LG OLED65GXPUA OLED Ultra HDTV Review Page 2

The 65GX supports the HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) high dynamic range formats, but not HDR10+. A user-selectable Dynamic Tone Mapping control analyzes the source to convert HDR10's static metadata (constant for the whole film) to dynamic metadata frame-by frame for optimum results. I used this for all of my viewing, though it was turned off during calibration as per LG's recommendation.

Unless noted otherwise, all of the program material referenced below was either standard Blu-ray (HD/SDR) or Ultra HD Blu-ray (4K/HDR).

HD/SDR Performance
Pre-calibration, out-of-box performance in Filmmaker Mode was more than acceptable, while not exactly precise. For example, peak white output with the Filmmaker Mode's default settings active was too low (see Test Bench), something I remedied by increasing the OLED Light control adjustment to 65—a far higher setting than the default.

520lgoled.sideHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is one of the darkest films I know of almost from beginning to end. Blacks looked inky on the LG, with fades to black between scenes and the black bars on widescreen films disappearing completely. On the downside, some dark scenes actually looked a little crushed when viewing the Blu-ray. The Ultra HD Blu-ray version looked far better than the SDR one, especially when it came to shadow detail.

Black levels and shadow detail on the Prometheus Blu-ray were more consistently impressive on the LG, from the blackness behind the star fields at the film's beginning to the dark cave scenes. Screen uniformity was excellent here as well. (On a related note, I saw a slight hint of dark vertical streaking on a 5 percent gray full-field test pattern, but it essentially disappeared on a 10 percent pattern.)

Samsara is an exceptional, though occasionally disturbing, documentary with a selection of scenes ranging from bizarre (chicken processing on a production line) to gorgeous (a monastery in Tibet). The latter offers a stunning shot of the monks creating a brilliantly colored sand mandala. The GX did everything right on this disc, but it also prompted me to sample the HDR Effect Picture Mode, which purports to simulate HDR from an SDR source. The verdict: it worked well (particularly in stunning shots of Versailles). Some viewers may find this enhancement mode addictive, though my preference is to view sources as originally produced.

I'm a sucker for historical films. Victoria & Abdul, which tells the story of the relationship of Queen Victoria in her dotage (the late 1800s) and her Indian friend/companion/teacher, is by turns dramatic and very funny. But even if you don't care for this sort of thing (no Marvel superheroes make an appearance) you can't deny the film's visual brilliance. The LG 65GX did a masterful job in showing every last bit of the production's vibrant but not overdone colors and rich detail. The banquet scene alone would make for a great video demo.


Ultra HD/HDR Performance
The 65GX also performed well with HDR prior to calibration. Colors were consistently impressive, and with the set's Dynamic Tone Mapping and other processing active, dark scenes never looked crushed except when viewing the occasional poorly mastered, mostly early, Ultra HD Blu-ray (I'm looking at you, Exodus: Gods and Kings!).

Guardians of the Galaxy No.2 is a superb transfer that I've used frequently in the past for TV evaluations. The disc never looked better than it did on the 65GX. GG2 is the rare live-action movie that outdoes the color palette found on many animated titles (though some might argue that it's a live-action cartoon!), and colors here were a cut above. While the 65GX, like all OLEDs, can't equal the peak brightness level possible with LCD display technology, I never felt shortchanged. Bright highlights—almost wall-to-wall in this film—popped off the screen. If my reactions had been recorded, they would have easily made for another "Oh, My" commercial.

Pixar's Inside Out is also a riot of color and bright HDR highlights. Chapter 18 features a giant clown with a ruby red nose and rich red highlights on his clothing. When the film was first released in theaters, there were rumors (never confirmed to my knowledge) that the reds in this scene had actually been produced in BT.2020, a color gamut even wider than the P3 one that's almost universally used for Ultra HD sources. While it's unlikely this is the case (I'm not sure there's even production equipment capable of that as yet), I will say that I've never seen deeper reds on any video source or display than I noted in that scene on LG's 65GX.


The 65GX's color, detail, and HDR performance was outstanding with every source I watched. But what about black level and contrast—OLED's main calling cards? While I had little complaint there, I've also noted in previous TV tests that black levels with HDR sources are generally a little less jaw-dropping than with SDR ones. That stands to reason, and the LG's measured black level in HDR was about 1.5 times higher than in SDR (see Test Bench). But at 0.0055 nits (0.0016 foot-Lamberts) for HDR, it was still astonishingly low. What that means with real HDR sources, as opposed to test patterns, is that in a totally darkened room I could just make out the black bars on letterboxed films with the 65GX, and also when a scene faded to total black.

While I didn't perform a Dolby Vision calibration for this review, I did watch sources in that format with similarly superb results. The best movie I saw in a theater last year was 1917, and it looks equally riveting on disc with Dolby Vision HDR. Subdued colors looked spot-on in the Dolby Vision default Cinema picture mode. And while there were some slightly grayish blacks in some of the darker scenes (possibly present in the transfer itself or in the film's otherwise exceptional photography), picture contrast overall was impossible to fault.

I had an uncle who once said he'd buy a new TV when they were perfected. We didn't get there in his lifetime, and perhaps never will. But while LG's new GX series OLED TVs might not do everything perfectly (LG would likely disagree!) the 65GXPUA offers several subtle improvements over its E9 series predecessor that I tested in 2019, and, even better, is significantly less expensive than that model.

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