LG’s lineup of OLED TVs have been fantastic performers and if you have purchased one, you would agree that consuming content on it is a treat. If you purchased an OLED TV in 2018, 2017 or even 2016, chances are the performance of these OLED TVs has been fairly homogenous when it comes to picture quality. However, 2019 has seen the biggest change in flagship TVs. We have seen 2019 flagship TVs get an update to their smart capabilities, support Apple Airplay and the biggest addition – HDMI 2.1. With the Sony 2019 OLED and Flagship LED TVs we have seen limited adoption of HDMI 2.1 i.e., these TVs support eARC only and miss out on things like variable refresh rate and 4K content at 120FPS. Granted, the only device that can take advantage of Variable Refresh Rate is the Xbox One X but the next-gen consoles (PS5 and Xbox Scarlett) will be able to exploit this feature even more. Nonetheless, the TV is a flagship OLED TV from the house of LG. Is it worth the upgrade?
Panel Size: 65-inch (available in 55-inch as well as 77-inch)
Panel Type: OLED
Panel Resolution: 3840 x 2160 – 4K
HDR 10 support: Yes
Dolby Vision Support: Yes
HDMI Ports: 4
USB Ports: 3
Bluetooth: Yes, 5.0
Speakers: 2.2 CH speakers with 40W output
Price: MRP is Rs 3,64,990 for the 65-inch
Build and design
The design of the LG C9 is absolutely premium. For the duration of the review, we had the TV on its tabletop stand. The stand is long and unlike the C8 (read our review here), which had a tall curving stand, the one on the C9 is shorter and has a more angular design. The design choice is a personal preference, but know that a slightly tall soundbar could hamper your viewing experience on the C9. You may want to have a clean tabletop entertainment setup if you plan to keep this TV on a tabletop. Kept on a tabletop, the TV does wobble a little bit but nothing that gives the feeling of toppling over. The wobble of the C9 isn’t as bad as what we saw on the OnePlus TV (watch our review here).
Moving over to the connectivity options, the LG C9 has 4 HDMI ports; all of which offer full HDMI 2.1 bandwidth capabilities, and 3 USB ports. It’s nice to see that three of the 4 HDMI ports are on the side (including the ARC one) making it convenient for cable management. One of the three USB ports on the side as well. The TV also has a component in, AV in, a LAN port, optical audio out and a headphone out. The layout of the ports is identical to the C8 (read our review here)
Those that are finicky, can route the cables through a gap in the back of the tabletop stand for neater cable management.
The biggest highlight of the TV is how slim the panel is. It is a tad thicker than a one rupee coin and that is super thin. The TV does get thick towards the bottom, but that’s because the internals need to be housed somewhere.
Overall, the TV is a beauty to look at and got a lot of admiration from everyone in the office.
Display Panel and picture quality
The panel on the LG C9 is an OLED panel and since LG has been making OLED panels for some time now, trust that the picture quality will be something to watch out for. This year, the flagship TV is powered by LG Alpha 9 gen 2 processor and boy does it do a good job at picture processing.
The TV has a resolution of 4K with support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision and there is a nice indicator that pops up in the top right corner of the TV to indicate which HDR standard is currently on screen. The TV also supports Dolby Atmos and the same indicator pops up in the corner when Atmos content is playing. We’ll talk more about the sound in the upcoming sections.
With the OLED panels ability to produce infinite contrasts, it makes it a desirable product to enjoy as a home theatre. So how did it fare in our tests?
The beauty of an OLED TV is its ability to produce infinite contrast ratio, true blacks and deep colours. All this holds true and works extremely well on the C9. Watching Netflix through the built-in apps gave us access to Dolby Vision content and it looked breathtaking. Altered Carbon Season 1 Episode 7’s fight sequence is rich in details, with highlights getting nice and bright and key details clearly visible in dark corners. The muzzle flash in the slow-motion sequence here is absolutely immersive. From the skin tones to the textures on clothes, this is how content was meant to be watched. The Grand Tour Season 1 Episode 1 where you have many cars driving through the desert is a sight to behold. If you are looking for the ultimate 4K HDR picture quality experience on a TV at home, then yes, the LG C9 can be one of the TVs to consider. However, and this is true for all OLED TVs, if you have a bright room with a lot of natural light, the panel can get reflective, especially during dark sequences.
A large catalogue of Netflix, Prime Videos, Hotstar and more content in India is in 1080p. From Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse to John Wick and more, 1080p content looks good. Sure, if you play 4K HDR content in its fullest capacity and immediately switch to 1080p and sit a mere 4 feet away from the TV like I did, you will be able to tell the difference. But from a 6 to 8 feet viewing distance, the TV can reproduce full HD and 720p content quite beautifully.
A testament to the clarity you can get from the OLED is the Season 8 episode 3 of Game of Thrones. When the battle with the dead happens, the world was in an uproar wondering why they couldn’t see anything. If you owned an OLED TV, you would have enjoyed the episode as we did on this LG C9.
Moving to gaming, we used our Xbox One X (read our review here) to game on the TV. The Xbox One X does support VRR, a feature on the TV but sadly, that’s something that we can’t test to find out if it really works. Having said that, the gaming experience on the TV was sublime. Gears 5 (read our review here) which is our new benchmark for 4K HDR gaming on a TV, looks sublime. Some of the opening sequences are set on a mountain littered with bright outdoors and dark passages. This is where the HDR capabilities of the TV truly shines. The game mode of the TV also brings with it low input lag. While it isn’t the same as gaming on a 1ms monitor, the gaming experience on this TV is absolutely cinematic.
The same can be said for a game like Doom which is 4K but not HDR. The orange planet of Mars looks rich, details and the industrial indoors are a sight to behold.
Overall, this is the pinnacle of picture performance one can expect from a TV. One thing to keep in mind is that when consuming content from the native streaming apps on the TV, you can let the TV pick the picture mode. It does a pretty good job optimizing the picture performance. There is also an AI picture mode which I recommend you enable as it uses deep learning to optimize the picture performance. The overall picture performance of the TV is sublime.
The audio from TVs is generally disappointing, especially when you see the Dolby Atmos logo pop up on screen but it isn’t extremely bad by any means. In fact, for everyday viewing and even enjoying TV shows and set-top-box content, the speakers from the TV do a good job. When playing games too, the audio is very clearly audible but it lacks bass. The audio output from the TV, though decent, can’t keep pace with the visual spectacle that is the TV. You may, at the very least, want to invest in a soundbar to enjoy this TV.
The LG C9 brings with it a magic wand of a remote. The remote is curved and has slight heft to it. The weight adds to the overall build quality and the curve helps the remote fit comfortably in your hands, especially when you use its motion features. It is slightly heavier at the back and that is ok as it adds to the ergonomics.
The remote does have quite a few buttons including dedicated buttons for Prime Videos and Netflix along with the number pad. The navigation buttons and scroll wheel cum select button are comfortably located in the centre of the remote. There is a dedicated play and pause button at the bottom of the remote which is comfortable to reach. Though dedicated buttons for next, previous, rewind and forward would be nice, you can use the on-screen navigation on streaming services to achieve this. Overall, the remote control is tried and tested and can also be used to control your set-top-box, thereby eliminating the need for two remotes.
Software and UI
The TV runs on LG’s WebOS and it is one of the smoothest OSes out there. It is easy to navigate, swift to respond and brings a level of fluidity you’d expect from a flagship TV. From recognizing devices connected to HDMI inputs to navigating settings, the UI is fluid and the software is functional. It also has the Google Assistant and Alexa built-in. Long-press the voice button to bring up the assistant and long-press the Prime Videos button to bring up Alexa. Through the dashboard in the UI, you can also control your smart home gadgets, which is really cool.
If you are looking for a flagship OLED and are considering picking up one, then there are a few things to consider. If you are looking to watch content from streaming services, or set-top-box content or even 4K HDR Blu rays, then know that the LG’s 2019 lineup of OLEDs are a good choice along with Sony’s 2019 offering. Both brands bring their ‘A’ game. However, where Sony has the advantage is with slightly better natural tones when watching movies, but this is something most people won’t notice. Where LG has the advantage is with HDMI 2.1 full-bandwidth connectivity on all HDMI ports bringing 4K 120FPS to the TV along with eARC support and VRR. The Sony TVs have eARC support but don’t support 4K at 120Hz or VRR. If you are looking to future-proof your TV, then HDMI 2.1 should be an important consideration, which the LG C9 brings.