Today's TVs are more than just a pretty picture. Cutting-edge sets also strive for a superior overall aesthetic and to achieve a certain level of feng shui. That is definitely the case in this battle of the LG OLEDs, the newer 2021 LG C1 OLED vs the 2020 LG GX OLED. Seen in the LG 2021 TV lineup and our LG GX OLED TV review, the two are most easily distinguished by their physical designs, with the LG C1 OLED made for table top setups and the LG GX OLED offering a sleek wall-mounted design.
Both the LG C1 and LG GX deliver stunning 4K pictures. And both OLED series command a premium price for that picture quality. But the LG C1 is an update of the company's CX model, boasting a more sophisticated (and one would hope) smarter video processor. It still doesn't have the straight-backed, svelte form of the GX, however, which has also been seriously discounted recently. Here's a rundown of the LG faceoff and who comes out ahead.
- The best OLED TVs you can buy
- Questions answered: What size TV should you buy?
- Amazon Prime Day deals 2021 — date and what to expect
LG C1 OLED vs. LG GX OLED: Specs
|Header Cell - Column 0||LG C1 OLED||LG GX OLED|
|Screen sizes||48, 55, 65, 77, 83 inches||55, 65, 77 inches|
|Resolution||4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160)||4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160)|
|HDR||Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10, and HLG||Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10, and HLG|
|Ports||4x HDMI 2.1||4x HDMI 2.1|
|Audio||2.2 channel sound||4.2 channel sound|
|Smart TV software||webOS 6||webOS 5|
|Voice interaction||Mic in remote||Mic in remote, TV|
|Smart assistant||LG ThinQ AI (built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant)||LG ThinQ AI (built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant)|
|Processor||Alpha9 Gen 4 AI 4K processor||Alpha9 Gen 3 AI 4K processor|
LG C1 OLED vs LG GX OLED: Price and size options
The LG C1 series is intended for those who want the best TV picture possible and are willing to pay for it. It comes in a standard design with a single wedge tabletop stand and the option of being wall mounted. There are a wide range of sizes to accommodate everyone from apartment dwellers to suburbanites decking out a home theater.
The smallest size is a 48-inch set for $1,499. Models in the popular 55- and 65-inch formats are $1,799 and $2,499, respectively. For a bigger splash, there's a 77-inch LG C1 for $3,799. The LG C1 also comes in a Godzilla-sized 83-inch model for $5,999.
The LG GX is intended for those with more refined tastes – and the budget to match. It comes in fewer size options than the LG C1, with just three models, the 55-, 65-, and 77-inch sets.
The top 77-inch LG GX costs $3,499, which is a deal considering it's roughly $2,500 off its original price and $300 less than the same sized LG C1. The 55- and 65-inch LG GXs are $1,699 and $2,299 respectively.
Even with the lower GX pricing, we have to give the edge to the LG C1 line. It has more size options, including the gargantuan 83-incher. But if it's a question of price, the LG GX OLED gives you a premium OLED TV for a little less money.
Winner: LG C1 OLED
LG C1 OLED vs LG GX OLED: Performance
OLED or organic light-emitting diode TVs are still the state-of-the-art in consumer sets (at least until microLEDs become practical – see Micro-LED vs. OLED TV: Which TV tech will win?). They don't require a separate back light source to illuminate the picture; each pixel lights up on its own. So you get deep midnight blacks and an intensity of colors simply not possible in LCD sets with quantum dot displays.
So both the LG C1 and LG GX offer great picture performance, with accurate colors and a sharpness and crispness that's a match for any 4K video source. While we don't have recent test results on the LG C1, we obtained excellent results in last year's LG GX OLED review. It delivered very accurate color with a Delta-E score of 1.73. Any result of 2.0 or lower is good with the lower scores being better. For the previous generation CX we received a Delta-E of 1.95, so expect similar results with the 2021 LG C1 OLED.
The GX also displayed one of the widest color gamuts we’ve ever measured delivering 134.42 percent of the standard Rec. 709 color space (even Sony's OLED, the Bravia A8H OLED, only produced 108.94 percent of the same color space). Again, you should expect the same from the LG CX1.
Both sets also offer the best off-axis viewing available in any kind of TV. That means you can be sitting on the end of the couch or standing off in the side of the room and still see a bright, vibrant picture with little loss of visible brightness or color saturation. Just try that with an LCD set.
Both sets also feature support for 4K de facto standards like Dolby Vision IQ and Filmmaker mode, which displays movies sans video effects, just as the directors intended. The essential difference here is behind the scenes in the use of the new Alpha9 processor. The LG C1 uses the new Gen 4 version of the processor, while the GX uses the previous Gen 3.
According to LG, the new alpha9 Gen 4 processor does a better job recognizing certain objects, like faces, within scenes to sharpen images accordingly. Whether this is a benefit or not depends on how much of a purist you are when it comes to presenting content. Furthermore, LG has demonstrated improved upscaling with the Gen 4 processor, a distinct benefit since the majority of available programming is not in 4K and so it's a feature that gives the C1 a slight edge.
Winner: LG C1 OLED
LG C1 OLED vs LG GX OLED: Design
The most salient difference between the LG C1 and the LG GX is in their overall design. While the C1 is intended to suit a variety of situations including tabletop placement using the supplied legs, the GX is made specifically for a wall hanging installation; it comes with a proprietary wall bracket and doesn't even include a stand in the box.
The G in the GX stands for Gallery. The idea is that these sets should be hung like artwork on your wall. While most OLED TVs feature an ultra thin display with a protruding component box, the GX sports a uniform 20 mm thick chassis with a recessed mount and input panels for concealing cables without disrupting the flush mounting. The result is a TV that can mount flush against the wall without having to pay for a custom installation.
Hiding the cables is another issue. If you're fine with exposed cables, you can use a simple raceway cable concealer, which tucks the power and HDMI cables behind a neutral colored molding that hangs down from the TV. But if you want a seamless setup with no visible cables, you'll still need to call a professional to run power and AV cables behind the drywall and install an additional recessed box.
Winner: LG GX OLED
LG C1 OLED vs. LG GX OLED: Gaming
While gamers can find similar features in other sets, LG has definitely improved the responsiveness of these OLED sets. In auto low latency mode, the GX had an image lag time of just 14.9 milliseconds. We consider anything below 17 ms to be good, so gamers shouldn’t be disappointed.
Both models also feature HDMI 2.1 ports. So these sets can handle the faster 120 Hz 4K frame rate that’s available from the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Couple that with Nvidia G-Sync compatibility and gamers can expect smooth, jitter-free performance from both models. And for games that support it, LG also includes support for HGiG for more color-intense HDR gaming.
Because it uses the newer webOS 6.0, the LG C1 OLED does include a menu of gaming-related settings that can be tweaked to your liking, letting you adjust the blue light levels and turn features like variable refresh rates (VRR) and FreeSync on or off. It's a neat addition, but not one we consider a must-have.
Winner: A tie
LG C1 OLED vs LG GX OLED: Verdict
Even for perfectionists looking for the perfect picture, choosing between the LG C1 OLED and the LG GX OLED isn't easy. Both offer drop-dead gorgeous images and many of the price differences at this income level aren't likely to sway buyers one way or the other.
Ultimately, it comes down to wanting to have the latest video processor and a variety of screen sizes to choose from. On both of those scores, the newer LG C1 OLED wins.
Which TV should you buy? See how our favorite TVs stack up in our collection of TV face offs: