LG has cemented itself as a leader in OLED TV technology. With deep blacks, vibrant colors and an ultra-thin form factor, LG‘s OLED TVs deliver an exceptional viewing experience. The company‘s C-Series models – the C1, C2 and new C3 – represent LG‘s mainstream OLED lineup, aimed at offering premium picture quality at more affordable prices compared to high-end offerings like the G2.
But with three generations now available, how do they compare and is the latest C3 worth upgrading to? This guide examines the differences and similarities across LG‘s OLED series.
Overview of OLED TV Technology
Before diving into the comparisons, it‘s helpful to understand what makes OLED TVs like the C1, C2 and C3 special in the first place.
OLED stands for "organic light emitting diode." In an OLED TV, each pixel is self-illuminating, allowing for perfect black levels when a pixel is off. This also enables incredible contrast, with pixels able to turn completely off next to bright, illuminated areas of the screen.
Because each pixel functions independently, OLED TVs achieve virtually unlimited viewing angles without color shifting or loss of contrast. They also allow for exceptionally slim form factors, given there is no large backlight assembly.
Overall, OLED TVs are prized for their:
- Infinite contrast ratios and true blacks
- Vibrant, accurate colors
- Ultra wide viewing angles
- Quick response times, reducing motion blur
- Ability to turn off pixels for perfect black levels
- Thin, sleek designs
LG uses a proprietary OLED panel technology called OLED evo in its premium TVs like the C2 and C3. This evolution further enhances brightness levels, delivering higher peak brightness for a more dazzling HDR experience.
With those OLED benefits explained, let‘s see how LG‘s C1, C2 and C3 stack up.
LG C1 vs C2 vs C3: Key Specs and Features
Here is a high-level overview comparing the core specs and features between the C1, C2 and C3 OLED TV lineups:
|Feature||LG C1||LG C2||LG C3|
|Screen Size||48", 55", 65", 77", 83"||42", 48", 55", 65", 77", 83"||42", 48", 55", 65", 77", 83"|
|Display Resolution||4K (3,840 x 2,160)||4K (3,840 x 2,160)||4K (3,840 x 2,160)|
|Display Type||OLED||OLED evo||OLED evo|
|HDR Support||HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG||HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG||HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG|
|Gaming Features||AMD FreeSync, G-SYNC, ALLM||AMD FreeSync, G-SYNC, ALLM||AMD FreeSync, G-SYNC, ALLM|
|Smart TV Platform||webOS 6.0||webOS 22||webOS 23|
|Voice Control||LG Magic Remote||LG Magic Remote||LG Magic Remote|
|Wall Mount||300 x 300 VESA||300 x 200/300 x 300 VESA||300 x 200/300 x 300 VESA|
Display Technology: All models come with LG‘s exceptional OLED panel technology for amazing contrast and pixel-level dimming precision. The C2 and C3 upgrade to the brighter OLED evo panel.
Refresh Rate: A 120Hz native refresh rate allows for smooth motion clarity and works well for gaming.
Gaming Features: For serious gamers, support for Nvidia G-SYNC, AMD FreeSync and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) is included on every model.
Smart TV: webOS provides access to all major streaming services and the Magic Remote makes navigating the TV a breeze.
As you can see from the table, the sets share a lot of commonalities. The differences lie mostly in panel improvements, faster processors unlocking some additional features and minor design changes.
Next, let‘s do a deeper dive on how the picture quality, sound, gaming capabilities and other aspects compare between generations.
Picture Quality: Brighter and Better on the C2 and C3
The most important aspects of any TV are color accuracy, contrast, brightness, motion handling and viewing angles. Here‘s how the C1, C2 and C3 OLED TVs stack up in terms of picture performance:
- Contrast and blacks – All three TVs deliver essentially infinite contrast with perfectly black blacks when pixels are turned off completely. This allows for unmatched contrast that LCD TVs can‘t compete with.
- Color reproduction – LG‘s OLEDs are known for their highly accurate colors. All three TVs cover over 95% of the DCI-P3 color space used for cinema and leverage LG‘s advanced color processing algorithms.
- Brightness – Where the C2 and C3 improve over the C1 is peak brightness, thanks to the new OLED evo panel and better heat dissipation. The C2 and C3 can hit around 800 nits peak brightness with HDR content, while the C1 maxes out closer to 700 nits. This gives the newer models a slight advantage for better HDR pop and specular highlights.
- Viewing angles – One benefit of OLED is the ability to maintain color accuracy and contrast at wide viewing angles. However, the new anti-glare coating on the C2 and C3 helps reduce reflections, making them better suited for bright, wide viewing angle setups. The C1 suffers more from glare.
- Motion handling – All three TVs feature 120Hz panels and effective motion interpolation to smoothly handle fast action scenes. The newer a9 Gen5 processor in the C2 provides a bit better processing, but motion handling is strong on the C1 as well.
In summary, the picture quality is outstanding on all models, with the newer C2 and C3 having some advantages when it comes to brightness, glare handling and motion processing. But even the C1 holds up very well and delivers amazing OLED image quality.
Audio Quality: The C1 Lags Behind
The built-in audio experience is often overlooked on TVs, but can have an impact, especially for those not using a dedicated sound system. Here‘s how audio shakes out:
- The C1 has a standard 2.2 channel speaker system with 40 watts of audio power. It handles basic TV audio adequately, but can sound a bit thin at higher volumes.
- The C2 and C3 bump things up to a 2.2 channel setup as well but with 60 watts of power. The improved drivers and amplification provide better bass impact and room-filling sound.
- All three TVs support Dolby Atmos for adding immersive height effects when connected to Atmos-enabled soundbars or A/V receivers. But only the C2 and C3 have built-in upward-firing speakers to create a sense of Atmos overhead effects right from the TV.
If audio quality matters, the C2 or C3 provide a better listening experience out of the box compared to the C1. But for most home theater use cases, connecting an external soundbar or speaker system is recommended regardless.
Gaming: Strong Performance Across the Board
Gaming has become integral to the TV experience. With the new generation of consoles – the PS5 and Xbox Series X – 4K 120Hz TVs are in high demand. Here is how the C1, C2 and C3 cover the key gaming features:
120Hz Refresh Rate – All models support up to a 120Hz refresh rate at 4K resolution for ultra smooth framerates.
VRR Support – Variable refresh rate (VRR) compatibility, including Nvidia G-SYNC and AMD FreeSync Premium, eliminates screen tearing during gameplay.
ALLM – Auto low latency mode ensures quick response times by minimizing input lag and is supported across the lineup.
Latency – Input lag measured in the 10ms to 15ms range across models, providing responsive and immersive gameplay.
The bottom line is all three TVs provide an excellent big-screen gaming experience. The newer a9 Gen5 processor in the C2 and C3 allows for slightly faster response times, but not enough to make a noticeable difference. Gamers will be well served by any model in LG‘s OLED lineup.
Smart TV Experience: webOS Delivers
LG‘s webOS smart TV platform powers the C1, C2 and C3 models. The interface provides quick access to all the leading 4K streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max and more.
webOS enables easy casting from mobile devices and voice control support through integrated Alexa and Google Assistant. The LG Magic Remote makes navigating the OS a breeze with point, click and scroll functionality.
While the C1 runs webOS 6.0 and the newer models have webOS 22 and 23, the core experience is very similar across generations. All provide an intuitive, customizable interface optimized for OLED. For cord cutters, webOS offers everything needed to cut the cord in 2022.
Design: Thin and Sleek from Edge to Edge
Aside from the picture, OLED TVs draw you in with their ultra-thin designs. Here‘s a brief look at the physical attributes of each series:
- C1 – Stunningly thin at just 1.8" deep on 65" and larger models. The display is surrounded by slim bezels with a clean, understated profile.
- C2 – Slightly thinner than C1 at ~1.5" deep. Bezels appear a bit trimmer as well. Available in a new 42" size.
- C3 – Same panel thickness as C2. Goes beyond trimmed bezels with nearly edge-to-edge screen and anti-glare coating.
No matter which model you choose, LG‘s OLEDs blend into any space with their slim aesthetic and unobtrusive form.
LG C3 vs C2 vs C1 Compared: Which Should You Buy?
So with the comparisons complete, which of LG‘s OLED TVs is the best choice for you? Here are a few quick recommendations:
- LG C3 – The best option available with higher peak brightness, nearly bezel-free design and the latest features. But upgrades are incremental over C2 and may not warrant paying a steep premium for those coming from a C1 or C2.
- LG C2 – The sweet spot option that takes OLED picture quality to the next level over the C1, while adding gaming features and delivering the new OLED evo panel at a reasonable price.
- LG C1 – Still an amazing OLED TV that outperforms any LED/LCD and even many premium LEDs in picture quality. It lacks some of the newer gaming and audio features but costs hundreds less than the C2 or C3. The C1 remains a fantastic value pick if budget is a concern.
For many, the LG C2 hits the best balance of price and performance. But all three deliver world-class OLED TV viewing experiences, especially for movies, TV and gaming. Current C1 or C2 owners may want to wait for more significant upgrades down the road.
The Bottom Line
LG continues to impress with their year-over-year improvements to OLED TV technology. The C2 and C3 represent iterative updates over the acclaimed C1, bringing enhancements like increased brightness, slimmer bezels, and baking in gaming features.
Any of these models will provide exceptional picture quality and satisfy AV enthusiasts. While the newer generations have advantages, the C1 holds its own as a premium OLED TV available at lower prices. Shoppers would be wise to examine their budget and viewing needs to determine which model fits best.
But those searching for the pinnacle of OLED TV performance will be blown away by the vibrant colors, perfect blacks and sleek design of LG‘s outstanding C3 and C2 models.