Advertisement
Advertisement

LG C2 (OLED65C2) review: The best mid-range OLED on the market

Stephen Withers
27 May 2022
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
2,499
inc VAT

The LG C2 is a superb OLED that's remarkably accurate, has a comprehensive smart system and all the gaming features you’ll ever need

Pros 
Exceptional SDR/HDR performance
Comprehensive smart system
VRR, ALLM, and 4K at 120Hz
Cons 
No HDR10+ support
Advertisement

The LG C2’s predecessor was our favourite TV of 2021 and this year’s model improves on what was already a superb mid-range OLED by delivering increased brightness, improved AI-enhanced processing and more accurate imaging.

SDR and HDR performance are excellent and that picture quality, combined with a sleek design, extensive gaming features, a comprehensive smart platform and a reasonable price make it a barnstorming 4K all-rounder.

Buy now from John Lewis


LG C2 OLED: Key specifications

Screen sizes available:42in OLED42C24LA
48in OLED48C24LA
55in OLED55C24LA
65in OLED65C24LA
77in OLED77C24LA
83in OLED83C24LA
Panel type:OLED
Resolution:4K/UHD (3,840 X 2,160)
Refresh rate:120Hz
HDR formats:HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision IQ
Audio enhancement:Dolby Atmos
HDMI inputs:4 x HDMI 2.1
Freeview Play compatibility:Yes
Tuners:Terrestrial, Cable, Satellite
Gaming features:Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), 4K at 120Hz, Game Optimiser
Wireless connectivity:Wi-Fi 6 (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.2
Smart assistants:Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
Smart platform:webOS 22

LG C2 OLED review: What you need to know

The LG C2 is a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) HDR smart TV that includes the company’s latest advanced OLED panel. It sits in the middle of the South Korean manufacturer’s OLED lineup and is powered by its new Alpha9 Gen5 processor with AI Picture Pro, AI Sound Pro, and Brightness Booster technology.

The C2 range includes 42in, 48in, 55in, 65in, 77in and 83in screen sizes, making this an ideal choice for anyone looking for an OLED that can be used as a smaller gaming monitor, an all-purpose family TV or a big-screen home cinema.

The C2 runs the latest version of LG’s smart platform – webOS 22. It also supports HDR10, Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detail, and HLG – but not HDR10+. All the major content streaming services are present and correct, including support for Freeview Play.

LG C2 OLED review: Price and competition

As a mid-range model, the LG C2 is priced to sit between the higher-end G2 and the entry-level B2, which uses less processing power. The 42in model costs £1,259, the 48in version retails for £1,269, and the 55 incher will set you back £1,699. If you’re looking for a larger screen size there’s the 65in model at £2,499, the 77in version at a surprisingly reasonable £3,699, and the whopping 83in C2 at £5,299.

It’s worth noting that the two smaller screen sizes don’t get the boost in brightness seen on the 55in model and above. This is due to the density of the pixels in relation to the resolution of their panels being so high that the smaller screens can’t take advantage of LG’s Brightness Booster technology.

In terms of the C2’s competition, there’s the Sony A90K, which comes in 42in and 48in screens, but these are both rather more expensive at £1,799 and £1,899, respectively. The Sony A80K caters for those seeking larger screen sizes, with a choice of 55in (£2,099), 65in (£2,899) and 77in (£3,999) models. Alternatively, there’s the Panasonic LZ980 with a choice of screen sizes ranging from 42in to 65in, and last year’s Philips 806, which comes in 48in to 77in screen sizes.

Anyone looking for a non-OLED alternative should check out the Samsung QN90B. It sits below the company's flagship 4K Neo QLED, the QN95B, and uses a less advanced processor but features a Micro LED backlit panel, Quantum Dot technology and AI-enhanced processing. The 43in model will set you back £1,399, with prices rising all the way up to £5,299 for the 85in variant.

READ NEXT: The best TV deals this month

LG C2 OLED review: Design, connections and control

The LG C2 looks similar to previous generations, with an elegantly slim chassis that widens out towards the bottom where the electronics, connections and speakers are housed. There’s an attractive sloped stand with a relatively small footprint, and the option to wall mount using a standard VESA bracket.

The big difference this year is the composite fibre material used in the C2’s construction, which is stronger and lighter. This not only makes wall mounting easier, but is also more eco-friendly as LG can ship more units in a container. The 65in version only weighs 14.8kg without the stand, which is great news for anyone with a bad back.

The connections are all located down the left-hand side as you face the screen and include four full-fat 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 inputs that support 4K at 120Hz, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and eARC in the case of input number two.

There are also terrestrial and satellite tuners, a 3.5mm audio output, an optical digital output, an Ethernet port, three USB ports (two 2.0 and one 3.0), and a common interface slot. In terms of wireless connections, there’s built-in dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and support for Apple AirPlay 2.

The Magic Remote is the same as last year, and remains the best controller on the market, with an onscreen pointer that makes navigating the TV intuitive and fun. There are direct access buttons for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Rakuten TV, along with activation buttons for the built-in Alexa and Google assistants. There’s also a microphone for voice interaction, and an NFC tag.

LG C2 OLED review: Smart TV platform

The LG C2 runs the latest version of the company’s smart system, which was rebranded as webOS 22 earlier this year. The platform uses a home page where you can edit the layout and access options at the top that allow you to switch accounts or select the most recent input used. There’s wider spacing between rows than there was in last year’s iteration of the operating system, with the selected row placed in the centre while the others are faded out.

All the on demand video services are presented in a single row, making access to the various streaming apps more intuitive. As with all of LG’s TVs, there’s a full complement of UK catch-up apps thanks to Freeview Play, along with every other streaming service imaginable, including YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, Now and Rakuten TV.

The interaction remains responsive and easy to navigate thanks to the Magic Remote, while the expanded ThinQ app offers full control of functions, the ability to share between the TV and mobile devices, and easy access to recently used apps, live TV or inputs. There’s also support for Alexa and Google, turning the C2 into a fully functioning smart assistant with voice control.

Buy now from John Lewis


LG C2 OLED review: Image quality

The LG C2 uses the same OLED evo panel found on the more expensive G2. This is composed of reformulated materials with more precise wavelengths that expand the colour gamut. When combined with the Alpha9 Gen5 processor and Brightness Booster, this produces brighter images than the C1. However, it isn’t as bright as the G2 due to the absence of any heat dissipation technology.

The new Alpha9 Gen5 processor employs AI-enhanced deep learning to reduce dither noise and improve deinterlacing and upscaling, with improved sharpness and de-jagging on lower resolution content. The new processor also applies genre detection, scene detection, and object and background enhancements to make SDR and HDR content appear more lifelike.

In terms of general performance, the C2 is an impressive 4K OLED TV that demonstrates all the usual benefits, from sharp and detailed pixel-precise images to the deep blacks and excellent shadow detail. Screen uniformity is equally impressive, with no visible banding, dirty screen effect or colour tinting. Reflections are also handled well, and the viewing angles are extremely wide.

Like all LG TVs, the C2 ships in the Eco mode, and this mode really pushes blue in the whites and is wildly over-saturated compared to the industry standards. Thankfully, switching to Filmmaker mode delivers exceptional accuracy, with precise gamma tracking, and average colour/greyscale DeltaE errors around one. Since this is well below the visible threshold of three, a calibration won’t make a perceivable difference.

Switching to Filmmaker mode still leaves the energy saving “Eco” setting at Auto. This adjusts the brightness of the image depending on the amount of ambient light, and unfortunately, turning it off isn’t intuitive. You’ll need to go to All Settings – General – OLED Care – Device Self Care – Energy Saving – Energy Saving Step, and switch this setting from Auto to Off. You’re now free to set the overall brightness of the Filmmaker mode to your personal preference.

LG has spent the last few years improving the motion handling of its OLED TVs, and this area of the C2’s performance is excellent. The TruMotion menu offers five different options: Off, Cinematic Movement, Natural, Smooth Movement, and User Selection. Anyone particularly susceptible to the effects of motion smoothing on film-based content will want to turn TruMotion off (or select Filmmaker Mode), but others will enjoy experimenting with the different settings.

READ NEXT: The best cheap TVs

LG C2 OLED review: HDR performance

The LG C2 is equally as impressive when it comes to HDR, and while not as bright as the G2, it can hit 754cd/m2 on a 10% window and 174cd/m2 on a full-field pattern in the Standard mode, and 756cd/m2 on a 10% window and 164cd/m2 on a full-field pattern in the more accurate Filmmaker mode. Although a smidge brighter than last year’s C1, it’s not a huge difference.

While not as bright as many LCD TVs, when you combine these brightness measurements with deep blacks and pixel-precise highlights, you understand why OLED looks so good with HDR. While the C2 might struggle with the snowy white vistas of The Revenant, it looks absolutely spectacular in 1917’s nighttime scenes, where flares light up the darkness with pinpoint accuracy.

The C2 delivers equally impressive colour rendition, with DCI-P3 coverage of 99%. This delivers the full benefits of HDR’s wider colour gamut, and when combined with the increased brightness, images are often breathtaking. The opening sequence of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 is a great example, with bright specular highlights combined with gorgeously saturated primaries.

LG's dynamic tone mapping is an excellent feature that analyses the incoming HDR signal and adjusts the tone mapping on the fly to get the best out of the OLED panel. The C2 passed all our tests, producing pictures that had greater impact, but still precisely followed the PQ curve. There were no signs of clipping in the highlights, while areas just above black were free of crush.

The Filmmaker mode offers highly accurate images for HDR10 and HLG, while the Cinema mode does the same for Dolby Vision, and Cinema Home offers Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detail. LG claims it is the only manufacturer that currently has sufficient processing power to offer this additional feature, which pulls out greater contrast and detail from Dolby Vision content.

To test the LG C2 we used Portrait Displays Calman colour calibration software.

LG C2 OLED review: Gaming

The LG C2 is an ideal choice for next-gen gamers thanks to its four HDMI 2.1 ports with support for 4K at 120Hz, and VRR – including Nvidia G-Sync and AMD Freesync. There’s also ALLM, which automatically switches to the low latency game mode when a console is detected. This mode delivers an input lag that, depending on the frame rate, goes from 13ms to as low as 5ms.

The newly expanded game hub is excellent, popping up when the Settings button is pressed, and offering all the key game-related information and controls in a clearly laid-out interface. These include genre settings, a Dark Room mode for more comfortable HDR gaming in a darkened room or at night, and settings for the wider 21:9 and 32:9 aspect ratios – when supported.

LG C2 OLED review: Sound quality

The LG C2 sounds surprisingly good when you consider its slimline proportions and downward-firing speakers. This is primarily thanks to AI Sound Pro, which uses psychoacoustic processing to add virtual rear and overhead channels, thus creating a pseudo 7.1.2-channel experience. There’s also AI Acoustic Tuning, and multi-layer deep learning applied to different genres.

The C2 supports Dolby Atmos decoding, and the processing is capable of creating a greater sense of immersion with object-based audio. However, even with non-Atmos soundtracks, the AI Sound Pro processing is capable of giving the soundstage greater dimensionality. It also makes dialogue clearer by bringing it forward in the mix and improving the intelligibility.

While the C2 can certainly hold its own in the sonic stakes, it lacks power, scale and deep bass. So if you plan on buying one of the larger screen sizes, you really owe it to yourself to invest in an outboard audio solution, such as a soundbar with Dolby Atmos support, a separate subwoofer for a genuine low-frequency response, and maybe even rear speakers for proper surround sound. Our list of the best soundbars will point you in the right direction regardless of how much you have to spend.

Buy now from John Lewis


LG C2 OLED review: Verdict

The LG C2 is a fantastic mid-range OLED that delivers impressive image accuracy and cutting-edge features in an elegant package. The SDR and HDR performance is exceptional, and while not quite as bright as the higher-end G2, it still benefits from the same AI-enhanced processing. The HDR tone mapping is also class-leading, resulting in a fantastic overall performance.

The sound quality is surprisingly good thanks to AI-enhanced immersive audio, the Magic Remote remains a joy to use, and webOS 22 is as slick and comprehensive as ever. Finally, the HDMI 2.1 inputs, extensive gaming features and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it response times make the C2 the perfect choice for next-gen gamers. You won’t find a better 4K OLED TV at this price.

Read more

Reviews