LG CX vs. C1 OLED TVs: In-Depth Comparison to Decide the Better Buy

LG‘s CX and C1 series OLED TVs represent two of the most acclaimed 4K smart TV lineups today, renowned for their exceptional picture quality, future-proof gaming features, and highly responsive smart platforms. But with an upgraded 2021 C1 model now available, some buyers may be wondering – how much better is the newer C1? Does it justify an upgrade from the 2020 CX?

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll analyze the LG CX and LG C1 OLED TV models across all key categories – display performance, audio, gaming capabilities, platform & connectivity, design, and more. Our goal is to highlight the exact differences between these two premium LG OLEDs so you can determine which is the better fit and value buy for your needs.

LG CX vs C1: At-a-Glance Comparison

Before jumping into the details, let‘s briefly summarize how the 2020 LG CX and 2021 LG C1 OLED TVs match up:

SpecificationLG CX OLEDLG C1 OLED
Screen Sizes48", 55", 65", 77"48", 55", 65", 77", 83"
Display TypeOLEDOLED
Resolution4K (3,840 x 2,160)4K (3,840 x 2,160)
Refresh Rate120Hz120Hz
Processorα9 Gen 3 AIα9 Gen 4 AI
HDR SupportDolby Vision, HDR10, HLGDolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
Gaming Features4K 120Hz, G-Sync, FreeSync4K 120Hz, Game Optimizer, G-Sync, FreeSync
webOS Version5.06.0
HDMI 2.1 Ports44
Audio System40W 2.2 channel40W 2.2 channel

From this overview, we can already observe a few key upgrades with the C1 – mainly stemming from LG‘s latest α9 Gen 4 AI processor. But how exactly do these internal improvements manifest in real-world performance? Let‘s analyze further.

Display & Picture Quality

As both OLED TVs, the LG CX and LG C1 achieve identically perfect black levels and infinite contrast by nature of self-emissive pixel technology. So contrast and black level performance should be equally phenomenal on both models.

What about colors, brightness, and overall picture processing? This is where the C1 pulls slightly ahead.

Upgraded α9 Gen 4 AI Processor

The LG C1 features LG‘s latest α9 Gen 4 AI processor – an upgrade over 2020‘s α9 Gen 3 chip found in the CX. This newer processor leverages improved deep learning algorithms to better analyze and refine every piece of incoming picture content.

In real usage, the α9 Gen 4 Processor can better optimize SD/HD upscaling to 4K resolution, reproduce colors more accurately, intelligently enhance object and scene details, and reduce banding/noise in tricky footage.

Think of the upgrade similar to getting a new 2021 smartphone over a 2020 model – the experience basics are the same, but overall finesse has polished thanks to more advanced processing.

Brightness & HDR Support

In terms of display specs and HDR format support, the LG CX and C1 OLEDs are identically matched. Both achieve similar high peak brightness figures up to 800+ nits for excellent HDR playback. And you get full Dolby Vision IQ, standard HDR10, and broadcast HLG high dynamic range support on both models for incredible contrast and an expanded color gamut when viewing supported material.

Ultimately for core picture quality, while the CX remains extremely strong, the C1 does gain a slight processing advantage from its newer α9 Gen 4 AI chip. But remember – both utilize LG‘s exceptional WOLED panel technology so you can expect world-class contrast and color reproduction regardless. It‘s only during complex upscaling and refinements where the C1 can pull ahead.

Gaming Performance

For gaming, the LG CX OLED made significant waves by bringing key HDMI 2.1 features like 4K 120Hz, VRR, and ALLM support to LG‘s lineup. Amazing OLED visuals combined with buttery smooth gameplay made the CX a top gaming TV. And the newer LG C1 retains all the CX‘s gaming strengths – plus brings a few key extras.

Game Optimizer Menu

Exclusive to the C1 is a dedicated Game Optimizer settings menu. Here you can easily tweak picture and performance parameters to best suit different game types. Adjust genre-specific mode presets, enable variable refresh rates (VRR), calibrate input lag, and optimize the OLED panel response time. It‘s a centralized gaming hub that makes tailoring the C1 to different game titles much more streamlined.

Smoother Experience with Upgraded Processor

The LG C1‘s upgraded α9 Gen 4 Processor also gives it a performance advantage over the CX for smoother, tear-free gaming. Combined with HDMI 2.1 ports, 4K 120fps titles played on the C1 rarely exhibit stutter or screen tearing. And input lag remains extremely responsive at under 13ms according to RTings testing.

Between finely-tuned gaming modes and faster processing power, competitive and casual gamers will appreciate the enhancements on the C1 OLED for gaming.

webOS Platform & Features

Both the LG CX and newer C1 OLED models run the company‘s acclaimed webOS smart platform. But while the CX launched with webOS 5.0, the C1 has received the bump up to a more refined webOS 6.0 interface.

Faster Processing & Improved UI

On the C1, navigation across the webOS home screen interface feels faster and more fluid thanks to better processing muscle. Transition animations exhibit less lag compared to the CX. The home screen layout has also been updated on webOS 6.0 – now sporting a simpler design focused on putting your favorite streaming apps front-and-center. Overall usability sees noticeable improvements.

Content Discovery & Management

WebOS 6.0 also brings enhanced content curation and watchlist management tools. Personalized recommendations now surface media suggestions from across various streaming platforms. Saving shows/movies you want to watch later is also easier with unified watchlist support on webOS 6.0. While not revolutionary upgrades, these subtle refinements demonstrate webOS‘s continued maturation.

LG Magic Remote with NFC

Lastly, the LG C1 OLED comes bundled with an updated Magic Remote that now also includes NFC support. This allows you to effortlessly pair your smartphone to the TV by simply tapping it on the remote. From there you can wirelessly share videos, photos, and audio from mobile device to TV. It‘s a handy addition making cross-device connectivity more seamless.

Design & Connectivity

On the design front, both generations of LG OLED models boast striking minimalist builds chock full of connectivity. They each sport slim bezel-less displays that let the self-emitting OLED panel shine as the centerpiece. And you get the same robust selection of HDMI 2.1 inputs across both lineups as well.

But looking closely, we can spot some subtle changes that give the newer C1 a slight design edge:

  • More Screen Size Options – The C1 is available in larger 83" size (in addition to 48", 55", 65", 77")
  • Redesigned Stand – The C1‘s stand has a sleeker profile, takes up less surface area, and has tactile grooves for easier cable routing
  • Thinner Overall – With newer processor & cooling optimizations, the C1 manages to shave off ~0.8 inches in thickness

So in summary, while both OLED models boast premium contemporary designs, improvements like the stand redesign and size/thickness reductions represent worthwhile refinements with the 2021 C1.

Audio Performance

LG outfits both the CX and C1 with very capable audio systems – but they are not completely identical:

  • 2.2 Channel Setup – You get two front-firing speakers and two bottom-mounted subwoofers on both OLEDs. This setup can simulated surround-like effects.
  • 40 Watts Output – Peak power output reaches 40 watts on both models – enough to comfortably fill smaller rooms.
  • AI Sound Pro – LG‘s AI Sound Pro audio tuning is present on both models, using machine learning to optimize sound based on content type.
  • Dolby Atmos – You also get Dolby Atmos decoding on both the CX and C1 for truly immersive 3D spatial sound with supported content.

Now here is the main audio difference – while the LG CX has front-firing speakers, the LG C1 opts for down-firing speakers instead. In practical usage this may result in slightly less direct sound projection on the C1. However, when wall-mounted or paired with LG‘s optional floor stand, both CX and C1 speakers achieve forward-facing positioning.

Overall for built-in audio, the LG CX vs C1 offer extremely similar performance and features. The C1 does make a minor sacrifice with its downward speakers, but surround effects and power remain strong on both models. To truly do justice for movies though, we recommend pairing either OLED with a dedicated sound system.

Pricing & Value Comparison

When looking at the LG CX vs LG C1 value proposition, the CX does maintain an advantage as the older model discounted by retailers making way for 2021 inventory. Here is a look at current pricing across identical sizes:

Model55" Price65" Price77" Price
LG CX OLED$1,299 $1,096$1,899 $1,596$3,299 $2,796
LG C1 OLED$1,299$1,899$3,299

As you can see, the CX provides a nearly 15-20% discount over the newer C1 since it‘s previous-generation. Yet it still supports the core features that make LG OLEDs so enticing – perfect black levels, lush colors, and gaming support.

Ultimately, if every dollar counts in your budget, the LG CX does deliver immense value at its discounted pricing. But the LG C1 introduces some compelling upgrades like the faster a9 Gen 4 processor and Game Optimizer menu that arguably justify paying full MSRP. Either way, both represent class-leading OLED 4K TV options.

Bottom Line: LG CX vs LG C1

The newer LG C1 does introduce meaningful upgrades – but just how meaningful comes down to your preferences and budget flexibility.

The main improvements with the C1 come down to its boosted processing power and refined gaming support:

  • Faster α9 Gen 4 Processor – Better upscaling, color, detail, and motion refinement
  • Game Optimizer – Centralized gaming menu ideal for tweaking settings by game genre
  • webOS 6.0 – Snappier navigation and better content curation recommendations
  • New Magic Remote – NFC support for simplified smartphone connectivity

However, keep in mind that the LG CX is no slouch either. As a 2020 model, it still delivers best-in-class contrast, color reproduction, and gaming responsiveness thanks to the shared WOLED panel and HDMI 2.1 ports. Plus it provides a more affordable entry point to premium LG OLED tech.

Here is a quick breakdown of our recommendations between the two impressive options:

  • LG CX – Best value OLED with discounts; ideal if you want to save money
  • LG C1 – Worth paying extra for the enhanced performance and future-proof gaming; best long term investment

So while the C1 is certainly the superior, forward-thinking option, the CX remains a fantastic OLED TV in its own right – especially for the discount pricing. Choosing comes down to budget flexibility. Those wanting to stretch their dollars while still enjoying top-tier 4K quality will find incredible value in the CX. But buyers wanting that true cutting-edge experience with all the bells & whistles should pursue the C1.

Hopefully this detailed side-by-side guide better clarifies the LG CX vs LG C1 comparison for you. Let us know if you have any other questions!

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