LG’s 2020 GX OLED is the TV that fulfills the promise of emissive TV tech. It is a refinement of the best TV technology currently available to consumers. OLED offers high contrast, wide viewing angles and rich color that make it the consistent favorite among AV enthusiasts who prioritize picture quality. It is a remarkable 4K HDR TV that is equally awesome for watching UHD movies, playing 4K video games, and streaming 4K shows. It’s even awesome for “regular” TV like sports because it offers advanced picture processing and the innate PQ advantages of emissive OLED.

Each year LG improves upon its OLED offerings. These are refinements to an already excellent TV technology that result in a sublime viewing experience, even for the pickiest videophiles. With the singular caveat that OLED is not at its best in a bright room, during my time with a 65” LG GX OLED, I did not spot anything to distract from the viewing experience. The picture coming out of this TV is as good as anything I’ve experienced to date and what you see fidelity-wise is defined by what the source material has to offer, more so than any limit of the TV itself.

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Features, Specs & Performance

The 65” LG GX OLED is an emissive TV, meaning each pixel gives off its own light and may be shut off completely. This control over individual pixels allows OLED TVs to create images with extremely high contrast and the deepest blacks, all with no blooming or halo artifacts.

In terms of LG CX versus GX models, for the most part you’re looking at the same TV when it comes to the panel and picture processing. The difference between the models has more to do with the physical design, the GX is a true “slab” and therefore will fit flush against a wall, whereas the CX leaves a gap. And if you put the TV on a stand, the CX has a pedestal like base while the GX has soundbar-friendly feet.

The LG 65” GX OLED offers essentially “infinite” contrast, although it’s only infinite in one direction (black levels) with real-world limitations in terms of brightness. Peak luminance on OLED TVs is good, but (still) does not hit the 1000-nit barrier. But exceeding 800 nits in a 2% and a 10% window with HDR is within the capabilities of the GX, as is rendering a “perfect” starfield that’s free of artifacts. For fans of HDR, when it comes to specular highlights, this precious little difference between 800 nits and a thousand nits.

Cinephiles will appreciate how OLED handles highlights, but also import to daily use is how bright the overall picture produced by the TV gets, and here OLED shows its one main weakness versus a premium FALD LCD: OLED full screen brightness is under 200 nits, while some FALD LCDs make it past 600 nits.

Long story short is that OLED performs at its best reproducing the sort of dramatic lighting you see in movies, while viewing in a darkened room. And it’s at its weakest if you watch snowboarding documentaries and ice hockey during the daytime in a sunny room.

The LG GX has the a9 Gen 3 Processor 4K handling tasks like noise reduction, upsampling, motion, tone mapping and more. This is paired with a 120 Hz native OLED panel and the result is a highly polished picture on screen.

Of course, this being a premium 2020 Smart TV, it's absolutely packed with user interface features, it really just depends on whether you prefer using a remote, voice, or apps to control your entertainment experiences.

Click here to see the full list of specs at LG.com

Hands-On

This is the OLED that I dreamt of when the technology was first introduced to consumers. It is premium priced but attainable. It’s truly free of distracting artifacts like halos and vignetting. Everything I watched on it looked pristine, presuming the source material is also pristine. That allows it to realize the full potential of 4K video, including great features explicitly meant for gamers (like support for Nvidia G-Sync and AMD Freesync).

I’m fully aware that LG OLEDs, including this GX, may be calibrated to rather incredible levels of accuracy. But it is also true that TVs continue to improve in terms of out-of-the-box accuracy, especially when using the appropriate picture mode. LG provides Cinema, Filmmaker Mode, ISF Bright and ISF Dark as viable options for filmed entertainment.

Before getting into what I did see, let’s discuss what I did not see. I spotted zero signs of image retention. And it’s not like I was “nice” to this TV, I repeatedly allowed GTA V Online to time out, which puts a big yellow message on the same spot of the screen “Alert”. If I was the long-term owner of this TV I’d be a little more careful about it, but the idea here is as long as you treat your OLED like a regular TV the chances you’ll have image retention issues are low and not worth sweating.

I found the antireflective coating on this TV to be highly effective, so that even during the daytime you can appreciate the deep black levels and resulting contrast. While you do have to basically max out the TV’s brightness to compensate for a brightly lit room during the daytime, overall the picture holds up (my living room is in a high-rise and has three large, sun facing windows that flood it with light).

Pulling the shades, or viewing during the evening, allows viewers to fully enjoy what OLED offers, which can best be described as a “deeper” looking picture. It’s not 3D per se, but it is your brain synthesizing dimensionality based on contrast detail plus color and the deeper your black levels, the higher the contrast, the more “real” what’s on screen looks. And because of the wide viewing angles offered by OLED, the picture quality that produces this effect is preserved even if you’re sitting off to the side. Sitting perfectly centered is still ideal for any screen-based viewing experience, but it remains true that OLED has both wide viewing angels and high contrast, whereas LCD TVs make you choose some compromise between one and the other.

UHD Movies

If you want to really appreciate what Ultra HD Blu-ray has to offer home viewers, you need to check out a reference-quality title or two on an LG OLED. Drawing from Ralph Potts’ reviews, I checked out scenes from films I own in 4K UHD Blu-ray, that received a “100” score for picture quality in 4K UHD. These include Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Joker, Life and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (which is a 60 frame per second presentation). Each movie showed off why the X series OLEDs are LG’s best yet. The visual presentation of each film possessed a seamlessness that allowed for full suspension of disbelief. You don’t just watch the movie, you experience it. Even if you are picky about picture quality, if you feed the LG GX top-notch material, it will deliver a reference-quality presentation where, you’ll find there’s literally nothing to complain about.

"Life" is an entertaining, mostly dark yet wryly comedic sci-fi horror movie that has quite a few dark, chaotic action scenes that take place in space. It's also an exceptionally well mastered movie. The GX showed why OLED is the TV technology of choice for anyone who loves space movies, showing off it’s inky blacks and vivid pinpoint highlights. But the tremendous contrast offered by OLED is useful for more than just rendering stars. In Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse you’ll see how the contrast works to accentuate the artistic textures that are the visual language of this incredible animated film.

Any debate about whether an OLED is bright enough for HDR can be put to rest. The facts are simple: The "R" in HDR stands for range. And contrast ratio = dynamic range. I hate to be so blunt about it, but a little tone-mapping and 700-nit highlights on an OLED looks better than 1000-nit highlights on a FALD LCD. There's simply no way for a transmissive TV screen to match the fidelity of emissive, individual pixel control OLED. And while in the early days of HDR the content could look a bit "dim" those days are behind use. HDR on the LG looks phenomenal, no qualifiers required.

Gaming

I'm willing to admit that I played quite a few hours worth of Grand Theft Auto Online and chalked it down to "experiential reviewing". But here's the thing, if you get good at playing video games that require hand eye coordination for success, you begin to (deeply) appreciate extreme low latency and high frame rates. On the same token, there is a tactical advantage to clearly rendered, highly detailed graphics on a big screen—it allows you to discern details such as an enemy hiding in a shadow off in the distance.

What's amazing about the GX is that it's a full-blown gaming monitor disguised as a 65 inch TV. Moreover, it has qualities that you would be hard-pressed to find in a PC monitor, like support for Dolby Vision and deep calibration controls that allow you to achieve a reference-quality image while in Game Mode.

The one thing missing from my experience is a graphics card that is able to fully exploit the capabilities of this TV. To achieve that, I would need a lot more GPU horsepower than my single Nvidia GeForce GTX 16760 Ti provides. Nevertheless, I could see the potential by sacrificing frame rate so I could at least see how game world's render in 4K with maximum detail. The results put my PlayStation 4 Pro to shame. Of course, I'd love to see what they PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X looks like on a TV of this quality.

Art

Yes, art. As in artwork. This 65" GX OLED is a perfect way to appreciate photography, as well as drawings and paintings. As a hobby, I create digital paintings from landscapes and cityscapes. The cool thing about viewing these images on an OLED is the emissive screen technology is it makes artwork look "real" because you can treat it like real artwork, walk right up to it, view it from an angle, and it reatins its fidelity—unlike VS LCD TVs. And with the superb contrast of OLED, there are no blooming artifacts in dark areas, or "muddy" textures to speak of.

Viewing black and white photography on this TV is a real treat, especially if you dial in perfect color. The grays maintain absolute neutrality and the contrast allows the images to pop, giving them "depth" that other TVs struggle to match.

Conclusion

For those familiar with OLED technology, will come as no surprise that the LG GX approaches TV perfection. All you have to do is have a peek at the rtings.com review to understand where LG's 2020 OLEDs fit into the premium TV hierarchy, they are still the top dog.

Now that OLED 4K TV is a mature product category, it’s more than just a cutting-edge technology that fulfills the wish list of video enthusiasts. For cinema lovers, it is the ticket to a reference-quality viewing experience that in some ways (contrast, in particular) exceeds what is available in commercial theaters. For gamers, this TV is a phenomenal option thanks to its support for Nvidia G-Sync technology that brings with it ultra-low latency and variable refresh rate. LG ensures that even the most fastidious videophiles get the fidelity they seek, thanks to deep color calibration options.

During my time with this LG, the only (slight) disappointment I felt was when using the TV during the daytime, in my brightly lit living room. This is the one circumstance where competing TVs using FALD-LED technology can produce a better picture (when viewed head-on), because in a bright room, black levels do not matter as much as average and peak brightness capabilities. But that’s the beginning and end of my criticism. It’s still a good TV by day, but if you do even the bare minimum to control ambient light then you see the OLED pull away from the competition. Indeed, when the room is dark, I found myself lowering the brightness for SDR, and HDR content looked “ideal”.

If you seek a premium 65" TV that offers the best overall combination of picture quality and features, an OLED from LG has to be high on your list. The LG 65” GX I reviewed is among the finest TVs I have seen, both in terms of the physical unit's design, and the picture it creates. It delivered a “flawless” performance during the time I had it, making it an easy Top Choice 2020 selection.

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