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48 inches – or 121 centimetres if you prefer your measurements metric – is still a lot of TV screen, but it’s a whole seven inches smaller than every OLED TV that’s come before it since LG popularised the technology a few years back.
LG has again broken new ground by shaving a few inches off what was previously the smallest OLED display – 55 inches – to create a high-end TV that has an easier time slotting into a living room alcove, while retaining all the bells and whistles of its larger cousins.
But it’s not alone – Sony has produced a 48-inch OLED of its own to add to the mix. We’ve not tested it yet, but we have looked at its larger 55 and 65-inch cousins. We take a closer look at these below.
First, though, the OLED48CX6LB.
Top five TVs for 2020 – does LG’s diminutive OLED make the list?
LG OLED48CX6LB, £1,489
You don’t need to check the OLED48CX6LB’s price to see that the CX will set you back a pretty penny.
The screen is credit card thin, since an OLED display doesn’t need a backlight. Instead, every pixel – of which there are millions – creates its own light. It’s this impressive technology that gives OLED TVs peerless control over which parts of the screen are lit at any time. This helps prevent brighter colours bleeding into darker ones, and gives contrast greater depth.
The bezel’s narrow, too – a thick black border around the screen is a telltale sign that a TV is on the cheaper end of the spectrum – and the stand is sleek, metallic and subtle. It’s an attractive TV.
But it’s the size that’s the real draw here. While 55-inch sets are the most common, they’re still on the big side for many. In fact, according to the number of people visiting our TV reviews, 49-inch sets are the most popular.
It was only a matter of time before manufacturers found a way of crafting smaller OLEDs to tap into this demand and, at just an inch shy of 49 inches, this LG is bound to appeal.
It’s as powerful as larger OLEDs
The base of the TV is where the CX houses all the tech that makes the screen tick and there’s nothing that LG’s larger OLEDs do that this one can’t.
The third-generation Alpha 9 processor runs the show. It’s the brain in charge of making the picture look its best whether you’re watching local news in standard definition or a dazzling blockbuster in 4K.
The Alpha 9 needs to work hard to impress us in our tests. On a TV this expensive we expect extraordinary detail, a kaleidoscope of colours that look both vibrant and natural, and contrast that balances coal-like blacks and gleaming whites.
The TV also has the latest versions of Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos, which makes audio more expansive by simulating sound coming from overhead.
Are you paying over the odds for something new?
The difference in price between the 55-inch (£1,599) and 65-inch (£2,499) sets from the CX range is a massive £900, yet the 48-inch CXOLED only costs £100 less than the 55-inch one. You might expect the 48-inch set to cost significantly less – so why doesn’t it?
Before you think you’re getting ripped off for the 48-incher, this apparent pricing inconsistency isn’t unusual.
65-inch sets tend to cost so much more because fewer are made (they’re just too big for many homes). Smaller production runs mean a higher overall cost and then there’s the panel itself: it’s tougher to get it perfect. The greater the surface area, the greater the chance of flaws.
Meanwhile, a £100 to £200 jump from 48 and 50-inch TVs to 55-inch ones is the norm.
So the price checks out on paper, but does the quality justify it? OLEDs are often exceptional in our tests, but a 48-inch one was an unknown quantity, until we tested it.
Head to our full review of the 48-inch LG OLED48CX6LB to see if it’s a welcome addition to the OLED family.
Sony OLED TVs
For just £100 more than LG’s 55-inch CX OLED, you might also be considering Sony’s 55-inch KD-55A8BU at £1,699.
It ticks many of the same boxes as LG’s OLEDs: an advanced processor, advanced HDR formats and advanced display. Safe to say, it’s advanced – assuming its tech works in beautiful harmony.
Audio is handled in an interesting way. Its ‘acoustic surface audio’ is a fancy way of saying the screen vibrates to create positional sound. And it works well. Low tones, in particular, are thunderous and create a fantastically rich effect.
Its sound may hit the mark, but is picture quality up to same standard?
Cheap OLED TV deals for September 2020
At the time of writing, Currys/PC World is offering up to £200 off some OLED TVs. This still doesn’t make them cheap exactly, but they’re not quite as expensive as normal.
LG, Panasonic, Philips and Sony models are all available at a discount.
We’d recommend waiting for a couple of months though. Black Friday is on the horizon and we’d expect to see a fair bit more than £200 knocked off.
That said, if your old TV is broken and you’re desperate for a replacement, then Currys/PC World’s deals are a good bet – and you get a five-year warranty.
What is OLED TV? – more detail on the screen technology and a round up of our favourite models