LG C1 review

LG C1 review

LG OLED C1 is the new benchmark OLED for this brand, and follows on from LG OLED CX. Also this year, the South Korean company introduces a model with all the credentials to excel among the best TVs

The differences compared to the LG CX are not very many, even if some are really very significant. Starting with the new a9 Gen4 processor: thanks to it, and to revised and improved software, LG C1 manages to outperform the previous model in image quality - despite having the same panel. The difference is particularly noticeable with upscaling. There are also four HDMI 2.1 ports, which will be useful for those who have both nex-gen consoles, a gaming PC and something else to connect to the TV.

All for a reasonable price: the 55-inch model we tested, in fact, is around 1,600 euros. In absolute terms it is certainly not cheap for a TV, but we are talking about a latest generation OLED and we must consider things in perspective. Sony A90J is better in many respects but perhaps not so much as to justify 1000 euros more, and a similar comment can be made for Panasonic JZ2000. If you want a different size, the LG C1 is (or will be) also available in 48, 65 and 77 inches. Unfortunately, this year too, the 48 "costs more than 55".

LG OLED C1 - design

LG did not bring any particular innovations in 2021, except perhaps for the gray color clear (almost white) of the back. As in 2020, we have a very thin TV with virtually non-existent frames.

When mounted on the wall, it becomes practically invisible, thanks to its ultra-flat design, and integrates perfectly into any environment. The bottom half, however, is slightly thicker - a few centimeters, because it has to house the electronics and speakers.

The screen reflects a lot, unfortunately, a defect in any case to most modern televisions; it means that you will have to pay attention to how the light sources are positioned, because in the wrong conditions you will simply not be able to watch TV. This is always true, but it is especially noticeable in the evening. A small decorative lamp is enough to spoil everything, which is really a shame.

Moving on to the inputs, they are numerous: the "easy access" group is along the left side and includes 3 HDMI 2.1, one USB and the CI input. The others are behind, and here unfortunately LG hasn't put them down. It will therefore be a little more difficult to use them and at the same time keep the TV against the wall, as it would be ideal. Here we have another HDMI, two USBs, audio output, LAN socket, antenna and satellite.

The remote control is LG's now traditional “magic wand”, which for 2021 has six personalized keys: 4 start as many apps directly, while the other two are dedicated to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

The remote control functionality is excellent, but it is an accessory made with cheap plastic and a bit "poor" for a top of range, and the backlight is missing. We could have done better, without raising the price too much.

LG OLED C1 - software

LG's software is still the WebOS that many know, and there have been no great changes recently. However, the evolution is noticeable and today we have a more modern and functional homepage - in the past when pressing the button with the house only a strip of elements appeared, at the bottom of the screen.

There is still a completely modern twist. : LG does not seem to consider the possibility of living on streaming only, without antenna or satellite decoder. Surely it doesn't concern most people, but Google TV products (such as Sony) allow you to make this choice during the first setup.

By pressing the "mouse" button the TV tries to change input, and in the in our case, it seems to pass to the Chromecast connected to the HDMI 2 port. And so we had to go back to the homepage; it's not a huge annoyance, but if you repeat it often enough it becomes frustrating. Again, a more "smart TV" view would certainly have helped.

The homepage offers many customizable elements, but LG still has the habit of "taking" more than half of the screen. There is the weather, the "LG services" (on whose usefulness everyone will express himself as he wants), and the connection to other functions of the TV, ok, many thanks, but after paying for the TV I'd like to see what I say.

Similarly, there are spaces reserved for Chili, Rakuten or Apple TV that may interest you. But if this is not the case, you will have to get over it, because there is no way to replace them.

For the rest, the interface is really intuitive and simple to use: together with the "mouse-like" remote control, LG C1 has passed the eight-year user test - and with it all LG 2021 TVs with this platform.

Now, according to others, the three homepage windows could be very useful, and maybe they are for you. It could therefore be a rather divisive element.

All the most famous streaming apps are available, but as in 2020, the catalog is limited for those with international tastes. If you want to watch French, German, Indian or other programs, you can't do it directly from the TV. You will need a Chromecast with Google TV; not only are there more apps available, but you can stream content from your smartphone. Not very comfortable but better than giving up your favorite channels.

LG OLED C1 - Video quality

With LG CX, in 2020, LG had already reached incredible heights, in terms of video quality. In 2021, the South Korean company tried (and succeeded) to raise the level again with the EVO televisions, represented by LC G1. However, this LG C1 has a “normal” OLED panel. Does that mean it's worth as much as an LG CX? Well, more or less yes.

The automatic calibration, possible thanks to the ambient light sensor, works very well and in most cases the TV always manages to set the best possible options. That said, once again Cinema mode is probably the only one worth using, most of the time. Gaming sessions are an exception; and those who watch a lot of sports might prefer the specific mode but this is not necessarily the case, because you earn something but give up something else.

The new processor, however, manages to improve, compared to the CX, when it comes to old contents. Upscaling is indeed better than in 2020, but not even this year LG manages to do as well as Sony - which on upscaling at the moment really looks like it's in another league.

That said, the LG C1 if he gets along very well with the “vintage” contents. We tried X-Files (Disney +) and old Ulysses episodes (RayPlay). The TV software always manages to process the missing pixels and fill the 4K screen with natural-colored, richly detailed images. Dark areas are the ones that suffer the most, where details are lost, but in general the experience is completely convincing. Surely next year, if LG has a new processor, this aspect could be resolved permanently.

With 4K / HDR content, however, the fantastic TV created by LG comes out. The colors are so vivid that they pierce the screen, shadows and shades are absolutely realistic, people will seem to be there with you, especially in close-ups. It would take a little more maximum brightness, but alas it is a criticism that applies to all OLEDs, not just this LG C1. On the other hand, this TV manages to bring out an incredible level of detail, even in the darkest areas: we reviewed 1917 (Amazon Prime Video), discovering how this TV manages to make Sam Mendes' masterpiece even more impressive.

The factory calibration, however, was not exactly excellent: even with the naked eye, colors were a little too warm - with complexions that sometimes have a reddish appearance. Nothing dramatic, or that can't be fixed by spending a few minutes in the settings. But it's not something everyone can do, and we always prefer a TV that is "ready to use" and with a factory calibration better than this (they are never perfect).

Excellent features designed for video games : LG C1 is more than ready to entertain us with PS5, Xbox Series X or with a latest generation gaming PC. Not only for the HDMI 2.1 ports, but also for dedicated functions such as VRR or ALLM, and a specific picture mode that enhances colors and favors the reproduction of very fast movements. The TV boasts AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync certification.

LG OLED C1 - audio

The 40 watt Dolby Atmos 2.2 system is perhaps the worst flaw of this LG C1. It's not that it does anything wrong, but it doesn't do anything excellent either. Thinking about the incredible audio that Panasonic or Samsung offer, or the above average Sony one, it seems that LG is neglecting this aspect a bit too much.

The audio spectrum is complete, and there is no shortage of full and pleasing bass even at low volume. Speech could be managed better, and activating the AI ​​functions is not helpful: sometimes it is difficult to understand what the actors are saying (especially looking at the original British and US products). Activating the automatic volume adjustment is of great help but does not completely solve the problem.

The positioning in space is excellent, and it is all managed by AI Sound Pro: the system tries to understand from which point of the sound should arrive, and then simulates its directionality. The result is not bad, and it makes the experience more immersive.

As always, however, if you really care about good audio quality, choose one of the best soundbars or a nice home theater system.

LG C1 OLED - is it worth buying?

In a nutshell yes, it is worth it. At the moment, in fact, among the OLED TVs of 2021 LG C1 is the best for quality / price ratio. Sony and Panasonic may have better quality but they cost much more, while to spend less you have to look at last year's models.

And it is from the past that the most serious doubts come: LG CX is practically the same to this LG C1, for quality. And at the moment it can be found at around 1,200 euros (55 inches). That's 300 euros less than the C1, and at the moment we can't think of reasons that justify that extra expense. Maybe it's better to get a CX, and with the difference get a soundbar.

If you want the best quality, whatever the cost, then this LG C1 should give way to Sony A90J (approx. 2,600 euros) or a Panasonic JZ2000, which is likely to be even more expensive. Yeah, but is it worth the extra money? The answer is probably different for each of us, but LG has managed to offer a quality that is almost at the top, with an overall low price.

Among the OLEDs of 2021, at least for the moment, it is certainly our favorite.

Powered by Blogger.