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2017 was definitely the year of the OLED TV, with Panasonic, Philips, Sony and Toshiba all launching models onto the market.

But it was LG who set the pace, with some of the most eye-catching and affordable OLEDs of the year - one of which was the Award-winning OLED55C7V.

At CES 2018 we were lucky enough to go hands-on with its successor, the OLED55C8, for a preview of what to expect when the TV hits stores in April.

Best OLED TVs 2018

Design

In terms of screen design, the trend for ultra-slim bezels continues, with the C8 screen not looking too dissimilar to its predecessor. Cast your eyes over the bottom of the TV and it's here where you can see the most notable change.

LG has tweaked the stand design and, compared to the outgoing model, it's quite a big difference - the narrow, sloping 'stiletto' shape of the C7 has been replaced by a curvier stand that runs almost the entire width of the TV.

Without being able to look at the two side-by-side, the new stand also appears to position the screen a little higher.

Towards the top of the stand you can see a slim, curved recess which runs along its inside. Its role is to help channel the sound from the downward-firing speakers out towards the viewer.

MORE: LG unveils 2018 4K OLED and LCD TV ranges

Features

Due to be available in 55, 65 and 77in sizes, the C8 range is the most affordable LG OLED line-up to use the company’s new Alpha 9 picture processor. The B8 range sitting below gets a slightly lower-spec Alpha 7 chip.

The C8 range falls under LG’s ThinQ brand, the umbrella for all its 2018 consumer products that use artificial intelligence.

LG’s webOS operating system hasn’t disappeared, though. The launcher and the interface which we’ve come to know and love is still there for navigating channels, apps and settings - but ThinQ adds an extra layer or two of smartness to your smart TV.

MORE: LG announces ThinQ brand for artificially intelligent TVs

The voice control element is more advanced and, in the US and Korea initially, the C8 will have Google Assistant built-in. This means you’ll be able to interact with the TV with voice commands that sound more natural and less robotic.

The TV's advanced AI allows you to carry out more advanced tasks, such as switching between picture modes, calling up the weather and sports results, and accessing pictures stored in Google Photos.

The only slight fly in the ointment is (at the time of writing) when the TVs launch in the UK, they won’t have Google Assistant built-in. Instead, you’ll need a Google Assistant-enabled product if you want to access some of the more advanced voice controls.

This means the user experience will differ slightly, and the range of commands available will be more limited.

The good news is that at CES 2018 we were informed there could be further developments on this in the coming weeks. So watch this space…

2018’s going to be another big year for HDR TV as it continues to make its way into the mainstream - and the OLED55C8 supports all the key formats, including HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision

HDR10+ isn't on the menu, though. LG has its own HDR processing modes for 2018, which it’s calling HDR10 Pro and HLG Pro. They use LG’s own dynamic tone mapping to make real-time enhancements to HDR images which use static metadata (i.e. HDR10 and HLG).

In a first for LG's OLED TVs, the OLED55C8 is also compatible with high frame rate (HFR) content at up to 120 frames per second.

More after the break

Picture quality

On LG’s vast booth at CES 2018 we were able to view a direct comparison between the picture quality of the new C8 and its predecessor, the OLED55C7.

The Alpha 9 processor certainly seemed to make a big difference, enhancing the picture across the board. Images on the OLED55C8 appeared punchier and more vibrant, with richer colours and more nuanced shades.

We saw a combination of static and moving images. First came a forest scene with greens, browns and dense foliage dominating the screen. Next, the picture switched to a more colourful close-up of a butterfly fluttering its wings.

Comparing the two images side-by-side, there seemed a greater sense of depth and sharpness to the picture coming from the OLED55C8 both on- and off-axis.

Sound quality

The TV in LG’s demo room was hooked up to soundbar, but we managed to disconnect it (while Korean backs were turned) for a quick blast of the built-in speakers.

We played an animated scene with a musical ensemble of strings and percussion. The audio certainly seemed on par with its predecessor and, if anything, seemed to sound a little punchier and clearer. Flatscreens don't always sound weighty or powerful, but the C8 appeared to strike a decent enough balance.

Verdict

Of course, it's difficult to get the whole picture when the TV's trying to compete with the hustle and bustle of a show, and we didn't have time to delve deeper into the TV's menus and experiment any further with its picture settings.

But in our brief time with the OLED55C8 we saw enough to suggest LG has another strong performer on its hands. Last year the 'C' range was a Currys PC World exclusive, but whether this will be the case with the new range remains to be seen.

We're assuming the asking price will be around £2500-£3000, which should make it competitive when rival sets launch later in the year - rest assured you'll be the first to know if it's competitive enough for a five-star review.

MORE: CES 2018 news, highlights and best new products

The Competition 

LG OLED55C7V

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