I tested LG's cheap OLED TV: 3 ways it matches the C2, and 1 where it doesn't

LG A2 OLED TV smart TV interface
(Image credit: Future)

LG’s A series OLED TVs are the company’s value-focused line, with models in all screen sizes priced substantially lower than its more performance-oriented C series, a perennial top choice in our Best OLED TV buying guide.

The new A2 series is sold in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes in the US, with the 55-inch model priced at $1,299 / £1,078. A 48-inch model is also available in the UK for £999.

As the least expensive LG OLED TVs, the A2 series lacks some of the higher-end features found in the company’s C2, G2, and even step-up B2 series models such as HDMI 2.1 ports, 120 Hz display, AMD Freesync, and hands-free voice control. They also lack LG’s higher-brightness OLED evo panel and the latest generation a9 Gen5 AI Processor 4K, having to make do instead with last year’s a7 Gen5 AI Processor 4K.

But the A2 series nonetheless appears to be fairly feature-rich for a value-oriented TV. Here’s a rundown of what it offers:

  • 48- 55-, 65-inch screen sizes (48-inch not available in US)
  • 4K resolution with Dolby Vision, Dolby Vision IQ, HLG, and HGiG (HDR Gaming Interest Group) high dynamic range support
  • HDMI 2.0b inputs (3) with auto low latency mode (ALLM) and eARC
  • Filmmaker mode
  • Web OS22 interface
  • ATSC 1.0 tuner
  • AirPlay 2
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GeForce Now and Stadia cloud gaming
  • Game Optimizer mode with Game Dashboard
  • Built-in Google Assistant / Alexa voice assistant

LG sent us the 55-inch version (model number: OLED55A2PUA) to test and, eager to see how the A2 would hold up against pricier OLED TVs, we gave it a quick measurements run to get a handle on its performance. This post will be followed up by a full TechRadar review, so keep an eye out for that in the near future.

Near-infinite contrast 

Multiple light output readings made on a full-black test pattern yielded an average measurement of 0.0017 nits. That’s strikingly close to the 0 nits, or true black, needed for a TV to qualify as having “infinite” contrast – something that more expensive OLED models like LG’s G2 manage. 

Although contrast on the 55-inch A2 was only “near-infinite,” blacks looked extremely deep in the manner of the best 4K TVs, making this a promising start to our A2 evaluation. 

Screen brightness was also sufficient in the dim environment where initial tests were carried out. But at around 524 nits maximum light output in the Standard (HDR) picture mode, it’s notably less bright than LG’s C2 OLED, and even the earlier C1 model. 

Near-full DCI-P3 color space coverage

Sony’s A80K OLED TV, a step-down model in that company’s OLED lineup, achieved full coverage of DCI-P3, the color gamut used for mastering movies for digital cinema and 4K Blu-ray disc release, and so we were eager to see if the A2 would measure up (using Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software) to that more value-oriented Sony model. 

At 98.8% DCI-P3 coverage, the result turned out to be pretty close, and better than many other TVs, including some more expensive models, manage. LG’s OLED TVs have traditionally measured well on this parameter, however, so we weren’t too surprised. This is good news for both streamers and for 4K Blu-ray collectors, because the LG’s near-full DCI-P3 coverage will indeed do their discs justice.

Low input lag for gaming

While the A2 series sets are not 120Hz-capable TVs, they are nonetheless packed with gaming features including a Game Optimizer onscreen menu that gives you extended controls over the set’s performance when in that mode. With the Low Input Lag setting selected in Game Optimizer mode, the 55-inch A2 TV measured 10ms – a lower input lag result than the Sony A80K, and one that holds up against the best gaming TVs.

LG A2 OLED TV angled on TV stand

LG's A2 series OLED TV comes with spindly feet instead of a solid table mount, though upgrade options are available. (Image credit: Future)

A2 series: awesome OLED TV value?

We haven’t had a chance yet to do a deep-dive on the LG’s performance, but the few sports and news programs we’ve had a chance to watch so far indicate promising overall picture quality for a budget TV. The big questions now are how this set will hold up with HDR movies and for viewing in more well-lit rooms.

Those questions – and others! – will be answered in our forthcoming full review, so stay tuned. If this set can look even 80% as good with games, movies, and sports as LG’s C2 series TVs, the A2 series will turn out to be an excellent value.

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.