Increased brightness and improved design, alongside comprehensive gaming features and connectivity options. Whether you’re watching films, streaming a TV series or playing games, the LG C2 lays down an impressive marker for 2022 OLEDs to follow.
- Great 4K HDR performance
- Improved design
- Comprehensive gaming features
- Better motion skills
- More expensive than C1 initially was
- So-so Atmos sound
- Freeview PlayHub for Live TV, UK catch-up and on-demand apps
- Dolby VisionSupports enhanced Precision Detail version of DV
- Cloud gamingGoogle Stadia and GeForce Now supported
Another year, another LG C-series OLED hits the market. But where the models from the past couple of years offered only slight but beneficial improvements on the established formula, the 2022 iteration has the potential of a bigger step forward for LG’s mid-range OLED.
This year sees the C2 carry the brighter OLED evo panel that LG brought to the market in 2021 with its G1 OLED. The design has been refined and there’s a new Dolby Vision feature to wring out more performance from HDR content.
All of this does come at a higher starting cost than the C1. So the obvious question to ask is, does the LG C2 justify the extra outlay?
The C2 series brings a smaller 42-inch model, which joins its 48-, 55-, 65-, 75- and 83-inch siblings. Price-wise, the 65-inch incurs an increase to £2699 (May 2022) compared to the £2499 starting price of the 65 C1 (at the time of that review, it fell to £2299).
There are two different versions: the OLED65C24LA and OLED65C26LD. The 24LA model is on Amazon UK, Currys, Richer Sounds, John Lewis & Partners and Hughes Trade. The latter is available through Argos, Sevenoaks and Costco UK.
The difference appears to be a heavier stand for the OLED65C26LD, plus that model only comes in 77-, 65- and 55-inch sizes.
- Super minimalist aesthetics
- Smaller, lighter stand
- Side-facing connections suit wall-mounting
LG has made changes over the previous model and they’re all for the better, with everything I felt needed attention addressed. One of the key changes is the stand, which has a smaller footprint that helps in planting the TV on surfaces large and small.
The result of the stand’s more compact form means it’s easier to slip cables from a soundbar beneath the TV’s frame. It could perhaps do with being slightly higher to accommodate a soundbar more comfortably, though. The Devialet Dione I was testing edged up to and just over the bottom bezel, but didn’t obscure the IR receiver for the remote.
The C2’s stand weighs less, too (45% less according to LG), with the combined weight of the TV and stand at 16.5kg. Assembly is a shade simpler, too: taking it out the box to turning it on took less than 10 minutes.
The rear packaging has been tidied up, occupying less space. And aside from the upward-facing CI interface, all the connections are side-facing, which aids access when the C2 is wall-mounted. There’s a cable clutter area on the back of the stand, but it’s only there to siphon the power cable through.
With a thin bezel design that ensures the screen is the focus, this is LG’s best-looking C-series model yet. It’s a gorgeously stylish OLED.
- Magic remote with voice control
- Big library of popular apps
- Freeview Play
The 2022 edition of webOS is a continuation of the decision in 2021 to move to an interface that focuses on curating content. Unfortunately, this main hub wasn’t working properly for me, so I couldn’t access recent/background apps.
It was easy enough to circumvent the issue by heading to the app store via the Home Dashboard or through voice control, but there remained a few niggles such as not being able to update apps in the app store – although opening apps with voice control led to them automatically updating themselves. Aside from a forum post, I haven’t seen the issue mentioned elsewhere.
The Magic remote carries over from 2021 and feels less fiddly to use, the cursor less prone to flying across the screen. It has hotkeys for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Rakuten, as well as shortcuts for Alexa and Google digital assistants.
There’s a bounty of apps with the likes of Apple TV, Sky Store and Twitch; Hulu, HBO Max and Sling TV for US customers; and with Freeview Play, the UK catch-up and on-demand apps are available. LG Channels has nearly 200 free-to-watch channels to stream, while LIVENow – exclusive to LG TVs – features access to live music concerts and events.
The Home Dashboard is where you can manage the TV’s various inputs, wireless connections (such as AirPlay 2) or connect to IoT (Internet of Things) devices around the home. The menu system remains easy to navigate, with fewer sections to wade through, and fewer nestled menus. The Multi View, which I hadn’t noticed before, allows for two screens to be viewed at once for any keen multitaskers.
- ALLM, VRR, HFR across all HDMI inputs
- Dolby Vision Gaming
- Cloud gaming support
There are 4 x HDMI 2.1 inputs (HDMI 2 is eARC for sending lossless audio to a compatible soundbar), a headphone out, digital optical out, Ethernet, satellite, and aerial inputs, 3 x USB, and a CI+ 1.4 (Common Interface) slot.
Wireless connectivity includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Bluetooth Surround Ready, where you can hook up wireless speakers that act as surround speakers. Both versions of the C2 support WiSA connectivity, a means of adding wireless speaker packages and soundbars wirelessly.
You won’t find a similarly priced TV from a rival brand as stacked for gaming features as the C2. ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) automatically switches the TV into its lowest latency state when it detects a gaming device. VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) dynamically alters the screen’s refresh rate to reduce visual artefacts such as tearing, and offer a fast response time. 4K/120Hz HFR (High Frame Rate) allows for a smoother-looking image and less lag. They’re available across each HDMI input, which is rare outside of LG and a few high-end Samsung TVs.
But wait, there’s more! AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia G-Sync VRR solutions cater to PC gamers, reducing latency and improving image quality. Google Stadia is joined by Nvidia’s GeForce Now for streaming games from the cloud. Dolby Vision Gaming supports 4K/120Hz and adapts the HDR performance of compatible games for better luminance (brightness) and black levels. HGiG looks to provide a consistent, non-dynamic HDR performance across games.
Gaming latency at 4K is 12.9ms, a few milliseconds worse than the C1; but VRR, Game boost (for 60Hz content) and 120fps support can bring latency to lower figures. With the Game Optimiser menu there’s room to customise the C2’s performance for whatever game you’re playing, whether that’s adjusting the latency or changing brightness levels.
Concerns about image retention or burn-in are mitigated by a Screensaver mode that ensures no static images are left on the screen. Other measures include Screen Move (which shifts pixels slightly), changing how bright on-screen logos appear and general maintenance.
- Terrific 4K HDR picture
- Best motion and upscaling yet
- Brightest C-series yet
- Adds Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detail
The C2 gets the brighter evo OLED panel, but it isn’t on parity with the G2 OLED. The G2 gets a brightness boost of up to 30%, while for the C2 the gains are 20%. Last year’s C1 measured at 800 nits on a 10% window in Standard mode, while the C2 clocked around 854 nits; in Vivid mode it can go as high as 909 nits. But luminance is only one aspect to consider in the pursuit of picture excellence.
Also new is Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detail. Dolby Vision IQ automatically adapts the image for bright and dark rooms, and this enhanced version squeezes more sharpness and detail from both brighter and darker areas of the image. LG says this is possible thanks to its α9 Gen 5 AI processor, and it’s the only TV manufacturer to offer it at the time of review. Other HDR formats covered are HDR10 and HLG, with LG opting not to include HDR10+ to optimise video from the likes of Prime Video and Hulu.
Picture quality is, as is becoming the norm for an LG OLED, fantastic – especially with Dolby Vision. Compared to a 2021 55-inch Sony A80J, the C2’s colour volume (the range of colour at different brightness levels) is more expressive, displaying a richer colour palette and brighter Dolby Vision playback that also picks up more visible detail in the image’s darkest parts.
There are several moments in Netflix’s The Dig where the LG uncovers more detail in night-time scenes than the A80J, such as the scene where Lily James’ and Johnny Flynn’s characters connect after a Spitfire crash. The LG is better able to reveal the tree line behind them, and the outlines of the door of a little hut they end up at is more defined in the darkness whereas on the Sony it can barely be seen.
It not only helps to create a better sense of the environment the characters are in, but produces more depth and detail than the Sony. If this is Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detail at work, then there are gains from having it included.
The LG’s sense of contrast is more expressive, too, OLED’s customary black levels combined with the increase in luminance makes the fire of a camp site in The Dig and the candles of a séance in Apple TV+’s Dickinson stand out better. Complexions across a range of HD and 4K content are expressively showcased, with lots of nuance and naturalism that makes for a healthy-looking image.
With HDR10 content, black levels require a slight adjustment (nudge Brightness to 60). Overall detail levels are high, whether it’s the extravagant costuming of Cruella, or the period look of The Last Duel to the make-up and production design of Hellboy II: The Golden Army. The LG C2 serves up fabulous levels of sharpness and definition married with a lush quality that makes 4K HDR content look terrific.
Upscaling is similar to the C1 when watching the Diamond League Athletics in standard definition. The C2 displays the usual fuzzy edge definition around the bodies of the athletes, sharpness is lacking and noise is visible once they start running. Watching The Bidding Room, colours are strongly represented – and in the close-up of people’s faces, there’s a decent amount of detail for the C2 to dig up.
With a Blu-ray of Thor: The Dark World, it’s as if I’m watching a 4K version of the film. No noise, no blurriness or jagged edges; just terrific levels of fine detail in costumes and faces, natural colours, a clean-looking image, and impressive levels of sharpness.
The C2’s motion skills improve upon the C1’s decent gains. The number of options has been reduced to Cinematic Movement, Smooth Movement, Natural and User Selection; Natural considered for general use while Smooth Movement is a better fit for sports. I do wonder why LG doesn’t just give them more specific names to make that clear.
In any case, while there remains a degree of artificiality to the C2’s motion, it’s less obvious and ultimately less distracting viewing Sam Mendes’ 1917. When Lance Corporal Schofield runs across the battlefield, his legs don’t look divorced from his torso, while small hand movements are resolved without glaringly obvious judder, even on the strongest setting.
In terms of animation, an episode of The Venture Bros displays fewer motion artefacts such as jerky movements or blurriness with fast zooms. A stream of the Miami GP highlights on All 4 and LG’s TruMotion produces a more stable, less jittery image – this is a step up from the C1.
Some don’t love Filmmaker mode, but I appreciate its inclusion for the purposes of accuracy. Despite that, colour accuracy out of the box wasn’t as good as the C1; but to my eyes the picture was very strong. However, avoid watching standard definition SDR content in this mode, since it’s a pretty dim image.
- Tame Dolby Atmos sound
- Standard and Cinema fare best for built-in sound
The C2 features a 40W 2.2ch system with support for Dolby Atmos – and it’s another lacklustre effort. It’s an ever-familiar comment to make, but a soundbar or wireless sound system would help.
The AI Sound Pro mode adds processing that makes content louder, amplifies detail and opens up the soundstage. However, it brings detail to the fore that should be left in the background, not a wholly accurate or natural representation of what is being watched.
The width of the soundstage with AI Sound Pro is appreciated, as is the focus on dialogue, but there’s sibilance to speech when watching daytime shows such as The Bidding Room and The Chase. The performance can vary when streaming content, which seems to fare better overall.
Standard mode is better, since it ditches processing for a more natural and smoother tone, while Cinema is best for films, finding more energy and applying processing to create depth.
Dolby Atmos processing is activated when Atmos soundtracks are detected, presenting them in a virtual 7.1.2 up-mix. In Last Night in Soho, the moment where Eloise is transported into the 60s and the moment where the soundstage expands is subdued (Panasonic’s 40-inch JX850 manages to pack more heft).
The LG C2’s Atmos performance with Black Panther lacks heft in action scenes or weight in the futuristic aircraft as they fly across the screen. It’s at least clear and crisp in detail, the TV ably tracking effects as they pan across the stage. In Blade Runner 2049 there’s a whiff of height effects as K’s spinner lands at Sapper Morton’s farm, but it’s no match for an Atmos soundbar.
Should you buy it?
For excellent picture and features Like the C1 before it, the C2 caters to a broad-church of TV watchers, cinema fans and gamers. If the LG C2 were a boxer, it would be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters.
You don’t like OLED TVs Aside from the middling audio and comparative lack of brightness compared to premium LCDs, there’s little to moan about unless you’re concerned about image retention and burn-in, which can be managed with various built-in solutions.
Does the LG C2 justify the extra outlay? The answer is an easy yes. LG has extracted as much performance from its C-series as possible: the evo OLED generates more brightness, motion is better, upscaling is excellent, the design is improved, and the gaming features are superb.
The LG C2 is a three-course meal delivered all at once. There are few TVs as tasty as the C2, and it’s more affordable than the G2 or the QD-OLEDs from Samsung and Sony. It’s still unknown what other brands have in store, but LG has delivered another fabulous mid-range OLED in the C2.
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Tested for two weeks
Tested with real world use
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The 65-inch model of the C2 comes with the brighter evo OLED panel.
The main differences are that the C2 has the new evo OLED panel for a slight increase in overall brightness with HDR content, the stand and rear panel have been redesigned to take up less space, and the C2 features the new α9 Gen 5 AI processor which allows for enhanced Dolby Vision playback.