LG's 55-inch C7 OLED (OLED55C7P) is a premium OLED TV, but it's not the most premium model the company offers, or that we've reviewed. Sitting somewhere between the excellent LG E7 OLED — which was the best TV we saw in 2017 — and the entry-level LG B7 OLED (OLED55B7P), the C7 OLED is a very good 4K TV, with all the great performance you'd expect from an OLED display.
It's also more affordable than it's ever been. When it launched in the spring of 2017, the C7 OLED sold for a cool $2,999. Now, as we come up on the 2018 model year, that price has been nearly halved: The unit now sells for $1,699, making it one of the most affordable OLED TVs around.
LG 55-inch C7 OLED (OLED55C7P) Specs
|Screen Size||55 inch|
|Resolution||3840 x 2160|
|HDR||Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG, Technicolor HDR|
|Refresh Rate||120 Hz|
|Ports||HDMI 4, USB 3.0|
|Audio||2.2 channel with Dolby Atmos|
|Smart TV Software||webOS 3.5|
|Size||48.4 x 28 x 1.8 inches|
The C7 has a gorgeous design. The slim TV uses LG's display-on-glass technology, which cuts down the chassis thickness to a fraction of an inch. That ultrathin display panel is a trick that LCD TVs can't match, since it leverages the fact that OLED displays are self-illuminating, so there's no need for a backlight.
The display has no bezel surrounding it, though the bottom half of the set is thicker (1.8 inches) and houses the speakers, circuit boards and power supply that make up the internals of the set. All told, the TV measures 48.4 x 28.0 x 1.8 inches without the stand attached and will accommodate a 300 x 200-millimeter VESA mount.
The bottom half of the set is enclosed in white plastic, which is a nice change of pace from most TVs, which subscribe to the Henry Ford "any color, so long as it's black" school of thinking. The included stand is metal, rather than plastic, and has a nice brushed finish.
The stand attaches easily, and measures 22.7 inches wide and 8.7 inches deep, giving it a smaller footprint than many 55-inch sets. This is especially nice if you want to set the TV on a table or smaller entertainment center.
On the side of the LG C7, you will find three HDMI ports (including one with ARC) and a single USB 3.0 port.
On the back panel, however, you will find a fourth HDMI port, two additional USB 3.0 ports, an RF connector for antenna and cable connections, one composite video jack and an optical digital audio output for older surround-sound systems.
There's an Ethernet port for network connectivity, as well as 802.11ac.
That's a generous selection of ports and connections, but because some are on the back panel instead of the side of the TV, you might run into a problem when you're wall-mounting the set.
The C7 has a 55-inch OLED display panel, and boasts both 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution and support for multiple formats of HDR. While you can find support for HDR10 — the base standard for the format — on most 4K TVs these days, it also supports Dolby Vision, which is arguably the better version of high-dynamic range. It goes even further, once you've updated the firmware, adding support for Hybrid-Log Gamma (HLG), a new form of HDR for use on live broadcasts.
Compared to the Sony XBR-65X900E — a midrange 4K set with an LCD panel — the C7 OLED has superb black levels, displaying true blacks instead of the dark grays (called elevated blacks) that backlit displays generally offer. This was entirely expected — we've seen similar, perfect black levels on LGs other OLED displays, from the entry-level B7 to the premium E7.
While we anticipated the C7's inky blacks, shadowed and low-light areas came through brighter and clearer than expected. Given the crushed blacks we saw when viewing the similar LG B7 OLED, the clarity was a welcome improvement. Shots of Deadpool, with his red-and-black costume, looked crisp and could be easily discerned, whereas on the B7, some details were lost.
The LG C7 turned in a very good color-gamut score, with the display reproducing 99.9 percent of the Rec. 709 color space — close enough to 100 percent for our liking. Color accuracy is great, too. According to our X-Rite i1Pro spectrophotometer, the LG C7 OLED boasts a Delta-E rating of 2.3 (closer to zero is better). This is actually better than what the LG B7 OLED offered (3.45) as well as the Samsung MU7000 (2.4), though the Sony Bravia XBR-65X900E was just slightly better (2.1).
MORE: The Best 4K TVs of 2018
The actual viewing bore out the lab results. Colorful test samples popped with lifelike, rainbowed hues, whether it was an image of a brightly plumed macaw or the candy-colored robots of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
HDR performance was also very good, with bright spots appearing much brighter than those seen on competing LED sets. In a video of the Bellagio fountains, the brightly lit streams of water glowed a brilliant white; on other sets they were more yellow and not as bright.
The LG C7’s per-pixel illumination also means that there is no unwanted haloing when a bright object is shown on a dark background. In a scene from Arrival, when the human research team enters the alien craft through a long, cave-like shaft, the brightly lit end of the tunnel had none of the spillover lightning that you get on LCD sets. Even high-end LCD panels with full-array backlighting and local dimming — a lighting technology used to reduce such haloing — will still produce some noticeable overillumination. There is none of that on the C7's OLED panel — just bright lights and crisp darks.
Even on premium TVs, it's less common to hear the built-in speakers produce good audio. It's the reason we so often recommend that TV shoppers buy a soundbar — most TVs just don't have decent sound. Thankfully, the C7 is one of the few exceptions to this rule, offering decent sound clarity and volume.
MORE: Our Favorite Soundbars for Small and Big TVs
Equipped with a 2.2-channel speaker system, the set boasts a pair of 20-watt speakers as well as a 20-watt woofer. On top of that, LG has outfitted the TV with Dolby Atmos sound, making it one of the few TVs to offer the enhanced audio natively.
In the end, you may still want a soundbar, if only to take advantage of the full range offered by Dolby Atmos, but the quality of the built-in audio in the C7 is significantly better than the dreadful quality offered by most competitors.
Smart TV Features
The LG C7 OLED uses webOS 3.5, the same system we've praised in our reviews of the top-notch LG E7 OLED. On the software side, the two TVs are identical, and LG's proprietary interface is excellent. Navigation is straightforward, with a quick ribbon menu along the bottom of the screen for selecting apps and switching between video sources.
The app ecosystem is robust, with popular services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube preinstalled and support available for cord-cutter favorites like Sling TV.
MORE: Smart TVs: Everything You Need to Know
The accompanying LG TV Plus app makes it easy to also share content from your phone or tablet to the TV, or even use your mobile device as an alternative remote control.
The C7 comes with LG's Magic Remote, which combines conventional remote control design — you'll have all of the buttons you're used to, including numbers for entering channels — with smart TV navigation and even a point-and-click air mouse that lets you wave the remote at the TV like the controller from the Nintendo Wii.
The remote includes helpful navigation buttons for Home, Back and Settings, along with a directional pad and a clickable scroll wheel that doubles as the Enter button. It's all very easy to use, but LG goes even further with voice controls. Simply press and hold the mic button and speak into the remote to search for content or adjust settings.
There's a lot to love about the LG 55-inch C7 OLED. The OLED display looks superb, with great color quality, pristine black levels and excellent all-around performance. The sound quality is better than average, the smart TV features rank among the best and the design is simply beautiful. If you couldn't already tell, we recommend it to pretty much anyone looking to buy a premium 4K TV, especially those in the market for an OLED display.
If you prefer an LCD set, then the Sony XBR-65X900E is a capable alternative for $200 less, but you'll get some backlighting issues and more limited viewing angles.
At the original retail price of $2,999, this would have been an easy recommendation, based entirely on the rich feature set, excellent design and superb picture quality. It was a good buy then, but now it's a steal. The recent price drops have made the LG C7 OLED one of the best TV values to be found, and it gets a strong recommendation from us. This is an excellent premium OLED TV selling at midrange prices, and it will remain one of the best buys around until the new 2018 models come out.
Credit: Tom's Guide