LG C4 vs C3: is LG's 2024 'value' OLED TV better than last year's?

Longtime readers will know that we've long extolled LG's C-series as being among the best value OLED TVs around: they offer premium specs without any superfluous bells and whistles for a reasonable price. Or at least, they used to.

Because the C3 was a bit of a disappointment. It's not a bad TV – in fact, it's very good. But the lack of significant upgrades over the C2 coupled with a higher price allowed Sony's A80L to swoop in and take the step-down OLED crown.

Now LG is back, and it wants to reclaim its number one position. The C4 has better gaming specs, a brighter picture and a new operating system. But inevitably it is more expensive than the 2023 C3.

So is it worth the extra outlay? Or would you be better off picking up the C3 at a knockdown price?

LG C4 vs C3: price

In the C4's favour, its launch prices are lower than the C3's. On the other hand, the C3 is around a year old now, so can be found much cheaper than at launch.

In the UK, the C4 is cheaper than the C3 at launch in every size, and in most sizes in Australia. But in the US, it's $99 more expensive. 

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LG C4 and C3 launch price comparison
42"£1400 / $1499 / AU$2199£1500 / $1400 / AU$2595
48"£1500 / $1599 / AU$2499£1600 / $1500 / AU$2895
55"£1900 / $1999 / AU$3299£2100 / $1900 / AU$3295
65"£2700 / $2699 / AU$4299£2900 / $2600 / AU$4295
77"£3800 / $3699 / AU$5999£4000 / $3600 / AU$6795
83"£6000 / $5399 / AU$7999£6500 / $5300 / AU$8995

You can find the C3 for far cheaper than at launch. The 42-inch C3 is currently £899, while the 65-incher is under £1400 – that's around £1500 cheaper than when it was new.

** Winner: LG C3 **

LG C4 vs C3: design

65-inch LG C4 TV photographed straight-on on a wooden stand. On the screen is an image of a golfer celebrating.

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi? / Netflix, Full Swing)

To look at, the C4 and C3 are nigh-on identical. Both are amazingly slim, with their 65-inch variants measuring from around 0.5cm to 4.5cm at their thickest points. They're super light too, especially compared to the competition. Admittedly this will only really be noticeable when you're manoeuvring them into position or packing them up to move house, but if you're wall-mounting, they will put far less stress on your walls and fixings.

Despite being lightweight, both TVs feel solidly built, with no corners cut. They also come with stylish, compact stands, but it's a shame these can't be adjusted to accommodate a soundbar (LG's own USC9S fits in seamlessly, but it's not much cop).

** Winner: Draw **

LG C4 vs C3: features

LG OLED48C3 with racing trucks on screen

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi? / Netflix, Overhaul)

What's new with the C4? Gamers have always been well served by LG's C-series, and the C4 is no different. This year, they get a higher refresh rate of 144Hz – up from 120Hz – which PC gamers will appreciate (consoles are capped at 120Hz), and Nvidia G-Sync certification. (Dolby Vision gaming is also supported up to 144Hz, if any console ever manages to output at that high a refresh rate.) These come along with all the C3's existing gaming features, like four HDMI 2.1 ports, LG's Game Optimiser menu, VRR and ALLM.

It again has an OLED Evo panel, and despite lacking the G4's heatsink and MLA tech, it is still much brighter than the C3's. The 42- and 48-inch models are thought to be only marginally less bright than their larger siblings – previously, the difference was more noticeable (we've only reviewed the 65-inch C4 so far).

The C4 has an upgraded version of the Alpha 9 processor found on the C3, which will allow AI Sound Pro to process virtual 11.1.2 surround upmixing, up from 9.1.2 on the C3. And voice remastering should improve dialogue clarity.

The C3 brought some new features, like AI Super Upscaling Pro to upscale sources to 4K while reducing noise without losing the authentic 'graininess' of film. OLED Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro breaks the image down into 20,000 zones (rather than the 5000 of before) for separate HDR optimisation. Object Enhancer sharpens foreground characters and props, while HDR Expression Enhancer applies specific tone mapping to those foreground elements.

The C4 also gets a new version of webOS. Along with other new LG TVs for 2024, it will qualify for free updates for at least five years, so you'll get access to some – but not all, it depends on your TV hardware – new features every year when a new version of webOS drops.

webOS 24 brings recommendations to the home screen, shrinking the Quick Cards to make room. The Quick Cards are now dynamic, and reveal more information when you hover over them. You can password-protect your user accounts, set a Picture Wizard AI setting for each, and Chromecast built-in is now supported. The new Accessibility tab acts as a handy repository for anyone who's sight- or hearing-impaired.

Voice recognition for individual users is also coming, though not until later in the year. There's no word if this will be exclusive to the G4 and M4 (which feature the Alpha 11 processor), or if the C4 will be included. It will launch in the US and South Korea first.

** Winner: LG C4 **

LG C4 vs C3: picture

65-inch LG C4 TV photographed at an angle on a wooden stand. On the screen is an image of a golfer being sprayed with champagne.

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi? / Netflix, Full Swing)

While the C3 didn't move the dial on much further in terms of picture quality, it still set the bar pretty high. It offers a subtle, detailed picture, with highlights that are marginally brighter than the C2's. Shadow detail is good, despite some slight paleness to colours in low light. It's a great watch, though it's pipped in terms of punch and dynamism by the Sony A80L. The C3 does have some extra shadow detail, but the A80L's blacks are significantly deeper. 

The C4 is a definite step up from both the C3 and the A80L. Even in a brightly-lit room, it has vibrant colours and plenty of pop. Bright elements are pleasingly detailed, and the image is much sharper and more solid than the comparatively soft C3. It delivers this pin-sharp picture and bold colours without any sense of exaggeration – everything looks natural, and not like it's been artificially boosted. Add the warm, rich tones and you've got a proper cinematic powerhouse on your hands.

Perhaps what's most pleasing about the picture is that LG has fixed the low-light colour issues. Now colours don't lose their volume in dimly-lit areas, instead retaining their natural shades. Motion is super smooth, too. Our only niggle is a slight lack of dark detail, but it's a leaf of a bugbear in an ocean of positives.

** Winner: LG C4 **

LG C4 vs C3: sound

LG OLED48C3 close up of the stand

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Audio has been a particular weak point for LG TVs in recent years, made all the more glaring by their excellent other attributes. The C3 sounds dull, even by TV standards. AI Sound Pro does give it a bit more energy, but it's too harsh to be listenable. Dolby Atmos adds weight and a sense of spaciousness, but it's too prone to distortion. We've said it before and we'll say it again: Add a soundbar.

While you'd also be wise to add a soundbar to the C4, you won't feel as shortchanged if you don't. It sounds much better. AI Sound Pro is much punchier and more dynamic, and while it does struggle with deep bass, it doesn't any more than most rival TVs. It's much better at high volumes too, with less distortion. You have to push it really loud to hear any significant issues.

** Winner: LG C4 **

LG C4 vs C3: verdict

Well that's pretty clear cut. The C4 is the better TV. But is it good enough to warrant the higher price? At some sizes, it's around £1400 pricier than the C3. The C3 will likely drop even further in price as retailers look to clear stock, so keep a look out in the sales this summer.

The C4 could also be discounted pretty soon though – it's not uncommon for LG's OLEDs to drop in price fairly soon after launch. If you can wait, a deal on a C4 might be the smartest move.

We'll keep you posted on all the best deals on both models as they arise. 


Check out the full LG 2024 OLED TV range

The best LG TVs

And the best TVs from all manufacturers

Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.

  • Jim59
    What a nonsense article. You obviously have no idea about the C4. Why not just wait until you get an official release from LG or better still, wait until you can actually test the C4.