LG OLED C9 TV tried-and-tested review

The new LG OLED C9 is a TV with all the bells and whistles. And is somehow an improvement on the already fantastic C8 predecessor.

Updated

Fact checked

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Picture not described: spidermanoled1_finder_738x410.jpg Image: Getty

The 2019 LG C9 OLED cements itself as the last word in OLED TVs, building on the success of last year's C8 with all the right improvements. For the rather steep $6,399 price tag, you'd expect some seriously cool new features. I got the chance to test the OLED C9 65" television for an evening and can attest that it is a marked improvement, even over last year's excellent models. Plus it's got lots of new functions to be excited about.

Full disclosure: LG set up the C9 OLED in a hotel room for me to test overnight at their expense.

What's different?

If you stood the C9 side by side with its 2018 C8 predecessor, you wouldn't notice a huge difference in design. Which is not a bad thing – I own the C8 and the design is sleek, sophisticated and fits beautifully into any room. It's a piece of tech that adds to your space rather than taking away. All LG really did with the new C series is to reduce the depth of its stand, which is a welcome change for those who want to place their soundbar in front of their TV. It still sports an insanely thin design and can be wall mounted with the purchase of LG's bracket.

The real changes are inside the TV.

LG C9 new features

What's new and exciting

Loads of new features have been packed into this television. It supports HDMI 2.1, which offers faster throughput (and therefore better quality pictures) for external devices. It's got Apple's AirPlay 2 standard which allows for better streaming of content from your Apple devices, while also adding multi-room support. Last year's Dolby Atmos (for more immersive sound) and Dolby Vision (for deeper, richer blacks) are back, and work nicely with the new processor update in this year's LG OLED. More on that below.

Picture not described: c9oledremote_finder_700x400.jpg Image: Getty

It also includes both leaders in voice control built-in: Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. And it comes packed with the latest version of LG's truly excellent webOS software, which builds on the experience for the Australian market to make life a bit easier when surfing all that content.

LG's latest version of webOS includes features like enhanced shades in your menus so you can access an app (such as Stan) without actually opening it, and Gracenote support to give you a better understanding of what's what in your TV guide app. LG also wants its new TVs to act like the centre of your smart home thanks to both Alexa and Google Assistant integration.

Picture not described: c9oledmenustreaming_finder_700x400.jpg Image: Getty

Picture not described: c9oledmenu_finder_700x400.jpg Image: Getty

But the real bells and whistles of this television come in the form of the new Alpha 9 Gen 2 processor. It's at the heart of the LG C9 and makes the smart TV smarter than ever. This new processor features what LG dubs AI Picture and AI Sound.

The AI Picture mode, despite having a buzzwordy name, enhances the viewing experience over the previous C8 OLEDs from last year. It compares the picture input to a machine learning algorithm designed to subtly tweak the image and thus optimises the viewing experience. It upscales lower resolution content better than its predecessor. If you're someone like me who lives on a diet of crime and action movies from the 90s, AI picture will become your best friend. The Mummy has never looked so good thanks to some upscaling magic.

Picture not described: oledc9themummy_finder_700x400.jpg Image: Getty

Additionally, we tested three Ultra-HD movies during our time with the LG C9: Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, Casino Royale and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The colours were rich and vivid while webbing through Spidey's interdimensional tale, the blacks were deep and rich during Jurassic World, and the old favourite of Casino Royale – which I've used as a benchmark to test this TV (because I've seen this movie on just about every screen known to man) – played smoothly and beautifully across the scenes. I want to note that I wasn't able to test free-to-air content with the C9 I had, as it wasn't connected to an antenna source.

Picture not described: spidermanc9oled2_finder_700x400.jpg Image: Getty

AI Picture also learns about the environment you're watching in thanks to an ambient light sensor, which allows the TV to react to the conditions in the room and display an optimal image. AI Sound on the other hand improves the stereo mixing to trick you into thinking you're hearing 5.1 surround sound, rather than a virtual copy.

The new processor also allows for more frames per second in the image, making the experience look smoother, and intelligently improves the picture upscaling over the previous model, meaning that even standard definition content sings on this immense 4K panel.

LG also gave us one of its new soundbars to test. The soundbar (catchily named SL10YG/SL8YG) now comes with Google Assistant built-in, as well as a new design that teams with the AI Sound feature to upmix 2.1 channels of sound into a virtual surround experience. While we would have liked more time to test the sound, the audio experience was rich and full. AI Sound does a particularly fine job of keeping everything to a cohesive volume. So often with my Sonos soundbar I'm having to turn the dialogue scenes up and the louder action scenes down, but AI Sound did a great job levelling it all out.

What could be better

My only complaint – other than the slightly eye-watering price of $6,399 – is the trade-off you make between the saturation of the image and the smoothness of the image. If you love a colourful, saturated image, you're going to live in the Vivid preset picture setting. Unfortunately, even with the AI Picture mode on and the new Smooth Gradation feature turned on High, the panel still produced a jagged image. That's definitely enough for you to notice during fast-moving scenes. The image smoothness is still leaps and bounds ahead of the C8 – much to this C8 owner's chagrin – but it's still there. We encourage that if it's something that concerns you, opt for an at-home installation option where a specialist can tune the set to your room.

Picture not described: jurassicworldoledc9_finder_700x400.jpg Image: Getty

I can't speak to the simplicity or complexity of the set-up myself. The C9 that I played with came pre-installed and pre-set. But if it's anything like the C8, webOS makes it frightfully easy.

The verdict

LG's new OLED models come at a particularly interesting time. Never before has there been a choice between a consumer-ready 8K TV, available at the same time as a 4K counterpart. Within a matter of months, both LG and Samsung (with its QLED range) will have 8K TVs available for purchase. Admittedly, you'll be paying almost double the price* for a TV that doesn't have any content available in its native resolution as yet, but it's a comparison shop worth doing if you're a true high-roller.

(*I note that LG hasn't released the prices for its 8K TVs at the time of publication, but Samsung's 8K QLED model will run you in the neighbourhood of $9,999, compared to the $6,399 of the LG C9 65" I tested.)

LG OLED is still the last word in deep colour, inky rich blacks and eye-popping resolution on even its entry-level OLEDs. Nothing beats OLED for saturation and depth of blacks, so comparison shopping this one with a Samsung counterpart will be tough. Samsung's QLED models have developed in leaps and bounds alongside LG, but in the battle of the South Korean TV companies, LG still has the edge thanks to OLED.

The price for all this fancy tech is admittedly high – even by my standards, and I'm not someone who's afraid of shelling out more for good quality. It's worth pointing out that there's still nothing wrong with LG's C8 55" and 65" OLED TVs from 2018. You'll be able to pick those up for a comparative song over the next couple of months as retailers look to clear their inventory for the new C9 models.

What you miss out on with the older generation is the fantastic new processor with its AI smarts, a team of voice assistants from Alexa and Google and a few webOS bells and whistles, such as being able to access your apps from the ribbon without having to open them. LG did tell me that this software update won't be coming to the older models. I asked hoping that an update might be coming to my TV, but no such luck. If I want the new and improved features, I'll have to buy the new one.


More stories

Tech deals

TomTomTomTom
Exclusive

10% off your next order

Sign up to TomTom's newsletter and get 10% off your next order. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal
Exclusive

Deal ends

SquarespaceSquarespace
Exclusive

10% off first subscription

Simply use the code and enjoy 10% off first subscription. T&Cs apply

Last verified

Exclusive

Coupon code ends

eBayeBay

Up to 50% off Country Road, Kathmandu, adidas and more

Enjoy up to 50% off your favourite brands at eBay. Limited time only. Prices as marked. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

MyerMyer

Up to 50% off: Stocktake Sale

Enjoy up to 50% off selected styles from Samsonite, M.A.C, Calvin Klein and more at Myer. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

EtsyEtsy

Up to 40% off clothing, shoes, accessories and more

Shop discounted items and save up to 40% off dresses, shirts, bags, phone covers and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Kogan AUKogan AU

Up to 81% off + extra 10% off top deals

Enjoy up to 81% off plus an extra 10% off tech, appliances, furniture, and more at Kogan. Hurry while it lasts. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

AmazonAmazon

Over 30% off everything: Outlet Store

Find thousands of discounted items including beauty, books, clothing, electronics and more at Amazon. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

AmazonAmazon

Up to $20 off Alexa devices

Valid for a limited time only at Amazon. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

AmazonAmazon

$15 off Kindle eReader

Valid for a limited time only at Amazon. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

AmazonAmazon

Echo dot + Fire TV stick lite for just $89

Enjoy Alexa in more places when you purchase an Echo dot (3rd Gen) and all-new Fire TV stick lite for just $89. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

rebelrebel

20% off Fitbit Versa 3 watches

Valid on selected styles for a limited time only at rebel Sport. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

eBayeBay

20% off Dell tech products

Get 20% off Dell laptops, desktops and more at eBay. Maximum discount of $1,000. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

LenovoLenovo

Up to 53% off: Back to School sale

Save up to 53% on selected PCs, ThinkPad, IdeaPad and more at Lenovo. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Kogan AUKogan AU

Up to 80% off: New Year Stocktake Sale

Score up to 80% off electronics, appliance and more at Kogan. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

VistaprintVistaprint

FREE 30 days of website builder

Enjoy FREE 30 days of Vistaprint's most popular website builder. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

AmazonAmazon

Up to 70% off over 700 Kindle books

Enjoy up to 70% off popular categories in Kindle books including Romance, Literary Fiction, Fantasy and more at Amazon. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

THE ICONICTHE ICONIC

Up to 60% off sale + new styles added

Enjoy up to 60% off selected styles from top brands including Diesel, Fitbit, Wittner and more at THE ICONIC. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

CafagoCafago

Up to 70% off: Clearance sale

Save up to 70% on top-selling products from Huawei, Xiaomi, Netac and more at Cafago. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

ozgameshop.comozgameshop.com

Up to 80% off clearance

Enjoy up to 80% off clearance at ozgameshop.com. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

TorguardTorguard

50% off lifetime discount + 1 month FREE on all billing plans

Valid for both new and current TorGuard users. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

VyprVPNVyprVPN

81% off 2 year plan

Unblock content and stream from anywhere with 81% off at VyprVPN. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

G SuiteG Suite

Try it for Free

Try G Suite free for 14 days. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

GeekbuyingGeekbuying

Up to 74% off sale

Get up to 74% off earphones, cameras, mobiles and more at Geekbuying. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Smart DigitalSmart Digital

Up to 20% off sale

Save up to 20% on a range of products including SmartFold, SmartFrame projection screens and more. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Ribble CyclesRibble Cycles

Up to 50% off bikes, clothing, components and more

Save up to 50% on selected items from 2XU, Assos, Shimano and more at Ribble Cycles. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Bright Star KidsBright Star Kids

Up to 65% off sale

Find amazing offers and deals on personalised gifts, including designer school labels, value kits, beer labels, weekly planners, T-shirts and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Better World BooksBetter World Books

US$9 off your first 6 books + US$1.50 off each additional book

Save big on comics, graphic novels, business, fiction, romance and more at Better World Books. Includes thousands of new titles. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Green Man GamingGreen Man Gaming

Resident Evil Village on PC at $49.20

Valid for a limited time only. Exclusions, T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Microsoft StoreMicrosoft Store

Students save 10% off selected Surface

Discounts applied at checkout. Valid for a limited time only. Exclusions, T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

NortonNorton

Up to $150 off selected products

Valid on Norton 360 AntiVirus, AntiVirus Plus and Secure VPN. Limited time only. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Microsoft StoreMicrosoft Store

Students save 10% on surface

Students save 10% on surface at Microsoft. T&Cs apply

Last verified

Deal ends

Green Man GamingGreen Man Gaming

Up to 92% off

Valid for a limited time only. Exclusions, T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kogan AUKogan AU

5% off Nintendo Switch games and accessories

Save 5% on selected games and accessories with any Nintendo Switch console purchase at Kogan. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

EtsyEtsy

Unique tech accessories from just $15

Shop these tech trends including custom phone cases, laptop bags and more at Etsy. Selected styles only. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

LenovoLenovo

Up to 34% off selected idea pad and Yoga Pcs

Get up to 34% off selected idea pad and Yoga Pcs. T&Cs apply

Last verified

Deal ends

Microsoft StoreMicrosoft Store

Up to 30% off gaming accessories

Valid selected items for a limited time only at Microsoft Store. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Microsoft StoreMicrosoft Store

Up to $1400 off Back to Uni PCs

Valid selected PCs for a limited time only at Microsoft Store. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Microsoft StoreMicrosoft Store

$100 off Samsung Galaxy watches

Valid on selected watches for a limited time only at Microsoft Store. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

TwilioTwilio

Get US$10 credit when you sign up

There is a limit of 100 unique credits per calendar year that a referrer may receive. Credits may only be used for designated Twilio products and services and may never be redeemed for cash.

Last verified

GrouponGroupon

Up to 30% off site-wide with code

Available on select purchases including getaways, spas, dining experiences, skydiving, linens, online courses, electronics, accessories and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site