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Should I buy the LG A1 OLED?

LG A1 OLED on counter, with green tree onscreen
(Image credit: LG)

Eyeing up the LG A1 OLED? This budget OLED TV model may finally offer what we've been begging for these past few years – an entry level OLED that we can actually afford.

LG makes some of the best and most popular OLED televisions made today. Its C1 OLED comfortably topped our best OLED TV guide, and the step-down B Series has long been a smart choice for those wanting a premium picture at a more accessible price point.

But the LG A1 sits below these B Series models, happily cutting back on some choice specifications in order to keep the cost down for shoppers. So while you won't get the latest and greatest features in the LG A1, you're certainly getting a value proposition for a 2021 OLED.

LG A1 OLED pricing, release date and sizes

The LG A1 OLED starts at $1,399 / £1,099 / AU$2,130 at a 55-inch size (having quite swiftly dropped in price from its $1,599 / £1,399 / AU$2,700 launch price).

There's a more compact 48-inch OLED TV version, though you'll find it retailing for the same price as the 55-inch – a similar strategy as what we saw for last year's LG CX, and which means your purchase comes down to preferred sizing rather than the price tag.

You'll also find a 65-inch size and 77-inch size, retailing for $1,999 / £1,799 (around AU$2,700) and $3,199 / £3,699 (around AU$4,200) respectively. All sizes are currently on sale.

With Black Friday creeping up fast, expect to see prices differ substantially. We're hoping to see some great Black Friday TV deals on OLED TVs. 

We've heard from LG Display – the panel supplier for LG Electronics' OLED televisions – that a new 42-inch OLED is on its way, though it's yet to be confirmed for any specific 2021 TVs so it may roll into 2022.

LG A1 OLED specs and features

The most important thing to know is that the LG A1 OLED is the lowest-spec (and therefore cheapest) OLED TV put out by LG this year.

Much sounds similar to last year's B Series, with a step-down a7 processor rather than the a9 Gen 4 AI chip used in the C1 and G1 OLEDs. The a7 isn't quite as advanced (hence the price drop), and tends to lead to more banding and video noise in dark scenes, but it still makes for a generally favorable picture.

We also know that the A1 supports Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio, and come with 20W of built-in audio.

The two key differences between the A Series and B Series seems to be that the former is a bit quieter (20W rather than the latter's 40W), and doesn't support HDMI 2.1 (a feature you will find in the LG BX, and this year's B1 / C1 / G1 models).

HDMI 2.1 is needed for a host of gamer-centric features like 4K/120Hz gameplay, as well as VRR (variable refresh rate), so the A1 probably won't be a TV of choice for those hoping to get max performance out of their PS5 or Xbox Series X.

LG A1 OLED TV on a green background displaying a lit up green tree

(Image credit: Box.co.uk)

What does 'A1' really mean?

For those not au fait with LG lingo, the 'A1' is the specific product number applied to this year's A Series OLED. 

The letter 'A' denotes the television series (alongside 'B', 'C', 'G', and the now-discontinued 'E' Series), while the number corresponds to the year of release. In 2019, these numbers were all '9', as in 'C9' or 'B9'; in 2020, the number became 'X' ('ten'), while 2021 is resetting to '1'.

Should I buy the LG A1 OLED?

The LG A1 OLED is the cheapest 2021 OLED the company has put out this year. We're expecting the same kind of picture performance as we found on last year's BX, which we gave 4.5 stars in our review – great contrast, color vibrancy, and deep blacks, but with some issue processing in dark scenes, leading to the odd bit of motion stutter and video noise.

It's a fair trade off when you're getting a TV for around 20% less than the C Series model, though the picture defects do have to be kept in mind.

The lack of HDMI 2.1 isn't great for a 2021 set, either, though it will only really affect those of you with a PS5 or Xbox Series X console, and is probably a smart cost-saving measure for LG.

If you're after the cheapest OLED TV you can, then the LG A1 is likely your best bet – though it may be worth considering the LG BX from last year, given it supports HDMI 2.1 and packs in essentially the same processor, while costing a decent amount less than the very-new A1. 

It's worth keeping an eye on the Vizio H1, too, given that it often drops to only $900 in flash sales – though it's not a set we'd recommend for next-gen gaming either.

Henry St Leger

Henry is TechRadar's News & Features Editor, covering the stories of the day with verve, moxie, and aplomb. He's spent the past three years reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as well as gaming and VR – including a stint as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and persistent theatre enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. Bylines include Edge, T3, and Little White Lies.