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LG OLED55C7V (C7 OLED) review: A truly stunning OLED TV for only £1,799

Vincent Teoh
10 May 2018
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
3,000
inc VAT

LG's OLED55C7V is vanishingly different to its B7V stablemate, but the picture performance is just as perfect

Pros 
Stunning contrast
True blacks
Amazing gaming experience
Class-leading HDR format support
Cons 
Interlace artefacts on 50Hz video
No Dolby Atmos sound from 4K Blu-rays
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It’s out with the new and in with the old for LG’s OLED TV ranges. Where the company’s 2016 model, the C6, had a curved screen and supported 3D, the all-new 55-inch OLED55C7V flattens off the curves and dumps the 3D capability of its predecessor. Like most TV manufacturers, LG will not be selling any televisions with curved screens or 3D this year.

Deal update: £200 off the LG OLED55C7V - now £1,400 less!

The LG OLD55C7V has been reduced in price since the time of our initial review from £3,000 to £1,799 - an absolute steal of a deal for a superb Ultra 4K HDR10 TV of this 55-inch magnitude. Better yet, it's currently on sale at Currys for an additional £200 off that already massively reduced price. For £1599 this stunning, top of the range 55in 4K Smart TV could be all yours. You won't find a better deal, or a better TV for that matter!

Buy the LG OLED55C7V 55in 4K TV now from Currys

Our original review continues below.

LG OLED55C7V review: What you need to know

LG’s OLED TV family has made impressive strides forward in 2017. Image quality has improved across the board, not least thanks to the dramatic improvements in HDR performance, and the new Dolby Atmos-enabled internal speakers provide good quality audio even before you splash out on a soundbar. If you have £3,000 to spend on a TV, then this is pretty much as good as it gets.

LG OLED55C7V review: Price and competition

At its usual retail price, though, you can take your pick from a wide range of high-end TVs. One thing that’s worth considering is that LCD-based TVs, such as those from Sony and Samsung, provide much higher peak brightness for HDR content – there’s no getting away from the fact that OLED technology still can’t beat LCD for the brightest, most eye-popping HDR highlights.

What’s more, Sony’s delicious XE93 (read our full review here) provides stunning 4K HDR performance for nearer the £2,500 mark – a hefty £500 saving on the LG’s asking price.

In terms of OLED-based rivals, though, then there’s not much to choose from. LG’s setting the standard in 2017 for all-round picture performance, input lag, and HDR support – it’s fair to say that the C7 pretty much nails it across the board. If the perfect, inky blacks and astonishing colour clarity of OLED sound like your kind of thing, then this really is where it’s at.

LG OLED55C7V review: Design and key features

So, onto the burning question on everyone’s lips: what is the difference between the C7 and the recently-reviewed B7 (read our full review here) – yet another LG-branded OLED TV from the 2017 ranges which also features a flat screen and no 3D? After intense testing and scrutiny, the answer is simple: the only difference is cosmetic. While the LG OLED55B7V sports a silver trim that encases the black bezel, the frame of the OLED55C7V is entirely black when viewed from the front. It’s a small difference, but not insignificant: it makes the C7 more appealing for users who like their TV to disappear in a darkened home cinema room.

We also preferred the sloped rectangular stand on the LG 55C7 to the crescent one supplied with the 55B7. In addition to providing more stable support for the LG’s sizable panel, it also takes up less space on an AV rack.

And considering the LG’s svelte design, the audio performance is unusually capable. The internal speakers manage to provide both good bass response and eke out enough midrange detail to keep dialogue sounding clear and intelligible, even at higher volumes. Of course, if you really want the full aural experience from movies, you’re much better off splashing out on a decent soundbar or full surround sound system. One final thing to note is that the LG’s onboard Dolby Atmos decoder only processes the lower-quality Dolby Digital Plus soundtrack when playing 4K Blu-rays; sadly it doesn’t use the uncompressed TrueHD stream.

LG OLED55C7V review: Picture performance and HDR testing

All 2017 LG OLEDs are equipped with the same OLED panel and video processing chipset, which means the OLED55C7's picture performance will be very similar to the company's flagship Signature series of wafer-thin Wallpaper TVs which command an eye-watering starting price of £8000.

This is good news, naturally, and particularly great news for anyone who doesn’t have £8,000 burning a hole in their pocket. Granted, even the more affordable OLED TVs demand a hefty premium, but for good reason: the self-illuminating properties of the technology allow for perfect blacks to co-exist beside bright whites (since OLED displays allow every pixel to be lit up or switched off independently from neighbouring pixels), and this goes hand-in-hand with extremely wide viewing angles that won't degrade the picture even when watched from the sides. If you can stomach paying circa £3,000 for a TV, OLED will make you feel that bit better about the impending credit card bill.

Crucially, though, LG has worked hard to address the issues experienced by its previous generation of OLED TVs when handling darker scenes, and the improvements are immediately evident on the C7. Shadow detail is clearer than ever, thanks to a more precise brightness adjustment control, as well as higher bit-depth processing in darker areas to reduce noise and allow smooth, natural transitions between different shades – there’s no posterisation visible at all.

Because all OLED displays can produce perfect black (on an LCD TV, black actually appears as dark grey due to the always-on backlight; on an OLED TV each pixel is self-illuminating, and emits no light at all when producing black), the easiest way to expand contrast ratio, and probably the most important contributor to good picture quality, is to boost brightness. That's exactly what LG has done for its 2017 OLED range: bright scenes now look brighter than before. It’s not on a par with LCD yet, but the gap between OLED and LED LCD is steadily narrowing.

This increase in brightness also benefits HDR performance. We measured a peak brightness of 690cd/m2 in HDR mode on our LG OLED55C7V review sample, which on paper isn't that much of a jump over 2016 models. But the devil is in the detail: because of the reduced amount of brightness limiting – LG has very sensibly tweaked the C7’s Automatic Brightness Limiter (a feature which prevents the OLED panel from overheating) to be less aggressive than previous models – the C7's updated panel can maintain a higher brightness in HDR scenes in a more convincing manner than the previous generation of LG OLED TVs. HDR format support is unrivalled, too: the LG is ready for HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), Dolby Vision, and Technicolor will be added in a forthcoming firmware update.

When it comes to motion performance, handling of 50Hz interlaced video (for example, the type of video used for Freeview or Freesat broadcasts) is still found wanting on the LG 55C7, and we noted rare but reproducible interlace artefacts such as combing in fast-action sports. For the best experience, it's worthwhile sending a progressive video signal to the TV wherever possible.

Gaming performance is right on the money, however. Boasting an input lag of only 21ms in Game and PC modes, the LG OLED55C7 is an extremely responsive display for playing video games. OLED's ability to keep blacks inky (even in HDR games) and motion smear-free merely adds to the deliciousness of the image quality. If you can afford it, this TV is a joy for gaming.

Buy the LG OLED55C7V from Currys

LG OLED55C7V review: Verdict

Ultimately there’s very, very little difference between LG’s OLED55C7V and the OLED55B7V, but if we had to choose, we’d go for the C7. Why? Simple. Because in addition to the stupendous image quality, superb sound and cracking gaming performance, the C7’s all-black bezel and more stable table-top stand make it the more practical choice. If you’re looking for the best OLED TV to buy around the £3,000 mark, then you can stop your search here. You just found it.

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