LG C1 Review

Standing on the precipice of 2022, OLEDs are considered the pinnacle of modern television technology when it comes to delivering perfect blacks, outstanding color, and top-tier pixel response time. But while Sony edges out LG on pure picture quality thanks to its software, and Vizio tends to offer more affordable pricing, with the C1, LG continues to show what ideal balance in a 4K TV really looks like.

LG C1 Images

LG C1 – Design and Build

Like pretty much all OLEDs, the LG C1 looks stunning. It’s incredibly thin across nearly the entire display – about 3mm – and only shows any kind of thickness on the rear lower third, where the processor, speakers, and power delivery are neatly hidden away. From the front, all you see is a gorgeous display. There are no bezels other than the tiniest little bit of the 3mm frame you can see. Most TVs at least have a bottom bezel where the company likes to slap its logo, but in this case, LG chose to put its logo on the stand itself rather than clutter up the display area.

One thing to keep in mind with this TV is that it is fragile. OLEDs, in general, are more susceptible to damage than any other type of television because they are so thin and they can’t be gripped or held from anywhere except the bottom and back because of it. Taking it out of the box and getting it into position, especially the 65-inch version, is definitely a two-person job and needs to be done with extreme caution. Even attaching the base is a task that requires extra care.

On that note, the base of the C1 is a single center stand design, which I personally prefer over the popular two-foot design because it means that this television is more compatible with a wider range of media stands. The wide-set, twin-foot design found on the Sony A80J OLED, for example, means that TV won’t fit on smaller media stands where the C1 can find a home. The center-foot design tends to be heavier, but more flexible. LG’s C1 has a much wider center foot than the Vizio OLED or Samsung QN90A, but it’s still much smaller than the width of the display.

The added benefit of the center-foot stand design is that it can hide impressive cable management, and the C1 offers that in spades. The rear of the foot has a compartment that opens up and allows you to feed your cables through it and down the back of your media stand. It completely hides cables so that all you see from the front is that stunning display.

The port selection on the C1 is as good as you can ask for these days. It has four HDMI ports, all of which support HDMI 2.1 – and therefore 4K at 120Hz for PS5 and Xbox Series X. One HDMI port faces the back of the television while the three others are off on the left side; the middle of those three ports supports eARC. Given that the C1 is just $100 more expensive than the Samsung QN90A, you can probably understand why I was a bit miffed that the Samsung only had one HDMI 2.1 port.

In addition to the HDMI inputs, the C1 also has a cable connection, headphone port, ethernet, USB Type A, digital optical output; wirelessly, it supports both Bluetooth and WiFi 5.

LG C1 – Remote

The remote on the LG C1 is certainly unique in the television landscape. It’s not only a different shape (it’s slightly curved) but has gyroscopic motion control functionality similar to that of the Nintendo Wii. LG’s smart TV interface, WebOS, supports traditional button-based navigation as well as motion controls with the remote. Some people definitely like it but I personally think it feels kind of dated. I don’t want the mouse-like cursor flying around on screen while I’m trying to do something, but thankfully you can largely ignore this feature if you don’t want to use it. Hitting any of the directional buttons on the remote automatically disables the motion controller, but if you swing the remote around with any speed it will pop back up, so keep that in mind.

The remote itself is pretty comfortable to hold thanks to its curved design and pistol-like grip which I assume was chosen to complement the motion controls. It has what I would consider to be a “middle of the road” amount of the number of buttons; it doesn’t hold a candle to sheer quantity that Sony likes to cram into its remotes, but it is significantly larger than the overly minimalist approach that Roku, Samsung, or Vizio remotes take. For instance, it does include the traditional number pad that most won’t have any need for unless you’re still inputting numerical TV stations, as well as six pre-installed shortcut buttons.

My review unit’s remote features Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, LG Channels, and both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa shortcut buttons you can push to give voice commands. It is extremely unlikely that a single household would be using both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa at the same time, so I think LG probably could have consolidated those two buttons into a single programmable smart assistant button. Instead the remote feels a bit crowded and having both buttons feels redundant.

LG C1 – Software and UI

LG’s WebOS smart TV interface is mostly inoffensive but still not my favorite. As I touched on above, it was designed to support the motion controller and as such you can navigate anywhere on the screen that the cursor can go. It sounds like a cool idea and it certainly does work, it just feels a bit superfluous to me personally.

Most of the popular apps are supported, but it’s not as robust as either Roku or Google TV. For example, while there is a Funimation app, there is not one for Crunchyroll.

The quirks of WebOS aside, the most notable takeaway from this interface is that it’s not particularly fast; you are going to get quite familiar with the little circular loading wheel. Whether it’s opening an app, changing a menu page, or even trying to access settings, the C1 can take a few moments to process what it is trying to do and deliver you access to those features. I wouldn’t say it’s buggy, just slow.

Part of that might be that WebOS is trying to be too much. Not only do you have access to streaming options, but it also wants to provide social media access through its baked-in web browser and act as a dashboard for your smarthome. Maybe at one point it was fun to surf the web on your TV, but today its inclusion just makes the interface feel unnecessarily bloated.

That said, the LG C1 does have an excellent Game Optimizer menu. The first time it senses a game console on a given HDMI input, it automatically allows the settings button on the remote to bring up a special, dedicated gaming menu. From here you can create four different presets for different types of gaming experiences: you can bring up black levels for first-person shooter games where deep blacks might actually be a hindrance, or focus on making those blacks inky and perfect along with more brilliant highlights when trying to enjoy a role-playing game like Skyrim. You can even customize the color of the menu to one of a few different options (I like orange).

Whatever the case, the Game Optimizer bar can stay on at all times to show the current frame rate, black level, and whether or not Variable Refresh Rate or Low Latency Mode is active. This type of insight into your gaming experience is not the industry standard (while rare, Samsung also offers something similar on models X and Y) but is absolutely welcome here and I hope more TV manufacturers will integrate something like it in the future. It’s great info for anyone who likes to monitor their performance, or if you want to check that your PS5 really is pushing out 60 fps.

I think it’s important to emphasize just how seamless the experience is with the C1. With some other televisions, as I’ve experienced on both TCL and Samsung televisions, software holdups make certain display modes not work right unless you start and restart the television or console repeatedly, or sometimes the display doesn’t quite read 4K correctly and only outputs 1080p. It’s actually a common problem that does eventually work itself out, but in my experience with the C1 there is never an issue. It truly is plug and play.

LG C1 – Picture Quality

If you’re in the market to buy a new TV there are a few different options, but OLED displays are the cream of the crop when it comes to black levels and color accuracy. The LC C1 continues this tradition with a picture quality that is practically unrivaled: I truly love this display.

Colors are pretty much bang-on perfect and the black levels are truly black thanks to the ability of the display to turn those pixels’ backlighting entirely off when not in use. The result is an image with pretty much no halo, no bloom, and pixel-perfect precision. Added to that is support for a bunch of HDR profiles including Dolby Vision, which means movies like Dune look stellar. I didn’t see any kind of stutter in slow-panning shots in either movies or video games, a small gripe that sometimes pops up on TVs in this price range.

OLEDs have one Achilles’ heel though: they aren’t particularly bright. The LG C1 isn’t what I would call dim, but if you have a window or bright light source directly behind you, you’re going to be fighting some glare because the TV doesn’t have the juice to overcome that. If light is coming in from the side, however, I found that it was plenty bright enough to be just fine to use during the day, even in highly competitive video games where every detail matters. Speaking of glare, the C1 display is very glossy, so reflections are going to crop up if you have bright light sources off to the side or behind you.

I’ve noticed a trend with several standard LCD panels and HDR gaming, and that’s a slow transition in adjusting brightness between bright skies and dark shadows; both the Samsung QN90A and the Vizio M-series suffered from this. Some displays are really slow at this transition which can be visually jarring and distracting in games. This is not a problem on the LG C1. While you can see those HDR lighting balance changes happening, they’re very fast and pretty indistinguishable from how your eyes naturally treat transitions from bright areas to dark ones.

One last thing to keep in mind is that OLEDs can experience what most people refer to as “burn in.” Static screen images that stay in one place on the display – like a HUD or a news network’s logo bug or ticker – could end up stuck on the display forever. While that’s certainly possible with extreme use cases, in reality, this takes a very long time to happen, and most users will not experience it. You would have to have that object stuck on the screen for eight or more hours a day for months before this issue could arise. That said, those who choose to use this display as a computer monitor will be the most likely to see this effect.

It’s definitely something to keep in mind, although LG’s software automatically dims the screen when it isn’t actively in use and will also work in the background to do its best to keep the pixels from burning themselves out. Most users who turn it off when they aren’t actively using it will get years of great use out of the C1.

LG C1 – Gaming Performance

I tested the LG C1 with my typical gamut of games: Apex Legends, A Plague Tale: Innocence, and Destiny 2. Apex Legends really highlights colors, A Plague Tale is great for measuring how the television manages deep shadows with spots of brightness, and Destiny 2 lets me test the display at its maximum 120Hz refresh rate. In all cases, the LG C1 passed with flying colors.

The aforementioned Game Optimizer menu helps set the C1 apart from other OLEDs since it lets you adjust exactly what you want to see out of the display. A typical problem with OLEDs is that they have a hard time coming out of black, which means those deep shadows just don’t render any details and makes for a rough situation in first-person shooter games that feature darker environments; opponents can just disappear into corners or caves.

The Game Optimizer lets you bring up those black levels more in line with what you would expect from a PC monitor and, while it comes at the cost of contrast, you do get that detail back – which is more important in competitive games like Apex or Destiny 2.

But sometimes ambiance is what you’re going for, like is the case in A Plague Tale. For that, I switch to a different setting to let the C1’s excellent black levels shine, which in turn makes the bright spots of light even more brilliant. I think most will find that the default settings will be great for any situation, but it’s really nice to see the level of customization that individual users can make to optimize their own experience.

Response time is outstanding and games feel crisp and smooth, especially at 120Hz like in Destiny 2’s Crucible. The C1 supports auto-low latency mode (ALLM), variable refresh rate (VRR), G-Sync, AMD FreeSync, and can do so through any of its four HDMI 2.1 ports. This television is one of the few devices that has enough inputs to provide 120Hz to an Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and PC all plugged in at the same time – with one HDMI port to spare for something like a Nintendo Switch.

LG C1 – Audio Quality

The C1 is a display, not a speaker, and that much is obvious when listening to the audio output: it’s bad. It’s certainly capable of getting loud, but the quality of the sound is without much body. The mids and lows are very weak, and that means that most of what you’ll hear out of the C1 are the highs. The result is audio that sounds like you’re listening to it through an empty can. You shouldn’t blame LG for this, though, since you can’t expect great audio to come out of a device this thin.

Like I say for just about every television, if you plan to use something other than headphones with the C1, you should get a soundbar or some other kind of external audio system. You owe it to yourself to get a complimentary audio device to go along with the spectacular picture.

LG C1 – The Competition

The C1 competes directly with Sony’s $2,300 A80J, Vizio’s $1,800 OLED, and Samsung’s $2,200 QN90A. None of these televisions are cheap, but LG is the third-most expensive of the group at $2,100.

That price is worth it. Picture quality is stunning, the gaming support is very impressive, and it’s not that much more expensive for what is absolutely worth the value than either the Vizio OLED or the Samsung QN90A. Sony’s A80J is better when it comes to pure picture quality and if movies are your primary concern, but outside of that it bests all comers.

As a bonus, the C1 is one of the few displays that comes in a 48-inch model for those who want to use it on a desk (55 inches can still feel huge in this environment).


The LG C1 is what I would buy if I were in the market for a gaming television. It does everything right that matters and is packed to the gills with the hardware and software features to support the best that consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 can offer. It really is a well-balanced, outstanding display, taking into account the possibility of burn-in in extreme cases. LG has been the king of OLED for a while now and continues to earn that crown with the C1.

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