The OLEDG1 is LG’s top-of-the-line 4K OLED TV for 2021. It’s breathtaking, brilliant, bloody expensive (prices for the 55-inch model start at $2,199 / £1,999), and a little bit impractical. But it is a beauty, and LG's TVs are always vying for the top spots on best gaming TV lists up and down the internet, so we can have confidence.
Unlike the rest of LG’s best OLED TV candidates, it’s designed for wall-mounting and has a uniform depth of about 20cm. It also ushers in a whole new panel recipe, dubbed Evo, which offers higher brightness levels than previous LG OLED screens. This means it might not just be a regurgitation of last years' models - and it'll offer a distinct upgrade and experience.
(Note: at the time of writing, USA stock of the G1 seems to be wobbling - but it'll come back soon enough, and this page is a great place to check back in as our price finding tech refreshes all the time.)
Rival Panasonic has actually been leading the OLED brightness race for a year or so, thanks to its Pro Edition Master OLED panel. But the Evo panel is an opportunity for LG to even the score. The set also comes with an all-new webOS UI - that launcher bar of yore has been replaced with a full-screen alternative, which provides more room for curated content recommendations.
Most importantly, the G1 also offers us the first opportunity to get hands-on with the brand’s new Game Optimizer, a dedicated suite allowing multiple gaming aspects to be tweaked.
Features & Design
When it comes to design, the G1 is the very definition of minimalism. Wall mounted, it presents nothing but image. The black bezel is ultra thin, with no surplus bodywork. However, if you don’t intend to wall-mount, listen up: there’s no pedestal stand included in the box. You’ll need to sort that out prior to unboxing. LG offers two solutions. Firstly there’s a pair of triangular feet, priced at $100 / £100, These attach at the extreme end of the screen, so you’ll need some wide AV furniture to match. Alternatively, there’s the Gallery Stand, a retro-style set of legs priced at $350 / £350. This is a bit of a disappointment given the TV's own high price of admission.
The G1 has all the right connections. HDMI inputs are v2.1 and enabled for 4K 120Hz gameplay. They’re also blessed with ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), VRR G-Sync, and VRR AMD Freesync. To route TV audio out to a soundbar or home cinema system, there’s also eARC.
More significantly, there's a whole new look for the webOS smart platform. The v6.0 iteration here is a full-screen UI (rather than solo launcher bar), and it’s brimming with streaming apps.
The big development though is that new Game Optimizer interface. Accessible when you connect a console, it offers a wide variety of fine-tuning, including game genre selection, which dictates picture processing based on game style (more on that below).
Let’s cut to the chase: LG’s new Evo panel is absolutely gorgeous. It combines OLED’s trademark deep blacks with superb shadow detail, fabulous colour fidelity and sparkling highlights. The new panel achieves its higher brightness courtesy of a new, more luminescent blue material and new green layer, resulting in brighter, punchier pictures.
The TV also employs a new 4th-gen Alpha 9 image engine, which bristles with AI enhanced processing. This has allowed LG to improve its AI Picture Pro picture system, so that it can better optimise and analyse images in real time, and handle upscaling. There’s also an Auto Genre mode which uses Deep Learning to tell the difference between various content types - movies, sports, animation, and news - and, again, optimise accordingly. The result is unerringly sharp and detailed pictures, which never look edge-enhanced.
LG has also given its interpolation technology an overhaul this year, and the TV's motion handling is all the better for it. Gaming is buttery smooth, with no ugly artefacts, and when watching films, the Cinematic Movement preset is excellent.
The Evo panel really delivers when it comes to HDR. We measured peak highlights just under 800 nits using the Standard image present. That’s a significant improvement on LG’s 2020 models, and something to really give the best QLED TV candidates something to worry about.
As a gaming display, the G1 sets a high bar - this will be pushing for the mantle of best TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X and best 120Hz 4K TV this year. In 2020, LG had the serious gamer market all to itself. This year, there’s competition in the wings. But rivals like Sony, Panasonic, and Philips will have to go some to match the G1’s specification and performance.
The Game Optimizer is an excellent new addition, with some great touches. In Standard mode, it effectively reduces input lag. Tell it you’re playing an FPS game, and it’ll immediately lighten detail in the darker recesses of the picture. Select the RPG mode, and the set adjusts for maximum contrast. Real-Time Strategy games get greater highlight clarity and a boost to mid/high-level brightness. The set puts in a strong low latency performance too, and we measured image lag at just 12.7ms (1080/60), in game optimizer mode.
The only area where the G1 underwhelms performance-wise is audio. It’s rated at 60W and has Dolby Atmos decoding, but there’s not a lot happening sonically here. The screen deserves to be partnered with a soundbar or a gaming sound system, to do it full justice.
Overall - should you buy it?
There’s no question that the LG G1 is a stunner. Its OLED picture performance is superb, and the new feature count is top-notch. HDMI 4K 120fps connectivity, perfect for PS5 and Xbox Series X, an all-new webOS smart platform, and its comprehensive Game Optimizer are all big ticks in the win column.
Yup, it’s hardly a bargain, and you’ll need to fork out even more if you want it to stand on its own two feet, rather than wall mount, but if you want the latest top OLED TV from the masters, then you'll have no regrets with the G1.