than expected. Zero performance upgrades?” said another.

That reaction is due at least in part to persistent rumors that the new Nintendo Switch model would have the ability to produce games at a 4K resolution. Nintendo is notoriously low-tech compared to its competitors in the console gaming market, like Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, and the Switch isn’t capable of producing now industry-standard 4K visuals.

With the Nintendo Switch OLED Model, that isn’t changing – it’s still only capable of producing 1080p resolution games at best.

Since games will run the same, the only reason to upgrade to this new model is if you’re a dedicated handheld gamer – and even then, there are still plenty of strong arguments for buying the $200 Nintendo Switch Lite instead. It’s nearly half the price, and built specifically for handheld gaming!

Unfortunately, waiting for a price cut on the now over four-year-old original Nintendo Switch is a fool’s errand. When asked if there will be a price drop for the original Switch, which still costs the same $300 it did in April 2017, a Nintendo representative said, “No. The price of the Nintendo Switch Lite and Nintendo Switch systems remains the same.”

The representative added that “consumers can pick the model that best fits the lifestyle and gaming experience they desire, and that fits within their budget. In the US, the Nintendo Switch Lite system is the lowest-priced model at $199.99, followed by the Nintendo Switch system at $299.99, and now we have Nintendo Switch system (OLED model) at $349.99.”

But there’s good news: If you already own a Nintendo Switch, you almost certainly don’t need this new model. And if you don’t own a Nintendo Switch, you probably don’t need this new model either.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (, or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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Nintendo just unveiled a new $350 Nintendo Switch model featuring a larger OLED screen

All three Nintendo Switch models, including the new OLED model.
The new Nintendo Switch, which is known as the “OLED model,” alongside the original Switch (left) and Switch Lite.

  • Nintendo has a new, upgraded, more expensive model of the Nintendo Switch in the works.
  • The new Nintendo Switch has a larger screen that uses OLED technology.
  • Nintendo’s pricing the new Switch at $350, and it’s scheduled to launch on October 8.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Nintendo has a new Switch model with a higher quality, larger screen, and it’s expected to launch this October, the Japanese gaming powerhouse announced on Monday morning.

The new Nintendo Switch console, which is simply known as “Nintendo Switch OLED Model,” costs $350 and is scheduled to launch on October 8.

There is one key difference between the new Switch console and the original console that launched in March 2017: Its screen uses OLED technology and is physically larger than the previous model at 7 inches (the original screen was just 6.2 inches).

A handful of small tweaks to the original form factor are also part of the new Switch, from a larger rear kickstand to a built-in ethernet port on the console’s dock. There are also some clear design changes, particularly to the console dock which now has more rounded edges. Internally, the new Switch has more storage (64 GB) and features “enhanced audio” via two front-facing speakers.

Despite previous rumors stating that the new Nintendo Switch model would be able to produce 4K visuals while docked, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Nintendo showcased all the differences between the original Switch and the latest model in an announcement video:

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (, or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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The best 4K TVs in 2021 for sharp, colorful images and reliable streaming

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • 4K TVs are available at many price points and performance levels.
  • The best 4K TVs balance picture and smart features for stunning images and reliable streaming.
  • With its sharp OLED panel and next-gen gaming support, LG’s CX is our pick for best 4K TV overall.

4K Ultra HD (UHD) TVs have become the norm for any buyer looking to purchase a new display in 2021. However, while all 4K TVs offer a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, picture quality and smart connectivity can vary wildly between different models.

Some 4K TVs include advanced high dynamic range (HDR) for enhanced contrast and colors. Certain LCD models are able to achieve higher brightness than others, which makes them a better fit for rooms with a lot of ambient light. Other displays use OLED panels for perfect black levels that make their images pop when watching movies in a dark home theater.

Of course, picture quality is far from the only factor you should consider when buying a new display. Smart TV functionality, app selection, voice assistant support, and overall design can all make or break a 4K TV purchase. After all, what’s the point of a pretty picture if you can’t easily navigate through the TV’s menus to actually watch something?

With those factors in mind, we’ve selected the best 4K TVs on the market based on hands-on testing with a variety of models. Our picks represent a range of price points, but each of the displays we’ve selected is good enough to offer capable HDR playback and streaming app support. Since 65 inches is the standard flagship size for manufacturers, all of our selections fall into that category. That said, many of the models listed below are also available in smaller and larger sizes.

Here are the best 4K TVs you can buy:

The best 4K TV overall


The LG CX OLED presents the best balance between picture performance, smart connectivity, design, and value of any 4K TV you can buy. 

Pros: OLED panel with infinite contrast, HDMI 2.1 ports, voice remote, several sizes to choose from

Cons: Can’t get as bright as an LCD TV, HBO Max app is missing, a little pricey

When it comes to balancing stunning picture performance and reliable smart features, the CX is the best 4K TV you can buy. Though LG released a 2021 successor to the CX, called the C1, the CX remains a better value since it costs less and offers very similar specs. 

Unlike LCD TVs, including those branded as LED and QLED, the CX provides pixel-level contrast thanks to its OLED panel. This enables perfect black levels and precise highlights, which makes this an ideal TV for people who love to watch movies in a dark room. 4K HDR Blu-ray discs and streaming titles are especially stunning on this set, fully showing off what high dynamic range is all about.

Peak brightness is also solid for an OLED panel, with a max of around 700 to 800 nits. That should be more than enough for most living rooms, but buyers who watch TV with a ton of sunlight creeping into the room may need to opt for a brighter LCD model. 

The CX is also a great fit for video games, including next-gen consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X. The panel offers low input lag and supports Variable Refresh Rate, Nvidia G-Sync, and 120Hz high frame rate. Gaming performance is so strong we actually think the 48-inch model is a perfect alternative to a traditional monitor.

When it comes to smart TV features, the TV uses LG’s webOS and ThinQ platforms for robust streaming app support and voice control. The magic remote also features a unique pointer function which allows you to navigate through menus with a virtual cursor you aim at the screen.

The best budget 4K TV

Vizio P Series Quantum 2021

With performance that rivals more expensive sets from the competition, the affordable Vizio P-Series Quantum is the best 4K TV in its price range.

Pros: Full-array local dimming with 200 zones, quantum dot color technology, 120Hz panel, HDMI 2.1 ports, competitive pricing

Cons: On-screen app selection is limited, no voice remote, viewing angles are mediocre, some software glitches 

The Vizio P-Series Quantum manages to pack in a lot of the same features you’d find on pricier TVs, but for less. There are some trade-offs, but if you want solid 4K HDR and streaming performance without breaking the bank, the P-Series Quantum is one of the best options out there.

While you won’t get OLED-quality contrast, the P-Series Quantum’s LCD panel does feature full-array local dimming. This tech enables the TV to dim and brighten in specific zones across the screen. As a result, the display can produce better black levels and more precise highlights than LCDs without dimming. Max brightness can hit 1,100 nits, which is fantastic for a display in this price range. HDR support is extensive as well, and the TV’s quantum dot technology enables a full spectrum of colors. 

HDMI 2.1 ports and a 120Hz panel make the P-Series Quantum a good choice for gamers. That said, I did encounter some HDMI glitches early on, but these signal problems have been mostly corrected through firmware updates. The display is compatible with separate Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices as well, but the TV’s included remote does not feature a microphone for integrated voice control.  

On the downside, like a lot of LCD TVs, viewing angles aren’t great. This means colors and contrast get washed out when you sit off to the side. And, while improvements have been made, Vizio’s SmartCast OS is still a bit lacking compared to other platforms. You can cast plenty of apps to the display from a mobile device, but the on-screen selection is currently limited. 

The best QLED 4K TV

Samsung Q90T 4K TV

Samsung’s Q90T offers some of the best overall picture of any 4K TV model. 

Pros: Bright screen with HDR10+ support, full-array local dimming, quantum dot color, wider viewing angles than typical LCDs, voice remote, HDMI 2.1

Cons: Lacks Dolby Vision support, contrast can’t quite match an OLED   

Though brands like Vizio, TCL, and Hisense have done a great job bringing quantum dot color technology to their value-priced TV models, Samsung’s Q90T QLED TV remains a good buy for enthusiasts thanks to some key performance and style perks.     

The TV features full-array local dimming for deep blacks and impressive HDR contrast thanks to its bright panel. The display can hit a peak of around 1,400 nits when in Filmmaker Mode (the most accurate). This allows the brightest highlights to really shine in ways they can’t on TVs with lower specs.  

Samsung’s display also makes use of a special filter combined with unique light output techniques to enable wider viewing angles than most competing QLED sets. As a result, the Q90T has some of the best viewing angles I’ve seen on a TV of this type. Buyers who can’t sit right in front of the display shouldn’t worry too much about distorted colors. 

Voice control is enabled via the included remote and you can choose between Samsung’s Bixby, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant. Samsung’s Smart Hub platform, powered by the Tizen OS, provides responsive navigation with on-screen support for a big selection of apps.

One HDMI 2.1 port is included as well, enabling next-gen gaming features when hooked up to a PS5, Xbox Series X, or compatible PC. 

It should be noted, however, that Samsung recently released the 2021 successor to the Q90T, dubbed the QN90A Neo QLED 4K TV. The new model uses mini LED technology which could improve contrast and black level performance. That said, it costs quite a bit more than the Q90T. We’ll be testing the 2021 model soon for consideration in our guide.

The best high-end 4K TV

Sony A80J OLED 4K TV on a TV stand.

Sony’s A80J is the premium TV champ when it comes to image accuracy, but it’s a bit pricey.

Pros: OLED panel with infinite contrast, advanced processing for superior image accuracy, acoustic surface audio technology, HDMI 2.1

Cons: Can’t get as bright as LCD TVs, no VRR support yet (coming in future firmware)

Sony’s brand-new A80J OLED (2021) serves as the successor to its highly rated A8H (2020). Though most people will be satisfied with the older model, both TVs are currently available for the same price and the A80J features a few key upgrades that help it clinch this spot.

Most notably, the new 2021 model adds HDMI 2.1 ports, enabling next-gen gaming features like 4K/120Hz. It also uses Sony’s new image tech which relies on cognitive processing to cross-analyze picture elements at the same time rather than individually. It’s hard to say how big of an improvement this upgrade makes without a side-by-side comparison with the A8H, but the A80J certainly looks stunning in person.

During annual TV competitions, Sony’s OLEDs consistently come the closest to matching the look of professional broadcast monitors and we expect the A80J to be no different. This means, when calibrated, the A80J has the potential to present movies closer to how directors intend for them to look than most competing displays.

Unlike traditional TVs, the A80J also features a unique audio system with acoustic surface technology. Instead of typical speakers, this process uses actuators behind the panel to create sound from the screen itself. This allows dialogue to sound as if it’s truly coming from the mouths of people on screen. 

The A80J is also one of the first TVs to launch with the new Google TV platform rather than the older Android TV system. The new interface has a stylish look and emphasizes content rather than apps. It works well, but I’ve run into a few glitches here and there that forced me to reboot the display. Google TV has a lot of potential but some kinks still need to be worked out via firmware updates. 

The best deals on 4K TVs from this guide

Every week we see discounts on dozens of TVs, however, it can be difficult to know what you’re buying. There are hundreds of options floating around and some retailers offer different models, which makes it hard to compare. As you might expect, the best time to buy a TV is during events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day. If you can hold out for one of these sales, you might be able to snag one of our TV picks for over $100 less. 

Below, we’ve gathered the best deals we found on the sets we actually recommend, so you’ll be absolutely sure that you’ll get a great value.

Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

What to look for in a 4K TV

The best OLED TVs LG CX

There are some key specifications that you should look for when choosing which TV is the best fit for your needs.

HDR support

If you’re buying a new display with image performance as a top priority, you’ll want to make note of a TV’s high-dynamic-range (HDR) capabilities. Even more so than resolution, HDR has become the defining factor for picture quality in modern TVs. This feature allows a TV to offer enhanced contrast and colors when playing specially graded HDR shows and movies on many streaming apps and 4K Blu-ray discs.

There are a few competing HDR formats, including HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision. HDR10 is the default and it’s supported on all HDR TVs. Dolby Vision and HDR10+ offer more advanced capabilities, but Dolby Vision content is more common than HDR10+. 


Brightness capabilities (measured in nits), black levels, contrast ratio, color gamut, and viewing angles are all major factors that help contribute to a TV’s overall picture performance. Panel type then plays a large role in determining how well a display can handle all of these elements. 

There are currently two main types of 4K TV panels: OLED and LCD (the latter is often branded as QLED or LED). Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. OLEDs excel at black levels, contrast, and viewing angles. LCDs excel at brightness, which can make them better for rooms that let in a lot of light. LCD models also tend to be less expensive than OLED models and they present no risk for burn-in

HDMI 2.1 ports

HDMI 2.1 support is another feature that buyers should keep in mind. The latest HDMI spec enables next-gen gaming features like 4K/120Hz and VRR, which could be important for people who plan to buy a PS5 or Xbox Series X.  

Smart TV features

Smart TV connectivity is essential as well, and each manufacturer either uses their own specific operating system or a third-party system like Roku TV, Google TV, or Fire TV. All of these platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to app selection and performance, but most will get the job done just fine for basic streaming needs. 

If you’re unhappy with your TV’s built-in system, we recommend buying a separate streaming stick or box. These devices typically offer the best streaming app support, and entry-level models with 4K playback are frequently on sale from Roku for as little as $30.

Check out our other TV buying guides

VIZIO M Series Quantum

The best cheap TVs

Though flagship TVs can get pricey, there are plenty of budget-friendly displays out there with solid performance. There are even models with genuine HDR support for surprisingly affordable prices. 

The best OLED TVs

OLED TVs offer some key performance benefits compared to traditional LCD displays, including better black levels and uniformity. While all OLED TVs tend to be very similar when it comes to picture quality, certain models feature premium design upgrades that make them a bit more expensive.

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LG’s 48-inch OLED TV is a high-end home theater display and gaming monitor in one stunning package

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LG CX Gaming
  • LG’s CX is our top OLED TV pick thanks to its gorgeous display and forward-looking features.
  • The 48-inch model makes the most of OLED tech and can serve as a living room TV or gaming monitor.
  • A new 2021 C1 OLED is set for release this year, but we think the CX will remain a better value.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky48-inch CX OLED 4K TV (small)

The LG CX is our pick for the best OLED TV you can buy, combining the sharp, vivid colors and infinite contrast ratio of OLED display technology with LG’s fastest TV processor.

The 48-inch review unit we received is the smallest OLED TV on the market, with prices starting at $1,500 and dipping to $1,200 during sales. LG’s CX is also available in 55-, 65-, and 77-inch models, with base retail pricing going up to $5,000 ($3,500 on sale) for the largest size.

While the LG CX OLED is significantly more expensive than many 4K LED TVs of the same size, the difference in picture quality is immediately noticeable due to the OLED panel’s self-illuminating pixels. Because each pixel on an OLED display can be lit individually, black portions of the screen will remain pitch black during dark scenes, avoiding the cloudy grey “halo” effect that occurs on a back-lit LED TV. The infinite contrast ratio also helps enhance high dynamic range (HDR) formats like HDR10 and Dolby Vision, which have become the new standard for streaming shows and video games.

Along with being our top rated OLED TV, the LG CX has also built a reputation as an impressive gaming monitor. LG’s CX boasts a native 120Hz refresh rate and HDMI 2.1 ports, allowing PCs and next-gen consoles, like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, to run at a faster frame rate. This leads to smoother looking gameplay when compared to older TV models that are limited to 60Hz. Of course, with sizes starting at 48 inches, the LG CX demands much more space than a typical monitor.

After spending more than two months using the LG CX for everyday viewing, I can feel confident saying that this OLED TV is the best pick for most households, whether you’re looking for a family TV, a home theater display, or a personal gaming setup. So long as you can afford the premium price tag, the LG CX OLED will leave you thoroughly impressed.

LG CX OLED TV specifications

LG CX Inputs
A view of the LG CX’s rear and side ports.

LG 48-nch CX OLED 4K TV Specifications
Screen 48-inch OLED panel
Dimensions with stand 42.2 x 25.6 x 9.9 inches
Weight with stand 41.7 pounds (32.8 pounds without stand)
Resolution 4K Ultra HD 3,840 x 2,160 
Refresh rate 120Hz with support for VRR, Nvidia G-sync, and AMD FreeSync
HDR Formats HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, HGiG
Ports 4x HDMI 2.1 ports, 3x USB 2.0 ports, 1x AV input
Audio 2.2ch speakers, 40W with 20W woofer
Connectivity Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay2, Bluetooth 5.0
Smart TV platform LG webOS
Remote LG magic remote with voice controls
Digital Assistants Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatible

Setup and design

LG CX OLED side view
The LG CX OLED panel is razor thin.

While the 48-inch LG CX is small enough for one person to carry, you’ll definitely want a second set of hands to gently unpack the 33-pound screen and get it mounted on the stand’s wide base. The base is easily secured with the included screws, or you can opt for a VESA wall mount.

The razor thin bezel around the outside of the OLED screen gives the LG CX a distinct look that’s more comparable to a sleek smartphone display than a boxed in TV screen. This helps the OLED screen’s striking blacks stick out even more when watching letterbox films, since the black bars create a distinct border pushing against the edges of the screen.

Though slim, the width of the base gives the LG CX a sturdier foundation than some of LG’s cheaper LED models, which use small plastic feet on the left and right of the screen. The rear of the LG CX base also contains a cable management compartment, making it easier to hide whatever wires you need to run to the TV.

Most of the LG CX’s inputs are accessible from the left of the TV, set a few inches behind the display. That includes three HDMI ports and two USB ports; while the remaining ports are located in the TV’s rear. A single button located under the screen provides power and a quick menu of on-screen controls.

Picture performance

LG CX picture quality

LG has been manufacturing industry-leading OLED displays for several years, and the LG CX has relatively flawless image quality. Along with a top-notch display, the LG CX has the latest hardware to maximize quality from 4K devices and licensed technology, like Dolby Vision and Nvidia G-Sync, to further enhance picture performance.

The TV has four HDMI 2.1 ports, which can transfer data at a much higher rate than the more commonly used HDMI 2.0 ports. This helps 4K streaming devices display the highest possible picture quality, and allows elevated refresh rates with video game consoles and PCs.

LG’s CX OLED display requires little to no calibration once setup, though that might depend on your taste. The standard picture mode is slightly brightened and features some post-processing, as is common with most consumer TVs, but the cinema mode will remove those effects for a neutral picture that should match the source more closely. LG’s CX will detect when HDR content is being displayed and switch to HDR specific presets, though you’ll still find the crucial standard, cinema, and game modes.

The peak brightness of the 48-inch LG CX tops out at about 600 nits, while the larger models can reach up to 700, according to CNET. That brightness level is actually lower than some LED TVs, but the OLED display’s infinite blacks provide greater contrast and a more satisfying experience when viewing in HDR videos as a result. 

I used films like “The Lord of the Rings” and the notoriously dark “The Long Night” episode of “Game of Thrones” to test the LG CX’s contrast and overall picture quality, with and without HDR. The results are wildly impressive on both fronts – shadowy scenes that were difficult to parse on my older LG LED TV can be seen in fine detail, but the sharp lighting keeps dark caverns and castles from looking washed out. Similarly, bright scenes retain their fine details without extra portions of the screen taking on a glow from an LED backlight.

The LG CX does a commendable job of upscaling lower resolution signals too, smoothing out the inconsistent picture quality coming from my 1080i cable box and the jagged edges of my 480p Nintendo Wii at 60Hz.

When using a PlayStation or Xbox console the TV will automatically switch to “Instant Game Response” mode, which disables most post-processing, maximizes brightness, and reduces input delay so your controls are as responsive as possible. If you primarily use the LG CX for gaming, you’ll want to activate HGiG for your console’s HDMI port to get the most accurate HDR picture quality.

I used fast-paced, visually intense video games like “Tetris Effect” and “Dragon Ball FighterZ” to help me test the CX for issues like artifacting and ghosting, but the screen remained amazingly responsive whether I was playing at 60Hz on Wii and Switch, or 120 Hz with my PC and PS5.

Gaming features

LG CX Desktop

The LG CX is amazingly responsive for a TV, registering similar input delay to many high-end gaming monitors, and at a higher native resolution.

Many of the newest features supported by the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, like variable refresh rate and gaming at 120 frames per second, are only available with HDMI 2.1 compatible TVs like the LG CX.

For example, the PS5’s RGB color display requires too much bandwidth to use at 4K resolution with an HDMI 2.0 port, so it defaults to YUV422, a slightly degraded format, instead. Similarly, playing at 4K resolution and 120Hz refresh rate requires an HDMI 2.1 port, or you’ll be limited to 1440p and 120Hz on HDMI 2.0.

While a few TVs have adopted a single HDMI 2.1 port, the LG CX has four, so you can have multiple high bandwidth 4K devices.

The LG CX also has access to variable refresh rate, and licensed technology from the leading computer graphics hardware companies, Nvidia and AMD. Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync help the display’s refresh rate match the speed of a video game as it’s being played. This helps alleviate issues like screen tearing and smooths animation, and it’s especially helpful for PC gamers.

I was able to set up my RTX 2060 PC with the LG CX using G-Sync and HDR with no problems. Both my  Xbox Series S and Xbox One X were able to take advantage of the AMD FreeSync compatibility to activate variable refresh rate.

Smart TV features

LG CX Smart TV Features

LG’s webOS smart TV service is one of the best in the business, making features like streaming apps, screen sharing, and voice control easily accessible. The LG CX’s a9 processor makes navigating the interface quick and simple too, rarely showing any stutter between tasks when compared to cheaper webOS TVs. 

The home screen and options interface allow for customization, so you can order your most used menu items and apps, remove the ones you don’t need, and rename all of your inputs. WebOS also accessed my local TV listings during setup, immediately providing much faster navigation and schedule information than my set-top cable box.

WebOS supports most popular streaming apps, including Netflix, YouTube, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Hulu, Peacock, Apple TV Plus, and even music apps like Spotify and Pandora. Apps that support 4K HDR and Dolby Vision should use those formats automatically when downloaded from LG’s content store. With that said, some features won’t always work, like Dolby Atmos through Disney Plus, since companies sometimes limit support depending on the platform being used. 

HBO Max is noticeably missing from webOS, though you can use another mobile device to cast the HBO Max app to the LG CX for screen sharing. The CX supports both Android casting and Apple’s AirPlay 2, so most mobile devices can screen share with the TV. You can use a USB drive to sideload your saved movies, music, and photos too, or stream them directly from a shared media folder on another PC in your network.

There’s a large selection of games and other entertainment apps to choose from in the LG content store, though few of the offerings seem worth the time. The CX also has access to LG Channels, a set of more than 100 free streaming “IP channels.” These are channels dedicated to a certain subject rather than operating as traditional broadcast or cable TV stations, but it’s a free service that only requires an internet connection.

The CX is compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa for voice commands; webOS voice searches will be answered by Google Assistant. I found LG’s Alexa skill rather cumbersome due to the specific phrases needed and the speed required to process commands; it was often faster to just grab the remote, unless I was already well out of range of the TV.

The LG magic remote

LG Magic Remote

To be honest I underestimated the impact the magic remote would have on my time with the LG CX, but the mouse-style control feels like a significant game changer thanks in large part to the TV’s quick processing.

LG’s Magic Remote Control brings a motion-controlled cursor, a scroll wheel, and voice control to the table, and is easily integrated with most set-top boxes and video game consoles thanks to webOS. The LG CX configured the magic remote to work seamlessly with my Amazon Fire Stick, PlayStation, and Xbox consoles with no setup required, though there is a universal remote setup process for more specific devices. 

The remote’s voice control is easy to operate when prompted and generally accurate, whether it’s being used within specific apps or webOS.

Should you worry about burn-in on an OLED TV?

OLED display technology has been known to suffer from an issue called burn-in. Burn-in happens when a static image is left on the display for so long that the screen’s pixels begin to age at different rates. This can create a faint “ghost” image that remains on screen while viewing. With this issue in mind, OLED manufacturers have created TV features to prevent burn-in.

The LG CX has three features to address burn-in and image retention. You can use “clear panel noise” to reset the TV’s pixels to their original color; you can activate screen shift, which adjusts the pixels at regular intervals to prevent a static image from getting stuck; or you can use logo luminance adjustment, which will reduce the brightness of static logos, like sports scoreboards or news tickers.

Websites like Rtings have conducted long-term tests with OLED burn-in if you’re curious, and generally, while burn-in can occur, these tests show that most buyers won’t have to worry about it.

I haven’t noticed any image retention or burn-in issues after more than two months with the LG CX, whether using it as a TV or a PC monitor. I primarily used the LG CX for gaming on PC, but spending two full days using it as my primary work monitor didn’t produce any adverse effects either.

Should you buy it?

If you’re in the market for a new TV and can afford to spend more than $1,000, the LG CX OLED is a great choice. Beyond the best-in-class display, the OLED’s speedy processing and features should satisfy all of your entertainment demands for years to come.

The 48-inch model may be a bit small for some living rooms, so be sure to measure your usual viewing distance to select the optimal size; LG also offers 55-, 65-, and 77-inch models. In fact, the 55-inch model is cheaper than the 48-inch version right now, so you actually pay a premium for the added convenience of a more compact size.

LG’s CX is also ideal for gamers trying to make the most of next-gen hardware like the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Nvidia 3000 series graphics cards. It’s more expensive than most premium gaming monitors, but the OLED’s flawless support of HDR color and the increased refresh rates of HDMI 2.1 help the LG CX outperform just about every monitor on the market, and its smart TV features bring additional value.

What are your alternatives?

The 48-inch LG CX is one of the most affordable OLED TVs on the market, and also the smallest, so it’s got solid value for buyers who want a high-end TV under 50 inches. In fact, it’s the only OLED TV currently available at that screen size.

However, if you’re open to a larger 55-inch TV, you can consider the LG BX OLED, which has lower peak brightness than the CX and a smaller stand, but is around $200 cheaper.

Vizio’s 55-inch OLED is also a worthwhile contender for buyers on a budget. It’s $300 cheaper than the 48-inch LG CX, but our review found that it has some issues with glitches and HDMI 2.1 compatibility. Most of these issues have been corrected by a firmware update, however.

The Sony A8H OLED may have even better picture accuracy than the LG CX based on our reviewer’s experience, but fans of games and high quality HDR formats may be disappointed by its total lack of HDMI 2.1 ports.

It’s also worth noting that LG will be releasing its new C1 48-inch OLED later this year, but pricing hasn’t been announced. The 2021 model is the successor to the CX, and it offers improved processing. Outside of processing, however, the C1 TV’s specifications are nearly identical to the CX, so the CX remains our top recommendation. 

The bottom line

LG CX Assassin's Creed
LG CX features like variable refresh rate and HGiG will make games like “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla” look even better.

LG’s CX OLED is an amazing TV that reflects the best in OLED display technology, user interface, and forward-looking hardware. The precise picture quality of the OLED screen and experience-enhancing features, like variable refresh rate, make the LG CX one of the best TVs and gaming monitors you can buy. The 48-inch version is a perfect starting point for people interested in picking up their first OLED screen.

If you’re looking for a larger screen there are a few more options to consider, but you certainly can’t go wrong picking up the LG CX in any size.

Pros: Infinite contrast ratio, four HDMI 2.1 ports, ideal features for gaming, Google Assistant and Alexa support, magic remote, 120Hz native refresh rate

Cons: Peak brightness is lower than LED competitors, no HBO Max app

48-inch CX OLED 4K TV (button)

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