It’s no secret at this point that if you’re after a new TV that will provide the inkiest blacks, natural colours, great connectivity and a stunning design that an LG OLED will be the first cab off the rank. Our review of last year’s LG CX OLED confirmed as much, and not much has changed this time around. People are generally looking for major improvements or cutting edge technology when shopping for a a new TV, and the biggest compliment I can offer LG is that it just wasn’t necessary for them to reinvent the wheel with the C1. What LG has done instead is incorporate a few minor improvements that even further enhance the OLED experience.
This year, the LG C1 OLED range comes in 48″, 55″, 65″, 77″ and 83″. The design hasn’t changed at all from last year, meaning you’ll get an insanely thin design at top half of the TV, with majority of the thickness at the bottom. This creates a really nice side profile. The TV sits quite low again meaning that if you’ve got a sound bar, it’ll likely block a tiny bit of the display.
NEXT-GEN COMPATIBILITY AND GAME OPTIMISER
Just like last year’s CX model, you’ll get four HDMI 2.1 ports with the LG C1, which means if you’ve got a PS5, Xbox Series X and a 3000 series GPU, you’re sorted. Whilst other manufacturers have opted for one or two HDMI 2.1 ports, LG has made it so that you can plug any HDMI 2.1 compatible device into any of its HDMI 2.1 ports and get an equally great result. This means that with a PS5 or Xbox Series X, you can access 4K at 120FPS with HDR enabled whilst taking advantage of Variable Refresh Rates and Auto Low Latency Modes. The TV supports both NVIDIA G-Sync as well as AMD FreeSync Premium so every base is covered when it comes to playing games on this display.
The brand new Game Optimiser menu is a small, but brilliant change. Now, when you press on the settings menu whilst there’s a console connected, instead of getting the generic settings popup, you’ll get one dedicated to gaming. This means that you can check out your frame rate on the fly, adjust your black stabilities, turn on AMD Free Sync or Low Latency or quickly go to the broader Game optimiser menu which allows you to adjust things such as your HDR settings and the like. It might not sound like much of an improvement but it genuinely shows that LG cares about the gamer, and it means not having to trawl through levels of settings just to get the important information that you want.
THE IMAGE QUALITY
I’m just going to say it: if you’re looking for true-to-life picture that’s almost perfect out of the box, I don’t think you’ll find a better TV on the market. With the C1 being an OLED TV, it means that every pixel is self-lit which means you’re going to have the inkiest, deepest blacks without blooming ever occurring. Other TVs have definitely gotten close to this through processing techniques, but there’s still nothing quite like an OLED. This is particularly evident in darker scenes, or scenes that take in space where there’s an obvious contract between a dark sky and stars.
Dolby Vision means that the HDR performance is going to be impressive, but this is probably the one area where I continue to feel a tad let down at times. In a perfect setup, with your blinds closed and all lights off, you won’t beat an OLED, but if you prefer to watch TV with mood lighting or during the day, the LG OLEDs still can’t match the likes of Samsung’s QLED range, which this year have gone to a whole new level of brightness. It definitely doesn’t look bad, but I’ve always got it in the back of my mind that it could be brighter. Another part of this is the fact that the display is super reflective, which again, not a big problem in ideal viewing conditions, but playing during the day in a well-lit room was definitely not ideal.
Whilst gaming, the picture absolutely delights. The blacks are inky, HDR really pops, with the TVs implementation of HGiG being excellent and perfectly lining up with the PS5 & Xbox Series X’s in-built calibrations. The greatest compliment I can give this TV when gaming is that everything just works how it’s supposed to out of the box. It’s really fool proof, down to the TV literally recognising that you’re plugging in a console and automatically setting up everything how it needs to be.
It was when I played through Resident Evil Village that I realised just integral an OLED can be to the gaming experience. Darker areas of the game were inky black, but then you’d come across a lantern that would light up portions of the screen without any blooming. Jumping back into Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut gave me the opposite experience, with colours vibrantly popping through. I played through Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart right before I got this TV, and jumping over to it on the OLED (with the ability to go through all of the graphical options) showed me somewhere down the track, owning an HDMI 2.1 TV is probably going to be essential to a hardcore gaming experience.
Burn-in is always going to be hard to comment on when you’re reviewing a product over a short amount of time. I know it’s a genuine concern for a lot of OLED buyers, and it’s not something I’ve experienced. I also know first-hand that LG has implemented a number of measures over the years to make this better, with things such as pixel shifting and logo dimming helping. I’d say that you need to make your own call this based on how often you’re playing the same game and the length of time that you’re playing for, but I wouldn’t expect it to be an immediate concern.
THE NEW USER INTERFACE
The other main difference with the LG C1 is the new user interface. I wouldn’t say the UI on the CX was bad, but it definitely didn’t feel as integrated as some other TVs that I’ve used. This is fixed with the C1. Now, you’ve got one home screen that not only has all of your apps and HDMI sources on it, but it’ll also cleverly show you top picks from the variety of streaming services, and allow you to continue watching programs without even jumping into those apps. It’s worth mentioning that whilst the majority of streaming apps are on the TV, there’s still no Kayo or Binge, which surprised me and as someone who uses Binge every weekend, it definitely was a bit of an annoyance.
Just like last years model, the TV also has access to Amazon Alexa as well as Google Assistant, and you’re also able to add your various smart home devices to the TV, so this can really become your home hub if you choose it to be. You can also easily AirPlay content from your iPhone and connect the TV to your Apple Home, which is great for turning your TV on or off with routines. To go with the new UI, there’s also a new Magic Remote. There’s a microphone built-in for the aforementioned smart home features and there’s also an NFC chip built-in so that you can send your content from your phone straight to the TV.
All-in-all, my main key takeaway after a month or so with the LG C1 OLED is that everything feels thought out. It genuinely seems as though LG looked at what could be improved and implemented these features providing a much tighter experience that makes everything that little bit easier.
Just like with the LG OLEDs that have come before it, the LG C1 is extremely hard to fault. It provides a stunning picture with perfect blacks that will make it near impossible to go back to any other TV. Four HDMI 2.1 ports and the new Game Optimiser features mean that you'll be comfortable in the fact that you'll be set for the future as well.
Flawless Deep Blacks Continue To Impress
Great Colour Reproduction Out Of The Box
The Game Optimiser UI Is A Winner
Four HDMI 2.1 Ports
Reflective Display & Brightness Can Let Down Picture In Certain Viewing Conditions