The cheapest OLED model in LG’s 2020 range is too good to miss. Top-notch image quality, a powerhouse smart platform and game-friendly spec make it a great buy
- Superior gaming connectivity
- Brilliant value
- No Freeview Play
- Presets favour dark-room viewing
- Review Price: £1199
- Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10, HLG
- Filmmaker Mode
- Dolby Atmos pass through
- Dimensions: 1228 x 706 x 46.9mm (WHD)
The LG BX line is the Korean brand’s OLED honeypot flatscreen, priced to shift with a specification that’s only slightly denuded compared to its CX stablemates.
It sports a third-gen Alpha 7 processor (sibling LG screens use Alpha 9 picture-processing silicon), albeit with AI smarts to enhance clarity and improve the user experience.
LG’s much-lauded webOS smart platform enjoys an AI upgrade and comes with a full fist of streaming services, but there’s no Freeview Play. Consequently, the BX lacks key UK catch-up TV apps, although iPlayer is on board.
The OLED55BX6LB reviewed here sells for £1199. It’s also available in 65 inches (OLED65BX6LB), priced around £500 more.
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LG BX design – Slim, game-fit, and just a little bit sexy
Part razor-thin panel, part backpack (the latter home to electronics and inputs), the LG BX is undeniably good-looking. Its ultra-thin bezel barely frames the image, presented on a central, matching pedestal stand. The look should coordinate with any furniture or interior decor.
The BX has four HDMIs. Inputs 3 and 4 are v2.1 and support 4K at 120Hz (40Gbps at 10-bit 4:4:4) to make the most of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The remaining two HDMIs are standard 8-bit 4K/60P ports.
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There’s also Nvidia G-Sync compatibility, VRR to combat frame tearing, and an ALLM game mode. All HDMIs support AMD FreeSync Premium, too. HDMI 3 is eARC/ARC enabled.
The BX ships with the latest iteration of LG’s cursor-based Magic Remote control; a Bluetooth pointer with thumbwheel control and dedicated buttons for Netflix, Prime Video and Rakuten (accessed via a Movies button).
LG OLED55BX features – No compromise when it comes to smart connectivity
While the lack of Freeview Play – and the subsequent absence of all the usual catch-up TV apps – rather dents the BX’s mainstream appeal, it’s easy to remedy the omission with a media streamer or TV box.
That said, LG’s webOS remains a powerful smart platform, albeit one that’s now slightly cumbersome to use. Content, settings and smart functions can be accessed from a double-stacked launch bar at the bottom of the screen, or the new smart home Dashboard.
When it comes to smart connectivity, there’s no difference between the BX and models higher up the range. ThinQ AI implementation includes support for digital assistants should you want basic voice control functionality. There’s also Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit integration.
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Streaming apps available include Now TV, Disney+, Apple TV, Sky Store, BritBox, Twitch and YouTube.
As with the rest of LG’s 2020 OLEDs, the set features Adaptive Audio and AI Picture mode (accessed via an AI Service menu), which use machine-learning techniques to optimise performance. The AI sound processing is only applicable to the internal speaker, and doesn’t transfer to a soundbar or external device.
There’s also an AI smart content option, able to make recommendations based on your viewing history and app usage. We’d suggest leaving all of these AI features on.
LG BX performance — Time to dim the lights and pop the corn
The BX may ostensibly be an “entry-level” LG OLED set, but it’s still better specified – at least when it comes to next-gen gaming – than OLED rivals costing significantly more.
While 4K at 120fps has yet to prove itself as a display option, having it available will certainly be welcomed by buyers eager to tick boxes.
The Alpha 7 processor doesn’t compare with what the Alpha 9 is able to deliver in terms of refinement and finesse. But without a side-by-side comparison, we certainly didn’t feel short-changed; its imagery is balanced and filmic – and when you’re gaming or engrossed in a movie, differential subtleties don’t amount to a hill of beans.
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As is LG’s wont, there’s a wide variety of picture modes to choose from – Vivid, Standard, Eco, Cinema, Sports, HDR effect, Filmmaker mode, ISF Expert Bright Room and Dark Room – but relatively few that are likely to please if you watch with some ambient lighting.
Standard and Eco would be our default settings for most content, at least in rooms that aren’t shy of a few bulbs.
That said, the TV has Dolby Vision IQ, which is regular Dolby Vision modified to suit changing ambient lighting conditions. There’s no IQ labelling, but if you select the Dolby Vision Cinema Home preset, it engages the TV’s AI Brightness Control function, which uses a light sensor to assess room brightness and adjust the picture accordingly.
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Overall HDR performance is good. Peak brightness was measured at just over 600 nits (cd/m2), using a 5% testing window. However, performance drops considerably when measured with a larger 10% patch. This tells us the BX is perfectly fine delivering small, dramatic, transient highlights (fireworks, visual effects), but could dim considerably when an image features a larger HDR expanse (potentially sports coverage, with partially lit stadiums).
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The set’s near-black performance is subjectively excellent, the Alpha 7 Intelligent Processor doing a terrific job of presenting detail and texture. Images are blisteringly sharp. Colour fidelity, too, is outstanding.
The BX doesn’t disgrace itself sonically, either. Its output is weighty enough for casual viewing. While the downward-firing sound system on the BX is unequivocally stereo, there’s an option to pass through Dolby Atmos to a waiting soundbar or home cinema system, so better sound can be unlocked from apps such as Netflix and Prime Video. The set has 40W of claimed amplification on board, in a simple 2.2 arrangement. It’s comparable to what we’ve heard on the CX models.
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Should you buy the LG OLED55BX?
If you’re a gamer with your sights set on OLED, then without question. LG currently enjoys something of a monopoly when it comes to OLED displays aimed at discerning gamers, and the BX delivers with a formidably advanced specification for a great price. The provision of 4K/120fps HDMI support alone will be catnip for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X owners.
For mainstream viewers, however, the lack of everyday catch-up services is disappointing. That said, overall image quality is high, with a solid HDR performance when it comes to fleeting specular highlights – and the BX looks terrific with 4K HDR movie content. Just keep the lights low.