The LG C9 OLED TV is a superb example of why OLED is still one of the best TV panel technologies for quality. From deep blacks and rich colors to smooth movements and fast performance, this is the screen to beat. LG, as an OLED manufacturer, can offer you all those benefits but without the same high price of the competition, such as the pricey Samsung Q90R.
The main drawback is the lack of HDR10+, for those that want to be totally future-proofed. But since you get Dolby Vision support, which is used mostly now by the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus, you should be covered.
Considering the excellent performance and build quality on the LG C9 OLED TV, some sacrifices were obviously going to need to be made to keep the price as low as it is, with the 55" model currently selling for $1499.99 on the LG website.
LG C9 OLED TV review: Picture
- Deep and detailed blacks
- Full 100 percent DCI-P3 color space
- Smart 4K HDR performance with AI support
An OLED is able to switch on or off each individual pixel. That means super clear definition and variation between blacks like no other TV can offer. In real-world use, that translates to seeing a lot more in the darker picture – which lots of movies are shot using. The result should be a lot more going on that you can actually see than on other TVs where subtleties can be lost.
Average price: $1499
Sizes available: 55", 65", and 77"
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
So while you get a range from absolute black you also get it going all the way to peak white. Granted this isn't as bright as some competing LED TVs, specifically Samsung QLED televisions, but this is plenty bright enough even for daytime viewing. In fact, some find the brightness of QLED more than is needed for comfortable viewing.
You also get a huge range of color thanks to this panel offering 100% of the DCI-P3 color space. That means if you're viewing HDR content then you're really going to see the difference, especially on human skin details, which is key to fooling the brain into feeling immersed.
There is also LG's Dynamic Tone Mapping at work here, which is able to map the picture, frame-by-frame, and adjust the HDR to suit perfectly. Since this model has the second generation Alpha9 processor with AI smarts, this looks even better on than the previous year's TV. This processor works really well to upscale content too making everything you feed into this beast absolutely stunning.
No matter where you're watching the LG C9 OLED TV, or the time of day, it seems to keep looking amazing. This is likely thanks to the light sensor with uses the AI smarts to detect the ambient lighting in the room and adapt the display to suit the situation.
The only complaint, and this is a push, is that motion handling could be more subtle. That said, even when gaming the lag is just 12.7ms, making it pretty much imperceptible even on the most fast paced video games.
While you do get Dolby Vision HDR and HLG support, there's none for the growing HDR10+ format. Though this isn't something that you're going to miss much, as it's licence free, with most studios using Dolby Vision anyway.
LG C9 OLED TV review: Sound
- Optimized to the room you're in
- Virtual surround sound
- Dolby Atmos support
Despite being a very slender TV the C9 manages to use its AI smarts to get the most out of the speakers built into the TV. That not only means a wider soundspace than you might expect but smart features like virtual surround sound.
The AI Sounds mode offers an ability to up-mix 2.1 channel audio into virtual 5.1 surround sound quite effectively. That means clear voices, impressive bass for the size and some very immersive sound staging.
Dolby Atmos is natively encoded in the audio performance meaning you get a really impressive sound field. Of course you can attach a soundbar or home theater system and you'll get a more powerful and immersive result, but for what it is, the LG C9 really pushes beyond what you'd expect the limits might be for sound.
LG C9 OLED TV review: Design and build
- Minimal bezel edge
- HDMI 2.1
- Subtle stand
LG knows how to makes its OLED panel the star of the show, creating a super minimal bezel edge that you barely notice is there. If this is wall mounted with Gallery Mode on, you could easily mistake this for a picture frame.
What's really important about the C9 is that it features HDMI 2.1, something a lot of the competition will only be introducing later in 2020. This future-proofs the TV as it is able to support a whopping 48Gbps meaning higher frame rates at 120Hz, dynamic metadata for HDR, eARC sound, variable refresh rates (VRR) and auto low latency mode (ALLM). All tech that will get more widely used soon, so it's great to nab this early so you're set for the longer term.
You get the market leading webOS software platform that makes flitting between apps and TV inputs as easy as a flick of the wrist. Since the smart remote responds to movement you can move the cursor around the screen easily for super fast input and access. It's works quickly, it's intuitive and it's supported by lots of apps. There are also lots of customization options and regular updates too.
Other extras include Alexa built-in, Apple AirPlay 2 support, and a great Auto Game mode for button bashing fans.
Should you buy the LG C9?
If you want an OLED TV that offers super quality images with deep blacks, rich colors, and great upscaling, then the LG C9 is for you. This is ideal for anyone that doesn't want to spend top-end OLED prices but still wants the best quality out there. It's also ideal for anyone looking to get all the latest tech so that their TV is future-proofed for years to come.
For those that want better sound built-in there is the Sony A9G which uses the glass panel as a speaker. But for anyone else this is a great way to save on that while still enjoying superb quality visuals.