Today we’re taking a close look at LG’s 42” C2, and seeing if this new smaller TV could make the ultimate desk setup monitor.
It’s got some serious gaming focused features like 4K, HDMI 2.1, 120Hz and VRR. But it’s also a great size for using as a laptop or PC monitor.
Today I going to pretty much cover it all. Including what it’s like to use as a productivity monitor for text, photo and video editing. As well as what the gaming mode is like, watching movies and the pros and cons of the LG C2.
I think this 2022 TV will be one of, if not THE most popular TV this year. But it’s not perfect and I will cover some of these issues in this review.
So first and foremost, this is a TV. That means it comes with all of the usual features you’d expect from a TV. Things like 4 HDMI 2.1 ports, a remote control, satellite input and a home dashboard. This is where you navigate through all of the streaming apps you’ve got installed.
And the C2 does an incredible job at being a TV. It looks sleek with the almost borderless design, it’s lighter, slimmer and takes up a pretty small footprint for its size.
It’s also got the new A9 Gen 5 chip, which I can already say is far faster than we’ve seen before. Navigating around the home screen or app launcher is snappier and there’s little to no lag.
Now we’ve not had a 42” model before so we can’t compare it on weight to the C1 equivalent, but a quick look at the 55”, 65” and 77” models shows a HUGE saving on weight. The 77” model, which I have on my wall, is 6 KG lighter now.
So the C2 comes with a 4K OLED display, and thanks to its self-lighting pixels, it’s capable of producing deeper blacks and an incredible contrast ratio. This means pretty much everything you view on it just looks awesome, with these inky blacks and no light bleed or blooming.
Colours look great, and provided you tweak it in the settings, which I’ll cover later, the picture is sharp, punchy and overall really enjoyable to watch.
For watching movies and TV shows this screen has once again blown me away. Not only does it look good, but from the content I’ve watched it runs smoothly too. Motion appears to be good, but I’ve definitely seen some slight judder depending on the movie I’m watching. I’ve found tweaking the true motion settings helps, and there’s the option to enable Motion Pro, but this massively darkens the screen.
And whether you’re using this for gaming, movies or work, the viewing angles are stupidly good. To the point that you can sit at pretty much any angle and still view what’s on the screen. You don’t lose any contrast, colour or brightness. And talking of brightness, even though the 42” model doesn’t have the brightness boost we get on the 55” or larger models, this is still adequate for most rooms.
Right, so to see whether this 42” screen could be used as a productivity monitor, I hooked up my 2021 MacBook Pro. Now the C2 doesn’t come with a USB-C port, so I used the HDMI port instead, although that is limited to 60Hz on the MacBook.
And coming from using a 38” UltraWide everyday this feels massive. The width isn’t really a problem, it’s the height that’s more noticeable. Having a screen this size means being able to snap multiple windows side-by-side, which is a huge productivity bonus. And using the full width of the screen, seeing an entire timeline in one view for editing videos, is just ridiculous.
But there are definitely downsides to using a screen this size, and that’s when using a single app or document. The screen can sometimes feel too big. Like when I’ve got a word document in the middle, making no use of those 42 inches.
As for text clarity, which is one of the most important things when using a TV or monitor, it’s good. With it being a 42” screen the PPI is better on this than the larger screens. I had to reduce the sharpness to 0 as the default setting of 10 added artefacts to the edges. After this tweak I’m really happy with how it looks on here. I’d have no issue using this screen to write documents or read text.
Now the MacBook screen is hard to beat in terms of its colour reproduction, but I’d happily say the colours look as good on here. I did need to reduce the colour slightly on the C2 as it was too vibrant out of the box, but for editing photos in Lightroom and then checking them on my MacBook they looked pretty close.
Oh, and before I forget, make sure you change the input setting to PC. Changing this in the device settings will improve the response time of the screen. Without this enabled there will be a slight delay when moving your mouse and what you see on the screen. Something you’ll definitely notice.
So ABL or the Auto Brightness Limiter is still a thing. That means if you don’t move your mouse or swap apps regularly the screen will gradually lower its brightness. Then as soon as you move or change the view the brightness pops back. It does it most on full white screens, so web pages and word documents. If you’re sitting on a white page for what feels like 10 minutes the brightness will lower, but it’s rare for me as I’m always moving around. Even just scrolling my mouse on a word document is enough to prevent the ABL.
I understand you might be able to switch this off with a service remote in the settings, but it’s not nothing I’ve tried myself as it’s not a huge issue for me.
I can see eye strain being a concern if you’re staring at this screen all day, not because of the size or brightness, but because it’s glossy. Depending on the apps you’re using, if it’s in dark mode you’ll likely get a lot of reflections. The C2 definitely has a far better anti-reflective coating compared to my C1, but it’s still a large black mirror. Saying that, pretty much every monitor and laptop comes with a glossy screen today, so it’s kind of normal.
A question a lot asked on my recent unboxing video was, is it too big? Well this is definitely relative to how big your desk is and how far you sit from it. My desk measurements are 70cm x 140cm and I then sit around 3ft or 90cm from the screen. I’m probably about 1ft too close here, so if my desk was deeper or I sat further back, it would be perfect.
Now although the MacBook and the C2 are capable of 120Hz, the MacBook is limited to 60Hz over HDMI. There may be adapters out there to take the signal from Thunderbolt to DisplayPort and HDMI, but from the research I did I couldn’t find the right answer. Let me know if you do.
If you’re using a PC though, that supports 120Hz over HDMI or you can make use of the DisplayPort adapters, the C2 will be perfect for working on. But to make the C2 the ultimate productivity monitor given its size, it would have been nice to have seen a USB-C and DisplayPort too.
And unfortunately you’re not able to wake the TV from sleep via a laptop or PC. There’s no standby mode like we normally see with monitors. You do need to turn the screen on and off separately. This is just another small feature that shows, to me, the 42” C2 hasn’t yet been optimised for use as a monitor. One workaround is to use HomeKit to switch it on instead of using the remote. It’s not ideal, but works well.
The C2 also has AirPlay and Screen Mirroring built in, so if you don’t want to directly connect a device to it, you can essentially stream your MacBook, iPad or iPhone straight to it.
So playing games on the C2 is nothing short of incredible. I honestly think this is going to be the best 2022 TV that’s optimised for gaming. First up it’s packing some of the most requested features for gamers, including 4K and 120Hz support. VRR, ALLM, FreeSync and GSync compatibility. Whether you’re wanting to use it for the PS5 and Xbox Series X or PC gaming, this is the TV that does it all.
Then we’ve got the Game Optimiser mode which is a cool feature that, at a click of a button, shows you the current stats on the game you’re playing. Things like if VRR is enabled, what frame rate it’s running at and a selection of profiles you can set for different games or modes.
The full game optimiser area includes settings for reducing the blue light mode, dark room mode and input lag. You can also toggle VRR and GSync and AMD Freesync off. If you want to edit the picture settings, this can be done from here too. Oh, but if you do use the game mode it will lock some options under picture settings. Things like Noise reduction and true motion.
Now we’ve had VRR on the Xbox Series X since launch, but we recently had it enabled on the PS5 too. This means games run even smoother and in some cases faster. Take Spider-Man where the developers have enabled 120Hz and VRR and it looks insanely good on the LG C2. The motion is perfect, there’s no screen tearing and no judder at all.
Response time on the C2 is as fast as it was on the C1, so it’s rapid and every action or input I’ve tried is noticeably instant. Input lag is also incredibly low, which is essential for any fast paced or competitive games, like Call of Duty.
But there’s one thing I need to mention that could be a big deal to you, and that’s the unfortunate removal of BFI at 120Hz, or black frame insertion. It’s not something I’ve tested or can report on having a personal issue with, but I understand this could be a problem for some users who have used it on older models.
Now there is a really cool feature that PC users will benefit from, and that’s ultra-wide aspect ratio support. So by going into the game optimiser mode you can see here there’s the option to change between 16:9, 21:9 and 32:9 on those supported games.
One of the biggest advantages of the LG OLEDs over other TVs is the fact it comes with 4 HDMI 2.1 ports. That means you can easily use it with a PS5 and Xbox Series X, while still having two spare ports for connecting to an AVR or soundbar, Apple TV, MacBook and so on.
I mentioned during my unboxing video I would show you the picture settings I use, so I’ll share those soon. Now I’ve not calibrated the TV with anything externally, I’ve simply tweaked it for my own viewing.
Generally I start with the ISF expert bright mode and edit it from there. I find that’s pretty accurate and works well for me.
I’ll include SDR content on the various streaming apps, Dolby Vision content, and finally gaming sources. Again, these are for my own personal preference, but as I know a lot ask I will share them.
Also make sure energy saving mode is turned off and TruMotion is off or at least reduced to a very low number. I usually have the OLED brightness set to around 90, very rarely at 100.
Some might want to use the OLED Motion setting, but for me it’s far too dim. The picture instantly reduces in brightness by what I’d assume about 50%.
The C2 does also come with support for Google Assistant, Alexa as well as Apple’s HomeKit. This is great for adding it to scenes, routines or just controlling it from your phone.
For example I can turn the TV on and off from the HomeKit, without needing to grab the remote first. Or I can create a scene where it turns lights on or off in the room as well as the TV.
LG do also have their own app called ThinIQ, this does pretty much the same thing, so if you’re not using a smart home setup, this app will be useful for you too.
This year LG added the Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-picture modes, which allows two inputs to display at the same time. I’ve used picture-by-picture before on my 38” UltraWide, where I’ve had my PS5 and MacBook running. But I couldn’t get it to work on the C2. It only allows the TV input and certain apps, not two HDMIs. This is what I was hoping to see as having two HDMI inputs at the same time is a game changer for a desk setup.
So will burn-in be a problem with the C2? Well I’ve been using OLEDs for years, since the C7 in 2017, and I’ve never had an issue. That doesn’t mean burn-in isn’t real, it just means the way I use it hasn’t caused any issues.
If you’re using this for gaming, watching movies or streaming TV shows I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. But, even with my perfect record of no burn-ins, I’d be cautious using it as a productivity monitor. We know burn-in is caused by having static images on the screen for long periods of time, so things like the top navigation and the dock or start bar could be an issue. But we’d be talking hundreds and hundreds of hours, without changing the screen at all. If I was to use this purely for working on my MacBook, I’d likely hide my dock to be on the safe side.
Saying that, there are various OLED care options in the settings now, features that will make it almost impossible to damage the screen. Pixel freshing, logo brightness and pixel shifting.
Now most TVs come with speakers built in, that’s not unusual. But having speakers on a monitor is a huge bonus. When you’re watching TV you’ll likely use the inbuilt speakers on this which is packing a 2.2 channel down firing setup. And these sound good. Sure they aren’t as powerful or as clear as a dedicated soundbar or speaker setup, but they’re OK.
As the C2 supports bluetooth, you connect a pair of bluetooth headphones, like the AirPod Max for example. You’ll now be able to listen to whatever your TV is displaying.
WebOS 6.0 is the operating system this is shipped with. We’ve got the homescreen where any connected devices and smart home appliances are listed. Then the app launcher which shows all of the installed apps. Things like Netflix, Amazon and Disney Plus.
It all looks OK and is relatively intuitive, but one thing which is noticeably different on this year’s model is just how fast and snappy it is. Navigating around and scrolling through apps is effortless, kind of how it should be. That’s down to the new A9 Gen 5 chip we have inside, and it makes using the Home screen, app launcher and settings far less frustrating.
Issues / Improvements
Now this might not be for everyone, but if you want to use two LG TVs in the same room you might have an issue with turning them on and off. The remotes can be set up so they only control one TV at a time, but pressing the power button will still control any TV within sight.
A workaround for this is to either press the physical button on the TV or use the app instead.
But with all that said, all of these awesome features, is a 42” screen big enough, too big or just right? I think this depends on how far you sit from it and the games you play. For me, sitting at around 3ft from the screen, the 42” is too big for playing games like Warzone and Call of Duty. Yes it’s immersive, but as I tend to lean in it feels just that little bit too big.
When I sit back in my chair though, away from the screen it’s perfect. So I think for console gaming it’s fine, but if you’re sitting closer on a Keyboard and mouse, you might struggle. I reckon a 32-38” is probably the optimum for FPS gaming, at least for me.
Given the size though, I still think the 42” C2 is the ultimate desk setup monitor. If you’ve got a desk where you want the best of both worlds, an awesome screen for working on during the day and a gaming focused TV for those evening sessions, the C2 is the one to buy.
I do think it’s overpriced though, it needs to be about £200/$ cheaper to be value for money. And if you’re not bothered about the 42” size, just go for the larger C1 instead.