LG C1 OLED TV evaluation: The very best high-end TV for the cash

I in contrast the C1 straight with its predecessor, the LG CX, in addition to with a TCL 8K QLED TV with Mini-LED that prices about the identical, and the C1 was my favourite. It and the CX have been neck-and-neck for image high quality, however the C1 pulled away with its versatile gaming choices. In the meantime the Samsung QN90A QLED is brighter and in some methods superior, however general the image high quality of the C1 is healthier. The C1 can be much more inexpensive than the LG G1, and picture high quality on these two 2021 OLEDs was principally the identical. I have never reviewed the Sony A80J but, which at present prices a bit greater than the C1, however I would be stunned if it is considerably higher.

In brief, in order for you the prevalence of OLED picture high quality, the LG C1 is my go-to decide for 2021.

Editor’s notice, Nov. 9, 2021: Added Editors’ Alternative Award.


Watch this: LG C1 OLED TV Evaluation: The Excessive-Finish TV to Beat in 2021

Sequence and measurement data: I carried out a hands-on analysis of the 65-inch OLED C1, however this evaluation additionally applies to the opposite display screen sizes within the sequence. All sizes have similar specs and in response to the producer ought to present very comparable image high quality. Click on the hyperlinks beneath to get pricing on this web page acceptable for the dimensions you are interested by.

Slim, smooth and superior: Up shut with the LG C1 OLED TV

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Get to know the LG C1 sequence

  • The C1 has extra sizes than LG’s least costly OLED TV, the A1 sequence, in addition to higher picture high quality options. The A1 lacks HDMI 2.1 and has a much less spectacular processor, in addition to fewer HDMI inputs (three as a substitute of 4) and a 60Hz refresh price.
  • The C1 additionally has extra sizes than the costlier G1 sequence, which gives that Evo panel and a slimmer, wall-mount-centric Gallery design. The C1 additionally lacks a far-field mic for hands-free voice and a Subsequent-Gen TV tuner, each comparatively minor extras included on the G1.
  • OLED show expertise is essentially completely different from the LED LCD expertise used within the overwhelming majority of as we speak’s TVs, together with Samsung and TCL’s QLED fashions.
  • The very best LCD TVs I’ve reviewed thus far scored a 9 in picture high quality, whereas OLEDs TVs just like the C1 have scored a ten. Excessive-end LCDs are brighter than OLEDs (particularly with HDR), however the image high quality on OLED TVs I’ve reviewed is superior general.
  • All OLED TVs are extra topic to each momentary and everlasting picture retention, aka burn-in, than LCD TVs. We at CNET do not think about burn-in a motive for most individuals to keep away from shopping for an OLED TV, nonetheless. Take a look at our information to OLED burn-in for extra.


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Slim, smooth and acquainted

Should you’ve seen any mainstream LG OLED TVs within the final couple of years, the C1’s design will ring a bell. The watchword is “minimalist,” with a slim border across the display screen on all 4 sides and a tiny, discreet LG emblem. Seen from the facet, the highest two-thirds of the TV are blade-thin, whereas the underside widens to accommodate the center, inputs and different connections.

The stand is principally the identical because the CX from final yr, operating nearly the entire width of the panel within the entrance and incorporating a really heavy base on the rear that stored my evaluation pattern admirably regular. One change is the colour of the again: It is now a stark white, like some LG OLEDs of yesteryear.


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LG revamped the distant a bit. It stored my favourite options, particularly the scroll wheel and motion-tracking, whereas slimming it down barely. The largest distinction is the addition of shortcut keys on the backside: 4 for streaming companies and two extra for the built-in voice assistants, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa

Each Google and Alexa can do all the standard assistant stuff, together with management sensible dwelling units, reply questions and reply through a voice popping out of the TV’s audio system (yep, each voices). Fundamentals like “What is the climate?” work as you’d anticipate, full with onscreen suggestions. The C1 additionally works with Apple’s AirPlay 2 system, similar to many different TVs, permitting my iPhone to share images and video on the display screen from the Images app and mirror my Mac and telephone screens. 


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LG’s WebOS menu system obtained a face-lift for 2021 — and I am not a fan. Gone is the small, unobtrusive overlay on the backside of the display screen that permits you to preserve tabs on what you are watching. As an alternative there is a full-screen homepage, just like what you get with a Roku, Hearth TV or Google TV. However it has fewer apps and extra, nicely, junk. The highest two-thirds of the display screen are dedicated to the climate, setup suggestions, a search window and a Trending Now part with a random assortment of TV reveals and flicks. Beneath that’s an app row and, farther down, sections dedicated to inputs and specific streaming apps. Normally it looks like a hodgepodge with an excessive amount of occurring — most methods are easier and simpler to know.

Options bins: Checked

Key options

Show expertise OLED
LED backlight N/A
Decision 4K
HDR compatibility HDR10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient
Good TV Net OS
Distant Movement

The C1 is not lacking something I would anticipate on a high-end TV. Apart from the Evo panel, the C1 has the identical picture high quality options because the step-up G1, beginning with the brand new Gen 4 a9 processing chip that provides scene detection and upgraded object enhancement over final yr’s model. Each the G1 and C1 even have a 120Hz refresh price. The entry-level A1 OLEDs, in the meantime, have a extra primary a7 processor and 60Hz refresh price. 

Identical to final yr, LG’s OLED TVs’ image settings embody a Filmmaker Mode. As promised, it turns off the cleaning soap opera impact for film-based content material (yay) however so do many different of the C1’s modes. Whereas lots correct, Filmmaker Mode can be comparatively dim for traditional dynamic vary, so I ended up utilizing Cinema and ISF Brilliant for most important viewing. New for 2021 is a Sport Optimizer menu with its personal set of image modes; see beneath for particulars.


David Katzmaier/CNET

All of LG’s latest OLED fashions (besides the A1) embody the newest model of the HDMI commonplace: 2.1. Meaning their HDMI ports can deal with 4K at 120 frames per second and variable refresh price (VRR, together with Nvidia G-sync and AMD FreeSync), in addition to enhanced audio return channel (eARC) and automated low latency mode (auto recreation mode). In different phrases, they’ll reap the benefits of the newest graphics options out there from PlayStation 5 and Xbox Sequence X and S consoles in addition to high-end graphics playing cards. In truth, the C1 is uncommon amongst high-end TVs in that each one 4 of its HDMI ports help 4K/120 — nice for hard-core avid gamers with a number of next-gen units. 

The number of connections is in any other case top-notch, although it now not helps analog part video. There’s additionally a devoted headphone or analog audio output and one other for IR blasters, which may ease some installations.

  • 4 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) enter
  • RS-232 port (minijack, for service solely)
  • Ethernet (LAN) port

Image high quality comparisons

The C1 is an outstanding performer, each bit as succesful as the most effective TVs I’ve reviewed. I wasn’t capable of evaluate it straight to the G1 for this evaluation, however in response to my measurements in addition to my comparisons of each panels to the CX from 2020, the C1 and G1 have practically similar picture high quality. The G1’s Evo panel, as I discussed in that evaluation, does not ship a serious brightness benefit over different LG OLEDs, together with the C1. Of their favor, each 2021 OLEDs are glorious and the best-performing TVs I’ve reviewed, a hair above the CX.


David Katzmaier/CNET

For this evaluation I additionally in contrast the C1 with the best-performing LCD TV I had readily available, the TCL 65R648, which prices about the identical because the C1 and occurs to have 8K decision. In case you are questioning, I noticed no sharpness or decision benefit with the 8K TCL in contrast with the 4K OLEDs when watching HD or 4K materials. The TCL makes use of Mini-LED and full-array native dimming however does not carry out fairly in addition to the Samsung Q90A, exhibiting extra blooming points, for instance. 

I did not have the Samsung Q90A readily available to match straight both, but it surely’s nonetheless the most effective LCD-based TV I’ve reviewed. That stated, primarily based on my comparability with the G1, the Q90A would nonetheless fall in need of the C1, which exhibited good black ranges, glorious mixed-scene distinction and higher off-angle viewing than any LCD I’ve examined.

Dim lighting: As anticipated, the C1 was glorious in a darkish room, however no higher than the CX when watching cinematic materials — on this case The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on commonplace 1080p Blu-ray. Through the darker scenes when Frodo, Sam and Gollum journey towards Mordor, for instance, the inky blackness of each OLED TVs surpassed the distinction of the TCL, which confirmed lighter, much less real looking shadows and letterbox bars and a few brightness variation (blooming) — commonplace on nearly each non-OLED TV.

Shadow element was additionally glorious on the C1, if once more not any completely different from the CX. The shadowy stairs and crags of Cirith Ungol regarded real looking, not too vibrant and but well-detailed. Once more the TCL trailed considerably, with barely extra obscured shadows and a much less theatrical look.

Brilliant lighting: The C1 is lots vibrant sufficient for nearly any viewing setting, however as typical it is not practically as vibrant as competing LCD-based fashions. In contrast with different OLEDs it measured principally as vibrant because the G1, regardless of missing the Neo panel, and barely brighter than the CX, however the distinction is not large and proved powerful to discern in most program materials.

Mild output in nits

TV Brightest (SDR) Correct shade (SDR) Brightest (HDR) Correct shade (HDR)
Samsung QN65QN90A 1,622 1,283 2,596 1,597
Hisense 65U8G 1,619 1,612 2,288 2,288
Sony XR65X90J 951 815 945 847
LG OLED65C1 409 333 790 719
LG OLED65G1 377 334 769 763
LG OLED65CX 377 290 690 634

LG OLEDs of latest classic have a setting referred to as Peak Brightness that enhances the sunshine output for SDR sources in Cinema and Professional modes, and it really works very nicely. The thought is to extend brightness for daytime viewing environments whereas sustaining the superior shade accuracy of these modes. As with most TVs, the brightest mode for HDR and SDR (Vivid on the C1) is horribly inaccurate. For the correct shade columns above on the C1, I used ISF Professional Brilliant (Peak Brightness: Excessive) for SDR and Cinema mode for HDR. I like to recommend C1 homeowners do the identical to get good shade in vibrant rooms specifically, as a result of the distinction between Vivid and extra correct modes is slight. Notice that with SDR you may have to disable the Auto Power Saving setting (Help > Power Saving > Power Saving Step > Off) to get full brightness.

Like all OLED TVs, the C1 will get fairly a bit dimmer than LCDs when exhibiting full-screen white — a hockey recreation, for instance — however even in these conditions it is hardly dim. The C1’s display screen preserved black ranges and decreased reflections very nicely, however no higher than the CX.

Colour accuracy: No complaints right here. In line with measurements and my comparisons, the C1’s shade was glorious. Through the Muster of Rohan, for instance, the crimson and blue of the tents, the inexperienced of the grassy fields and the pores and skin tones of King Theoden and Merry all regarded pure and real looking. Then again, all the TVs have been fairly correct, to the extent that it was troublesome to inform the distinction.

Video processing: LG goes to nice lengths to tout the development of its processing yearly, however watching numerous materials in the most effective image settings, the CX and C1 regarded largely similar to me. 

Movement dealing with on the C1 is great and a contact higher than the CX, nonetheless. Beneath TruMotion, the brand new Cinematic Motion setting (the default for Cinema mode) served up a 24-frame cadence with a really slight trace of smoothing, bettering on final yr’s too-smooth Cinema Clear setting whereas preserving 600 traces of movement decision. These 24p purists who need no smoothing in any respect will go for the Off place (the default for Filmmaker mode) and endure the low movement decision, whereas tweakers will recognize the tremendous granularity of the Person De-Judder mode to dial in the correct quantity of smoothness; something set to 4 or decrease launched some judder to my eye, conveying a way of movie reasonably than cleaning soap opera impact. De-Blur settings of six or larger ship the total 600 traces of movement decision.

Person mode additionally opens up the OLED Movement Professional menu with three ranges of black body insertion that additional enhance movement decision, with 800 traces in Low and a full 1,200 in Med and Excessive. This final possibility introduces flicker, sadly, and all three are a bit dimmer than Off, but when blur actually bugs you then they’re price experimenting with.One enchancment over final yr is that participating OLED Movement Professional now not completely crushes shadow element — it is a bit worse however nonetheless OK. Nonetheless, I would select to go away it off and sacrifice some movement decision for max mild output and shadow element.

Uniformity: Like all OLEDs I’ve examined, the C1 was exemplary on this space, with no vital brightness or shade variations throughout the display screen and practically good picture high quality from off-angle. In very darkish, full-field check patterns the sides did seem barely dimmer than the center, however that impact was invisible in any actual program materials I watched.


LG’s recreation optimizer standing display screen reveals frames per second, image mode and different information at a look.

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Gaming:Just like the G1, the C1’s largest upgrades over 2020 fashions cater to avid gamers, and collectively they helped the C1 develop into my new favourite TV for gaming. The brand new Sport Optimizer is the title of each an image mode and a full menu system. The latter gives all-new tweaks together with 4 recreation style modes: Normal, FPS mode (stated to spice up shadow element), RPG mode (to spice up distinction) and RTS mode (stated to boost mid-grayscale areas). There are additionally sliders labeled Black Stabilizer (for adjusting darkish areas) and White Stabilizer (for vibrant areas), in addition to the OLED Movement Professional setting described above (LG says it is notably helpful for video games) and the Cut back Blue mild setting (stated to be simpler on the eyes).

The C1 supported all superior video options from my Xbox Sequence X, as marketed, together with 4K/120 and VRR. Since I reviewed the G1 in April, LG has added a brand new standing display screen that seems everytime you hit the settings button whereas in Sport Optimizer mode. Clad in aggressive purple, it shows present body price, image mode, standing of VRR, low latency (to scale back enter lag) and Black Stabilizer. It is a good enhancement and a solution to Samsung’s recreation bar — I truly prefer it higher as a result of it reveals extra information — and if you happen to do not prefer it you possibly can flip it off.

The style modes behaved just like what I noticed on the G1 and whereas enjoying my present recreation, Mass Impact 3 from the Legendary Version, I most popular the look of Normal, which was an excellent steadiness of distinction and shadow visibility. FPS will in all probability cater nicely to avid gamers who need most shadow visibility, and the opposite settings assist you to dial it in to your coronary heart’s content material. I actually like having all these further adjustment choices in a devoted menu, particularly because the calibration screens constructed into many video games usually do an insufficient job — being able to tweak specific scenes is nice.


You possibly can broaden the standing display screen right into a full menu with quite a few different changes particular to gaming.

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Buried inside Sport Optimizer is one other setting labeled “Cut back enter delay (enter lag)” with two choices, Normal and Increase. The previous, which is the default for any recreation, serves up a superb lag quantity just like previous LG OLED fashions in addition to the G1: simply 13.1ms for each 1080p and 4K HDR sources. Participating Increase cuts lag even additional, to simply below 10ms for each. The catch is that Increase is barely out there for 60Hz sources, so you possibly can’t use it with 120Hz video games or VRR. And no, I do not suppose many people would discover the additional 3ms of lag.

HDR and 4K video:The C1 is an outstanding performer with HDR as nicely, and whereas it lacked the brightness of the TCL and different high-end LCDs, its general picture high quality, distinction and pop have been superior.

Evaluating the three TVs utilizing the Spears and Munsil 4K HDR benchmark, the 2 LG OLEDs regarded persistently higher than the TCL in most scenes. The TCL was brighter, for instance, within the clouds, snowfields and mountaintops, however in additional blended bright-and-dark scenes it appeared barely washed out compared, which harm its general distinction. In the meantime the C1 and CX regarded vibrant and highly effective, even with their barely dimmer highlights, and shadows specifically, comparable to within the twilit forests and shaded rocks, regarded extra pure and real looking. As typical the OLEDs actually pulled forward within the troublesome photographs of objects, for instance cacti, flowers and a honey dipper, towards black backgrounds — the black of the TCL was brighter with seen blooming close to the objects, whereas the OLEDs’ was principally good. Colours in flowers and bottles of dye additionally regarded extra vibrant on the OLEDs.

All of that stated, the C1 and CX have been nearly inconceivable to inform aside with the Spears benchmark. Spot measurements of the C1 revealed it was very barely brighter in some highlights, just like the hub of the Ferris wheel (4:52), however with out my mild meter I could not inform.

Switching again to LOTR:ROTK on 4K Blu-ray, I noticed an excellent higher benefit for OLED. The LGs outclassed the TCL in darker theatrical scenes, for instance when Sam challenges Shelob. Their letterbox bars remained inky and true and their shadows appropriately darkish, whereas the TCL’s darkish areas have been lighter, specifically with high-contrast photographs like Sam brandishing the Phial of Galadriel on the spider (1:50:18). Given the TCL’s vital brightness benefit I anticipated its rendition of the Phial to measure brighter compared, however a spot measurement confirmed the TCL, C1 and CX have been truly very shut (422, 396 and 368 nits, respectively), once more too near discern and not using a meter.

And cease me if you happen to’ve heard this earlier than, however I could not inform the distinction between the CX and C1 when watching ROTK. Each have been equally excellent.


David Katzmaier/CNET

Image settings, HDR notes and charts

CNET is now not publishing superior image settings for any TVs we evaluation. As an alternative, we’ll give extra basic suggestions to get the most effective image with out itemizing the detailed white steadiness or shade administration system settings we might have used to calibrate the TV. As at all times, the settings offered are a guidepost, and in order for you essentially the most correct image it’s best to get knowledgeable calibration.

Earlier than my calibration for this evaluation the Cinema preset was essentially the most correct, glorious by way of grayscale and gamma. Since I now goal a 2.2 gamma for my opinions in darkish rooms, it was nearer than ISF Professional Darkish or the brand new Filmmaker modes, which each goal gamma 2.4/BT 1886. ISF Brilliant was principally similar to Cinema, however I reserved that for brighter rooms.

For my calibration I tweaked the two-point grayscale barely, decreased mild output to my goal of 137 nits and elevated brightness by two pips to assist with shadow element (whereas nonetheless protecting good black ranges), however in any other case I left nicely sufficient alone. The grayscale and shade have been already so correct on my LG-provided evaluation pattern that I did not want to the touch the multipoint system or the colour administration system.

SDR darkish room settings

Image menu

  • Choose Mode: Cinema (Person)
  • Facet Ratio Settings: 16:9 (Simply Scan: On)
  • Filmmaker Mode Auto Begin: Off
  • Cut back Blue Mild: Off

Brightness submenu

  • OLED Pixel Brightness: 48
  • Alter Distinction: 85
  • Display screen Brightness: 52
  • Auto Dynamic Distinction: Off
  • Peak Brightness: Off
  • Gamma (Alter Brightness): 2.2
  • Black Stage: Auto
  • Movement Eye Care: Off

Colour submenu

  • Colour Depth: 50
  • Tint: 0
  • Colour Gamut: Auto Detect
  • High quality Tune menu: 
  • Colour Improve: Off (no different changes)
  • White Stability menu:
  • Colour Temperature: Heat 50 (no different changes)

Readability submenu

  • Alter Sharpness: 0
  • Tremendous Decision: Off
  • Noise Discount, MPEG Noise Discount: Off [for low-quality sources, some users may prefer to enable noise reduction]
  • Clean gradation: Off [for low-quality sources, some users may prefer to enable]
  • Cinema Display screen: On [may be grayed out depending on source]
  • TruMotion: Cinematic Motion

SDR vibrant room setting [all default except for below]

  • Image Mode Settings: ISF Brilliant Room
  • Brightness menu:
  • OLED mild: 100
  • Peak Brightness: Excessive

TV software program/firmware model examined: 3.15.36

HDR notes:The 2 most correct modes, HDR Cinema and Filmmaker mode, have been principally similar, following the goal electro-optical switch operate — how the TV converts knowledge to a particular brightness — fairly intently and exhibiting higher grayscale than Cinema Dwelling, the following most correct. Sport Optimizer is finest for gaming due to its processing, however fairly blue; for the most effective shade accuracy for gaming it’s best to regulate the colour temperature management all the way in which towards crimson (Colour > White Stability > Colour temperature > Warm50).

Colour checker was extra correct than on the CX from final yr and as typical with OLED the C1 lined the P3 HDR gamut very nicely. The C1 measured principally as vibrant because the G1 and brighter than the CX or the B9 from 2019, however the C9 from 2019 truly measured brighter in its least-accurate and principally the identical in its most-accurate settings. As soon as once more the TV robotically detected and engaged the HDMI Extremely HD Deep Colour setting designed for HDR sources.

Geek field

Take a look at Consequence Rating
Enter lag (Sport mode, 4K HDR) 13.13 Good

Portrait Shows Calman calibration software program was used on this evaluation. 

First revealed on Aug. 26.

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