LG C2 vs A2 OLED TV: I tried both, and here’s the one you should buy

LG OLED TV in a living room with furniture and a guitar
(Image credit: LG)

LG is a company that has closely aligned itself with OLED technology and is the primary maker of the OLED display panels used in TVs. As a result, when most people think of the flat-panel tech, the first name that pops to mind is LG, even though Sony, Panasonic, Vizio, Philips, and now Samsung all sell OLED sets. 

LG’s OLED expertise has managed to place its models at the top of our list of the best 4K TVs, a ranking it has held for several years running.

There are four different series of LG 4K OLED TVs for 2022, ranging from the high-end G2 “Gallery” models to the entry-level A2 ones. In between, you’ll find the mid-range B2 and C2 series, the latter standing out as the best TV for most people in our guide.

The C2 series rightly ranks at the top owing to its combination of stellar performance, useful features, and good value. Even so, it’s challenged by the company’s budget A2 OLEDs, which also provide very good performance, especially for the price. I’ve reviewed the A2 series model, and have also had hands-on quality time with the C2 at LG’s US headquarters in New Jersey.

Which LG OLED TV, the C2 or the A2, is the best choice for you? To answer that, we’ll first need to take a close look at what each series offers, and whether or not its feature set will meet your specific needs.

LG C2 OLED TV with colors on screen

(Image credit: LG)

LG C2 series: best for gaming and all-around use

The C2 series OLEDs come in the widest range of screen sizes,with 42-, 48-, 55-, 65-, 77-, and 83-inch options available. 

All C2 sets with the exception of the 42-inch model feature the company’s OLED Evo panel, a tech advancement shared with the flagship G2 series that delivers improved peak brightness over the company’s previous sets. Another key picture-improving feature is the Alpha a9 Gen 5 processor, which works to deliver dynamic tone mapping for HDR programs so they’ll look their best on the C2.

One more HDR-related C2 feature is Dolby Vision IQ, which adapts the look of programs with Dolby Vision HDR to your room’s ambient lighting level. The C2 series also supports HGiG (HDR Gaming Interest Group), a feature that enables your console to determine the tone mapping for HDR games rather than the TV.

With 4 HDMI 2.1 ports that all support 4K 120Hz video input (along with games with Dolby Vision HDR at that frame rate) as well as VRR and ALLM, the C2 series sets are exceptionally gaming-friendly TVs. Both FreeSync and G-sync are also supported for PC gaming, and the series’ 42-inch model is small enough to even be used on a desktop. 

LG’s C2 series TVs feature the company’s new Web OS 22 smart interface for browsing apps and streaming, and you can also wirelessly cast programs from a phone or tablet via Apple’s AirPlay 2. And if you’re deep into the Apple-verse, HomeKit, Apple’s smart home protocol, is also supported, allowing to control HomeKit-enabled devices from the TV. Lastly, both Google and Alexa voice assistants are onboard for voice-activated command and control.

LG A2 OLED TV with landscape on screen

LG's A2 series OLED TVs offer good brightness, but are bested by the C2 series on that front. (Image credit: Future)

LG A2 series: best for movie fans on a budget

The A2 series is LG’s entry-level 2022 OLED line and comes in a more limited range of screen sizes, with just 48-, 55-, 65-, and 77-inch options available. A2 series TVs lack the new OLED Evo display panel found in the C2 series, and for that reason they have lower peak brightness capability.

LG reserves its new HDR-enhancing Alpha a9 Gen 5 processor for the C2 and G2 series models, with the A2 series instead getting the α7 Gen 5 AI processor first introduced in the company’s 2021 TVs. But this version still provides dynamic tone mapping among other picture quality-enhancing features. The A2 series also has Dolby Vision IQ plus a Filmmaker mode (something found in C2 series TVs as well) that gives you accurate-looking images without having to fuss extensively with picture adjustments.

A big difference between LG’s entry-level OLEDs and the C2 models is the lack of HDMI 2.1 ports on the A2 series. That means there’s no support for 120Hz video input from next-gen gaming consoles, and there’s also no VRR, G-Sync, or FreeSync. 

That’s not to say the A2 series is completely devoid of gaming-related features: both ALLM and HGiG are onboard, and the set has the same Game Optimizer mode as the C2 series models along with a Game Dashboard menu that provides quick access to related settings. Also, the 55-inch A2-series TV we reviewed had a measured 10ms input lag in Game mode – an excellent result.

What else does does LG’s A2 series offer? As with the C2 series, you get the Web OS 22 smart interface and AirPlay 2 wireless streaming support along with other smart features like HomeKit and Google and Alexa voice assistants. But perhaps the A2’s biggest attraction is its value,with the 55- and 48-inch models typically selling for under $1,000 / £900 / AU$1,600.

Which LG OLED TV should you buy, the C2 or A2? 

Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks. Having spent time with both the C2 and A2, I can recommend both OLED TVs, though there are key differences that make each one better-suited for different purposes. 

With its high light output (for an OLED), the C2 series models are a better option for daytime viewing or for watching in rooms where lamps or overhead lights are turned on. They will also look great when watching movies in dark rooms, but it’s really the C2’s ability to perform well in various lighting conditions that gives it a strong advantage over the A2.

The range of gaming-related features that C2 sets pack also makes them a superior choice for anyone wanting to use them with a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X console. Not that games won’t look good on an A2 OLED; it’s just that you’ll experience smoother-looking motion on the C2 with its 120Hz display and VRR capabilities.

As for the A2, depending on how you’ve adjusted the picture settings, you can expect 25-50 percent less peak brightness compared with the C2 series. However, if you’re a movie fan who prefers to watch with the lights dimmed, that won’t be a big issue. Also, the strong contrast, excellent DCI-P3 color space coverage, and dynamic HDR tone mapping that A2 series sets provide means that discs and streams alike can look nearly as good on the A2 as on the more expensive C2.

To wrap up, if you plan to do at least some viewing in a bright room, play games with a next-gen console, and have money saved to pay for a premium OLED model, LG’s C2 series is the TV for you. But if you’re mainly a movie buff who likes to watch in a dim, cinema-like setting, you’ll save money on, and most likely be just as happy with, an A2 series set.

To explore other great OLED TV options, check out our guide to the best OLED TVs

Not sure whether to buy now or wait until Black Friday? Check out our guide to the best Black Friday TV deals 2022

Al Griffin
Senior Editor Home Entertainment, US

Al Griffin has been writing about and reviewing A/V tech since the days LaserDiscs roamed the earth, and was previously the editor of Sound & Vision magazine. 

When not reviewing the latest and greatest gear or watching movies at home, he can usually be found out and about on a bike.