It is a truth universally acknowledged that, of the current TV technologies, OLED is the best for black. With each pixel able to turn itself on and off, the blacks are as black as they can be, without the little halo effect you get on traditional LED TVs. While the LG C2 isn’t quite as exciting as a rich dude moving in next door for your daughter on the verge of spinsterhood to finally marry, it’s still quite good if you like black.
But, with an emphasis on the dark side of colour, the bright can sometimes get lost. QLED TVs might not get to the same level of black as OLED, but you can see them in sunlight and the whites look like they belong in an ad for laundry powder.
With the C2, LG has found a way to make it so I can actually see the screen during the day in my greenhouse of an apartment. Given that four years ago I couldn’t see anything on OLED screens during even the mildest of sunny days, this shows a huge improvement and takes away one of the major barriers of entry.
However, being bright is only a quarter of the battle. I used the 65-inch LG C2 ($3,795) as my main gaming TV for three weeks, and here is my verdict:
Is the LG C2 good?
Yes, very. In most ways, at least.
Expand on that
The LG C1 OLED has been my go-to recommendation for relatively dark rooms since it superseded the B6 I bought what feels like 1000 years ago and still use because it’s great. The C2 isn’t much of a leap over the C1. If you already own a C1, you do not need to even think about the C2.
However, if you also have an older OLED like me, then the C2 will blow your socks off.
Ports in a storm
Unlike some other TV models, the LG C2 has a good number of HDMI 2.1 ports: 4. All the ports have HDMI 2.1, though one is eARC. There’s also 3 USB ports and an ethernet port. As you know, HDMI 2.1 is key to getting the most out of Xbox Series X and PS5 because that’s the only way you can get high frame rates AND high resolution instead of having to make a benign Sophie’s Choice. Having the Ethernet port is important to take full advantage of the Nvidia GeForce Now app available on the TV, so you don’t even need a console to have a good time with this TV.
But is the LG C2 good at games?
Yes. Game mode is great at giving you information and tuning the picture for different kinds of games. So, you can keep an eye on how many frames the variable refresh rate is serving up if you want to be sure, but the buttery smoothness of 120FPS is delightfully obvious.
On game mode you can choose between a variety of different genres of game to tune for your game of choice, upping the darkness, brightness or contrast depending on what someone at LG thinks you want out of each genre. If you’re anything like me, you will absolutely disagree with this assessment. I found RTS and Standard to be a bit too washed out, FPS a touch dark, and Sports to be a veritable riot of contrast.
That said, all picture modes are just serving suggestions based on the eyes of whoever tuned it. Out of the box, the colours are vibrant, but not accurate. Most people probably won’t notice (aside from the intense contrast in some modes), but if it bothers you it’s worth playing around until you’re happy. Everyone sees colour slightly differently, and if you’re not using it as a reference monitor for colour grading, then all that matters is that the colours look right to you. It matters more that you can get a TV to look right for you, than it does for it to be right from the first minute, and the LG C2 lives up to that requirement.
Once I played around to get the colours right for me, it looked fantastic. I spent way too much time playing games and getting lost in the worlds because the technology melted away and let me get live in the game. That’s good. That’s what you want. If you’re noticing the TV, the TV has failed you.
LG C2 brightness
The reason why OLED TVs haven’t been super bright in the past is because of the risk of burn-in. The hotter the pixels get, the more likely they are to die. Like a himbo, flying too close to the sun.
LG has likely sold at least one soul to crack the code of keeping the screen cool while making it brighter, because it’s definitely brighter and not that warm, even after hours of use. Certainly, a celestial bargain worth making.
It’s still nowhere near as bright as my Samsung QLED QN900A, and so it’s not great in rooms where a window is shining the cruel rays of the run directly onto it. But it was fine in my bedroom with its back to one window and another window to its side. Granted, this is winter in Melbourne, but it still gets bright enough that it would be a problem for an older LG OLED.
What did I play to test?
I played an unhealthy amount of Forza Horizon 5, both on Performance and Graphics mode, and it was so smooth. In the night scenes in the game it was a bit easier to tell the difference between the various dark parts than it is on the QN900A during the day.
Horizon Forbidden West also looks incredible, so vibrant and beautiful. Being able to easily change between the game genres in Game Mode meant it was easy to set it up for exactly what I wanted most out of each game and quick switch between. It’s the first game mode I’ve tried in a while that felt natural and made sense for this.
NBA 2K22 looks like NBA 2K22 on it. The default Sports Game Mode setting did make it easier to tell the difference between teams, which was nice, but it did that by making the contrast so intense that it hurt my spirit. That said, I still made sure the contrast was more dialled up on Sports because even though it doesn’t look as good or accurate, it meant I made better, faster choices without having to think about them, and that’s worth it.
Also some Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but that was mostly just because I wanted to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Does it sound good?
No, it’s a flat screen TV. It sounds completely terrible. Using it without a sound bar hurt my soul. There is no bass at all, and yet the high and mid tones also suck.
But there is no TV on the market that wouldn’t sound much better with a sound bar at the very least. Flat screen TVs are flat and focusing on the picture while being extra thin for some reason, there’s nowhere for good speakers to go. I used this TV with the S90QY ($1,349) sound bar, and it was quite good. Very strong sub-woofer, well tuned. Even without being top of the range I was impressed.
Should you buy the LG C2?
If you need a new 4K TV for gaming (probably), you want the flexibility of HDR and Dolby Atmos (you do), and you don’t have a bright window that will reflect the sun directly off your TV (I don’t know, I’m not in your house), then this is a great TV. It’s not a huge leap over the C1. The C1 was almost perfect, but just needed to be a bit brighter to better suit some homes. This is a bit brighter.
If you don’t need more brightness than the C1 has to offer, you should buy that, because it’s probably on sale now and they’re very similar.