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 C1 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 new TV, but much like last year the biggest praise we can heap on LG’s OLED offering is that what came before was already so close to perfect that there’s very little they could do better this time around.
And yet, with the new C2 OLED they’ve gone and outdone themselves again.
This year, the LG C2 OLED range comes in six sizes with a 42″, 48″, 55″, 65″, 77″ and 83″. The stand design on the 65″ model has been streamlined significantly from the CX/C1, it’s now a lot narrower and less deep at the back, but also sits a bit higher which is sure to be a huge relief for those of us who sit a soundbar in front of the TV. The back of the panel itself is still incredibly thin at the top while the chunky part of the chassis containing the electronics sits at the bottom half. This time around, all of the ports have been moved to the side of the TV which makes cable management and wall mounting much easier. From the front, this is an incredibly attractive TV with virtually no borders. This is definitely one of the most premium-looking TVs I’ve laid eyes on, and the whole thing is freakishly light as well.
NEXT-GEN COMPATIBILITY AND GAME OPTIMISER
Just like last year’s C1 model, you’ll get four HDMI 2.1 ports with the LG C2, which means if you’ve got a PS5, Xbox Series X and a 3000 series GPU, you’re sorted. Whilst some manufacturers are still catching up with their HDMI port compatibility, LG has made it so that you can plug any HDMI 2.1 compatible device into any of its full-bandwidth 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.
Last year’s Game Optimiser menu makes a return and functions largely the same, with some slight tweaks. Like before, 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 the black stabilizer, turn on G-Sync and low latency modes or quickly go to the broader Game Optimiser menu which allows you to adjust things such as your HDR settings and the like. It’s a small thing in the grand scheme, but being able to quickly see how your TV is performing with your consoles or PC at a glance and quickly find your preferred settings is very welcome.
THE IMAGE QUALITY
If you’re looking for true-to-life picture that’s almost perfect out of the box, there are few consumer-level sets on the market as impressive as this (bar LG’s own top-of-the-line G2). With the C2 being an OLED TV, it means that every pixel is self-lit which means you’re going to have the inkiest, deepest blacks and truly vibrant colours. Every year we see more and more innovations from other display technologies that bring them closer to the dream of infinite contrast that OLED offers, but nothing beats the real thing.
That’s especially true when you consider that LG is making huge strides to bridge the one gap between its OLED technology and other solutions on the market – brightness. Because of the limitations of power and thermals, OLED panels have traditionally been significantly dimmer at peak brightness compared to the various takes on LCD panels out there, making them perfectly suitable for dark theatre room environments but a hassle in brightly-lit areas. That’s far less of a concern now though, with the “evo” panel in the C2 offering further improved brightness over the C1. Looking at the plethora of side-by-side comparisons and benchmarks available elsewhere it’s not a huge margin over the previous model but as someone coming off of an older LG B8 OLED the difference in brightness here is astronomical and easily makes this TV viable for viewing in just about any environment.
Whilst gaming or watching HDR movie content, the picture here is a genuine marvel. The blacks are cosmically deep, HDR really pops, with the TVs implementation of HGiG being excellent and perfectly lining up with the PS5 and Xbox Series X’s in-built calibrations. The greatest compliment we can give this TV when gaming or doing just about anything 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.
Usually when I get a new TV I spend literal hours setting up and tweaking everything to suit the viewing environment and what I’m playing through it, but with my C2 I’ve barely scratched the surface of all the picture settings because I’m incredibly happy with how it all looks from the outset. I used to hate booting up a new HDR-ready video game and having to guess my way through those brightness calibration screens, but so far none of them have given me any grief since.
Something I was keen to check out for myself is the C2’s compatibility with new gaming-focussed technologies like Variable Rate Refresh, 120Hz refresh rates and pushes towards low input latency. The great news is the TV does all of this stuff excellently. Both my PS5 and Xbox Series X instantly detected that the display was capable and adjusted their output settings to match, meaning I could get right to firing up games like Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart to marvel at their 120Hz/40FPS output options as well as performance modes that look impossibly smooth with VRR enabled. Input latency across the board is incredibly good as well, with multiple step settings in the Game Optimiser to push it right down.
As usual, burn-in is always something OLED owners are going to have in the back of their minds as a possibility when gaming, but I can personally say after using my previous LG OLED for years and now the C2 I’ve only ever noticed a minimal amount of very temporary image retention and no actual burn-in. There are a bunch of technologies and settings on the TV to ensure the odds are negligible at best so it’s nothing I’d worry about unless you somehow planned on using it as your main monitor for everyday PC use.
What I’m still not quite a fan of is the LG’s aggressive backlight control, which can occasionally look funky on scenes with very bright screen coverage as it dims in and out to match the displays overall peak brightness. It’s far less noticeable here than the older models though, especially when there’s as much brightness overhead as you get here.
THE USER INTERFACE
The LG C2 carries across the newer iteration of LG’s WebOS Smart TV interface from last year’s models – 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 slightly disappointing to see there’s still no dedicated Google Cast capabilities, but all the apps you’d want are here from Netflix to Disney+, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Kayo, Binge and Apple TV+. If you’re an Apple user, you’ve still got the option of easily casting content with AirPlay as well.
My only real gripe with the UI on the C2 is that I couldn’t find a way to have the TV boot straight into the excellent Home Dashboard, which lets you see all your inputs as well as access content directly from your phone and control all your home’s smart lighting and devices from one sexy-looking screen. It’s a minor complaint and only comes down to how much I love the Home Dashboard as an all-in-one home control solution right there on the big screen in my lounge.
The staple LG Magic Remote is largely unchanged from last year and still one of the best proprietary TV remotes around, and I’ve grown to love it even more since discovering that I can use it as a mouse pointer with the TV’s native GeForce Now app to quite literally use it as a pointer for games that I’m streaming. Pointer controls for strategy or point-and-click games? Wiimote-style controls for FPSes?? Count me in!
What this all amounts to at the end of the day is the C2 quite deftly carries on the already-stellar legacy of the C1 as a consumer-level OLED TV that possesses unbeatable image quality and great gaming features. It might not be a huge step-up from its predecessor – I certainly wouldn’t go upgrading if you’ve got last year’s model – but coming from an older LG OLED or another display technology you’re going to be wowed. When it comes to gaming, there’s no other TV I’d sooner recommend.
Just like the C1 before it, the LG OLED evo C2 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. Fully-featured for gaming and brighter than ever, it's another win for team OLED, just don't go expecting a big enough leap over last year to justify a swift upgrade.
Absolutely stunning picture with inky blacks and beautiful HDR
Four full-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 ports and Game Optimiser make it perfect for gaming