LG C1 vs LG G1: Which 2021 LG OLED TV should you buy?

There are big differences between the LG C1 and G1 OLED TVs this year, so let's compare what the new sets offer

LG C1 vs LG G1
(Image credit: LG)

If you’re looking for a new LG OLED TV to buy in 2021, then your own personal battle of the best TVs is probably between the LG C1 and the LG G1. The LG C1 is the updated version of LG’s CX range which has been sitting pretty at the top of our best gaming TVs since release, and takes a high spot on our list of the best OLED TVs overall. The CX’s combination of exceptional picture quality, HDMI 2.1 support, and a great price made it the perfect storm. 

When it comes to the G1, just like the C1, this is an updated 2021 version of LG’s GX range – but the update is much bigger. These are known as ‘Gallery’ TVs, purposefully meant for wall mounting with their slick minimalist designs, ultra-thin panels, and no feet out of the box. We were impressed by this premium offering last year, as you can see in our LG GX OLED review, but the 2021 model is extra-exciting. 

Where previously the GX and CX range shared the same OLED panel, this year’s G1 has LG’s new 'OLED Evo' panel. This makes things significantly more interesting when it comes to picture quality. Here we’ll break down the key areas for an in-depth comparison, so you can work out whether the extra cost of the LG G1 makes it worthwhile, or if you're happy with what the C1 offers.

LG C1 vs LG G1: Price and models

Let’s start with the important bit and the most painful on your bank balance: the cost. LG has yet to confirm prices, but they have leaked through retailers, so this is what we have so far.

The LG G1 comes in three different sizes and that gallery design doesn’t come cheap. In the UK the LG G1 55-inch model is £1,999, the 65-inch model is £2,999, and if you’re looking at the 77-inch model, you’re looking at £4,799. All three are looking at a release date of mid-April according to a number of retailers. Pricing has not yet been confirmed for the US, but expect similar if not slightly lower figures pre-tax. 

On the other hand, the LG C1 can now seem a little cheaper and comes in five sizes, including a giant new 83-inch model. We don't know a price for the cheapest 48-inch model yet, but the 55-inch model in the UK is £1,699, the 65-inch is £2,499, and the 77-inch will set you back £3,999, which is a big reduction compared to the CX. We don't have a price for the 83-inch model yet, and again there has been no official US pricing as yet.

LG G1 OLED TV

The LG G1, with the optional 'Gallery' stand.

(Image credit: LG)

LG C1 vs LG G1: Picture quality

Previously the big differences between the CX and GX range has been stylistic plus some speaker upgrades, but the most important distinction between the LG C1 and the LG G1 this time around is the premium panel that the latter is boasting. 

The LG 'OLED Evo' panel is new for 2021, offering a significantly brighter picture than LG’s previous offerings. This is all apparently down to a new layer and a stronger emissive material for greater brightness. This is the one area where LED TVs have still been able to excel in comparison to OLED, so it’s great to see LG push this forward – we're talking an immediate and obvious improvement in overall range and image quality. Add in LG’s next-gen processing for sharper images than ever, and this TV is a force to be reckoned with.

This isn’t to say that the C1 panel should be ignored though. As we breakdown in our LG C1 vs LG CX comparison, this might be the same panel as the CX, but that was a damn good panel. When it comes to processing, the C1 also uses LG’s new A9 Gen 4 AI-enhanced processor for image optimisation and improved upscaling, which means this isn’t going to dawdle when it comes to great image quality. Plus HDR10 and Dolby Vision IQ with an ambient light sensor mean that the C1, just like the CX did last year, is pulling out all the stops as a competitively-priced feature-heavy television. It's just that the improved brightness of the G1 will mean it overall handles HDR contrast more impressively.

LG C1 front view

The LG C1, viewed head-on.

(Image credit: LG)

LG C1 vs LG G1: Sound quality

So, the big question. Are you automatically going to need one of the best soundbars when you buy the LG C1 or LG G1? Well, if we’re honest, you probably will with both. The selling point of the G1 is all about that picture and incredible thin design for wall mounting. The idea of speakers being in there at all is pretty astonishing. 

Nonetheless, the LG G1 has downward-firing speakers and support for Dolby Atmos decoding. It also boasts LG’s AI Sound Pro which apparently uses 17 million audio data points to recognise and optimise the audio output for whatever you’re watching. Expect to be surprised by the audio, but probably still want to upgrade to a soundbar at a later date for greater depth.

Just like the CX before it, the C1 also uses a set of down firing speakers and therefore a solid audio performance without a soundbar. And, because LG is always generous when it comes to sharing features across its TVS, the C1 also has the AI Sound Pro offering to optimise vocals, music and sound effects. This will also apparently improve the Dolby Atmos experience for more immersion without the need for a soundbar, but you should still expect to invest in one if you want the audio quality to truly match the image quality.

LG C1 detail of the frame

The LG C1's ultra-thin edge, and slim bezels.

(Image credit: LG)

LG C1 vs LG G1: Design & features

Let’s be honest, the LG C1 is already easy on the eyes with its near bezel-less design and stylish stand, but the LG G1’s gallery emphasis means this looks like a genuine feat of engineering. With its frankly ludicrous 19.9mm design, the GX is happy for you to disguise it as a painting before your dinner guests arrive. However, please note that the G1 doesn't come with any kind of stand. You can buy one to add to it, but LG is mainly focused on wall-mounting with this set.

The fact that this slim design also contains LG's latest processing, HDMI 2.1 for full 120Hz 4K gaming, VRR, and ALLM support, as well as a Game Optimiser and a dedicated sports mode, makes this a truly premium offering. 

And this is all wrapped up with LG’s new WebOS 6.0 with AI ThinQ. This is only coming to new LG TVs. Instead of the now traditional bottom bar, the new OS has a more tile-focussed appearance with a focus on finding exactly what you want to watch without endlessly scrolling through individual streaming services and you can use your voice to do all the hard work. There’s also a new Magic Remote that’s been designed for speedier searching for your next binge watch.  

But the good news is that the LG C1 has all of this going for it, too. The new operating system and that all-important HDMI 2.1 support for new-gen console gamers is here as standard along with eARC on one of the HDMI 2.1 ports. Both the C1 and G1 have support for Apple AirPlay 2 for streaming from, Apple devices and Bluetooth connectivity too. The C1, we will note, does come a stand, though it can be wall mounted if you prefer.

LG C1 vs LG G1: Verdict

It’s all down to that Evo panel ,and the higher price it comes with. If you can’t live without the extra HDR impact of the best new LG OLED panel, then the investment in the G1 is going to be essential. 

But for everyone else who still wants incredible image quality and a great suite of features – not to mention a stand – then the LG C1 is going to be the perfect choice for you. It also comes in more sizes, which might be important too. 

Both of these TVs are top of their class with beautiful designs, great features, and connectivity, but it’s all going to be down to your own personal FOMO and your bank balance whether you opt for the G1.