LG’s 2019 C9 OLED 4K HDR TV vs The 2018 C8 OLED: Which Is Better?
Stephan Jukic – May 9, 2019
LG recently finally released their highly anticipated 2019 OLED 4K HDR TVs for consumer sale and one of the key models in the lineup is the C9. This TV is the direct successor to the 2018 C8 that we loved so much and ranked so highly, and obviously, we’ve really been looking forward to getting a closer look at it. Now, since we’re right in the middle of reviewing this model, we can finally advance a few preliminary opinions.
First and foremost is the fact that the C9 is awesome. LG’s OLED 4K TVs have rarely disappointed in any major way or any major performance metric and the C9 is no exception to this tendency in that sense. In a broad, absolute sense, it simply does not disappoint simply because all of its most important specs for picture quality, OLED dimming performance, contrast and those famous OLED-induced black levels are all straight up great. This is an HDR TV that really does deliver some of the best currently possible performance in full, intense HDR technology.
So then why does our title call the C9 “disappointing” then? Well because while this TV is awesome in an absolute general sense, it does actually let us down a bit when measured up against the 2018 C8. While we didn’t expect LG’s 2019 OLED TVs to dramatically improve on what the 2018 models could do, we were at least hoping that they’d improve at least a bit over their predecessors. Form what we’ve seen so far, this isn’t exactly the case.
The biggest problem with the C9 in this sense is twofold: it performs almost no differently than the C8 on some specs and where it does outperform last year’s model, the difference is mostly very small:
Starting with peak brightness, the C9 is in fact consistently dimmer by most measurements. Its overall average brightness is slightly higher than that of the C8 but for strong highlights, the 2018 model delivers markedly better performance. Then there’s the issue of color performance. In the C9, wide color gamut coverage for high quality HDR color delivery is pretty much the same as it was in the C8. It’s not worse, but it can barely be described as better in any way.
On the other hand, the C9 comes with a more powerful new processor that delivers notably smoother usability. The C9 also does deliver notably better overall motion handling than the C8 and when it comes to connectivity, this 2019 TV comes with eARC, and HDMI 2.1 variable refresh rate technology, which is handy for gaming on an Xbox One console if you happen to have one lying around.
Most interestingly in terms of connectivity specs, the C9 is in a whole new technical category on HDMI. Unlike the C8 or even many other 2019 4K TVs we’ve seen, LG’s latest OLED TV comes with four HDMI ports that ALL offer HDMI 2.1 technology. For the time being this isn’t especially useful for watching movies from any HDMI media source but in case 4K content filmed at more than 60fps comes along soon, it will be a great thing. Gamers who want to do 4K gaming at more than 60Hz can also enjoy the presence of HDMI 2.1 in the C9 and its 2019 OLED cousins.
The above are the main things we’ve noticed about this TV and we need to stress that in most of its overall, averaged out display performance, the C9 is undoubtedly the ever so slightly better television. Thus, the C9’s overall picture quality, connectivity, performance at handling motion and the quality at which it renders content are all modestly better than what we saw in the C8 in most ways.
Despite all of the above, the really big problem with this new OLED TV is that while its superiority is very minor, the premium on the C9’s price tag isn’t at all: LG has made its latest mid-lineup OLED 4K HDR TV a lot more expensive than its predecessor and the difference is just large enough to almost make the C8 the better idea for all but the absolute pickiest consumers who are dead set on getting the latest in 4K TV technology.
How much more does the C9 OLED TV cost? Well, the 65 inch edition of the 2018 C8 is retailing right now on Amazon.com for about $2,797 dollars. The C9 edition in the same size range? It’s selling for $3,496.99. That’s a big premium to pay for nearly identical picture performance and four HDMI ports with a still mostly pointless new technology.
That said, for those of you who would love to get your hands on what is arguably the best OLED TV made so far for the consumer market, here’s Amazon’s deal page for it. Shipping is even free, though with certain geographical restrictions. And if you’d like one of LG’s still almost identically excellent C8 OLED TVs from 2018, check out its price and additional features at the link further below: