Should you buy an LG C1 or C2 OLED TV? As a TV expert, I know which one I'd buy

These are among the best OLED TVs you can buy, but there are some important differences between them – including the price

LG C2 TV on left, LG C1 TV on right
(Image credit: LG)

One of the occupational hazards of writing about TVs is that you'll often be asked which are the best TVs by people you know. And of course the answer really depends on the person who's asking, so the movie-mad school run dad wants the best 8K TV no matter how much it costs, while my horror-obsessed friend would rather have one of the best OLED TVs so she can see the gore in all its bloody glory. But generally speaking I tell people that if they can afford one, then OLED TVs are the best TVs you can buy right now – and LG OLED TVs are some of the very best.

Personally I think LG's C-series OLED TVs offer the best balance of performance and price. The LG G2 is even better but it's considerably more expensive, and I think for the vast majority of buyers there's no need to spend quite so much. You can find out the key differences between the C2 and the G2 in our LG C2 vs LG G2 comparison feature.

So which LG OLED TV should you buy? Here's what I think are the most important differences.

LG C1 vs LG C2: the biggest differences

There are lots of differences but the two big ones are the display panels and the price. The LG C2 has a newer OLED panel it calls OLED Evo, and it's brighter and has a better picture processor than its predecessor. So if brightness and upscaling are important to you, the newer LG is the one to go for. The C1 is really good but the C2 is great.

The other key difference is what you'll pay. The exact prices will vary from day to day, but at the time of writing the 55-inch version of the LG C1 is going for £969 from reputable retailers. The best LG C2 deal I've seen for the same sized TV at the same retailer is £1,699. There are various sweeteners on offer for the newer TV, so for example you might be offered a £100 gift card or similar, but clearly there's still a very big difference between the price you'll pay for the C2 compared to its predecessor.

So what else do you get for your money? Both TVs have all the key HDR standards but only the C2 offers Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detail, which delivers improved contrast and detail in Dolby Vision content. It also has more presets including a new Dynamic Vivid mode that's still eye-poppingly vivid but more natural when it comes to skin tones. Ports-wise they're largely identical, with that all-important HDMI 2.1 for gamers including 4K at 120Hz.

Personally I reckon that the C2 is the better TV, but right now the C1 is the better buy: it's much, much more affordable, sitting comfortably among the best TVs under £1,000, and it is an absolutely spectacularly television that'll last you for years. If you can afford the C2 then you're going to absolutely love it, but right now you're buying it at its most expensive.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).