The past two years haven’t exactly been good to the world and yet LG says “Life’s Good”. To be fair, if you have the new LG C1 65 OLED in your living room, you’d be hard pressed to argue with that outlook. In fact, every year my daughters ask what I’d like for my birthday, Fathers Day, Christmas, hell even what I want for breakfast; I always say an LG OLED TV. At this point its a bit of a meme but after having one in our home for about three months, they are now believers.
Starting around $2,400 for the 48-inch model and going upwards for the different sizes, the C1 isn’t cheap. And looking at it’s predecessor the CX, you’d be hard-pressed to know anything had changed but there’s a quite a few improvements beneath its skinny frame.
LG refreshed WebOS, changed the Magic Remote, updated the α9 AI processor and most importantly for us gamers, introduced a dedicated Game Optimizer dashboard to enhance our play time. The less obvious improvements are to the panel which is now ever slightly brighter than on the CX, has faster response time and also supports wider 4:4:4 10-bit color. These all add up to make the C1 one of the best TV’s money can buy.
LG C1 65 OLED TV Review
The new C1 is practically identical to the CX it replaces so if you want to go over the nitty gritty, read my review of the LG CX 48 OLED or Leo’s review of the CX 65. The obvious difference is larger size of the 65-inch model I have here. I definitely didn’t keep this one on my work desk and instead sat it as the centerpiece in our living room. What’s still incredibly disturbing is how thin the panel is. It’s thinner than a smartphone and you’d better be careful not to snap it when unboxing it or moving it around.
While the outside remains unchanged, it’s a different story inside. The C1 gets a newer α9 Gen 4 AI Processor that provides the muscle for the AI Picture Pro that does real-time scene detection and deep-learning methods to clean up and fine tune whatever you are watching. So whether you are watching a classic noir Samurai movie, a classic Disney cartoon or just the local 7News, the TV presents the best possible picture. In fact, the only time in months that I noted a poor picture was when my home broadband dropped to a trickle and the stream quality nose-dived. Even then, the C1 did its best to clean up the artifacts from the image.
To get the most out of it’s processing LG is of course using a stunning 65-inch OLED with self-lit pixels. Those self-lit pixels are the secret sauce to the C1’s deep blacks, infinite contrast, wide color gamut and near instantaneous response time that is perfect for gaming. Basically, the C1 can switch on or off each individual pixel which allows for perfect blacks because the pixels in the dark areas are literally powered off. This allows for all other colors and highlights pop and sizzle off the screen unlike a standard LED panel. The only other thing that comes close to OLED are the new Mini-LED but it’s still a one horse race. Whether you are looking at stunning landscape photos, classic Disney cartoons, HDR movies or running through the dark corridors of a Destiny 2 Lost Sector, the C1 is stunning to behold.
It’s also why the C1 excels in HDR content. Even though it doesn’t get that bright, around 700nits, the OLED’s perfect blacks and self-lift pixels make HDR movies and games really pop. The colors are super vibrant while the contrast between the dark areas of the image and the brightest is so well delineated with little bleed or over exposure. Furthermore, the C1 supports not just HDR10 but HLG and Dolby Vision. Apps like Disney+ support Dolby Vision and content looks almost too real on the C1.
Great picture is nothing without great sound and thank God the C1 doesn’t disappoint. It has a 40W speaker system that is Dolby Atmos certified and it sounds rich and full bodied. LG’s AI Sound Pro uses more of it’s AI smarts to clean and direct the audio with the precision of an orchestra conductor. I was very impressed with the separation and clarity in the audio whilst playing The Last of Us Remastered on PlayStation 4. In Hamilton, I could appreciate every musical chord, clear vocals and audio cues that made it such a wonderful experience to watch.
Managing all the C1’s systems is the sixth iteration of the beloved WebOS. LG redesigned the interface and swapped the chirpy, vibrant angled app tiles for a more subtle. traditional grid layout. The C1 recommends content to you in the biggest tiles that it thinks you’ll like while all your installed apps appear in much smaller tiles beneath. Navigation is easy thanks to the Magic Remote but I do find the whole layout a bit too cluttered and dense. I never clicked on those tiles throughout my time with the C1 but maybe you’ll be more interested in the suggested content. I also found the OS to be surprisingly sluggish given that fancy main processor.
Back to the magic remote though. LG has redesigned this too and for the better. The new remote is slimmer, easier to hold and use and also packs an NFC chip that allows you to transfer data from a smartphone to the TV. Notably, LG has put streaming services front and center with large buttons for Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime which is really handy if you subscribe to those. I was surprised that Apple TV wasn’t included on the remote since LG TV’s are among the prize few that support it natively. But one thing that was sacrificed for those services was the removal of playback buttons. Now, you can only use on-screen controls which trust me, is more tedious and irritating than you’d think.
LG is all about connected devices for a Smart home and the C1 is designed to be a hub for your IoT devices. Called LG ThinIQ, it allows you to use voice commands to control different devices such as thermostats, consoles, air conditioners and more. You can tell LG is serious about all this because of the two prominent buttons on the remote for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Apple lovers need fear not as the C1 also supports AirPlay 2 and Home Kit. You’ll need the relevant accounts but after signing in through the TV, the IoT world is your oyster.
Enough talk, lets play games and the C1 is indeed the gamers dream TV. Like the CX, the C1 ticks all the right boxes. HDMI 2.1 for 4K 120Hz, Nvidia G-Sync, Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low Latency Mode which gives you under 15ms latency and eARC. It’s everything you need to connect your PC and next gen consoles and play away. The C1 recognizes these inputs and thanks to ALLM, immediately turns on the various game optimizations to give you the best response and fluidity. According to RTINGS.com, input latency on the C1 is down to as low as 5ms at 4K@120Hz with ALLM enabled. This is ridiculously impressive for a TV and perfect for PC gaming.
To test, I used the Aftershock Vault Mesh with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 – perfect for 4K gaming. The C1 handled the input beautifully and I have to say, playing Doom Eternal at 145fps in 4K ultra settings on such a screen is unbelievable. And if you own a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, you will get to run games at the magical 4K 120 Hz, no problem. Xbox owners may enjoy a slightly better experience thanks to it’s new support for Dolby Vision in games. Sadly, I’m one of the millions whose still failed to get my hands on either of the next gen consoles yet.
This year, LG also gave us a new Game Optimizer dashboard with the C1. This new overlay floats above your game whenever you hit the Settings key on the Magic Remote while connected to a PC or console. The butterfly shaped interface pops up to give you some quick game settings like a frame rate counter, game mode presets, Black stabilizer and more. Expand it to a bigger window to tweak several more settings. I did find the gamer-centric design of the overlay a stark contrast to the rest of the TV’s UI. It almost feels like it’s coming from your console or PC rather than the TV. Regardless, it works really well for what it is and I’m sure gamers everywhere will appreciate it.
At the start of this review, I said the C1 is everything I ever wanted in a TV and I’ve found no evidence to the contrary. IT handled every piece of content or games with so much style and panache that it truly became the centerpiece of our living room. My family’s constant binging on Disney+ is testament. And when you have a capable gaming PC, the C1 plays nicely with no fuss to get things working properly. LG has taken everything good with the fantastic CX and improved it.
Sure, it’s not a huge upgrade and if the opportunity avails, I’d happily recommend anyone still buy the CX. It’s bound to be cheaper now and you wouldn’t be missing much. But if you want the best of the best TV that will last year a good few years and still perform great, there really isn’t anything quite like the LG C1 OLED. As a bonus, my kids are now, more than ever motivated to get themselves one so win-win for me.