Another year, another LG OLED TV. In 2023, LG is upgrading its popular C series with the new and improved LG C3 OLED, which uses a new processor and features the latest webOS 23 smart platform. It will most likely be one of the best TVs of 2023.
If you’re looking for a new OLED TV this year, the C3 is a very attractive option. But what if you still have the 2021 LG C1 OLED? Should you sell your old TV and upgrade, or should you hold out for another generation?
Having seen the LG C3 OLED in person at both CES 2023 and the LG event, we now have a pretty good idea of what to expect from this year’s model. It’s certainly brighter than the LG C1 OLED when viewed side by side, as our very own Kate Kozuch can attest when she did just that, but is the upgrade worth the brightness alone?
Let’s break down all the differences between the two models to see if it’s worth spending money on the LG C3 or waiting for the inevitable LG C4 OLED next year.
Difference #1: LG C3 OLED has webOS 23
While phones usually get the latest system software on older hardware, TVs don’t always work that way. Is it a point? LG webOS 23. Some webOS 23 features will be available on the LG C2 and LG C1 OLED TVs, but most of the new features will be exclusive to the LG C3 OLED.
One such benefit is a new picture mode that suits your preferences. When you activate it for the first time, you will be shown a series of images with different brightness, color saturation and contrast. You will then choose which of these images you like best, and the processor will create its own image mode to reflect that choice.
Other improvements are in user profiles, which LG rolled out in 2022 to improve recommendations and allow you to have accounts for your kids.
These are minor upgrades, yes, but these are features you will miss out on if you use the old LG C1.
Difference #2: The LG C3 uses the new Alpha a9 Gen 6 processor.
(Image credit: LG)
Software is one thing, but the hardware of 2023 TVs will be greatly improved with the new Alpha a9 Gen 6 processor.
The new processor not only provides improved scaling and motion processing, but also enables AI Sound Pro, which converts the TV’s basic 40-watt 2.2-channel sound system into virtual 9.1.2 surround sound. In comparison, the LG C1 OLED uses the older Alpha a9 Gen 4 processor, which performs similarly to the Gen 6 but omits some of the AI-based scaling features.
Upgrading to C3 will mean better sound and picture quality thanks in part to this key component.
Difference #3: The LG C3 OLED uses the second generation Evo panel.
For the LG C2 OLED, LG used OLED Evo panels sourced from its cousin LG Display. The OLED Evo panels have improved the brightness of the first generation OLED panels found in the C1 model, which is another reason why you will see a noticeable improvement in picture quality between the two TVs.
Difference #4: LG C3 OLED will weigh less
This probably won’t matter if you already have the LG C1 out of the box, but wall-mounting it can be a real problem if you haven’t already. At around 72 pounds, the LG C1 is a pretty hefty TV that can be quite fragile due to its all-glass screen. The LG C3, on the other hand, is slightly lighter, at just 40 pounds out of the box; it’s made of polycarbonate, which is lighter and stronger than the LG C1’s plastic.
(Image credit: LG)
Difference #5: LG C3 is more expensive
This probably won’t be news to you, but it’s worth noting that the LG C3 – the 2023 OLED that just came out in early March – costs more than the two-year-old LG C1. How much will depend on which screen size you choose and which retailer you get the set from.
LG’s website lists the 65-inch LG C1 OLED for $2,299, while Best Buy has a refurbished version of the same TV for $1,399. Basically, the C1 will be cheaper than the LG C3 thanks to the sales, but finding a new model in the box can be tricky – meaning you’ll have to decide if you want to save money on an older used model. or fork out for a new TV.
Similarity #1: Both TVs have powerful OLED displays.
Although there are big differences between the LG C1 and LG C3, they are not completely different from each other. One big commonality is that they are both OLED TVs with excellent black levels and stunning color saturation.
Yes, there will be a noticeable difference in the representation of these colors on the screen due to the difference in brightness, but the underlying technology is exactly the same.
(Image credit: Henry T. Casey/Tom’s Guide)
Similarity #2: Both have reflection issues
The biggest issue you’ll notice with both the LG C3 and LG C1 is how reflective the front screen is. When a dark scene is on the screen, it is very easy to see objects in the background of the room. It’s even worse if you have an ambient light source such as a window or patio door as they will look like glare.
The best script? Do not place anything to the left or right of the screen and keep reflective objects out of the room where you plan to watch TV.
Similarity #3: They both don’t have an ATSC 3.0 tuner.
Another similarity between the LG C1 and C3 is that they both lack the built-in ATSC 3.0 tuner required for NextGen TV broadcasting. While some people won’t mind or even care if TVs have an ATSC 3.0 tuner, anyone who wants an exceptionally forward looking TV should take note that you’ll need to upgrade to either last year’s LG G2 or this one. . instead, the LG G3 OLED.
Similarity #4: They will both be available in (mostly) the same sizes.
Since both the LG C2 OLED and LG C3 OLED have the same inner panels, both models will have the same dimensions. Namely, there will be 48-, 55-, 65-, 77- and 83-inch versions. LG says a 93-inch LG C3 OLED could be coming this year, but if it does, it won’t be until spring when smaller models arrive.
(Image credit: LG)
LG C3 OLED vs LG C1 OLED: Should You Upgrade?
Ultimately, whether or not you should upgrade depends on how much you care about your TV viewing experience. If you are someone who knows and cares about brightness levels, color saturation, and scaling algorithms, then the LG C3 OLED will be a big upgrade for you.
That said, if those things don’t matter to you, I’d say it’s probably not a good idea to upgrade to the LG C3 OLED at launch. As soon as the LG C3 drops in price a little – perhaps on Cyber Monday or Black Friday 2023 – it should be reconsidered. Until then, however, the C1 OLED remains an excellent backup.
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