Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Price: Rs 1,34,990
In places like Mumbai where the average living room size is quite compact, 55-inch TVs can seem a bit overbearing. The 48 to 50-inch screen size hits a sweet spot when the viewing distance is around nine feet. However, if you aspire to buy an ultra premium TV, you hardly get any options smaller than 55-inch. But not anymore! LG has addressed that issue, and how, with their new CX 48 OLED TV. With its eye-catching design, modern features and great picture quality, this is as good as it gets if you have the financial muscle.
LG CX 48 4K Smart OLED TV Review
LG CX 48 4K Smart OLED TV - Design and connectivity: 9/10
Its super slim upper body and near bezel-less design on three sides is bound to catch your attention. The upper half of its body is under 4 mm in thickness; yes, you read that right. To put things in perspective, most smartphones available today are more than twice as thick. The bezels are so narrow that there is no room for the company logo. The lower half of the TV is understandably thicker to host all the circuitry and speakers, and lend the TV more sturdiness.
Its super slim upper body and near bezel-less design on three sides is bound to catch your attention.
Despite its super-slim profile, the TV is deceptively heavy and weighs close to 15 kgs even without the stand. The centrally attachable metal stand is quite solid and allows you to place the TV on a much smaller table. I wonder why very few manufacturers opt for centre stands! In the connectivity department, you get four HDMI 2.1 ports with support for higher frame rate, VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and eARC (on HDMI 2).
To put things in perspective, most smartphones available today are more than twice as thick. Image: Tech2/Ameya Dalvi
You also have three USB ports, an optical audio out, A/V input, component-in, 3.5 mm headphone out and a LAN port. 3x HDMI and 1x USB ports are placed on the side of the TV, closer to the left edge, making them easier to access even if you choose to wall-mount it; a smart design decision.
You also have three USB ports, an optical audio out, A/V input, component-in, 3.5 mm headphone out and a LAN port. Image: Tech2/Ameya Dalvi
The rest of the ports are placed at the back of the TV facing the wall; not a smart placement if you choose to wall-mount the TV. Wireless connectivity options include Bluetooth 5.0 and dual band WiFi. Pretty much everything one needs is available here.
Back connectivity ports. Image: Tech2/Ameya Dalvi
LG CX 48 4K Smart OLED TV - Features and specifications: 9/10
The LG CX 48 has a 48.2-inch OLED panel with an Ultra HD (4K) resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. This TV supports all popular HDR formats like HDR10/10 Pro, HLG and Dolby Vision. Gamers will be pleased to know that it also supports FreeSync, Nvidia's G-Sync and has 1 ms response time along with low input lag and support for VRR and ALLM. Unlike certified Android TVs, it does not have Chromecast built-in but is compliant with Apple Airplay 2 to cast content from Apple devices. It supports screen mirroring too. You can use Google Assistant or Alexa for voice commands on this TV.
The LG CX 48 is powered by an Alpha 9 Gen3 AI 4K processor which is powerful enough to provide smooth operation. Sound output is rated at 40 Watts RMS with support for Dolby Atmos audio. You get a 2.2 channel setup here with two speakers and two built-in subwoofers to provide the extra punch.
The remote has hotkeys for Netflix and Prime Video, along with the usual navigation keys. Image: Tech2/Ameya Dalvi
Like most premium LG TVs, you get their Magic Remote here which is quite chunky as compared to most smart TV remotes these days, but is loaded with interesting features. Despite its size, it looks elegant and feels great in hand with smart weight distribution. It is powered by a pair of AA batteries that are bundled with the unit. The voice enabled remote operates over Bluetooth; you can bring up the voice assistant of your choice by pressing the corresponding button and issue voice commands.
The remote has hotkeys for Netflix and Prime Video, along with the usual navigation keys. Speaking of navigation, you can use the built-in air mouse by moving the remote like a wand (now you know why it's called a Magic Remote) or simply use the D-pad and the scroll wheel at the centre that also acts as the confirm/OK key. The build quality of the remote is quite solid and I cannot think of any major key that's missing here. It functions perfectly fine and is fun to use.
LG CX 48 4K Smart OLED TV - OS and User interface: 9/10
The platform now has apps for all the popular OTT platforms available here including Disney+ Hotstar, Sony LIV, Zee5 etc. Image: Tech2/Ameya Dalvi
Like all LG smart TVs, the CX 48 runs WebOS, and it has one of the most pleasant user interfaces among smart TVs. Not only does it look good but it is easy to use and buttery smooth when browsing though the apps or settings. It provides you with a lot of customisations and options to tweak the picture and sound, among other things. The platform now has apps for all the popular OTT platforms available here including Disney+ Hotstar, Sony LIV, Zee5 etc, and one can view content all the way up to Ultra HD resolution wherever available. The Magic Remote works as expected in all the apps, including its Air Mouse feature and makes life more convenient.
LG CX 48 4K Smart OLED TV - Picture quality: 9.5/10
The picture quality of this OLED TV is simply outstanding with accurate colours and excellent contrast. The black levels are as good as I have seen since the Plasma TV days. The 4K OLED panel may not seem as bright as some of the QLED TVs but it is bright enough, and more importantly, a lot easier on the eyes. Details in dark areas in high contrast scenes in our test videos were perfectly visible, and the contrast is something to behold. The colour reproduction of this TV is excellent and colours feel quite natural for most parts. It is tuned well out of the box, and there are ample colour presets and adjustments to tweak them further.
This LG TV supports Dolby Vision, and content encoded in that format looks very impressive. The contrast is top notch but the relatively low brightness can be felt in some of the scenes, or probably I am just habituated to the extra brightness of non-OLED TVs. Shows with HDR10/10+ standards on Prime Video look equally lively, and there was absolutely no flickering in high contrast scenes that is prevalent in several LED TVs. 4K SDR content also looks sharp on this TV with accurate colours and great detail.
The upscaling engine on this TV is one of the best I have come across. Not only does Full HD content look sharp and comparable to 4K in some cases, 720p videos look much better than usual on this TV. In fact, some 480p videos look perfectly watchable too. Having said that, don't get your hopes too high for non-HD channels on DTH. But if that's what you plan to watch, please don't waste your money on an OLED TV. The viewing angles are perfectly fine. Motion smoothing also works just right without any unnaturally smooth movement or motion artefacts.
There is a Filmmaker Mode on this TV that automatically adjusts the picture for the full motion picture effect with the creative intent and cinematic experience preserved. In short, it lets you watch the movie the way its maker intended you to. Quite a cool feature to try. I wanted to test the much advertised gaming features of this TV, but unfortunately I did not have the new Xbox or a PlayStation 5 at hand during the course of my testing. But even without it, there's a lot going for this TV.
LG CX 48 4K Smart OLED TV - Audio quality: 8/10
As I mentioned earlier, the audio output of this LG TV is rated at 40 Watts RMS total, and you get a 2.2 channel speaker setup here. The sound output is loud and punchy with clear vocals and ample detail in audio. The built-in subwoofers lend a good amount of warmth to the audio, and one can feel the bass more often than not. I will go to the extent of saying that the TV speakers do a better job than several entry-level soundbars, and their output is enjoyable across different content types ranging from dialogue heavy stuff to music to movies or web series.
The speakers are compliant with Dolby Atmos, but do not expect miracles. You do not get surround speakers or height channels here; it's a 2.2 channel setup, remember? While the sound quality is undoubtedly very good, it doesn't have the same wow factor as in the case of its picture quality. If you are looking for a more superior audio experience, the TV provides you with ample output options, both analogue and digital to plug in a soundbar or speaker system. The TV also supports two way Bluetooth connectivity, meaning you can route the audio output of this TV to a Bluetooth earphone/headphone/speaker or play audio wirelessly on the TV speakers from your phone or tablet.
LG CX 48 4K Smart OLED TV - Overall performance: 9/10
Unlike Android TVs or those based on Amazon's Fire OS which take upwards of 35 seconds to start, this LG TV takes barely 10 seconds to boot up when you switch it on from the mains, which is mighty impressive. After that, the TV comes back on in just a couple of seconds from standby mode when you turn it on using the remote. The video codec support via USB is quite robust and the default player managed to play almost every file from our test set. It did stutter when playing one 4K video, but the playback was generally smooth across the board. The TV provides a refined experience in almost all departments, exactly what one expects from a premium product like this.
LG CX 48 4K Smart OLED TV - Price and verdict
The LG CX 48 4K Smart OLED TV can be purchased for Rs 1,34,990 with a one year warranty on the TV and an extra year on the panel. Certain retailers also offer a 3-year comprehensive warranty on this TV. Needless to say, it is quite expensive but this is no ordinary product either. This is almost the pinnacle of TV technology at the moment. I haven't come across as good a picture quality or contrast in any of the regular LED TVs or even QLED TVs I have tested to date. What can I say, but quality doesn't come cheap.
And it's not just the picture quality that's impressive. Everything from the design to the OS have a great degree of finesse, and 1 ms response time, low input lag and high throughput on the HDMI 2.1 ports are bound to impress the hardcore gaming community. So if you are looking for all of that, the LG CX 48 will give you little reason to complain. Having said that, I would like to add that one should buy this model only if your viewing distance is less than ten feet. If you aren't crunched for space, might as well go for the 55-inch variant of this TV that incidentally sells for a similar price.