LG OLED55C7P, LG OLED65C7P review: This could be the 2017 TV to beat

Updated November 17 for the 2017 holiday season

The LG C7 has the best image quality I’ve ever tested. It works just as well as the more expensive one LG E7 is Sony XBR-A1E OLED TV is better than any LCD-based TV I’ve seen, including Samsung’s new QLED-based Q7 model.

But if you’re in the market for a high-end TV, the B7A, which I haven’t reviewed, is better value. It offers the same image quality as the C7 and costs less. At the very least, exactly, it depends on when you read it. During LG’s Black Friday sale, the B7A was $ 200 and $ 400 cheaper for the 55 and 65-inch sizes, respectively, but a day later the sale concluded the difference was only $ 100 for both sizes.

Aside from the price, the only differences between the two are aesthetic (different media) and audio-related (the B7A lacks Dolby Atmos decoding and has a different speaker configuration). I don’t think those features of the C7 are worth the extra money for most buyers, even if they only cost $ 100 more. Take a look at mine take on the LG B7A for more details.

Then again, maybe you appreciate these differences enough to pay the extra money for the C7. Or maybe you want an even more expensive OLED for some reason. Or maybe you are fine with simply “excellent” image quality versus “best ever”. In that case, there are plenty of non-OLED choices that cost half or less, including the TCL 55P607 or Vizio M series.

But if you’re in the market for a high-end TV, it doesn’t get any better than OLED. And with the current holiday prices, now is the time to buy. My choice would be the B7A just because it costs less and offers the same image, but beyond that it’s hard to go wrong with the C7.

A splendid television

The C7 is a beautiful study of minimalism. There’s less than half an inch of black bezel around the image itself at the top and sides, a little further down, and at an important moment among the TVs I’ve reviewed, no logo on the front of the TV.

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Viewed in profile, the top of the C7 is very thin, only a quarter of an inch deep, but has the typical bulge at the bottom that protrudes another 1.75 inches. That bulge houses the inputs, power supply, speakers, and other depth-eating TV components, things that ship in a separate box on the company’s ultra-expensive “wallpaper” OLED TV.

The stand has a logo. It’s silver and includes an angled base that keeps the set upright and looks sharp if you decide not to mount it on the wall.

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Sarah Tew / CNET

Support is the only real difference between the C7 and the B7A; the latter has the old transparent base stand seen on the 2016 B6. The C7 and E7, meanwhile, have the same support, although the latter adds a soundbar under the screen.

Fast and responsive, smart enough

LG’s web OS menu system looks more mature and snappy than ever on 2017 models, but lacks the app coverage of Sony’s Android TV and the innovative extras of Samsung’s Tizen system. I like to use the motion-based remote to go around the screen, something that’s especially useful when accessing apps using an on-screen keyboard.

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Sarah Tew / CNET

The scroll wheel is also great for moving between apps, like those seemingly endless rows of thumbnails on Netflix and Amazon. New for 2017, the remote has buttons that launch immediately, and both are welcome. I’m less of a fan of the prominent placement of the voice / search button, but that’s my only real problem with the clicker.

Both major apps offer 4K and HDR / Dolby Vision content on a handful of shows and movies, mostly original series. The Vudu app is also a collection of (expensive) 4K and Dolby Vision movies, and there’s plenty of 4K available for free on the YouTube app. There are some other major non-4K apps available, including Hulu and Google Play Movies and TV, but if you want more, your best bet is to get an external streamer.

Uploaded and connected

Main features of the TV

Display technology:

OLED

LED backlight:

N / A

Resolution:

4K

HDR Compatible:

HDR10 and Dolby Vision

Screen shape:

Dish

Smart TV:

Web operating system

The core technology of OLED is closer to late and lamented plasma than the LED LCD technology (QLED or otherwise) used in the vast majority of TVs today. Where the LCD relies on a backlight shining through a liquid crystal panel to create the image, with OLED and plasma, each individual sub-pixel is responsible for creating the illumination. That’s why OLED and plasma are known as “emissive” displays and LED LCDs are called “transmissive” displays, and a big reason why OLED’s picture quality is so good.

LCD LED vs. OLED: TV display technologies compared

For its 2017 models, LG claims a little more brightness and a few other minor tweaks (see Image quality for more), but generally left pretty well on its own. There are no differences in picture quality between any of the 2017 OLED TVs, according to LG, although they do have different audio capabilities. The step-up models have a soundbar, while the C7 does not. A quick listen showed that the E7 sounds better than the C7, but a good external soundbar will outperform both. This year LG ditched the 3D and curved screens found on some 2016 OLEDs.

The Dolby Atmos functionality of the C7 is only important if you have a Dolby Atmos sound system and want to use the TV’s built-in apps to stream Atmos soundtracks. If you prefer to use an external streaming device or don’t care about Atmos, that’s not a big deal and you’re fine with the B7A. About the different speaker configuration of that TV, LG states: “Although the total audio power is 40W for each, the C7 has 2 woofers (channel 2.2) while the B7A does not (channel 4.0).” In other words, the C7 may have slightly better bass. Big woo.

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Sarah Tew / CNET

Unlike Samsung, LG TVs like C7 and B7A support both current types of HDR video: Dolby Vision and HDR10. The set also supports HLG HDR and will support Technicolor HDR later in 2017, but for content it is currently non-existent for both. A Technicolor approved picture mode was added in October 2017.

  • 4x HDMI inputs with HDMI 2.0a, HDCP 2.2
  • 3 USB ports
  • 1x composite video input
  • Ethernet (LAN) port
  • Optical digital audio output
  • 1x RF input (antenna)
  • RS-232 port (minijack, for service only)

The selection of connections is top notch. Unlike many of the Samsung sets, this one actually has an analog video input for legacy devices (not HDMI), although it no longer supports analog component video.

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Sarah Tew / CNET

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