The LG C1 OLED TV sits atop our best TV guide since it is the perfect combination of stunning picture quality and relatively reasonable price tag. This OLED television takes last year's CX model and somehow makes it even better.
Despite the upgrade, there is still a lack of HDR10+. But you do get Dolby Vision which is used mostly now by the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus, so lack of HDR10+ isn't a major issue unless you're a big Amazon Prime Video fan.
The addition of more HDMI 2.1 ports means you can now get all your consoles, Blu-ray players and more running through this mega screen at full 4K and 120Hz quality – something last year's model lacked at this scale.
LG C1 OLED TV review: Picture
- Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR10 but not HDR10+
- Superb upscaling
- Rich blacks and 100% sRGB color
Last year, it looked as though the world of OLED couldn't get any better, yet this year improvements have been made in the LG C1. They're not going to put the CX from last year in teh shade but there are a few tweaks that are very welcome.
It's worth mentioning here that this isn't the flagship OLED from LG this year. The LG G1 is the top-end model this year and that comes with a new type of panel called the OLED evo. This brings more brightness to the screen in a bid to compete with the QLED, which is getting ever better and more OLED-like. However, that does mean the blacks, which OLED is all about, aren't as oily rich on the top-end G1 as they are on this C1.
Average price: From $1,499
Sizes available: 48", 55", 65", 77" and 83"
Screen type: OLED
4K ready? Yes
8K ready? No
HDR type: Dolby Vision
Audio type: Dolby Atmos
HDMI connections: 4
Other connections: 3 x USB, 2xFR, optical, analogue, headphones, CI slot
The LG C1 has a built-in light sensor which detects the ambient light in the room and adapts the display to suit. That results in a consistently high-quality image that, in this review's results, has enough brightness to suit any situation. Add in the 100% sRGB color gamut backed by up to 12-bit color when in Dolby Vision mode and this produces a mind-blowing image.
The only downside is in the software. While the new Alpha a9 Gen 4 processor does a great job of upscaling, it does leave a little to be desired when it comes to skin color. The lack of HDR10+ may be a deal-breaker for some as that means top-end Amazon Prime Video quality isn't achievable.
For gaming, there is a Game Optimizer mode which gets the latency as low as under 10ms while adjusting the black, white and VRR for games thanks to Nvidia G-Sync smarts. With games coming in at 4K and 120Hz this gets you a really impressive end result.
LG C1 OLED TV review: Sound
- Dolby Atmos audio
- 2.2-channel setup with 40W
- eARC Dolby Atmos passthrough
While sound quality on most slim TVs isn't anything to get excited about, the improvements made in recent generations are big leaps forward. The AI in this TV is smart enough to take normal stereo sound and upscale it to Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 virtual surround sound. You're limited to the 40W of power and that 2.2-channel physical setup, but what this television does with that is nonetheless impressive.
While all this is great, you can still attach a soundbar or home theater system and you'll get a more powerful and immersive result. Since this TV supports ARC and eARC it means there is passthrough for Dolby Atmos sound, so you can use a single remote to control that quality audio, even when connected to a soundbar.
The only issue, as with most TV's with built-in audio, is with voices. They could be clearer when in scenes with lots of other noise. That said, there is an Enhanced Dialogue sound profile which fixes this nicely – albeit at the cost of some bass.
LG C1 OLED TV review: Design and build
There's no denying that the LG C1 is a great looking TV with its near bezel-free finish and super slender OLED panel. It comes with a minimal but attractive brushed metal stand that will allow it to fit even in smaller alcove spaces. Of course, you can wall mount this but just know there is a back box so it won't sit totally flush to your wall.
LG is leading the way in size options when it comes to OLED, last year introducing a new size in the 48-inch model – which other companies including Sony have since followed. This C1 model comes in a wide range of options including 48, 55, 65, 77 and 83-inch variants.
The screen is covered in a reflective glass surface which isn't a good thing when you're using this TV to display those rich black images. There can be a significant amount of glare from external light sources. This does become less noticeable when content is playing with brightness and color, but it can reappear when the screen is darker. Of course, you could just close off the light sources to fix that issue.
On the ports front, you've got four HDMI 2.1 options meaning 4K at 120Hz is available in all four of those. The addition of three USB ports, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity and RF tuner for TV plus optical digital audio out make this a fully capable TV with little left wanting, now and in the future.
The Magic Remote is worth a mention, it's the same one LG has been using for a while now but that's because it's head and shoulders above all other TV remotes. For inputting text, where you can move the remote and a TV cursor moves, there is nothing better, it makes finding Netflix shows and movies as easy as using your phone. It might not sound like much but this remote really does make this TV an all-in-one entertainment station that's easier to use than anything else while looking far better too.
LG C1 OLED TV review: Should you buy?
If you want to have the best cinema-quality images that create lots of dark levels for rich detail as the directors intended, this is the best TV you can buy without breaking the bank. This remains relatively affordable especially when you consider how future-proof this is with all those ports, the superb Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support.
If it's brighter images you want, with the option to watch HDR10+, then you might be better served by a QLED TV instead.