I just saw the LG C3 and LG G3 OLED TVs up close — here’s which one I would buy

(Image credit: Future)

As a TV reviewer, two of the products I’m most excited to test every year are LG’s C-series and G-series OLED TVs. I look forward to advising interested shoppers about whether an LG OLED TV is right for them, and if so, which one.

Usually, the C-series ranks as our favorite here at Tom’s Guide, striking the ultimate balance of form and function for a fair price. The LG C2 OLED TV was so good that several of my colleagues bought it for themselves when the set went on sale. 

That’s not to say the LG G2 OLED TV was anything short of excellent. In fact, it shined as the brightest OLED LG TV yet thanks to a new heat dissipation system that allowed the self-emissive pixels to output a brighter picture without causing burn-in or image sticking. But when you compared the prices, size options and breadth of features between the LG C2 vs LG G2 OLED TVs, the C2 emerged as the best value. 

I think that the LG 2023 TV lineup could be different, though. Ahead of the LG G3 OLED TV and LG C3 OLED TV becoming available this month, I took a close-up look at the incoming upgrades for both sets. And I suspect that the G3 will be the one to buy this year.

Of course, I must clarify that I'm not giving either TV an official endorsement. We haven't run our benchmarks on this year's LG OLED TVs yet, so I can't yet determine the impact of the upgrades. I also need to spend several hours watching a variety of content before deciding which is the best TV between the two.

The LG G3 OLED TV shines bright

The LG G3 OLED TV features a new micro lenses that dramatically increase not just luminance, but picture uniformity. When I observed a blank white screen on the LG G3 off-angle, neither overall brightness nor color volume suffered. On last year’s LG G2, the same picture lost luminance off-angle, and some areas of white turned a very subtle gray. I probably wouldn’t have had a problem with the G2’s off-angle viewing had I not seen the improvements side-by-side with the G3.

Meanwhile, the LG C3 OLED TV didn’t receive any physical performance upgrades as far as picture quality is concerned.

Meanwhile, the LG C3 OLED TV didn’t receive any physical performance upgrades as far as picture quality is concerned. Like the G3, the C3 is powered by the Alpha 9 Gen 6 processor, so it’s certainly possible we’ll see AI-based improvements for casual viewing. Plus the new personalized picture wizard in Web OS 23 (the latest version of LG’s TV software) automatically tailors the image to a user’s preferences. Still, there’s not much to say about the upgrades between the LG C3 OLED vs LG C2 OLED.

It was difficult to distinguish for myself in the demo, but the C3 could also suffer from the same glare my colleague found to be an issue with the LG C2 OLED. Meanwhile, the G3 has what LG calls "Super Anti Reflective technology," promising to reduce light glare and other annoying reflections. Again, this is something I'll have to look for during in-depth testing. 

Should you buy the LG G3 OLED or C3 OLED?

The LG C3 OLED at CES 2023.

The LG C3 OLED TV (Image credit: Future)

If you're in the market for a new LG OLED TV in 2023, and happen to see the LG C3 vs. LG G3 OLED side-by-side, you'll have a hard time pulling your eyes away from the G3. I will once again advise waiting for a full LG G3 OLED TV review; but, if you simply cannot wait a few weeks and have the budget, I think you'll be blown away by the G3.

Actually having the budget could be difficult — the LG G3 OLED TV is more expensive than last year's G2, starting at $2,499 for the 55-inch model. That will make it one of the most expensive TVs we test in 2023, hands down. For premium features, you'll have to pay a premium price.

That said, if spending less is your priority, and you don't mind getting a TV that's a year old, you can find some cheap TV deals on both the C2 and G2 right now. 

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. 

  • KCCat
    I have a G2. The picture quality is amazing. But I wish I hadn't bought it, and I advise everyone avoid LG TVs. Because LG tries hard to invade your privacy.
    Read the license agreements for things like "Voice Control"; they allow LG to send audio from everything you watch, even on e.g. a Roku, and from your room from the microphone, even if you're not talking to the TV.
    And their rights on what they can do with that is extremely broad.

    No worries, you think, just don't agree. Well, it's not that easy. They have a brutal pop-up that will regularly present over your content, telling you that you need to agree to be able to use this feature you don't even want. It's changed a few times in the last eight months, but is still there.

    Okay, you think, I'll just disconnect from the internet. Nope. An entirely different message regularly pops up telling you that a bunch of advanced features won't work without the internet.

    I spoke to LG support about this last August. They're aware, but there's no way to disable any of this. All you can do is Accept the agreements and then turn the features off... which still gives them the right to record and forward all your data.

    Pretty bad. There are a bunch of posts from a bunch of people about this on Reddit.
  • Tanquen
    Just remember the extra brightness the G3 has is not really needed. Even a four year old C9 has enough brightness for HDR and standard content. The only time you'll see the extra brightness of the G3 is if you like vivid mode or artificial modes like dynamic contrast that pump up the brightness of certain things beyond what's requested from the material.