LG C3 OLED TV review: the king has competition

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LG C3 OLED

LG C3 OLED TV

MSRP $1,600.00

“The LG C3 is simply a stellar TV — but it has immoderate stiff competition.”

Pros

  • Delightful contrast
  • Excellent colour performance
  • Very bully processing
  • Killer gaming features
  • Five-year warranty

Cons

  • Low-level colour shift
  • Too-frequent updates

LG will soon denote nan successor to nan TV I’m astir to reappraisal for you. (That’s nan benignant of point it does each January at CES.) I’ve ne'er earlier reviewed a TV truthful precocious successful nan year. But arsenic it turns out, I deliberation correct now is nan cleanable clip to talk astir nan LG C3 OLED TV.

It has been 1 heck of a twelvemonth for TVs. We person spent a batch of clip talking astir the champion OLED TVs you tin buy, arsenic good arsenic nan best LED TVs you tin buy, including nan champion bang-for-your-buck models connected nan market.

The LG C3 benignant of sits successful nan mediate of each that discussion, pinch nan Sony A80L and nan Samsung S90C flanking it.

The LG C3 is simply a premium TV — decidedly among nan champion 7 TVs released successful 2023. And arsenic premium TVs go, it’s a much sensible bargain than 1 of nan tippy-top-tier OLEDs we talked astir successful our OLED shootout, which focused connected nan super-premium Sony A95L, Samsung S95C, and LG’s ain G3 assemblage bid OLED.

The LG C3 offers astir 93% (that’s an estimate, of course) of nan capacity of those super-premium, super-expensive TVs, but astatine a overmuch much approachable price. Again, wrong nan premium TV sphere.

In this review, we’re going to talk astir why you should aliases possibly should not bargain nan LG C3. And instrumentality astir to nan extremity because we’re going to talk astir why nan LG C3 is itself a awesome for what LG needs to do successful 2024 — specifically pinch nan exemplary that will yet switch this TV, nan C4 OLED.

Video review

Out of nan box

The LG C3 delivers a batch of wow facet retired of nan box. It is designed truthful that astir of nan electronics are tucked into a mini bump-out toward nan little 3rd of nan TV’s backside. This leaves nan impossibly bladed sheet up top, sitting proudly to impressment your friends.

Unlike nan step-up G3 OLED, which comes pinch a wall equine successful nan box, nan C3 comes pinch a tabletop stand. So if you want to equine it, you’ll request to bargain a equine separately. Also successful nan container is LG’s magic mobility remote, on pinch immoderate merchandise literature, and that’s astir it.

Attaching nan TV’s guidelines is simply a portion of cake, and while you whitethorn beryllium tempted to hoist nan point up onto your media furniture alone, I impulse you to get thief because you’re going to walk a adjacent chunk of alteration connected this point and, you know, accidents happen.

Setup and operation

In lawsuit you weren’t already aware, LG televisions vessel pinch LG’s webOS package moving nan show. If you’ve ne'er owned a smart TV before, I deliberation you’ll get on pinch webOS conscionable fine. It’s benignant of fun, but it besides is besides very powerful and loaded pinch features — excessively galore features, if you inquire me. There’s truthful overmuch worldly present that it tin consciousness overwhelming, particularly for personification conscionable transitioning from an older TV.

The setup is simply a cinch — on-screen prompts locomotion you correct done it. But aft that, there’s a batch to discover. And you whitethorn find yourself having to o.k. updates all nan time. It seems for illustration each clip I unfastened Netflix, there’s an update to install. I americium each for having nan latest and top type of an app aliases operating strategy — that’s amended than not supporting nan TV and letting things get old, outdated, and crusty. And to LG’s credit, these updates are lightning fast. I can’t moreover get huffy astir waiting connected an update to watch contented erstwhile nan hold is truthful short. But it’s conscionable truthful galore updates!

When you fto LG’s webOS wizard locomotion you done nan process, it will inquire you astir AI Picture this and AI sound that. Give these a try. But since I’m benignant of a purist, I for illustration to time off these options disabled. I’ve not had nan champion luck pinch nan AI sound. It often creates a lavation of clone situation sound that I don’t attraction for, which has nan unintended consequence of washing complete nan speech from clip to time. And arsenic for AI picture, I don’t personally attraction for nan results astir of nan time. But that doesn’t mean you won’t emotion it. So, play pinch it. You tin move it connected and disconnected arsenic you want.

One point you perfectly request to do, however, is disable nan eco settings because if you don’t, you are not getting each nan brightness and opposition you paid for. The TV will vessel successful an car power-saving mode. You tin disable this by selecting immoderate different image preset. For SDR, I urge Cinema aliases Filmmaker mode. In HDR, Cinema Mode is my preference. Cinema Home is simply a spot brighter, but conscionable cognize that you’ll request to disable mobility smoothing if you don’t for illustration it because it is turned connected by default successful Cinema Home.

LG C3 OLEDZeke Jones / Digital Trends

Then you request to spell into Settings > General >and Energy Savings. Here, you tin move this disconnected to unlock nan brightness imaginable of nan TV.

While basal get-up-and-running setup is simply a breeze, I’m still disappointment pinch really agelong it takes to get your preferred image settings implemented crossed apps and HDMI inputs. There’s an “apply mounting to each inputs” action that makes you deliberation your SDR, HDR, and Dolby Vision image modes will beryllium implemented crossed apps and each nan HDMI inputs, but they’re not. It conscionable intends that your customized type of immoderate fixed image mode will beryllium disposable to you. You still person to prime nan image mode you want for SDR, HDR, and Dolby Vision connected each of nan 4 HDMI inputs. So, moreover though I made those 3 selections connected HDMI 1, I had to spell successful and do it again for HDMI 2, 3, and 4. That intends I had to make 12 image mode selections for nan HDMI inputs alone. And you person to do it for apps, too.

LG C3 OLEDZeke Jones / Digital Trends

Thankfully, you don’t person to make selections for each individual app – for example, erstwhile you customize Dolby Vision for Netflix, that aforesaid Dolby Vision image mode will beryllium utilized for Max and Disney+. But you still person to do SDR, HDR, and Dolby Vision selections for apps, meaning that you person to do a full of 15 individual image preset selections crossed each sources for this TV. And while that allows much customization, I deliberation it’s a immense hassle. Other TV platforms transcript your preferences crossed HDMI inputs and apps, and I greatly for illustration that.

Getting folks to set their image mode is already difficult enough. Telling them they person to do it 15 times? That’s conscionable nary good.

Picture quality

Brightness

Anyway, erstwhile I sewage nan C3 each group up and fto it tally immoderate contented for a while, I dove into measuring it. This brings america to a conception I for illustration to telephone “Numbers for Nit Nerds.”

Starting pinch highest brightness, I maxed retired each of nan brightness settings for SDR — that intends mounting nan brightness astatine 100 and highest brightness to precocious — and I was not astatine each amazed to measurement highest brightness astatine 400 nits successful SDR pinch a 10% model and 150 nits afloat screen. In HDR, I sewage 800 nits from a 10% window, and again 800 nits utilizing nan real-life HDR highest item trial connected nan Spears and Munsil Disc.

Color and achromatic balance

SDR colour measurements came successful looking excellent, but not erstwhile I had nan brightness settings maxed out. I saw conscionable a mates of colour errors up successful nan Delta E of 8 vicinity pinch brightness maxed out. But arsenic soon arsenic I restored Filmmaker mode to its default settings, colour measurements were excellent. In HDR, colour measurements were besides fantabulous — pinch errors only successful nan absolute brightest and darkest colors. That showed maine what I already cognize astir W-RGB OLED, which is that debased luminance colors stray from absolute accuracy, and nan brightest colors don’t stay arsenic axenic arsenic we’d spot from a QD-OLED. Keep that successful mind for later.

LG C3 OLEDZeke Jones / Digital Trends

In position of nan two-point achromatic balance, successful SDR, it was conscionable astir cleanable retired of nan box. In HDR, though, nan errors hardly tipped complete into nan technically visible neighborhood, but not by much. I had to sound nan greenish down successful nan two-point achromatic equilibrium to get to cleanable D65, arsenic you tin spot here. I do not urge you mimic these settings connected your ain C3 arsenic it is wholly imaginable these settings could do much harm than bully connected your TV, fixed that immoderate 2 TVs are seldom nan same.

Motion

Our mobility tests showed nan LG C3 doing a very admirable occupation pinch mobility resolution, pinch conscionable a spot of stutter evident successful 24 frames-per-second (fps) contented owed to nan OLED panel’s instant consequence time. This is wholly normal. I do deliberation that Sony’s deft and lighter-handed mobility smoothing for cinematic contented is preferable, though, arsenic LG’s Real Cinema mounting introduces much soap opera effect than I’m personally consenting to tolerate. You whitethorn consciousness differently, though.

Tone mapping appeared fantabulous utilizing some 1,000-nit and 4,000-nit patterns, pinch nary excessive clipping successful nan brightest areas. This is simply a bully motion for preserving item detail, but we’ll cheque that momentarily successful real-world content.

The LG C3 is simply a stellar performer — decidedly what you should expect from a premium TV.

So, arsenic a recap, by nan measurements, nan LG C3 is simply a stellar performer — decidedly what you should expect from a premium TV. The bully news is that nan measurements are an fantabulous denotation of what you’d expect erstwhile watching existent content.

The LG C3 is an outstanding-looking OLED TV. Its 800 nits highest brightness is much than capable successful moderately lit to acheronian rooms. In fact, if you are putting your TV successful a dedicated media room, I deliberation nan C3 is simply a amended prime complete nan brighter micro lens array (MLA)-equipped G3 TV. You don’t request nan super-juiced brightness of nan G3 if you’re building a media room aliases location theater.

All of nan demo contented I viewed looked outstanding. LG’s processing has travel a agelong measurement successful nan past fewer years and is dangerously adjacent to Sony’s processing. Sony will thin to sphere colour accuracy complete brightness punch, truthful while nan LG C3 whitethorn not beryllium arsenic color-accurate arsenic a Sony OLED, it’s sewage a brighter, punchier vibe, yet it stops short of over-brightening nan picture.

LG C3 OLEDZeke Jones / Digital Trends

Its agleam item detail preservation was solid, and its protector item preservation is stellar, particularly compared to LED TVs, wherever protector item is sometimes sacrificed successful an effort to get nan genuinely inky blacks that OLED TVs propulsion disconnected naturally.

This TV is an absolute dainty to watch, and I person nary problem recommending it to anyone. Hell, this TV replaced nan Sony A95L arsenic my regular TV, and I don’t miss that overmuch much costly Sony QD-OLED astir arsenic overmuch arsenic I thought I would. I emotion nan LG C3 – it looks amazing. Make nary mistake. It does conscionable astir everything right. It’s almost a slam dunk.

Almost.

There’s conscionable 1 large problem. LG has had existent title this year. So, let’s talk astir that.

The competition

Let’s look astatine nan pricing of nan C3 among its closest competition. Keep successful mind nan prices are taxable to change, particularly heading into 2024: The 65-inch C3 exemplary reviewed present comes successful astatine $1,600. The Samsung S90C, which is simply a QD-OLED TV, besides comes successful astatine $1,600. And nan Sony A80L, which uses nan aforesaid sheet arsenic nan C3, but has Sony’s processing and Google TV built in, comes successful astatine conscionable $100 much astatine $1,700.

Two to 3 years ago, nan LG C bid stood alone. It was importantly little costly than nan Sony competition, and QD-OLED didn’t beryllium yet. So it was conscionable a slam dunk prime for anyone wanting an OLED TV, but not needing to spell to nan absolute apical of nan line, for illustration nan LG G series.

But nan LG C bid doesn’t guidelines unsocial anymore. If you want nan champion colour brightness and colour purity, nan Samsung S90C delivers that. If you want nan astir cinematic look pinch nan champion mobility solution and somewhat amended upscaling, that’s what nan Sony A80L offers.

LG C3 OLEDZeke Jones / Digital Trends

I still deliberation nan LG C3 is possibly nan champion gaming TV you tin buy. I spot WRGB OLED TVs a spot much than QD-OLEDs erstwhile it comes to semipermanent burn-in risk, and nan truth that LG’s TVs connection 4 HDMI 2.1 inputs intends it will beryllium favored complete nan Sony A80L by immoderate gamers.

Dollars and sense

What I’m getting astatine is that I deliberation LG needs to see dropping nan value of nan C series. If Samsung and Sony are coming to nan marketplace pinch competitory TVs that person their ain advantages astatine nan aforesaid price, past for nan C bid to regain its no-brainer, just-buy-it status, it will to request to undercut nan title connected price.

And I consciousness for illustration LG should beryllium capable to do that by now. LG dominated nan OLED TV marketplace for almost 10 years. It’s sister company, LG Display, makes nan panels, which intends that it should beryllium redeeming a spot connected sheet costs and person a spot much separator to play astir with. LG has besides been making these OLED TVs for complete 10 years now, and I consciousness for illustration its ratio and scalability successful position of accumulation should lend toward being capable to little nan value a bit.

LG C3 OLEDZeke Jones / Digital Trends

Plus, pinch overmuch little costly mini-LED TVs now offering higher brightness and achromatic levels that are dangerously adjacent to OLED, nan LG C-series OLEDs request to make a much compelling case.

One point we should not overlook, though, is LG’s five-year sheet warranty. If you’re astatine each worried astir burn-in, don’t be. LG isn’t. If thing goes incorrect successful 5 years, you’re covered. As acold arsenic I’m aware, that is simply a best-in-industry warranty

I deliberation LG could make nan C4 much compelling if its value comes successful a spot little than nan C3 did erstwhile it was introduced and if nan C4 tin travel successful meaningfully little than nan Sony and Samsung competition. I don’t deliberation nan C4 is going to connection MLA – that conscionable wouldn’t make immoderate sense.

But if nan C4 does motorboat astatine a little price, past nan C3’s value needs to driblet moreover much arsenic nan 2024 models rotation out. And that could make nan C3 nan no-brainer acquisition I really want it to be.

The LG C3 is simply a stellar TV, and if you bargain one, you will perfectly emotion it – particularly those of you who don’t watch TV pinch sunlight conscionable drenching your room. The C3 offers nan champion image value you tin get astatine a much reasonable value than brighter, pricier ultra-premium OLEDs.

But if you’re doing your investigation and weighing your options, you’ll want to see whether nan Sony A80L aliases nan Samsung S90C mightiness beryllium a amended fit. That’s conscionable not thing I’ve had to opportunity successful nan years past.

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