LG 42-inch C2 (OLED42C2) 4K OLED TV Review

Great things come in small packages

by Phil Hinton
MSRP: £1,399.98
9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

LG 42-inch C2 (OLED42C2) 4K OLED TV Review

The LG 42-inch C2 is probably the best small-screen TV on the market for picture quality and features in 2022. If you want pixel-perfect black levels, stunning dynamic range with HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) High Dynamic Range formats, including Dolby Vision IQ, plus excellent smart TV from WebOS and the most comprehensive gaming support, there is nothing that comes close to the 42-inch LG C2 (apart from its larger siblings). It’s an amazing package that includes almost everything a modern TV needs to offer and it does so in a well-designed package. Not only can it act as a great all round TV, but it can also be used as a monitor for gaming, video editing and general PC and Mac tasks as well. Given all of those positives and very few negatives, we give the LG 42-inch C2 a Best Buy badge!

The Good

  • Superb video processing from the a9 Gen5 AI processor
  • Excellent SDR & HDR image accuracy
  • Superb gaming features and four HDMI 2.1 (48Gbps) ports
  • Excellent WebOS 22
  • Excellent new design and materials

The not so good

  • No HDR10+
  • No DTS audio support

What Is the LG 42-inch C2?

The LG 42-inch C2 is the company’s smallest screen size OLED and is new for 2022. It offers almost all of the same features as its larger siblings but lacks the brightness boost processing (as does the 48-inch) and uses slightly older generation OLED panels in the initial run out for 2022. Everything else is the same as the larger screen-sized models and, as such, our review will mirror those findings with a few differences added in relation to the screen size and uses for the 42-inch.

You get the latest α9 Gen5 AI processor which brings much-improved speed and stability to the WebOS 22 smart TV system and OS, along with enhanced video processing capabilities that add better just above black detail retrieval, motion performance and improved upscaling.

The C2 range includes 42-, 48-, 55-, 65-, 77- and 83-inch screen sizes.

The 42-inch we are reviewing here can be used in a variety of roles, not just your main TV, but it is also being pitched as an accurate monitor for video editing use as well as a gaming monitor for PC and console gaming on a desktop. The design is clever and features two small feet at the panel edges which lifts the panel enough to fit a soundbar or keyboard underneath.

... you don’t get the full benefit of the incredibly thin OLED panel.

The new α9 Gen 5 AI processor introduces a new level of Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro which this year assesses over 5000 areas of the image to determine how to apply the tone map to content. It is very clever real-time processing which certainly does have an immediate effect on the HDR10 picture quality; this is not accurate to the creator's intent, but it is effective and will win many fans. Purists can of course switch it off and it is not available with Dolby Vision content for obvious reasons.

Just like the 2022 G2 we reviewed recently, the 42C2 supports all relevant HDR formats including HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), Dolby Vision and Dolby Vision IQ with the new Precision Detail technology from the processor. There is no support for HDR10+, but as content is thin on the ground, you are perfectly well covered by the C2 for HDR material.

Find out more:

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70

What is Dolby Vision?

What is Dolby Vision?

by Steve Withers ·
Dolby Vision has been getting a lot of attention recently, with many claiming it's the superior HDR format. But what is Dolby Vision, how does it work and is it really better than HDR10?  
TV Article

20

What is Dolby Vision IQ?

What is Dolby Vision IQ?

by Steve Withers ·
Dolby Vision IQ is the latest feature added to the company's dynamic metadata HDR format that now works in conjunction with a sensor in the TV, adjusting the tone mapping for the ambient light in the room.  

The 42C2 will also appeal to gamers with four full-fat HDMI 2.1 inputs at 48Gbps. There is also support for 4K/120, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Nvidia G-Sync and AMD Freesync, along with ALLM (Automatic Low Latency Mode), plus there is the game optimiser menu and features bar which should give you complete control over your gaming experience. Input lag also measures in at 12.9ms with 4K/60, and 9.2ms when using the Input Delay Boost option. You can half these figures when feeding the panel a 120Hz signal. The 42C2, like all LG OLEDs, is an excellent option for gamers.

So how does the smallest ever OLED screen size measure up? Let’s find out…

AVForums Podcast: LG OLED42C2 Review

Design, Connections and Control

The 42C2 has a unique design for the smaller screen size and unlike larger panels which are incredibly thin for most of the rear panel with a smaller raised area for the connections, electronics and speakers, the 42-inch C2 is mainly just this raised area to the rear, which only an inch or so or thin edge, so you don’t get the full benefit of the incredibly thin OLED panel.

LG OLED42C2

The construction of the 42-inch C2 is sturdy and very lightweight due to the new materials being used to keep transport costs down to help save the environment. It’s all plastic, but with a high enough quality feel that it doesn’t strike you as being a downgrade in build quality. The feet stands are plastic affairs that slot into position at each end of the panel and are then screwed secure. They are effective and raise the panel enough so it can be used as a TV with a soundbar, or as a desktop monitor with room for a keyboard underneath.

LG OLED42C2

The connections are placed to the side and consist of three USB ports, a headphone jack, four HDMI 2.1 48Gbps slots, a LAN and digital audio output, an RF and Satellite antenna and an IR blaster. The remote is the same magic remote used on recent LG TVs with a nice selection of keys and made from black plastic. It sits neatly in the hand and is easy to use, with the now standard magic pointer function included.

Measurements

Out of the Box

As we do with all TV reviews, we factory reset and then we measured the out-of-the-box presets to find the one closest to the industry standards so we can view the content as it was mastered and intended to be seen. With the LG C2, that preset was Filmmaker Mode which tracks D65 white, Rec.709 for HD and Gamma BT.1886 for SDR and ST.2084 PQ EOTF, D65 White and DCI-P3 for HDR10. You could also use the two ISF Expert Modes, but remember that only Filmmaker Mode switches off all unwanted processing. You will need to manually switch off items in the ISF modes.

TV Article

25

What is Filmmaker Mode?

What is Filmmaker Mode?

by AVForums ·
The Filmmaker Mode is an initiative involving the Ultra HD Alliance, Hollywood studios and TV manufacturers that lets consumers watch content as the director intended using one simple picture setting.  

We use Calman colour calibration software, a Murideo Seven Generator and a Klein K-10A meter for measurement and calibration.

LG OLED42C2

Filmmaker Mode once again proves it is possible to get good accuracy to the industry standards out of the box. Here on the 42-inch C2, we have a good track with just a slight dip in red energy, with our DeltaE errors just under three, which is the visible threshold. There are no visible errors seen with TV and film content viewed on this TV. The gamma tracking is also good.

LG OLED42C2

Moving to the Rec.709 HD colour gamut results, we can see that Filmmaker Mode is again nicely accurate with just a slight pull of white towards cyan, but nothing that is visible with actual TV and film content we viewed.

Calibrated

The LG C2, like all LG OLED sets, has a full suite of calibration controls available within the menu system as well as being able to use the Calman AutoCal system. We did an Autocal calibration in the ISF Expert Dark mode.

LG OLED42C2

As you can see, we achieved reference level results from the 42-inch C2 with an Autocal. The greyscale tracking is perfect, with DeltaE errors under 0.5, which is well below the visible threshold of three. Gamma is also tracking perfectly to the 2.4 standard.

LG OLED42C2

The Rec.709 HD colour gamut results are also reference level with no visible errors seen at all and the DelteE average is 0.3, which is outstanding. The C2 calibrates to reference levels without any visible issues or errors.

HDR Results

As we always do with HDR testing, we measured various window sizes and the peak brightness available from the LG C2, though it should be noted that there is far more to a good HDR image than just the peak brightness. Our eyes are no good at picking up differences between peak brightness levels, so to your eye, you will not perceive a difference between 800 nits and 900 nits in isolation. There will be variance in the figures posted by different reviews, but just remember that a difference of 900 nits to 980 nits, for example, is just not going to be visible on its own, so don’t get fixated on these results, you need the full picture of what is going on, (pun intended).

LG OLED42C2

In the most accurate Filmmaker mode in HDR10 the LG 42C2 measures in at 655 nits on an industry-standard 10% window and on full-screen measures in at 111 nits. We expected the results to be around these levels given the new screen size and the fact that this is an older generation of the panel, compared to the other 2022 C2 models. The results are not bad in any way and show good consistency with decent HDR tone mapping.

LG OLED42C2

The PQ EOTF results are also very good with decent tracking of the required standard in 1000 nits mastered content with a hard clip close to the peak brightness of the panel.

LG OLED42C2

With 4000 nits mastered content, there is a slightly different roll-off from the standard until the clip at the peak brightness, reserving as much highlight detail as possible and well tone mapped to achieve this. These measurements are with the dynamic tone mapping switched off.

LG OLED42C2

Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) coverage is also very good when it comes to saturation tracking with the 42C2. Correct colour saturation is displayed by the LG with no real issues presented. Obviously being a WRGB OLED there is a lack of colour volume as with most panels of this type, but it is not something that impacts the majority of HDR content viewed.

LG OLED42C2

We measured BT.2020 coverage at 70% XY and 73% UV with P3 coverage coming in at 96% XY and 98% UV.

LG OLED42C2

Find out more:

Home AV Article

45

What is Wide Colour Gamut (WCG)?

What is Wide Colour Gamut (WCG)?

by Steve Withers ·
You've probably heard about wide colour gamuts, DCI-P3 and Rec.2020 but what exactly are they? In this article we explain all these terms and more.  
TV Article

7

What is 4K HDR Tone Mapping?

What is 4K HDR Tone Mapping?

by Steve Withers ·
What is tone mapping, how does it work and how does it relate to 4K HDR? In this article we answer all these questions and more.  
TV Article

3

What is 4K HDR Colour Volume?

What is 4K HDR Colour Volume?

by Steve Withers ·
What is colour volume, how do we measure it and what does it tell us about a display's HDR capabilities? Dolby think they have the answers.  

Performance

We are reviewing the 42-inch model of the LG C2 in this review and as such, the picture performance will be similar to the 48-inch model, but different to the 55-inch and above versions as those larger sizes have the 2022 Evo panel and α9 Gen 5 AI processor with Brightness Booster. This 42-inch has a slightly older panel and no brightness booster technology.

Looking at uniformity first and the 42C2 is very clean at all grey slide brightness levels. Even on a 5% slide, where there is the usual light banding seen in very dark surroundings with the test pattern, this is not visible when watching actual TV and film content, even in dark surroundings. There is no visible Dirty Screen Effect (DSE) and no vignetting to the panel edges at all. There is a slight cyan tint to 100% white slides when viewing slightly off-axis, but again, this has no impact on actual viewing content.

Video processing is excellent with the powerful new a9 Gen5 AI processor serving up some much improved upscaling of lower-resolution sources to the panel's UHD native resolution. Lines are straight and free from ringing or fizzing with excellent detail retrieval and very few sharpening issues.

We expected the results to be around these levels given the new screen size and the fact that this is an older generation of the panel, compared to the other 2022 C2 models

Motion is also very good and we saw no induced judder with 24fps material and excellent 5:5 pulldown without any issues. Broadcast 50Hz content is also clean with no signs of frame skipping or unwanted artefacts with TruMotion switched off, even with tricky fast cuts. Adding in TruMotion at higher levels did introduce artefacts with trailing edges and image break-up effects seen with fast-moving objects, so we recommend leaving it switched off.

With SDR film and TV content, the LG 42C2 is excellent; with superb black levels, accurate colour reproduction with lifelike skin tones adding realism to faces, and very good motion from 24fps material with no induced judder or added motion blur not present in the content. Blacks are strong with excellent just above black shadow detail retrieval thanks to the new a9 gen5 AI processing improving the performance coming out of black and this is close to that seen on the 65-inch version we reviewed recently.

What other LG OLED TVs are there for 2022?

TV Review

70

LG C2 (OLED65C2) OLED Evo TV Review

LG C2 (OLED65C2) OLED Evo TV Review

by Phil Hinton ·
The C2 is the sweet spot in the 2022 LG OLED TV line-up with an updated OLED Evo panel, Brightness Booster technology and a brand new design using composite fibre materials. Does the updated A9 Gen5 AI Processor also improve image quality? Let's find out...  
9
TV Review

313

LG G2 (OLED65G2) OLED Evo Review

LG G2 (OLED65G2) OLED Evo Review

by Phil Hinton ·
With a new Alpha 9 Gen 5 processor and newly developed Evo panel with brightness boost pro technology, the LG G2 is the best OLED the company has yet made, so how does it compare to the best on the market? We are going to find out...  
9

HDR content also looks sublime on the 42C2 with excellent dynamic range thanks to the per-pixel nature of OLED. The peak brightness wasn’t the brightest we have measured, but given the pixel density and perceived detail and dynamic range from the smaller screen, it can look sublime with film content. Blacks are deep and detailed with excellent shadow detail present plus strong colours. It looks vivid yet natural in the HDR Filmmaker Mode or with Dolby Vision content.

Given the screen size, the LG C2 also performs well as a desktop monitor for video editing or gaming. I used it for some editing tasks from my MacBook Pro M1 MAX laptop running Premiere, Davinci and Final Cut with HDR captured shots from my GH6. It handled the task well with no issues sitting so close to such a high-resolution panel and it wasn’t possible to see the individual pixels or pixel structure, which made text and other fine details look natural. It would also work well as a gaming monitor sat on a desk as the 42-inch screen size lends itself to an immersive experience, without overdoing the screen size.

... the 42-inch LG C2 is the real deal and if you can afford it, it offers the state of the art at this screen size

The 42-inch C2 will also appeal to a wide range of gamers thanks to industry-leading support. There are four HDMI 2.1 inputs (at 48Gbps), support for 4K/120, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Nvidia G-Sync and AMD Freesync, along with ALLM (Automatic Low Latency Mode), plus there is the game optimiser menu and features bar which should give you complete control over your gaming experience. Input lag also measures in at 12.9ms with 4K/60, and 9.2ms when using the Input Delay Boost option. It’s a great gaming option.

Sound Quality and Smart TV

The LG 42C2 relies on built-in stereo speakers for its sound performance and being a smaller screen size, there is a limited amount of air that it can shift. Saying that, I was pleasantly surprised at the everyday sound quality for normal TV viewing in an average-sized UK living room. There is no weight or bottom end to speak about and it can’t fill the room with cinematic sound, you’ll need an external sound system for that, but what is on offer is perfectly adequate for the occasional movie and TV drama from this small TV.

The smart TV system is WebOS 22 and it is almost identical to last year with a full-screen home page and various tile layers for video-on-demand services and apps. It is slick and powerful and everything works as you would expect it to, with minimal fuss. Image quality via the apps is also excellent with full menu controls available for image settings. There is the possibility that LG will display advertising within their smart TV system.

Conclusion

LG 42-inch C2 (OLED42C2) 4K OLED TV Review

If you are looking for a smaller-sized screen that offers superb black levels, excellent dynamic range for HDR, superior gaming features and industry-standard colour accuracy the 42-inch LG C2 is the real deal and if you can afford it, it offers the state of the art at this screen size.

Added to this is a superb smart TV system in WebOS 22 with all the major apps supported along with Dolby Vision and Atmos on the major VOD apps like Netflix and Disney+, which feeds into the strengths of the image quality on the 42 C2.

... given the size and connections, it can also be used for desktop gaming and computing

The LG C series has always been the sweet spot in the LG OLED TV line-up and that continues to be the case this year, with the added benefit of this 42-inch size. Not only can it be used as a traditional TV, but of course given the size and connections, it can also be used for desktop gaming and computing, including video editing use as an accurate output monitor.

As a 42-inch TV we don’t think there is anything else out there that offers the same gaming support, smart TV and OS along with stunning dynamic range for films and TV, it’s clearly a best buy.

Best Buy

Scores

Contrast/dynamic range/black level

10

Screen uniformity

.
9

Colour accuracy

.
9

Greyscale accuracy

10

Picture processing

.
9

Picture quality

.
9

SDR picture quality

10

HDR picture quality

.
9

Picture quality out-of-the-box

.
9

Picture quality calibrated

10

Sound quality

.
.
8

Smart TV system

.
9

Build quality

.
9

Ease of use

.
9

Value for money

.
9

Verdict

.
9

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The games console used in this review was kindly supplied by our gaming partner Smyths Toys Gaming, the No.1 choice for next-gen Gaming


9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
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