• LG CX

  • Vizio OLED

  • How We Tested

  • What You Should Know About TVs

  • Other OLED TVs We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

Our Favorite OLED TVs of 2021

  1. Best Overall

    LG OLED65CXPUA

    Pros

    • Amazing picture quality

    • Future-ready

    • Premium design

    Cons

    • Expensive

    • Not as bright as competition

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Best Value

    Vizio OLED55-H1

    Pros

    • Sensational contrast and color

    • HDMI 2.1 support

    • Low price for an OLED

    Cons

    • Doesn't get as bright as the competition

    • Smart platform lacks flexibility

    Skip to the full review below
LG CX OLED TV
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The LG CX series delivers an array of future-facing features alongside all the same excellent OLED picture quality.

Best Overall
LG CX

The LG CX series of OLED 4K/HDR smart TVs is our pick for the overall best OLED TV money can buy.

In true OLED fashion, the LG CX features the signature perfect black levels we’ve come to expect from this premium technology. Stellar contrast is the primary reason that TVs like this look so good, but you can also expect gorgeous, vivid color reproduction and excellent motion handling. In fact, the CX’s native 120 Hz refresh rate makes it a great option for sports fans and gamers alike—you can expect clear, judder-free motion pretty much across the board. The TV's sleek, ultra-thin design is worthy of praise, too—the CX is sure to class up whatever room it happens to occupy.

The LG CX is equipped with HDMI 2.1 ports (the newest HDMI standard) and supports Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and eARC. In addition, the CX comes with LG's excellent webOS smart platform pre-installed, which is fast, dependable, and easy to navigate. While this isn't LG's top-tier TV, it gives you stunning OLED picture quality and premium processing without some of the price-inflating features of the "Wallpaper" or "Gallery" models LG offers, giving it the best combination of performance and practicality of any OLED TV right now.

Pros

  • Amazing picture quality

  • Future-ready

  • Premium design

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Not as bright as competition

Vizio OLED (2020)
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The 2020 Vizio OLED offers a taste of OLED picture quality for a price most people can justify.

Best Value
Vizio OLED

Vizio’s first OLED TV successfully blends the high-end picture quality we’ve come to expect from OLED TVs with the value-forward philosophies that helped give way to Vizio’s recent rise in popularity. It’s one of the most affordable ways to secure an OLED TV.

Available in 55- and 65-inch models, the Vizio OLED is packed with features fit for next-generation gaming, including HDMI 2.1 support (with eARC passthrough), VRR, and ALLM. Like all of the OLED TVs we’ve tested in recent years, the Vizio OLED also features a native refresh rate of 120 Hz. This refresh rate, combined with the TV’s HDMI 2.1 support, means that the Vizio OLED will be capable of 4K gaming at 120 FPS.

And then, of course, there’s the Vizio OLED’s picture, which is unsurprisingly stunning. Due to the self-emissive nature of each pixel in an organic LED display, the Vizio OLED is capable of perfect black levels and rich, accurate colors. Although it doesn’t get nearly as bright as high-end quantum dot TVs, it’s about as bright as its direct competitor, the LG BX.

If you’re hoping to make your next TV an OLED, the Vizio OLED is the most affordable way to do so while still getting the latest, state-of-the-art TV tech. Simply put, when you factor in its performance chops and its next-gen gaming features, the Vizio OLED is one of the most value-packed TVs on the market.

Pros

  • Sensational contrast and color

  • HDMI 2.1 support

  • Low price for an OLED

Cons

  • Doesn't get as bright as the competition

  • Smart platform lacks flexibility

How We Tested

How-We-Test
Credit: Reviewed

Our lab is outfitted with much of the same equipment you would find at a factory that manufactures and calibrates televisions.

The Testers

Reviewed has been testing TVs since some of its current employees were in middle school. While many proud TV testers have come and gone through Reviewed's labs, the current Home Theater team consists of Michael Desjardin and Lee Neikirk. Michael is a senior staff writer and a six-year veteran of the Reviewed tech team. A film enthusiast and TV expert, he takes picture quality seriously but also understands that not every TV is a good fit for everyone.

As Reviewed's Home Theater Editor, Lee doesn't do as much testing these days. However, he designed the company's current TV testing methodology after receiving calibration certification from the Imaging Science Foundation.

Contrast Reading
Credit: Reviewed / Chris Snow

We measure things like peak brightness, black level, hue, and so on.

The Tests

It'd be an understatement to say that we're serious about TV testing. The lab in our Cambridge location is outfitted with much of the same equipment you'd find at a factory that manufactures and calibrates television.

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On the hardware side, we've got things like a Konica Minolta CS-200 tristimulus color meter, an LS-100 luminance meter, a Leo Bodnar input lag tester, a Quantum Data 780A signal generator, and more Blu-rays than we can keep track of. For software, we use CalMan Ultimate, the industry-standard in taking display measurements and calibrating screens to specifications.

Our testing process is equally complicated and has been honed over many years to gather data that is marginal enough to satisfy curious video engineers, but also relevant to the average person's viewing experience. We measure things like peak brightness, black level, hue and saturation for primary and secondary digital colors, the accuracy of the TV's electro-optical transfer function—you get the idea, it's complicated.

Weighting for our performance tests is based on how the human eye prioritizes vision, which means we put "brightness" data (monochromatic eye based on light sensitivity) higher than colorimetry, which is also scaled by the eye's sensitivity, and so on.

Outside of the strictly technical tests, we also spend a lot of time just watching and using each TV, getting a feel for the at-home experience of doing things like dialing up streaming video service, connecting a Blu-ray player and watching movies, using the smart features, and checking out the TV's ports, remote, and on-set buttons—anything and everything that might be relevant.

What You Should Know About TVs

While everyone has different eyes, generally, our vision all functions the same way: we prioritize dynamic information and bright, compelling colors over subtler hues and resolution (sharpness). Generally, a TV can be considered a good TV when we forget that we're watching a TV. We don't see pixels creating mixes of red, green, and blue to simulate colors; we see the real world, lit and colored as it is, in fluid motion.

In simpler terms, this means a TV that can get very bright and dark without obscuring details; produces accurate colors (compared to various color standards designated by the International Telecommunication Union); possesses proper bit-mapping and the right codecs and decoders for video processing; and can properly play the various types of content thrown at it without judder, blurring, and so on.

Note that specs alone (pixel count, measured brightness) aren't automatic indicators of quality, much like intense speed is not automatically an indicator of a good car.

What Is An OLED TV?

OLED (short for Organic Light-Emitting Diode) is a newer panel technology that differs from traditional LED/LCD TVs in a single important way. While most traditional LCD/LED panels rely on a backlight to illuminate the picture, each pixel in an OLED panel turns on and off independently of the others— and instead of using a backlight, the pixels emit their own light. This allows for deeper, richer black levels—essentially "true" black levels because the pixels aren't dark, they're turned off entirely. The end result is superb overall contrast and rich, accurate color reproduction.

In addition, most OLED TV panels are far thinner than their LED/LCD equivalents because they don't use a backlight, and they also tend to deliver the widest, most accommodating viewing angles on the market today.

What Is OLED Burn-In And Do I Need To Worry About It?

Sometimes used interchangeably, "burn-in" and "image retention" are essentially two sides of the same coin. Image retention refers to any image that "sticks" on a screen, even when the content changes. It usually appears as a faint ghost, and with most TVs this fades after a moment or two. Burn-in, on the other hand, is a form of image retention that lasts much longer, and it's usually visible even when playing other content. Both terms have haunted conversations about OLED TVs since the display technology was first introduced, but the

What causes burn-in?
Burn-in is an after image or discoloration typically caused by leaving a static image on a screen for a long period of time. When it comes to most contemporary TVs, image retention and burn-in are only risks during extreme circumstances. For instance, in our lab tests indicated that long-term OLED burn-in was only a risk if a static image was displayed on for well over 20 hours, and most minor image retention issues seemed to go away with time.

Should I be worried about burn-in if I'm planning on buying an OLED TV?
For most people, the answer is no. We've spent hundreds of hours working with OLED televisions, and burn-in doesn't appear to be a major concern if you're a typical user. Image retention may be an issue when you first begin using your OLED TV, but it gets better with time. It's only visible under extreme circumstances, and it doesn't appear to be permanent. Even right out of the box, long-term damage is not likely if you're using your OLED TV like a normal TV. To get permanent damage, you'd need to keep an image on the screen for well over 24 hours straight. This might be a concern for airports or sports bars, but otherwise there's nothing to worry about. Most OLEDs have a "shut off timer" to protect them, and most source devices use screen-savers or dimming functions to reduce the damage.

How do I fix minor image retention?
If you leave any kind of bright, static image on your OLED screen for an extended period of time, you might see some temporary image retention. If that happens, here are some basic steps you can take:

  1. Turn the TV off for 5-10 minutes and then back on
  2. Resume typical use, but watch content that doesn't have static elements
  3. Be sure to turn the TV off for a bit every couple of hours, especially when it's brand new

What TV Terms Do I Need To Know?

When it comes to knowing what you're paying for, almost no category is rifer with subterfuge and tomfoolery than TVs. While knowing the specs of the TV you're shopping for is only half the battle, it's the bigger half. Here are the key bits of jargon you'll want to know while browsing:

LED/LCD: This refers to Light Emitting Diode and Liquid Crystal Display. LEDs are the backlights used in LCD TVs, also sometimes called a LED TV for this reason. The LED backlight shines through a layer of a semi-solid substance called "liquid crystal," so named for its ability to morph in reaction to tiny electrical volts and allow light to pass through.

4K/UHD: Usually 4K refers to resolution—specifically, 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. This is the current standard/mainstream resolution for most TVs. UHD means Ultra High Definition, and actually refers to a suite of picture improvements like 4K resolution and Wide Color Gamut, which can display many more shades than HD TVs.

High Dynamic Range: Like "UHD," High Dynamic Range (or HDR) refers to both a type of TV and a type of content that expands on the typical range of brightness (luminance) and color that a TV will produce. HDR TVs are newer and usually a bit more expensive, but can have many times the brightness and 30% more color production than non-HDR TVs. Current top HDR formats include HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision.

60 Hz/120 Hz: These numbers refer to what is called a "refresh rate," with Hz (hertz) representing "times per second." So if a TV's refresh rate is 60 Hz, this means it re-scans and updates for picture information 60 times per second; with 120 Hz, it's 120 times per second. Currently, TVs only come in 60 or 120 Hz. A higher refresh rate is always better, but not always necessary.

Smart TV: The term "smart TV" has evolved a lot over the years, but all it really means is that the TV connects to the internet. Most smart TVs these days are just a way to watch streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video on your TV. Some smart TVs have browsers, calendars, or even Roku or Android functions. All smart TVs have ethernet or WiFi built-in.

Quantum Dots: Quantum dots are used in LED/LCD TVs only. These are microscopic nanocrystals that produce intensely colored light when illuminated. Quantum dots can be used to vastly improve the red and green saturation of a TV, and are one way that LED/LCD TVs can match the color spectrum of OLED.

Local Dimming: OLED panels look great because each pixel can operate independently. LED/LCD TVs can imitate this functioning via a process called local dimming, where localized clusters of LEDs dim or boost depending on whether the screen needs to be darker or brighter, sometimes vastly improving their performance and worth.

What Is a TV Series?

You may notice the TVs listed in this roundup don't follow the traditional naming convention you might see in a store or online. That's because rather than nominating a single size of TV (such as the LG OLED65C8PUA, aka the 65-inch LG C8 series OLED), we nominate the entire range of sizes within a "series."

Typically these TVs are identical in performance but differ in price and size. We do this in order to offer you more flexibility in your decision, but also because it's the most accurate representation available.


Other OLED TVs We Tested

LG BX

The LG BX (available in 55- and 65-inch variants) is one of the most affordable OLED TV series released recently, which makes it a great pickup for folks who don’t mind paying a premium for stunning, top-of-the-line TV technology, but nevertheless don’t want to spend the extra dough to land a better-performing TV, like the LG CX.

The BX is a 4K TV with HDR support including Dolby Vision. Since it’s an OLED TV, you can expect perfect black levels and dazzling, voluminous color. Like the CX OLED, the BX also comes with LG's webOS smart platform pre-installed. The software is user-friendly, responsive, and should satisfy AV enthusiasts and novices alike.

For some folks—gamers in particular—the main draw of the BX will be its special features; the TV is equipped with HDMI 2.1 ports, supports FreeSync/G-Sync, and features a native refresh rate of 120 Hz. Simply put, the BX is one of the most affordable ways to secure a TV that will get the most out of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, even if its price tag doesn’t seem very affordable at first glance.

Because OLED TVs don’t get as bright as quantum dot LED TVs—and because the LG BX isn’t as bright as higher-end OLED TVs like the LG CX—folks with relatively bright living rooms might want to give brighter TVs a closer look. The LG BX isn’t exactly a dim TV, but it’s not as bright as you might expect given its price tag.

Here’s the bottom line: The LG BX isn’t a budget-friendly TV, but it is one of the most affordable ways to secure incredible OLED performance and future-proof features (though the Vizio OLED is significantly less expensive).

Pros

  • Perfect black levels

  • Voluminous color

  • Incredible design

Cons

  • Not quite as bright as other high-end TVs

Sony A8H

The Sony A8H is available in 55- and 65-inch models and offers the industry-leading picture quality we expect from OLED TVs. Perfect black levels, rich, accurate color production, and super-smooth motion handling are the highlights here, with an Android-based smart platform whose robust app selection makes up for its lackluster user interface.

The A8H also gets quite bright for a contemporary OLED TV, climbing as high as 700-750 nits while receiving an HDR signal. Unfortunately, given the state of the industry, the Sony A8H falls short in the all-important category of hardware and features. It doesn't come equipped with HDMI 2.1 ports and gaming features like VRR and ALLM are absent.

If you’re not an avid gamer—or if you simply don’t care about your next TV being as future-proof as possible—the Sony A8H is a stunning, top-tier TV that will serve as an impressive home theater centerpiece for several years to come.

Pros

  • Perfect black levels

  • Impressive brightness for an OLED

Cons

  • Lacks HDMI 2.1

  • Priced at a premium

Sony A8G

If you're looking for an OLED TV that's leaner in the features department but still packing a terrific picture, you may still be able to find a good deal on the Sony A8G, which is still available a couple years after its initial release.

Like the more-recent Sony A8H, the A8G doesn't offer the future-facing features that you'll find on other OLED TVs; it doesn't support Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low Latency Mode, or eARC HDMI passthrough for high-resolution audio. If you're not hung up on the lack of these features, however, you'll find that the Sony A8G is a top-tier TV when it comes to picture quality. Its peak brightness is better than average, though not quite as bright as the Sony A8H and the LG CX.

Better-performing OLED TVs have been released in the time since the A8G made its debut, but if you're hunting for a discount on an OLED TV, you might be able to find the A8G for a relatively low price.

Pros

  • Incredible contrast

  • Excellent motion handling

  • Classy design

Cons

  • Missing HDMI 2.1

  • Android software integration lacks fluidity

Meet the testers

Michael Desjardin

Michael Desjardin

Senior Staff Writer

@Reviewed

Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.

See all of Michael Desjardin's reviews
Lee Neikirk

Lee Neikirk

Editor

@Koanshark

Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.

See all of Lee Neikirk's reviews

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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