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Sony A9S vs LG OLED CX Review (XBR48A9S vs OLED48CX)

by on January 6, 2021
 



Sony A9S vs LG OLED CX Review

Sony A9S is a part of Sony’s 2020 OLED TV lineup. But unlike other models, it comes in one screen size variant only, which is 48 inches.  It is the first model of Sony’s OLED TV that comes in 48 inches (XBR48A9S) and at the time also the smallest variant of Sony’s OLED TV. On the other hand, the LG OLED CX is also a part of the LG’s 2020 OLED TV lineup and the only model that has 48 inches variant (OLED48CXPUB). It is also the smallest consumers OLED TV that released by LG. But as we have known, LG is the only company that produce OLED panel, the OLED panel of A9S also OLED panel that made by LG. This means, although Sony XBR48A9S and LG OLED48CX are produced by different manufacturer, but they use the OLED panel that has the same technical platform.

Meanwhile, talking about their price, in the market, the XBR48A9S is sold hundreds dollar more expensive than the OLED48CX. But of course, their price is not fixed and could still change at any time. So, which is a better choice between them?

Short Review of Sony A9S and LG OLED CX

Sony A9S vs LG OLED CX Key Specification

Specs and Features LG CX (OLED CX) Sony A9S
Resolution 4K (2160 x 3840) 4K (2160 x 3840)
Screen Sizes Available 48 Inches (LG OLED48CXPUB, 55 Inches (OLED55CXPUA), 65 Inches (OLED65CXPUA), 77 inches (OLED77CXPUA) 48 Inches (XBR48A9S)
Panel Type OLED OLED
Dimming Pixel Level Dimming Pixel Level Dimming
Picture Engine Alpha 9 Gen 3 Processor 4K HDR Processor X1 Ultimate
4K Up-scaling AI Up scaling 4K X Reality Pro
HDR Format Supports Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
Dolby Vision IQ Yes No
HDR Enhancement 4K Cinema HDR, HDR Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro, Dolby Vision IQ -
Contrast Enhancement Object Depth Enhancer, Ultra Luminance Pro, Face Enhancing Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object Based HDR Remaster, Pixel Contrast Booster
Color Enhancement Intense Color, Billion Rich Colors, Advanced Color Enhancer, True Color Accuracy Pro, 4 Colors Sub Pixel Live Color Technology, Precision Color Mapping, Super Bit Mapping HDR, TriLuminos Display
Clarity Enhancement Quad Step Noise Reduction, Frequency Based Sharpness Enhancer Dual Database Processing, Object Based Super Resolution
Motion Enhancement OLED Motion Pro X Motion Clarity, Auto Mode
Refresh Rate Panel Native 120 Hz Native 120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate Support HDMI Forum VRR, G-Sync (NVidia Certified), FreeSync is on a future firmware update, HGiG No
Platform WebOS 5.0 Android 9.0 Pie
AI TV (Artificial Intelligence) LG ThinQ AI, Google Assistant, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Intelligence Voice Recognition, AI Picture Pro, AI Sound Pro, AI Brightness, Apple AirPlay 2, Apple Home Kit Google Assistant, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, , Apple AirPlay 2, Apple Home Kit
Remote 2020 of LG Magic Remote 2020 model of Sony Voice Remote
HDMI 4 4
HDMI Supports HDMI 2.1 Full bandwidth (All), HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth (All), HDCP 2.2 (All), ARC (HDMI 2), eARC (HDMI 2) HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth (All), HDCP 2.3 (All), ARC (HDMI 2), eARC (HDMI 2)
USB 3 3
Ethernet 1 1
RF (Terrestrial Cable) 1 1
Composite In (AV) 1 1
Component In No No
Channel 2.2 2.1Channel
Total Audio Output 40 Watt(WF : 20 Watts) 25 Watt(WF : 5 Watts)
Speaker Type N/a Acoustic Surface Audio
Speaker Configuration Front Firing (Reflector) Actuator X2, Subwoofer X1
Dolby Atmos Support Yes Yes

Technologies and Features of Sony A9S and LG CX

Panel Technology

As we have mentioned above, although the OLED48CX and Sony A9S are produced by different company, but they both use OLED panel that produced by LG. This means, they use the OLED panel that has the same technical platform. With other words, there is no difference between them on their panel. As we have known, the LG’s OLED panel uses 4 sub-pixels structure or WRGB. In addition RGB sub-pixels, there is an additional white sub pixel for improving their brightness level. Meanwhile, the main advantage of OLED panel is that it has pixel dimming level. This is caused it has self-lighting pixel. As we have known, each pixel of OLED panel can emit its own light and individually switch on/off/dim without affected by the condition of other pixel surrounding. In addition pixel diming level, this makes it can produce nearly perfect.  This is caused when it is showing black, the pixels in black area switch off and there is no light emitted at all.

Image Processor

Just like the higher model of LG’s 2020 OLED TV lineup, the LG OLED CX is also powered by Alpha 9 Gen 3 processor, the flagship of LG’s 2020 image processor. It is the latest generation or third generation of the powerful Alpha 9 image processor. Compared the previous model, it brings some improvements, particularly in AI (artificial intelligence) algorithm. As we have known, the Alpha 9 image processor has ability to provide some AI-related features like AI picture, AI Brightness, and AI Sound, and AI Volume. Apart from that, this processor also has great performance in processing 4K signal. It has up-scaling engine that can up-scale lower resolution content to 4K resolution excellently. In addition its Up-scaling engine has been based on AI, it also has deep learning machine that can enhance the resolution and sharpness of contents, making the up-scaled images resulted looks very smooth with details are still preserved well.

On the other hand, the Sony A9S is powered by 4K HDR Processor X1 Ultimate, also the flagship of Sony’s image processor. It has many features for improving its HDR performance. For maximizing contrast, there are pixel contrast booster, Object based Remaster technology, etc. Meanwhile, for improving color reproduction, there are Precision Color Mapping and Super Bit Mapping HDR. And for improving clarity of HDR images, there are Dual Database Processing and Object Based Super Resolution technology embedded on this chipset. All of these technologies makes this processor can process 4K HDR images excellently, even if the source has lower resolution contents. But unlike the image processor of 48OLEDCX, the processor of XBR58A9S doesn’t have ability to provide AI-related features.

Motion Technology

Both of the LG CX or OLED48 CX and Sony A9F or XBR48A9S have native 120 HZ refresh rate panel. This makes them support most supports any content with frame rate up to 120 HZ. Additionally, this allows them can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120 Hz. Meanwhile, the advantage of the LG OLED CX, in addition it has native 120 HZ refresh rate panel, it also already supports Variable Refresh Rate Technology that compatible with some gaming features like FreeSync, GSync, etc. Regardless the resolution, its frame rate can range between 40 HZ to 120 Hz. As we have known, VRR technology can improve TV’s gaming performance. On the other hand, the Sony A9S doesn’t support any VRR technology.

Since OLED TV doesn’t have backlight, to dim its screen, it doesn’t use PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) dimming system like on LED TV. This makes their screen is almost flicker-free, even with untrained eyes, there is no flicker noticeable at all, that means it is great. But even so, in certain condition, particularly when they are playing fast moving images, screen flicker is required to make motion smoother.  And for this purpose, they both have an optional BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode that make their screen can flicker at 60 Hz or 120 Hz. On the A9S, enabling “MotionFlow” then set “Clearness “ to “3” will make its screen flicker at 60 Hz, while set “Clearness” to “2” will make its screen flicker at 120 Hz. Meanwhile, on OLED CX, to enable its BFI mode, you can set “TruMotion” to “User” and “OLED Motion” to “High”. This will make its screen flicker at 60 Hz. But unfortunately, its 120 HZ BFI mode works properly in Game Mode only.

Connectivity

The LG CX and Sony A9S are equipped with almost same connectivity. AS their main connectivity, they both have 4 HDMI ports. But even so, the HDMI ports of the OLED CX support more resolutions than the A9S. OLED CX supports most of resolution such as 1080p at 60 Hz and 120 HZ, 1440p at 60 HZ and 120 Hz, and even 4K @ 120 60 HZ and 120 Hz. On the other hand, for the A9s, with 60 fps content, it may supports all resolution including 1080p, 1440p, and 4K, but with 120 fps content, it only supports 4K 1080p resolution only. In addition support more resolution, HDMI ports of the OLED CX also supports more features. Their HDMI ports may supports HDCP 2.2, CEC, ARC, eARC, and HDMI 2.0 full bandwidth. However, the advantages of LG CX, it also supports HDMI 2.1 while none of HDMI ports of the A(S which supports HDMI 2.1. But even so, although HDMI ports of OLED CX supports HDMI 2.1, but they only supports 40 Gbps, not full bandwidth that requires 48 Gbps of bandwidth.

In addition to have 4 HDMI ports, they both also have 3 USB ports. The advantage of the A9S, one of its USB ports is USB 3.0 (USB 1) while the rests are USB 2.0. Meanwhile, OLED CX doesn’t have USB 3.0 that means all of its USB ports are USB 2.0. In addition USB and HDMI ports, they both have 1 Composite In, 1 RF In, 1 Digital Audio Out (optical), 1 Analog Audio Out (Mini Jack 3.5 mm), and 1 Ethernet In. Special for the A9S, it also has 1 IR in while the LG CX doesn’t has this port.

Smart TV Platform

WebOS 5.0 vs Android 9.0

Just like other model of Sony’s 2020 OLED TV lineup, the Sony A9s runs the2020 version of Android TV or Android 9.0 Pie. On the other hand, the LG CX also runs the 2020 version of WebOS or WebOS 5.0. Both of these platforms have intuitive layout and easy to use and smooth interface. They both also have good selection of preinstalled apps. There are most popular streaming apps such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video, etc, Web Browser, Games, Live TVS, and more. They both also have an app store that also has great selections of apps and content. If the Android TV comes with Google Play Store, the WebOS comes with LG, apps store. But even so, for the case, since it is supported by more developers, apps and content provided by Play store are more complete than what provided by LG’s apps store.  They both also already support some voice navigation platform like Google Voice Assistant, Amazon Alexa, etc. Special for the WebOS, it also has its own voice navigation platform called LG ThinQ AI.

Meanwhile, as their controller, the Sony A9S is equipped with Sony Voice Remote while LG CX is equipped with LG’s magic remote. Both of these remotes have built-in microphone for voice navigation. IN addition standard buttons like direction button, number button, power button, volume buttons, etc, they both also have two dedicated buttons. If the dedicated buttons of A9S for Google Play and Netflix, the dedicated buttons of the LG CX for Netflix and Amazon Prime. The advantage of the LG’s remote, it also has clickable scroll wheel, allowing you to use it like a traditional or point and press.

Check the Latest Price
Sony A9S LG CX (OLED CX)
48 inches XBR48A9S on Amazon OLED48CXPUB on Amazon
55 inches OLED55CXPUA on Amazon
65 inches OLED65CXPUA on Amazon
77 inches OLED77CXPUA on Amazon

Sony A9S vs LG OLED CX Performance

Black Level and Contrast

OLED TV Black Level

The image is only an illustration

As we have known, black level and contras is one of the major advantages of OLED TV. Since they don’t use backlight and it has self-lighting pixel, when producing black, there is no light emitted at all. The result, black produced by them is nearly perfect. This also makes them have nearly perfect black uniformity. Additionally, its self-lighting pixel also allows them have pixel level dimming. It is equivalent to LED TV that has FALD (Full Array Local Dimming) with the number of dimming zones is same to the number of pixel. So in addition they both have nearly perfect black and black uniformity, their pixel dimming level also makes small highlight can be shown very focus without blooming surrounding. In general, their performance in producing black is really excellent and there is no LED TV that can match them

Winner: Draw

SDR Peak Brightness

The LG CX has a bit brighter SDR peak brightness than the Sony A9S. With real scene, the A9S hits around 260 nits while the LG CX hits 60 nits brighter or around 320 nits.  Meanwhile, with windows test, the OLED CX hits highest peak brightness on 2% and 10 % window where it hits around 460 nits for a short time and drop to around 335 nits after stabilized. On the other hand A9s hits brightest peak brightness at 10% and 25% window where it hits around 450 nits for a short time and drop to around 420 nits after stabilized. On 2% window, the A9s hits around 380 nits after stabilized and on 25% white window size, the LG CX hits around 390 nits after stabilized. On 50% window, the A9S hits around 260 nits after stabilized and OLED CX hits around 320 nits after stabilized. And on 1005 white window sizes, their peak brightness is dropped significantly by their ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) to around 145 nits. With this statistic, overall, except a room with direct sunlight, their peak brightness is actually bright enough to fight the glare in most bright room that means it is good for home use.

Winner: LG OLED CX

HDR Peak Brightness

With HDR content, both of them can hit brighter peak brightness. But just like their SDR peak brightness, the LG CX also can get a bit brighter than Sony A9s. With real content, the A9S hits around 630 nits, while the LG CX can hit 50 nits brighter or around 685 nits. They both hit highest peak brightness on 2% and 10% white window size where the A9S hits around 785 nits and 690 nits for a short time and slightly drop to around 670 nits and 630 nits after stabilized, while the LG CX hit around 800 nits and 815 nits for a short time and drop to around 750 nits and 775 nits after stabilized. On 25% white window, the A9S hits around 480 nits for a short time and slightly drop to around 465 nits after stabilized while the LG CX hits around 450 nits for a short time and slightly drop to around 430 nits after stabilized. On 50% white window, the LG CX hits around 300 nits for a short time and slightly drops to around 290 nits after stabilized while the A9s hits around 250 nits. Just like their SDR peak brightness, on 100% white window, their peak brightness is dropped significantly by their ABL system to around 140 nits.

With their statistic, for OLED TV, their HDR peak brightness is fairly good. As long as you don’t use them in a room with a direct sunlight, highlight of HDR images can pop, making HDR images can be shown as bright as they should be. But of course, their HDR peak brightness is not as bright as premium LED TV that has peak brightness brighter than 1000 nits.

Winner: LG OLED CX

Color Gamut and Color Volume

Since they both use the OLED panel that has some technical platform, color gamut delivered by them is also almost similar. And their color gamut is really excellent. In DCI P3 xy color space, the Sony A9S can cover around 95% while the LG CX can cover around 97% of color space. In DCI P3 uv color space, they both can cover around 98% of color space. Additionally, in Rec.2020 color space, their color gamut coverage is almost similar where the A9S can cover around 70% of Rec.2020 xy and around 76% of Rec.2020 uv color space while the LG CX cover around 72% of Rec.2020 xy and around 76% of Rec.2020 uv. With their excellent color gamut coverage, can be ascertained, most color of HDR images can be shown fairly accurate on their screen, regardless the HDR content is mastered in DCI P3 like HDR10 images or in Rec.2020 like Dolby Vision content.

Wide color gamut

The image is only illustration

Additionally, they both also have similar color volume and overall, their color volume is good. They both can produce deep dark shades of colors thank to their infinite native contrast ratio. In general they both can produce colors in its brightness range. But just like other OLED TVs, they both cannot produce saturated bright color. You need to know, the use of white sub pixel may be able to boost their peak brightness and make them can produce pure white, but on the other hand, this will de-saturate bright colors. Making them cannot produce saturated bright colors. Meanwhile, compare between them, the advantage of LG CX to Sony A9s may be caused by panel variance.

Winner: Draw

Color Gradient

They both support 10 bit depth of color and color produced by them is really smooth. But for this case, the A9S is a bit better than OLED CX. On the screen of the A9S, color gradient of HDR images displayed on its screen looks very smooth with almost no banding. There is only a tiny banding where this should be hard to notice by most people. Meanwhile, on the screen of the LG CX, color gradient of HDR images displayed on its screen also looks very smooth. On its screen, there may be bit more banding in all colors than on the screen of the A9s, but in general, this should be also hard to notice for most people. But even so, if you are very sensitive to banding and you may still feel bothered, they both have a feature that can remove banding. On the A9S, you can set “Smooth Gradation” to “Medium” or “High” while on the LG CX, you can enable “Smooth Gradation”. But you need to know, enabling this feature may be able to remove banding, but on the other hand, this will cause lose of fine details in certain scenes.

Winner: Sony A9S

Side Viewing Angle

LED vs OLED panel Viewing Angle

The image is only an illustration

Side Viewing Angle Coverage also becomes the major advantage of OLED TV than LED TV, particularly in maintaining brightness level and color accuracy. They both can maintain black level produced by them up to around 70 degrees off center and front. This means, even though you watch TV from side, black of images will still look really black. Additionally, brightness level of images also can be maintained up to around 60 degrees. So, even though you watch TV from extremely wide angle, brightness level of images will not drop significantly like on LED TV. Although not as wide as brightness level and black level, they both also can prevent their color from shifting up to around 30 degrees and from washed out up to around 50 degrees. So, even though you watch TV from side, the picture displayed on their screen will look not much different to when you watch TV from the center and front. So, you will not get a problem when you watch a big game with a group of your family or friend.

Winner: Draw

Motion Handling

Both of the Sony A9S and LG CX also have excellent motion handling. As we have known, all OLED TVS including the A9S and OLED CX have nearly instantaneous pixel response time. And of course, this is great for fast moving images. So, when they are showing fast moving images, the picture displayed on their screen looks very clear with almost no motion blur. There may be still very short ghosting trail following fast moving object but most people should not notice that. But unfortunately, nearly instantaneous pixel response time may make fast motion look very clear with almost no motion blur, but on the other hand, this makes low frame rate content like 24p movies appear to stutter. But of course, this is not a big problem because it can be solved by enabling their motion interpolation or BFI mode.

OLED vs LED TV Motion Blur

IN addition they both can handle motion excellently, they can also handle judder of 24p movies fairly good. Regardless the source of 24p movies, whether it is native 24p movies like DVD or Blu Ray movies, 24p movies via 60i signal like movies from satellite TV, 24p movies via 60p signal like movies from streaming devices, or movies from native streaming apps like YouTube, Amazon Prime, etc, they both can show them with judder free. But of course, to remove judder, you must make some certain setting. On the A9S, you just need to set “Cinemotion” to “Auto” while on LG CX, you just need to enable its BFI mode.

Winner: Draw

Input Lags

In Game Mode, input lags of the LG CX is lower than Sony A9S, regardless the resolution, on 60 Hz content, its input lags are around 14 ms while on 120 Hz content, its input lags is even much lower, which is around 7 ms. On the other hand, with 60 fps content, input lags of the A9S is around 18 ms while with 120 fps content its input lag is around 10 ms. As we have discussed above, the A9S doesn’t support 1440p and 4K resolution at 120 Hz. Special for the LG CX, its input lags in VRR mode is also excellent. With 1080p and 1440p resolution, its input lags are around 7 ms while with 4K resolution, its input lag is around 10 ms. Meanwhile, for the A9S, it doesn’t support any VRR technology. And although its input lags are not as low as the LG CX, but it is still low enough to make it is very responsive when used for playing any games, even for fast paced game that require fast reflexes. And of course, since it has lower input lags at any resolution and frame rate, of course this makes it is more responsive than the A9S. Let alone it also already supports VRR technology, this certainly make it is better than the A9S when used for playing games.

Winner: LG OLED CX

Check the Latest Price
Sony A9S LG CX (OLED CX)
48 inches XBR48A9S on Amazon OLED48CXPUB on Amazon
55 inches OLED55CXPUA on Amazon
65 inches OLED65CXPUA on Amazon
77 inches OLED77CXPUA on Amazon

Conclusion

For Watching Movie

Since they both have infinite native contrast ratio that makes them can produce nearly perfect black. Additionally, their self-lighting pixel also makes them have excellent black uniformity and pixel dimming level.  All of these make them can show dark scene excellently, even when they are set in a dark room. Additionally, its pixel dimming level also makes them can show small highlight in a dark scene without blooming. In addition they can show excellent image quality in a dark room, they both also can handle 24p judder fairly well, allowing you to watch movies with judder-free. But unfortunately, since they both have nearly instantaneous pixel response time, this makes 24p movies appears to stutter and you must enable their BFI mode or Motion Interpolation in order to be not bothered by stuttering. But overall, their performance when used for watching movies in a dark scene is exceptional.

Winner: Draw

For Watching Sports

Meanwhile, when used for watching sports in a bright room, their performance is also great and almost similar. Their SDR peak brightness may be not very bright, but as long as you don’t use them in a room with direct sunlight, their SDR peak brightness is still bright enough to fight the glare. Moreover, they both have excellent motion handling, this certainly makes you can watch sports without distracted by glare.  Not only that, their nearly instantaneous pixel response time and great BFI mode also allow you to watch fast moving sports like F1 or Moto GP with smooth and clear picture quality and without blur. And of course, their excellent side viewing angle coverage ensure all of you can get the best viewing when you watch a big game with a group of your family and friend.

Winner: Draw

For Playing Games

When used for playing games, the LG OLED CX is better than Sony A9S. They both may able to produce stunning picture quality, allowing you to play games with stunning picture quality. Additionally, they both also have excellent motion handling, making fast games appears smoothly on their screen. Their HDMI Ports also already supports ALLM (Auto Loa Latency Mode) that allow them can automatically change to game mode once  a signal from a game console is detected, so you don’t need to change it manually. But even so, the input lags of the LG CX are a bit lower in any frame rate and resolution, making it is more responsive than the A9S. And this will be more pronounced when you play fast paced games that require fast reflexes. Additionally, The LG CX also already supports VRR technology that can improve its gaming performance, allowing you to play any games without screen tearing effect. On the other hand, the A9S doesn’t support any VRR technology. But even so, although its input lag is not as low as the LG CX and it doesn’t also support VRR technology, gaming performance of the A9S is still good.  But keep in mind, like other models of OLED TVs, since they both have a risk to permanent burn in, play the same game for a long time is not recommended.

Winner: LG OLED CX

HDR Performance

Both of LG OLED CX and Sony A9S also have good HDR performance, they can produce nearly perfect black and has nearly perfect black uniformity. And combined to their pixel dimming, this allows them can show shadow details of HDR images the way they should be. Their wide color gamut and smooth color gradient also makes colors of HDR images can be shown fairly accurate with smooth gradient without noticeable banding. Although not as bright as premium LED TV, their HDR peak brightness is also bright enough to bring out highlight in HDR, particularly when you set them in moderately-lit to dim room. Meanwhile, compare between them, the Sony A9S is better in color gradient while the LG CX can show a bit brighter HDR images. However, in general, their HDR performance is equally good and not much different.

Winner: Draw

Summary

As we have discussed a lot above, both of LG OLED CX and Sony A9S are great TVs for mixed usage. No matter you use them for watching movies in a dark room, TV Shows, Sports, or HDR content, their performance is really great. Additionally, they both also have a lot of advanced features that will improve your experience in enjoying home entertainment.  But even so, this doesn’t mean they both are perfect. They both still have some shortcoming like image stuttering, risk to permanent burn-in, etc. But In general, they are equally great TVs. So, which is a better choice between them? Just we have mentioned above, with the same screen (XBR48A9S vs OLED48CXPUB), the Sony A9S is sold hundreds dollar more expensive than the OLED CX. The Sony A9S may be not as good as the LG OLED CX when used for playing gaming, but it has a feature the LG CX doesn’t have, which is acoustic surface technology. This allows it can produce sound through its screen, not a traditional speaker on the LG CX. Now, the decision comes back to you according to your own preferences.

Check the Latest Price
Sony A9S LG CX (OLED CX)
48 inches XBR48A9S on Amazon OLED48CXPUB on Amazon
55 inches OLED55CXPUA on Amazon
65 inches OLED65CXPUA on Amazon
77 inches OLED77CXPUA on Amazon

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