The LG C2 and the Sony A80K occupy a similar place in their respective lineups. They’re not each brand’s highest-performing OLED TVs this year, but they feature many of the same perks, such as excellent contrast and color. If you’re shopping for an OLED and don’t want to splash out on a top-of-the-line TV, these are a couple of the best options available.
Despite their second-tier status, the A80K and the C2 are impressive TVs that offer a ton of upside for gamers, cinephiles, and casual viewers alike. As luck would have it, both of these TVs are significantly marked down at the time of publishing. If you’re having a hard time choosing, we’re here to help; we’ve spent hours testing both. Here’s what you need to know.
As mentioned, these TVs are marked down considerably since their release earlier this year. For the sake of context, I’m reporting both the original MSRP of each as well as its sale price at the time that this is being written. There’s no guarantee that these sale prices will remain the same by the time you read this, but going forward, I don’t expect the costs to climb much further.
The Sony A80K is available in just three sizes, the smallest of which is a 55-inch model. Right now, the 55-inch model can be had for around $1,300, while the 65-inch version will run you about $1,700.
- 42-inch (LG OLED42C2PUA), MSRP $1,399.99 (on sale for $896.99 at Amazon)
- 48-inch (LG OLED48C2PUA), MSRP $1,499.99 (on sale for $996.59 at Amazon)
- 55-inch (LG OLED55C2PUA), MSRP $1,799.99 (on sale for $1,296.99 at Amazon)
- 65-inch (LG OLED65C2PUA), MSRP $2,499.99 (on sale for $1,696.99 at Amazon)
- 77-inch (LG OLED77C2PUA), MSRP $3,499.99 (on sale for $2,496.99 at Amazon)
- 83-inch (LG OLED83C2PUA), MSRP $5,499.99 (on sale for $4,496.99 at Amazon)
The LG C2, on the other hand, is available in six total sizes, including 42-, 48-, and 83-inch options that aren’t represented in the A80K series. Like the A80K, the 55-inch version is available right now for around $1,300, and the 65-inch is available for around $1,700.
Given the fact that both TVs are roughly the same price across each of their shared sizes, the LG C2 wins this category on account of its three additional size options.
Our pick: LG C2
Other than its impressive picture, the C2’s panel is the first thing you’re likely to notice about it. At its thinnest point, it’s only slightly thicker than a typical smartphone. Its chassis widens out at the midsection, where the TV’s internals are housed.
This year, LG OLEDs are significantly lighter than they have been in years past, thanks to its lightweight, composite-fiber material and a new, lightweight stand. The pedestal-style stand is set at a downward-facing angle with only a couple inches of clearance between the bottom of the C2’s screen and the surface of whatever it’s resting on. Due to this limited amount of clearance, taller soundbars may obscure your view of the screen. The 42-inch C2 swaps the pedestal-style stand for a pair of wide-set, angular feet that sit near the panel’s corners.
At its thinnest, the A80K isn’t quite as mind-bogglingly thin as the C2, but it’s still leaner than just about every LCD TV I’ve seen this year. Like the C2, the A80K gets bulkier around the middle.
The A80K’s stand is what sets it apart the most. It uses a pair of feet instead of a pedestal, and there are three stand configurations to choose from, depending on your needs and preferences. In the two lower-set configurations, the TV’s feet call less attention to themselves, giving the A80K an elegant, sophisticated look. A third configuration lifts the panel high enough above its surface to accommodate a soundbar (though you’ll still only have about two and a half inches of clearance).
While I prefer the head-turning swankiness of the C2’s whisper-thin panel, there’s no denying the A80K’s flexibility.
Our pick: Draw
Features and smart platform
Before we dive into what sets these two OLED TVs apart, let’s take a look at the features they have in common:
A/V enthusiasts and cinephiles will feel right at home with either TV. Both support Dolby Vision, one of the most popular HDR formats. In addition, both TVs can either decode Dolby Atmos audio natively or pass it via eARC to Dolby Atmos soundbars—either in the uncompressed format (Dolby TrueHD) or the compressed format (Dolby Digital Plus).
For gamers, the C2 has a considerable edge. While both TVs support Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low Latency Mode, and G-Sync compatibility right out of the box, the C2 supports 4K gaming at 120Hz (and those aforementioned gaming enhancements) across all four of its HDMI 2.1 ports. The A80K, on the other hand, is limited to two HDMI 2.1 ports that support these features, and one of these inputs also doubles as the TV’s dedicated eARC port. If you own an Xbox Series X, a PlayStation 5 and an eARC-enabled device, you’ll probably need to relegate one of your consoles to a basic HDMI 2.0 port that tops out at 4K/60Hz.
Dedicated streamers, however, might feel more at home with the Sony A80K’s Google-based smart platform, whose easy-to-navigate menus and quick speed makes finding and accessing content remarkably easy. LG’s webOS platform is mostly fine, but its layout isn’t as refined and it’s not as quick to navigate.
If you’re a dedicated gamer, the C2 offers more support. If you’re more of a casual gamer—or if you don’t game at all—the A80K’s more-sophisticated smart platform will probably matter more to you than its relative lack of gaming-ready inputs.
Our pick: Draw
An OLED TV’s foundational asset is its contrast. Like all OLED displays, the A80K and the C2 are capable of producing perfect black levels, which create a level of depth and clarity that non-OLED TVs can’t quite compete with. There is no light bloom to speak of, so the illumination from brighter picture elements won’t spill into their surroundings. Another benefit of OLED TVs are their ultra-wide viewing angles; their color and contrast hold up during off-axis viewing better than any LED TV on the market.
Both of these TVs deliver sensational color, too; the A80K covers about 99% of the wide HDR color gamut (DCI-P3) and the C2 covers about 97%. Crucially, each TV offers very accurate out-of-the-box picture modes for picture purists who want their content to look close to what their creators intended. In other words, these TVs aren’t just colorful, they’re colorful and close to reference standards.
The C2, however, eclipses the A80K in a very important category: brightness. The C2 offers not only a brighter overall picture in both SDR and HDR, but brighter specular highlights, too. City lights in a skyline, sparks from an explosion, and reflections of sunlight bouncing off the ocean are brighter on the C2 than they are on the A80K.
For most folks, the difference is a subtle one; you’re far more likely to notice the discrepancy when viewing the two TVs side by side. It’s also worth noting that both TVs offer fantastic picture processing, with Sony TVs this year providing some of the best upscaling I’ve seen to date. If you’re looking for the brightest possible picture between the two, however, the C2 is the way to go.
Our pick: LG C2
And the winner is…
While both of these TVs are impressive in their own right, the LG C2 is the better pick for most people. It’s an especially strong winner for gamers, as its four HDMI 2.1 inputs offer more flexibility for those with more than one connected HDMI 2.1-capable device. And although the A80K upscales sub-4K content a bit better than the C2, the C2’s added brightness really makes its picture pop—especially in HDR.
That said, if you’re a casual gamer at best and want your next TV’s built-in smart platform to serve as your daily driver, I’d recommend the Sony A80K. Google TV is faster and easier to navigate than LG’s webOS.
Regardless of which of the two you land on, there’s no time like the present; these two OLEDs are seeing some serious discounts right now.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.