LG C1, OLED TV, review

LG’s OLED 4K C1 TV isn’t just a TV; it’s meant to be a showpiece. This bright, thin 4K television is built with a high-quality screen and it’s got some fun add-ons including a Gallery Mode to make the TV look like art. What’s it like to have this TV in your house, and what do you need to know if you’re shopping for one? I just spent some time with a 55 inch model in my home and I’ll answer those questions and more in this review.

LG OLED C1 TV review

Let’s get our first look at the 55” LG C1 OLED TV (note this TV comes in a range of sizes all the way up to an enormous 83 inch screen). With a nearly bezel-free design, all you see is the video, and it fills your field of vision. The TV screen is thinner than most smartphones and definitely narrower than your pinky finger. It does have a larger housing towards the base of the screen, which likely helps weigh down the TV and prevent it tipping over.

Here’s a quick list of features on this TV.

  • 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV with millions of self-lit pixels for the brightest colours and deepest blacks
  • Powered by LG a9 Gen4 AI processor 4K that uses deep learning algorithms to give you the best audio and video
  • HDR technology and 120Hz refresh rate make this the perfect TV for gaming and sports
  • Dolby Vision IQ technology to adjust picture settings based on what you’re watching and the ambient lighting in the room
  • 40W bottom speaker for immersive Dolby Atmos sound
  • LG WebOS platform gives you a one-click portal for all of your favourite streaming apps
  • Voice control with Google Assistant and Alexa built-in
  • Magic remote has Magic Tap and dedicated hotkeys to connect you to your apps with one click
  • Four HDMI 2.1 ports and three USB media ports connect all of your external devices

LG C1 TV thin, reviewSetting up LG C1 TV

The TV sets up quickly out of the box. I placed it on a special stand LG included for me to try during my review. The freestanding Gallery Stand displays the TV like a piece of art.

To get going, you really just need to connect your TV to Wi-Fi (or cable, a streaming device, whatever you prefer) and you’re ready to go. This TV also plugs in via Ethernet. The TV includes major streaming services like Prime, Netflix and Apple TV so there’s really no need for peripherals. I don’t have cable either so it was a very easy installation.

LG C1, OLED TV, reviewSound quality on LG C1 OLED TV

The sound from the 40-watt internal speakers is actually pretty good. The speakers are downward-facing under the front side of the TV so it’s a challenge getting the audio to the viewer, but the overall sound is crisp and quite clear. I did notice that on certain channels and shows, the audio would need to be turned up to level 70, while on others it was perfectly audible at about 35.

Naturally, I always advocate for a soundbar, since it’s hard to get great quality audio from a TV this thin. You can surf the soundbar options available at Best Buy including the premium LG SP9YA soundbar and subwoofer combo.

LG says the C1’s integrated bottom speaker system “boasts highly immersive Dolby Atmos technology to deliver multi-dimensional surround sound to make you feel like you’re at the cinema.” Dolby Atmos technology requires dedicated overhead channels, and I found these downward-facing speakers quite limiting in terms of the Dolby Atmos experience. Perhaps what they’re really trying to reference is overall compatibility with Dolby Atmos if you add appropriate external speakers or a soundbar?

Ports and connections on LG C1 4K OLED

LG C1, OLED TV, reviewAround the back, the LG C1 has four HDMI ports (1 HMDI-ARC port for audio) and three USB ports, plus an RF tuner, and an optical digital audio output.

Gallery Mode displays artwork and photos

LG C1 has Gallery Mode, which is a setting that shows artwork and pictures. I love the concept of Gallery Mode, but in my opinion, LG doesn’t quite get it right. You can’t choose one photo or artwork to keep up at all times; you must cycle through them, and you can’t narrow down the choices to a handful of artistic styles; it’s the whole library or nothing.

One other thing I didn’t like about Gallery Mode was that the photo transitions include a brief gap during which the screen is black: I found this a little distracting.

LG C1, OLED TV, reviewLG C1 OLED video quality

Overall, the video quality is amazing. It’s sharp, clear, colourful, and detailed. It has LG’s Perfect Black technology which gives brilliant contrast and intense colours thanks to HDR technology. My watchlist focused mainly on newer and 4K streaming TV shows and movies, but I also browsed through old episodes of Sex and the City and the Borne Trilogy.

Watching dark movies on this was a treat because you can really see the detail in the shadows. I can’t begin to explain how great nature shows look on this TV. They have such colour and vibrancy. While I only had the TV for a few days, everything I watched from movies to TV looked outstanding.

Dolby Vision IQ technology is also included here, which is said to automatically adjust video settings based on the content genre and ambient lighting conditions for the optimal visual experience. While I certainly didn’t see it working, I can’t argue that everything looked great.

LG C1, OLED TV, review

The perfect OLED for gamers

LG also considered the needs of gamers in designing this TV. A Game Optimizer setting is built-in, allowing you to get optimal video from your choice of video games. The C1 can handle 4K 120 Hz input, meaning you should see less motion blur, more realism and a smoother playing experience when using one of the new consoles that we’ve been writing so much about on the Best Buy blog.

The TV is also NVIDIA G-SYNC compatible. Since I’m not a gamer, I did not attempt to verify the gaming claims in my limited time with this television.

WebOS interface on LG TVs

LG’s TV operating system is known as webOS; this is how you interact with the menus and shortcuts. webOS works well and everything is easy to find. You can pop up a quick-view menu along the bottom of the screen or go full-screen and spin through all kinds of streaming TV channels and content options.

Use Magic Remote or LG app

The LG C1 has a ‘Magic Remote,’ which lets you wave it like a laser pointer or use the buttons. The remote works great, and has pretty much everything you need at your fingertips. The waving motions can be awkward to get use to and can feel jerky and imprecise, but it’s a neat way to navigate content.

This TV also works with LG’s ThinQ app, which supplies all the same controls as the physical remote. The virtual app is essentially exactly the same as the physical remote without much more in the way of special features, but it works great and means you can have as many TV remotes as there are smartphone users in your house.

Will the LG C1 OLED TV be your next television?

The display on the LG C1 OLED is out of this world; it’s big, has almost no edge and images are sharp, colourful, and ultra-clear. Watching TV and movies on it is fantastic. While I have mixed feelings when it comes to the Gallery Mode, I think a lot of folks would enjoy having this TV in their living room. If you’re looking for a TV with a great screen, you’ll find it in the LG 4K C1 OLED TV. It’s available right now on Best Buy.

Erin Lawrence
Editor TV and Home Theatre
Erin is a journalist, writer, and TV producer with a fascination for technology and a love of gadgets. Check out her blog TechGadgetsCanada.com