Another year, another LG OLED TV. For 2023, LG is upgrading its popular C-series with the new and improved LG C3 OLED which uses a new processor and is equipped with the latest smart platform WebOS 23. It will, in all likelihood, be one of the best tvs of 2023.
If you’re on the hunt for a new OLED TV this year, the C3 will be a very compelling option. But what if you still own a LG C1 OLED from 2021? Is it worth selling your old TV and upgrading it, or should you wait one more generation?
Having seen the LG C3 OLED in person both at CES 2023 and at an LG review event, we now have a pretty good idea of what you can expect from this year’s model. It’s certainly brighter than the LG C1 OLED when viewed side-by-side as our own Kate Kozuch can attest when she did, but is the brightness alone worth the upgrade?
Let’s break down all the differences between the two models to determine whether it’s worth spending the money on the LG C3 or holding out for next year’s inevitable LG C4 OLED.
Difference #1: The LG C3 OLED has WebOS 23
While phones usually get the latest system software on older hardware, TVs don’t always work that way. Case in point? LG WebOS 23. Some WebOS 23 features will be available on LG C2 and LG C1 OLED TVs, but most new features will be exclusive to LG C3 OLED.
One such benefit is a new picture mode that caters to your preferences. When you first turn it on, you’ll see a series of images with varying amounts of brightness, color saturation, and contrast. You will then choose which of these images appeals to you the most, and the processor will create a custom image mode that reflects that choice.
Other improvements relate to the user profiles that LG rolled out in 2022 for better recommendations and will also allow you to have accounts for your children.
They’re small upgrades, yes, but they’re features you’ll miss if you stick with the older LG C1 model.
Difference #2: The LG C3 uses the new Alpha a9 Gen 6 processor
Software is one thing, but the hardware inside 2023 TVs will see a major boost thanks to the new Alpha a9 Gen 6 processor.
The new processor not only has better upscaling and motion processing, but it enables AI Sound Pro which converts the TV’s base 40W 2.2 channel sound system into virtual 9.1.2 surround sound. For comparison, the LG C1 OLED uses the older Alpha a9 Gen 4 processor which performs similarly to the Gen 6 but lacks some of the AI-based upscaling features.
Upgrading to a C3 would 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 has incorporated OLED Evo panels from its cousin company, LG Display. The Evo OLED panels have improved the brightness of the Gen 1 OLED panels found in the C1 model, and are the other reason you’ll see a noticeable improvement in picture quality between the two TVs.
Difference #4: The LG C3 OLED will weigh less
It probably won’t matter if you already have the LG C1 out of the box, but wall mounting can be a real pain if you haven’t already. At around 72 pounds, the LG C1 is quite a heavy TV and one that can be quite flimsy due to its all-glass screen. The LG C3, on the other hand, is a bit lighter at just 40 pounds out of the box; it is made with a polycarbonate material which is both lighter and stronger than the plastic of the LG C1.
Difference #5: The LG C3 is more expensive
This probably won’t be new to you, but it’s worth noting that the LG C3 – the 2023 OLED that was just released in early March – is more expensive than the two-year-old LG C1. How much will vary depending on the screen size you choose and the retailer you get the set from.
On LG’s website, the 65-inch LG C1 OLED is listed 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 clearance deals, but finding a new model out of the box could be tricky – meaning you’ll have to decide if you want to save money on a used old model or shell out for a new TV.
Similarity #1: They’re both powerful OLED TVs
Although there are big differences between the LG C1 and the LG C3, they are not entirely different from each other. One big commonality is that they’re both OLED TVs with great black levels and fabulous color saturation.
Yes, there will be a noticeable difference in how these colors are presented on screen due to the difference in light, but the underlying technology is exactly the same.
Similarity #2: They both have reflectivity issues
The biggest issue you will notice with the LG C3 and LG C1 is the reflectivity of the front screen. When there is a dark scene on the screen, it is very easy to see the objects in the background of the room. It’s even worse if you have an ambient light source like a window or patio door, as these will appear as reflections.
The best scenario? Have nothing to the left or right of the screen, and keep light-catching objects out of the room you plan to watch your TV in.
Similarity #3: They both lack an ATSC 3.0 tuner
Another similarity between the LG C1 and C3 is that they don’t have an ATSC 3.0 tuner inside which is needed for NextGen TV broadcasts. While some people won’t care – or even care – whether the TVs have an ATSC 3.0 tuner or not, anyone who wants an exceptionally upgradable TV should note that you’ll have to upgrade to the LG G2 of the year. last or to this one. LG G3 OLED of the year instead.
Similarity #4: They will both come in (mostly) the same sizes
Since the LG C2 OLED and the LG C3 OLED have the same panels inside, both models will be the same size. Namely, there will be 48, 55, 65, 77 and 83 inch versions. LG says there could be a 93-inch LG C3 OLED this year, but if that happens it won’t be until after the smaller models arrive in the spring.
LG C3 OLED vs LG C1 OLED: Should you update?
Ultimately, upgrading comes down to how important your TV experience is to you. If you are someone who knows and cares about brightness levels, color saturation, and scaling algorithms, then the LG C3 OLED will be a great upgrade for you.
That said, if those things don’t matter to you, I’d say it’s probably not worth upgrading to the LG C3 OLED at launch. Once the price of the LG C3 drops a bit – perhaps around Cyber Monday or Black Friday 2023 – it will be worth reconsidering. Until then, however, the C1 OLED remains an excellent medium.