LG C2 OLED evo TV – advanced OLED at a more affordable price (review)

The LG C2 OLED evo TV joins its sibling, the G2, with its new evo screen. What does evo mean? Well, it is a little brighter, has a slightly wider colour gamut and can easily conquer typical bright Aussie lounge rooms.

First, let’s dispel the myth that OLED is not bright enough to conquer uncontrolled ambient light from windows and open spaces. The C2 panel supports Dolby Vision IQ (the highest HDR rating), adjusting the panel brightness as lighting conditions change. We had no issues in bright daylight or dark night-time use.

Second, let’s dispel the myth that OLED can suffer burn-in from static images. LG’s OLED Panel care ensures that static images (like a TV station logo) are pixel shifted (moved around) and Pixel Cleaned when the screen is turned off.

Third, Mini-LED is an OLED killer – not. Mini-LED may have a brighter backlight, usually on a QD (Quantum Dot – ULED, QLED, QUHD, NanoCell) LCD panel. It is bright, but it still suffers from light bleed and the inherent weaknesses of an LCD panel. It has tens of thousands of mini-LEDs and can never have true blacks like OLED, where every one of 8,294,400 pixels is self-emissive (like a light bulb).

What should I buy?

By way of analogy, I have three mates (many more actually😁) that recently bought TVs (without asking me first). All are affluent, live in expensive homes, and drive premium cars. All would be well if they put a fraction of the effort into researching TVs as they did their cars.

  • #1 bought a 75” Samsung entry-level Q60B QLED edge-lit LCD TV at $2499 because the salesperson convinced him it was the biggest with the best performance – bang-for-buck. The salesman also sold him a Polk React 2.0 channel (not Dolby Atmos), Alexa, soundbar when he asked about Google Assistant and Dolby Atmos.
  • #2 bought a 65” Samsung Q80B back-lit QD/LCD TV at $2499 because the salesperson said it was best in bright rooms. It is a good mid-range TV but its not what he really wanted.
  • #3 bought a 65” top-of-the-range Samsung QN95B Neo QLED (Mini-LED backlight) for $3295 (excellent TV) but he wanted to play Dolby Vision movies from Netflix et al. The salesman said, “No worries, it will play Dolby Vision”. Samsung does not support Dolby Vision (frame-by-frame adjustment), and any content is downmixed to the hugely inferior HDR10 (movie-by-movie adjustment).

Now I have seen all three of their TVs, so I invited the proud owners to view the LG C2 OLED evo TV. They were gobsmacked at the colour, brightness, black intensity, motion smoothing and price. A 65” RRP is $4499, but you can get it at <$3500, including free delivery. Since then, #3 has returned the QN95B and bought the C2, #2 is still arguing with the store, and #1 has contemplated hara-kiri because he is too nice to argue with the nice salesman!

Your choices

The moral of the story is that the following is true: no matter the brand – LG, Samsung, Sony, Hisense, TCL, Philips, and the vast array of generic brands. In order of image quality

  1. OLED is the undisputed king for TV/Movies and has Dolby Vision or the later IQ. Samsung uses a proprietary ‘royalty-free’ HDR10+ format. It does not decode Dolby Vision but downmixes it and the end result is not what the filmmaker intended. OLED does not cost much more and has even better natural colours.
  2. Mini-LED/QD/LCD is bright and colourful and decodes and plays Dolby Vision (again, except Samsung). Quantum Dot gives good saturated colours but its not a patch on the HDR capabilities of OLED.
  3. Full Backlit Array Local Dimming (FALD) LCD will give you a better image than Edge-Lit LCD. The more expensive ones may support Dolby Vision but are more likely to support HDR/10/+.
  4. Edge-Lit is what 90% of consumers buy because they are cheap.

Please read and absorb our guide Confused about TV tech? That’s just what they want!

So, on with the review

LG C2 OLED evo TV (all specs are for 65”)

WebsiteProduct Page
PricePrice is RRP exclusive of any seasonal or event discounts. Shop around 42/48/55/65/77/83” $2376/$2,676/$2,976/$4499/$8076/$9,376
FromLG Online or most quality CE retailers
Warranty1-year ACL
LGLG (formerly Lucky-Goldstar from 1983 to 1995) is a South Korean multinational conglomerate. It makes electronics, chemicals, and telecommunications products.
MoreCybershack LG News and reviews

We use Fail (below expectations), Pass (meets expectations) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. We occasionally give a Pass ‘+’ rating to show it is good but does not quite make it to Exceed.

First Impression – Exceed

TVs are huge glass slabs, and LG C2 OLED evo stands out for its impossibly thin, near bezel-less (7mm) glass panel (only OLED can do this), all inputs neatly- hidden from view on the left side and an elegant base (or it can be VESA 300 x 200 wall-mounted and uses standard M6 thread).

It uses the new WBE panel, which is brighter, has better heat dissipation, <2ms response, does not use Pulse Width Modulation dimming, and is less prone to burn-in than earlier OLED panels.

Setup – Pass

If you are slightly paranoid, you will understand that all brands and models of smart TVs track everything you watch. LG (like Samsung) wants you to create an LG account to ‘understand you better’, which is a euphemism for serving you tailored advertising content.

You can’t avoid an LG account when you install steaming or other Apps; you must log in. Then those Apps want you to log in too. It is even worse if you use Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri – nothing is sacred.

The setup wizard guides you in tuning (if you connect it to a TV antenna) and installing Apps. You use the supplied Magic Remote with an on-screen mouse cursor to simplify interaction.

LG webOS 22 (not webOS 6) – Pass+

This uses the 2022 webOS 22, and it is smoother, a little easier to use and has some significant gaming improvements. It is still more complex (or is that comprehensive) than the latest Android/Google TV. Finding and adding apps is not as easy as it should be. But there is a lot to say for muscle memory, and after a couple of weeks, it was intuitive enough.

But like most TVs OS, there is little upgrade path to future versions and more Apps.

It adds

  • Profiles for each viewer (for customised advertisement streaming and content) and simplified access via NFC Magic Tap
  • More integrated Google Assistant and Alexa (it is a giant smart speaker)
  • Better Picture-in-Picture controls and 21:9 and 32:9 screen ratios.
  • OLED Motion (was TruMotion)
  • More game controls, GeForce Now and Stadia cloud gaming
  • It will add Matter Standard via ThinQ to control Matter compatible IoT devices

Streaming Apps – Pass with some fails.

The Australian LG Content Store has 80)= apps. It includes iView, 9 Now, 7 Plus, SBS on Demand, Optus Sport, Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, Foxtel, Kayo, Stan, YouTube/Kids, and Telstra TV Box Office. Many of the Apps are for international streaming channels.

It does not have 10 Play and Paramount+. This may be available via a Google TV 4K Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV 4K or other HDMI dongles. Please check the Content store if you must have a particular app.

Let’s look at image quality – Exceed

I don’t wish to be trite, but the LG C2 OLED evo passed every test we have and then some. You can skip the image tests, assured that there is no better (except the G2).

  • Contrast is infinite ∞:1 –the difference between its whitest white and blackest black. By comparison, most LCD TVs are around 1000 to 1500:1 as you never see pure black (only OLED can turn each pixel on/off).
  • SDR is easily 400 nits.
  • HDR easily reaches 1000 nits required for Dolby Vision/HDR 10+

Colours and purity – Exceed

It reproduces 1.07 billion 10-bit colours. In our tests, primary colours red, green, and blue (RGB) were 100% accurate. Secondary and tertiary colours (like skin tones) were accurate and tonally correct. It has about 97% DCI-P3 gamut support, and out of the box, a Delta E of about 1 (<4 is excellent.

HDR/10/+/HLG – Exceed

This is one of the few that can adequately bring out highlights in dark areas and add details to overbright areas.

Blooming- Exceed

There is absolutely no blooming around white areas or subtitles – something only OLED can do. In addition, there is no ‘crushing’ of white areas – they are crisp and clear as the black-on-white (and vice versa) text shows.

Viewing Angle – Exceed

You can watch it from almost any angle without colour washout and shift. It is ideal when you have spread-out seating – everyone gets a great, saturated image.

Reflection – Pass+

OLED screens are always reflective – it is to ensure maximum brightness. This has good straight-on light rejection (light from behind the viewing position), but you start to see reflections further to the side. It is not bad – perhaps the most noticeable improvement over the 2021 C1.

Upscale – AI really works well

All video content is intelligently upscaled to 4K. That means it looks at pre-and-post frames and adds what it thinks the pixels will be. It also uses onboard AI to fill in recognised shapes and objects. This is vastly better than most LCD TVs that simply wrap the same colour pixels around the original. We tested with old 480p content, and while the image was soft, it was still far better than other TVs. This is courtesy of the new LG α9 Gen 5 AI Processor 4K.

But more importantly, it now has the processing power to use AI on the image to enhance SDR/HDR highlights (AI brightness) and smooth out the motion (OLED motion) instead of the simple black frame insertion used by most LCD TVs.

Picture pre-sets – Exceed

It has Vivid, Standard, Filmmaker Mode, APS, Cinema, Cricket, Game Optimiser, ISF Bright Room and ISF Dark Room. On most TVs, you need to use Vivid, but we found that Standard mode was the most natural. Why? Because lower-cost TVs amp up the screen voltage to achieve what looks like a brighter panel. LG can do this, but its standard mode is perfect.

Dolby Pre-sets – for Dolby Vision content only – Exceed

When you play Dolby Vision content, the metadata stream changes the TV parameters on a frame x frame basis. You don’t really need pre-sets (Vivid, Standard, Cinema Home, Cinema, Game Optimiser), and again we found standard suited us best. The exception is if you need to compensate for the room.

Ports – Exceed

  • This has 4 x 120Hz HDMI 2.1 full implementation ports (includes 1 eARC). Many TVs only have a single HDMI 2.1 port.
  • It has three USB ports (2.0 5V/.5A/2.5W) that support FAT32, exFAT or NTFS. It recognised a 1TB external SSD, but we suspect it did not have enough power. You can get over this by using a powered USB hub. It also had inadequate power for a Google TV 4K HDMI dongle – ditto, which needs 5V/2A/10W.
  • Ethernet LAN port (also Wi-Fi 5 AC dual band), Digital Optical and IR blaster out.
  • It no longer has a 3.5mm headphone port – use Bluetooth, which has Tx and Rx for casting to-and-from the TV. It supports keyboard/trackpad/mouse and game controllers. BT supports SBC and aptX codecs.
  • It supports WiSA wireless 2.1 speakers with an optional WiSA USB dongle.
  • It has Miracast over Wi-Fi for PCs and other device casting

Gamers – Exceed

The Dolby Vision 120Hz display is NVIDIA certified, and the HDMI 2.1 port supports ALLM, VRR, High Frame Rate, AMD FreeSync Premium and HGiG mode. The Game Optimiser/Console is new and more intuitive to interfere less with gameplay.

Internal speakers – Pass

LG may want to argue its 40W system is good (and it is), but it is not the same as a good LG soundbar. The maximum sound is 80dB with imperceptible distortion – quite enough for a large lounge room. It tends to be a little bass-heavy, cutting in at 80Hz, with strong mid and slightly recessed treble. The treble is a little choppy meaning the sense of sound direction and a feeling of ‘air’ (a reality as though the music were really there) is a little lacking – music sounds more ‘hollow’ than the soundbar option.

While it is technically a natural sound signature (good) the bass moves it closer to Warm and Sweet (bass/mid boosted, treble recessed) and you can play with the EQs and recess bass a little.

The best feature is AI acoustic tuning which makes a great difference to sound quality. It uses the Magic remote microphone and adjusts the sound to your viewing position (about 3m from the TV is ideal) and room acoustics.

Virtual Dolby Atmos

It offers virtual Dolby Atmos decoding to its speakers and psychoacoustic surround sound (that needs to bounce off adjacent walls and ceilings to give a faux surround). But to our trained ear, it was more like a 3.0 setup – left/centre/right even on Atmos content. It has AI Sound Pro (use this), Standard, Cinema, Clear Voice Pro (quite effective in dropping our background noise), Cricket (Sports), Music, and Game Optimiser pre-sets.

The TV does not support DTS surround and will present that as 2.0. Otherwise, it can decode PCM and Dolby Digital+ (5.1) and downmix to its speakers. It will upscale 2.0 as well.

All sound can pass through the HDMI eARC cable to a soundbar for processing. We will review the LG 570W S90QY 5.1.3 all-in-one soundbar shortly. Suffice to say that it makes an instant and tangible difference. It also supports Dolby Atmos and DTS formats.

Interestingly if you use BT headphones, you can still use the internal TV speakers and Digital Audio out. This means the hearing impaired can use headphones while others listen to the TV speakers or a soundbar using a Digital Audio connection.

Accessibility – Pass+

We have mentioned that you can connect BT headphones and still use the TV speaker or Digital Optical out. There is a specific hard-of-hearing setting.

But there are many accessibility options, including High Contrast, Greyscale, Colour inversion, Subtitles, and more.

Power – Pass

On average, Free-to-Air uses between 70-100W, but with Dolby Vision IQ and Atmos content, it went up over 150W. Still, it is cheap to run at 30 cents per kWh (1000W for an hour).

CyberShack’s view – LG C2 OLED evo is the best all-around TV on the market at present

While its sibling, the G2 (Gallery), is more expensive and perhaps has a tad more performance, it is only for wall mount or use with a Gallery floor mount. We are reviewing that shortly but let me assure you that you are missing nothing!

The competition is the 2021 LG C1 OLED. Apart from LG webOS 22 and perhaps a slightly brighter screen, the 2021 C1 model (we rated that at 8.8 versus 9/10 for the C2) is at runout prices, and you can pick up a 65” for <$3,000 or pig out on the 83” for $6,700 – you won’t be disappointed.

There are other LG OLED (not evo) models. Specifically, the A2 and you may see a B2 model. The A2 does not have the Gaming features like VRR, ALLM, NVIDIA or AMD Sync and uses a less powerful α7 Gen 5 AI Processor 4K. Its speaker system is 20W. Having said that, if you are on a budget, you don’t lose much at all.

Our final words. The C2 is superb. It is what you should buy if you are not shopping on price.

OLED Competition

  • Samsung – no OLED TVs and no Samsung model supports Dolby Vision. Mini-LED/LCD is its premium offering.
  • Philips OLED+ (2021 models) – not reviewed, but we understand that these use a Gen 6 BOE OLED panel versus LG’s Gen 9. Uses Android TV.
  • Sony A80K and A90K (2022 models) are excellent Google/Android TVs using LG panels (not evo). Not reviewed yet, but probably closer in performance to the LG A2 series.
  • Hisense Model X9HAU and X8HAU use a Chinese-made OLED panel (same as Philips) and the Hisense VIDAA OS (check that it supports the streaming apps you want). Hisense Australian 2022 TV range – huge!
  • TCL C835 – only Mini-LED/LCD using a Chinese-made CSOT panel and Google/Android TV

LG C2 OLED evo

LG C2 OLED evo TV

From $2376-$9376. Shop around
9

Feature

9.0/10

Value

9.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Design

9.0/10

Pros

  • evo panel adds that little extra brightness for use in Aussie lounge rooms
  • Excellent viewing angles and improved reflectivity
  • Exceeds every colour test
  • Perfect blacks and no blooming
  • The gamer’s dream TV

Cons

  • None really - this is as good as it gets
  • Larger height soundbars may not fit under the panel


Post Horizontal Banner

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.