LG C2 OLED TV Review

Nowadays, it’s common for buyers to invest in a large display for their living room and entertainment centre. Thus, manufacturers like LG are continually catering and bringing larger, improved displays into the fold. The C2 continues that trend. However, many manufacturers are opting to go bigger, leaving the mid-range sizes in the dust.

LG’s new 42-inch C2 OLED evo with ThinQ AI remedies that. While making micro-improvements over its predecessor, the C2 offers a best-in-class display, refined search and smart home integrations, and doubles down on sleek designs.

That said, LG’s latest OLED evo display comes at a high cost. Despite this model being the smallest LG offering within the C2 series, the price tag is a large pill to swallow. However, the C2 does offer the best in colour and brightness. Also, thanks to its size, the 42-inch C2 can serve as a flexible display anywhere in your home.

Of course, most people flock to purchasing a large display for the living room, primed for watching blockbuster movies or playing games. LG’s C2 expands the range of panel sizes from 42-inches all the way up to a behemoth of 83-inches. Though, as you can imagine, not every home can accommodate a display of 65-inches and above.

Therefore, it’s refreshing to see LG now support the mid-size 4K displays that have recently fallen off in popularity. Additionally, the 42-inch C2 is the first to be specifically positioned as a replacement for a traditional gaming monitor. Offering all the bells and whistles many require to run AAA games on a high level, the C2 continues to secure LG’s spot as a heavyweight in the TV space.

Last year, I reviewed the LG C1. Getting my hands on the C2, I felt like I was largely in familiar territory. The C2 OLED evo makes some noticeable design changes and improvements. Much of that stems from the new Alpha a9 Gen 5 processor.

However, the new display largely maintains the same essence that many adored. LG’s incremental refresh doesn’t demand an immediate upgrade for those with a C1. However, for anyone with an older 4K display or better yet, a 1080p display, the C2 will undeniably provide some fantastic enhancements.

Out of the box

Unboxing the LG C2 OLED evo, I was met two distinct differences when I compared it to its predecessor. The most obvious change is the difference in the display’s base. The LG C1 features a large, curved metallic base. It’s structured to bounce and direct sound from the bottom speakers toward the viewers. The 42-inch C2 replaces this base with more traditional legs on both sides. However, the larger displays do offer a smaller version of the central metallic base.

The other noticeable difference is how light and thin the display is. LG claims that the C2 is over 50 percent lighter than its predecessor. This is largely due to a new composite material the company uses. This translates to a thinner body and thinner bezels, making the C2 a sleek refinement to the already pretty C-series. The display panel itself is impressively thin.

On top of that, the housing unit for all the components, speakers, ports, etc. doesn’t take up a ton of real estate either. Although it won’t be flush against a wall, the C2 would make for a nice mounted piece. Plus, LG’s C2 supports the Gallery Stand and Floor Stand if you wish to go down that route.

As far as ports are concerned, I was pleased to find that the C2 features four HDM1 2.1 ports. Each one supports 4K @ 120Hz. This should please anyone with both an Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Additionally, the display features three USB ports, ethernet, digital audio optical, and a coax connection. Plus, the TV is powered by an AC 120V supply.

Finally, from a top-level perspective, the LG C2 comes with the company’s Magic Remote. I’m still a big fan of this remote and its easy-of-use. It offers quick-select buttons to navigate to services like Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+. Additionally, it offers a microphone and access to interact with Google Assistant and Alexa. Drawing back to the Wii nunchuck, I like that LG continues to support motion controls while also integrating traditional navigation by way of the Magic Remote’s D-pad.

Under the hood

Running the show is LG’s webOS 22. Since last year’s webOS 6.0, LG has transitioned to a new naming convention, incorporating the relevant year. Not too much has changed and those jumping in for the first time will find a fluid and easy-to-navigate home screen. LG’s UI incorporates helpful widgets like the weather, quick access to recent inputs, and more.

Additionally, the driving force of the UI is the scrollable menu with the installed apps and services. Using this, you can scroll to find streaming platforms like Netflix, Crave, Apple TV, Prime Video, and even TikTok. Additionally, LG includes its own baked-in apps and accoutrements. For instance, there’s the Web Browser app. You also have access to the Gallery Mode options, enabling you to choose from a series of art installations to display on the panel.

LG’s webOS 22 also includes the ability to set profiles, and customize family settings depending on who’s watching TV. For instance, using profiles, you can give each member of the home their own home screen with unique access to content based on parental preferences. You can also limit screen time and set volume limits.

The latest software isn’t revolutionizing how we’re interacting with LG’s display. However, the incremental improvements are nice. Above all else, LG maintains the streamlined use of the home screen, integrating even more quality-of-life options for families.

Pixel perfect

Last year, LG showed up in a big way with its C1 line. Shockingly, the company proved that it could still up the ante. The LG C2 raises the car in both brightness and colour definition. Much of this is largely due to the adoption of OLED evo technology. While last year’s C1 only offered an OLED panel, it was the high-end G1 that broke ground on OLED evo. Watching 4K content on the C2 the colour spectrum and accuracy add a new layer of visual fidelity.

The stunning picture quality is powered by LG’s a9 Gen 5 processor. The display’s true HDR10 is paired with dynamic tone mapping. I found myself treated to inky blacks and stark whites thanks to the OLED panel’s impressive contrast. The C2 offers HDR with peak brightness of more than 800 nits. The new dynamic tone mapping is able to analyze 5,000 blocks across the screen in order to portray the most realistic picture, minimizing the loss of details.

LG’s C2 also offers HLG and Dolby Vision. Sadly, there’s no HDR10+. However, Dolby Vision support across many streaming services fills this gap quite nicely. Additionally, there is a wide array of preset options available to choose from. Most notably, is the display’s Cinema Mode. This option compliments Dolby Vision quite nicely and fine-tunes the settings for a standard living room. I’m not operating out of a windowless home theatre so compensating for natural light can often be a struggle, even with curtains.

Cinema Mode raises the brightness a bit while not oversaturating the colours. This picture setting also ensures that fast-moving visual data moved fluidly on the screen. Even the Sports Mode and Vivid didn’t feel as crisp or smooth.

Watching the latest season of Stranger Things, the darker scenes didn’t feel too muted. Even in the Upside Down, all the integral details of the characters and settings popped across the red and black screens. Alternatively, the larger-than-life scenes in the Disney+ series Ms. Marvel popped. The rich purples illuminated the screen while maintaining the detailed intricacies of Kamala Khan’s suit. If you’re tuning into any major blockbuster film or series, the LG C2 will certainly immerse you into the respective worlds. However, there is a bit of noticeable loss in colour when viewing from an angle. It’s best to have the TV positioned in front of those watching.

A display players can sink their teeth into

It’s without a doubt that the LG C2 is a worthy display if you’re looking to upgrade to a unit for streaming content and movies. However, this TV is also a gamer’s dream. As mentioned, the C2 offers a native 120Hz, which is becoming more essential. With more and more games releasing on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, supporting up to 120FPS, having that refresh rate is positively a necessity.

However, that’s not all. The C2 supports FreeSync, G-Sync and standard VRR and has a full-fledged Game Mode. There is a Game Optimizer built in that enables users to set different black levels, all dependent on the games being played. It’s actually really nice to get into the nitty gritty and customize the visual experience based on the type of game. Call of Duty: Warzone is a competitive game where you want to see every inch of the map. Therefore, I cranked up the brightness and contrast. However, a more detailed, cinematic experience like Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered begs for the most authentic HDR and colour pallet.

LG itself even positions the 42-inch C2 as a worthy PC monitor. I had to try it out for myself. Swapping out my dual wide-screen monitors for a larger display took some getting used to. However, the suite of gaming-specific features really does add up and I found myself invested in a few PC games. However, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, 42-inches can be a bit much depending on space. If your office has the accommodating space, the C2 can absolutely be an alternative display to a traditional monitor. However, if you’re comfortable with a smaller monitor, there may be an adjustment in using such a large display.

Audio falling short

The LG C2’s audio certainly isn’t its strong point. Comparably, I’d say the base audio settings and support are comparable to what’s available on the C1. However, the C2 includes AI Sound Pro options, which does enhance the audio experience. This tech enables a more upscale to automatically adjust frequency range and field extension depending on the content being played. However, as far as the 42-inch model is concerned, I wish I got more out of the low-end frequencies.

Truthfully, investing in such a premium display, it’s almost recommended to use a nice pair of headphones to accompany the listening experience or better yet, a soundbar or home theatre system. That way, you can match high-end visuals with an equal audio experience.

Final thoughts

LG continues to secure its spot as one of the leaders in premium displays. The LG C2 offers impressive capabilities in terms of contrast, brightness, and colour accuracy. The level of detail seen on screen demands attention no matter the 4K content being consumed. With everything the C2 offers in mind, LG has delivered one of the best displays currently on the market for viewing and gaming.

However, the incremental upgrades LG has made from the C1 may not be enough to justify the $1,600 CAD price tag. However, the C2 is made for anyone upgrading from an older display or PC monitor. If you want to save a hundred bucks, Amazon.ca has the evo C2 for $1,499 CAD as ‘renewed’.