LG G3 OLEDReviewed at $2,499.00 (55")
Ports & Connectivity9.4/10
OS, Apps and Features9.5/10
Price / Quality8.8/10
- Excellent SDR and HDR brightness
- Amazing black levels
- One of the best TVs for gaming
- DTS makes a return
- No furniture stand included
- No HDR10+
- Aggressive ABL
- Mediocre sound output
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Recently we started testing a few of Samsung‘s new 2023 TVs which you can find in our comprehensive Product Table. And while we are still waiting for some of Sony‘s new releases to come out, today we have the pleasure to test one of LG‘s new flagships. In our LG G3 OLED review we will look into this new 2023 top-tier OLED and what new technologies it brings with it.
This year we find new developments on LG’s camp as they try to combat Samsung’s QD-OLED technology. The LG G3 OLED is one of the first models that utilize the new MLA panel technology which we will analyze a bit further down our article. But let’s see real quick what the G3 is all about.
The G3 comes with the OLED Evo branding combining a new OLED EX panel with MLA technology along with a metal heatsink and LG’s Brightness Booster Max technology. It uses the new a9 Gen 6 AI processor, features a 100/120Hz panel, has four HDMI 2.1 ports at full 48Gbps bandwidth, supports the usual HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR formats and for its OS is using the latest webOS 23.
While the G2 seemed like a beefed up G1 with the addition of a heatsink, this year’s G3 is a whole other beast. The new MLA technology surely seems very interesting. And in combination with all other advancements and additions LG did it surely is a strong candidate for best image quality in 2023. Can the G3 OLED claim the title? Let’s find out.
As always we will start with the design. What is not very surprising is the fact that the new G3 OLED looks almost the same as last year’s model. Both looks and overall layout of the back panel are the same. So the design does not deviate at all from the standards we know for the G series.
Looking it from the side you will immediately notice that the G3 is not following the standard design of most OLED TVs, that is an extremely thin panel along with a thicker electronics box. Its thickness, which was measured at 0.95″ (2.4 cm), was spaced evenly along its entire surface and only towards the sides and the top it features thinner edges.
In a way this reminds us some of Samsung models that use the One Connect Box allowing for their TVs to have similar uniformity.
Its borders are also extremely thin making the screen look very immersive. While the black lines around the image are almost non visible here.
The back side of the TV is made of brushed textured metal with silver metallic edges.
All ports are placed on the right side separated into two groups. Some of them look sideways while the rest look downwards. Only the power connector is separated from the rest as per usual in most TVs.
The back of the TV also features special grooves and clips for better cable management. These grooves can be covered with covers in order to have a more clean look at the back of the TV.
As with the entire G series, the G3 OLED does not feature a usual stand and only includes a wall mount. LG has created a furniture stand for the G3 but this you will have to buy separately so be prepared for the extra cost.
Also keep in mind that the stand for the G2 can be used in the G3 as the way these attach to the TV itself is the same. So you don’t have to buy a new stand in case you already have the G2.
As for the remote, this is exactly the same one we saw in 2022 so no real surprises here. To be honest the one provided is really good as LG made slight updates on it last year. And it seems that LG feels comfortable with this design to keep it for one more year.
All functions remain the same with LG’s unique pointer system, the same universal remote functionality and smart features. Also the reduced number of buttons is a welcome one while we still get six dedicated buttons as before.
These feature Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, LG Channels, Sling and Amazon Alexa. The only change is the switch from Google Assistant to Sling which is a rather strange one. But it is what it is.
Overall build quality is very high as was always with the G series. Again the only bad thing to say is that you have to buy the stand separately. Since the G series have been promoted from a niche category to their top tier flagship the last few years they should consider adding a standard stand for the masses.
Processor technology used
The processor in the G3 OLED is the new α9 Gen 6 AI Processor 4K and as usual the details on these chips are very slim. All manufacturers are shy of giving too many details on what is the same or what they change and 2023 is no different.
But as always AI is the key word for one more year as LG is heavily promoting the AI processing capabilities of these chips that use a combination of machine learning algorithms in conjunction to a huge image database in order to offer an improved overall image and superior AI upscaling.
The a9 processor features a few interesting technologies that are included in LG’s AI Picture Pro and AI Sound Pro suites. As such for image we get face enhancing technology, AI upscaling, object recognition and enhancement along with specific scene analysis.
In the 5th generation of this chip we got Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detail. In its 6th generation this year it seems that LG made improvements in two areas. The first one is OLED Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro and the other area is in sound.
Resolution and Up-scaling
As always, to test its up-scaling capabilities we playback a few different videos in various resolutions and quality. These include low quality compressed streaming videos, 480p DVDs, some 720p content and obviously some in 1080p resolution.
The G3 OLED had no problem upscaling everything nicely to 4K resolution. Obviously the quality of the content is crucial for the end result. But within its capabilities the G3 performed admirably here.
In terms of audio we are going to talk in more detail in our dedicated section below but the a9 Gen 6 brings a small upgrade as it can do 9.1.2 up-mixing instead of 7.1.2 channels that was possible last year.
And obviously we get the full feature set like voice enhancement, auto volume leveling and more.
Lighting technology used
The main strength of the G3 OLED comes from the use of its MLA OLED panel. This is a new technology found in 2023’s G3 first and uses a Micro Lens Array (MLA) to boost the brightness of the panel without having to actually push the panel harder that can result in burn-in.
It seems that LG went a different route compared to Samsung and their own QD-OLED technology. And as in our Samsung S95C and S90C reviews Samsung’s tech really proved itself we are curious to see how LG will do with theirs.
Traditional OLED panels feature self emitting pixels. As a result these TVs have no need for a backlight as we see in LED LCD models. Being able to control it’s individual pixels has many advantages. The most obvious ones being the extremely accurate light control and the infinite contrast they have. Deep blacks on an OLED is a sight that needs to be seen to be believed.
On the other hand the problem with OLEDs is that they cannot reach the high brightness output of LED LCD TVs. This has been a problem since the inception of OLED panels.
And although there had been some developments like Panasonic’s solution to add a heatsink, in order to push the panel more without damaging it, OLEDs still remained a distant second when it came to peak brightness output.
MLA OLED Panel
And this is where MLA OLED comes into play. This new design is using a new MLA layer in front of the WBE panel which consists of microscopic lenses. These help boost the light output and scatter the light more uniformly than before. This way you get more brightness without the panel to actually work harder than it should.
Think of this new technology like a room with a single light. The MLA technology is like you add multiple mirrors in the room that reflect the light in all directions. This way you get a nice boost in brightness without having to add extra lights in the room.
In essence the G3 OLED is using a latest generation WBE, also called OLED EX, with the addition of the MLA layer at the front. In addition LG has also added a heatsink as the LG G2 OLED had in order to help with heat dissipation and keep the panel cooler and safer from any potential burn-in.
Keep in mind that this MLA technology is not included in the 83″ G3 OLED this year. All other sizes do get it though.
Brightness / Contrast
So, once again, one of the most interesting points in this year’s review could not be other than our brightness tests. Can MLA OLED compete with Samsung’s QD-OLED here? Let’s find out.
SDR and HDR Measurements
For these tests we used the Filmmaker mode for SDR and HDR Cinema picture mode for HDR content. Brightness and Peak Brightness were set to max and Warm 50 for Color Temperature.
First test here is the SDR brightness over a 10% window. And the number we got was 603 nits which is amazingly bright for any kind of SDR content.
We then switched to HDR content and in our HDR brightness over a 10% window test we measured 1,417 nits. This is really amazing numbers and help make any HDR content looks incredibly bright.
Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL)
As with all OLED TVs, the G3 OLED comes with an Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL). This lowers the overall brightness of the screen when large parts of it become very bright for a long period of time. This may not be very obvious when watching a movie for example. But it shows more with bright static images, or if you use the TV as a computer monitor.
There is a Peak Brightness option that you can turn off if this change of brightness bothers you. But keep in mind that this will set the TV’s peak brightness at a much lower level. At least it is good that you have this option to choose what you like the most.
From what we saw the ABL in the G3 OLED behaved similarly to the G2 OLED. There were a few differences here and there but for the majority of content we tried they felt the same.
Last Year Comparison
To be honest there is no comparison here. The G3 OLED trashes the G2 in the brightness tests. The numbers we got make the G3 OLED even better than this year’s Samsung S90C. Only the Samsung S95C can directly compete with the G3 OLED with their numbers being extremely close to each other.
Brightness levels followed the EOTF reference values extremely close up to its roll-off point. At this point the TV behaves differently depending on the content it’s displaying. Its relatively fast roll-off means that some finer details are lost and here we can say that the G2 did slightly better.
In order to be able to get such accurate results you need to use the Filmmaker mode. All other modes were less accurate.
As for contrast, having an OLED panel means that the G3 OLED can switch off its pixels entirely. This means it has almost infinite contrast ratio resulting in true deep blacks compared to greyish blacks we see in many LCD models.
OLED TVs always had the upper hand when it came to viewing angles. And it seems that with MLA OLED things are even better now. In fact MLA OLED behaved very similar to QD-OLED as it was able to give us extreme viewing angles with no meaningful loss of image quality.
Actually the G3 OLED even managed to surpass the G2. Last year’s model also had great viewing angles but there was some slight color shifting when pushing the angles to extreme levels. This is not a problem with the G3 as it managed to eradicate this problem completely.
As a result the G3 OLED is capable of exceeding the viewing angle levels we see on most OLED TVS while keeping its image quality at almost the same level. Even at extreme angles of up to 70 degrees the image properties of the G3 OLED were almost the same as watching the TV dead center which was impressive to say the least.
Nothing changed in the HDR front for one more year. LG continues to support the same HDR protocols while being firmly behind the Dolby Vision bandwagon the whole time. As such the G3 OLED supports the basic HDR10 that is needed for 4K UHD playback, it also supports the more advanced Dolby Vision which uses dynamic metadata for more accurate HDR representation and HLG that is used mostly for broadcasting.
The obvious omission is HDR10+. And we don’t see LG supporting it in the foreseeable future in any of their releases as this is pretty much Samsung’s territory.
Dolby Vision IQ is making a return once again and this basically uses an external light sensor on the body of the TV. This can automatically adjust the Dolby Vision dynamic tone mapping according to the ambient light in the room and also according to the material that is displayed on screen at each moment. Obviously you can turn this off if you don’t want the TV to go ahead with such processing. And its the best course of action as it can really change the final outcome of the image.
Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detail can improve even further image quality for all material that use Dolby Vision and not only content made specifically for that.
Next we will measure the TV’s color performance.
The TV can cover 99% of the DCI-P3 color space while in the wider REC.2020 we measured 74% coverage. These numbers are very good but the G3 OLED cannot much the color coverage numbers we measured in the Samsung S95C.
We cannot speak for Sony’s 2023 flagship as we have yet to test it. But for the time being the S95C remains the best in this area.
Before calibration the G3 OLED had really good color accuracy but not without some minor inconsistences. White balance was mostly good with only some brighter shades being incorrect.
Gamma and color temperature were both lower than their targets but not by much. On the other hand almost all colors had values below the DeltaE limit of three.
After further calibration we managed to bring most settings close to their target values. This makes the G3 OLED an excellent choice either you are a casual user that prefers to use some default settings or an experienced calibrator.
Color gradients were really good with only some minor banding that we noticed in darker grey shades. But with real content this was completely invisible.
Panel uniformity was almost perfect. We did notice some very subtle vertical bands but these were extremely subtle and you are not going to notice them during normal use.
Next we move on to our motion tests. It seems that this is one area where LG didn’t make any meaningful changes. The G3 OLED behaved and performed very close to the 2022 model.
Once again the G3 features what LG calls OLED Motion Pro and is using a 120Hz panel. But being an OLED it doesn’t need a backlight to light its pixels. While in theory this makes the G3 flicker free in reality this is not the case but the flicker is so small that is not visible to the naked eye.
The TV also comes with the usual Motion Interpolation features that can smooth motion and remove blur and judder from fast camera movements. Motion interpolation did a good job overall as there were only minor artifacts noticeable from the process. And these were mostly due to the very fast camera moves depending on each scene.
Obviously using very aggressive settings will make the “Soap Opera Effect” to appear so you have to adjust the settings accordingly. Motion Interpolation can be enabled by the TruMotion setting in the menu. You can set that to user and then adjust the De-blur and De-judder sliders according to your preferences.
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
There is also the standard Black Frame Insertion (BFI) feature which basically is a motion interpolation technique that inserts a black frame between every two individual frames and this can really create much smoother motion.
But while the end result is pretty good there are some downsides to this with the most obvious being the lower brightness being displayed due to the black frames and introduction of judder in 24p content. BFI can be enabled from the OLED Motion setting in the TruMotion menu.
At least with the G3’s higher brightness output the BFI does not impact the TV’s overall brightness in the same way it did in the G2. The difference is still noticeable but more bearable we can say.
As was the case last year, LG has removed the different intensity levels and there is only a single on/off toggle. As a result the LG G3 cannot do 120Hz with BFI.
Overall Motion Impressions
The G3 OLED showcased strong motion performance capabilities. There were not many changes here compared to last year and the new release behaved in much the same way as the G2.
Input lag Measurements
Next we will test the TV’s input lag performance.
According to our measurements the G3 OLED measured an average of 10.3ms input lag in both 1080p and 4K resolutions at 60Hz. To be honest this is just about what we were expecting to see. At 120Hz we measured 5.6ms in both 1080p and 4K resolutions which again is as good as it gets.
With such low figures, gaming can really be a pleasure. But in order to get so low values you need to use the available Game mode with the Boost mode selected in the Prevent Input Lag menu. Outside Game mode we still got a respectable 89.8ms which is ok for slow paced offline games. But it is too much for online gaming that requires blazing fast response times.
One area where Samsung beat LG is that many of their TVs now support 144Hz. Unfortunately LG has yet to release a TV that can do such high refresh rate. And even the mighty G3 is still limited to 120Hz.
Other Gaming Features
We should also not forget to mention that the TV supports Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). This will work when it detects any devices that support that, like the PS5 and Xbox consoles.
We also get HGiG Mode which is HDR Gaming Interest Group’s technology. This ensures you enjoy HDR games the way that their creators and developers intended.
The G3 OLED comes with support for all VRR technologies including HDMI Forum VRR, AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-Sync. All of them can be enabled in the Game Optimizer menu.
One problem that we have noticed in the G3 is VRR flickering. Although the TV comes with a Fine Tune Dark Areas option in the Game Optimizer menu in order to somewhat improve this.
Unfortunately this seems to be a general problem of OLED technology and not one in the G3 OLED in particular. It is not such a deal breaking one as it is more noticeable with static dark images. And most of the time during gameplay you will not even pay attention to it but nevertheless it should be mentioned in case you notice it.
Trying Out a Few Games
For this review we tested Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. In both PS5 and Xbox Series X it supports 120Hz so it was ideal for testing how the G3 OLED can do.
As we expected the TV performed amazingly. There was no delay on our commands and response times were blazing fast. With the Game mode engaged everything rendered on screen in time. The G3 is really the perfect gaming TV, nothing more to say here.
Overall Image Quality Impressions
When QD-OLED appeared last year it seemed like Samsung managed to push OLED technology in a way that no other manufacturer could do till now. But LG proved us all wrong as their MLA OLED managed to be equally good and a great alternative to Samsung.
The G3 OLED managed to improve in one major area compared to the 2022 G2 OLED. And this is its brightness output. The MLA technology did bring some other minor improvements but the G3’s brightness is surely one for the books.
If you are wondering if the G3 OLED can be compared to the G2 then don’t be. The new 2023 release is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor even if in most other areas their performance was comparable.
When it comes to audio not much have changed compared to last year. The G3 OLED seems to be using the same sound system of the G2 so expect to get almost the same kind of output.
Audio System – Channels & Power Rating
The G3 comes with a 4.2 channels system with a total of 60 watts of power output. As with most TV audio systems the one in the G3 is good enough for casual use only. This means that it will suffice for news broadcasting, TV series and sports.
But if you really want to have cinematic sound that will be equally good to the TV’s image quality then you definitely will need a good soundbar. Or a full surround system for even better results.
Audio Formats Support
A small upgrade we do get this year in the AI Sound Pro mode. For 2023 it can up-mix 2 channels audio to virtual 9.1.2 surround sound which gives you the illusion of a wider sound stage and more immersive sound.
Last year the top LG offerings could up-mix up to 7.1.2 channels but to be honest the difference is negligible. In general we found the AI Sound Pro to improve the acoustic result slightly. But this depends a lot on the source material and it will not always be as good as you would expect.
And obviously you shouldn’t be fooled by this 9.1.2 channels marketing thing as the TV cannot really portray a fully immersive surround experience. It just doesn’t have the necessary hardware to do so and virtual technology can do so much. Yes, sound may feel like it has more volume and depth but there is no real activity anywhere else other than the front.
Dolby Atmos is once again available and can be used either through some streaming service or through the HDMI eARC connection. Obviously the TV lacks the necessary hardware to make Dolby Atmos real justice but nevertheless support is there for you to have.
And if the upgrade in the AI Sound Pro was negligible the return of DTS is certainly not. For the last few years we have been complaining that LG stopped supporting DTS sound. Finally they heard our cries so the G3 OLED supports it once again.
But there is one thing we should note here. The TV can playback DTS sound but not DTS:X. DTS:X can only pass-through the eARC to an external sound device that supports it. Not a big deal anyway as the TV lacks the hardware to render DTS:X anyway.
Another feature that makes a comeback is Bluetooth Surround ready. With it you can use the TV’s Bluetooth to connect rear speakers to your TV setup. But there is a catch here as you cannot use this audio setup in order to playback true 5.1 surround audio. The TV will use legacy 2.0 channels audio and up-mix it to the channels available. So the end result is not as good or accurate as a real 5.1 surround mix.
Overall Audio Performance Impressions
In terms of performance don’t expect any improvements over last year. The TV’s sound is good enough for basic use. The big news this year is the return of DTS. And let’s hope LG will keep it from now on.
Ports and Connectivity
Next we will be looking at what connectivity options we get here. Again the G3 OLED seems to use the exact same layout of the G2. As such we find two groups of ports with some of them looking sideways and some downwards.
The ones looking sideways include two HDMI ports and one USB while those looking downwards include an IR Blaster port, an RS-232C port, the usual Antenna/cable connector which by the way is ATSC 3.0 for the US market, an optical digital audio output, an Ethernet port, two more HDMI ports and a couple more USB ones.
All four HDMI ports are version 2.1 with 48Gbps of bandwidth due to the use of LG’s own SoC making Samsung along with LG the only brands to support the full 48Gbps bandwidth in all four of their ports.
The HDMI ports are v2.1 meaning that they support all new and old features including 4K@120Hz, ARC, eARC, ALLM, VRR, G-Sync, FreeSync, HFR and HDMI-CEC. For the first time we also find support for QMS (Quick Media Switching) which is an HDMI 2.1 feature that eliminates the black screen when the TV has to switch between different framerates.
No 144Hz here unfortunately as LG still does not support this. Samsung is the only brand so far that officially supports 144Hz.
The Ethernet port for one more year will only support up to 100Mbps. This is a real shame but not entirely surprising. As all manufacturers still include 100Mbps adapters in their TVs. We don’t believe that upgrading these ports to Gbit speeds would up the cost so much.
And with streaming requirements increasing every single year this change should have been made some time ago. Let’s hope that manufacturers will finally decide to upgrade their Ethernet adapters to gigabit speeds.
And lastly the USB ports are the older 2.0. Very few TVs come with USB 3.0 and this doesn’t seem to change any time soon.
When it comes to its wireless capabilities the G3 OLED supports WiFi6 (802.11ax) along with Bluetooth 5.0. This is the same as the G2 had, so no changes here.
OS, Apps and Features
The new G3 OLED is using LG’s latest webOS 23, which is found in all their 2023 releases. While the OS is fundamentally the same it seems that LG decided to make a facelift this year. The previous design, that we got in 2021, could use some updating. So LG’s plan was to improve things a bit.
The WebOS’s UI is still taking up the whole screen and provide you with far more visual information than any of the old versions ever did. This was a change made in 2021 and seems to continue well in 2023.
The latest webOS looks a lot like Google TV and its layout. It seems that smart TV platforms opt for a more personalized experience and as such the new webOS 23 tries to provide you with options that are tailored for your viewing habits. As such there are personalized ads, recommendations based on your viewing patterns both for streaming services and broadcasting channels and even shopping suggestions.
One feature that appeared for the first time in 2022 was user profiles. And obviously LG kept it for 2023 also. With it each family member can have their own favorite settings and streaming apps. Keep in mind that these user profiles do not extend to the image settings of the TV itself as these will remain universal.
In 2023 version the main screen is basically divided into three sections. At the top we get sponsored content. Below it there is a row with quick tabs that you can select and lastly a row of installed apps. Each quick tab opens specific sections like Games or Music for fast access.
In the second screen, which you can access by pressing the down button, you will find highlighted content as well as the “Now Streaming” section. This includes tabs from various streaming services among others.
For another year we find what LG calls Home Dashboard which is a nice little feature that lets you have an overall look at all the connections of the TV. From last year the Home Dashboard has been fully intergraded into the webOS Home screen making its access faster than before.
One thing that hasn’t changed in 2023 is app support. As such you will find all the apps you may need with more available from the online store for downloading. All the big players are present with Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Prime, HBO, Vudu, Hulu, Google Play Movies, Disney+ and Apple TV+ just to name a few of the most notable ones.
Other available apps include Apple Airplay 2 and Apple Homekit. With Airplay 2 you can stream content from other Apple devices on your TV. While HomeKit lets you control certain aspects of the TV through your mobile device.
Another feature that makes a comeback this year is Sports Alert. You can set your favorite team on the TV and the G3 OLED will inform you when a match will be shown. It will also inform you in which channel it is in while it can also give you score updates and the likes. The Sports Alert feature is working with the internal tuner and it gives you the ability to choose from a wide range of teams and sports.
And since we are talking about a smart TV platform we cannot do without voice control functionality. LG has included not only their own ThinQ AI that you can use to search for various information. But also the two most used voice control platforms including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
By using the Magic Remotes built-in microphone you can issue your commands. These can be search for a specific TV show or control your TVs volume and channels changing.
Mobile App Support
There is also mobile app support if you prefer that instead of using the included remote. LG is using their ThinQ app that is supported both by Android and iOS devices. And with it you can issue some basic commands to your TV from your mobile device. Since it is free we suggest you give it a try.
LG TVs were always at the forefront of gaming. And with some of their features makes them the best gaming TVs you can get. The G3 OLED could not be any different with the included Game Dashboard & Optimizer menus.
These two menus provide easy access to a wealth of gaming settings without the need to navigate through a myriad of menus. This way you can focus on what matters the most, which is having fun.
And we should not forget that there is also support for Cloud Gaming with GeForce Now available.
Various Other Features
Other features we get is room-to-room sharing for viewing cable or satellite content on another TV at home and Multi-View capabilities including Picture in Picture (PiP) and Picture and Picture (PaP).
Compared to other TVs
Obviously this section is not definite since we haven’t tried all new flagships yet. But from what we have seen the G3 OLED is a really good competitor to Samsung’s S95C.
The G3 OLED is better than last year’s G2 and brighter than this year’s Samsung S90C. But in some other areas the Samsung TVs are a bit better like color reproduction. So each TV has its own set of strengths and weaknesses.
As for Sony we cannot yet make a judgement, at least until we can get our hands on some of their top tier releases. The same applies for all other brands like Hisense, Panasonic and Philips.
With the second generation of QD-OLED in the market LG had some serious competition this year. Samsung already had a year to mature their own panel technology so LG had to come up with something spectacular. And MLA OLED seems to be exactly what they needed.
The G3 OLED has everything a true flagship should have. Excellent image quality, dazzling brightness, the deepest blacks, amazing gaming capabilities and smart functionality that is one of the best in the field. Add to all the above the return of DTS and there is little more you can ask from such a wonderful release.
If we had to find anything bad to say that would be the omission of a furniture stand. There is also no HDR10+ support while its ABL is slightly on the aggressive side. Lastly its audio output is not as good as its image quality. And because of this you surely will need a dedicated audio system for your cinematic immersion.
The G3 OLED is a definite improvement over the G2. In many areas these two TVs may be similar. But when it comes to brightness output the 2023 model really trashes its predecessor. And if you add the already strong features and characteristics of the G2 then the new LG G3 OLED is a definite winner. Highly recommended.
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