LG C2 vs LG C1: the differences between these OLED TVs explained

The ridiculously popular LG C1 OLED TV gets an upgrade in 2022 with the C2 – but how do they compare and is buying a discounted C1 actually the smarter move while you can?

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

In this LG C2 vs C1 comparison, LG’s blockbuster-selling OLED screen from 2021 goes head to head with its 2022 replacement. The C-series represent a sweet spot in LG’s OLED TV catalogue; they come in a wide variety of screen sizes, and bristle with really useful features designed to tempt buyers up from cheaper alternatives.

The new LG C2 model is getting a significant upgrade over last year's LG C1, though, that looks set to give it an edge over similarly priced rivals when it comes to the battle to be the best OLED TV.

However, if you're considering buying right now, you'll also have noticed that the LG C1 from 2021 is enjoying extremely heavy discounts, while the LG C2 is launching at a new slightly higher price. And in our LG C1 review, we did give it the full five stars, and it certainly hasn't gotten any worse over time.

So which is the better buy right now? Well, both have a good claim to be the best LG TV in one way or another, so let's go through the differences so you can work out which is the best fit for you.

LG C2 vs LG C1: Price and screen sizes

There’s no shortage of choice when it comes to C-models. Whatever your room size, you’ll find a screen to fit.

2021’s C1 models are available in 48-, 55-, 65- and 77-inch guises (OLED48C1, OLED55C1, OLED65C1, OLED77C1). They’re currently subject to price cuts, as retailers look to create space for their replacements. Here are the current lowest prices for all models:

The 2022 C2 range offers two additional screen sizes, one the smallest OLED yet, the other huge. In total you’ll have six C2 OLED models to choose from, with sizes covering 42-, 48-, 55-, 65-, 77-, and 83-inches (OLED42C2, OLED48C2, OLED55C2, OLED65C2, OLED77C2, OLED83C2). 

Prices have not yet been officially announced, in all countries, but we do know some prices already.

The 42-inch LG C2 will cost £1,299/$1,399, while the 48-inch LG C2 will cost £1,399/$1,499. After that, we only have US prices so far: the 55-inch will cost $1,799, the 65-inch will cost $2,499, the 75-inch will cost $3,499, and the 83-inch will cost $5,499.

When it comes to placement options, the C2 line has the edge in terms of offering more sizes, but don’t expect to find a price advantage even at smaller sizes, due to the newer tech involved.

LG C2 42-inch OLED TV on coloured background

The LG C2's OLED Evo screen delivers brighter pictures than the LG C1.

(Image credit: LG)

LG C2 vs LG C1: Screen tech & performance

The LG C2 has a major edge when it comes to picture quality. We’ve auditioned the C1 and C2 side by side and can confirm there’s a tangible difference between the two models. For one thing, 2021’s C2 is classed as an OLED Evo screen, which means it combines a new generation of brighter OLED panel with LG’s advanced picture processing, specifically the all-new gen 5 Alpha 9 processor.

This powerful chip boasts a number of advantages over the silicon in the C1, including improved AI processing. Giving C2 images more visual depth is AI object enhancement, which cleverly separates foreground and background elements for individual adjustment. Upscaling of lower resolution sources and dynamic tone mapping has also been improved. 

That’s not to say the C1 is any kind of slouch. That model runs LG’s 4th-gen Alpha 9 image engine, with a slightly earlier bouquet of AI enhanced image processing. It’s still extremely powerful.

We actually rate the C1 as one of LG’s brighter LG OLED models as of 2021, but there's no question that it looks a little dull when compared directly to the new C2 – not that most people will do any direct comparisons, but it leads us to conclude that the C2 is a better viewing option for brighter rooms than the C1. If you don’t live in a Batcave (or if you just tend to watch or play games during the day in a sunny room) that could be a deciding factor.

HDR support across both TVs is largely the same, covering Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG, however there’s a key difference when it comes to Dolby Vision. The C2 offers Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detail.

This means that the set can not only adjust dynamically to ambient lighting conditions, but it bolsters this with a newly developed image enhancement technique developed by Dolby to extract more contrast and detail from Dolby Vision content. It requires a considerable amount of processing power to work, which is where the new Alpha 9 chip comes in.

The C2 also has upgraded picture presets, specifically a new Dynamic Vivid mode. This combines the eye candy hues of Vivid mode with more natural skin tone reproduction.

The Alpha 9 Gen 5 engine also enhances audio performance, courtesy of LG’s AI Sound Pro processing.

The LG C1 is still a fantastic-looking TV, but there's no question the LG C2 is a step up – but so is the price, of course…

LG C1 corner, showing the thin design

The LG C1 is ultra thin at the edges – the C2 is even thinner and smarter.

(Image credit: LG)

LG C2 vs LG C1: Design & features

There are obvious cosmetic differences between the C1 and C2. The C1 is as thin as you expect from OLED screens, and it’s largely distinguished by a pronounced pedestal lip, which hides the huge counter weight behind. It’s not particularly elegant, to be honest. 

This year’s C2 trades that lip for a more conventional central stand. The adoption of next-gen OLED glass also allows for a slimmer bezel; the back panel is also quite different, being more streamlined and neat.

Smart functionality is similar. The sets both run LG’s webOS platform, and utilise a Magic Remote control. Streaming app support is extensive, and includes Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+  and Rakuten TV, with Google Assistant and Alexa support. However, out of the box, the C2 comes with webOS22, which adds user Profiles to the smart experience, so you can get to what you personally enjoy faster.

Connectivity on both the C2 and C1 is uniformly excellent. On both models, all HDMI inputs are HDMI 2.1 compliant and can handle a  4K 120Hz input from a games console or graphics card.

LG C2 vs LG C1: Conclusion

Much as we love the C1, there’s no doubt that the 2022 C2 is a step up in performance and design. It’s significantly brighter overall, making it a better option as a living room/bright room TV, and the promise of Dolby Vision IQ with Precision Detailing is enticing. All things considered, the C2 looks a big advance on the C1.

However, if you’re after a quality OLED TV for viewing in a room where the light is controlled or generally darker, then even with the slightly reduced HDR range and processing, buying an LG C1 for current prices is no doubt a good investment.

It might be that the LG C1 is the only option that fits in your budget range, or it may be the case that choosing the LG C1 over the LG C2 enables you to go up a size within your budget.

It's a trade-off, but either model is an excellent buy.

Steve May

For over 25 years, Steve has been casting his keen eyes and ears over the best that the world of TV and audio has to offer. He was the creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, and contributes to huge range of technology, home and music titles along with T3, including TechRadar, Louder, Ideal Home, the i newspaper, and more.