LG A1 OLED 4K HDR TV
“The LG A1 is not a gamechanger, however it’s nonetheless an OLED TV.”
- Excellent Black ranges
- Nice coloration
- Low enter lag
- Decrease brightness
- Sluggish interface
Sight unseen, we gave the LG A1 OLED our Prime Tech of CES 2021 award in January. On the time, we wrote: “LG guarantees the A sequence shall be far more inexpensive to a wider viewers, and whereas LG received’t discuss 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 yr, presuming you’re looking at 55- or 65-inch fashions. That’s not the type of breakthrough pricing I hoped for after 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 whenever you’re already spending near $1,800 on a 65-inch TV.
TV costs often go down towards the tip of the calendar yr, and maybe drop even additional when the following yr’s fashions come out within the spring, however for now, the prospect of an OLED TV below $1,000 stays elusive.
So, for this evaluate, I feel it’s essential to be taught 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.
Regardless of a number of shortcomings, the A1 OLED remains 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 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 — even when it doesn’t roll up.
The display 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, because the LG A1 shares the identical chassis with the C1, anybody who wished to make use of the centralized stand discovered on the C1, CX, and even C9 OLED TVs might in the event that they wished 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 transport is so steep as a result of stand’s hefty weight.
As soon as arrange on a stand or mounted on the wall, the TV appears to be like 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.
The A1 OLED comes with LG’s redesigned “Magic Movement” distant, which is replete with buttons and likewise permits Nintendo Wii-style movement management of the TV.
LG A1 OLED 4K HDR particulars
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Options and specs
The LG A1 OLED makes use of a 60Hz panel versus the 120Hz panel discovered on the marginally dearer C1 mannequin. Typically, show panels with larger refresh charges will supply 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 sequence. We’ll get deeper into what which means 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 gadgets, however it doesn’t assist different in style options related to HDMI 2.1 corresponding to variable refresh charge for gaming — which means no G-Sync or Freesync assist as effectively. The A1 does supply LG’s Recreation Optimizer setting, although, so it isn’t with out gaming-friendly options solely. We’ll get extra into gaming efficiency within the subsequent part.
The TV provides HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR assist, so it’s an HDR TV, however as testing measurements utilizing aand 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.
The LG A1 runs LG’s WebOS good TV system, which just lately bought a face-lift and is barely simpler on the eyes and easier to navigate than it was only a yr 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 annoyed with the quantity of lag between my button presses and the corresponding motion on the display. The system is serviceable for watching Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and different apps, however I’d extremely suggest the addition of a Chromecast with Google TV, which is able to present an enormous enchancment in expertise and responsiveness, although it should take up considered one of simply three HDMI inputs.
The LG A1 sounds surprisingly good contemplating its slim building and diminished worth. I feel most customers will discover the onboard sound system completely nice for every day TV watching due to its strong dialogue readability and first rate quantity of bass manufacturing, although I’d at all times suggest a decide from our checklist of the perfect soundbars for a extra theater-like expertise whereas watching motion pictures and video games.
Because it’s inconceivable for me to evaluate the LG A1 with out evaluating it to LG’s solely barely dearer C1 OLED TV sequence, I’ll be presenting most of my image high quality observations in that context. Nonetheless, earlier than I get began down that highway, 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. Apart from its gorgeous beauty, the A1 is blessed to supply good black ranges. Because the A1 OLED doesn’t have any backlight (every pixel lights itself up), there are not any annoying backlight anomalies to place up with. There’s no blooming or halo round shiny objects on a black background, no soiled display impact (blotches on an LCD display), 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.
The A1 OLED’s response time can be just about instantaneous, that means no picture blur is ever brought on by the display. As a substitute, 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 modifications — even on a 60Hz display just like the one discovered on the A1 OLED.
Nonetheless, the A1 OLED’s 60Hz display 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 sequence and above. It will 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.
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 essentially make HDR pictures pop off the display. 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 appears to be like much less sensible.
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 nice (even dazzling at instances) in a really darkish or very dim room, however even turning room lights on steals loads of the A1 OLED’s zeal, making it a much less life like TV possibility for a lot of.
As talked about earlier than, the LG A1 OLED doesn’t supply variable refresh charge. And though 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 essentially the most out of their next-gen Xbox Sequence X or S would wish to step as much as the C1 OLED for the perfect expertise.
The LG A1 OLED comes with all the 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 arduous to think about why somebody wouldn’t save up for the higher TV and cross the A1 OLED by solely.
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 be a brighter TV accessible on the identical worth, however I don’t look after 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 most recent processor or HDMI connectivity, I feel it should really feel its age a bit before most TVs. Nonetheless, from a basic longevity standpoint, I’d count on it to final for a few years to return. I’d not counsel an OLED TV to anybody who watches the identical information, climate, or sports activities channel for a number of hours a day, day-after-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 beneath $1,000 for a 55-inch mannequin, then sure. In any other case, I’d skip the A1 OLED and purchase the LG C1 OLED TV as a substitute.