The best 4K TV

TechRadar Reviews

Reviews / TechRadar Reviews 85 Views 0

Almost every television releasing to market these days is going to be a 4K Ultra HD TV, with a bucketload of pixels bringing increased clarity and detail to whatever it is you watch in your living room – four times as many pixels as HD, to be exact. But not all 4K TVs are created equal, and it may be hard to tell what are really the best 4K TVs out there.

Although 4K resolution displays aren’t usually cheap, we’ve included a mix of options that we hope will please everyone in the market for a new TV – even those with a slightly smaller budget. (If you're more keen on a good deal than top-notch visuals, though, you can head to our cheap TV sales guide for the best deals on offer.)

But the newer the TV, the longer its price tag will hold out – and if you’re looking for a new Ultra HD TV, it might be best to go with an older model, which should hopefully come with a decent discount as new devices enter the market. 

If you're not sold on 4K tech just yet, remember it's not just a case of packing as many pixels as possible into a screen. It's also about the quality of those all-important pixels – with High Dynamic Range and Wide Colour Gamut technologies to make those pixels truly shine. 

We've been testing TVs since the dawn of 4K, and using that wealth of experience alongside the hundreds of TVs that have crossed our paths, we've created a list of the best 4K TVs – whether 55 inch, 65 inch, or 75 inch is what you need. We regularly update this list with new suggestions, so keep on checking back to see what replaces the leading models.

What you need to know about 4K TVs

Before we get stuck in, let's have a quick 4K refresher. 

For starters, not only do 4K UHD screens have four times the amount of pixels as their 1080p predecessors, these 4K TVs also usually pack in screen technology like High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) that really make the most of those extra pixels.

The other reason 4K TVs have taken off is that game consoles, like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, have totally embraced the 4K future, as have the Blu-ray industry and streaming video player market. 

Pretty much everyone is on board the 4K Ultra HD train these days, so what better time to get a set?

If all of this sounds weird or tough to understand, don't worry. We're here to help decipher the wild, wonderful world of Ultra HD. Give us a few minutes of your time and we'll help you take home the best 4K TV on the market.

Samsung Q90 QLED TV

Image Credit: Samsung

Last year the Samsung Q9FN won plaudits galore for its features and image quality. But it's now been replaced on our list of the best 4K TVs by the Q90 QLED TV. The Q9FN wasn't perfect and there were legitimate complaints about viewing angles and an over-aggressive local dimming system that crushed detail just above black.

Samsung has clearly taken these criticisms to heart, and directly addressed them in the Q90. The new model has a visibly superior viewing angle that holds its own against an OLED TV, and the local dimming delivers deep blacks without losing shadow detail. To that end, the new Ultra Black Elite filter is nothing short of a revelation, rejecting ambient light in a way that just staggers belief. 

It's not too much of a leap to say that the Samsung Q90 is the most impressive QLED we have reviewed to date, incorporating comprehensive features and cutting-edge picture innovations. As a result, this TV can deliver a performance that is capable of competing with and often surpassing even the best OLEDs.

As the upgrade to the C8, which topped our list last year, the C9 OLED continues LG's winning streak as the best performing OLED television for the price.

There aren't huge differences with last year's model, but the addition of the 2nd Gen a9 processor means the picture processing is truly top-notch, with a vibrant picture full able to reach the deep blacks and rich colors that OLED panels are known for.

You also get Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support (premium video and audio technologies) though not the competing HDR10+ video standard. The webOS smart platform is outstanding, too, with a sleek and well-organized interface.

Sure, there are more expensive OLEDs out there with more audio output packing in, but if you're after a top panel at a reasonable price, the C9 is the television you want – while the LG B9 is also available for those wanting to shave a bit more off the asking price.

There's a very good reason that Hollywood video editors master on OLED TVs – they simply outmatch anything else on the market. And while LG and Sony certainly have their merits in this area – the former is the largest producer of OLED panels in the entire world, after all – Panasonic is certainly no slouch. 

The GZ1500 is a fantastic example of this, sitting between Panasonic's entry-level GZ1000 and pushed-to-the-max GZ2000 and offering a great marriage of the strengths of both.

With the same panel and HCX Pro processor as the cheaper model, the GZ1500 offers a brilliant picture, with only minor colour banding and stuttering you're unlikely to notice if you're not squinting at the screen for evidence of it. At the same time, its front-firing speakers offer an immediacy to the audio you won't get lower down the range – even if they lack the sheer power of the GZ2000's (possibly unnecessary) 140W speakers.

Want an OLED TV experience without the price tag? The LG B9 OLED may be the television for you.

Sitting at the bottom of LG's 2019 OLED range, the comparatively budget set forgoes the a9 Gen 2 processor of its more expensive siblings (like the C9) for a simpler a7 Gen 2 model.

You have to be careful going for the cheapest OLED TVs out there, as some simply don't get the balance between bargain and baseline quality. The LG B9, though, still manages to achieve a dynamic picture with the infinite contrast and vibrant colours in keeping with the rest of the range – even if some mild video noise creeps into the darker sections of the screen.

Why buy the A9G OLED? The latest model excels when it comes to upscaling, with SD and HD images looking as polished and detailed as you could hope for on the A9G’s 4K display – while the OLED panel manages to draw out incredible color and contrast performance. Sound is also a key feature, with Sony’s premium Acoustic Surface+ Audio technology emitting audio out of the panel itself, rather than jutting out of rear-firing speakers.

The lack of HDR10+ may disappoint some, though these are niggling issues in a truly top-notch television.

Coming in 55-inch, 65-inch, and 77-inch sizes, there’s a lot of screen on show too.

Philips 803 OLED

Image Credit: Philips

Philips has significantly upgraded the picture processing power of its previous OLED TVs, and the benefits of this new found brawn can be seen writ large on the Philips 803 OLED, with enhanced contrast and spectacular colors. The brand’s second generation P5 Perfect Processing Engine offers twice the picture processing power of the original, and that was a pretty impressive chip in its own right. 

While the 903 is still the brand's flagship model, beyond its Bowers & Wilkins sound system, there’s little to separate that from the 803, making it the smarter buy.

If there's anything holding Philips back from holding the top spot in our round-up, it's the minor irritations, like poor catch-up TV provision, just two full-spec UHD HDMI inputs and the lack of Dolby Vision. If that doesn't bother you, though, Philips Hue-compatible Ambilight room lighting system, and the promise of an early upgrade to the new Android Oreo TV OS, however, might just make this the most promising OLED on the market. 

Image Credit: Samsung

The Samsung Q80R QLED TV isn't the flashiest QLED put out this year – in fact, it's third in the line-up after the Samsung Q90 and Samsung Q85. The difference between each one might be incremental, but by the time you've got the the Q80R, you've got a substantial price saving from the higher-end models.

The Q80R still packs in everything that makes a QLED a QLED: a dazzlingly bright display, a direct full array backlight, and Samsung's new Ultra Viewing Angle technology (which keeps colors looking rich even from off-axis). Not to mention voice control through Samsung's Bixby voice assistant, and Airplay 2 functionality.

As it's Samsung, there's no Dolby Vision support – meaning you won't get the best of dynamic HDR through Netflix and the like – opting instead for HDR10+, which is used by Amazon Prime. Like the Sony A9G OLED, you won't find Freeview Play here either.

But if you're after a compromise between price and performance, this is one of the best 4K TVs on the market today.