Today we’ll compare two of the best gaming displays on the market: the 42 inch LG C2 OLED vs the Samsung Odyssey G9. The LG C2 is actually a TV, but it absolutely can be used as a gaming monitor. The Samsung Odyssey G9, on the other hand, is a 49 inch super ultra wide display, rocking an absolutely insane 1000R curve. Both displays have strengths and weaknesses, so let’s get to it!
There are two primary drivers when it comes to motion clarity, refresh rate and pixel response. Refresh rate determines how often the monitor updates its image. The higher the refresh rate, the more frequently the monitors updates. Pixel response determines how quickly the pixels change to their new values each refresh. The lower the pixel response, the faster the new image is able to be displayed.
The LG C2 OLED features a 120Hz refresh rate with blisteringly fast pixel response times, near 1ms for nearly all transitions. The Odyssey G9, on the other hand, has a much faster 240Hz refresh rate, but with slower pixel response times of around 2-3ms. The G9 struggles slightly with darker transitions, something common to VA panels that causes moving dark objects to often have a smeared trail behind them.
The LG C2 also offers a black frame insertion mode, which reduces perceived motion blur, at the cost of an overall loss of brightness. Curiously, this mode only functions at 60Hz, making it generally undesirable to use. The previous C1 OLED allowed BFI at 120Hz and it’s odd they decided to take a step back here.
Winner: LG C2 OLED. While the Samsung Odyssey G9 has a faster refresh rate, the LG C2 OLED offers better pixel response time. At their maximum refresh rates, the experience is similar, but the C2 offers a much better experience at lower refresh rates, and doesn’t struggle with dark transitions they way the G9 does.
Contrast ratio effectively measures the difference between luminance of black and white the monitor is capable of displaying. The higher the better. The VA panel in the Odyssey G9 puts out respectable contrast, generating a number around 2500:1. However, the nature of the OLED panels (where pixels can be individually turned off and black is truly black), means the LG C2 has effectively infinite contrast ratio.
Winner: LG C2 OLED. The Odyssey G9 does fine in this category, but OLEDs dominate contrast ratio.
Brightness is important to consider if you’re going to be using the display in a room with a lot of natural light. The LG C2 puts out decent brightness, but OLEDs simply don’t get that bright compared to LCDs. The Odyssey G9 gets a couple hundred nits brighter under real world situations. Both are bright enough for a room with some ambient light, but the G9 can handle direct sunlight much better.
Winner: Samsung Odyssey G9. The LG C2 is reasonably bright for an OLED, but can’t keep up with the VA LCD in the G9.
HDR (high dynamic range) can drastically improve picture quality, displaying bright highlights and deep shadows all in the same scene. HDR benefits from displays with high peak brightness and high contrast ratios. In order to deliver a true HDR experience, LCD monitors need to be equipped with hundreds, if not thousands of local dimming zones. This allows bright highlights to exists among dark scenes without haloing (think, bright lights on a dark night).
Both monitors have some flaws when it comes to HDR. The LG C2 has decent HDR brightness, but isn’t quite bright enough for highlights to truly pop. However, OLED technology does mean that it effectively has as many local dimming zones as it has pixels. The LG C2 can display bright highlights on black backgrounds with zero blooming.
The Odyssey G9, on the other hand, has much better HDR brightness, but has just 10 edge lit dimming zones, meaning contrast ratio is significantly worse and blooming is a major problem in challenging scenes. If you’re interesting in the G9, but would like a better HDR experience, check out the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9, which is effectively the same display but ups the local dimming zones to 2048, drastically improving HDR performance.
Winner: LG C2 OLED. While the lack of brightness detracts from the HDR experience slightly, the deep blacks and lack of blooming makes the C2 a very pleasant HDR experience. The G9’s lack of dimming zones means the monitor isn’t truly capable of handling challenging HDR scenes.
General Productivity Use
Using either of these monitors for productivity comes with some caveats. For color accurate work, neither monitor is particularly suitable, and those who require that should look elsewhere. The G9’s aggressive curve can be problematic, causing distortion of the image. On the flip side, the C2’s OLED panel is at risk of permanent burn in from static content, something that is quite common for desktop monitors.
Winner: Samsung Odyssey G9. Neither monitor is great for daily driving productivity tasks. The curve of the G9 is a problem, but the burn in risk of the LG C2 just makes that display unsuitable for every day productivity tasks. The C2 should be used primarily for content consumption (videos/gaming). It’s highly advisable to pair the C2 with a secondary LCD display to use for daily PC tasks, or you’ll almost surely end up with burn in eventually.
Both of these displays are very large, and will require a lot of desk room. The LG C2, being a 42 inch TV, will require a very deep desk in order to reach a comfortable viewing distance. Mounting the TV on the wall behind the desk is likely the best way to use it.
The Odyssey G9 is an enormous ultrawide and will require about 45 inches of horizontal desk space. While the 1000R curve is a bit more aggressive than I’d like, it does work reasonably well for the super ultrawide format.
Winner: Samsung Odyssey G9. Both take up a lot of space, but the Odyssey is much easier to accommodate an appropriate viewing distance for. The large vertical height of the LG C2 requires a lot more compromise for use as a monitor.
The LG C2 42 OLED has a listed MSRP of $1299, although it frequently can be found on sale in the $899 range.
The Odyssey G9 has the same listed MSRP of $1499, and much like the C1, can now be purchased around $1000 as newer Odyssey displays have been released.
The C2 and G9 both offer an excellent viewing experience. The C2 is the better display overall. It offers better overall motion clarity and a better picture, thanks to better HDR and better contrast.
However, while the C2 is the better display, the G9 is the better monitor. The C2 has some very real issues with being used as a desktop monitor. Burn in is a serious risk, burn in mitigation tools (such as dimming static content) are distracting, and the large vertical height requires a very specific desk setup to work well.