LG C7 OLED TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Updated Apr 13, 2017 at 08:59 am
LG C7 OLED Picture
8.6
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
9.3
Movies
8.5
TV Shows
8.4
Sports
8.7
Video Games
9.1
HDR Movies
8.6
HDR Gaming
8.0
PC Monitor
This TV was replaced by the LG C8 OLED
Type OLED
Sub-Type
WRGB
Resolution 4k

The 4k LG C7 OLED TV offers excellent picture quality thanks to its ability to display true blacks. It's especially good for gaming thanks to its very low input lag and motion blur. It gets fairly bright, and it can display a wide range of colors, so it's also a great HDR performer. Unfortunately, it can retain static images for a few minutes, and brightness levels fluctuate depending on the content, so it isn't perfect.

Our Verdict

8.6 Mixed Usage

Great TV overall. The LG C7 has great picture quality with almost every usage. Its blacks and motion blur are as good as it gets. Movie performance is exceptional, and gaming is as good as it gets.

Pros
  • Perfect blacks produce an infinite contrast ratio
  • Virtually no motion blur, fast moving content is very clear
  • Picture quality is retained, even at steep angles
Cons
  • Temporary retention can happen when static images stay on screen too long
  • Brightness levels vary depending on content being played (ABL)
9.3 Movies

Outstanding Movie performance. The LG C7 has an infinite contrast ratio thanks to its pure and uniform blacks. It is a thing to behold in a pitch black room.

8.5 TV Shows

The C7 is great for TV shows. It gets sufficiently bright and deals with reflections well. It can also be enjoyed from every side, so wider living rooms aren't a problem. News or weather broadcast might see icons retained for a few minutes, but nothing major.

8.4 Sports

Sports look very good on the LG C7, mostly thanks to its great motion. Fast moving objects and players show no trail, so they appear very fluid. The uniformity is also quite good, but it can show some minor banding in specific areas.

8.7 Video Games

Superb gaming TV. It handles very fast motion exceptionally well, and input lag is amongst the lowest available making games feel fluid and responsive.

9.1 HDR Movies

Superb HDR movies performance. The C7 has excellent picture quality and can cover a fairly large color volume. It's also capable of lighting up small highlights quite bright, which is important for HDR.

8.6 HDR Gaming

Impressive HDR gaming capability. The standard gaming experience translates well to HDR, and using that feature only brings benefits.

8.0 PC Monitor

Great TV to use as a PC monitor. It has low input lag and motion blur, and an excellent viewing angle. It also supports a 120hz input, which is an excellent feature for PC gaming.

  • 8.6 Mixed Usage
  • 9.3 Movies
  • 8.5 TV Shows
  • 8.4 Sports
  • 8.7 Video Games
  • 9.1 HDR Movies
  • 8.6 HDR Gaming
  • 8.0 PC Monitor
  1. Update 3/12/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Update 9/20/2017: Tested 1080p @ 120 Hz input lag using our new input lag tool.
  3. Update 8/14/2017: webOS update 3.6 fixed the PC mode HDR issue, so 4:4:4 color is now properly displayed as 4:4:4. The other issues with HDR in PC mode have not been fixed.
  4. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.

Video

Test Results

Design
9.5
Design
Style
Curved No

The design of the C7P is great, and stands out in any room. It has a similar style to the LG OLEDs of 2016, but with a different stand and some minor aesthetic improvements. Unlike the 2016 models, there are no curved options available in 2017. The top third of the screen is extremely thin, even compared to the relatively thin  LG B6

Design
Stand

The stand is quite different from the 2016 OLED models, with a brushed metallic finish. It supports the TV well and feels sturdy, but is also small enough to fit on most tables.

Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 8.7" x 22.7"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x200

The rear of the TV is similar to the B6. There is a removable cable management hook for guiding cables, but it isn't as good as the cable management on some other TVs such as the X930E. The controls are located on the rear of the TV similar to the E6. If wall-mounted, some of the inputs may be difficult to access.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.43" (1.1 cm)

The borders of the TV are very thin, and look great.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 1.97" (5.0 cm)

The top of the TV is exceptionally thin when viewed at an angle, even compared to the 2016 OLEDs such as the B6. The max thickness measurement is taken at the thicker body of the TV, but it is still very thin. The cable management hook can be removed to sit flush against a wall.

Design
Temperature
Maximum Temperature
95 °F (35 °C)
Average Temperature
91 °F (33 °C)

The C7 only gets a little warm, and the heat is fairly even across the display because each pixel in an OLED produces its own light.

9.0
Design
Build Quality

The build quality is great. The TV feels solid, although the top of the screen does feel a bit thin which can make it a bit more difficult to move.

Picture Quality
10
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
Inf : 1
Contrast with local dimming
N/A

The LG C7 has a perfect contrast ratio, and like other LG OLED TVs, is a great performer when set in a dark room.

10
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
N/A

Since there is no need for local dimming on OLED TVs, this video is for reference only.

7.9
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
383 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
389 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
387 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
388 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
389 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
138 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
387 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
380 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
384 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
371 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
135 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.070

Good SDR peak brightness, a little brighter than the LG B6 and C6. The TV remains at a consistent ~380 cd/m2 for all content except extremely large and bright images like our 100% white window, which unfortunately dims quite significantly due to the TV's Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL). This means that almost all scenes in SDR content will have a good brightness, but extremely bright scenes may dim.

The TV dims over time when showing a static image, but this won't happen during video. A plot of SDR peak brightness over time can be found here.

Update 04/24/2017: ABL is less of an issue if the OLED light setting is set to 35 or less, where the fluctuations between scenes will only drop by 20 cd/m2 or less.

7.6
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
718 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
717 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
733 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
447 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
313 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
143 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
695 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
703 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
429 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
291 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
137 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.100

Good HDR peak brightness, a little brighter than the LG B6 and C6. Although the TV gets very dim when showing a pure white window due to its Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL), it is very bright when showing our real scene test, so most HDR content will be very bright. However the TV is unable to reach 1000 cd/m2 on small highlights like our 2% window, so small highlights in HDR content won't get as bright as intended.

The TV dims over time when showing a static image, but this won't happen during video. A plot of HDR peak brightness over time can be found here using the Cinema picture mode, and here using the Vivid picture mode. The TV is brighter when in Vivid mode, but colors aren't as accurate.

8.5
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
1.309 %
50% DSE
0.141 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.309 %
5% DSE
0.095 %

The overall gray uniformity of the C7 is good. There are some faint vertical lines visible when you look very closely and the right side is a bit warmer than the rest of the screen but it does not show when watching normal content. There is very little dirty screen effect which is good, especially when watching sport.

The 5% gray uniformity is also good, and when looking at our test picture, nothing really stands out. When viewed in a dark room, some vertical lines are visible, and it seems a bit worse than on the 2016 LG B6. Note that those vertical lines are mostly visible when a uniform dark image is displayed and it very hard to notice with regular content like movies or TV shows.

8.1
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Shift
32 °
Brightness
75 °
Black Level
75 °

Great viewing angle. The true blacks of this OLED TV ensure that blacks never appear washed out even at an extreme angle, and the TV also remains very bright at all angles. Its weak point is its colors on an angle which do shift, however this should only be noticeable for people sitting at a significant angle to the TV.

10
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.332 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

The C7 has flawless black uniformity when displaying a black image. This is due to the fact that the pixels are totally turned off and emit no light when displaying a true black. No clouding whatsoever occurs and this provides one of the best experiences that a TV can provide, especially when watching movies in a dark room.

9.4
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Glossy
Total Reflections
1.5 %
Indirect Reflections
0.2 %

The C7 is excellent at handling reflections. The purple tint present on most high-end TVs is still visible, but much less so than the 2016 OLEDs. The reflections are fine even for a bright room.

6.7
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
Expert (Dark Room)
White Balance dE
4.47
Color dE
3.04
Gamma
2.04
Color Temperature
6101 K

Out of the box the color accuracy of C7 is a bit off and this may be noticeable to enthusiasts. The white balance dE is over 4, which is pretty high and the image is warmer than our target of 6500K. The color dE is also high and only the yellow and green track the target closely. The gamma also doesn't track our 2.2 target.

9.5
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Expert (Dark Room)
White Balance dE
0.15
Color dE
1.22
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6491 K

Calibration on the LG C7 is done pretty easily and the white balance is particularly responsive and precise. The color space management is a bit less responsive than the white balance, but that is almost always the case for LG TVs. Even if it is a bit less responsive, the total color dE was brought down significantly to a reasonable 1.22. In the end, the gamma was spot on our desired value of 2.2.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Upscaling of low quality content is good. Some halo artifacts can be seen along lines but details are preserved.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content such as cable is upscaled well. Some moire can be seen in the image from the camera focus.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content such as Blu-rays are upscaled well. Details look good and the image is sharp.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

Native 4k content looks good on the C7. No issues can be seen.

8.5
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
96.15 %
DCI P3 uv
97.40 %
Rec 2020 xy
70.49 %
Rec 2020 uv
74.07 %

Outstanding color gamut, similar to the B6 and C6 from last year. The TV can accurately show nearly any color in the P3 color space, even deep greens that many other TVs struggle with. The Rec 2020 color space is also well covered. Colors in HDR content will be well reproduced.

7.1
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
81.1 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
44.4 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
61.6 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
33.1 %

Decent color volume. This OLED TV is able to show its wide color gamut for dark and moderately bright colors, but it is unable to show extremely bright colors at their proper brightness. This should only be a problem for extremely bright highlights in HDR content.

8.0
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.131 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.119 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.097 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.085 dE

The LG C7P can display our test image smoothly without any banding typically seen on 8-bit panels. Light shades of color are displayed without problems, however small imperfections can be noticed in the darker shades of color and the dark part of the greyscale. Overall though the gradient performance is good, and these small flaws should not be a problem when watching standard content.

Update 2017-11-07: Note that when the TV is set to 'PC' mode, via the input menu, the banding is much more visible, and this for all picture modes.

7.3
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.81 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.10 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

The C7P OLED TV is prone to image retention just like previous models. Fortunately, the image retention is less strong than what we have measured on 2016 LG OLED TVs.

If you find out that your TV has some image retention after playing video games over a long time for example, there is a function in the 'Picture settings' page, under 'OLED Panel Settings' named 'Pixel Refresher' that will 'recalibrate' the screen to get rid of any imprinted images that may still be visible. This procedure lasts around one hour and the TV needs to be shut off for it to work. This can usually take care of any image retention.

Another feature is also available on the same settings page named 'Screen Shift' that will 'move' the screen slightly (you can't really notice it) to make the image retention less problematic. For our test, this feature was turned on but there is still some image retention.

Note that there is a variation in temporary image retention between units.

1.0
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Yes

OLED panels such as the C7 do have the possibility of experiencing burn in. You can see our investigation into this here.

Picture Quality
Pixels

Due to the RGBW pixel structure, not all of the sub-pixels on at the same time. When displaying a purple image more of the sub-pixels can be seen.

Motion
10
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
0.1 ms
100% Response Time
0.2 ms

Like other OLED TVs, the C7 has an almost perfect response time. This results in almost no visible blur following moving objects. Unfortunately this means that low frame rate content may appear to stutter as there is no motion blur to smooth between the frames.

10
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
0 Hz

The C7 doesn't flicker to dim and instead shows each image for each frame. This makes motion appear slightly more smooth, but does result in some persistence blur (visible in the motion blur image).

0
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
No
Min Flicker for 60 fps
0 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
No
120 Hz for 120 fps
No
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
0 Hz

The C7's OLED panel doesn't flicker, and has no optional flicker setting like the Sony A1E does; this means that flicker can't be added to make motion look clearer.

10
Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

The C7P has a 120 Hz panel and is able to interpolate lower frame rate content to 120 fps, which significantly improves motion. Unfortunately the interpolation is not as good as on some other TVs: the motion stuttered at times during normal content, especially cartoons, and artifacts would appear in rare cases.

To enable motion interpolation (also called the soap opera effect) set 'TruMotion' to 'User'. For a 30fps source increase 'De-Judder' and for a 60fps source increase 'De-Blur'.

Update 11/13/2017: The motion interpolation performance has been clarified in the text.

4.4
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
41.5 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
16.5 ms

The C7 experiences stutter, which is especially noticeable with low frame rate content. This is a result of the almost instant response time, so there is very little blur to smooth movement between frames.

10
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
Yes

The LG C7P is judder free when movies are played via 24p sources like DVDs, Blu-ray players, and native streaming apps. To be able to display 24p content without judder, the 'TruMotion' option must be set to 'User' and both the 'De-Judder' and 'De-Blur' sliders set to zero (when set to 0, no soap opera effect will be added).

When it come to movies playing via a 60p/60i source like cable boxes, the C7 was able to remove judder completely just by turning on the 'Real cinema' option.

0
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
4k VRR Maximum
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
N/A
1080p VRR Maximum
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors
N/A

The LG C7 OLED has a native 120Hz panel like other 2017 OLED TVs, but doesn't support any variable refresh rate features.

Inputs
9.1
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
21.3 ms
1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
21.2 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
46.4 ms
1080p @ 120Hz
22.2 ms
4k @ 60Hz
21.4 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
21.1 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
21.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
21.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
63.0 ms
4k With Interpolation
104.7 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
4k with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A

Very low input lag. When in game mode the input lag is a solid 21 ms regardless of input resolution. This should be good enough for all but the most competitive gamers. This input lag is lower than any of LG's 2016 OLEDs like the B6, and is competitive with some of the best TVs from last year like the KS8000.

Update 04/24/2017: Turning on PC mode on any of the picture modes will result in input lag of about 21ms. 1080p outside game mode has been corrected after being re-tested.

Update 08/14/2017: webOS update 3.6 fixed the PC mode HDR issue, so 4:4:4 color can now be properly displayed in HDR content. The 4:4:4 + HDR input lag has been measured as ~21 for both 4k and 1080p, which is no different from the other low input lag measurements.

Update 09/20/2017: Tested 1080p @ 120 Hz input lag using our new input lag tool. It's nearly identical to the 1080p @ 60 Hz input lag, which is very unusual. The first on screen reaction input lag of 1080p @ 120 Hz on this TV is 4 ms higher than for 1080p @ 60 Hz, which counteracts the benefits of the 8 ms faster scannout of 120 Hz, producing an average input lag that is equal to the 60 Hz input lag. This may be by design, to keep the audio sync consistent between both refresh rates. Either way, ~20 ms input lag is very good for a TV, and should please most gamers.

8.3
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 60Hz
No
4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 120Hz
No

All the common input resolutions are supported. For the TV to properly display 4:4:4 color, the HDMI input in use must have its icon changed to 'PC'. To play 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 color, 'HDMI ULTRA HD Deep Color' in the general settings must be enabled for the input being used.

Update 05/31/2017: 1080p @ 120 Hz + HDR does not work properly. Its brightness appears to be following the SDR gamma curve rather than the HDR PQ curve, making everything look off and too bright.

Update 08/14/2017: webOS update 3.6 fixed the PC mode HDR issue, so 4:4:4 color can now be properly displayed in HDR content.

Inputs
Side Inputs
Inputs
Rear Inputs

Unlike the 2016 OLEDs, the C7P doesn't have a component input.

Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI 4
USB 3
Digital Optical Audio Out 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 0
Analog Audio Out RCA 0
Component In 0
Composite In 1
Tuner (Cable/Ant) 1
Ethernet 1
DisplayPort 0
IR In 0
SD/SDHC 0

Unlike the 2016 OLEDs, the C7 doesn't have a component input.
Since it doesn't have an analog audio out, to connect a pair of headphones, you will have to either use bluetooth or headphones with a digital optical audio input like the Turtle Beach Elite 800.

Inputs
Inputs Specifications
HDR10
Yes
Dolby Vision
Yes
HLG
Yes
3D
No
5.1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
Yes
5.1 Passthrough ARC DTS
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical DTS
Yes
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
HDMI 2.1 Full Bandwidth
No
ARC
Yes (HDMI 2)
USB 3.0
Yes (1)
HDCP 2.2 Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
CEC Yes
MHL No
Variable Analog Audio Out No
Wi-Fi Support Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)
Sound Quality
6.8
Sound Quality
Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
100.79 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
2.48 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80