LG C2 OLED Reviewed for Modern & Retro Gaming

Hey, Try from My Life in Gaming here again. We just released an episode focused on me attempting to upgrade from a visibly aging 2017 LG C7 OLED to a brand-new 2022 LG C2 OLED… and I’ll just go ahead and spoil the twist: I returned it for a 2021 C1 instead. Why? Well, the C2 is launching with some pretty lousy firmware, but there are several aspects that are especially bad for retro gaming, and there’s no guarantee they will ever be fixed.

The crux of the problem is that setting a 4:3 aspect ratio always adds approximately 16 milliseconds (1 frame) of lag! This happens regardless of whether you force the aspect ratio to 4:3, whether you set “Original” aspect ratio so that it switches on its own, or whether the device flags are outputting 16:9 or 4:3 natively. It doesn’t matter if you set your input to PC. It doesn’t matter what you do. 4:3 costs 16 milliseconds of lag, when it’s always previously been free on LG OLEDs and any other TV I’ve ever used before! While 16 milliseconds is not a horrible amount of lag if that were the beginning and end of it, it’s an unnecessary addition to the display’s base lag readings, and makes it unwise for you to choose other lag-inducing features like black frame insertion or using a wireless controller. Here’s a graphic from the episode, which outlines some possible “lag budgeting” options that you would have to consider if playing a game through the MiSTer on the LG C2 OLED:

You could avoid this by simply setting your RetroTINK 5X or MiSTer to 1080p so you have a 16:9 output frame, but 1920×1440 does look sharper, and CRT simulation effects especially benefit from 1440p. It’s a very unfortunate situation since 1920×1440 is one of the best resolutions in retro gaming hardware today, and I was excited to use it on my new TV because my C7 doesn’t support any form of 1440p. Naturally, any 480p content that is 4:3 would also suffer this fate.

So I decided I couldn’t take the risk on these issues never being fixed (there are more problems that bugged me about the C2 than just the 4:3 lag) and I returned the C2 (55″) for a C1 (65″) and was even able to afford the bump in size thanks to the C1 being so steeply discounted now. The C1 actually gets the same lag readings as the C2 when it comes to “normal” resolutions like 1080p, but it does slow down by about 8 milliseconds for “weird” resolutions like 1440p and 1536p. However, depending on what other modes and features you use, the C1 can still come out of it with anywhere from an 8 millisecond to a 16 millisecond lead over the C2, which can definitely make a big difference in the end. Here’s a shot that gives a general overview of how lag compares on C1 vs. C2 for retro gaming resolutions:

Well, that’s all I’ll say in here! If you’re on the fence about whether to hold out for a C2 or whether to get a C1 while they’re still available (might not be much longer), please give the episode a watch!