There's no doubt in our minds that LG’s billion dollar gamble paid off in spectacular style last year, as its OLED TVs dominated the premium end of the market. A combination of performance, features and some fairly aggressive pricing resulted in LG beating Samsung’s QLED when it came to higher-end models.
So, what's LG's next move? Simple, just make the best even better.
The new C8 isn’t massively different from its 2017 counterpart - the LG OLED C7 - so you still get an extensive set of features that includes almost every high dynamic range format and Dolby Atmos sound.
New for this year is the design of the TV itself, not to mention the internal components where LG has integrated its new Alpha 9 processor and added some new picture features to deliver a TV that sets the OLED bar very high indeed.
It's worth noting that the C8 comes in three sizes: a 55-inch (OLED55C8), 65-inch (OLED65C8, reviewed here) and 77-inch (OLED77C8).
Pricing and availability
The LG C8 OLED is available now, with varying prices depending on what size you prefer to get.
Prices for the panels (including VAT) come in at 55” for AED 9,449, 65” for AED 17,849, and the 77” for AED 41,999. With the amount of detailing and image precision you're getting with the LG C8 OLED, it's money well spent - trust us.
The C8 is yet another winner from the LG design team, with an elegant simplicity that effectively emphasises the ultra-thin nature of the OLED panel. There’s no bezel, just a black metallic trim around the outer edge, reinforcing the sense of a size zero screen.
The TV is mere millimetres thick at the top but widens out at the bottom, where the electronics, speakers and connections are housed. The rear is a two-tone affair, with brushed aluminium at the top and dark grey plastic further down, and the overall build quality is very good.
The TV sits on a wide and sloped stand that not only retains an attractive aesthetic quality but also serves a practical purpose, redirecting sound from the downward-firing speakers towards the viewer. There is a genuine beauty to the streamlined minimalism of the C8, and it’s a lovely looking TV. The stand itself is a bit of a process to put together, so enlist someone to help keep things stable while you fix everything up.
LG abandons minimalism for a more comprehensive approach to the connections, which include four HDMI inputs: three at the side and one facing the rear.
There are also three USB ports, with one at the side and two facing rearwards, along with a terrestrial and satellite tuner, a LAN port, a CI slot, an optical digital output, a line out and a headphone jack. On the wireless side, there’s built-in WiFi, WiDi and Bluetooth support.
Operating the C8 remains a pleasure thanks to the Magic remote, an incredibly precise motion controller. This handset uses a combination of on-screen pointer and scroll wheel, allowing you to easily access menus, navigate the smart platform and control the TV. You’ll quickly appreciate the merits of the Magic remote, making other TV controllers seem antiquated by comparison.
Design TL;DR: The C8 is beautifully designed, combining style and minimalism to deliver a TV that perfectly complements the impressive picture quality.
Smart TV (webOS with ThinQ AI)
Screen Sizes: 55-, 65-, 77-inches | Tuner: Freeview Play, satellite HD| 4K: Yes | HDR: Yes | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: Yes, WebOS and ThinQ AI | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1449(w) x 831(h) x 47(d)mm | 3D: No | Inputs: 4xHDMI, 3xUSB, 2xRF, optical, analogue, headphones, CI slot
LG’s WebOS remains largely unchanged from previous years - but, if it ain’t broke why fix it? That said, you can expect the same intuitive and highly responsive smart platform that still uses a launcher bar along the bottom this time around.
Here you can choose from various streaming services and connected devices, as well as other features such as the Gallery (which has been expanded this year), Content Store and Web Browser.
There’s also a very useful Recommendations service that can be accessed by moving the Magic remote cursor to the right-hand side of the screen. This monitors your viewing habits and makes recommendations based on a predictive algorithm.
WebOS is incredibly easy to use, but despite its inherent simplicity you’ll find easy access to your favorite app such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube. The latter three include support for 4K, HDR and, in the case of Netflix, both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.
If you’re looking for other ways to control the C8 besides simply using the Magic remote, there’s the option of LG’s effective remote app.
There’s also voice control, which uses a microphone built into the Magic remote and has been upgraded this year with natural language processing, making interaction more ‘conversational’. It's a step up from using voice control on previous LG TVs, so that's an immediate plus point of not having to repeat ourselves.
It’s actually quite effective and can prove very useful, especially when searching for content. When voice controlling the TV, there are also simple guidelines built in that can be accessed using the appropriate button on the remote.
The improved voice control is part of ThinQ AI, which is a proprietary artificial intelligence technology that LG has added to WebOS this year. It is based on the Internet of Things (IoT) and uses ThinQ open-standard control protocols to enable its TVs to communicate with other devices that support ThinQ.
Speaking of communicating with other devices, ThinQ also includes compatibility with Google Home and Amazon Echo AI speakers.
Smart TV TL;DR: WebOS was a game changer when first released and it remains the best smart platform, with a comprehensive set of streaming services and easy control via remote, app or voice.
The C8 delivers some of the best HD/SDR images we have ever seen, with the deep blacks that one associates with an OLED TV and gorgeous saturated colors. LG has taken great strides in eliminating issues that affected OLED screens in the past, such as crushed blacks or poor screen uniformity. The C8 has none of these problems; just a lovely picture that is free of any crush, discoloration or uniformity issues.
There are a number of picture modes to choose from but Technicolor and ISF deliver highly accurate images with natural colors, accurate whites and any unnecessary processing turned off. For those who prefer their TV picture with a bit more punch, the Standard mode results in images that are bright, vibrant and detailed, thanks to some excellent processing.
The new Alpha 9 processor is highly effective, taking HD images and upscaling them to match the native 4K resolution of the panel. The results were particularly impressive with good quality HD sources, where the processing was able to retain all the fine detail and avoid any unwanted artefacts. However it was also able to take lower quality HD images and clean them up to a degree, removing unwanted noise whilst retaining a natural-looking image.
LG have added a new de-contouring feature to the Alpha 9 processor, which is activated by selecting the low setting in the MPEG Noise Reduction control. This is designed to remove contours (banding) in source material and we found that it actually worked very effectively on content where this is an issue, such as the skies in The Martian or the opening of In the Heart of the Sea.
The motion handling has been improved since last year and football in particular looks much better, with the C8 tracking the ball and players with greater precision. Although we would recommend turning TruMotion off for films and TV dramas, unless you want to suffer the dreaded ‘soap opera effect’ (SOE), it can be very effective with fast sports action.
This year LG have also added Motion Pro, which is a ’black frame insertion’ (BFI) feature that, as the name suggests, literally adds a black frame between every other frame. This results in better motion without introducing SOE, but it does result in the image darkening and some people will see flicker caused by the black frames, so it’s not for everyone.
If you love gaming, the C8 is sure to please with an extremely responsive 21ms input lag that should be low enough for even the most demanding gamers. To get such a low input lag you’ll need to select Game mode but the results are as impressive as they are responsive and we really enjoyed gaming on the C8. We marvelled at God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn on our PlayStation 4 Pro, with colors and images looking breathtaking in every scene.
A word of caution, OLED is a self-emissive technology and there is a possibility of image retention or even screen burn, so bear that in mind if you game for hours on end.
HD/SDR Performance TL;DR: A combination of deep blacks, vibrant colours, superb processing and improved motion handling results in an impressive performance with HD/SDR content.