LG C1 OLED vs. CX OLED: Which TV should you buy?

LG C1 OLED vs. CX OLED: Which TV should you buy?
(Image credit: LG)

Facing off the LG C1 OLED vs. LG CX OLED will let you see what’s different between the mainstream TV models. The LG CX is the best TV we tested last year, so we have high expectations for its successor, the LG C1 OLED.

The LG C1 OLED starts at the same price the LG CX OLED did when it first came out. Since then, the CX has received significant discounts. So while the CX isn’t worth replacing with the C1, you might be wondering if you should splurge on the company’s latest set or score the previous version on sale. 

Despite the closeness in naming, the LG C1 and LG CX have unique benefits. This LG C1 OLED vs. LG CX OLED face-off lays out whether one is better for you based on the upgrades included the LG 2021 OLED TVs

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Row 0 - Cell 0 LG C1 OLEDLG CX OLED
Price range $1,499 - $5,999 $1,499 - $3,299
Screen sizes 48”, 55”, 65”, 77” and 83” 48”, 55”, 65” and 77”
Resolution 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)
Supported formats Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
Refresh rate 120Hz 120Hz
Ports 4x HDMI 2.1 4x HDMI 2.1
Audio 2.2 channel sound 2.2 channel sound
Smart TV software webOS 6.0 webOS 5.0
Processor α9 Gen 4 AI Processor 4K α9 Gen 3 AI Processor 4K
Voice assistant ThinQ AI, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant ThinQ AI, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

LG C1 OLED vs. CX OLED: Price and size options

The price and size options for LG’s OLEDs are similar year-to-year. Neither set comes cheap, and you get the 48-inch version of both right now for $1,499. Last year’s model is more affordable for every larger size option, though.

The LG CX OLED is available in 48-, 55-, 65- and 77-inch sizes, while the C1 OLED is available in 48-, 55-, 65-, 75- and 83-inch sizes. If you’re certain you want a set over 80 inches, you’ll appreciate the C1’s newest size offering. If you’re unsure, our guide to what size TV size should you buy can help. Be sure to check out the best cheap TV deals for savings, too.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1 Row 0 - Cell 2
48-inch $1,499.99 $1,499.99
55-inch $1,799.99$1,399.99
65-inch $2,499.99$1,999.99
77-inch $3,799.99$3,299.99
83-inch $5,999.99N/A

LG C1 OLED vs. CX OLED: Design

The LG C1 and LG CX OLED are both sleek-looking, premium TVs. LG knows how make amazingly thin OLED panels — a distinctive feature of OLED TVs, but no less breath-taking when you see it in action.

LG C1 OLED vs. CX OLED: Which TV should you buy?

LG C1 OLED TV (Image credit: LG)

You probably couldn’t distinguish the C1 from the CX. They follow identical design languages, featuring a protruding component box in the back and a central, singular stand. Both can be wall-mounted, of course, but won’t sit flush against the wall like the LG GX OLED or new LG G1 Gallery Series OLED.

LG C1 OLED vs. CX OLED: Which TV should you buy?

LG CX OLED TV (Image credit: LG)

As for ports, both sets have 4 HDMI 2.1 inputs for pairing your entertainment peripherals, plus one HDMI with eARC/ARC support for setting up the best soundbars easily.

LG C1 OLED vs. CX OLED: Picture quality and performance

We use the Tom’s Guide TV testing protocol to determine the performance of every unit we review, so in the case of consistent top-shelf OLED models like LG’s C-series, we can recognize subtle picture differences or improvements.

OLED panels release light on a pixel-by-pixel basis, meaning power is only sent to the pixels that need it at any given time. The result is realistic, deep blacks in the parts of a picture that are truly black. In our experience, both in the lab and anecdotal, LG CX OLED is especially capable of delivering high levels of contrast thanks to the lack of leaky backlights.

We expect the LG C1 to provide a similarly impressive experience, although we’ll need to test it to see how it compares to its predecessor. The only benchmark we think LG could improve over similarly-priced OLEDs from competitors is its delta-E score, or color accuracy. We’d obviously welcome across-the-board performance upgrades since the C1 is a newer set, though.

LG C1 OLED vs. CX OLED: Which TV should you buy?

LG C1 OLED TV sizes (Image credit: LG)

Like the CX, the C1 OLED supports Dolby Vision IQ. But the C1’s α9 Gen 4 AI-enhanced processor claims to have better upscaling of non-4K content, which is worth considering since a decent chunk of content still doesn’t arrive in native 4K. 

The C1 also gets the familiar 4K 120 Hz gaming, variable refresh rates and an auto-low latency gaming mode that limits input lag and should give you an extremely responsive experience. However, unlike the CX, the C1’s Game Optimizer gathers all the gaming settings in a single interface, so you can easily tweak options on a game-to-game basis.

LG C1 OLED vs. CX OLED: Audio

The audio upgrades you can expect from the LG C1 OLED come from the α9 Gen 4 processor. Both sets employ a pair of downward-firing speakers and two woofers, providing 40 Watts total of sonic power. But the LG C1 claims to use its AI for creating more immersive audio experiences by better recognizing the kind of audio content playing.

LG C1 OLED vs. CX OLED: Interface and smart features

Instead of implementing a third-party smart TV platform like Roku TV or Android TV, LG uses a proprietary interface, along with its Magic Remote, which received an update this year with NFC abilities and several dedicated launch buttons.

LG webOS has long been a capable smart tv platform that gives you access to your favorite streaming services, whether you want to watch Disney Plus with the family, catch Thursday Night Football on Prime Video or have cut the cord with Sling TV. There are a number of music channels at your disposal on the OS as well.

Both LG OLEDs support Alexa and Google Assistant on-board for giving voice commands, whether they relate to TV content or smart home control. If you’re smart home savvy, you can’t go wrong with either of these TVs. 

LG C1 OLED vs. CX OLED: Which TV should you buy?

LG webOS 6.0 (Image credit: LG)

That said, the LG C1 OLED has a newer version of webOS (webOS 6.0) with a hub-like navigation system, replacing the minimalist tiles the CX interface features in an unobtrusive bottom row. I would take a look at images of both webOS 5.0 and webOS 6.0 to see if there’s one set up you prefer, visually, over the other. 

LG C1 OLED vs. CX OLED: Which TV should you buy?

LG webOS 5.0 (Image credit: LG)

LG C1 OLED vs. CX OLED: Which should you buy?

If you’ve found yourself choosing between the LG C1 OLED vs. LG CX OLED you’re in a great position. Both sets are among the best you’ll find right now, even if one is more than a year old. 

But the LG C1 introduces a fresher processor, promising faster performance, AI-enabled upgrades and an all-new look for its interface. Unless you strongly favor the older OS, the C1 is a worthy CX successor and should be the OLED TV you buy. Even more so if you’re ready for a massive 83-inch screen, which isn’t an available CX configuration. 

That said, the LG CX OLED’s lower price makes it a reasonable purchase if you want OLED’s inky blacks on a budget. 

Which TV should you buy? See how our favorite TVs stack up in our collection of TV face offs:

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.