The TV market has been hugely exciting this year with the likes of the Samsung S95C and Sony A95K bringing in the next generation of OLED in QD-OLED which takes brightness and vibrant to a whole new level. LG’s C range was what kicked it off though, and has become the go-to recommendation for any high-end TV over the last half a decade. This year’s LG C3 doesn’t do anything incredibly different to the C2/C1 that came before it, but it does make some smaller improvements to fix common complaints over the last few years.
I’m not going to spend a heap of time talking about the basic features of the LG C3. It really hasn’t changed a whole heap from the C2 and C1 (you can read those reviews HERE and HERE). It’s still a fantastic TV, but it’s definitely being left a little bit behind in the brightness and vibrance space by the likes of the Samsung S95C and Sony A95K (A95L to be released later this year as well). There’s also now a really clear gap between the C3 and G3 which is using WOLED technology to get that extra bit of added brightness and vibrance.
You’re still going to get a perfect contrast for inky blacks, and decent brightness with LG’s EVO brightness booster. It’s going to provide a perfect picture in dark rooms, but if you’re in a bright Australian room, the brightness (or lack of) as well as the glare is going to still be an issue, with other top-end models from other brands doing a better job at glare reduction due to the increased brightness and a glare reducing coating that just both aren’t on offer here. If you’re coming from an LED, you’ll still notice a big step-up with the C3 and won’t be disappointed, and a lot of this won’t be noticed unless you’re comparing side-by-side or have spent a considerable amount of time with the flagship TVs from other brands.
The actual TV design itself hasn’t changed too much. You’ve got an extremely slim top portion of the panel, with the a much thicker portion below it. Again, compared to the G3 and S95C, it’s no longer the most high-end experience, but if you’re just happy to put the TV on a stand, and not looking to wall mount, it doesn’t make the biggest of differences, and it’s still a nice looking TV with fairly thin bezels and a really understated design that will go well on any entertainment unit.
One of my complaints with LG OLEDs in the past was the fact that if you’re using a soundbar, you couldn’t fit it below the TV, and LG has remedied this in a really clever way. If you buy the matching SC9S soundbar, it comes with a bracket that essentially allows you to do away with the C3 stand that’s included in the box, instead attaching both the TV and the soundbar to a singular bracket that not only ensures that the TV has enough clearance over the soundbar, but it’s a much cleaner setup having just one bracket tying both together at the back. It’s a little bit cumbersome to attach at first, but it’s a really nice finish. It also works for wall-mounting if you’re choosing to do that. If you’re trying to pair it with other, thicker soundbars, the TV stand in the box will still have the TV sitting quite low.
The actual soundbar itself is a really nice addition as well. The sound that comes out of the C3 is serviceable, but it’s a huge improvement when you add the soundbar and added sub. It’s got three upfiring channels which is perfect for Dolby Atmos content and you also get an extra HDMI 2.1 port (in lieu of the one you take up in your TV).
Not to be outdone by Samsung and Sony’s TV/soundbar sync, LG has introduced WOW Orchestra which basically utilises both the speakers of the C3 and SC9S soundbar in unison to increase the soundstage. The implementation feels on-par to that of other brands and sounds great for some content and not so good for others, so just turn it on and off as you see fit, but overall, the soundbar gets a tick of approval from me in terms of design and how well it integrates with the TV as well as the improved sound.
My only criticism is that I’d like to have seen rears included as well at $1,499 to be on-par with the Q990C as you’re definitely going to want rears if you take your audio seriously. I would definitely recommend pairing this soundbar with the TV though, just due to how well it integrates both in a design sense, but also how seamless the whole experience is from a UI point of view.
Other changes to the C3 include a quick cards system which basically groups categories such as home, sport, gaming etc into cards that you can use to access content and also HDMI Quick Switching which will basically cut out the weird black screen between going from an input such as the PS5 to your Apple TV.
Outside of that, it’s pretty much the same WebOS experience, with the magic remote not changing a whole lot either. It’s still really easy to use and pretty easy to make your way around content, and whether you’re using the Wii-like pointer, or just standard buttons, it’s hard to go wrong.
All-in-all, the LG C3 is going to be the TV that most people go for, just because it improves on a TV that has been a really easy recommendation to any movie lover or gamer over the last 3-4 years. Looking at current pricing though, the Samsung S95C is already on sale at $3,140 which is $500 cheaper than a C3, so for me with the S95C being significantly brighter, having a much better design with the One Connect box and the ability to reach 144hz, that would be an easy recommendation for me. Similarly, the LG CS can be had for well under $2,000 and for the everyday person, you’re not going to see a huge difference between these two TVs, so it does make the C3 a harder sell.
The LG C3 is still a fantastic OLED that will suit the needs of most entertainment lovers. The design when paired with LG's flagship soundbar is a nice improvement. However, it's no longer the most premium experience with QD-OLED and WOLED both bringing a wow-factor that isn't on offer here.