LG made history on Amazon Prime Day this year with a limited-time deal on its 48-inch A1 OLED, a 2021 model.
The $676 LG TV Was Being Fired For (opens in new tab) marked a new low price for an OLED TV, a type that typically sells at prices well above entry-level QLED models of the same screen size.
While that particular deal is gone from Amazon, other retailers, including Best Buy, have stepped up similar (opens in new tab), so you can still buy an LG A1 OLED for the same ultra-low price or slightly above. The question is, should you even bother?
Are all OLEDs the same?
The OLED picture quality is undeniably fantastic: along with deep blacks and rich colors, you get a wide viewing angle and a subtle presentation that avoids some of the harsher qualities of LED-lit TVs (especially ones that don’t have their picture adjusted properly). ).
All these benefits should also be evident in this entry-level OLED model.
But image quality is not the real issue here – image Size It is. Ultra HDTV images with 4K resolution clamor to be displayed on a screen larger than 48 inches. This is because most people sit at an average distance of 8 feet from the TV, and at that distance, the visual benefits of 4K cannot be enjoyed on a 48-inch screen.
A regular old HDTV would be a much better match and would certainly cost a lot less than a 4K one.
Where a 48-inch OLED TV would make sense is when used as a gaming monitor. That’s the use that LG’s first 48-inch OLED model was being put to when I found one at the CES show, and it was an impressive sight to behold.
To that end, the A1 series has solid gaming features, including a Game Optimizer mode, a 1ms input lag, and an Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM).
But the A1 isn’t a 120Hz capable display – a feature would allow it to take advantage of 4K/120Hz video output on PS5 and Xbox Series X game consoles – and it also doesn’t support some of the more gamer-centric features in the HDMI 2.1 specification, such as variable refresh rate (VRR).
the brightness issue
OLEDs are also typically darker than QLED TVs. This issue has been resolved to some extent on some of the latest high-end LG models such as the G2 and C2 series sets, but not on this older model.
Any 48-inch TV, OLED or not, is likely intended for a more typical viewing environment with average room lighting. In this situation, a QLED TV will be better as it will give you brighter images, and you’re likely to find one for an even cheaper price than LG’s 48-inch A1.
QLED TVs under $700
the size factor
It’s true that nothing would stop you from putting an A1 OLED in a home theater-like environment with optimized light. But, as mentioned above, a 48-inch screen in this situation would still be too small.
At the same average viewing distance of 8 feet, you’ll want at least a 65-inch screen.
Not only is that because you’ll be able to really appreciate the incredible level of detail packed into 4K footage with a screen this size at this distance, but there will be a much stronger sense of visual immersion – the main reason we all head out to theaters with their huge and immersive screens, especially the IMAX ones. To be honest, you can use an even bigger screen than a 65-inch at a viewing distance of 8 feet.
I’ll cut to the chase here: don’t buy this 48-inch LG A1 OLED TV. If you really want an OLED, save your money and use it to buy a bigger model – in Black Fridayperhaps.