This is a big deal to me because I’m not a huge TV guy. Over the years, I’ve slowly upgraded from SD to HD and then, eventually, to the 4K range, mainly in pursuit of a better console gaming experience. It was a simple, happy life, but if you had asked me about the TV’s refresh rate, color accuracy, or input lag, I would have given you a blank look. Heck, most of the time I forgot the size of the TV once I threw the box away. All that mattered was that it displays everything I want to see in original resolution, and it looks good doing it.
This year all that changed when I bought a 65-inch C1 OLED TV from LG. We’ve already reviewed it here at Tom’s Guide, although I didn’t know it when I bought it and on our site LG C1 OLED Review We called it one of the best OLED TVs of the year. We recommend it as one of the best LG TVs and best 4K gaming TVs you can buy, and for good reason: It delivers great picture quality, even to my eyes.
We use phrases like “outstanding image quality” regularly here because they are clear and simple ways to describe how good (or not) a product is. But I want to do more than just tell you how well this TV works: I want to help you understand why it’s so important. If you’re considering investing in an OLED TV, I want you to know that it really is a meaningful improvement over an LED TV, and you’ll appreciate it every time you sit down to watch it.
Before my OLED broke down, I had been using about a $300 TCL 4K TV I had bought from Best Buy in a hurry, years ago, because I had just moved into a new apartment and needed something to play Death Stranding on. And you know what? The 55-inch TCL was a real magician. It was easy to set up, Roku’s built-in interface was easy to use, and everything I saw looked good.
I’m still sitting in a corner of my apartment (you’d be surprised how hard it is Donates A 4K TV is mid-sized these days, given how cheap it is – but I probably have a well-equipped group of friends) and honestly, if my LG had gone out of business tomorrow, I wouldn’t have any worries about switching TCL back in, at least until I found an alternative to OLED. But I would like this replacement, because now that I’m gone OLED, I don’t know I’ll ever go back.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to spend time with a good OLED screen, please believe me when I tell you that it really does make a difference on non-OLED screens. The thing I noticed right away on my new TV was that the light (in 4K HDR content, at least) suddenly looked more natural and realistic than I had ever seen on screen. I suppose this is partly because OLED screens can achieve much better contrast than LED TVs, so it’s easy to see the contrast between shades of light and shade.
This may seem like a small detail, but it’s the kind of little detail that normally distinguishes our eyes, for example, when watching the way sunlight falls on someone’s face. On my old TV, I didn’t notice these kinds of details because they always looked homogeneous and uniform; I could see the face of one of the characters bathed in the sun’s rays, but I couldn’t tell the different hues and brightness levels of the sun’s rays as it moved across her face. I can see these details on my OLED TV, and it doesn’t feel like a great feature; It is a natural feeling. Seems like something I should have seen all the time, the way I do in real life, but it hasn’t – until now.
That’s not the only upside to investing in a $2,000 OLED TV, of course. The LG C1 is brighter and more vibrant than any TV I own. It looks better too. All four HDMI ports are HDMI 2.1, which means I can plug my Xbox Series X into any port I want without having to worry about whether it will support advanced features like Dolby Vision at 120Hz. It has a simple Game Optimizer mode that makes doing things like enabling variable refresh rate seem unfamiliar (to this idiot, at least). It has a great remote control.
But it’s not all finely graded sunshine and roses either. As much as I appreciate the LG C1’s remote control, I don’t really like how easy it is to accidentally press the button which turns it into what I call cursor mode, where you instruct the remote on the screen to move the cursor and press the button to click things. It’s very easy to go back to the classic mode of navigation by pressing buttons – just press a different button – but I still wish cursor placement was nothing.
Also, the webOS interface of the LG C1 is terrible compared to the old Roku TV. The navigation is twice as complicated but offers maybe half the utility, as it’s full of apps and tools I didn’t ask for. This mess is so frustrating because the LG App Store doesn’t (yet) include apps for some of my favorite streaming services, including Benchmark Channel and Kanopy. It’s too bad that I’m seriously considering spending more money on a Roku streaming stick to hook it up to my expensive new LG TV, just so I can have an easier time navigating to the services I actually want to watch.
As annoying as these minor hiccups can be, I forget all about them as soon as I line up a movie or load up a game. The LG C1 looks very nice and I can’t help but feel good about the purchase decision I’ve made every time I sit down, and here’s the lesson I hope you’ll take advantage of: investing in quality equipment pays off every time you use it, and if you (like me) use your TV On a daily basis, flaunting a great OLED device will pay off a lot.
And if you’re like me, you probably already have one in mind. I’d been watching the LG C1 for most of 2021, and was planning on holding off until at least Black Friday before I seriously considered buying one. But towards the end of September, I checked the prices on a whim, and saw that they were reduced to $1,800 from their launch price of $2,499. It was too good a deal to die for. I jumped on it, spent all the money I was setting aside for a new laptop, and this TV became the best thing I’ve bought all year.
So, if you’ve also been looking forward to a new OLED TV for some time, let the lesson of impulse buying encourage you: It’s really worth it, and if you get a great TV, the investment will pay off every time you use it.
If you’re thinking about buying a new C1 OLED, you don’t even have to wait for sale to get the price you got — LG appears to have cut the price of the 65-inch C1 OLED permanently to $1800, likely in advance to reveal new models at CES in January . But even if that proves true, don’t let the promise of shiny new hardware on the horizon discourage you from buying the C1 now, if you want to – it truly is the best TV I’ve ever owned, and the best thing I’ve bought all year.