LG OLED65C2 65in 'Evo' class 4K HDR OLED TV Review

hccbestbuybadgev3Bringing Evo screen tech to LG's C Series is a bright idea, says Steve May – but choose your presets wisely…

Faced with the prospect of serious OLED competition from outside the LG Display family for the first time, LG has pointedly raised its game with its C2 TV. This latest iteration of its best-selling C Series line comes in more screen sizes than ever before (42in, 48in, 55in, 65in, 77in, and 83in), and boasts significantly higher brightness (on models 55in and up). Not any old brightness, mind you.

This is officially an Evo class screen, which sets it apart from the company's A and B Series OLEDs, and hints at all sorts of panel and processing sophistication.

The Evo moniker refers to both the glass itself and the processor it's allied to – here that's the Alpha 9 Gen 5 (or A9G5 as no one is calling it). The most powerful silicon yet from the Korean manufacturer, this has the brawn to intelligently analyse images in real time, directing power usage much like Simon Rattle conducting the LSO.

So, when the kids are mooching around their dark and spooky mansion in Locke & Key (Netflix, Season 1), the C2 directs surplus energy away from the darker areas of the picture to any bright highlights that might benefit, such as little Bode Locke's toy lightsaber.

LG dubs the technique Brightness Boosting, and it seems remarkably effective when it comes to both full-field brightness and HDR peaks. We measured HDR highlights at around 810 nits, using the Standard image preset, a noticeable improvement on last year's C1 model.

It should be pointed out that the Brightness Booster employed by the C2 is not the same as that found on LG's Gallery Series G2 – that model adds a hardware component, in the form of a heat sink. But it still raises the average picture level significantly, and effectively reduces the need for heavy-handed tone mapping.

On screen, swathes of white have greater luminosity, blue hues are more pronounced, and specular highlights more dynamic. But let's not get ahead of ourselves…

Stop Pouting!
The TV has had a cosmetic makeover too. LG's 2022 bezel is a mere wisp and a new composite backing material has been used to reduce overall weight, making the screen easier to wall mount. This 65in variant also has a new – and very smart – central pedestal design, which is more practical than the pouty lip of the C1 (reviewed HCC #321).

The brand has even slimmed its Magic Remote, although it works the same way, directing an onscreen cursor. I increasingly ponder the value of this interface, as it invariably means I have to hold the zapper at some weird angle to get the cursor to go where I want, but as LG has been hawking this handset in one guise or another for about a decade I can't see it changing its ways.


This OLED TV is, as expected, ultra-thin

The wand has dedicated buttons for Netflix, Disney+, Rakuten TV and Prime Video, as well as shortcuts for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. If you want to use voice control to change channel or volume, you can; LG's own ThinQ smart platform is also on hand to facilitate spoken search.

There have been some minor changes to LG's WebOS interface this year, including user profiles for more personal content curation. There's also a new Always Ready feature, which allows the OLED65C2 to display digital pictures when in its low-power Standby mode.

Connectivity has long been an LG strong point, and it's once again excellent here. The TV's four HDMIs are all 4K/120fps compatible, with the 'HDMI 2' input also eARC/ARC enabled. An optical digital audio output supports legacy audio hardware, and there's Ethernet to support integrated Wi-Fi. Gamers will meanwhile appreciate the comprehensive VRR handling, which covers HDMI VRR, Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync.

Not that you need the latest gaming hardware. Even casual joystickers will benefit from this TV's impressive low latency – we measured input lag with Game Mode engaged at 13.1ms with 1080/60 content. A dedicated Game Optimizer interface groups a host of related settings in one place, with niceties like Fine Tune Dark Area, and Game Genre presets to tweak.

All Sources Welcome
This set therefore has clear specs appeal, and – thankfully – the picture quality to back it up. Images are outstanding, and not just with pristine 4K HDR sources. LG's Alpha 9 Gen 5 processor also contributes significantly to the C2's ability to upscale lesser sources, to the point that SD channels actually start to look quite watchable. The TV brings an appreciable polish to Ancient Aliens (on Blaze), so that's me sorted.