Sony XBR-48A9S vs LG OLED48CX Review – Which this 48 inches OLED TV is better?
The Sony XBR-48A9S (Sony A9S) and LG OLED48CX (LG OLED CX) are few models of OLED TVs in 2020 that comes with 48 inches of screen sizes. They are a solution for you who want to have OLED TV with more affordable price. This screen size actually is relatively new for OLED TV where it is started in 2020. As we have known, in previous years, the smallest screen size of OLED TV is 55 inches. But unfortunately, comparison between the Sony A9S and LG OLED CX is only on the features and designed that offered, not in their panel. This is caused OLED panel that used by the XBR-48A9S and OLED48CX is made by the same company, which is LG. This means, OLED panel that used by A9S and OLED CX has the same technical platform.
Meanwhile, in the market, the Sony XBR-48A9S are sold hundreds dollars more expensive than the LG OLED48CX. But just we have mentioned, since they use the OLED panel that has the same technical platform, aspects picture quality that influenced by their panel produced by them such as color gamut, black level, response time, etc may be similar. Suppose that there are differences, it is more due to panel variations. So, what features offered by the Sony XBR-A9S and LG OLED48CX and which is a better choice between them?
Short Review of the Sony XBR-A9S and LG OLED48CX
LG OLED48CX vs Sony XBR-48A9S Specification
|Specs and Features||Sony XBR-48A9S||LG OLED48CX|
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Market Name||Sony Master Series XBR-48A9S||LG OLED48CXPUB|
|Dimming||Pixel Level Dimming||Pixel Level Dimming|
|Picture Engine||4K HDR Processor X1 Ultimate||Alpha 9 Gen 3 Processor|
|4K Up-scaling||4K X Reality Pro||AI Up scaling|
|HDR Format Supports||Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG||Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG|
|Dolby Vision IQ||No||Yes|
|HDR Enhancement||-||4K Cinema HDR, HDR Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro, Dolby Vision IQ|
|Contrast Enhancement||Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object Based HDR Remaster, Pixel Contrast Booster||Object Depth Enhancer, Ultra Luminance Pro, Face Enhancing|
|Color Enhancement||Live Color Technology, Precision Color Mapping, Super Bit Mapping HDR, TriLuminos Display||Intense Color, Billion Rich Colors, Advanced Color Enhancer, True Color Accuracy Pro, 4 Colors Sub Pixel|
|Clarity Enhancement||Dual Database Processing, Object Based Super Resolution||Quad Step Noise Reduction, Frequency Based Sharpness Enhancer|
|Motion Enhancement||X Motion Clarity, Auto Mode||OLED Motion Pro|
|Refresh Rate Panel||Native 120 Hz||Native 120 Hz|
|Variable Refresh Rate Support||No||HDMI Forum VRR, G-Sync (NVidia Certified), FreeSync is on a future firmware update, HGiG|
|Platform||Android 9.0 Pie||WebOS 5.0|
|AI TV (Artificial Intelligence)||Google Assistant, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, , Apple AirPlay 2, Apple Home Kit||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|
|Remote||2020 model of Sony Voice Remote||2020 of LG Magic Remote|
|HDMI Supports||HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth (All), HDCP 2.3 (All), ARC (HDMI 2), eARC (HDMI 2)||HDMI 2.1 Full bandwidth (All), HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth (All), HDCP 2.2 (All), ARC (HDMI 2), eARC (HDMI 2)|
|RF (Terrestrial Cable)||1||1|
|Composite In (AV)||1||1|
|Total Audio Output||25 Watt(WF : 5 Watts)||40 Watt(WF : 20 Watts)|
|Speaker Type||Acoustic Surface Audio||N/a|
|Speaker Configuration||Actuator X2, Subwoofer X1||Front Firing (Reflector)|
|Dolby Atmos Support||Yes||Yes|
|Price||See on Amazon||See on Amazon|
Technology and Features of Sony XBR-48A9S and LG OLED48CX
As we have mentioned above, the Sony XBR-48A9S and LG 48OLEDCX both use the OLED panel made by LG. You need to know, LG OELD panel use WRGB sub-pixel structure. This means, there is an additional white sub-pixel besides the standard RGB sub-pixel. In reality, the use of white sub-pixel may be able to improve its brightness level, but on the other hand, this will de-saturate bright colors. Meanwhile, in dark section, OLED panel is exceptional. Unlike the LED panel that requires backlight to emit light, the OLED panel doesn’t need backlight. This is due to each of pixel of OLED panel can emit its own light. And the excellently, each pixel of OLED panel can individually switch off/on/dim without affected by the conditional of pixels surrounding. So, when it is showing black, there is no light at all emitted in black area. The result, black produced by OLED panel is nearly perfect. Additionally, since it doesn’t use backlight, this also makes OLED panel have perfect black uniformity. Not only is that, its pixel that can switch on/off individually also makes OLED panel has pixel dimming level. It is equivalent to LED TV with FALD (Full Array Local Dimming) that has the number of dimming zones is same to the number of pixel where for this time, this is still impossible for LED TV.
The Sony XBR-48A9S and LG OLED48CXPUB are both powered by the flagship of image processor of company. As we see on comparison table above, the XBR-48A9S is powered by 4K HDR Processor X1 Ultimate while the LG OLED48CX is powered by Alpha 9 Gen 3 image processor. Both of these image processors can handle HDR image fairly well. Special for the Alpha 3 Gen 3, in addition it can handle image fairly well, it also has an ability to provide some AI-related features like AI Picture, AI Brightness, AI Sound, and AI Volume. This feature can automatically adjust the TV’s parameter to suit the condition of the room where it is used. Additionally, its up-scaling engine has been also based on AI, and combined to its machine learning, it can up-scale lower resolution content to 4K fairly well.
On the other hand, the X1 Ultimate Engine of the XBR-48A9S is also great image processor. It has some features that optimized for HDR processing. On the contrast enhancement, there are Object Based HDR Remaster and Pixel Contrast Booster technology embedded. On the Color Enhancement, there are Live Color Technology, Precision Color Mapping and Super Bit Mapping HDR. And combined to TriLuminos Display technology, this makes it can produce colorful HDR images with vibrant color. On Clarity Enhancement, there are Dual Database Processing and Object Based Super Resolution technology, making HDR images produced by the A9S looks very details, even if the source has lower resolution.
The LG OLED48CX and Sony XBR-48A9S supports the same HDR format. In addition HDR10, the most popular HDR format by UHD Alliance, they both also support HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), a HDR format developed by NHK and BBC for TV broadcasting purpose. Additionally, they both also support Dolby Vision, a proprietary HDR format by UHD Alliance that already uses dynamic metadata. However, they both don’t support HDR10+, the other HDR format that also use dynamic Metadata and developed by Samsung and its alliance. Meanwhile, that distinguishes among them is about Dolby Vision IQ found on the OLED48CX. This is not a new HDR format like HDR10+ as an improvement of HDR10. But it is a feature that will improve your experience in watching Dolby Vision Content. If without Dolby Vision IQ, you will watch Dolby Vision in one kind images, regardless the light condition of the room, while with Dolby Vision IQ, the brightness level of Dolby Vision displayed on the screen of OLED48CX can automatically change suit the light condition of a room it is used.
Basically, the Sony XBR-48A9S and LG OLED48CXPUB both have native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. But even so, that makes them different is that the OLED48CX also supports VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) technology while the XBR-48A9S doesn’t support. Regardless the resolution of the content, whether it is 1080p, 1440p, or 4K, VRR technology of the LG CX can ranges between 40 Hz to 120 Hz. Additionally, its VRR technology is also compatible with some most popular gaming features such as HDMI Forum’s VRR, FreeSync, and even GSync. This means, when you are playing a game with Xbox One, PC with Radeon Graphic Card, or NVidia RTX 16 and RTX 20 Series, its VRR can work properly. As we have known, VRR technology can reduce screen tearing effect when you are playing a game.
They both also have an optional BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode that can improve their motion appearance. As we have known, since OLED panel doesn’t have backlight, to dim its screen, it doesn’t use PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) dimming system like on LED TV. The excellently, this makes the screen of OLED panel is almost flicker free. Nevertheless, in certain condition, particularly when it is showing fast moving images, particularly when it is playing 60 fps or 120 fps content, screen flicker is required to make motion smoother. And for this purpose, a BFI technology is required. And both of them support both 60 Hz and 120 Hz BFI mode that means their screen can flicker at 60 Hz or 120 Hz depending on their BFI setting. To enable BFI mode on Sony XBR-48A9S, you just need to enable “MotionFLow”, and then set “Clearness” to “3” will enable its 60 HZ BFI mode while set “Clearness” to “1” or “2” will enable its 120 Hz BFI mode. Meanwhile, on the LG OLED48CX, to enable its 60 Hz BFI mode, you just need to set “TruMotion” to “User” and “OLED Motion” on “High. While to enable its 120 Hz BFI mode, you just need to enable “TruMotion” with “OLED Motion” on any setting. But keep in mind, its 120 Hz BFI mode only works properly in Game Mode. Additionally, when GSyns is enabled, you cannot enable its BFI mode.
The LG OLED48CX and Sony XBR-48A9S are equipped with almost the same connectivity. As their major connectivity, they both have 4 HDMI ports, that make them different is about the resolution and features that supported by their HDMI ports. All of their HDMI ports may already support CEC, HDCP2.2, HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth, and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode). Additionally, it also has 1 port HDMI ARC and eARC (HDMI 3 for XBR-48A9S and HDMI 2 for OLED48CX). But the advantage of the LG CX, even though not full bandwidth, its also already support HDMI 2.1 while the Sony A9S doesn’t support. Additionally, HDMI ports of the OLED48CX also support more resolution. With 60 fps content, both of them may support all resolutions including 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. But even special for 1440p, they both are required forced resolution. With 120 fps content, XBR-48A9S only supports 1080p resolution while the OLED48CX supports 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolution.
They both also have 3 USB ports. A bit difference between them, the A9S has 1 USB 3.0 and 2 USB 2.0 while the LG CX doesn’t has USB 3.0 that means all of their USB ports are USB 2.0. IN addition HDMI and USB ports, the both also have 1 Tuner In (RF In), 1 Composite In (AV In), 1 Digital Audio Out (Optical), and 1 Analog Audio Out (Mini Jack 3.5 mm). For connection to the internet, they both also have 1 Ethernet port and built-in Wi-Fi). Both of them also have built-in Bluetooth.
The Sony XBR-48A9S is equipped with 2.1 speaker system with total sound output of 25 watts (Stereo = 2 x10 watts, 10 watt, Woofer 5 watts), while the LG OLED48CXPUB is equipped with 2.2 channel speaker system with total sound output of 40 watts (Stereo = 2 x 10 watts, Woofer = 2 x 10 watts). They both also already support Atmos. But even so, that distinguishes among them is their speaker technology. Although the OLED48CX comes with more channel and output power, just like most TVs, it uses a traditional speaker. On the other hand, like other model of OLED Master Series, the XBR-48A9S already use a technology called Acoustic Surface. TO produce a sound, it doesn’t use speaker, but utilize its own screen that driven by two actuator. This is good for dialogue where the voice seemed to directly come from the speaker’s mouth.
Sony XBR48A9S vs LG OLED48CX Performance
Black Level and Contrast
We all know, black level and contrast is one of flagship of OLED TV. Since it has self-lighting pixel, when displaying black, there is no light emitted at all from black area. The result, black produced by them is nearly perfect. Additionally, since OLED panel doesn’t use backlight, this also makes its black uniformity is also nearly perfect. Not only is that, its self-lighting pixel also makes the OELD panel has pixel dimming level. Combination all of them makes dark scene displayed on their screen looks great. Black of images can be shown really black. On the other hand, highlight in dark scene can be shown without blooming around bright object. Additionally, shadow details of HDR images look very detail, as expected they should in HDR. For you who prefer watch movies in a dark room, they both are perfect TV for you.
SDR Peak Brightness
With SDR signal, their peak brightness is actually fairly bright for OLED TV, but not as bright as premium LED TV. The LG OLED48CX get its highest peak brightness on 2% and 10 % white window (2 % or 10% of screen is white while the rest is black) where it can get around 460 nits for a short time and slightly drop to around 440 nits after stabilized. But even so, just like other model of OLED TV, it has ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) where this feature will dim its brightness when large area gets bright. On 25% white window, its peak brightness drop to around 415 nits for a short time and around 395 nits after stabilized. On 50% and 100% window, it get around 340 nits and 175 nits for a short time and will drop to around 325 nits and 140 nits after stabilized.
Different to the OLED48CX that get its highest peak brightness on 2% and 10% white window, the Sony XBR-48A9S get its highest peak brightness is precisely on 10% and 25% white window where it get around 450 nits for a short time and slight drop to around 420 nits after stabilized. On 2% white window where most TVs usually gets its highest peak brightness, the XBR-48A9S only get around 420 nits for short time and drop to around 380 nits after stabilized. Just like the OLED48CX, the XBR-48A9S also has ABL that limit its peak brightness when bright area increases. On 50% and 100% window, it get around 260 nits and 140 nits for a short time or even after stabilized.
With peak brightness reached by them in every white window size, as long as they don’t use in a room with direct sunlight, their SDR peak brightness is actually bright enough to combat the glare. Moreover, they both also have excellent reflection handling, allowing you to watch TV in most bright rooms without disturbed by the glare. But as we have mentioned above, since the OLED48CX can get a bit brighter, in a brighter room, it can handle the glare slightly better than the XBR-48A9S.
HDR Peak brightness
With HDR Signal, they both can get brighter peak brightness than when with SDR signal. The XBR-48A9s get its highest peak brightness on 2% window sizes where it gets around 790 nits for a short time and drop to around 670 after stabilized. On 2% white window, the OLED48CX get around 800 nits for a short time and drop to around 750 nits after stabilized, but it is not the highest because it gets its highest peak brightness is on 10% white window where it gets around 815 nits for a short time and drop to around 775 nits after stabilized. On 10% white window, the XBR-48AS only get around 700 nits for a short time and drop to around 630 nits after stabilized.
Just like its HDR peak brightness, their HDR peak brightness is also dimmed by their ABL once the large area increases. On 25% window, the XBR-48A9s get around 490 nits for a short time and drop to around 465 nits after stabilized while the OLED48CX get around 450 nits for a short time and drop to around 430 nits after stabilized. On 50% and 100% white window where their peak brightness significantly dim, the A9S get around 250 nits and 140 nits while the LG CX gets around 300 nits and 140 nits. On these windows sizes, their peak brightness is relative consistent.
Their HDR peak brightness may be not as bright as reached by the premium LED TV like Samsung Q90T or Sony X950H. But a long as you don’t use them in a very bright room with direct sunlight, it is still bright enough to bring out highlight in HDR. And compare among them, the OLED48CX can show slightly brighter highlight in HDR than the XBR-48A9S.
Color Gamut and Color Volume
Since Color gamut and volume is more influenced by panel performance and they use the OLED panel that made by one company, color gamut delivered by them is also not much different. In DCI P3, the XBR-48A9S can cover around 95% of xy color space and 98% of uv color space. On the other hand, the OLED48CX can cover around 97% of xy color space and around 99% of color space. In Rec.2020, their color gamut coverage is also fairly good. The XBR-48A9S can cover around 70% of xy color space and around 76% of uv color space while the OLED48CX cover around 72% of xy color space and 76% uv of color space. But even so, their difference may be more caused by panel variance.
Meanwhile, in addition they both have excellent color gamut, they both also have good color volume. Except bright colors, they both can produce their wide color gamut at their entire brightness range. Additionally, their infinite native contrast ratio makes them can produce deep dark colors fairly well. But unfortunately, the use of white sub-pixel may make them can produce pure white, but on the other this will de-saturate bright colors, making them cannot produce saturated bright colors.
They both support native 10 bit panel that means they both can produce around 1 billion shades of colors. The result, they both can produce very smooth color gradient, particularly when displaying 10 bit HDR content. Meanwhile, compare between them, the XBR-48A9S can produce smoother color gradient than the OLED48CX. On the screen of the OLED48CX, there is some little banding in almost all colors. But even so, this should not be noticeable for most people. On the other hand, for the XBR-48A9S, there may be still some banding in almost all colors, but they are smoother and smaller than on OLED48CX. Overall, both of them have excellent color gradient, but the XBR-48A9S has better color gradient than the OLED48CX.
Side Viewing Angle
Just like other models of OLED TVs, both of them also have excellent side viewing angle coverage. They both can maintain black level from rising up to around 70 degrees off center and front. Additionally, their performance in maintaining brightness level is also great where brightness level of images displayed on their screen will remain consistent until 60 degrees off center and front. In maintaining color accuracy, their performance may not as good as when maintaining black level and brightness level, but at least the colors will lose its accuracy at wide angle. At around 32 degrees, color will start to shift and around 50 degrees, color will start to look washed out. This means, when you are watching TV from the side, the picture displayed on their screen will look remain good.
As we have known, the OLED panel has nearly instantaneous pixel response time. This makes them can handling fast moving images fairly well. Their pixel response time is around 1.8 ms, much lower than the lowest response time of LED TVs. The result, fast moving images displayed on their screen look very clear with almost no motion blur. Following fast moving objet, there is only a very short ghosting trail where they should be hard to notice. But on the other hand, the nearly instantaneous pixel response time can cause images appear to stutter, particularly when they are playing low frame rate content like 24p movies. Fortunately, this can be solved by enabling their BFI mode or Motion Interpolation, so this should not be a serious problem for them. As we have discussed above, they both have 60 Hz and 120 Hz BFI mode that can help to make motion smoother.
In handling 24p judder, their performance is also great. No matter the source is native 24p movies like DVD or Blu Ray Movies, 24p movies via 60i signal lime movies from satellite TV, via 60 p signal like movies from streaming device, or movies from native streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc, all of them will be shown clearly and smoothly on their screen with judder-free. But of course, to remove judder from any source, you must make certain setting. On the XBR48A9S, you just need set “CineMotion” to “Auto” and “Smoothness” to “Max”. Meanwhile, on the OLED48CX, you just need set its BFI to “Medium” or “Auto”.
Since their input lags are more influenced by their picture engine, they have difference in input lags. In game mode, with 60 fps content, their input lags are relatively consistent in at every resolution. For the 48OLEDCX, regardless the resolution, its input lags are around 14 ms while for the XBR-48A9S, its input lags are around 18 ms. With 120 fps content, the input lags of the OLED48CX is around 7 ms on all resolution including 1080p, 1440p, and 4K, while input lag of the XBR-48A9S is around 10ms on 1080p resolution. Keep in mind, XBR-48A9S doesn’t support 1080p and 1440p resolution at 120 Hz. This means, the OLED48CX is more responsive than the XBR-A48A9S when used for playing games, and it is more pronounced when they are used for playing fast paced games that require fast reflexes. But even so, although not as low as OLED48CX, input lags of the XBR-48A9S is still low for fast paced games.
Meanwhile, in addition it has lower input lags, the OLED48CX also already supports VRR technology that compatible with some gaming features like GSync, FreeSync, and HDMI Forum FRR. As we have known, all of these gaming features can improve your experience in playing gaming by reducing screen tearing, particularly when you are playing a game with compatible devices like X Box One, PC with AMD Radeon Graphic Card, PC with NVidia Graphic Card, or other compatible game console. On the other hand, the XBR-48A9S doesn’t support any VRR technology.
For Watching Movies
Both of the Sony XBR48A9S and LG 48OLEDCX are great TVs for watching movies in a dark room. Since they both have infinite native contrast ratio and nearly perfect black uniformity, their performance in a dark room is outstanding. So, even though it is set in a pitch dark room, details in dark scene still look excellent on their screen. Additionally, they both also have pixel dimming level that will further improve their performance in a dark room. Additionally, this also make them can show small highlight in a dark scene like subtitle in movies look very focus without blooming surrounding. And finally, their great performance in handling judder allows you to watch movies from any source with judder free. Their nearly instantaneous pixel response time may makes movies appear to stutter, but this can be solved by enabling their BFI mode or Motion Interpolation.
For Watching Sports
When used for watching sports, their performance is also great. They both have nearly pixel response time that makes fast paced sports can be shown clearly with almost no motion blur. Additionally, they both also support both 60HZ and 120 Hz BFI mode that can help to fast sports look smoother. As long as you don’t use them in a bright room with direct sunlight, their SDR peak brightness is also bright enough to combat the glare, so you can watch sports in most bright rooms without being distracted by the glare. And that is not less important is about their wide viewing angle coverage. This will ensure all of you will get the best viewing when you watch a big game with a group of your family or friend, even if some of you sit on the side.
For Playing Games
In term of picture quality of games, their performance may be similar. They both have excellent picture quality, good motion handling, and wide viewing angle coverage. So, no matter you are playing fast paced or casual games, alone or with your friend, the picture of games look excellent on the screen. Additionally, their HDMI ports also already supports ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), making it can automatically change to game mode once a signal from game console is detected. So, when you are playing a game with compatible console, you don’t need to change their mode to “Game Mode” manually. Meanwhile, the advantage of LG oled48CS, even not much, the OLED48CX is a bit more responsive since it has a bit lower input lags than the XBR-48A9S. Additionally, the LG CX also already supports VRR technology that compatible with some gaming features. As we have known, it can improve its gaming experience by reducing screen tearing. However, although not as good as OLED48CX, performance of the XBR-48A9S when used for playing games is also great.
In showing shadow details of HDR images, their performance may be not much different. They both have infinite contrast ratio that makes them can produce nearly perfect black. They both also have nearly perfect black uniformity. This combination makes them can show shadow details of HDR images excellently. Additionally, combination of their excellent color gamut and good color volume allows them can show most colors of HDR images fairly accurate. Meanwhile, the advantage of the XBR48A9s, it has smoother color gradient, allowing it can show 10 bit HDR images with smoother color gradient. On the other hand, the OLED48CX has a bit brighter HDR peak brightness, particularly in small white window, allowing it can show brighter highlight. But even so, ignoring their difference, their HDR performance is equally good, allowing you to watch HDR images the way they should be.
Winner: OLED48CX can show brighter highlight, XBR-48A9S has better color gradient
As we have discussed a lot above, since they both use the OLED panel that made by the same company, their performance that influenced by their panel such as contrast ratio, black uniformity, color gamut, response time, etc is almost similar. So, quality of the picture displayed on their screen is not also much different. Meanwhile, the feature offered by OLED48CX that is not found on the XBR-48A9S is Dolby Vision IQ and VRR technology. On the other hand, XBR-48A9S comes with unique audio technology called “Acoustic Surface” that makes its screen seems to be able to produce sound. So, which is a better choice between them? The decision certainly comes back to you according to your own preferences. But keep in mind, in the market, the XBR-48A9S is sold hundreds dollar more expensive then the OLED48CX. But of course, their price certainly is not fixed and could still change at any time.