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LG C2 vs LG C1: which will be the best LG OLED TV?

LG C2 vs LG C1: which is the best LG OLED TV?
(Image credit: LG)

We're big fans of LG's premium OLED TVs – particularly the company's mid-range 'C' Class models. But should you wait for the just-announced LG C2 (2022), or save a few bob and opt for the now heavily discounted LG C1 (2021)? This LG C2 vs LG C1 comparison will help you make the right choice.

The LG C1 was unveiled in January 2021. It wowed us with its vibrant picture, smart webOS interface and high-end gaming features. Both the 48-inch and 65-inch versions achieved five stars in our tests. In short, the C1 is a consistently-brilliant OLED TV.

The LG C2 – successor to the C1 – was announced at CES in January 2022. The new kid on the block boasts a brighter OLED 'Evo' panel that should deliver an even better picture. The C2 is also the first OLED TV to be offered in a 42-inch size.

With the C2 having only just been announced, we've not yet received samples for review, but we can use the spec sheet and our past experience of LG OLEDs to put together a pretty comprehensive comparison that should help you decide whether to wait for the new C2 or grab a C1 while it's still available.

LG C2 vs LG C1: price

LG C2 vs LG C1: which is the best LG OLED TV?

(Image credit: LG/ Netflix, On My Block)

The 2021 LG C1 is available in five sizes: 48-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 77-inch and 83-inch. Prices started out at £1299 / $1499 (AU$2800) for the 48-inch model, but at this point discounts are widespread.

LG OLED48C1 48-inch: £1299 ($1500, around AU$2800)
LG OLED55C1 55-inch: £1699 ($1800, around AU$3100)
LG OLED65C1 65-inch: £2499 ($2500, around AU$4500)
LG OLED77C1 77-inch: £3999 ($3800, around AU$7200)
LG OLED83C1 83-inch: £6999 ($6000, around AU$8000)

The 2022 LG C2 will be available in six sizes: 42-inch, 48-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 77-inch and 83-inch. Availability and prices are yet to be confirmed, though we'd expect the C2 to launch with similar price tags to the C1. There's been talk of the 42-inch model costing £999 / $999, but that's merely a rumour at this point.

LG OLED42C2 42-inch: £TBC / $TBC / AU$TBC
LG OLED48C2 48-inch: £TBC / $TBC / AU$TBC
LG OLED55C2 55-inch: £TBC / $TBC / AU$TBC
LG OLED65C2 65-inch: £TBC / $TBC / AU$TBC
LG OLED77C2 77-inch: £TBC / $TBC / AU$TBC
LG OLED83C2 83-inch: £TBC / $TBC / AU$TBC

The question you have to ask yourself is whether you want the latest, cutting-edge TV tech or whether you'd prefer to save a few hundred pounds/dollars. The answer might well depend on how cutting edge the tech is, and how much of a difference it makes to performance...

LG C2 vs LG C1: design and build

LG C2 vs LG C1: which is the best LG OLED TV?

(Image credit: LG)

The LG C1 is a handsome TV with an edge-to-edge glass panel and a 10.2mm bezel bordering the picture. It comes with an elegant pedestal stand in the box and sits low to the surface on which it's placed. This arrangement makes for a sleek look but may not be ideal if you're planning to squeeze a soundbar into the gap beneath the TV. 

The new C2 shares the same genes as the C1 – albeit with a slightly upgraded design. The bezel is now even thinner (down from 10.2mm to 6mm), and the 42-inch model comes with a pair of sharp-looking feet rather than a pedestal stand. This is because the OLED42C2 is intended to double up as a gaming monitor, and LG reckons that feet are better suited to a desktop set-up.

Those with a dodgy back should be pleased to note that the C2 weighs an impressive 47% less than the C1. The striking weight loss is apparently down to the new panel's use of a composite fibre material for cabinet construction. Either way, the C2 should be much easier than its predecessor to get on a rack or the wall.

We're yet to review the C2 in detail so we can't give a definitive verdict, but it sounds like the 2022 C-series features some nice design tweaks.

LG C2 vs LG C1: features

LG C2 vs LG C1: which is the best LG OLED TV?

(Image credit: LG)

The 2021 LG C1 is a joy to use, thanks in no small part to LG's impressive, app-packed webOS 6.0 smart TV platform. Inside, LG's Gen 4 AI-enhanced processor helps deliver punchy contrast and slick upscaling. Most major HDR formats are supported (HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, including Dolby Vision IQ) with the exception of Samsung's HDR10+.

Other attractions include four HDMI 2.1 sockets that support 4K@120Hz, VRR and ALLM, plus an HGIG setting that can help you get the most accurate contrast from HDR games. In other words, the C1 is not only one of the best OLED TVs, it's one of the best gaming TVs we've tested.

But, as Frank Zappa said, "without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible". Hence LG has rejigged the LG's insides with new components including the latest Gen 5 processor. The new chip is said to deliver smarter AI upscaling, improved Object Background Enhancement and virtual upmixing, which increases the number of virtual channels from 5.1.2 to 7.1.2. 

Elsewhere, the C2 ditches webOS 6.0 in favour of the webOS 22. The new software doesn't appear to be a massive departure from webOS 6.0, but it does offer a few refinements including improved personalisation, NFC Magic Tap for mirroring mobile devices to an LG TV screen and 'Always Ready', a new mode that displays art or photos when the TV is not in use.

Judging by the specs, the C2 could prove to be even better suited to gaming than last year's C-series. Improvements include a new 'Dark Room' mode to reduce eye fatigue when playing in low light, plus HDMI 2.1 ports with 48Gbps of bandwidth – up from 40Gbps. How much practical difference will the latter make? Probably not a lot, if we're honest, but it's always nice to have an extra element of future-proofing, right?

Both the C1 and C2 come with LG's nifty Magic Remote controller and built-in support for Google and Alexa voice assistants. The C1 supports Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Apple TV (all with full support for 4K), in addition to Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound. There's also Sky's Now streaming service and the main UK catch-up apps (BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5 in the UK). We'd expect the C2 to offer the same selection or better, but we'll confirm that once the C2 hits stores.

All in all, the 2022 C2 looks to offer some neat – although not necessarily 'game-changing' – improvements over the C1. If the new goodies listed above don't pique your interest, you may find the 2021 C1 a better-value option.

LG C2 vs LG C1: picture quality

LG C2 vs LG C1: which is the best LG OLED TV?

(Image credit: LG)

The main differentiating factor between the C1 and C2 is the type of display used. The C1 plumps for a standard OLED panel, while the C2 boasts a brighter OLED 'Evo' panel. This is the tech that debuted in last year's top-of-the-range LG G1 OLED TV, but LG says it has been improved for 2022, thanks to a reformulated panel and processor.

Apparently, the upgraded Evo (which will also be made available to other manufacturers under the 'OLED.EX' title) uses deuterium (heavy hydrogen) and proprietary algorithm-based ‘EX Technology’ to increase brightness by 30 per cent compared to conventional OLED displays. That extra brightness should translate to better HDR performance, but we'll confirm that in our upcoming review. (NB: LG has said that the 42- and 48-inch C2 models, while designated as 'OLED Evo' sets, won't go as bright as their larger siblings).

In the meantime, we can tell you that the 2021 LG C1 delivers a super picture that continues to fare well against rival OLED TVs. It's an effortlessly natural and convincing picture that combines punch with subtlety, pure whites and perfect blacks, fine detail and crisply defined edges. There's really very little to complain about.

Will the LG C2's new Evo display give it a little extra sparkle? Fingers crossed, but the C1 remains a very creditable option. It's still one best OLED TVs around for the money.

LG C2 vs LG C1: sound quality

LG C2 vs LG C1: which is the best LG OLED TV?

(Image credit: Future / Them, Amazon Prime)

The C2's aforementioned AI Sound Pro virtual up-mixing technology is capable of creating 7.1.2 virtual channels of sound, up from the 5.1.2 virtual channels of last year's C1. That certainly seems to bode well, but LG is yet to confirm the C2's driver configuration, so we'll reserve judgement for now.

As for the C1, its 2.2ch 40W set-up offers a composed delivery. Sound is open and spacious for a TV, giving movies and TV shows a more cinematic feel, particularly when Dolby Atmos is enabled.

That said, we found the C1's sound to be less punchy and dynamic than that of its predecessor, the CX. Let's hope the C2 doesn't follow the same trajectory.

Ultimately, whether you choose the C1, C2 or any pretty much any other TV, we'd suggest adding a separate Dolby Atmos soundbar or surround sound system if you want an immersive audio experience.

LG C2 vs LG C1: initial verdict

If picture quality is your highest priority, there's no doubt that the LG C2 has the potential to eclipse its predecessor thanks to its beefier processor and brighter Evo display. But there's also a chance that, in tampering with a winning formula, LG has compromised the C-series' stellar performance-per-pound ratio. We'll know shortly when we test the C2 in our AV labs.

In the meantime, there are plenty of reasons to make a beeline for the LG C1. It might be a year older than the C2 but it's also a proven champion. It remains a great option for both movies and gaming, and continues to hit the elusive sweet spot between value and features. What's more, C1 prices are falling fast now that the launch of the C2 is looming large.

Ultimately, your decision will depend on how much extra performance the C2 offers, and whether the new OLED Evo panel is worth dipping into your pockets for. Stay tuned and we'll bring you the full verdict just as soon as we've got our hands on a sample of the C2.

MORE:

LG 2022 TV lineup: everything you need to know

Should you consider Samsung's rival QD-OLED technology?

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Tom is a journalist, copywriter and content designer based in the UK. He has written articles for T3, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Elle Deco, The Sunday Times, Men's Health, Mr Porter, Oracle and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile technology, electric vehicles and video streaming.