Should You Buy an LG C1 OLED in 2023? Here are the Top 6 Reasons You Might Want to Avoid It

The venerable LG C1 has gone down in history as one of the company‘s most beloved OLED TVs. Its picture quality showcased the perfect blacks and vibrant colors that make OLED so enticing. Gamers praised its cutting-edge HDMI 2.1 ports. And its relatively affordable pricing brought premium display technology within reach of mass consumers.

However, with the C1 approaching its 3rd birthday in 2023, LG has iterated on the formula so substantially that buying this older model may no longer make practical sense. Significant leaps in brightness, audio, gaming features, and format support make more advanced modern options far better long term buys.

Before we analyze the C1‘s drawbacks, let‘s recap why it made such an impact originally.

What Made the LG C1 OLED Special Upon Release?

Part of 2021‘s popular C-Series lineup, the LG C1 improved on 2020‘s CX predecessor in a few key ways:

  • Brighter panel reaching 750 nits peak luminance
  • HDMI 2.1 ports enabling 4K/120fps gaming with the PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC GPUs
  • Updated processors for better color accuracy, motion handling, and upscaling
  • webOS 6.0 bringing improved menus, content recommendations, and smart home control
  • Dolby Vision IQ that auto-adjusts picture mode based on ambient room lighting

Combine this solid foundation with the C1‘s mid-range price positioning among 2021 OLED televisions, and you have a winning formula.

For the past couple years, the C1 indeed has been a smart choice for shoppers wanting excellent OLED imaging without breaking the bank.

But the TV landscape moves swiftly. LG continued improving their renowned OLED formula while also facing stiffer competition. Once leading-edge features that set the C1 apart back in its heyday now seem behind the times.

Below we detail 6 compelling reasons why buying an LG C1 today exposes some glaring downsides versus newer, better positioned options in 2023 and beyond…

1. OLED Burn-In Remains a Concern

"I babied my C1 but still got noticeable burn-in after 18 months. The NBA scores bug is seared right into my screen."

All OLED panels carry a risk of image retention from static screen elements displayed repeatedly over very long periods. This "burn-in" leaves a permanent ghost-like shadow in affected regions.

While the C1 utilizes pixel shifting and high brightness variation to minimize burn-in, all 2018-2021 LG OLED models rate as "among the worst" for long term image retention.

|| Odds of Noticing Burn-In ||
| —————– |:————-:|
| LG C1 | High |
| LG C2 | Moderate |
| LG G2/G3 | Low |

The main reason is a lack of the advanced anti-burn-in features LG built into its newer models including:

  • Intelligent Pixel Refresher – algorithms detect static areas prone to burn-in for more aggressive prevention cleanings
  • Logo Luminance Adjustment – automatically dims static logos and icons on-screen to reduce chances of image sticking
  • Brightness Variation – more finely controls pixel wear leveling for uniform aging

So while you may dodge burn-in issues on the C1 in the short term, multi-year ownership remains a risky long term proposition.

2. Brightness No Match for Sunlit/Well-Lit Rooms

Television manufacturers keep pushing OLED technology to brighter and brighter luminance levels for good reason – high brightness makes for improved HDR pop and fights the washout effect in well-lit home environments.

With a peak brightness topping out around 750 nits for HDR content, the C1 lags far behind 2023‘s leading display technology in terms of luminance output:

ModelPeak Nits
LG C1~750
LG G3 Evo~1400
Samsung QN90B~2000

While the C1‘s brightness seemed impressive enough for darker home theater spaces back in 2021, today‘s standards place it at a severe disadvantage. You‘ll struggle to make out darker scenes and Maintain contrast integrity with this dimmer panel in sunlit living rooms or/and where lamps cast light directly on the screen.

Brighter options like the LG G3 OLED with Brightness Booster or Samsung‘s latest mini-LED QLED designs better withstand room lighting and enable a more dazzling, nuanced HDR picture overall.

3. Sensitive to Judder and Stutter

The C1‘s native 120Hz refresh rate panel easily eliminates motion blur across games, sports, and most modern 24p film content. Its nearly instantaneous response time also assists rendering clear, crisp imagery with OLED‘s trademark inky blacks.

However, LG‘s processing technology in 2021 still suffered difficulties smoothly interpolating lower frame rate material:

  • Streaming apps transmitting 24fps films can exhibit subtle stutter and uneven cadence
  • 30fps shows demonstrate occasional jittery motion
  • Playback of DVD‘s and other SD content proves even more prone to visible hiccups

Thisqv issue lies less with the C1‘s panel and more in LG‘s previous generation video processors. The company made serious focus on improving OLED motion rendering over the past 2 years.

While no consumer display perfectly dejudders low FPS footage, demonstrations make it clear processors powering the LG C3 and newer handle 24/30p playback with significantly increased stability.

So if you stream lots of movies or access older DVD libraries, upgrading to a 2022+ LG OLED pays noticeable dividends for motion fluidity.

4. Missing Support for Advanced HDR10+ Format

HDR or High Dynamic Range transformed home video by greatly expanding contrast, color, and brightness beyond standard dynamic range. It unlocks TVs‘ peak capabilities leading to jaw-dropping lifelike detail.

The C1 supports basic HDR10 media profiling and the superior Dolby Vision HDR standard used across many streaming services and UHD Blu-ray releases.

But absent is the competing HDR10+ format – an open standard dynamic metadata platform used on Prime Video, Rakuten TV, YouTube, some game consoles, and a growing list of disc releases.

You can expect the industry adoption trend to continue driving more HDR10+ support in apps and movies as an alternative to the Dolby Vision codec locked behind licensing fees. Already Samsung incorporates HDR10+ into all its smart TVs while LG still lacks integration outside of its priciest 2021 models onwards.

Without HDR10+ compatibility in the C1, you‘ll miss out on the format‘s visual perks for color grading and scene-by-scene adjustments on associated content. It joins missing Dolby Vision IQ capability as rare HDR feature gaps not found in modern rivals.

5. External Sound System Practically Mandatory

The C1 television set, like all of LG‘s OLED product lines of years past, sadly does not place priority on built-in audio. The downward firing speakers clearly play second fiddle to the company‘s visual display achievements.

  • At moderate volumes, sound reproduction falls short of clarity and balance exhibited by several competitors.
  • Push the speakers anywhere near their top volume and you‘ll get obvious distortion coupled with missing bass impact.
  • No Dolby Atmos decoding or vertical surround sound simulation means soundtracks lack immersive quality.

Based on the poor integrated audio solution alone, pairing the C1 with a capable soundbar or speaker system rates as an absolute essential purchase.

Newer webOS editions add better tuning, a dedicated Sound Mode Share function, and other promising tricks to fulfill cinematic sound sans accessories. But the C1 predates these advancements and mandates external audio hardware for acceptable home theater results.

6. Pricing Fails to Reflect Age

The C1 broke new ground in 2021 for just how much advanced display tech you could purchase without emptying your bank account. Part of this value equation though involved some compromises around brightness, audio, and longevity related shortcomings as covered so far.

In the TV space where brand new models launch annually, most shoppers expect substantial discounting and promotion when a particular unit crosses ~2 years since release. Especially with successors delivering meaningful quality of life improvements that supersede the predecessor.

Unfortunately LG seems to sticker price the C1 rather aggressively still:

ModelLaunch MSRPCurrent Price% Drop
LG C1 48"$1499$109627%
LG C1 65"$2499$179628%
LG C1 77"$3799$279626%
LG C1 83"$5999$399633%

Contrast those figures with significant deal potential on the follow-up LG C2 that rectifies some C1 weaknesses with noticeable upgrades:

LG C2 Current Prices

Given the incremental improvements the C2 brings to the table, it commands extremely competitive 2023 pricing that should give any C1 buyer pause. You secure modern amenities for similar cash outlay.

And boutique sellers occasionally mark down unused open box C1 inventory by 40% or more when they have excess stock, making the new price premium over legitimate 2022 models even less sensible by comparison.

In most technology categories, you never want to pay the same or more for older electronics when significantly better successors demand just marginally more investment. The C1 uncomfortably still resides in this pricing purgatory nonetheless.

Closing Thoughts – Is the LG C1 Still Worth Buying in 2023?

There‘s no denying the LG C1 remains a reasonably capable 4K TV option even here in 2023. It produces beautiful OLED imagery, supports next generation gaming connectivity, and streams all your favorite shows and movies without issue.

However, we‘ve highlighted some very compelling reasons to take pause before purchasing the C1 this year as better choices continue flooding the market:

1. High risk of permanent burn-in remains
2. Dimmer panel struggles in brighter rooms
3. Judder and stutter more noticeable across lower frame rate content
4. Missing advanced HDR10+ format support
5. Lackluster built-in audio necessitates buying soundbar
6. Pricing no longer competitive losing value proposition

While still tempting for those finding open box C1 discounts upwards of 40% off original MSRP, spending similar money on improved 2022+ models like the LG C2 and G3 seems the wiser long term play. You secure better lighting resistance, gaming capabilities, and future-proofing that leaves less on the table.

Weigh your options carefully and avoid overspending on the name recognition or historical glow of the LG C1 in 2023. More suitable OLED and QLED alternatives exist that dodge the C1‘s pitfalls detailed here.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

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