Manufacturer enthusiasm for small 4K TVs might have waned in recent years, but consumer appetite hasn't. This has left people clamouring for quality in 40 to 43-inch TVs, but often being disappointed in their performance.
No one could claim lack quality, so when LG announced its first 42-inch range of OLED TVs we dared to dream. The LG OLED42C24LA has the strongest chance of being a Which? Best Buy small TV since Samsung started making 43-inch Neo QLED models.
OLED TVs don't come cheap though and the introduction of new screen sizes usually drives prices even higher. Despite the OLED42C24LA (also known as the C2) being six inches smaller than the 48-inch version, it costs only £100 less.
Indeed, at just over £1,000 the C2 costs far more than your average 40 to 43-inch TV.
Read on to find out whether it folds under the pressure or aces our tests and becomes the best small TV you can buy.
|Screen size||42 inches|
|Screen refresh rate||120 Hz|
|Speakers||6.1.2 channel simulated surround sound|
|Highest HDMI version||2.1|
LG hasn't neutered its smallest OLED: aside from a few exceptions, the C2 has everything its bigger cousins do.
Brightness Booster is about as self-explanatory as TV features get (why can't they all be that way?). It boosts the brightness, but only C2 TVs 55 inches and above get it.
How much difference does this Brightness Booster feature make? Since we measure the peak brightness of TVs, we have the answer.
We test how bright a screen can be in a few ways. First we display a white square that takes up 10% of the screen, then we test again with a white square taking up 60% of the screen. Then we do loads of other stuff with squares and some impressive cameras, but let's not get bogged down.
|42-inch C2 OLED||55-inch C2 OLED|
|Peak brightness when displaying 10% white square||585 nits||750 nits|
|Peak brightness when displaying 60% white square||440 nits||520 nits|
You're probably now wondering what a nit is. As far as TVs are concerned, a nit is a measure of light output, with one nit being the equivalent of the amount of light emitted by a single candle.
As you can see in the table, the 55-inch C2 is noticeably brighter thanks to the Brightness Booster. But don't worry, the 42-inch one isn't exactly dim.
If you'd like to see how the bigger models did in the myriad other tests we run, take a look at these reviews:
Competition isn't exactly fierce in the 40 to 43-inch bracket. The majority of TVs that release at this size are entry-level and cost half as much as the C2.
You won't be surprised to hear that the C2 beats these cheaper sets for picture and sound quality, but we did find some notable issues with it.
Of course, there's no perfect TV, and if we ever find one we'll need to make our tests more difficult. But just how close does the OLED42C24LA come? Can it do enough to become the first Best Buy small TV we've tested in more than half a decade? And are there cheaper alternatives worth considering?
LG isn't alone in releasing a 42-inch OLED. Sony has done the same and - you guessed it - we're testing it.
At £1,699, the Sony XR-42A90K is significantly more expensive than LG's C2. However, you shouldn't be buying a TV right now anyway (that's July 2022 if you're reading this later).
What's more, since we have high hopes for Sony's small OLED, it's best to wait to see how it fares in our tests before purchasing either of these 42-inch TVs.