LG C1 OLED TV review: The best high-end TV for the money
OLED TVs have the best picture quality available, and today there are more choices in OLED than ever. From the less expensive LG A1 and Vizio h2 to the wallet-busting Sony A90J and LG G1, high-end shoppers who’ve decided on an OLED TV face another tough decision: Which OLED TV, exactly? I haven’t reviewed all of them, but from what I’ve seen so far, the best option for most buyers is the LG OLED C1. It combines that incredible image quality with the best features — particularly for gamers — the widest range of screen sizes and a price that’s not too outrageous.
I compared the C1 directly with its predecessor, the LG CX, as well as with a TCL 8K QLED TV with Mini-LED that costs about the same, and the C1 was my favorite. It and the CX were neck-and-neck for picture quality, but the C1 pulled away with its flexible gaming options. Meanwhile the Samsung QN90A QLED is brighter and in some ways superior, but overall the picture quality of the C1 is better. The C1 is also a lot more affordable than the LG G1, and image quality on those two 2021 OLEDs was basically the same. I haven’t reviewed the Sony A80J yet, which currently costs a bit more than the C1, but I’d be surprised if it’s significantly better.
In short, if you want the superiority of OLED image quality, the LG C1 is my go-to pick for 2021.
Editor’s note, Nov. 9, 2021: Added Editors’ Choice Award.
Watch this: LG C1 OLED TV Review: The High-End TV to Beat in 2021
Series and size information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the 65-inch OLED C1, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality. Click the links below to get pricing on this page appropriate for the size you’re interested in.
- LG OLED48C1PUB, 48-inch
- LG OLED55C1PUB, 55-inch
- LG OLED65C1PUB, 65-inch
- LG OLED77C1PUB, 77-inch
- LG OLED83C1PUA, 83-inch
Get to know the LG C1 series
- The C1 has more sizes than LG’s least expensive OLED TV, the A1 series, as well as better image quality features. The A1 lacks HDMI 2.1 and has a less impressive processor, as well as fewer HDMI inputs (three instead of four) and a 60Hz refresh rate.
- The C1 also has more sizes than the more expensive G1 series, which offers that Evo panel and a slimmer, wall-mount-centric Gallery design. The C1 also lacks a far-field mic for hands-free voice and a Next-Gen TV tuner, both relatively minor extras included on the G1.
- OLED display technology is fundamentally different from the LED LCD technology used in the vast majority of today’s TVs, including Samsung and TCL’s QLED models.
- The best LCD TVs I’ve reviewed so far scored a 9 in image quality, while OLEDs TVs like the C1 have scored a 10. High-end LCDs are brighter than OLEDs (especially with HDR), but the picture quality on OLED TVs I’ve reviewed is superior overall.
- All OLED TVs are more subject to both temporary and permanent image retention, aka burn-in, than LCD TVs. We at CNET don’t consider burn-in a reason for most people to avoid buying an OLED TV, however. Check out our guide to OLED burn-in for more.
Slim, sleek and familiar
If you’ve seen any mainstream LG OLED TVs in the last couple of years, the C1’s design will ring a bell. The watchword is “minimalist,” with a slim border around the screen on all four sides and a tiny, discreet LG logo. Seen from the side, the top two-thirds of the TV are blade-thin, while the bottom widens to accommodate the guts, inputs and other connections.
The stand is basically the same as the CX from last year, running almost the whole width of the panel in the front and incorporating a very heavy base at the rear that kept my review sample admirably steady. One change is the color of the back: It’s now a stark white, like some LG OLEDs of yesteryear.
LG revamped the remote a bit. It kept my favorite features, namely the scroll wheel and motion-tracking, while slimming it down slightly. The biggest difference is the addition of shortcut keys at the bottom: four for streaming services and two more for the built-in voice assistants, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Both Google and Alexa can do all the usual assistant stuff, including control smart home devices, answer questions and respond via a voice coming out of the TV’s speakers (yep, both voices). Basics like “What’s the weather?” work as you’d expect, complete with onscreen feedback. The C1 also works with Apple’s AirPlay 2 system, just like many other TVs, allowing my iPhone to share photos and video on the screen from the Photos app and mirror my Mac and phone screens.
LG’s WebOS menu system got a face-lift for 2021 — and I’m not a fan. Gone is the small, unobtrusive overlay at the bottom of the screen that lets you keep tabs on what you’re watching. Instead there’s a full-screen homepage, similar to what you get with a Roku, Fire TV or Google TV. But it has fewer apps and more, well, junk. The top two-thirds of the screen are devoted to the weather, setup tips, a search window and a Trending Now section with a random collection of TV shows and movies. Below that is an app row and, farther down, sections devoted to inputs and particular streaming apps. In general it feels like a hodgepodge with too much going on — most systems are simpler and easier to grasp.
Features boxes: Checked
|HDR10 and Dolby Vision
The C1 isn’t missing anything I’d expect on a high-end TV. Aside from the Evo panel, the C1 has the same image quality features as the step-up G1, starting with the new Gen 4 a9 processing chip that adds scene detection and upgraded object enhancement over last year’s version. Both the G1 and C1 also have a 120Hz refresh rate. The entry-level A1 OLEDs, meanwhile, have a more basic a7 processor and 60Hz refresh rate.
Just like last year, LG’s OLED TVs’ picture settings include a Filmmaker Mode. As promised, it turns off the soap opera effect for film-based content (yay) but so do many other of the C1’s modes. While plenty accurate, Filmmaker Mode is also relatively dim for standard dynamic range, so I ended up using Cinema and ISF Bright for most critical viewing. New for 2021 is a Game Optimizer menu with its own set of picture modes; see below for details.
All of LG’s recent OLED models (except the A1) include the latest version of the HDMI standard: 2.1. That means their HDMI ports can handle 4K at 120 frames per second and variable refresh rate (VRR, including Nvidia G-sync and AMD FreeSync), as well as enhanced audio return channel (eARC) and automatic low latency mode (auto game mode). In other words, they can take advantage of the latest graphics features available from PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S consoles as well as high-end graphics cards. In fact, the C1 is rare among high-end TVs in that all four of its HDMI ports support 4K/120 — great for hard-core gamers with multiple next-gen devices.
The selection of connections is otherwise top-notch, though it no longer supports analog component video. There’s also a dedicated headphone or analog audio output and another for IR blasters, which could ease some installations.
- Four HDMI inputs with HDMI 2.1, HDCP 2.2
- Three USB 2.0 ports
- Optical digital audio output
- Analog audio 3.5mm headphone output
- RF (antenna) input
- RS-232 port (minijack, for service only)
- Ethernet (LAN) port
Picture quality comparisons
The C1 is a superb performer, every bit as capable as the best TVs I’ve reviewed. I wasn’t able to compare it directly to the G1 for this review, but according to my measurements as well as my comparisons of both panels to the CX from 2020, the C1 and G1 have nearly identical image quality. The G1’s Evo panel, as I mentioned in that review, doesn’t deliver a major brightness advantage over other LG OLEDs, including the C1. In their favor, both 2021 OLEDs are excellent and the best-performing TVs I’ve reviewed, a hair above the CX.
For this review I also compared the C1 with the best-performing LCD TV I had on hand, the TCL 65R648, which costs about the same as the C1 and happens to have 8K resolution. In case you’re wondering, I saw no sharpness or resolution advantage with the 8K TCL compared with the 4K OLEDs when watching HD or 4K material. The TCL uses Mini-LED and full-array local dimming but doesn’t perform quite as well as the Samsung Q90A, showing more blooming issues, for example.
I didn’t have the Samsung Q90A on hand to compare directly either, but it’s still the best LCD-based TV I’ve reviewed. That said, based on my comparison with the G1, the Q90A would still fall short of the C1, which exhibited perfect black levels, excellent mixed-scene contrast and better off-angle viewing than any LCD I’ve tested.
Dim lighting: As expected, the C1 was excellent in a dark room, but no better than the CX when watching cinematic material — in this case The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on standard 1080p Blu-ray. During the darker scenes when Frodo, Sam and Gollum travel toward Mordor, for example, the inky blackness of both OLED TVs surpassed the contrast of the TCL, which showed lighter, less realistic shadows and letterbox bars and some brightness variation (blooming) — standard on just about every non-OLED TV.
Shadow detail was also excellent on the C1, if again not any different from the CX. The shadowy stairs and crags of Cirith Ungol looked realistic, not too bright and yet well-detailed. Again the TCL trailed somewhat, with slightly more obscured shadows and a less theatrical look.
Bright lighting: The C1 is plenty bright enough for just about any viewing environment, but as usual it’s not nearly as bright as competing LCD-based models. Compared with other OLEDs it measured basically as bright as the G1, despite lacking the Neo panel, and slightly brighter than the CX, but the difference isn’t huge and proved tough to discern in most program material.
Light output in nits
|Accurate color (SDR)
|Accurate color (HDR)
LG OLEDs of recent vintage have a setting called Peak Brightness that boosts the light output for SDR sources in Cinema and Expert modes, and it works very well. The idea is to increase brightness for daytime viewing environments while maintaining the superior color accuracy of those modes. As with most TVs, the brightest mode for HDR and SDR (Vivid on the C1) is horribly inaccurate. For the accurate color columns above on the C1, I used ISF Expert Bright (Peak Brightness: High) for SDR and Cinema mode for HDR. I recommend C1 owners do the same to get good color in bright rooms in particular, because the difference between Vivid and more accurate modes is slight. Note that with SDR you’ll need to disable the Auto Energy Saving setting (Support > Energy Saving > Energy Saving Step > Off) to get full brightness.
Like all OLED TVs, the C1 gets quite a bit dimmer than LCDs when showing full-screen white — a hockey game, for example — but even in those situations it’s hardly dim. The C1’s screen preserved black levels and reduced reflections very well, but no better than the CX.
Color accuracy: No complaints here. According to measurements and my comparisons, the C1’s color was excellent. During the Muster of Rohan, for example, the red and blue of the tents, the green of the grassy fields and the skin tones of King Theoden and Merry all looked natural and realistic. On the other hand, all of the TVs were quite accurate, to the extent that it was difficult to tell the difference.
Video processing: LG goes to great lengths to tout the improvement of its processing every year, but watching various material in the best picture settings, the CX and C1 looked largely identical to me.
Motion handling on the C1 is excellent and a touch better than the CX, however. Under TruMotion, the new Cinematic Movement setting (the default for Cinema mode) served up a 24-frame cadence with a very slight hint of smoothing, improving on last year’s too-smooth Cinema Clear setting while preserving 600 lines of motion resolution. Those 24p purists who want no smoothing at all will opt for the Off position (the default for Filmmaker mode) and suffer the low motion resolution, while tweakers will appreciate the fine granularity of the User De-Judder mode to dial in the right amount of smoothness; anything set to four or lower introduced some judder to my eye, conveying a sense of film rather than soap opera effect. De-Blur settings of six or higher deliver the full 600 lines of motion resolution.
User mode also opens up the OLED Motion Pro menu with three levels of black frame insertion that further improve motion resolution, with 800 lines in Low and a full 1,200 in Med and High. This last option introduces flicker, unfortunately, and all three are a bit dimmer than Off, but if blur really bugs you then they’re worth experimenting with.One improvement over last year is that engaging OLED Motion Pro no longer totally crushes shadow detail — it’s a bit worse but still OK. Still, I’d choose to leave it off and sacrifice some motion resolution for maximum light output and shadow detail.
Uniformity: Like all OLEDs I’ve tested, the C1 was exemplary in this area, with no significant brightness or color variations across the screen and nearly perfect image quality from off-angle. In very dark, full-field test patterns the edges did appear slightly dimmer than the middle, but that effect was invisible in any real program material I watched.
LG’s game optimizer status screen shows frames per second, picture mode and other info at a glance.
Gaming:Like the G1, the C1’s biggest upgrades over 2020 models cater to gamers, and together they helped the C1 become my new favorite TV for gaming. The new Game Optimizer is the name of both a picture mode and a full menu system. The latter offers all-new tweaks including four game genre modes: Standard, FPS mode (said to boost shadow detail), RPG mode (to boost contrast) and RTS mode (said to enhance mid-grayscale areas). There are also sliders labeled Black Stabilizer (for adjusting dark areas) and White Stabilizer (for bright areas), as well as the OLED Motion Pro setting described above (LG says it’s particularly useful for games) and the Reduce Blue light setting (said to be easier on the eyes).
The C1 supported all advanced video features from my Xbox Series X, as advertised, including 4K/120 and VRR. Since I reviewed the G1 in April, LG has added a new status screen that appears whenever you hit the settings button while in Game Optimizer mode. Clad in aggressive purple, it displays current frame rate, picture mode, status of VRR, low latency (to reduce input lag) and Black Stabilizer. It’s a nice enhancement and an answer to Samsung’s game bar — I actually like it better because it shows more info — and if you don’t like it you can turn it off.
The genre modes behaved similar to what I saw on the G1 and while playing my current game, Mass Effect 3 from the Legendary Edition, I preferred the look of Standard, which was a good balance of contrast and shadow visibility. FPS will probably cater well to gamers who want maximum shadow visibility, and the other settings allow you to dial it in to your heart’s content. I really like having all these extra adjustment options in a dedicated menu, especially since the calibration screens built into many games often do an inadequate job — having the ability to tweak particular scenes is great.
You can expand the status screen into a full menu with numerous other adjustments specific to gaming.
Buried within Game Optimizer is another setting labeled “Reduce input delay (input lag)” with two options, Standard and Boost. The former, which is the default for any game, serves up an excellent lag number similar to past LG OLED models as well as the G1: just 13.1ms for both 1080p and 4K HDR sources. Engaging Boost cuts lag even further, to just under 10ms for both. The catch is that Boost is only available for 60Hz sources, so you can’t use it with 120Hz games or VRR. And no, I don’t think many humans would notice the extra 3ms of lag.
HDR and 4K video:The C1 is a superb performer with HDR as well, and while it lacked the brightness of the TCL and other high-end LCDs, its overall image quality, contrast and pop were superior.
Comparing the three TVs using the Spears and Munsil 4K HDR benchmark, the two LG OLEDs looked consistently better than the TCL in most scenes. The TCL was brighter, for example, in the clouds, snowfields and mountaintops, but in more mixed bright-and-dark scenes it appeared slightly washed out in comparison, which hurt its overall contrast. Meanwhile the C1 and CX looked vibrant and powerful, even with their slightly dimmer highlights, and shadows in particular, such as in the twilit forests and shaded rocks, looked more natural and realistic. As usual the OLEDs really pulled ahead in the difficult shots of objects, for example cacti, flowers and a honey dipper, against black backgrounds — the black of the TCL was brighter with visible blooming near the objects, while the OLEDs’ was basically perfect. Colors in flowers and bottles of dye also looked more vibrant on the OLEDs.
All of that said, the C1 and CX were almost impossible to tell apart with the Spears benchmark. Spot measurements of the C1 revealed it was very slightly brighter in some highlights, like the hub of the Ferris wheel (4:52), but without my light meter I couldn’t tell.
Switching back to LOTR:ROTK on 4K Blu-ray, I saw an even greater advantage for OLED. The LGs outclassed the TCL in darker theatrical scenes, for example when Sam challenges Shelob. Their letterbox bars remained inky and true and their shadows appropriately dark, while the TCL’s dark areas were lighter, in particular with high-contrast shots like Sam brandishing the Phial of Galadriel at the spider (1:50:18). Given the TCL’s significant brightness advantage I expected its rendition of the Phial to measure brighter in comparison, but a spot measurement showed the TCL, C1 and CX were actually very close (422, 396 and 368 nits, respectively), again too close to discern without a meter.
And stop me if you’ve heard this before, but I couldn’t tell the difference between the CX and C1 when watching ROTK. Both were equally superb.
Picture settings, HDR notes and charts
CNET is no longer publishing advanced picture settings for any TVs we review. Instead, we’ll give more general recommendations to get the best picture without listing the detailed white balance or color management system settings we may have used to calibrate the TV. As always, the settings provided are a guidepost, and if you want the most accurate picture you should get a professional calibration.
Before my calibration for this review the Cinema preset was the most accurate, excellent in terms of grayscale and gamma. Since I now target a 2.2 gamma for my reviews in dark rooms, it was closer than ISF Expert Dark or the new Filmmaker modes, which both target gamma 2.4/BT 1886. ISF Bright was basically identical to Cinema, but I reserved that for brighter rooms.
For my calibration I tweaked the two-point grayscale slightly, reduced light output to my target of 137 nits and increased brightness by two pips to help with shadow detail (while still keeping perfect black levels), but otherwise I left well enough alone. The grayscale and color were already so accurate on my LG-provided review sample that I didn’t need to touch the multipoint system or the color management system.
SDR dark room settings
- Select Mode: Cinema (User)
- Aspect Ratio Settings: 16:9 (Just Scan: On)
- Filmmaker Mode Auto Start: Off
- Reduce Blue Light: Off
- OLED Pixel Brightness: 48
- Adjust Contrast: 85
- Screen Brightness: 52
- Auto Dynamic Contrast: Off
- Peak Brightness: Off
- Gamma (Adjust Brightness): 2. 2
- Black Level: Auto
- Motion Eye Care: Off
- Color Depth: 50
- Tint: 0
- Color Gamut: Auto Detect
- Fine Tune menu:
- Color Upgrade: Off (no other adjustments)
- White Balance menu:
- Color Temperature: Warm 50 (no other adjustments)
- Adjust Sharpness: 0
- Super Resolution: Off
- Noise Reduction, MPEG Noise Reduction: Off [for low-quality sources, some users may prefer to enable noise reduction]
- Smooth gradation: Off [for low-quality sources, some users may prefer to enable]
- Cinema Screen: On [may be grayed out depending on source]
- TruMotion: Cinematic Movement
SDR bright room setting [all default except for below]
- Picture Mode Settings: ISF Bright Room
- Brightness menu:
- OLED light: 100
- Peak Brightness: High
TV software/firmware version tested: 3. 15.36
HDR notes:The two most accurate modes, HDR Cinema and Filmmaker mode, were basically identical, following the target electro-optical transfer function — how the TV converts data to a specific brightness — quite closely and showing better grayscale than Cinema Home, the next most accurate. Game Optimizer is best for gaming thanks to its processing, but quite blue; for the best color accuracy for gaming you should adjust the color temperature control all the way toward red (Color > White Balance > Color temperature > Warm50).
Color checker was more accurate than on the CX from last year and as usual with OLED the C1 covered the P3 HDR gamut very well. The C1 measured basically as bright as the G1 and brighter than the CX or the B9 from 2019, but the C9 from 2019 actually measured brighter in its least-accurate and basically the same in its most-accurate settings. Once again the TV automatically detected and engaged the HDMI Ultra HD Deep Color setting designed for HDR sources.
|Black luminance (0%)
|Peak white luminance (SDR)
|Avg. gamma (10-100%)
|Avg. grayscale error (10-100%)
|Dark gray error (30%)
|Bright gray error (80%)
|Avg. color checker error
|Avg. saturation sweeps error
|Avg. color error
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)
|Motion resolution (max)
|Motion resolution (dejudder off)
|Input lag (Game mode)
|Black luminance (0%)
|Peak white luminance (10% win)
|Gamut % UHDA/P3 (CIE 1976)
|ColorMatch HDR error
|Avg. color checker error
|Input lag (Game mode, 4K HDR)
LG OLED65C1PUB CNET review calibration results by David Katzmaier on Scribd
Portrait Displays Calman calibration software was used in this review.
First published on Aug. 26.
LG C1 OLED review: this 2021 OLED TV is still one of the best
When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.
A gorgeous OLED, a great 4K smart TV, and the best gaming TV we’ve ever seen
(Image: © LG)
Tom’s Guide Verdict
Although there’s a newer model available, the LG C1 OLED is one of the best TVs you can buy, and definitely the best choice for gamers. In almost every respect, it delivers exactly what you expect from a premium OLED TV.
Fantastic picture quality
Future-proof HDMI 2.1 ports
Best-in-class gaming performance
Why you can trust Tom’s Guide?
Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what’s best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.
Today’s best LG C1 OLED deals
393 Amazon customer reviews
Show More Deals
LG C1 OLED: Specs
Model number: OLED55C1PUB
Screen size: 55 inches
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
Refresh rate: 120 Hz
Ports: 4 HDMI 2.1 (1 with eARC), 3 USB
Audio: 40W, 2.2 channel sound
Smart TV software: webOS
Size: 48.3 x 27.8 x 1.8 inches (w/o stand)
Weight: 41.7 pounds (w/o stand)
The LG C1 OLED, released in 2021, continues to be one of the best TVs you can buy, despite being a year old at this point. Age hasn’t slowed it down a bit and, thanks to retailers trying to make room on the shelf for the newer LG C2 OLED models, you can now find the LG C1 OLED at a significantly lower price than when it launched.
To that end, the LG C1 OLED is more affordable than the premium LG G1 OLED and more capable than the budget-friendly LG A1 OLED that grabbed so much attention over Black Friday. The result is one of the best OLED TVs we’ve seen all year, and easily the best gaming TV you can buy today.
With great performance, a number of welcome improvements to the feature set and interface, and some of the best future-proofing of any 4K smart TV, the LG C1 OLED is one of the top TVs on the market. Plus with Samsung’s cheaper OLEDs now indefinitely delayed, the LG C1 is still your best inexpensive OLED TV available.
Not sure if you should upgrade to the C2 or stick with the C1? Our guide to the LG C2 vs. LG C1 OLED TV to help you decide whether you should get the C1 on sale or splurge for the newer model.
LG C1 OLED: Price and availability
LG’s OLED TVs are available in a larger range of sizes than ever before, and the C1 OLED boasts the full range of options for a 4K OLED, starting with a compact 48-inch model all the way up to a giant 83-inch set that will be far too large for most homes, but is perfect for a big home theater. If you need help figuring out which version is right for you, be sure to see our guide What size TV should you buy?
We’ve listed the current regular retail prices below, but sales prices are making these TVs more affordable than ever – that’s why we bought it ourselves. This end of the year period is also the best time to be shopping for these sets, because the prices are at their lowest point all year, but they fluctuate quite a bit as major sales events like Black Friday start and finish, and prices drop in anticipation of new models being announced in January. (Speaking of the new models, we’ve got an LG C2 vs LG C1 OLED TV comparison to help you decide which model to buy.) Whenever you’re after a lower price, it’s worth looking at our LG promo codes page to see if there are any savings available right now.
- 48-inch (Model OLED48C1PUB) — $1,299.99
- 55-inch (Model OLED55C1PUB) — $1,499.99
- 65-inch (Model OLED65C1PUB) — $2,099. 99
- 77-inch (Model OLED77C1PUB) — $3,299.99
- 83-inch (Model OLED83C1PUA) — $5,499.99
For this review, we tested the 55-inch model. Because these sets vary in size, but are otherwise identical in terms of software, ports and features, we have no doubt that our recommendations will apply to all sizes, with no significant differences between them. You’ll get the same great performance and features on models large and small.
The LG C1 uses a design that should be familiar, since the C series look is pretty much unchanged over the last several years. It’s the same design we saw in our LG CX OLED review in 2020, and the LG C9 OLED before that.
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)
But that’s not a bad thing at all — the look is still stunning, thanks to the unbelievably thin dimensions of OLED displays and LG’s display-on-glass design. It’s dramatically thinner than any other premium TV, like the Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV, which measures a respectable 1-inch thick. Through the entire top half of the TV, the LG C1 measures 0.1-inch thick. There’s just no competing with that in terms of a polished, nearly futuristic look.
(Image credit: LG)
There’s just no competing with the LG C1 OLED in terms of a polished, nearly futuristic look.
With a thicker component housing on the bottom half of the TV, the TV’s overall dimensions are 48.3 x 27.8 x 1.8 inches, and the chunk base of the stand has a footprint that’s 9.9 inches deep. It’s not super heavy at 41.7 pounds, but you definitely want two people to help set this up, even at the smaller 55-inch size. The thin and slightly flexible panel of the all-glass display is hard to maneuver solo.
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)
The pedestal stand that comes with the LG C1 is great, but if you want to wall mount the set, it will work with any 300 x 200 millimeter VESA mount, including several models on our list of the best TV mounts.
LG C1 OLED: Ports
On the back of the TV there are two panels of ports and connections, one rear-facing and one left facing. The rear-facing panel includes one HDMI input and two USB connections along with coax, ethernet, a headphone jack for audio, a headphone style service port, and a digital optical audio output.
(Image credit: LG)
On the left-facing panel there are three HDMI 2.1 ports ( one with eARC), and a single USB input. For wireless connectivity, the TV also has built-in 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0.
(Image credit: LG)
The fact that the C1 boasts HDMI 2.1 connectivity on all four of its HDMI ports puts it head and shoulders above the competition, offering advanced capabilities like high frame rate gaming and 4K content at 120Hz. If you have one of the latest game consoles, that’s a huge selling point.
LG C1 OLED: Performance
We expected great picture quality from the C1 by virtue of its OLED display panel. OLED technology offers self-illuminated pixels, with the ability to brighten or darken individual pixels, which translates into exceptional contrast, perfect inky black levels and superior HDR capability. But LG goes a step further, pairing this display with the Alpha 9 Gen 4 AI 4K processor, the latest version of LG’s advanced video processing hardware.
(Image credit: LG)
Basic performance tests showed us what we already expected with the OLED display. Veiwing angles are excellent, with no color shifting even at extreme viewing angles, and perfectly consistent backlight. Unlike even the best LCD TVs, that meant the C1 produced perfectly consistent brightness from corner to corner and edge to edge, which is in keeping with the per-pixel lighting that OLED offers.
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)
Watching select 4K samples really drove home the quality of the UHD display. An aerial tour of the coast of Italy showed craggy cliffs and tiny windowed buildings – all small enough to look like miniatures, but with itsy-bitsy cars on the roads and boats floating in the ocean. The blue waters of the ocean were vibrant, the green vegetation was lush, and the cliffside buildings all looked beautiful.
Another 4K video of drone footage of Manhattan gave us sharp, detailed views of the Statue of Liberty, as well as various landmarks in and around Manhattan. Blue skies look blue, brightly buildings glowed realistically at night, and shots of the Brooklyn Bridge had realistically detailed brick and high tension wires. It all looked really good.
Watching the 4K trailer for The Matrix Resurrections, the vibrant colors all came through bright and life-like, if not a little over-amped and saturated to provide an intentional, unrealistic visual effect. The nearly hallucinogenic imagery looked great on the OLED display, from bright blue pills in the sink to brightly colored clothing and the familiar green matrix code.
LG C1 OLED: Test results
Once we got the C1 under the scope, the test results spoke to the excellent performance the OLED TV offers. Using an X-Rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, an AccuPel DVG-5000 video test pattern generator and SpectraCal CalMAN Ultimate calibration software, we test every TV for the most basic elements of picture quality: Color gamut reproduction, color accuracy, and maximum brightness.
The hallucinogenic imagery in the The Matrix Resurrections trailer looked great on the OLED display, from bright blue pills in the sink to the green matrix code.
As expected for an OLED TV, the C1 has fantastic color, and reproduced 131.59% of the Rec 709 color gamut, exceeding the basic standard, much as we’ve seen in the Sony Bravia XR A80J OLED (128.05%) and the LG G1 OLED TV (133.28%). That’s common in OLED displays, which routinely beat out even the best LCD TVs, like the Samsung QN90A Neo QLED, which is one of the best we’ve tested at 99.78%.
Color accuracy was also top-notch, with an average Delta-E rating of 1.25, where lower scores are better — 0 is a perfect score, but anything under 2.0 is considered very good for out of the box accuracy. That makes it one of the most accurate TVs we’ve ever seen, ahead of last year’s LG CX OLED (1.95), or this year’s LG G1 OLED (1.63) and Sony A80J (2.88), despite these TVs being some of the best we’ve seen. Even the best non-OLED TVs, like the Samsung QN90A (2.57) struggle to match this level of accuracy.
The TV also offers great brightness, which is one area where OLED displays have traditionally struggled. The LG C1 produced 409 nits of brightness, which is a slightly higher result than the 2020 LG CX OLED (396 nits) or the Vizio OLED TV (373 nits), and only slightly behind the LG G1 OLED (412 nits), which is one of the best results of any OLED TV and features LG’s bolder and brighter OLED evo technology.
LG C1 OLED: Gaming
Gamers will also love the short 12.6 milliseconds of lag time that we measured in testing. That matches the impressive Samsung QN90A Neo QLED (12.6ms), and is one of the shortest lag times we’ve ever measured.
But that’s only one of the many factors that makes the C1 OLED a fantastic gaming TV. LG has built up the gaming capabilities of the C1 significantly, from raw capability — short lag times, excellent color and contrast — to advanced features, like HDMI 2. 1, which offers high-frame rate support and auto low-latency mode (ALLM), which seamlessly switches to gaming mode as soon as you fire up a game on your console.
Gamers will love the short 12.6 milliseconds of lag time that we measured, which is one of the shortest we’ve ever measured.
Another key feature of HDMI 2.1 is variable refresh rate (VRR), but LG takes it a step beyond with a combination of exclusive features. The LG C1 OLED boasts Nvidia G-Sync, making it ideal for PC gaming, and has also added support for Dolby Vision HDR at 120Hz, which is currently only offered on the Xbox Series X.
LG has also added a unique Game Optimizer menu, which gives you data about current frame rates and latency, and lets you adjust specific aspects of picture and processing such as black stabilizer, latency, VRR support and HDR settings.
(Image credit: LG)
With our Xbox Series X connected, we could see that the TV supports 4K UHD gameplay at 60 Hz and 120 Hz, along with HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. In regular movie and TV playback, the TV sports 10-bit color at 24, 50 and 60 Hz. If the Xbox supports it, the LG C1 OLED supports it as well.
And it all shows in actual gameplay. Getting a bird’s-eye view in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, peering through the eyes of a raven, I was able to swoop over and around a highly detailed Norse village. The richly detailed world is full of vibrant colors, with decorative rooftops, realistic snowfall, and lots of birds flapping around. Back on ground level, interacting with other characters, I was pleased to see finely detailed fur and tooled leather, not to mention a great range of brightness thanks to HDR.
From the basic responsiveness and picture quality to the fine-tuned features and format support, this TV is built to deliver a premium gaming experience. The end result is one of the best gaming TVs we’ve ever seen.
LG C1 OLED: Audio
The LG C1 OLED offers sound that’s just as premium as the display. Equipped with 40 watts of 2. 2 channel audio, the slim TV boasts better-than-average sound and volume.
(Image credit: LG)
In my hands-on time with the TV, I was thrilled by the sound quality. When watching video, the accompanying dialog was clear and easy to understand. When listening to music from the new Netflix Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, I loved how well the TV brought out the funky kung-fu film-inspired bassline and conga drums in the track Blood Brothers, and the updated version of Tank! Was super clear when playing the blaring horns that might overwhelm the speakers on a lesser TV.
But even quieter sounds come through clearly. Watching a 4K fireplace video, the crackles and pops of burning logs were crisp and clear, while the low rumble of the fire came through realistically.
The one area where the TV didn’t wow me was the bass quality. At volumes below 25%, the bass levels were lackluster, and too quiet to balance the rest of the sound. Conversely, when the volume was up higher, around 70%, bass not only got louder, it overpowered the treble more than it should. You could probably fix both of these issues in the equalizer settings, but the balance wasn’t perfect under the default settings.
Related to sound, the LG C1 OLED also has some extra features that are a cut above. The TV’s Bluetooth connectivity means that you can pair it with Bluetooth speakers for easy surround sound, and WiSA connectivity delivers wireless 5.1 for WiSA-ready sound systems.
(Image credit: LG)
Even on wired systems, Dolby Atmos support delivers immersive, multi-dimensional audio, which you can get through the best soundbars. There is one problem, however. Some users have complained that there’s significant audio delay on LG OLED TVs when using Dolby Atmos with certain devices. For example, when gaming on Xbox Series X lip sync can feel off by a good 1-2 seconds, something that becomes grating. We hope that a fix is coming.
LG’s AI Sound Pro can also be used to optimize audio for the room and surroundings of the TV, adjusting the sound to better reflect off of nearby furniture and walls for a richer soundscape, even with no additional speakers.
LG C1 OLED: Smart TV features
The LG C1 OLED has great smart TV functions, thanks largely to the improved webOS 6.0. The updated interface has a cleaner look, with multiple rows of apps and content suggestions, closer to the interface used by Google TV than the single ribbon menu of apps that older webOS versions used.
(Image credit: LG)
It’s smarter in some unusual ways, with features like Sports Alert, which lets you get updates on your favorite sports and individual teams, like start times for events and scores for ongoing matches, even while watching other content.
LG’s ThinQ AI combines intuitive content search with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice assistants, with both available right from the remote.
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)
LG’s app selection is also better than it’s ever been, with recent additions bringing services like Peloton and HBOmax. The app selection isn’t the biggest of any smart TV platform we’ve seen, but it has most of the apps that people really want – but it’s missing a few, like DIscovery+, Philo TV and several popular BBC apps (and even popular options like Apple TV+ have lagged months behind other TVs in getting support) so look up your must-have apps to make sure you can get it on webOS.
One more cool thing for gamers: LG also has superb support for cloud gaming services. With both Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Cloud, it’s a great gaming TV even if you don’t have a game console or PC connected.
LG C1 OLED: Remote control
LG’s revamped Magic Remote is just as good as the last time we looked at it, which has a sleeker profile than in years past, making it more comfortable to hold in the hand than its bulbous predecessor. The scrolling click wheel in the center of the remote makes it easy to browse through menus and lists, while the motion controlled cursor on-screen gives you an intuitive way to navigate apps.
(Image credit: LG)
Dedicated app buttons on the remote let you jump right to popular apps, like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and LG Channels, which offers a bunch of free content you can enjoy without any kind of sign up or subscription.
The rest of the remote layout is pretty self-explanatory, with number buttons for jumping to specific channels, up and down buttons for adjusting volume and flipping channels, and buttons for opening menus or using both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
LG C1 OLED review: Verdict
The LG C1 OLED is a superb TV, and in many respects, it’s close to perfect. The picture quality is fantastic. The gaming performance and features are second to none. The sound quality needs a little tweaking to get it dialed in, but between AI optimization and adjustments for personal preference, it goes from good to great very quickly, and will deliver even better sound when paired with a great soundbar or speakers. LG’ webOS is better than it’s ever been, and when paired with the improved remote and dual-assistant voice control options, it’s a deeply intuitive and powerful smart TV experience.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a better looking TV, but other elements, like the smart TV software, we’ve seen competitors edge slightly ahead. The Sony Bravia XR A80J OLED offers similar premium performance with Google TV (which is the best smart TV platform on the market right now), and the Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV offers better brightness than OLED can match while going point for point on most features.
But in terms of delivering a great total package, from the basics to the finer touches, the LG C1 OLED is definitely one of the best, and puts it all together at a premium price that matches the value you get. The Samsung and Sony models edge ahead in a few specific areas, but there’s no doubt that this is one of the best sets on the market, and the best gaming TV you can buy.
Brian Westover is currently Lead Analyst, PCs and Hardware at PCMag. Until recently, however, he was Senior Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he led the site’s TV coverage for several years, reviewing scores of sets and writing about everything from 8K to HDR to HDMI 2.1. He also put his computing knowledge to good use by reviewing many PCs and Mac devices, and also led our router and home networking coverage. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.
Overview of the new LG OLED C1 (OLED48C1) TV series: next-generation technology in your home
1 star2 stars3 stars4 stars5 stars
LG OLED C1 (OLED48C1) New Series of TVs Review: Bringing the Next Generation of Technology to Your Home
The new C1 TV can be called the best choice for cinephiles and gamers. This TV series has a powerful processor and an intelligent image processing system.
OLED TVs have not become budget yet, but if you buy a TV not for a couple of years, but for a long time, and also like to watch movies in good quality and with good sound with Dolby Atmos support, it makes sense to spend money on a decent model once. After the OLED matrix, it is very difficult to return to other types of screens: the image no longer seems ideal.
The segment of modern LG OLED TVs can be divided into several classes. There are basic models with a small set of features, middle class and top devices in the form of thin panels with a separate soundbar. “Gold”, as usual, remains the middle.
LG OLED48C1 belongs to the middle class: it is super thin, with its own speaker system. The screen bezels are barely visible.
The surface-mounted leg is very original: steel-like material, looks expensive, there is LG OLED engraving on the base.
Stand consists of two parts. The first is a base with a weighting agent in the back, which is needed to securely fix the TV. The second is a metal bar that occupies about 80% of the width of the entire device.
The shadow cast by the ceiling lights hides the top of the screen below the screen, making it feel like the TV is floating above the surface. The effect is enhanced if the surface itself is gray or silver and almost merges with the decorative strip.
There is also a handy wire holder on the base. Convenient – because the power cable and connectors are located on different sides of the rear panel. If you lay the cables in the channel on the stand, the appearance will be much more aesthetic.
By the way, about the connection. On the back of the case in the lower part there is a noticeable thickening in which all the electronics are hidden. In this thickening there are two platforms with connectors.
On the first, the connectors are directed perpendicular to the panel, back. They are convenient to use when placing the TV on the cabinet. The other group is oriented sideways. Moreover, if many other TVs have a square box with electronics and the connectors are far from the edge, here they occupy the entire width, so it is very convenient to connect cables.
Picture and sound
LG OLED TV’s main advantages are its wide dynamic range and noticeably higher contrast ratio compared to models on other types of panels. But this does not relieve manufacturers of the need for proper image processing and support for different optimization standards.
In order for the device to cope with such functions without “brakes”, it needs a powerful processor. Therefore, the LG OLED48C1 was equipped with the fourth generation α9, the same as in the more expensive LG models.
Image processing is done using artificial intelligence. AI Picture Pro technology allows you to analyze the picture on the screen, recognize its plot and select the optimal processing algorithm.
Separately, it is worth mentioning support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision: many TVs from other manufacturers in the same price segment work with only one of the standards.
In practice, the image is radically different from what more budget TVs give out. You can watch LG OLED48C1 from almost any angle, and the screen does not fade. Even if the TV is in front of the window, the contrast level allows you to enjoy the movie without any problems.
Self-illuminating pixels produce sharp images with vivid colors against deep blacks. The absence of stray illumination along the contours of light objects makes them more “alive” – this is one of the features of OLED matrices. Moreover, even a Full HD image due to a competent upscale looks completely different than on TVs with IPS / VA matrices.
One HDMI connector, a pair of USB, and an input for antenna, satellite TV and LAN connection are located on the rear panel with a rear orientation. There is also an optical output and a headphone jack.
3 more HDMIs and 1 USB on the side-facing deck. All HDMI connectors are version 2.1, that is, they are suitable for connecting a signal in 4K at 120 Hz and support variable refresh rate (VRR).
One of them also received an improved eARC audio return channel – through it it will be possible to output Dolby Digital sound to a soundbar or home theater system.
LG OLED48C1 can be controlled in several ways. Traditional – using the remote control. The kit includes an unusually convenient Magic Remote – it is notable for the fact that it can control the cursor on the screen. Tilt it lower – the cursor goes down, higher – up, left and right – respectively. This principle of operation greatly facilitates the input of a query or any other information using the on-screen keyboard. No need to press the joystick several times – just move the cursor to the desired button and press enter.
There is a microphone on the top of the console. And this is another way to manage.
The voice assistant can switch the channel to the desired one, increase or decrease the volume, find the desired movie or information about it.
Works quickly, almost instantly. Moreover, when searching for a movie, options for watching it in different cinemas (whose applications are installed) and in different versions are immediately displayed on the screen.
Finally, the third way is control from a smartphone. To do this, you need to download the LG TV Plus app (or LG ThinQ if you have other devices in the LG ecosystem). You can control from your smartphone not only air channels, but also Smart TV.
Smart functions are implemented on the webOS 6. 0 platform, which is logical for LG. On the first screen, there is a content search button, a selection of applications, and a list of installed applications. Already “out of the box” there is almost everything you need: the main online cinemas, including Netflix and YouTube. Quick access to four of them (ivi, OKKO, KinoPoisk, Moviews) is on the new Magic Remote. If something is missing, welcome to the app store. More information about the remote can be found here.
If you scroll down the screen, you will get to the control panel and other collections (already by resources, not by content). In general, webOS 6.0 Smart TV is very logical and understandable, even those who have not yet used smart functions can easily figure it out.
TV as a screen for gaming
With the advent of the Xbox X/S and Playstation 5, the demand for TVs that would allow gamers to fully experience all the advantages of the new consoles has grown a lot. But the C1 family is already ready for reality. And it’s not just the maximum matrix refresh rate of 120 Hz. In fact, “honest” 120 Hz can be a problem when a 60 Hz signal is applied – friezes are very likely to appear. Support for synchronization technologies plays a huge role here: in C1 like AMD FreeSync, NVIDIA G-Sync. You can enable them in the menu item “Optimization of games”.
What else is important for a TV in terms of gaming? Of course, the image output delay time. And here LG OLED48C1 frankly surprises with the value of 1 ms! The level of good gaming monitors is already available in TVs. As we have already noted, there is support for both VRR and HDR. So for gaming, a TV is the best.
Total: what we liked about LG OLED48C1
The updated C1 series turned out to be extremely successful. In terms of features and technologies, these TVs are close to the flagship ones, while their cost is noticeably lower. Deep black surround sound quality and Dolby Atmos support will satisfy even true cinephiles, while 120Hz matrix frequency, low latency and support for sync technologies make C1 TVs attractive to gamers. Soundbar can be purchased to enhance emotions
Today, the series includes TVs with diagonals from 48 to 83 inches, which means you can find the best option for any room. A great introduction to LG OLED TVs.
Learn more about LG OLED C1 Series
Was the article interesting?
By clicking on the “Subscribe” button,
You consent to the processing of personal data
Secrets of cool TVs: Mini-LED, Trichroma and other technologies
A guide to coffee varieties: experimenting with taste
Review of the Reddy Air companion robot: a useful device and a cool toy
Review of the smartphone Tecno Pova 5: the same, but better
Review of realme 11 Pro and 11 Pro + smartphones: super cameras and fast chargers
Kivi 55U750NW TV review: middle class for an adequate price
HUAWEI Band 8 review: the brand’s thinnest and lightest fitness bracelet
Huawei MateBook 16s 2023 review: business laptop with cool stuff
RED solution RV-UR3200 cordless vacuum cleaner review
Advertising on CHIP
LG OLED C1 – a ticket to the business class of TVs
However, AI Sound Pro is not the only technology related to sound. Later, when you get to Internet cinemas (and all popular Russian and not only streaming services are preinstalled in LG OLED C1), you can evaluate the second technology – Clear Voice Pro. It highlights the voice in the audio on the fly and adjusts its volume so that you can hear it. This completely changes film viewing, at least in Russian Internet cinemas, where some gloomy genius stubbornly uploads films with a multi-channel sound track. As a result, you watch a movie, but you hear the characters extremely badly. On the LG C1, there is no such problem, everything is done so that you have fun, and not frantically fiddle with the remote in an attempt to find the right volume level.
To implement all these technologies in one device, and at a relatively low cost, requires a powerful platform. At the heart of the entire LG OLED lineup is the fourth-generation α9 processor. It is thanks to him that viewing content becomes impressive. All settings – from sound to image – are applied on the fly, but it is always possible to turn them off and see the content exactly as it was captured.