(Image credit: Samsung / LG / Tom’s Guide)
Now that Samsung has finally released its first OLED TV in over a decade, you might be wondering whether to buy the new Samsung S95B OLED or save a bit of money by buying a cheaper OLED TV like the LG C2 OLED.
The answer, while mostly cut and dry based on our review of the TV and the discrepancies in price, is still worth exploring — especially if you’re someone who likes to have the latest tech before anyone else does.
The short answer is that, for now, LG OLED TVs are still the ones to beat. They may not be as bright as Samsung’s new S95B screen, but the LG C2 OLED and LG G2 OLED do a better job with black levels and come with a more user-friendly smart platform. It also helps that the C2 OLED is cheaper than the QD-OLED-using S95B.
Want a detailed breakdown of these two TV titans? Here’s how the Samsung S95B OLED stacks up against LG’s two premium OLED options, the LG C2 OLED and LG G2 OLED.
Samsung OLED vs LG OLED: Specs
Now, before we get too far into it, it’s worth noting that the Samsung S95B OLED TV isn’t just an OLED — it’s actually a QD-OLED TV, a new panel technology that adds a layer of quantum dots to a blue OLED backlight. That’s different from the OLED Evo panels that LG uses, but similar enough in price and performance that they can be compared in an apples-to-apples comparison.
Samsung OLED vs LG OLED: Prices and sizes
Of all three TV series mentioned above, the Samsung S95B comes in the fewest number of sizes — so far, it’s limited to either 55 or 65 inches corner-to-corner. The LG C2 OLED comes in both those sizes, plus a 42-, 48-, 77- and 83-inch screen size. The G2 has all those sizes minus the 42- and 48-inch sizes that are exclusive to the C2 Series.
In terms of pricing, both Samsung and LG’s top OLED models cost nearly the same as one another, but the LG C2 stands out as the cheaper, more affordable option
If you just compare the most expensive models — in this case the LG G2 OLED vs the Samsung S95B — you’re going to be spending about the same amount. However, the LG C2 is meaningfully less expensive than either, and will likely be the best-suited to deliver the most value per dollar.
Winner: LG C2 OLED
Samsung OLED vs LG OLED: Design
Let’s be clear up front about this one: design is certainly subjective and I wouldn’t mind the look of any of these TVs on my mantle. That said, in my opinion, there is one clear winner here that stands out above the rest.
The LG G2 OLED was designed to be a classy act. LG packs a mounting bracket into every box — an issue if you really wanted a stand instead — which helps the TV to sit flush on the wall. It has the designer feel of Samsung’s The Frame, but with an OLED panel packed in to help make the picture really pop. The C2 OLED is no slouch, however it doesn’t come with a mount and isn’t as slim as its more expensive stable mate.
We appreciate that Samsung has minimized the bezels on the new S95B and carries over the eye-catching pedestal design of its QLED series. It’s slimmer than other OLEDs — if that’s somehow even possible — but it doesn’t use the OneConnect box, unfortunately.
Winner: LG G2 OLED
Samsung OLED vs LG OLED: Performance
One could argue that each of these TVs, despite sharing some of the same underlying technology, attempt to do different things when it comes to performance. For LG, it’s all about portraying the perfect blacks and best contrast, while Samsung is interested in better brightness and more colors. Both succeed in those goals — but there’s a drawback to each.
At this point LG has really perfected its OLED panels to the point where they exhibit superb contrast levels and color accuracy well above what’s required in the Rec.709 color space. However, LG’s OLED panels — even the new LG Evo panels — are limited in brightness to under 1,000 nits in a 10% window. That’s still plenty of brightness, especially if you plan on putting a G2 in a proper home theater, but it is a weakness compared to the S95B OLED.
Where the S95B OLED shines is in its color reproduction — this is one of the first TVs to cross the 80% mark in Rec.2020 tests which means its colors are going to be bright and beautiful. Our Delta-E color tests show that it’s fairly accurate as well. We weren’t quite as sold on the way it handled black levels that sometimes crushed before it reached the lowest output. It’s a minor quibble, but one our reviewer noticed in his review.
Beyond the big bell-ringing specs, you’ll also notice differences in motion handling (we’ve always been a big fan of LG’s algorithm over Samsung’s) and sound quality. The latter is the one area where the LG C2 OLED beats both the G2 and S95B OLED. Eventually you’ll want to add one of the best soundbars to the mix, but out of the box the LG C2 OLED has the best sound.
Samsung OLED vs LG OLED: Smart TV features
At prices like these, you should expect that you’re buying a serious smart TV — and you are, all of these models are exceptionally good at accessing streaming services, integrating smart assistants and helping you find new shows and movies.
That said, we did find one manufacturer had a slightly more usable smart TV platform this year than the other, and that’s LG. LG’s new WebOS 22 isn’t a complete revamp of the platform the way Samsung’s new Tizen smart platform is, but it refines LG’s already great smart TV system. This year’s WebOS simply adds up to six user profiles so you can keep your recommendations separate and the ability to pass a cable signal from one WebOS TV to another that doesn’t have a cable box hooked up to it. Minor changes, but impactful.
Samsung’s new Tizen platform isn’t awful, but LG’s is currently better.
Winner: LG G2 OLED and LG C2 OLED
Samsung OLED vs LG OLED: Which one should you buy?
If I were shopping for a TV for myself right now, I’d probably pick the LG C2 OLED. It’s cheaper than the others and offers the best value for the price. Folks who want something a little more designer-focused could easily make the case for buying an LG G2 OLED instead, while folks who want the most colorful, cutting-edge panel might see the value in the S95B.