Since starting our Black Friday TV deals live blog, I’ve been inundated with requests from people who can’t decide between the LG C2 OLED, our top TV of the year, and the LG B2 OLED, the lower-tier model but the one that’s more affordable.
At the time this article is going live, the 55-inch LG B2 OLED is on sale for $999 at Best Buy (opens in new tab), while the 55-inch LG C2 OLED is down to $1,296 at Amazon (opens in new tab). (You can, however, buy a 48-inch version of the LG C2 OLED for $1,049 at Amazon (opens in new tab), so keep that in mind.)
Deciding between the two OLED TVs can be tough, especially when money is tight and you haven’t seen the two side-by-side. Thankfully, we’ve taken both of these screens into our testing labs and can help direct you to the best choice.
The short answer is that, from our testing, we know that the LG C2 OLED is the better performer when it comes to overall brightness — but only in small windows of brightness. In scenes where everything is bright, the two perform pretty much the same when it comes to peak brightness. Moreover, there’s not a substantial difference between color saturation (it’s usually less than 1% of the DCI-P3 color space) and their input latency is basically identical.
We’ll break down all the details below, but if you’re in the market for an OLED and don’t want to overspend, you’ll get 95-99% of the same performance from the LG B2 OLED as the C2 OLED and will only be missing out on one or two features.
LG C2 OLED vs B2 OLED: features
“Now wait,” you might be thinking, “did you say missing features?” I did. And while there’s not a major difference in feature sets between the two TVs, the LG C2 OLED does have a few tricks the LG B2 doesn’t have.
For starters, the LG C2 OLED has four total HDMI 2.1 ports that support [email protected] The LG B2 OLED, on the other hand, has only two. That means connecting both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will take up both your HDMI 2.1 ports, leaving you no room to plug in a soundbar in the eARC port.
You can always work around this limitation by buying a soundbar that has an extra HDMI 2.1 port and can pass along a 4K/120Hz signal — but the more components you add in between a console and a TV, the more problems you can have.
You’re also stepping down in processor by choosing the LG B2 OLED. That probably won’t mean much at present as they’re both fresh models for 2022, but it’s possible that the LG B2 OLED will feel a bit sluggish in a few years when the C2 OLED is still navigating its WebOS UI without any slowdowns. You might also notice a slight downtick in upscaling with the LG B2 OLED, but it’s unlikely that will be the case.
Finally, the last missing feature from the LG B2 OLED is an ATSC 3.0 tuner that will eventually allow you to receive 4K over-the-air broadcasts. NextGen TV as it’s sometimes called is still rolling out to the public now and it will likely take a few more years to be fully up-and-running so again, not a huge deal in the short term but potentially an issue down the road.
Remember, of course, that while there’s a few differences between them, they largely have the same features. Both have 120Hz OLED panels and WebOS built-in, support for Alexa and Google Assistant and come with the Magic Remote. The differences are ultimately tiny.
LG C2 OLED vs B2 OLED: lab tests
So how did the two stack up against one another in the lab? Well, testing them with an X-Rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a SpectraCal VideoForge Pro pattern generator and Portrait Displays’ Calman calibration software, there wasn’t a huge difference.
What our tests found was that, in small areas, the LG C2 OLED could produce a higher peak brightness — around 800 nits in a 10% screen window in HDR mode — whereas the LG B2 OLED topped out at around 600 nits. That’s because the former uses the LG OLED Evo panels while the latter does not. The 200 nits of difference is relatively substantial, yes, but you’re only talking about a 10% window or roughly a 6.5-inch patch of a 65-inch TV.
That said, when we ran the tests in full screen, the difference in brightness was ultimately minor. In the Calibrated Mode, the LG C2 OLED maxed out at around 240 nits in a 75% window while the LG B2 OLED hit around 200 nits. The difference of 40 nits on a nearly full screen image isn’t going to change much for you.
In terms of color saturation, both TVs could achieve between 98 and 99% of the DCI-P3 color space and over 100% of the Rec. 709 color space. That’s not to say that colors won’t look a bit more vibrant on the LG C2 OLED — color perception is affected by brightness — however in terms of what’s actually possible, there’s not much of a difference.
Finally, in terms of latency, our tests showed that the LG B2 OLED is actually a little more responsive with a 12.7ms response time compared to the C2’s 12.9ms response time. Anything under 20ms is great for gaming, and you wouldn’t even notice the .2ms difference.
LG C2 OLED vs B2 OLED: Bottom line
Unless you’re someone who needs all four HDMI 2.1 ports or wants to be on the cutting-edge of NextGen TV broadcasts, there’s not enough of a difference in performance between the LG B2 OLED and LG C2 OLED to break the bank buying one. You might not even notice a difference between the two, honestly.
That said, if you’re someone who genuinely values having the best of something, the LG C2 OLED has become something of a status symbol in the AV community. It currently represents the pinnacle of mainstream TVs — that’s why it holds the top spot on our best TVs of 2022 list. It might just be incrementally better than all the rest, but it is better.
If you want to read more about the current state of OLED TVs, check out my guide to best OLED TVs in 2022 and LG OLED TVs vs Samsung OLED, as well as the best Black Friday OLED TV deals to see the best prices.