LG's first 42-inch OLED TV is out now - but you shouldn't buy one yet

(Image credit: LG)

The LG C2 42-inch OLED TV is available to buy now, but a significant error means you shouldn't just yet. That's because the South Korean brand's bespoke panel type, OLED EX, hasn't shipped with the first batch of the 42-inch LG C2 model.

While it may be tempting to buy the brand new LG C2 right away, especially if you're after a smaller model, HDTVTest discovered that some TVs in the initial LG C2 batch instead come with the more common WBC OLED panel type, as used by LG's older OLED TVs.

The difference between WBC and OLED EX is quite significant. LG claims that its new OLED EX panels are 30% brighter on average. OLED EX is also less prone to dead pixels, features much thinner bezels and improved energy efficiency over WBC panels.

Considering the 42-inch LG C2 OLED costs $1,399 / £1,399 / about AU$1,833 (the TV is out now in the UK, while US buyers have to wait until May and we're waiting for official Australian pricing), a good deal more than many of the best LG TVs you can buy, we'd definitely suggest holding off until the company can guarantee its new TVs are fitted with the OLED EX panel.

How did this happen?

It seems like LG using more standard WBC panel tech over its bespoke OLED EX panels isn't a mistake, at least not according to the brand itself. LG had the following to say to South Korean site KBench

"LG explained that it is true that WBC and WBE are mixed in the 42-inch OLED TV Evo and that it is an unavoidable situation depending on LG Display’s panel supply situation. WBE panels will be applied sequentially after Q2."

Referring here to the LG C2, the brand explains that WBC panels were mixed in with its latest OLED EX panel tech not as a mistake, but due to supply issues which may have meant that LG wasn't able to produce the desired numbers of panels.

"After Q2" suggests that OLED EX panels won't be more readily available for a while yet. It also suggests we should expect them fitted to more 42-inch LG C2 models around Q3. In this case, it's possible we'll see OLED EX panels be more widely available between the months of July and September this year.

Still, we're a little concerned that LG hasn't been more open about the issue. If you've bought yourself a 42-inch LG C2 OLED TV, it's possible to have no idea that you might have a TV with an older WBC panel. The only way to know for sure is to check the service menu on your TV, and locate the 'OLED Cell Info' section which should tell you which panel type the TV has (thanks, WhatHiFi).

We've reached out to LG for additional comment on the issue and will update this article when we know more.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.