Buying a new TV can be a significant investment, one of the biggest purchases outside a home and a car. This means the stakes are high when you consider which TV best suites your individual criteria regarding features, design and value for money.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent time with the new 2022 LG OLED EVO, the best of their display technology. Historically OLEDs have not been available in the larger display sizes, but that’s no longer an issue with display sizes up to 83″ now larger than where most consumers are buying.
The model I took a look at was the 48C2, a very practical size for your home office, bedroom or small apartment. Depending on your desk space, you could actually use this TV as a gaming monitor, although it would be a significant investment as compared to regular monitors.
One of the beautiful attributes of modern TVs, particularly OLED, is just how thin they are. When you unbox this display, you’ll immediately notice just how insanely thin the top of the screen is, but then as you remove the TV from the foam packaging, you’ll likely be a little shocked at just how thick the lower two- thirds of the TV is.
The top is ridiculously thin, thinner than your phone, but the base is significant, at least 5 times as thick as the top. While this can be wall-mounted, it would sit off the wall by some margin.
This is a dramatic demonstration of the thinness of the OLED display technology while appreciating that all modern TVs ultimately have brains that have to fit somewhere.
Ultimately when you’re sitting in front of the TV, you’ll forget about all that and be lost in the image quality and after firing up the TV, and moving through the setup wizard, it was just minutes later and I never really thought about the depth after that.
Another aspect of the design is the stand. This 2-piece design requires some maneuvering to attach to the display, but once bolted on, it looks fantastic, with an elegant stainless finish and a subtle reminder of the investment you made with the LG OLED branding positioned on the lower right.
This TV is jam-packed full of features, so as much as you can attribute some of the price tag to the OLED display technology and the design, much of it has to go to the R&D to deliver this impressive feature list.
If you’re a gamer, there’s little more you could ask, than for the TV to meet every single tick on the Xbox Series X check. This includes the important 120Hz refresh rate check that illudes so many displays. This means that as you play the fastest games, you’ll have buttery smooth gameplay so whether your jam is 180 snaps in an FPS, or taking turns at 300km/hr in racing games, the experience will be the best possible on a TV.
If you do connect the TV to a computer, you’ll have support for Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMDs FreeSync technology which avoids vertical tearing, ensuring every frame delivered to your eyeballs is perfect every time.
One really compelling feature is support for NVIDIA’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service. This allows you to connect a controller and play games without a console or a computer. These games are rendered on Nvidia’s cloud infrastructure and the frames are returned to you, while your inputs from the controller are fed back over the internet to the game running remotely. It does require a decent connection, but it still amazes me this works with such low latency.
For those who like to command their TV from across the room, you have a couple of very important boxes ticked, with support for both Google Voice Assistant and Amazon Alexa, enabling this to seamlessly integrate with the majority of household setups.
There are many times when you have friends over and want to show them content from your phone. LG makes this easy with support for Apple’s Airplay 2 to mirror your screen in just seconds.
Strapped to the back of the display is LG’s new A9 4k Gen5 AI Processor which runs WebOS. As you use the remote to interact with the TV, you’ll experience a cursor on the screen to navigate through the interface, rather than the typical up, down, left, and right system many others use. This does take a little bit to get used to but actually does work quite well.
The UI provides a customized set of content based on the content you’ve watched in the past. This works well and is based on your profile. It is a little cumbersome to move rapidly between the profiles and I’d like to see an easy path to this, like using the remote app on your phone and having it auto-switch to the profile of the person who turned on the TV.
WebOS also offers access to weather, live TV, entertainment apps and something called ‘Home Dashboard’. As someone who also has an LG Washing machine, I was able to get status updates, a great example of what’s possible if you buy on brand. As much as I love this, I’d also love it to be an IoT standard that all TVs and all devices could leverage.
In terms of connectivity, LG has included 4x HDMI ports that support 4K @ 120Hz, one of which can be used for eARC to newer audio devices like SONOS Arc. There’s also optical audio out if you’re still rocking that and 3x USB-A ports for accessories like Chromecasts.
While I never found a need to use it, LG does include an IR blaster in the box which connects to a port at the back of the TV. There’s also a typical wired Ethernet port, but many will leverage the WiFi included for easy connectivity.
When it comes to apps, the decision to add dedicated buttons to the remote is always a big gamble. LG selected Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, MOVIES, Google Assistant and Alexa for their dedicated buttons.
If you’re someone who watches a lot of YouTube, this definitely feels like a weird omission, then you consider there’s also Kayo, Binge. Apple TV+, iView, 9NOW, SBS OnDemand and many more and it really feels like a bigger problem.
While the default control that comes with a TV will probably never be as sophisticated as a Logitech Harmony, having a digital display where users could customize their buttons would be a much better resolution to its functionality.
Pricing and Availability
The LG 48C2 (OLED48C2PSA) is available now from all the regular retailers (JB HiFi, Good Guys, Bing Lee, Harvey Norman and more, with a choice of display sizes from 42″ to 83″. The 48″ version (reviewed) costs A$2,995 is certainly a premium price for a TV this size.
When you go to larger TV sizes, you can expect to pay a significant premium, so it should not surprise you to learn the 83″ version costs a massive A$10,995.
At that size and that budget, it is worth remembering that 8K displays are becoming more realistic options, even if content options are a couple of years away from being readily available.
With TVs are this price point, you have a real serious decision to make, a choice between the best display technology from one of the best OEMs at a smaller size, or opt for a larger display for a lesser (still very close) tech like QLED. Only you can make that decision, but if you are space constrained and have the budget, then this is absolutely a TV you should have at the top of your list.
The key ambition for most people buying an OLED TV is the ultra deep black levels and that’s absolutely on offer here. When parts of the image are black, you don’t have to rely on how many local dimming zones are offered, each individual pixel is responsible for emitting, or not emitting its own light.
The resulting effect is an amazing image, full of color and detail in shadows, all with smooth gradients and it’s seriously hard to compete with this.
I have and love my QLED TVs, but there is something special about OLED, that said, almost nobody has an OLED and QLED side-by-side which often means close enough can be good enough for many buyers and if that QLED comes at a lower price point, that may be the better option for those on a budget.