LG C3 OLED TV review: Pure OLED at its best

LG C3 OLED TV review

LG OLED has long been considered the benchmark of what a good TV should look like. It’s the model of TV that most video game reviewers and tech nerds will recommend. Sitting at the mid-point of the brand’s 2023 OLED range, this year’s LG C3 includes the premium Evo panel, which takes the experience to the next level.

First impressions

Out of the box, I was immediately taken by the minimalist design. I know I complain a lot about how hard it is to move TVs now that there’s no bezel (seriously, carrying them is terrifying), but I also recognise that I probably spend more time carrying and setting up thin TVs than your average punter, so this is a niche problem. While this extremely thin screen and bezel-less design make it a nightmare to carry, it does look beautiful on a table.

It won’t lie completely flat against a wall because all the inputs are in the back of the TV. This is unlike Samsung TVs which have an optional little box that you can attach to the back of the TV, or put in the cabinet. But the LG C3 is simple and clean and has plenty of cooling vents.

Turning it on, it looks almost perfect. In the right lighting conditions, it is basically a perfect TV.


LG C3 OLED TV specifications

Screen technologyOLED
Sizes available42”, 48”, 55”, 65”, 77”, 83” (size reviewed: 65”)
Processorα9 AI Processor 4K Gen6
Operating SystemWebOS 23
HDR (High Dynamic Range)Dolby Vision / HDR10 / HLG
HFR (High Frame Rate)4K 120 fps (HDMI, USB)
Inputs4 x HDMI 2.1 (supports 4K 120Hz, eARC, VRR, ALLM, QMS)
3 x USB 2.0
1 x Ethernet
2 x RF input
1 x SPDIF (Optical Digital Audio Out)
ConnectivityWi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0
Price (RRP)$4,299 (65-inch model)
WarrantyOne-year parts and labour + Australia Consumer Law guarantees
Australian websiteLG Australia

LG Magic Remote

The TV remote basically makes or breaks the TV experience. The best picture in the world won’t compensate for being unable to navigate your TV.

The LG Magic Remote is pretty polarising – you love it or hate it. Personally, I love it. It feels good in the hand, and there are a lot of buttons. In recent years the trend for TV remotes has been to become minimalist – removing all the number buttons and anything else that might make your TV navigation experience easier. LG’s Magic Remote finds the right balance between minimalism and maximalism.

There are number buttons for those of us who still enjoy free-to-air TV, a scroll wheel in addition to arrow buttons, four colour buttons, six buttons for various streaming services, and a bunch of other standard buttons. This is a remote that wants you to have an easy and pleasant experience. One you get your parents so they don’t have to call you and ask how the TV works.

LG C3 Magic Remote

Plus, it also has motion controls, kind of like a Nintendo Wii Remote. The TV knows where the remote is pointing, so instead of having to use the arrow buttons to navigate around the Netflix menu, for example, you just point and click.

Frankly, I would like to write a love letter to this remote. I wish all remotes were like this.

The only thing I don’t like is something that’s fairly standard on remotes, and that’s that you can’t reprogram the streaming service shortcut buttons. I understand that these companies have paid sponsorship money to get spots on the remote, but this is a $4,000 TV and you shouldn’t have to put up with ads built into the experience.

But that is my one complaint about this remote. It is otherwise perfect.

Regular viewing performance

The new C3 model has an Alpha9 Gen6 chip, which is just a fancy TV processor. That processor improvement has really obviously improved HDR performance over last year’s C2 model. Colours and textures just pop, while still retaining a natural look. Sometimes, greens can look too saturated on TVs but that’s not the case here, as the vibrancy is just right. I put this to the test with Selling Sunset, where every real estate agent is wearing bright colours, with a variety of skin tones, against a backdrop of stark-white rooms of fancy mansions. On the LG C3, skin tones looked natural, the colours popped and the white walls stayed white.

That power from the processor also does a great job of upscaling. Watching a classic show like Sabrina The Teenage Witch, you’d almost think it had been shot in a format slightly better than Full HD, rather than just SD. Some other TVs I’ve tested can add some processing “noise” to the image when upscaling, but here classic teen drama The OC looked pretty clean.

LG C3 OLED TV streaming

On the other end of the scale, Severance in its brutal Apple TV+ 4K detail looked sharp, crisp and realer than real.

Watching dark scenes, the blacks look black and there is minimal light bleed from the moon into the sky. On brighter scenes, the contrast looks excellent, and it doesn’t get washed out like it can on LED TVs.

I was also really impressed by how wide the viewing angles were. Even at a pretty extreme angle, the colour fidelity was still excellent, which means everyone in the living room will have a good seat.

That said though, it’s not perfect. While I’m pleased that it has both HDR 10 and Dolby Vision, it’s unfortunate that it’s missing HDR10+.

I was also disappointed by how much screen glare and reflections there were when watching in my living room with the curtains open. It was significantly better than any other OLED TV I’ve tried, but the 900-ish nits of brightness just can’t stand up to particularly bright rooms. That’s not unexpected, but one always lives in hope.

I also recently saw it side by side next to a Samsung OLED TV, which had much better motion and light control, with less banding obvious on colour transitions. Of course, Samsung OLED TVs are only 33% OLED pixels and 66% QLED, but it was hard to argue with that side-by-side comparison (under controlled conditions). I haven’t spent enough time with the Samsung OLED to have a full opinion on it, but it was an interesting side-by-side comparison that we don’t normally have access to.

One other thing: despite the LG C3’s overall excellent performance, you should still use a soundbar. Its built-in speakers are no match for a separate audio device.

Gaming performance

There is a reason why most gaming journalists swear by LG OLED TVs for reviews, and it’s because the gaming performance is excellent. You know that any problems like frame rate drops or screen tearing are on the side of the game and not the TV.

Here, the specs speak for themselves, with four HDMI 2.1 ports (required for current-gen consoles like PS5 and Xbox Series X), that support 4K 120Hz (ultra-high definition and 120 frames per second for smooth performance), variable refresh rate, as well as FreeSync Premium Pro and Nvidia G-Sync. This TV was made for gaming. Motion on the LG C3 was smoother than I’m used to, and playing games was gorgeous.

On Fortnite, everything looked good and smooth and I like to think those extra frames gave me a slight edge on the competition. They probably didn’t, but I did get three Victory Royales in one play session, which is unusual for me. On a more graphically complicated game like Horizon Forbidden West, the rendering was breathtaking. LG’s Game Dashboard is easy to read and use, with an indicator of the dynamic refresh rate and quick access to settings. It’s a TV designed with gamers in mind.

Who is the LG C3 OLED TV for?

While this is absolutely the brightest OLED TV I have ever reviewed, and it mostly held up in my extremely bright living room, I would still primarily recommend this LG C3 OLED to people who do not have very bright living rooms. If a bright, sunny window directly faces your TV, and you’re unlikely to close the curtains often, then this probably isn’t for you.

However, for everyone else, this TV is shockingly good for this price point. If you’re looking for an OLED TV and don’t want to spring for the G3, then this is a fantastic buy. As I said above, in a side-by-side comparison, the Samsung OLED did look a bit better than the LG C3. However, the Samsung OLED is roughly $800 more in the 55-inch and $1,000 more in the 65-inch, and you probably won’t be watching them side by side. Also, some people will prefer having pure OLED over Samsung’s mix of technologies.

With the C3, you’ll get the best experience for movies, sports and games available in this price range, and that’s hard to go past. You’d be hard-pressed to find another TV with the same level of light control and smooth motion without spending a lot more money.

The best TV for games, movies and sport in this price range, and the best pure OLED TV I’ve seen.
Value for money
Ease of use
Great picture
Smart interface has been improved
Great performance with video games
Built-in speakers suck
Could be better in brighter rooms