LG A1 OLED 4K HDR TV Evaluate: Much less OLED for much less cash

“The LG A1 is not a gamechanger, however it’s nonetheless an OLED TV.”

Execs

Good Black ranges

Nice coloration

Low enter lag

Cons

Decrease brightness

Sluggish interface

Sight unseen, we gave the LG A1 OLED our High Tech of CES 2021 award in January. On the time, we wrote: “LG guarantees the A collection might be rather more inexpensive to a wider viewers, and whereas LG gained’t speak numbers but, we’re assured we’ll attain the type of costs the typical household can afford.”

Maybe our confidence was misplaced.

It seems that the LG A1 OLED — on the time that I write this seven months later — is simply two or 300 bucks lower than the step-up LG C1 OLED I raved about earlier this 12 months, presuming you’re looking at 55- or 65-inch fashions. That’s not the type of breakthrough pricing I hoped for once I pitched the A1 OLED to my colleagues over a Zoom name towards the tip of what was the world’s largest digital tech present. Positive, $300 bucks is nothing to sneeze at, however it’s not an enormous premium to ask for while you’re already spending near $1,800 on a 65-inch TV.

TV costs normally go down towards the tip of the calendar 12 months, and maybe drop even additional when the following 12 months’s fashions come out within the spring, however for now, the prospect of an OLED TV beneath $1,000 stays elusive.

So, for this assessment, I feel it’s necessary to study what you get and what you don’t get with LG’s A1 OLED and, maybe most significantly, whether or not the small quantity of financial savings comes with a number of sacrifices in design and efficiency.

Design

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Regardless of a number of shortcomings, the A1 OLED continues to be an OLED TV, and I used to be shortly reminded of that as I unboxed the TV. It has the identical stunningly skinny profile you’ll discover on the C1 OLED, with a display screen that’s thinner than any smartphone in the marketplace. Positive, there’s a bump-out on the decrease third of the TV the place all of the electronics are housed, however even mounted to the wall, you continue to get the “wow” issue from the impossibly skinny display screen — even when it doesn’t roll up.

The display screen isn’t the one half that’s just like the LG C1 OLED. All the chassis seems to be the identical because the LG C1, with one exception: The A1 OLED has solely three HDMI ports whereas the C1 has 4.

The similarities finish on the included stand, although. The LG A1 comes with two toes that should be screwed into the bottom of the TV whereas the LG C1 comes with a heavy, centralized pedestal-style stand. Nonetheless, for the reason that LG A1 shares the identical chassis with the C1, anybody who needed to make use of the centralized stand discovered on the C1, CX, and even C9 OLED TVs might in the event that they needed to — the mounting holes are there. A fast journey to eBay will yield outcomes for LG C-series stands on sale. Simply be ready to pay up for one since delivery is so steep because of the stand’s hefty weight.

Dan Baker/Digital Traits

Dan Baker/Digital Traits

Dan Baker/Digital Traits

Dan Baker/Digital Traits

As soon as arrange on a stand or mounted on the wall, the TV seems very good, with its extraordinarily skinny profile, bezel-free design, and a hefty quantity of anti-glare coating to scale back “mirror impact” from the display screen.

The A1 OLED comes with LG’s redesigned “Magic Movement” distant, which is replete with buttons and in addition permits Nintendo Wii-style movement management of the TV.

LG A1 OLED 4K HDR particulars


Display screen Dimension
Mannequin Quantity
 MSRP
48-inch

OLED48A1PUA

$1,200
55-inch
OLED55A1PUA
$1,300
65-inch
OLED65A1PUA
$1,800
77-inch
OLED77A1PUA
$three,000

Options and specs

Dan Baker/Digital Traits

The LG A1 OLED makes use of a 60Hz panel versus the 120Hz panel discovered on the marginally dearer C1 mannequin. Usually, show panels with greater refresh charges will provide smoother and extra pure movement, particularly in fast-moving sports activities and film scenes.

The A1 is powered by LG’s A7 Gen4 processor, not the most recent, fanciest A9 Gen4 processor present in all of LG’s different OLED TV collection. We’ll get deeper into what meaning within the efficiency part.

As beforehand talked about, the A1 has three HDMI inputs versus 4, and none of them are HDMI 2.1-compliant. The TV does assist eARC for uncompressed audio passthrough to different units, however it doesn’t assist different well-liked options related to HDMI 2.1 reminiscent of variable refresh price for gaming — meaning no G-Sync or Freesync assist as properly. The A1 does provide LG’s Recreation Optimizer setting, although, so it isn’t with out gaming-friendly options fully. We’ll get extra into gaming efficiency within the subsequent part.

The TV affords HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR assist, so it’s an HDR TV, however as testing measurements utilizing a SpectraCal VideoForge Professional and C6 meter with CalMan software program revealed, the LG A1 OLED doesn’t get as shiny because the LG C1 OLED or, because it seems, Vizio’s OLED TV.

Efficiency

Consumer interface

The LG A1 runs LG’s WebOS good TV system, which not too long ago bought a face-lift and is barely simpler on the eyes and less complicated to navigate than it was only a 12 months in the past. Nonetheless, I’ve discovered WebOS to really feel more and more cluttered the extra I take advantage of it, and its implementation within the A1 OLED proved to be annoyingly sluggish. I typically discovered myself pissed off with the quantity of lag between my button presses and the corresponding motion on the display screen. The system is serviceable for watching Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and different apps, however I might extremely suggest the addition of a Chromecast with Google TV, which can present a giant enchancment in expertise and responsiveness, although it is going to take up one among simply three HDMI inputs.

Audio

The LG A1 sounds surprisingly good contemplating its slim building and diminished worth. I feel most customers will discover the onboard sound system completely effective for day by day TV watching due to its strong dialogue readability and respectable quantity of bass manufacturing, although I might at all times suggest a decide from our listing of the most effective soundbars for a extra theater-like expertise whereas watching films and video games.

Image

Because it’s inconceivable for me to assessment the LG A1 with out evaluating it to LG’s solely barely dearer C1 OLED TV collection, I’ll be presenting most of my image high quality observations in that context. Nonetheless, earlier than I get began down that street, I wish to make a number of issues clear.

As I acknowledged earlier than, the LG A1 is an OLED TV and as such, it comes with a number of advantages baked proper in. Other than its beautiful beauty, the A1 is blessed to provide good black ranges. Because the A1 OLED doesn’t have any backlight (every pixel lights itself up), there aren’t any annoying backlight anomalies to place up with. There’s no blooming or halo round shiny objects on a black background, no soiled display screen impact (blotches on an LCD display screen), and no backlight fluctuations (gradual brightening and dimming). As such, the A1 OLED has a remarkably clear look to it, with deep, wealthy colours and an eerily satisfying high quality to its picture.

Dan Baker/Digital Traits

The A1 OLED’s response time can also be nearly instantaneous, that means no picture blur is ever brought on by the display screen. As an alternative, blur you’ll see on the A1 is definitely brought on by the truth that your eyes can’t sustain with the velocity at which the picture adjustments — even on a 60Hz display screen just like the one discovered on the A1 OLED.

Nonetheless, the A1 OLED’s 60Hz display screen does rob the TV of the extra fluid movement you’ll see on the C1 OLED. Additionally, the A1 OLED’s A7 Gen4 processor isn’t as refined because the upgraded A9 Gen4 picture processor discovered within the C1 OLED collection and above. It could take putting the TVs side-by-side to note, however the A1 doesn’t do fairly nearly as good a job at upscaling low-quality content material (low-resolution or low bitrate streaming movies or cable/satellite tv for pc content material) because the C1 does.

Dan Baker/Digital Traits

However the A1’s actual shortcoming is its brightness. Whereas by no means a dim TV, the A1 OLED doesn’t possess the brightness potential wanted to actually make HDR pictures pop off the display screen. The A1 OLED’s peak brightness measures at about 500 nits whereas the LG C1 and Vizio OLED max out nearer to 750 nits. That’s sufficient distinction for most folk to note, whether or not the TVs are side-by-side or not. The A1 simply seems much less good.

The dearth of brightness extends past shiny highlights and into coloration and the general image. Colours lack a sure sizzle on the A1 in comparison with the C1, and the general image degree is a bit dimmer. It’s completely effective (even dazzling at occasions) in a really darkish or very dim room, however even turning room lights on steals quite a lot of the A1 OLED’s zeal, making it a much less practical TV possibility for a lot of.

Gaming

Dan Baker/Digital Traits

Dan Baker/Digital Traits

As talked about earlier than, the LG A1 OLED doesn’t provide variable refresh price. And despite the fact that an Xbox Sequence X or S will let you know the TV is able to 1080p decision at 120 frames per second (fps), the reality is it’s not. The A1 will merely skip each different body from a 120 fps sign.

The A1 can do 4K HDR at 60Hz, although, and it has remarkably low enter lag at about 10 milliseconds in sport mode. The A1 additionally comes with LG gaming dashboard, which permits sport style detection and optimization, together with black and brightness degree controls that may make seeing enemies in darkish shadows a bit simpler in difficult first-person shooter video games.

The takeaway right here is that the A1 OLED is a superb TV for many avid gamers, however those that wish to wring probably the most out of their next-gen Xbox Sequence X or S would wish to step as much as the C1 OLED for the most effective expertise.

Our take

The LG A1 OLED comes with the entire image high quality advantages inherent in an OLED show and appears fairly stunning in a darkish room. None of its drawbacks on their very own are deal-breakers, however when the A1 OLED’s particular person shortcomings are added collectively and regarded within the context of the very small worth distinction between it and the step-up C1 OLED, it’s laborious to think about why somebody wouldn’t save up for the higher TV and move the A1 OLED by fully.

Is there a greater various?

Sure. The LG C1 OLED is a superior TV, though simply barely dearer. The upgrades are well worth the added expense, although; you get what you pay for on this case. The Vizio OLED can also be a brighter TV out there on the similar worth, however I don’t take care of its SmartCast good TV interface or a few of its bugginess. The Vizio OLED is a greater total gaming TV, although.

How lengthy will it final?

Given the A1 OLED doesn’t have the newest processor or HDMI connectivity, I feel it is going to really feel its age a bit before most TVs. Nonetheless, from a basic longevity standpoint, I might count on it to final for a few years to return. I might not counsel an OLED TV to anybody who watches the identical information, climate, or sports activities channel for a number of hours a day, each day, for months on finish, as burn-in is a slight threat with any OLED TV.

Must you purchase it?

If the value dips down under $1,000 for a 55-inch mannequin, then sure. In any other case, I might skip the A1 OLED and purchase the LG C1 OLED TV as an alternative.

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