LG C3 OLED TV vs LG G3 OLED TV: which 4K TV will be better?

LG G3 vs C3 head to head
(Image credit: Future)

LG made waves at CES earlier this week with its refreshed line of OLED TVs for 2023. It included everything from entry-level OLEDs in the form of the A3 and B3, all the way up to the stunningly futuristic M3 wireless OLED TV.

However, the two TVs that have most piqued our interest are the G3 and C3, as they are both follow-ups to some of the best TVs of 2022. LG has taken a different approach with each of these, offering a generational upgrade to the G3 while keeping updates modest on the C3 – an already excellent TV that swept our 2022 Best TVs Awards.

While neither TV is commercially available quite yet, we did manage to get up close and personal with both of these new OLEDs at CES 2023. We've also spent plenty of time testing and reviewing their predecessors – so we're confident that we can begin to get an idea of how these TVs will likely compare to one another. 

We anticipate getting our review units closer to the official retail launch, at which point we can dive deeper into all the new performance, features and software that these 2023 models offer. Only then will we offer our full and frank verdict, at which point this page will be updated accordingly.

LG OLED G3 vs C3: price

LG has not yet revealed pricing for either model. When we asked at CES 2023, LG told us pricing will be shared as soon as it becomes available – so make sure to check back for a full price comparison soon. What we do know is that the C3 will be the cheaper of the two models, as is the case with the existing G2 and C2 OLEDs, and the G1 and C1 models before them. 

There hasn't been any official word on price increases as of yet, although considering the current economic climate and trends across the industry, it wouldn't be hugely surprising to see the new models launch at slightly higher prices than their predecessors. There's some fancy new tech in the G3 model (which we'll get to shortly) that could also increase the price gap between it and the C3 but, again, that's pure conjecture at this point.

For reference, here's the launch pricing for 2022's full G2 and C2 ranges:

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LG G2 vs C2 pricing
SizeLG G2 OLEDLG C2 OLED
42-inchN/A£1399 / $1400 / AU$3239
48-inchN/A£1399 / $1500 / AU$3599
55-inch£2400 / $2200 / AU$4799£1900 / $1800 / AU$4079
65-inch£3300 / $3200 / AU$6359£2700 / $2500 / AU$5399
77-inch£4500 / $4200 / AU$11,399£3700 / $3500 / AU$9599
83-inch£6500 / $6500 / AU$15,599£5500 / $5500 / AU$13,199
97-inch£25,000 / $25,000 / AU$39,995N/A

LG OLED G3 vs C3: build

LG G3

The LG G3 is the more expensive of the two models as its LG's flagship 4K OLED (Image credit: LG)

Both TVs are heavily reminiscent of their prior incarnations, with slim builds and razor-thin bezels resulting in a sharp and attractive design. The G3, like its predecessor, is designed to be wall mounted and requires an optional stand if you'd prefer for it to sit on a media stand. It's made of the same lightweight Composite Fibre material as last year's model, making it easier to manoeuvre, the Zero Gap mount appears to be a renamed version of the same mount that was included with last year's G2 and is designed to hold the TV more or less flush with the wall.

The C3, on the other hand, is your more traditional TV package, with an included stand. This stand looks marginally sleeker and narrower in some images when compared to the C2, but the difference is negligible. The C3 can also be wall mounted if you so desire, though a bracket would be an optional extra.

LG OLED G3 vs C3: picture

LG C3 wall mount

The LG C3 includes a stand, or it can be wall mounted if you don't mind purchasing a bracket separately. (Image credit: Future)

Picture performance is where we expect to see the biggest difference between these two sets, and it all comes down to panel technology. Both are what LG calls OLED Evo models, which means they use the latest WOLED panel technology from LG Display (which is distinct from LG Electronics), but the G3 has a couple of extras that the C3 does not. For starters, as was the case last year, the G-series has a heatsink that the C-series does not. This allows the set to be pushed harder (i.e. brighter) without any extra stress being applied to the light-emitting OLEDs.

More excitingly, the G3 also gets a brand new panel technology called Micro Lens Array, or MLA for short).

MLA refers to a layer of microscopic lenses (as the name may suggest) that focus the light output from the television towards the viewer. This takes advantage of existing light output (in other words, the OLEDs themselves don't need to work any harder than they did before) and boosts it without the need for further power consumption, or dreaded OLED burn-in from overexertion. It's an admittedly smart solution from LG, and the company claims it produces serious results.

The intention of including MLA is to increase brightness on these OLED panels, which has been a longstanding criticism of OLED technology by certain people. QD-OLED has stepped in to combat this with increased brightness (and more vibrant colours), but only a handful of QD-OLED TVs (from Samsung and Sony) are so far on the market.

The addition of MLA to the G3's panel means that we could see brightness levels around the 2000 nits mark in some picture modes, however, we understand that a near 1500 nits figure is more realistic. Considering the G2 topped out at around 1000 nits, this is a considerable upgrade when it comes to the G3 and one we hope to investigate further when we get more time with the new set. 

The C3, on the other hand, looks as though it will perform very similarly to the C2 in the picture department, with no distinctive hardware upgrades to the display being made by LG. This means no MLA technology and therefore no brightness boost, which may be disappointing to some, though we'll need to run the two head-to-head to check how big of an omission this actually is before giving our final verdict. 

Considering how well the C2 performed in our testing, we're also willing to give it the benefit of the doubt for now – providing the price doesn't increase exponentially of course. We could also see some picture enhancements through the new Alpha 9 Gen 6 processor and its Alpha Reality processing but, once again, we'll have to get the new models into our test labs for full testing before we can pass judgement on this suite of new picture processing features. 

There are some similarities to the panels, including 4K resolution and HDR combability via HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG. As is common with LG TVs, there's no HDR10+, however considering the much broader compatibility found with Dolby Vision when it comes to gaming and streaming apps, this isn't a great loss. 

LG OLED G3 vs C3: sound

LG G3 OLED TV

The G3 is LG's brightest 4K OLED to date (Image credit: Future)

LG appears to have only made minor audio upgrades for its OLED 2023 range, and most of these seem to be software rather than hardware based. Specifically, LG has added processing of incoming sound signals to virtual 9.1.2 – up from last year's 7.1.2. Whether this will make a huge difference with real content is something we're keen to test, but it's worth pointing out that very few TVs can compete with a good soundbar for audio quality, and we're not anticipating that the G3 or C3 will change this.

ON the subject of soundbars, the G3 and C3 also both boast a new WOW Orchestra sound feature, which enables the TV speakers to work in harmony with a connected LG soundbar (you'll need a compatible 2023 model) in order to create a wider soundstage, add detail and provide more impact to louder effects such as explosions.

Another interesting feature coming to the new LG OLED range is pseudo-support for DTS:X. Why 'pseudo'? Because while there's currently still some confusion on this, we understand that the new LG OLEDs won't be able to play DTS formats through their own speakers, but will be able to pass the format through to a connected soundbar or AV receiver via the HDMI eARC port. While not what you could call full support, this is still an interesting development as LG did away with the inclusion of DTS support a few generations ago.

LG C3 WOW Synergy

WOW Orchestra combines the TV speakers and soundbar for a bolder audio experience (Image credit: Future)

LG OLED G3 vs C3: gaming

With the LG C2 crowned Best Gaming TV at our 2022 Awards, expectations are understandably high for its successor. The G2 is also a formidable gaming TV, so both sets must live up to their acclaimed predecessors. Thankfully, LG looks to have upheld its gaming pedigree, with an excellent feature set that spans both models.  

The C3 and G3 both boast four HDMI 2.1 sockets with full support for the advanced 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM features of the Xbox Series X and PS5. Gamers that prefer a desk over a sofa setup may gravitate towards the C3, as it has that desk-friendly 42-inch model, making it a perfect monitor stand-in. 

VRR gets a special shout-out on these TVs thanks to the inclusion of Quick Media Switching VRR. This stops a black screen from appearing when you switch between HDMI inputs that are running at different refresh rates. As of now, only the latest Apple TV 4K supports this, but we anticipate it coming to consoles soon.

LG's fan-favourite Game Optimiser makes a return on the C3 and G3, with quick access to the likes of HDR game settings, frame rate information and a toggle for ALLM. This gaming hub includes a few new features this year, most notably a new game audio sub-menu for adjusting game-specific sound settings.

LG OLED G3 vs C3: software and processor

LG G3 at CES 2023

webOS 2023 neatens up the operating system with Quick Cards (Image credit: Future)

Both the LG G3 and C3 share the new Alpha 9 Gen 6 processor, which includes the aforementioned 9.1.2 processing and WOW Orchestra sound features, and the Alpha Reality suite of picture processing features. There should be no difference between the G3 and C3 in terms of processing power, but the cheaper A3 and B3 models use a slightly less powerful chip (the Alpha 7 Gen 6). 

The operating system will be the same across the entire 2023 LG OLED range, with the new webOS 2023 bringing a more organised approach to the somewhat cluttered and dense home screen of last year's models. It includes all the relevant streaming options, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Apple TV+ and more. However, similar apps and features will now be grouped together in folders dubbed Quick Cards for a more streamlined and user-friendly experience.

Between the new processor and simplified home screen, the assumption is that this new version of webOS will be a little snappier and slicker in use than last year's, though we'll need to test that for ourselves to make sure.

LG OLED G3 vs C3: early verdict

LG C3 OLED TV

The LG C3 is a more iterative yearly refresh on an already outstanding TV (Image credit: LG)

LG's strategy with the G3 and C3 looks to be fairly clear-cut. The flagship G3 gets the majority of the upgrades, with the new MLA tech (and a heatsink) stealing the spotlight and, in theory, leading to a much brighter OLED TV than LG has ever produced before.

The cheaper C3, on the other hand, appears to be a fairlyy minimal upgrade over last year's C2. 

To us, it seems like LG's aim is to increase the performance gap between the two models. Last year's G2 was brighter than the C2, but we felt that for most people, the C2 was the better buy. By making the G3 more obviously better than the C3, it will be hoping to convince more people that it's worth the extra money.

Of course, a lot will depend on how much extra money the company ends up asking for the G3, not to mention whether the real-life performances of it and the C3 match the specs and claims made so far. As ever, we'll be waiting until we have both models in for full comparative testing before we deliver our final verdicts, but this is already looking like an exciting year for LG OLED fans.

MORE:

Read our full CES 2023 coverage

Read our LG OLED G3 vs G2 early comparison

Check out the LG M3 OLED wireless TV: is this the TV of the future?

Best TVs: brilliant budget to premium 4K Ultra HD

Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Staff Writer Lewis is the newest addition to the What Hi-Fi? editorial team. Previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. In his down time he enjoys gaming and regular cinema trips.