LG C2 OLED TV Review: The New Hotness of 2022

An impressive unit.

I own a 55 inch LG C7 2018 television and I love it. I spent months scouring OzBargain for a decent deal at the time, wanting a television that was future-proof for gaming. Spoilers though: it wasn’t. While it’s capable of 4K gameplay with HDR enabled, my current TV doesn’t support HDMI 2.1, meaning I’m stuck at a paltry 60 frames per second (FPS) when playing on my current generation of consoles. It’s practically like living in the dark ages, right? That’s what I tried to convince my husband.

Since the release of the Xbox Series X and the PS5, I’ve been back on OzBargain and nearly pulled the trigger on a number of occasions for a new HDMI 2.1-compatible LG TV. I always stop at the last minute; they are all overpriced and frankly the television we have at home is (mostly) fine. I cannot properly justify the purchase. After spending some time with LG’s new 2022 C2 range, the same is true… although I’ll be honest when I say I’ll probably pull the trigger for an OzBargain warning when the price is right. Don’t tell hubby.

For this review, LG kindly lent me a 42-inch C2 unit for testing, and I placed it in the same position where my trusty 55-inch C7 normally sits. I connected an Xbox Series X, PS5, Switch and Apple TV to the four HDMI 2.1 ports and routed the sound through the optical port on my usual Samsung soundbar.

Setting up

My first complaint about the C2 is the stand, which consists of two legs that sit on each side of the unit. Both have a ridiculously narrow path to put two screws into the TV itself; while the one at the top of each arm is easily accessible, the one at the bottom is nearly impossible to fit. I certainly didn’t have a screwdriver thin enough (the handle really prevented me from accessing it and a magnetic end would have gone a long way), nor slim enough fingers. Luckily I only used two screws and placed this new TV between my own TV and the soundbar, making it stable enough for testing.

Other than that, the installation is ridiculously easy. You will be instructed to plug in all your HDMI cables, audio cables and the like and then turn everything on. The TV immediately picked up most of the devices and even worked through Magic Remote access to control them. Note, however, that my Switch just wouldn’t register with the TV (it knew something was plugged in, but couldn’t identify what) and it mistook my Apple TV for a Foxtel set-top box. However, those problems were easy to solve.

The C2’s Always Ready mode was also announced during setup, a nice art installation that you can turn on when you’re not actually watching or playing anything. While you’ll have some initial artwork available from the get-go, you can choose to download additional themes to act as paintings or game pieces when the TV would normally be idle. It makes more sense if you mount your television on the wall, of course, but it’s a nice option nonetheless.

By default, the Always Ready functionality projects for 30 minutes before finally turning off the screen; you can turn this off and leave the screen on longer.

Look and feel

The 42″ inch C2 stand is quite unobtrusive, meaning it sits much lower than my C7. As a result, I lost a little bit of the bottom of the screen to my soundbar when I was sitting on the couch. The 65-inch model C2 seems to use a different stand – one that is very similar to the one used by my 55-inch – so that doesn’t seem to be an issue as you’ll be spending more money.

The C2 also has polished silver bezels around the screen, which prove to be quite distracting as you basically see a vertical white line on each side of the TV when you look at it. The top edge doesn’t seem to refract as much light, although it’s still noticeable compared to my C7, which has subtle matte black highlights. You can see the difference in bezels in the image below.

Like my 2018 TV, this new C2 has four HDMI ports – but again, they’re HDMI 2.1 capable, meaning they can hit 4K and 120Hz (or 120FPS if you’re a gamer). It also has three USB ports, a 3.5mm audio out, an optical out and ports for your digital TV antenna. Finally, you can also connect mobile devices or wireless controllers to the TV via Bluetooth, so you can share happy snaps from your last stay or play some video games (more on that later).

The C2 42″ inches has a lower profile than the 55″ C7 and also has distracting silver bezels.

offer

The C2 has all the usual apps, including Netflix, Stan, Binge, Prime Video, Disney+ and all the freeview apps out there. Surprisingly, it also offers an app for Hayu, the realty TV streaming service; that app is not available on our C7 until now, so my husband had to buy an Apple TV for it. Maybe I can convince him that’s why we need a new $3,500 65-inch television now?

The only thing I didn’t like about apps like Hayu is that you have to register for an LG account before you can download them; why that is I’m not sure. I did it anyway; we looked then housewives† It was good.

Like the LG TVs before it, the C2 immediately picked up my DLNA media server, but struggled with the sheer volume of my library. I’m still not sure if it falls over because I have so many files, or if some files use codecs it can’t compute. Fortunately, Plex comes to the rescue on that front. The TV also has a multiview function that allows you to place two sources next to each other or via picture-in-picture. It generally works best to share from one TV source and a shared source like your cell phone; I didn’t find it very user-friendly, not convenient; I can just hold my phone in my hand and look at it that way while doing something else.

Finally, the C2 lets you use a wireless Bluetooth controller to stream games NVidia’s GeForce Now, although a subscription to the service is also required. It’s a nice gesture, but even with Samsung 2022 TVs and access to Xbox Cloud StreamingIf you have a real PC or console connected to the TV, you can get the most out of it.

photo quality

Look, I’d be lying if I said my old C7 cut it compared to the new C2. You can really tell progress has been made from year to year – this new device has richer colours, whiter whites to contrast with the jet blacks suitable for an OLED and an overall sharpness of the picture. The best thing so far is that the panel is ridiculously brighter than my own TV and much more visible at times of day when I can’t control the amount of direct sunlight that hits it. I was sick watching this so I made sure to get a ton of Ash vs Evil Dead on Netflix to make sure all the night scenes worked. They did.

In terms of gaming, you really need Game Optimizer in your life. It makes your TV like your PC; you can turn it on and see how many frames your console can get. Therein lies a problem: while the TV can certainly hit 4K and 120FPS, not many games are. Those that offer blazing fast frame rates usually drop the resolution to do so.

It’s hard to photograph people AND take a picture of your screen at the same time.

I got about 80-110FPS in titles like Spider-Man Miles Morales on PS5 (in Performance and Performance RT modes) and A plague story of innocence on Xbox Series X, although I know both drop the resolution to hit those frames. I got 119-120FPS with Autumn boys and Halo Master Chief Collection on Xbox Series X and I believe they are going for 1440p to do this.

The real question is whether the current generation of consoles will be able to hit 4K resolution AND 120FPS at the same time. I think we’ll see some new titles come out with this generation, but it’s likely a lot more will come from the next generation of consoles. Hence another problem: do you pull the trigger on an HDMI 2.1-compatible display and go for 4K and/or 120FPS, or do you want a new console that can take better advantage of the display? Or will monitors and consoles remain slightly out of sync, better in some areas and worse in others? I have no idea. We’re already seeing 144Hz (i.e. 144FPS) TVs hit the market, but are they better off as PC screens than traditional TVs? Again, no idea.

I realize the barrage of questions didn’t help, but what I can say for sure is this: the big winner in this HDMI 2.1 thing is the variable refresh rate (VRR). As Ben described in his Xbox Series X review, the functionality actually solves problems with frame drops, softens presentations and drastically reduces screen tearing. It’s a bigger game-changer than 120FPS, and almost worth the price of admission. It’s also really nice to go to the TV info section of the Xbox Series X and see that every option is available: 4K, HDR10, Dolby Vision, variable refresh rate and low latency mode.

I can also tell you this: I don’t have to replace my 2018 C7 for what is on offer. You can certainly notice improvements while gaming – especially with VRR – but the price tag of this new unit compared to a TV I already have and have in my house is just too much. If you need a new TV and you are not fond of HDMI 2.0? This is a good idea. If you’ve read about my C7 and want to, you can’t – it’s been discontinued, so I guess you’ll have to settle for this TV instead (and I’m being very sarcastic about that).

It’s easier to take a screenshot AFTER you’re done with a round of Autumn boys and wait for others to finish.

I play most of my games on a 4K, HDR, 60FPS LG monitor in my home office. I occasionally get to go down and play on the C7 my husband uses with his own Xbox Series X (I know, we’re privileged). Moving from my monitor to the TV, I can instantly see how clear and smooth games look and play between the two. While you can definitely tell things are better between the C7 and the C2, it’s not that huge of a visual gap. In short, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. At least not yet.

If you have a 4K, 60FPS, HDR TV now, you can hold off for now. However, if you’re looking to hit the market, you won’t go wrong with an LG OLED. It’s sleek and sexy and offers great visuals to match (sound, on the other hand, is another matter; stick with a soundbar).

For the folks stuck in my camp, longing to watch these sexy new units but not yet willing to leave their current TV in the meadow: Let’s hope for some rogue, thrown Joy-Con during Nintendo Switch sports or something?

The LG C2 OLED TV was tested using a 42-inch test unit, as supplied by the manufacturer. Click here for more information about the Stevivor score scoring scale

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