I wouldn't buy LG's 48-inch OLED TV, even at this cheapest ever price

LG OLED A1 sitting in the sitting room of a modern apartment
(Image credit: LG)

LG made Amazon Prime Day history this year with a limited-time deal on its 48-inch A1 OLED, a 2021 model. 

The $676 that LG’s TV was being let go for marked a new low price for an OLED TV, a type that typically sells at prices well above basic QLED models with the same screen size.

While that particular deal has since disappeared from Amazon, other retailers including Best Buy have stepped up with similar ones, so you can still snag an LG A1 OLED for that same ultra-low price, or just a bit above. The question is, should you even bother?

Are all OLEDs alike?

OLED picture quality is undeniably fantastic: along with deep blacks and rich color, you get a wide viewing angle and a uniquely subtle presentation that avoids some of the harsher qualities of LED-lit TVs (especially ones that don’t have their picture adjusted properly). 

All of those benefits should also be evident in this entry-level OLED model.

But picture quality isn’t the real issue here – picture size is. 4K-resolution Ultra HDTV images cry out to be displayed on a screen that’s bigger than 48 inches. That’s because most people sit at an average 8-foot distance from their TV, and at that distance, the visual benefits of 4K can’t be appreciated on a 48-inch screen. 

A regular old HDTV would be a much better match, and it would certainly cost a lot less than a 4K one.

Where a 48-inch OLED TV would make sense is when used as a gaming monitor. That’s the use LG’s first 48-inch OLED model was being put to when I first encountered one at the CES trade show, and it was an impressive sight to behold. 

To that end, the A1 series has solid gaming features, including a Game Optimizer mode, a claimed 1ms input lag, and an Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). 

But the A1 is not a 120Hz-capable display – a feature would let it take advantage of the 4K/120Hz video output on PS5 and Xbox Series X gaming consoles – and it also doesn’t support some of the more gamer-centric features in the HDMI 2.1 spec such as Variable Refresh Rate (VRR).


LG's 2021 A1, the lowest priced OLED TV yet. (Image credit: LG)

The brightness question 

OLEDs are also typically dimmer than QLED TVs. That issue has been solved to an extent in some of the latest high-end LG models like the G2 and C2 series sets, but not in this older model. 

Any 48-inch TV, OLED or not, is probably destined for a more typical viewing environment with average room lighting. In that situation a QLED TV will be better since it will deliver brighter pictures, and you are likely to find one of those at an even cheaper price than LG’s 48-inch A1.

Under-$700 QLED TVs

The size factor 

It’s true that nothing would be stopping you from placing an A1 OLED in a light-optimized, home cinema-type environment. But, as mentioned above, a 48-inch screen in that situation would still be too small. 

At that same average 8-foot viewing distance you’ll minimally want a 65-inch screen. 

That’s not just because you’ll get to actually appreciate the incredible level of detail packed into 4K images with a screen that size at that distance, but there will be a much stronger sense of visual immersion – the main reason why we all go out to movie theaters with their huge, eye-enveloping screens, particularly IMAX ones. To be honest, you could get away with using an even larger screen than a 65-inch one at an 8-foot viewing distance.

I’ll just get straight to the point here: don’t buy this 48-inch LG A1 OLED TV. If you really want an OLED, save up your money and use it to buy a bigger model – on Black Friday, perhaps.


LG 48-inch A1-Series OLED TV: $799  $679 at Best Buy
Save $120 - LG’s 48-inch A1-series OLED TV – a 2021 model – is being let go at an astonishing $679. The company’s entry-level OLED is powered by its a7 Gen 4 AI Processor 4K, a Game Optimizer mode, and both Alexa and Google Assistant built in. This Amazon Prime Day price is the lowest yet for this LG 48-incher, so if you’ve always wanted an OLED, here’s the deal.

Al Griffin
Senior Editor Home Entertainment, US

Al Griffin has been writing about and reviewing A/V tech since the days LaserDiscs roamed the earth, and was previously the editor of Sound & Vision magazine. 

When not reviewing the latest and greatest gear or watching movies at home, he can usually be found out and about on a bike.