Technology seems to keep pushing the boundaries of what we thought was possible. It surprises us year after year, especially right now as far as TVs and Gaming displays are concerned. Hell, there’s even talk of incorporating gaming G-Sync into next years line up of televisions.
For now, we’re just going to focus on taking a look at OLED displays, namely the LG OLED C7, which we here at Final Boss believe is arguably the best OLED TV you can buy right now, especially in terms of bang for your buck performance.
In this review, I wanted to give you guys the lowdown. We’ll be taking a look at the pros/cons, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of potentially owning one of these new OLED displays. Of course, we’ll also delve into its gaming performance.
The OLED C7 TV is a newer version of last year’s C6 model. It delivers better brightness and light control than its predecessor. Improving massively upon last year’s high dynamic range performance, this time around the OLED hit the mark and really delivers on its class-leading dynamic range capabilities that OLED displays have become renowned for.
Unlike last year’s price points for an OLED TV, this model delivers a new display technology at a price that makes the OLED TV a financially viable option to most, and a cost-effective alternative to the top end LCD’s on the market. For this reason alone, the OLED C7 has to be, without a doubt, one of 2018’s must-have, most irresistible TV’s. This has also been reinforced in the sheer amount of press the OLED C7 received in the UK recently during The Black Friday and Christmas sales.
LG has also partnered up with Technicolor and the OLED C7, along with a few other select LG models, has been the beneficiary of a new Technicolor firmware focused update which allows you to select “Technicolor” as preset picture mode. The Technicolour picture mode can be enabled on both standard and HDR content, however, it is not present on Dolby Vision content as of yet. What this preset means is that you get an easily accessible picture mode where the colours have been tuned to Technicolor’s expert preferences.
You might be asking yourselves right now why you should even care about using this profile. What’s the deal behind Technicolor having their own picture mode anyways? Well.. For the uninitiated, Technicolor are a worldwide technology leader in the media and entertainment sector and have had input in delivering seller entertainment to us for years.
To name a few on the gaming front; The Call of Duty series and Resident Evil 7 spring to mind. As for movies and TV, there’s too many to list really, just know that these guys have likely worked on the majority of your favourite movies. The Technicolor name really is at the end of most credit sequences if you watch to the end of the film roll that is, so this is a big deal getting a custom profile from these guys in your TVs picture modes. Hats off to you LG this kind of free update and partnership hasn’t been done before.
OLED C7 – Pros & Cons
- Stunning contrast-rich pictures
- Sleek, ultra-thin design
- Excellent operating system
- Good value for money for OLED
- Occasional noise issues
- Lacks top-end brightness vs LCD
- Limited colour volume
- More expensive than a lot of LCDs
Now we have summarised the TV itself, let’s dive even further in and look at its most important aspects in more detail:
The OLED C7 does not use the unique ‘picture on glass’ technology that is sported by some of LG’s high-end TV sets, however it does give off that same aesthetic appearance as it has the narrowest of black bezels around the screen’s edge, which makes it look like it is worth every penny you’ve spent on it.
The TV comes with a gleaming, ultra-minimalist back veneer and a chassis that is just millimetres in size, which surely puts it amongst LG’s slimmest screens on offer.
Connectivity is covered with this model also, with four HDCP 2.2 HDMI inputs (all of which can handle 4K HDR signals at full bandwidth), three USB ports and both Wi-Fi and Ethernet network connectivity options, meaning it is well-stocked in the IO department to meet your requirements.
LG’s webOS 3.5 smart TV interface is graphically rich, straightforward and logical when it comes to usage. It is also quite easily customisable, easy to navigate, and adds to your overall experience and is considered by many to be the most user-friendly smart TV system currently available.
HD / SDR Performance
This model features improved HD upscaling and exemplary SDR playback, and this makes the OLED C7 model a superb option when it comes to performing well with ageing HD content that you want to upscale and bring back to life.
4K / HDR Performance
OLED technology allows each pixel to produce its own light and colour, independently of those around it which allows the screen to provide high dynamic range pictures. This model can deliver the deepest black colours alongside some of the brightest HDR whites and colours without any pollution or crossover, which provides it with a massive advantage over even some of the best LCD TV’s out there. But this accomplishment is aided massively in the technology advantage behind the OLED display technology itself over that of the ageing LCD display.
Let me break this down for those not in the know: even the most expensive LCD displays cannot produce true blacks. The reason behind this is simple, liquid crystal displays rely on a full backlit panel to produce an image, which means in every black scene what you’re actually seeing is a deep grey because black isn’t producible on a display that needs light to produce any colour. On an OLED display, the situation is very different, because the display is using individually lit organic light-emitting diodes (OLED), therefore the technology allows full control of each pixel. This, of course, will mean that in a black scene the pixel is simply switched off, resulting in truly striking blacks and contrasts between other colours on screen.
Dolby Vision Performance
There are a few minor issues with Dolby Vision content here and that’s why I’m breaking this into its own section. Due to the dynamic adjusting range channel that Dolby Vision uses to analyse and adapt to each frame on the screen, it can result in some black washouts. However, this issue can be reduced by knocking the TV’s brightness back five or six steps from its regular setting. When viewing Dolby Vision content, depending on its source and the picture mode you choose to watch in your screen, you can suffer from a low-level fizzing noise across dark parts of the image that contain a lot of intricate detail, or you’ll lose some of the extra dynamism that makes the HDR so strikingly visual.
Of note here, it is worth considering that there isn’t a great deal of readily available Dolby Vision content out there and, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading our guide to DV content here, but with that in mind when this colour garment content is more refined as time passes I believe many of these issues will be resolved.
Sound & Dolby Atmos
Although this TV set doesn’t have any visible speakers, the sound it produces certainly packs a respectable punch. This is likely helped by its support for the newer Dolby Atmos audio format. However, if you’re used to a soundbar or dedicated surround sound speakers, the Dolby Atmos supported speakers certainly won’t be your first choice for audio playback. Despite how good these speakers sound, they are no replacement for a dedicated sound system. Although, that being said, if you have neither you’re in for a real treat from these beauties!
The Dolby Atmos support is really what makes these speakers shine. Atmos is a format that projects sound upwards/downwards to give you the sense of a truly enveloping sound from all around you. You will need a serious sound system to give this any true cinematic merit, but these internal speakers do deliver a placement of overhead sound and decent vocal sound that tracks across the TV very well indeed.
Of note here: Internally the TV supports Dolby Atmos from its Netflix app, etc… but the OLED C7 also received a recent update that allows Atmos and from external HDMI input, such as an Xbox One S or Xbox One X. I can also confirm that both of these systems can pass Dolby Atmos content to this OLED TV, however, you will need to download the Dolby Atmos app on the Xbox storefront to enable Atmos playback. What this means is if you do want to hear the benefits that Atmos offers these speakers will deliver a great sense of what is actually possible, although does this more through clever sound processing than speakers actually placed above and around you.
Moving onto gaming, which for a lot of you will be a very important factor, as many of you will likely already own a console of some sort whether it be a PlayStation, Xbox, or something in between like the Nintendo Switch, everybody wants good performance from their TV when it comes to gaming.
Well, the good news for gamers out there is that an OLED TV provides that in spades, with a superb image quality preset for gaming. But it’s not all pretty pictures with this one either. The OLED C7 has an industry-leading low input lag of 21ms on its gaming mode setting, which really is a must for competitive players out there!
Other OLED TVs can have upwards of 36ms. I assure you, this is truly dreadful for any accurate responsive feedback from your joysticks, you’ll literally feel like the world is lagging around you.
OLED Display Panels
Unlike LCD panels, OLEDs also emit their light from the pixels themselves instead of using a backlight, which means there will be no flickering backlight, this helps ensure a consistently immersive gaming experience. OLED TV’s also switched colour many times faster than any LCD out there meaning that pixel response is extremely fast meaning that this is next to no motion blur at all.
Also, it is worth noting that OLEDs have superb viewing angles and this model is no different meaning that the colours and contrast aren’t going to look off if you’re at the side or on the far end of a room etc.
An additional HDR gaming note here: The TV uses a different picture preset under its HDR gaming mode and because games are optimised very differently to ensure the best HDR performance on a per-game basis. You’ll occasionally need to tweak some of the TVs picture quality settings. A top tip from us here is to do as much tweaking with the in-game graphical options as possible, as this will save you making multiple adjustments between games.
Ultimately, if you can live without the need for soundbar quality power from TV speakers and the newer “wallpaper-thin” design, then this TV is definitely a must-have. It’s certainly a cost-effective option, featuring the same display panel used in the more expensive high-end models from LG, and given its rich future-proofing feature set, it’s easy to see why this is a massive bargain.
Even with the small negatives, you have read about with us here at FinalBoss, this TV is definitely not to going to be sniffed at. Nothing is ever perfect, but this is potentially as close to it as you are going to get at the price point it is offered at.
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