LG CS OLED 4K TV review

LG CS OLED 4K TV review: a movie and gaming powerhouse


OLED TVs are considered the gold standard when it comes to vibrant colours and bold contrast. For 10 years, LG has gone all-in on the self-lit pixel technology, and it’s clear to see why. When watching a movie or playing a video game with light and dark scenes on an OLED display, the picture absolutely pops. We’re currently in between TV generations, with major brands rolling out their latest and greatest as I type. The LG CS OLED TV sits in an interesting position: it is undoubtedly a brilliant TV, but its place on the pecking order is somewhat murky.

Positioned as LG’s version of an entry-level OLED display, you still get great performance from the CS. However, you can’t help but wonder if you should just spend a little bit more for the next model up. It is, after all, still several thousand dollars for a decent size. Launched late last year, the LG CS OLED TV sat alongside the now-discontinued C2 model for a few hundred dollars less. Equipped with the same α9 Gen 5 AI Processor as the C2, the main difference between the models is that the CS does not feature the brighter OLED Evo technology.

In other words, what you get with the LG CS OLED TV is fantastic, even if you wonder if the grass is greener – or brighter – on the other side. A mix of watching movies, playing games, and streaming sports prove this is a stellar unit, regardless of any comparisons.

First impressions

I tested the 55-inch model, so the setup was relatively straightforward. Mercifully, the construction of the stand looks and feels more robust than the wobbly one packed with the LG QNED91 TV. What struck me during the setting up process was how thin the CS’ bezel was. You have to be careful not to apply pressure on the screen as you put it together, as there isn’t much space to place your hands. Naturally, this makes for a better viewing experience, though, as you get to enjoy as much of the display as possible.

Another positive observation I quickly made was that the overall user experience feels quicker and snappier. As I mentioned in my review of the QNED91 – which uses the α7 Gen 5 AI Processor – that the WebOS platform felt a bit sluggish. I realise that the TV processors are mainly for image processing, but to my eyes, it seemed that the CS’ α9 processor also helped speed up OS navigation and switching inputs. Opening any of the apps from the vast library supported on WebOS – mainly Kayo, in our household – felt near-instantaneous, reducing any friction to enjoying content.

In fact, the only frown-inducing initial observation I had was that the panel was a bit too reflective for our living room. Particularly during the day, our entertainment area lets in a lot of natural light from the side. This casts plenty of reflections on the TV, which was highly noticeable no matter what I used the LG CS OLED TV for.

This is where the debate about the best TV types pops up: OLEDs are unbeatable in controlled dark environments but don’t offer the same levels of high brightness as other types of technology, like Mini-LEDs. Cranking up the brightness helps compensate for when you don’t have full control over the lighting situation, so the QNED91 and similar TVs are more flexible in that regard. This being said, the gap between different types of TV tech is closing, and relates to my point earlier about choosing the CS over a slightly more expensive OLED model capable of generating more pixel brightness.

Before I tried one for myself, I always wondered what people meant by the “deep blacks” of an OLED display. Black is black, right? Not quite. Older LED technology lights up the whole screen, meaning that even scenes meant to be completely black appear, at best, a very dark grey. Meanwhile, OLED technology only lights up the pixels it needs to, so if something should be as dark as the night sky, it will be. Seeing this contrast in person is eye-popping.

LG CS OLED 4K TV specifications

Size reviewed55-inch
Screen technologyOLED
Processorα9 Gen 5 AI Processor
Resolution3840 x 2160
Operating SystemWebOS 22
HDR formatDolby Vision IQ with precise detail, HDR10, HLG
Connections4 HDMI 2.1 ports (4K @ 120Hz), 3 USB-A ports, 1 RF Antenna input, 1 LAN port, 1 Digital Optical Audio output, Wi-Fi (802.11ac)
Warranty1 year
More detailsLG website


Movie night

While reviewing the LG CS OLED TV, I rewatched the John Wick movies ahead of the fourth film’s theatrical release. Flashy neo-noir action flicks with lots of high-contrast scenes, they’re a great series to test a TV out with. For full reference, I waited until night, switched the lights off, loaded up a 4K Blu-Ray into my PlayStation 5, and then set the TV to Filmmaker Mode.

Wow, what a spectacular viewing experience it was. Although not the most colourful of movies, the neon lights of the underworld in John Wick were brilliantly deep and vivid. I was most interested in the HDR performance, which was exceptional. You could easily view details of dimly lit scenes, to the point of practically counting the threads on Wick’s signature black suit. In the same scenes, lights and muzzle flashes also stood out without being overexposed. Most importantly, I couldn’t see any blooming or halo effects. And trust me, I was watching the letterboxed borders closely for the slightest bit of light bleeding from the film’s image.

This goes to show that the LG CS OLED TV lives up to its claims, delivering exactly what an OLED should. In theory, because the panel is lit on a per-pixel basis, the colours and lighting of an image should be precise. In practice, this was absolutely the case, making for a brilliant home cinema experience with all the lights off.

Number one Victory Royale

Rarely have I enabled HDR while playing video games. This comes down to two factors: many of the first games to implement HDR did so poorly, and I didn’t previously have a TV fully capable of producing the format. Brightness is an important aspect of HDR, so you need a display capable of brightening up the lightest parts of an image. However, depending on how a TV is lit, it may not be very good at brightening up specific parts of the screen and not others.

Although I don’t have an exact brightness specification for the LG CS OLED TV, it handles HDR content strongly with decent contrast. I’ve enjoyed going back through games, enabling HDR, and seeing what difference it makes. I’m currently playing the Resident Evil 4 remake, and the contrast between sources of light and spookily dark areas looks great.

Aside from making games look fantastic, the LG CS OLED TV also includes many game-specific features that are becoming the norm across televisions. Things like Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), a low-latency gaming picture mode, and 120Hz support for modern consoles are all welcome features. I play Fortnite regularly with a group of friends, and the game’s recent next-gen update runs wonderfully on my Xbox Series X. It looks smooth on the TV, which also does justice to Fortnite’s kaleidoscopic colour palette.

Also great for sport, the CS has a wide viewing angle, so you don’t have to sit front and centre to enjoy the contest. I don’t worry about using the sports picture mode, known as “Cricket” on this model, mainly because it oversaturates the picture like an over-the-top Instagram filter. That, and broadcast TV doesn’t film and transmit in the same high frame rate video games can reach.

TV sport
Watching sport looks great on the TV. It’s even better when your team wins.

There are only two main complaints I have about this TV. One is that reflections from natural light and indoor light fittings show up a fair bit. Nighttime viewing with the lights off is fantastic, but you’ll want to close the curtains for the best daytime performance. The other complaint is that I’m not a fan of the Magic Remote. As I mentioned in my QNED91 review, the main selection button is tricky to press due to its indented position. Also, its glossy underside finish is a fingerprint and smudge magnet, especially for sweaty guys like myself. Ultimately, the remote isn’t that big of a deal, and the reflection issue should be manageable for most households.

Would I buy the LG CS OLED 4K TV?

Yes, I would buy this TV in a heartbeat. My only hesitation comes from wondering what I’d miss out on by not spending a little extra cash on the C2, or the incoming C3 model. That extra brightness could make a difference in our natural light-filled living room during the daytime. However, I wouldn’t really know without a direct side-by-side comparison.

LG CS OLED cat Billie
My cat Billie enjoyed watching the display but refused to provide comment when asked why.

Conversely, if your budget doesn’t stretch any further than the CS, know that it is 100% worth the investment. Another factor is that several retailers have these TVs at prices far cheaper than RRP to make way for 2023 stock. If you see a discount on the CS, grab it with both hands.

A more affordable entry point into the world of OLED TVs, the LG CS makes very few compromises in delivering fantastic picture quality.
Value for money
Ease of use
Fantastic picture quality
Equally well suited to movies, video games, and sport
Updated processor seems to improve WebOS performance
Reflective screen is distracting in well-lit environments
Magic Remote is uncomfortable to use