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LG M3 vs C3: The Ultimate OLED TV Faceoff

Are you ready to elevate your home theater experience with the most cutting-edge display technology available? Look no further than LG‘s 2023 OLED TV lineup, headlined by the brand-new M3 and updated C3 models. These two TVs represent the pinnacle of picture quality, with perfect black levels, infinite contrast, and breathtaking color. But which one is right for you: the borderline futuristic M3 or the more practical C3? In this ultimate guide, we‘ll put the LG M3 and C3 head-to-head to help you decide.

Meet the LG M3 Signature OLED

First up is the star of LG‘s 2023 TV lineup: the M3 "Signature" OLED. This is the most advanced and impressive OLED that LG has ever produced, pushing the boundaries of what‘s possible with a consumer display.

The M3 comes in three enormous sizes: 97", 83", and 77". These are larger than any OLED LG has made before. In fact, the 97" model is the biggest OLED TV in the world. If you want a truly cinematic experience at home, it doesn‘t get any better than this.

Under the hood, the M3 features LG‘s latest "evo" OLED panel. This next-generation display uses deuterium and personalized algorithms to increase brightness by up to 70% compared to conventional OLEDs. According to LG, the M3 can hit a peak brightness of 1800 nits – an unprecedented figure for an OLED TV. This allows the M3 to deliver even more spectacular high dynamic range (HDR) performance.

The M3‘s OLED panel has some other tricks up its sleeve too. LG‘s new Micro Lens Array (MLA) technology redirects light that would normally be lost for even greater brightness and viewing angles. And the panel‘s native 120Hz refresh rate allows for super-smooth motion in games and sports.

Driving the M3‘s cutting-edge display is the α9 AI Processor Gen6, which uses deep learning algorithms to optimize picture and sound quality in real time. This ultra-fast chip enables AI-based upscaling, dynamic tone mapping, and automatic HDR calibration for the best possible image. You‘ll see every detail in your favorite content like never before.

But perhaps the most innovative feature of the M3 is its Zero Connect wireless box. This separate unit houses all the TV‘s inputs (4 HDMI, 3 USB, ethernet, etc.) and sends video/audio to the screen wirelessly. It allows for an exceptionally clean installation with no visible cables – perfect for those who want a minimalist look. The box can transmit a 4K signal at 120Hz up to 30 feet, so you have plenty of flexibility in placement.

Other premium features of the M3 include:

  • Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10, and HLG support
  • 4.2 channel 60W audio w/ Dolby Atmos
  • NVIDIA G-SYNC, AMD FreeSync Premium, and VRR (variable refresh rate)
  • Filmmaker Mode and Dolby Vision IQ for automatic picture adjustment
  • LG‘s webOS 23 smart TV platform w/ built-in Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Slim, modern design with ultra-thin bezels

All this cutting-edge technology won‘t come cheap, though. LG hasn‘t announced official pricing for the M3 yet, but expect it to cost a pretty penny – the 97" model will almost certainly cost five figures. If you have the budget for the best of the best, however, the M3 looks to be as good as it gets.

LG C3 OLED: A More Practical Alternative

If the M3‘s exorbitant price tag scares you off, don‘t worry – LG has a more affordable OLED option in the C3. This model succeeds the ultra-popular C2 from last year, which sold over 3.5 million units globally according to market research firm Omdia.

The C3 comes in a wider range of sizes than the M3: 83", 77", 65", 55", 48", and 42". That 42" model will likely prove especially popular for gamers who want a desktop-sized OLED. And the 48" version is a great fit for smaller living rooms or bedrooms.

Like the M3, the C3 features an LG "evo" OLED panel with self-lit pixels. This allows it to achieve the same perfect black levels, pixel-level contrast, and wide viewing angles. You don‘t get the M3‘s Micro Lens Array or insane peak brightness, but the C3‘s HDR performance is still top-notch. It covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut for vivid, lifelike hues.

The C3‘s panel is also extremely well-suited for gaming. It has four HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K@120Hz, VRR, ALLM (auto low latency mode), and eARC (enhanced audio return channel). That means you can take full advantage of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X‘s capabilities. The near-instantaneous response time of OLED makes games feel incredibly responsive too.

While the C3 doesn‘t have the M3‘s Zero Connect box, it‘s not lacking in smarts. In fact, the C3 is one of the first TVs to ship with LG‘s new webOS 23 platform. This major update to webOS brings a redesigned home screen, better content recommendations, and more interactive features. You can use LG‘s Magic Remote to point, click, and scroll just like a computer mouse.

Some other key features of the C3 OLED include:

  • α9 Gen6 AI Processor 4K for upscaling and optimization
  • Brightness Booster to better compete with QLED TVs
  • Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10, and HLG support
  • 2.2 channel 40W audio w/ Dolby Atmos
  • NVIDIA G-SYNC, AMD FreeSync Premium, and VRR
  • Slim design with narrow bezels and a central stand

Compared to the M3, the C3 is a value proposition. A 65" C3 will likely cost around $2,500 based on the launch price of last year‘s C2. While still undoubtedly expensive, that‘s much more attainable for the average home theater enthusiast. You‘re getting probably 90-95% of the M3‘s picture quality for 50-60% of the price.

LG M3 vs C3: Side-by-Side Comparison

Let‘s break down the key differences between these two leading OLED TVs:

Specification LG M3 LG C3
Screen Sizes 97", 83", 77" 83", 77", 65", 55", 48", 42"
Panel Type OLED evo w/ Micro Lens Array OLED evo
Resolution 4K (3840 x 2160) 4K (3840 x 2160)
Refresh Rate 120Hz native 120Hz native
HDR Formats Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
Peak Brightness Up to 1800 nits Up to 1000 nits
Processor α9 Gen6 AI α9 Gen6 AI
Connectivity 4 HDMI, 3 USB, ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4 HDMI 2.1, 3 USB, ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Wireless Zero Connect box (4K@120Hz up to 30 ft) N/A
Audio 4.2ch 60W w/ Dolby Atmos 2.2ch 40W w/ Dolby Atmos
Smart Platform webOS 23 webOS 23
Gaming Features G-SYNC, FreeSync, VRR, ALLM G-SYNC, FreeSync, VRR, ALLM
Design Ultra-slim w/ thin bezels Slim w/ narrow bezels
Price (65") TBA ($8000+ estimate) ~$2500 (estimate based on C2)

As you can see, both TVs share a lot of DNA. They use similar OLED panels with 4K resolution and a 120Hz native refresh rate. Both support the major HDR formats and advanced gaming features. And both run LG‘s latest webOS platform.

The biggest difference is in design and wireless capability. The M3‘s Zero Connect box allows you to place the TV anywhere in the room without visible wires. The C3, on the other hand, uses a traditional wired connection. The M3 also gets much brighter thanks to its next-gen panel and processing.

Of course, those cutting-edge features come at a hefty premium. LG hasn‘t announced pricing yet, but I expect a significant gap between equivalent screen sizes. The 77" M3 will likely cost 50-100% more than the 77" C3 based on the pricing of LG‘s previous OLEDs.

Who should buy the LG M3 OLED?

The LG M3 is aimed squarely at the luxury market. It‘s for the buyer who wants the absolute best picture quality available, regardless of price. The M3‘s jaw-dropping brightness and contrast make it a compelling choice for high-end home theaters, especially in larger rooms where maximum impact is desired.

Minimalists will love the M3 too. Its Zero Connect box allows you to wall-mount the TV with no visible wires – it‘s about as unobtrusive as a 97" television can be. Placing all the inputs in a separate unit also helps reduce clutter around the TV itself. If you have the budget and want an OLED TV that doubles as a piece of art, the M3 is for you.

Who should buy the LG C3 OLED?

The LG C3 is still a premium TV, but it‘s much more attainable than the M3. I expect it to be one of the best-selling OLEDs of the year, especially the 55" and 65" models. It‘s an excellent choice for anyone who wants the benefits of OLED – perfect black levels, infinite contrast, wide viewing angles – without completely breaking the bank.

Home theater enthusiasts who have been waiting to upgrade an aging LED or plasma TV will find a lot to like in the C3. Its bright, colorful picture is a massive step up from even high-end LCDs. And if you have a PS5 or Xbox Series X, the C3‘s gaming features will let you take full advantage of your console.

The C3 is a great fit for smaller spaces too. The 42" and 48" models are compact enough for apartments, dorms, or offices. OLED‘s excellent off-axis performance means you don‘t need to sit directly in front of the TV to get a great picture.

The Verdict

The LG M3 and C3 are two of the most advanced and capable OLEDs on the market today. They build on the success of previous LG models while pushing the technology forward in significant ways. From their stunning picture quality to their refined smart TV platform, these flagship TVs are sure to impress videophiles and casual viewers alike.

If money is no object and you want the most cutting-edge TV available, go for the M3. Its Zero Connect box, Micro Lens Array, and ultra-bright OLED panel are feats of engineering that have to be seen to be believed. There‘s simply nothing else like it.

For everyone else, the C3 is the smarter choice. It delivers top-tier picture quality and future-proof features for hundreds or thousands less than the M3. And with multiple screen sizes available, there‘s a C3 to fit any room or budget. It‘s the OLED TV most people should buy.

Regardless of which model you choose, you‘ll be blown away by the unparalleled black levels, contrast, and color that OLED provides. These TVs are as much about the experience as the specs. If you‘ve been waiting to upgrade your home theater, 2023 is the year to do it – and LG‘s spectacular OLEDs should be at the top of your list.