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Review: LG C4 OLED

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We have tested LG's mid-range C-series OLED model, which has often been our go-to recommendation for budget-conscious picture enthusiasts in previous years. This year, LG's C4 takes over from last year's C3 model. The few updates include a slightly higher refresh rate for VRR, LG's latest processor and operating system, Google Cast, and a few design tweaks.

LG C4 is available in sizes ranging from 42" to 83", and we have tested the 65" model.

 Also read: LG 2024 TV line-up

Price and retailers:

US retailer
UK retailer
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First impressions

There are limits to how creative you can get with the design of a black flat rectangle, and C4 closely resembles its predecessor, C3, when viewed from the front. It features the same stand, centrally placed on the TV, allowing it to be positioned on narrow furniture. Setting it up is relatively straightforward if you have a partner or friend to help you. Around the back, there are some design differences from the previous generation, including the addition of a slightly textured panel and electronics box. I found this to be quite nice touch, though I must admit, I rarely touch or look at the back of my own TVs. If you place it more freely in the room, the design will likely appeal to most people. All the ports on C4 are sensibly positioned and face sideways, making them relatively easy to access. However, if you have the TV wall-mounted close to the wall, the ports are recessed enough that squeezing your hand in there can be tricky, though it is still better than rear-facing ports. The panel coating on C4 is the same as what LG has used on their previous WOLEDs without MLA, effectively reducing some reflections but not all. Unlike MLA panels, there is no rainbow effect when exposed to direct light sources.

LG C4 OLED

User experience & features

webOS 24
WebOS has now reached version 24 (2024), marking the 9th generation of the operating system. Three years ago, the interface changed from the popular bottom menu to a full-screen menu similar to Google TV (Android) and Apple's tvOS. A significant recent update is a new upgrade path promising a 5 years of upgrades, ensuring better longevity for the webOS smart platform. For years, FlatpanelsHD has pushed TV manufacturers to provide this guarantee, so it is great to see LG following Google TV's lead. We would have loved to see this sooner, but kudos to LG for stepping up. There have not been major changes in the interface, and the large content pane at the top still primarily serves as an oversized ad window for apps or promoted content. WebOS provides access to all popular streaming services, and if you have a service on your phone that is not available, you can cast via AirPlay 2 and Google Cast (Chromecast). The latter was added during our review and is a new feature for 2024 (it will come later to 2023 models via a webOS update). Below the ad banner, you will find a shortcut bar taking you to five different "hubs" for "Home Office", "Games", "Music", "Home Hub", and "Sports" – central for various apps and services. For example, Home Office lets you interact with Office 365 or the Google suite, allowing your TV to function as a monitor with split view. This is probably more useful on smaller screen sizes, where LG's OLED TVs are often used as monitors. However, as a TV these features are less relevant. The Music hub consolidates your music services, letting you listen via your TV. The selection of services is limited, and personally I have never found accessing music on my TV particularly useful – streaming music via AirPlay or Google Cast is usually more convenient. You will find services like Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube and Deezer here, but navigating these services is not seamless. The lack of smooth integration means leaving the music hub stops the music, making it an either-or choice – you cannot listen to music while checking the sports hub. The Games hub allows you to connect to your preferred cloud gaming service and play directly on the screen. Again, there are only a few services represented, with GeForce Now being the most well-known here, while Microsoft's Xbox service has not made it to LG's webOS platform due to Samsung's exclusive rights. A dedicated gaming console will always provide a better experience, but the ability to stream your games via a cloud service opens up access to a broader audience. The Home Hub is not new and has appeared in various forms over the years, providing access to your home's smart and network devices. In a smarter home than mine, this screen could be quite functional, but navigating to it is cumbersome. If you want to control the lights, check who is at the front door, or view the baby monitor, you will need to assign the hub a shortcut on one of the remote's numeric buttons – which, fortunately, is possible. The Sports hub lets you check results for your favorite sports (or the ones LG has included) and set alerts for scores related to your favorite teams, but to all this feels mostly like a gimmick.
For a video walkthrough of the different content hubs, refer to our review of last year's C3 model. The look-and-feel has not changed significantly this year. Both LG and Samsung TVs offer access to a variety of free TV channels delivered in a flow-TV style. For LG, these are called LG Channels, which include everything from movies via Rakuten to various documentary series and reality shows of varying quality. These are ad-supported channels, so be prepared to spend at least 50% of your time watching commercials, and the picture quality is quite basic too. However, if you have exhausted Netflix, Disney+ and HBO, LG Channels could be worth a try. There is entertainment to be found if you are willing to sift through the many channels. The integration of LG Channels into the TV's interface is well executed, giving it a flow-TV feel with access to a program guide and more.

LG Channels

LG Channels giver adgang til flow-TV-lignende kanaler fra diverse kilder

Just like last year, we had some trouble getting LG's multiview to work. The function consistently reported that HDMI input was not supported, and LG Channels would not go into split-screen, leaving a less than stellar impression. Split-view with two HDMI sources could be handy in certain situations, but just running an app and HDMI could also be useful.

Operation

The C4 is not a TV you buy for its impressive sound capabilities. Like most TVs, it lacks bass and depth. LG has several AI features you can activate, including AI sound. However, no amount of artificial intelligence can compensate for the lack of hardware when it comes to sound, so it is highly recommended to add a soundbar or connect the TV to a sound system to improve the experience. The OLED picture quality deserves better sound than what you get here. The C4 supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS via HDMI eARC, so you have plenty of options to get good sound out of the TV if you add external audio equipment. We experienced no issues with eARC or Atmos during our test, where the TV was connected to a Sonos Arc soundbar.

LG OLED remote

LG's cheaper black plastic remote control with six sponsored buttons

A neat feature is the ability to assign shortcuts to the remote's numeric buttons (0-9) for your favorite services or frequently used functions. However, cramming six dedicated sponsor-app shortcuts at the bottom of the remote, none of which can be changed, is not so neat. At the same time, basic functions like "Play" or "Back/Next" buttons are missing. LG should take a look at Philips for inspiration on how to design a simple, functional remote that is also enjoyable to use. If you dare to go all-in on simplicity, I really like the Apple TV remote, which is stripped down to a minimum of buttons, enclosed in a solid shell.

Calibration

LG offers several picture modes, but the only ones you need to consider are ISF Dark or Filmmaker (they give the same result). In these profiles, you get so close to reference colors that it is hard for the human eye to see the difference between a calibrated and an uncalibrated picture, so let this be your default choice. We made a few minor adjustments, but overall, you get reference-quality on C4 just by selecting the right color profile. For gaming, LG has a dedicated Game picture mode, but as also mentioned in our C3 review and G3 review, the color temperature is too cold in this profile. It is better to use one of the more accurate picture models and then activate ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) to reduce input lag while gaming on top of the selected picture mode. Our peak luminance measurement on C4 surpasses last year's C3, but since LG has not introduced MLA to its C series yet, there is still some way to go. The calibrated model measures a luminance of around 1100 nits (a bit more in Vivid, but avoid this mode). This is a 25% increase compared to C3, and although it might not be noticeable without an A/B comparison, it is an important milestone for mid-range OLEDs. Full-screen brightness has also increased, with C4 now exceeding 200 nits across the screen, which is another milestone. Since these are WOLED panels, the color volume is not as big as on QD-OLED-based models. This is evident when you look at the brightness of secondary colors like cyan, magenta, and yellow that do not reach the same saturation levels as on Samsung's QD-OLED panels. We have not seen significant improvements in the color gamut coverage for WOLED in recent years – it covers all of DCI-P3 and about 75% of Rec.2020, whereas QD-OLED covers about 10 percentage points more.

Measurements

In our "measurements" section we include all measurements and our suggested calibration settings. If you want to learn more about our test methodology click here. Note: Starting last year, we implemented a new method for measurement of average power consumption in SDR and HDR, meaning that earlier measurements are not 1:1 comparable. The new method will be used in all TV reviews going forward. Note: We include calibration settings only for SDR, not HDR. For our calibration we have deactivated the ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the backlight setting according to your environment. You may prefer to have it enabled..

Picture quality

C4 is LG's upper mid-range OLED model, which has traditionally been our go-to recommendation for those looking for a good balance between picture quality and price. With this year's C4, LG has slightly improved performance in terms of brightness output compared to last year. However, there is now a noticeable gap between the C and G series, which was not the case before the introduction of MLA panels last year. It is unclear when MLA will trickle down to the C series, but for now, the differentiation makes sense. Previously, it was hard to justify choosing the G models based on picture quality alone. The reason that we continuously mention 1000 nits brightness in TV discussions, is because most movies are mastered to a 1000 nits highlight reference. So, when a TV achieves this, you are seeing what the filmmakers intended, with no need for clipping or tone-mapping of the brightest highlights. It is true that a small but growing number of films are mastered at 4000 nits, but most are still designed to be viewed on TVs capable of 1000 nits in the brightest areas. Also read: Sony sets its sights on 4000 nits as HDR's next frontier Achieving 1100 nits in small HDR windows and over 200 nits brightness for full-screen white is a solid performance. The latter, in particular, means the screen can handle bright environments better, which is a plus for using the TV in well-lit rooms – even in SDR. However, it is worth noting that while the screen performs better in bright environments, OLED should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Both the heat and the light can damage the organic materials, which are more sensitive than, say, LCD panels.
The more efficient OLED panel also impacts power consumption. Last year's 55" C3 used just over 60W in calibrated mode (average for our test clips), while a 65" C4 consumes slightly less than 60 W. Peak brightness is normalized to 100 nits, and the power per area is 50% higher on the C3 (75 W/m² vs. 50 W/m²). At full power in HDR, power consumption per area is the same for both the C3 and C4 (around 120 W/m²). For comparison, a 65" G3 with MLA uses 170 W/m² in HDR and 75 W/m² in SDR at 100 nits. One might worry that a brighter panel would quickly lose its brightness to prevent issues like burn-in, but C4 maintains the pace set by the C3, where LG removed the aggressive dimming algorithm that reduced brightness if static elements stayed on the screen for too long. You can still activate dimming for areas with channel logos in the menu, but the overall screen dimming has been removed. We did not observe any burn-in, but C4 does not have the same cooling plate on the back that you find in the G series or some competitors' TVs. Heat, combined with OLED, is a major cause of burn-in. The risk is always present with panels based on organic materials, but our experience shows it is becoming less of an issue over time. As long as you use your TV as a TV, it should not be a problem.

LG C4 OLED

Last year, as the first and still only TV manufacturer, LG introduced QMS (Quick Media Switching), and while there are not many other devices that support it yet, it is a pretty cool feature to have. Part of HDMI 2.1, QMS eliminates the black screen you see when switching between user interfaces and movie playback, where the frame rate changes, like from 24Hz to 50Hz to 60Hz. We only had an Apple TV 4K (latest generation) to test QMS with, and you can see it demonstrated in this video from last year's C3 review:
The QMS feature is only useful when switching between the same modes, i.e., SDR -> SDR or HDR -> HDR, but not SDR -> HDR or vice versa. If you use an Apple TV 4K (2022), you typically will not completely avoid the black screen since not all content is available in HDR format.

LG C4 OLED

As the graphs earlier show, C4 is a top performer when it comes to color accuracy, and it was relatively easy to get so close to the reference that there was no practical deviation. Coupled with high brightness that can be controlled pixel-precisely, C4 really shines in the picture department. The only slight issue is some banding in smooth gradients, but not to the extent that it creates posterization artifacts (the breaking up of gradients into large, sharply defined color blocks) in movies, with large color areas and little gradient. My go-to example for exposing posterization on a TV is the first contact scene with aliens in the movie Arrival or S2E6 of the Apple TV+ series Invasion, about 5 minutes before the end. These are some of the first scenes I test new TVs with, and here, C4 performs excellently. I activate "Smooth Grading" in the "Clarity" menu to ensure smooth transitions.

LG C4 OLED

Motion handling is always a topic we discuss, but panel development is no longer a driving force for change here. Attempts to reduce perceived motion blur by introducing Blank Frame Insertion (BFI) a few years ago resulted in a BFI frequency that was too low to be pleasant to watch, as it caused excessive flicker. The fundamental problem still lies in retinal retention, where bright elements "burn" into your vision for a short moment, appearing as motion blur. Additionally, the ultra-low response time of OLED can cause in particular bright scenes to have a slight stroboscopic effect. Both issues can be solved by increasing the frame rate of movies that typically runs at 24 frames per second, so it is not something you should blame the TV manufacturer for or expect them to completely resolve. Setting LG's TruMotion to "Cinematic Motion" is the best compromise for motion handling, introducing only a few artifacts while smoothing motion enough to avoid the strobe effect. Also read: Why 24fps is not enough for HDR movies LG offers a range of AI features that can enhance both sound and picture, but they generally alter the image or sound in a way that goes against the creator's intent. Whether it is boosting dark regions in games, increasing contrast in HDR, or tweaking the audio, these features typically add more of something, but probably too much compared to what was intended. It comes down to personal preference, but we prefer to disable all these algorithms across the board. The only exception might be features in the Game Optimizer, where certain elements can be beneficial – especially if you play games in very bright rooms where shadow details can get lost, leaving you fumbling in the dark.
LG has upped its game, so to speak, increasing the VRR frequency to 144 Hz for gaming. This is not relevant for game consoles that are currently limited to 4K 120Hz output, but if you use the TV as a PC monitor, a higher refresh rate may give you a competitive edge in fast-paced shooting games. Additionally, LG offers Dolby Vision at high refresh rate together with Xbox Series X. Unfortunately, you may still experience slightly raised black levels when using VRR – it might not be noticeable in the heat of the moment, but OLED and VRR still do not play perfectly together in that regard. LG's Game Optimizer lets you activate "Black Stabilizer", which partially addresses the issue, but you will only get true blacks by disabling VRR.

Conclusion

LG C4 reaches the significant milestone of 1000 nits peak brightness in smaller areas of the picture, and it also delivers higher full-screen luminance that is more comparable Panasonic's top models with custom cooling from a few years ago. With the arrival of MLA and QD-OLED panels – neither of which are in C4 – brightness has indeed increased further – for example in LG's own G series – but we see here how technology development slowly trickles down to lower classes. 
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Design-wise, the C4 features a redesigned back, while other aspects such as ports, remote, and stand remain largely unchanged. On the software front, the webOS interface retains its full-screen look with minor icon and home screen tweaks, albeit still accompanied by ads. We still have ads, but LG has now changed its policy and will offer upgrades to their platform for 5 years from the launch date. Thanks! Packed with HDMI 2.1 QMS, Dolby Vision up to 4K120, and up to 144 Hz gaming support, C4's feature set largely mirrors last year's C3, which however was limited to 120 Hz. The MLA panel remains exclusive to the G series, which continues to be a primary reason to opt for the G over the C. LG C4 has just recently arrived on store shelves, and with a launch price lower than last year, it looks more appealing from the get-go, although we still expect the price to significantly decrease in the coming year. Last year's G3 is still the better TV if the price in your region is the same, due to the MLA still being reserved for the G series. On the other hand, LG's series, which is considered upper mid-range OLED (still high-end for TVs in general), still offers most of LG's other premium features. It is also worth noting that the cheaper LG B4 will for the first time this year get four HDMI 2.1 port, just like the C-series. Ultimately, C4 again looks like one of the best value-for-money OLED TVs of 2024, and it once again receives our Top Recommendation Award.

Price and retailers:

US retailer
UK retailer
DE retailer

Great SDR & 4K HDR with 1000 nits
Pre-calibration picture modes
HDMI 2.1 ports & QMS
webOS updates for 5 years
DTS audio support


A little banding on grey gradients
Full-screen webOS still not great
Raised black / flicker in VRR
Remote control




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