The C2 sets the standard for 2022 with excellent image quality, a wide range of sizes, and a proven track record of success.
LG’s 42-inch C2 OLED TV is now available for around $797 ($500 off) at Amazon, Best Buy, B&H Photo, and Target, surpassing the TV’s previous low.
The C2 is an excellent 4K TV with many of its predecessor’s impressive specs, including a fast 120Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision support, and variable refresh rate with AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia G-Sync.
At the same time, it has better performance and a brighter display than the previous C1 model, as well as great contrast and the type of black levels that OLED is known for.
LG C2 LED Review
LG’s “C” series OLED models have climbed to the top of my list as the best high-end TV for the money in recent years, and the C2 is the latest example. The C2 provides image quality that is clearly superior to any non-OLED TV I’ve seen, a wider range of sizes than ever before (including a new 42-inch option), and a reasonable price.
LG C2 sizes, series comparison
I tested the 65-inch OLED C2 in person, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have the same specifications and, according to the manufacturer, should produce very similar image quality. The 42- and 48-inch sizes are the exceptions, as they lack the “Evo” panel and may be slightly dimmer as a result.
- LG OLED42C2PUA, 42-inch
- LG OLED48C2PUA, 48-inch
- LG OLED55C2PUA, 55-inch
- LG OLED65C2PUA, 65-inch
- LG OLED77C2PUA, 77-inch
- LG OLED83C2PUA, 83-inch
The C2 series is positioned in the middle of LG’s 2022 OLED TV lineup, offering the most screen sizes and all of the features I expect from a high-end TV. Spending more money on the G2 gets you a slightly brighter panel as well as the wall-friendly “gallery” design, according to LG. The A2 lacks the HDMI 2.1 gaming features, 120Hz refresh rate, and fancier processing found on other 2022 LG OLEDs.
Lighter weight, nearly all picture
The C2 is a beautiful TV with a minimalist design similar to previous LG OLEDs, but the company made some changes for 2022. When a colleague and I set it up, we noticed the first difference: it’s noticeably lighter than the C1, up to 47 percent lighter depending on size. The 65-inch model I tested weighed only 37 pounds with its stand, compared to 72 pounds for the 65-inch C1.
According to LG, the lighter weight is due to new carbon-fiber materials, which I noticed on the back of the TV. The panel’s edges are also slightly more squared-off.
Unfortunately, LG retained the same remote. Too many buttons irritate me in my old age, and I much prefer the streamlined, simple layout of Samsung and Roku/TCL remotes, for example. As always, you can move the cursor by waving the LG remote around, or use the built-in wheel to quickly navigate menus.
Smart TV, crowded menu
LG’s WebOS menu system is not my favourite, owing to the clutter. Along the top, you’ll see notes and notifications, a weather box, a prompt to sign in to LG’s system, an apparently odd collection of items labelled “Trending Now,” and (finally) the list of apps. Signing in enables a new 2022 feature, personalised recommendations, and the creation of new user accounts. LG touts the ability to save favourite sports teams, but most people will just go straight to the app and skip the clutter. As is customary, I prefer a simpler interface such as Roku, but if you like customizations and options, Google TV is a better bet.
LG’s “always ready” feature is also new for 2022. When you press the power button, the TV displays your choice of art wallpapers, a clock, “sound palette” art, or your own custom photos instead of turning off the screen. It’s similar to the ambient mode Samsung TVs have decided to offer for the last few years, and it’s intended for individuals who would rather have something like that on their big screens than a big black rectangle. Personally, I’d rather save energy, so I’d turn this feature (and my TV) off.
To avoid burn-in, the elements of the always-ready feature and LG’s screensaver move around.
The new “always ready” feature puts something on the screen even after you turn it “off.”
LG also added a new multiview feature that allows you to view two sources side by side or picture-in-picture, but it’s quite limited. You can’t display two HDMI inputs on-screen, and the main thing you can do – share a screen from your phone alongside an input – doesn’t work with Apple AirPlay. The C2 supports Apple’s phone mirroring feature, as do most TVs, and it also lets you issue Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa voice commands by attempting to speak into the remote or, new for 2022, hands-free once you say the wake word like “Alexa.”
Well-connected, especially for gamers
LG continues to outperform in terms of connectivity options. Aside from the A2, all of LG’s 2022 OLED models include the most recent version of the HDMI standard: 2.1. This means their HDMI ports can support 4K at 120 frames per second, variable refresh rate (including Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync), enhanced audio return channel, and automatic low latency mode (auto game mode).
In other words, they can benefit from the most recent graphics features available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S consoles, as well as high-end graphics cards. The C2 is unique among high-end TVs in that all four HDMI ports support 4K/120, which is ideal for hard-core gamers with multiple next-generation devices.
- Four HDMI inputs with HDMI 2.1, HDCP 2.2
- Three USB 2.0 ports
- Optical digital audio output
- RF (antenna) input
- RS-232 port (minijack, for service only)
- Ethernet (LAN) port
All four of the C2’s HDMI inputs support HDMI 2.1 features.
LG OLED C2 picture quality comparisons
My side-by-side comparisons included the best TVs I had on hand, but the only other OLED was last year’s LG C1. Because it’s early in 2022, the C2 was the only current model-year television in the group; I’ll compare it to other 2022 TVs as soon as I can. The following is the lineup:
TV and movies: The LG C2 has an excellent picture, but when compared to the C1 from 2021, any improvements were difficult to discern. And measurements confirmed my initial impressions: both TVs delivered essentially equal numbers in their best modes, and both were extremely accurate. As expected, both outperformed the TCL TVs in my comparison.
The comparison lineup with the LG C2, center, on the gray TV stand and the C1 to its right.
I began my comparison with material that was familiar (to me) in terms of high dynamic range, namely the demo montage from the excellent Spears & Munsil HDR benchmark 4K Blu-ray. Both OLEDs produced visually appealing images. The superior punch to the LCD-based TCLs was created by the perfect black levels and lack of blooming (stray illumination) in areas such as the honey dripper and cityscapes.
While the TCL TVs outperformed the OLEDs in full-screen bright scenes like snowscapes and deserts, smaller highlights like the ferris wheel at night were actually brighter on the LGs. Spot measurements with a light metre revealed that the C2 was slightly brighter than the C1 on the ferris wheel, but I couldn’t tell the difference with my naked eye.
When it came to TV content, I put Severance from Apple TV Plus on all four sets and got similar results. During Helly’s brain surgery in Episode 2, the dark areas looked more true and realistic on the OLEDs, without the blooming I saw on the TCLs, such as in the letterbox bars near the operating lights. The brightness advantage of the LCDs was obvious later in the office training scene, but Mark and Helly’s faces appeared flatter and less defined. However, the C1 and C2 were once again difficult to distinguish.
The new overlay for Game Optimizer shows vitals like frames per second and variable refresh rate, at a glance.
Gaming: In my side-by-side comparisons of gaming and nongaming content, the OLEDs looked better than the LCDs, though the two LGs looked very similar. Last year, the C1 was my favourite gaming TV, and the C2 improves on it slightly.
LG’s Game Optimizer mode provides a plethora of adjustments, and the updated overlay menu organises them more logically, putting VRR next to FPS and providing a few more shortcuts on the bottom, including that of the new Dark Room mode. That mode dims the image and is intended to reduce eyestrain, but despite the fact that I frequently game in the dark, I don’t find it useful.
Dark Mode, for example, made the moonlit forest less dazzling as well as the mountain snowscape duller when playing Horizon Forbidden West in HDR on PS5, but if you’re bothered by bright sequences in games, it might be useful.
A new Sports mode has been added to the list of picture modes, but as I discovered last year, Standard was the best for most games due to its balance of shadow detail and contrast. If you require more visibility into shadows, FPS is best, but you can also increase the Black Stabilizer control (at the expense of a washed-out image). I appreciate the separate gaming adjustments, which most other TV manufacturers do not provide.
The full Game Optimizer menu shows even more options.
Another setting buried within Game Optimizer is “Reduce input delay (input lag),” with two options, Standard and Boost. The the latter, which is the default for any game, has an excellent input lag result that is comparable to previous LG OLED models: 13.5ms for both 1080p and 4K HDR sources.
Using Boost reduces lag even more, to just under 10ms for both. The best part is that Boost is only available for 60Hz sources, which means it won’t work with 120Hz games or VRR. And, no, I doubt many people would notice the extra 3ms of lag.
Bright lighting: Although LG claims that the C2 is 20% brighter than non-Evo OLED TVs such as the C1, my measurements did not support that claim. Yes, the C2 was slightly brighter, about 7% brighter on average, but the difference was barely noticeable in almost everything I watched. Those differences, in my experience, are minor enough to vary from sample to sample.
The measurements in nits for selected comparison TVs in their brightest and also most accurate picture modes, using both standard dynamic range (SDR) as well as high dynamic range (HDR) test patterns, are shown below.
Light output in nits
|TV||Brightest mode (SDR)||Accurate mode (SDR)||Brightest mode (HDR)||Accurate mode (HDR)|
The screen of the C2 was excellent from off-angle but didn’t seem to reduce reflections quite as well as the C1.
The C2, like all OLED TVs, dims considerably when shown in full-screen white (for example, a snow field), but even in those cases it’s hardly dim. The C2’s screen finish was excellent at preserving black levels, outperforming the TCLs’ more matte finishes and outperforming both LGs in terms of reflection rejection. The C1’s screen appeared slightly more reflective than the C2, but the difference was minor.
Uniformity and viewing angle: The C2 performed admirably in this category when compared to LCD-based TVs, with no noticeable brightness or colour variations across the screen and virtually flawless image quality from off-angle.
The C2 has myriad picture settings, but if you just want to set it and forget it, use Filmmaker Mode.
Picture setting notes
The most accurate settings for both HDR and SDR were Cinema and Filmmaker modes, as well as the two ISF modes available in SDR. I used Cinema for dark rooms as it was closer to my 2.2 gamma target) and ISF Bright for brighter environments for SDR viewing, and Filmmaker for HDR viewing (which was very slightly brighter than Cinema HDR).
The C2, like most TVs, has settings that enable smoothing, also known as the soap opera effect, which I prefer to turn off for TV shows and movies (and it’s turned off in Game Optimizer mode since it increases input lag). You can play around with the settings (Picture > Advanced Settings > Clarity > TruMotion), and it’s disabled by default in Cinema and Filmmaker modes.
(Credit source: the verge and cnet)