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My 48” LG OLED C1 Review

adamr

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Humans do attach an emotional “link” with anything they own/inherit or buy. So ugly babies are dolls to their parents … BMW M2 owners think their cars are on the same level as a 488 Ferrari and ladies who resemble the penguin from 1992s Batman think they 9/10s … people are unashamedly biased!

I’m simply going to be unbiased with this review … so am going to do my best to help people make an informed decision

I have been comparing this TV to my Samsung Q9FN and you will see me doing plenty comparisons to it (for good reason). The simple fact is both TVs technologies have compromises and one really must consider their use case when choosing between an OLED and LCD (and I’m talking high end here … although a C1 might not be considered LGs high end)

But let’s get to it

Overall aesthetics and build quality is great just like you’d expect from any premium product. Metal finishes all over and it definitely doesn’t have that cheap plasticky feel to the TV it replaces. Taking it out of the box does give one a bit of a scare because of the razor thin screen and fear of flexing and ultimately cracking it. Myself and the gf had to carefully place it on the bed holding the tv at the bottom (screen face down with most of the protective covers and sheets still on) before attaching the stand. I did attach the stand incorrectly the first time round and forgot the long metal brace that sits in front of the tv … so when I placed it on the table it was falling forward and luckily my gf helped avoid a very costly mistake (so RTFM!!!) … but it’s easy when you realise the stand is a two piece affair.

Once on the table I was pretty glad with the decision to go 48 inch as it felt perfect for a bedroom … not too big. 55 inches felt too big for the space (there was a 55 inch in the room prior to the Samsung set that’s now for sale). Setting up is a standard guided process, a bit lengthy but nothing where’d you want to 1 star the tv on a Google review.

Keeping on the topic of size …

Looking at it in the flesh and in my home (lesson 101: a shop floor can be very deceiving to the actual size of TVs and home furniture) this feels too big to be a PC monitor. In a man cave for a ps5/Xbox yeah it’s perfect slouching on your bean chair and klapping some BF2042 … but I just can’t see myself using it for work … I’m patiently waiting for the QD oled Alienware to come into stock … for myself personally 34inch wide screen is where it’s at for a pc monitor … it’s just right

The remote

I must admit … one of the big reasons I went for the LG was the remote. That air mouse ❤️ … my gf likes browsing movies and typing is a big deal in that ritual she performs. At first the mouse air gestures felt very erratic and way too fast. Saw my arm going across the entire breadth of the room attempting to move the cursor to the edge of the screen as if I was fighting a rabid yorkie … but after updating the TVs software it was very intuitive and it just simply works. Remote itself is solid enough and again doesn’t feel cheap despite it being plastic (that q9fn remote being all brushed metal is a work of art … but no air mouse - comon Samsung reintroduce this ). Shortcuts like netflix, Amazon prime etc are well placed … and is a result of evolution of TVs in general. A big part of a TVs experience is the remote. A poorly designed remote can be really frustrating and can take away from an otherwise great TV set … easily not the case here and one of the best remotes if not best tv remote I’ve used.

UI Experience

So in the past I’ve had one of LGs entry level LCD offerings (which I donated to my ex wife as part of the divorce package). Here’s the thing… that Ui … blew me away. Simple, fast and just intuitive. There was no need for a Roku or some other “TV entertainment on a stick device”. All apps worked great. No slowdowns. In comparison to the Q9FN, the Samsung OS is pretty crap. Feels very beta-ish … but fast forward to today, has this new LG OS improved on my past experience? Nah … I think they went a little backward. Just too much happening on the screen. Yeah it’s still fluid but there are tips and tricks and looks like an Xbox menu … “I don’t want to see the porn pages I just visited lest either mine or my gfs parents want to watch some tv … and I want to remove your recommendations from this screen and can’t … a dashboard feels just unnecessary … why LG!?? just give me something simple “ so yes it’s a step back for me but def still worlds ahead of the Samsung OS

HDR, 4K, Dolby vision, SDR, HLG … but

Yea the tv supports a slew of formats and Im not complaining about this … but … there is an issue here. See, I like calibrating my monitors and TVs and not a fan of light searing my corneas. So I tinker … using the settings from rtings.com as a base and from there calibrate using a test pattern to get a near perfect “correct” image as close to real life as possible … now when you consider the number of formats the tv supports and the number of sources you’d need to calibrate each time … you have some work on your hands. Yes there is the option to “apply to all sources” but it doesn’t always work and I do find that there will be a certain input/app plus a format I missed while calibrating. This is not just an LG TV “problem” but synonymous with all TVs and just with the LG supporting more formats the “problem” is a little bigger (note that the word problem is in quotations) … it’s just tedious that’s all and I don’t know if there will ever be an easy fix for this, which brings me to the part we all here for and that is PQ

Aka Picture Quality

Now I really consider the Q9FN to be one of the best if not best TV for picture quality. Near OLED black levels and a peak brightness of 2000 nits … it does not get much better, even when compared to newer TVs this set really is the gold standard.

So here is the thing … an hdr movie looks “mindblastingly” awesome on the Samsung q9fn and that’s largely due to the 2000 nits peak brightness this set can hit. Now the OLED doesn’t come close to reaching those brightness levels of the Samsung and you do notice this gap. Not to say the oled is bad it’s still pretty awesome but will definitely give the nod to Samsung here for immersion. Now where the OLED excels is black level and let me just say it … unless the two TVs are side by side the q9fn does have Near OLED levels of black … you’d be hard pressed to see where the lcd is lacking.

I went with the rtings.com OLED settings as a base using the cinema settings but on my set had to bump the brightness to about 56 from the default so I did not lose detail in the shadows … after this the picture quality is what you’d expect … “eggsaptional!”. An lcd does have DSE and grey uniformity issues including this q9fn (albeit minimal) but when you watching tv you not staring at calibration test images and you won’t notice these anomalies under normal tv viewing … OLED yea does not exhibit these “issues”. Despite DSE and grey uniformity anomalies I still prefer the Q9s PQ over the OLED 🙈

The OLED does have a huge kink in its shiny armour … it suffers with reflections and sunlight … so I stress, this must be in a dark room with little reflections and the like. LCDs just are kings in brightly lit rooms and don’t think of getting an OLED if you wish to place it in a sunny setting.

So what are the other things to note about this set.

It’s a G rated TV for energy usage (yea G is the lowest rating on that scale for gauging energy efficiency of electronics. lol for the eskom bill at the end of the month). The built in sound is damn amazing, the bass is tight and I’m pleasantly surprised by this … like unless you going high end theatre I don’t see someone needing any external sound system. It’s hdmi 2.1 and is a 120hz gsync TV … so yeah it’s going to be epic for gaming. WiFI 5ghz is supported but you’d need to play with your bandwidth and channel setting to successfully connect to it. You also apparently need to let the tv “settle” … PQ supposedly improves after a few hours of viewing and black crush reduces im told (don’t know how true)

So what’s my final verdict …
If Samsung created a q9fn equivalent with hdmi 2.1, gsync and that amazing one connect box in that sweet spot 49/50 inch I would have chosen that over this OLED. But alas such a tv does not exist (yet)… so there is nothing on the market to compete with the c1 48 inch. Don’t get me wrong you won’t be disappointed with the C1. It does everything great … just not necessarily the best in everything :) 8.5/10
 
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Nicgun

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Well written review bud, look forward to the QD oled Alienware review.
 

Whoozycomic

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Honestly honestly... after 6 months of owning my LG C1 I dont think the picture quality difference does it for me... I had a Hisense U8G Matrix Backlit with local dimming but with 1500 nits,,, and I think I prefer brighter TV's especially for the lounge...

I think after everything in it the Samsung Q9FN looks better to my eye as it overall looks better... for example it excel's in the places that matter to me... colour correction and sharpness arent as important and thats where the C1 dominates...

Plus I would definitely take the 65 inch.. that size alone is worth the money.
 

adamr

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Honestly honestly... after 6 months of owning my LG C1 I dont think the picture quality difference does it for me... I had a Hisense U8G Matrix Backlit with local dimming but with 1500 nits,,, and I think I prefer brighter TV's especially for the lounge...

I think after everything in it the Samsung Q9FN looks better to my eye as it overall looks better... for example it excel's in the places that matter to me... colour correction and sharpness arent as important and thats where the C1 dominates...

Plus I would definitely take the 65 inch.. that size alone is worth the money.
I bought that exact Hisense for the spare bedroom and then thought it was so amazing that I bought another one for the main bedroom … but at 55 inches it was big for the bedroom. Gave that TV to my sister for her new home … For the money it’s an amazing picture and looks wow in many scenes …

GF came with the Samsung 7 series (which is for sale … some one please buy it :) ) … and thought the size of the Samsung was perfect … hence why I went for this 48 inch
 

adamr

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If anyone is keen my seetings are all on pretty much cinema (dark) ... contrast at 85 and brightness at 55 now
 

Nikkel

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Jumping on this soon... a 55" + Xbox series X and a RTX 3060ti for my HTPC/gaming pc

Was really keen on a Hisense U8G 65" but the SA models doesn't have any HDMI 2.1 ports as in other regions of the world...
 

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