OLED is on the rise, more and more manufacturers are putting an OLED model at the top of their line-up. But besides LG, there are few manufacturers that offer multiple models in different price ranges. Panasonic has a second model in addition to its top model, and Loewe offers, just like LG, a somewhat wider selection. What can you expect from a lower priced OLED TV ? We test the LG OLED55C7V.
LG OLED55C7V – specifications
- What: Ultra HD OLED TV
- Screen size: 55 inches (139 cm), flat
- Connections: 4x HDMI (1x ARC 4x v2.0b), 1x optical digital out, 3x USB (1x 3.0), 1x headphones, 3x antenna, Bluetooth (aptX)
- Extras: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, Active HDR, WiFi (802.11ac) built in, WebOS 3.5, USB / DLNA media player, DVB-T2 / C / S2, CI + lock
- Dimensions: 1.230x 750 x 217 mm (including foot)
- Weight: 19.2 kg (including foot)
- Consumption: 112 / 0.3 watt (Energy Label A)
- Recommended retail price: 2,499 euros
LG OLED55C7V – design
Those who shop lower in the OLED offer provide light on design. But you can count on it, everyone will still immediately recognize the device as an OLED TV. LG left the top half as thin as possible, a small 5 mm, while the bottom of the device is thicker (47 mm). Of course there are all electronics, loudspeakers and connections.
The screen itself has a tiny black frame, which you will only see if you really look at the device. The back of the screen is silver metallic, and the housing white. A very minimalistic, fresh look in other words. The base is a brushed metal-colored plate, which is bent in an inverted V-shape. The C7 is perfectly finished, and although it does not exude luxury, it does not look cheap at all. Attention, last year’s C6 series still had a curved screen, which is no longer the case, the C7 has a flat screen.
Just like on the E7 series, LG has removed all analogue picture connections. A choice that we personally only applaud, in 2017 you should use digital image sources, especially on a screen like this. The device has four HDMI connections, one more than the C6 last year.
All HDMI connections are equipped with HDMI 2.0b and HDCP 2.2, so you can connect to all Ultra HD sources. One of the connections is at the back. Furthermore, we find two USB at the back, a digital optical audio output, a headphone connection and the wired network connection. The rear connections are facing the wall, a point of interest if you opt for wall mounting.
The headphone jack is (at the back) quite difficult to reach, but the C7 has Bluetooth, so you can also opt for wireless headphones, even with the high-quality aptX codec.
LG OLED55C7V – ease of use
We largely take over our review of the OLED65E7V. The C7 uses the same chipset and therefore offers the same ease of use and comfort. The first installation is supervised by the cheerful ‘Bean Bird’ and is quick and easy. The menus for all settings are available in two steps.
The press of a button gives you a number of quick choices on the right side of the screen (image mode, sound mode, …). An option leads you to the full menu where you can tinker with all settings.
The Magic Remote of the C7 is the classic remote, not the luxury version that comes with the E7 series . You are therefore absolutely not in with ease of use. The remote is fine in the hand, and you point at the screen what you want to click with the cursor. The remote follows your movements very accurately, and you do not have to put much effort into it.
If that is not the case for you, all the keys are available to do it in the ‘old school’ way: numerical keys, d-pad, volume and channel keys, and among other things two specific keys for Netflix and Amazon Video. You can use the built-in microphone to enter searches.
LG OLED55C7V – features
Smart TV platform
WebOS, the smart TV system from LG is now in version 3.5. The playful but very handy interface remains one of our favorites. In daily use you will find everything on the Home screen that takes the form of a ribbon at the bottom of the screen with icons for all sources on the device, from live TV, to external inputs and internet applications.
One of the best new features in WebOS 3.5 is ‘Quick Access’. This allows you to select a specific source, regardless of whether it is an external input or internet application, by pressing one of the number keys for a long time. Long press ‘0’ to see the menu with all the quick selections, and of course you can easily adjust them.
LG’s built-in music player now displays synchronized song lyrics as they are in your files, and the video player can now also handle 360 ° video. Looking around in the video you do with the help of the Magic Remote. Where that on the E7 in June still did not work in YouTube, that is now possible. So be sure to try out YouTube 360 ° content.
If you do not watch TV, you do not have to leave the screen black. To fully enjoy your screen there is the built-in OLED gallery. Thanks to this function you can see a selection of artworks, or enjoy the view on a rainy or sunny day. Of course you can also select your own photos, and turn the C7 into a giant photo frame.
The media player plays all known music formats, including ALAC and FLAC. He is also extremely versatile for video, where he plays all of our test formats, both in SDR and HDR and with all subtitles.
LG OLED55C7V – Image quality
All 2017 models (W7, G7, E7, C7 and B7) use the same panel and image processing and therefore provide identical performance. They differ only in terms of design and sound installation. As the main differences with last year, LG highlights a better black detail, neutral black filter and higher peak brightness. We can also expect improvement in the field of image processing.
|General||Advanced operation||Image Options|
|Picture mode: Cinema
Setting aspect ratio: Original *
Energy saving: Off *
OLED Light: 80
|Dynamic Contrast: Off
Color range: Auto
Improve edge: On
Color filter: Off
White balance: Warm2
|Noise reduction: Off *
MPEG noise reduction: Off *
Black level: Low
Real Cinema: On
Motion Eye Care: Off
TruMotion: Clear (or customized)
Explanation of main settings;
- The Cinema setting delivers the best start. If you want an institution that is more focused on looking at obscuration and one for the daytime, choose the ISF presets as the start.
- The new TechniColor expert is an alternative to the cinema preset that is slightly darker (for looking at darkening), but also gives something more intense colors.
- The effect of Superresolution is very limited. You can leave it safely activated.
- Noise reduction and MPEG noise reduction: if you look at an older source (DVD or YouTube at low quality), activate it. The Minimum mode can be left on without much risk.
- TruMotion: you get the most detail in the Fluent mode, but then you have a lot of artefacts. Clear use your best as minimum position. A personal setting between Clear and Fluent, with deblur between 8 and 10, and the adjudge between 6 and 9.
- Aspect Ratio: Turn on Scanning, otherwise the TV will cut the outer edge of the screen.
General image properties and image processing
We immediately recognize the same good results as on the E7V series . The LG is equipped with excellent image processing. He quickly and reliably recognizes the correct video and film framerates, making moire and serrated edges a very exceptional event. The noise reduction provides good work, both with random and compression noise. The results are also excellent in the upscaling. The Superresolution setting has very little effect. You can, of course, increase the sharpness, but above 20 we found the results already unpleasant. As the only criticism we see that occasional slight banding effects are visible in color gradients or very dark images. However, LG has improved this considerably compared to last year, so that it is rarely disturbing.
The OLED screen provides good motion sharpness. We saw most of the detail in the ‘fluent’ setting of Trumotion. Unfortunately, it produces a lot of image artifacts. ‘Clear’ is a good solution for movement detail if you absolutely do not tolerate motion interpolation. If you want an interim solution, choose the user mode and set the jumper between 6 and 9 and the block between 8 and 10.
The LG OLED55C7V comes with the same beautiful calibration as the E7. You really get a picture of reference quality. There is a lot of black detail visible, an aspect that LG has worked hard on. The gray scale is perfectly neutral and follows a 2.2 gamma curve, ideal for most viewing conditions. Color range and color reproduction are beautiful.
The screen has a slight uniformity problem (vertical bands in dark images). This is something that is as good as all our test samples show, it seems to be a typical problem with oled screens that depends on screen to screen. The picture below (highly overexposed) shows the effect. In practice, however, this is almost never visible, even in pronounced dark images.
In these turbulent HDR times, broad support for standards remains a more important asset. The C7 not only knows HDR10, but also Dolby Vision and HLG . LG also promised support for the Technicolor standard, but that is not available yet. Since that standard is not yet in use, that is no problem. More important, but for the time being it is still unknown how it stands with support for HDR10 + . LG follows the situation closely, but for the time being there are no concrete announcements.
The peak luminance of the screen seemed to be around 760 nits (in HDR Cinema mode), and we had to wait more than 25 minutes for that. From the start you are about 600 nits. On a completely white screen, the maximum white value drops to approximately 120 nits, a typical result for OLED. The gray scale is well calibrated, but tries to preserve as much white detail as possible (up to 1,000 or 4,000 nits, depending on the content). As a result, the image in the midtones is sometimes slightly darker than it should be. LG implemented ‘Active HDR’ a kind of dynamic metadata in real-time to counteract that. The color reproduction is fine, and the color range is very wide (97% DCI-P3 and 71% Rec.2020).
Also in HDR there is a Technicolor expert image preset. It seems to us to make colors slightly more intense. You can certainly use it as an alternative to the Cinema preset. The Cinema Home preset is slightly sharper, and boosts the contrast. The standard and lively preset is best left out, which pushes too much white detail away. With the HDR effect, you give existing content an HDR look. The result remains very poor for the time being. Just try it out.
Reflections and viewing angles
Like all OLED screens, this LG also has a very wide viewing angle, both for contrast and color reproduction. The new anti-reflection film is neutral gray, instead of the earlier wine-red effect that you had on models from last year. Reflections are well-turned, but of course never completely eliminated.
In cinema mode we measure a lay of 88.1 ms, quite high, even for a casual gamer. In game mode the lag drops to 21.4 ms which is an excellent result. We also see these two results in HDR mode. The screen is a decent choice for gamers.
LG OLED55C7V – Audio quality
The C7 is slightly more modestly equipped than the E7 range when it comes to audio. Nevertheless, the result is still excellent. The C7 has a good volume, and does not give up if the music combines solid bass lines and sharp guitar solos. Both with music and soundtrack we could taste the sound. With Magic Tuning you can use the microphone in the Magic Remote to adjust the sound to the room’s acoustics.
The television supports Dolby Atmos, now also with content that you deliver via HDMI. That was not the case in June during our test with the E7. Just like on the E7, you should keep in mind that getting a true Atmos experience from a TV is as good as impossible. But the surround effect is audible.
For the lag measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements we rely on a Spectracal C6 colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, an AVFoundry HDMI Pattern Generator , an HDFury Integral for HDR patterns and the Spectracal Calman for Business software.
LG OLED55C7V – Conclusion
The LG C7V series combines the excellent image of LG’s OLED technology with a simple but well-finished design and excellent sound. The small teething problems are slowly but surely disappearing. The main focus points remain the light banding effects in very dark scenes, and the maximum brightness, which still lags somewhat behind compared to top-LCDs, especially if the entire image has to be very clear. In contrast, the LG OLED55C7V offers a lot of advantages: exceptional contrast, good colors, wide viewing angle, and especially wide HDR support. The image is at times enchanting, and will be a fantastic experience both in the living room and in the home theater. WebOS gives you a fun, modern and intuitive user interface. The price tag continues to betray its premium heritage, but it is becoming increasingly accessible. Current promotions draw the device below the 2,000 euro limit.