LG C3 vs LG C2: how do these OLED TVs compare?

The LG C3 is the latest addition to LG's hugely popular line-up of OLED TVs, set to launch in spring 2023. There’s always a great deal of interest surrounding the best OLED TVs, but anyone thinking of buying one will want to know how it compares to its 2022 predecessor, the LG C2. We’re here to find out which TV is better: the LG C3 OLED vs LG C2 OLED.

The C series is consistently LG's most popular range – we crowned the C2 as the best TV available for most people. That's why we're expecting great things from the LG C3, but that doesn't mean it's the obvious winner if you'll be buying during them time when both are available. When the LG C3 OLED lands, we expect it to cost more considering the LG C2 is already heavily discounted. What's more, LG’s latest OLED mid-range panel is bound to be lighter and feature better processing tech, but will those improvements justify an upgrade for owners of the C2, or even 2021’s LG C1 OLED

To help you decide which the best LG OLED is for you in 2023, in this guide we’re pitting the C3 and C2 against each other based on our early impressions so far. We have fully reviewed the C2, but we've only had a limited eyes-on session with the LG C3 so far, so take our comparisons with a grain of salt – but they're based on the facts we know about both models, and what we've been able to see. Below, we compare the two panels, covering price, performance, screen quality and more.

LG C3 vs C2: Prices and sizes

Unlike the face-off between the C2 and C1 in 2022, the sizes of the LG C3 and C2 lines are identical. We're also happy to see that, as well as another huge 83-inch option, the LG C3 OLED continues the welcome trend of offering a bedroom-friendly 42-inch set. That's in addition to 48-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch and 77-inch sizes.

We don't have pricing for the LG C3 yet, but we'd expect it to cost around the same as the LG C2 did at launch. Those prices are:

  • 42-inch OLED42C2 was $1,399 / £1,399 (about AU$1,800)
  • 48-inch OLED48C2 was $1,499 / £1,399 (about AU$1,960)
  • 55-inch OLED55C2 was $1,799 / £1,898 (about AU$2,350)
  • 65-inch OLED65C2 was $2,499 / £2,699 (about AU$3,270)
  • 77-inch OLED77C2 was $3,499 / £3,699 (about AU$4,590)
  • 83-inch OLED83C2 was $5,499 / £5,499 (about AU$7,200)

The LG C2 is now available for a lot cheaper, though – the 42-inch model is available for under $900 / £900 for example, while the 55-inch model is available for around $1,300 / £1,200.

The main headline here? For the time when both models are available, the LG C2 OLED is certainly to be considerably cheaper, and there may be further discounts still.

Regarding sizes, it’s worth noting that in both ranges, every model from 55 inches and above gets a brighter OLED Evo panel. The 42 and 48-inch models don’t benefit from the same brightness-bolstering tech.

The LG C2 OLED displaying a game and mounted to a wall

The LG C3 OLED might be here, but the C2 is still a fantastic TV and won TechRadar’s Best TV of 2022 award. (Image credit: Future/TechRadar)

LG C3 OLED vs C2 OLED: Features

The LG C3 OLED looks to be an incremental upgrade over last year’s C2, and a small one at that, based on the info we have about the TV. The C3 doesn’t offer a radical screen evolution over the C2, instead focusing on more advanced processing features and a sleeker smart TV system. 

If you’re an avid gamer, you’ll be pleased to know the C3 boasts four 4K/120Hz HDMI ports, just like the C2 series. In terms of gaming performance, the C3’s sub-10ms response time looks to be more or less identical to the C2 as well – so still lightning fast for PS5/Xbox Series X owners. 

The last trump card up the LG C3’s OLED sleeve over the C2? A new feature called Quick Media Switching VRR. For anyone who’s gone through the mild inconvenience of switching between inputs and then suddenly been met with a temporary black screen, this feature promises to eliminate this slight hiccup. 

Sure, it’s hardly a game-changer, but for anyone who regularly faces this stutter when switching between a console and say, an Apple TV 4K (2022), this added layer of friction-free transition will be welcome. In theory, it will also allow for streaming boxes like the Apple TV to switch between framerates (24fps for movies and 30fps for TV) seamlessly, though the Apple TV is the only model to claim to support this so far, so that's more of a hope for the future.

LG C3 OLED vs C2 OLED: Design

Thanks to a new composite fiber construction, we know the C3 will be lighter than the (already svelte) C2. But when it comes to other design changes between the C3 and C2, there are few major differences. 

We do know that the C3 continues the trend of razor-thin LG OLED bezels. But in terms of stands, we only saw the C3 hanging on a wall at CES 2023, so it’s tough to tell how these may differ from the stands of the C2 range. If last year’s C2 vs C1 fight is anything to go by, the C3’s stands will likely be lighter and smaller than those that came with the C2.

A picture of the LG C3 OLED displaying a cityscape.

The C3 OLED’s has a new algorithm that promises to help better distinguish between an image’s foreground and background. (Image credit: Future/TechRadar)

LG C3 OLED vs C2 OLED: Screen quality

The LG C3 OLED uses the same OLED Evo panel as the LG C2 OLED, so don’t expect a significant boost to brightness with the latest TV. In comparison, the C2 line-up was 20% brighter than its C1 predecessor (so the C3 will be 20% brighter than the C1 too). As for processing, the C3 boasts an upgraded Alpha a9 Gen6 chip, compared to the C2’s Alpha a9 Gen 5 processor, which should mean this year’s OLED range pushes the new panels that little bit extra.

LG’s most eagle-eyed fans should appreciate the C3 OLED’s new algorithm that promises to help distinguish between an image’s foreground and background, ramping up the perceived brightness in critical areas. As with all of LG’s latest OLED line-ups, those infinite blacks and impeccable contrast will remain in place, just as they were with the C2. Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos are supported, while LG’s typically excellent upscaling should ensure 1080p images still shine.

The C3’s more responsive homepage and improved, customization-friendly user profiles are a more significant difference between the two panels. When you first boot up the C3, the TV can guide you through a custom picture preset to ensure the default settings are to your tastes, if you want. It sounds like an intuitive upgrade that should cut down on a lot of picture preset faffing in the advanced settings menu. The new software also make it much easier to switch between settings if you want to.

LG C3 vs LG C2: Audio performance

In terms of audio, we’re looking at more or less the same speaker system between the two OLED ranges. The C3 still carries the C2’s 3.1.2 channel speaker with 40W output. Though the firm maintains the C3 offers “virtual 9.1.2 surround sound”, thanks to the panel’s AI Sound Pro tech, based on our experience the best soundbars will still comfortably run rings around the C3’s speakers – it's just that if you don't have one, the sound is better than on older models.

The C3 adds LG's new Wow Synergy tech, though: when used with a compatible soundbar, the TV will combine its speakers with the soundbars, rather than letting the soundbar take over, and will use the AI processor to optimally balance the two. These compatible soundbars will be made by LG, naturally.

The LG C2 OLED displaying an abstract blue flower design

If you're on a budget, the fantastic LG C2 OLED still makes the most sense.  (Image credit: Future/TechRadar)

LG C3 vs LG C2: Conclusion

Unlike last year’s rivalry between the LG C2 OLED and the LG C1 OLED, the C3 seems to offer fewer improvements over last year’s model. Of course, when we’re talking about our favorite TV of 2022, that’s hardly an insult. Feature-wise, the C3’s biggest draws so far seem to be a sleeker interface and interesting soundbar pairing options. 

Of course, the real test will be when we get our hands on LG’s latest panel for our definitive LG C3 review. Though the C2 and C1 were undeniably similar TVs, lengthy testing proved the former panel offered a significant brightness boost, alongside better screen uniformity, especially in near-white scenes – something hardcore gamers who’ve panned a camera across the skies of GTA 5 will attest to. 

Ultimately, this face-off is going to come down to your budget. If you’ve not upgraded your TV in a few years, the still excellent LG C2 will be all the 4K television you need in 2023. As for the C3, it currently looks like only the most dedicated of upgrade obsessives – who can’t resist buying the best of the best year on year – are going to be swayed by LG’s latest mid-range OLED panel if the old model is still available when you're looking.

Dave Meikleham

Dave is a freelancer who's been writing about tech and video games since 2006, with bylines across GamesRadar+, Total Film, PC Gamer, and Edge. He's been obsessed with all manner of AV equipment ever since his parents first bought him a hideously garish 13-inch CRT TV (complete with built-in VCR, no less) back in 1998. Over the years he’s owned more plasma and OLED TVs than he can count. On an average day, he spends 30% of his waking existence having mild panic attacks about vertical banding and dead pixels.