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LG CS Series 4K OLED TV

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9.3Expert Score
LG CS 65 inch 4K OLED TV review: Hybrid excellence

The compromise of the C2 processor and a standard OLED panel results in a TV that is more affordable, without making massive sacrifices in TV performance. It works exceptionally well for watching TV and movies, and excels when displaying 4K content.

Design
9
Performance
9.5
Pros
  • Incredible picture
  • Impressive response time for gaming
  • Excellent colour and black levels
Cons
  • Base makes it difficult to use a soundbar
  • TV's audio is lacking

The LG CS 65-inch 4K OLED is a sleek slab of shiny onyx that may appear like a TV, but it hides an intricate web of apps, services, and entertainment.

It’s an ideal loungeroom companion, a capable panel running the same α9 Gen5 AI processor as the award-winning (and currently top pick in our roundup of the best TVs) C2 OLED TV, but using a standard OLED panel without the brightness booster tech found in the C2.

Which makes it an impressive hybrid, capable of streaming video and gaming as well as showing spectacular 4K art. The lower price compared to the C2 means it’s a fantastic option for potential TV buyers after a more affordable OLED TV.

Design

WebOS on the CS OLED

How do you describe a 65-inch rectangle of perfect midnight black? Like a portal to another dimension? A large glass sheet of infinite potential?

The truth is, there’s not much to say about the panel itself, apart from it is black and thin. Seriously thin. But this is OLED technology, so that’s not really a surprise.

While the panel itself measures millimetres, the brains of the TV stick out a bit further, creating a subtle ledge at the rear of the TV.

Anyone who wall-mounts won’t even notice it. Those that install the TV on a stand will only notice when they go to dust the stand itself.

The stand is deceptively large. From the front it looks like a small silver foot, but it stretches out a fair way at the back.

The base of the CS OLED takes up a lot of space, and is super low, making it difficult to use with a soundbar

That makes sense because it needs to support the weight of the panel to stop it from tipping over.

What I found harder was that the design of the base made it impossible for me to put my soundbar in front of the TV.

Firstly, because the base keeps the TV quite low to the entertainment unit, but secondly because there’s no path for the cable to run from behind the television.

This wasn’t too big a deal for the two weeks I was reviewing this TV, but for a more permanent installation could become a problem.

Remote control

Every good TV needs a good remote, and the LG’s remote is pretty effective.

Like most LG TVs for the past 12 years or so, the CS OLED comes with a magic remote, which works like an old Wii controller to let you move a pointer around the screen to control the TV.

The buttons are fairly generic, with a number pad, volume rocker and channel changer, plus a D-pad and home button.

At the bottom of the remote you’ll find shortcut buttons to Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and “Movies” which seems to just do a system search for the word “Movie”.

There are also dedicated buttons for Google Assistant and Alexa down the bottom, in contrast to the dedicated ThinQ voice assistant microphone button further up on the remote.

One of the key feature differences between this TV and the C2 is the fact that this model isn’t always listening for voice commands, so you’ll need to use the remote to take advantage of that feature.

Interface design

LG's CS OLED showing ads for shows in WebOS

It’s quite hard to recognise the interface on the LG CS TV as the same system that was designed for the Palm Pre smartphone back in 2009.

But WebOS is a convenient way for LG to offer broad access to many features quickly.

Pressing the Home button on the remote will showcase all the different entertainment options you have at your fingertips.

Obviously, there are the big ones like Netflix and Stan and Disney+, but you also get smaller platforms like Tubi and even TikTok.

LG even bundles a number of Korean IP channels in with the TV, all of which are easily accessed through the WebOS interface.

Things can get a little crowded in the bottom app menu, though. Once you start downloading apps, it can be a little challenging to keep things in the order that is most useful to you.

Perhaps the biggest thing to strike me with the CS OLED was the TV is not designed to be used as a dumb panel at all. Everything from the interface to the fact you need to create an LG account to make the most of WebOS is designed to keep you using the television’s interface.

That’s not to say you can’t just use it as a panel by plugging in an Apple TV or similar streaming device. But it feels like LG has actively tried to get people to not do that with WebOS.

Performance

Scrolling through Disney Plus on the LG CS OLED

Make no mistake, the LG CS OLED is spectacular to experience.

From streaming Disney+ to playing The Witcher 3 on the PS5, almost everything looks phenomenal on the screen.

To test the panel, I watched (and rewatched) the infamous hall scene from the second episode of Daredevil in 4K.

I love using this scene as a tester because it is dark and dingy. It isn’t all bright special effects – just a single shot in a musty old hallway, with a palpable feeling of claustrophobia as Daredevil fights against the gang of villains.

The action is smooth and impressive. The blacks in the scene don’t look like a washed out grey thanks to the OLED pixels being self-lit.

Highlighting the detail in Matt Murdocks mask while streaming DareDevil to review the CS OLED from LG

From the darkness of Hell’s Kitchen to the bright lights of space, I watched episodes of The Bad Batch on Disney Plus to test the TV’s colour reproduction. The animated worlds of Star Wars were bright and vibrant and full of digital life.

Animation was an ongoing strength of the TV. Pixar’s Cars and Incredibles both looked absolutely sensational on the 65 inches of CS OLED.

But it wasn’t just animation that excelled. Dramatic programs like The Marvellous Mrs Maisel looked crisp and detailed streaming in 4K, as did the Netflix movie Enola Holmes.

In fact, the only time things didn’t look exceptional was streaming older episodes of TV shows. Malcolm in the Middle on Disney Plus had a slightly grainy appearance, and while it was certainly watchable, it didn’t highlight the level of detail a native 4K source displays.

It was the same story watching Seinfeld on Netflix. While the show may have been updated to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio streaming from Netflix, the OLED didn’t look as crisp or bright with the older content.

That’s not to say that it’s not watchable, and doesn’t look good. It’s more to highlight that the OLED really shines when given a source that is designed to be shown in 4K. Throw HDR in the mix and it looks even better, and older TV shows offer neither of those.

Gaming mode

Another shot of The Witcher 3 playing on the 65-inch CS OLED from LG

The performance also impresses while gaming.

Playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in glorious 4K is exceptional – Geralt of Rivia looks so incredibly detailed, it was like enjoying a whole new game, such was the detail in the world.

The TV itself can automatically detect your game console when you plug it in to any of the HDMI ports – all of which support 120Hz, by the way.

That detection of a game console also allows you to switch into an optimised game mode, which ensures the refresh rate is set for the demands of gaming.

There’s the ability to adjust the game optimiser based on the style of game you play, whether it’s an RPG, FPS, RTS or sports.

This mode boosts the panel’s performance depending on the type of game you play, and switches the TV to a low latency mode.

The differences between the modes weren’t blindingly obvious, to be honest. Minor differences between the black and white levels, leading to a more colourful or more contrasted picture.

Regardless of the mode, the picture looks great while playing games. Even the Switch looked great running through the TV in a way that older TV shows didn’t.

You can see the vibrant colours of the OLED while playing the Witcher 3 in 4K

Audio performance

Speakers need a decent amount of space to really excel, and given the extreme thinness of the CS OLED, you wouldn’t expect it to offer high-quality audio playback.

And it doesn’t. The sound is good, but tinny. There’s not a lot of bass on offer when playing audio through the inbuilt speakers.

LG does offer an AI audio mode to create a virtual surround sound experience, but it lacks the detail of a surround sound system.

And the reality is that if you intend to buy a TV like this, at a bare minimum you would expect to buy a soundbar to keep it company, to make up for the TV’s audio shortfalls.

Of course, owning a soundbar here is a challenge when you consider the design of the TV’s base. There isn’t a huge amount of space to place a soundbar in front of the TV without blocking the screen, while placing it behind the TV means the sound is blocked.

And we all know that wall-mounting isn’t a solution for everyone.

Verdict

Disney+ on the CS OLED

The LG CS OLED is a more affordable version of their best in class C2 TV, with a slightly older panel but the same image processor inside.

This compromise results in a TV that is more affordable, but without making massive sacrifices in TV performance. It works exceptionally well for watching TV and movies, and excels when displaying 4K content.

It’s a perfect TV for gamers thanks to its integrated gaming mode and excellent response time.

Given its already affordable price tag for an OLED, if you can find this model discounted, it is definitely worth picking up if you are looking for a new large OLED TV.

Product disclosure

LG supplied the product for this review.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

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