Best 4K TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar’s round-up of the best 4K TVs you can buy for any budget in 2017.
For years, there was a large audience of people who couldn’t care less about 4K TVs. They loudly proclaimed that 1080p was the best standard around, and that while 4K seemed like a good idea, content makers would never support it.
Those people are all eating their words right now. 4K TVs are here to stay.
So why have 4K TVs taken off like they have? Well, for one, they’re just as cheap as 1080p screens, and two, they look four times as awesome. (No seriously, 4K isn’t just a catchy marketing term, 4K TVs are actually four times the resolution of traditional 1080p displays.)
Not only do these screens have four times the amount of pixels as their aged (but still-revered) 1080p brethren, but 4K screens also usually pack in screen technology like High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) that really make those extra pixels shine in all their glory.
The last 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.
If all of this sounds weird or archaic 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 get the best 4K TV on the market.
Why can you trust us? Well, over the years, hundreds of TVs have passed through our reviewers’ doorsteps. Using that wealth of experience – plus some neat side-by-side comparisons – we’ve created a list of the best 4K TVs.
We constantly update the list with the latest and greatest panels, so if you see things shuffled around a bit since the last time you were here, don’t freak out. Embrace that times change and that these are the best TVs we’ve ever found.
1. The best 4K TV of 2017: LG OLED C7
Stunning pictures at an affordable price puts OLED back on top
Stunning contrast-rich pictures
Gorgeous ultra-thin design
Excellent operating system
Lacks brightness vs LCD
At the top of our list for 2017 is the LG OLED C7 – available in both 55 and 65-inch iterations. It’s here because it delivers better brightness and light control than last year’s C6 (something we weren’t sure was even possible), making it a high dynamic range performer that doesn’t sacrifice OLED’s class-leading standard dynamic range capabilities. It delivers its new picture thrills at a price that finally makes OLED a financially viable alternative to top-end LCD sets making it, beyond a doubt, one of 2017’s most irresistible TVs.
There are other OLEDs worth considering this year (see: Sony’s A1E OLED or LG’s B7 and W7) but we think the OLED C7 offers the best price-to-performance ratio of any TV under the sun in the year 2017.
Read the full review: LG OLED C7 (OLED55C7)
2. The best mid-range 4K TV: Sony Bravia X900E
An fantastically sleek and capable set
49-inch: Sony XBR-49X900E | 55-inch: Sony XBR-55X900E | 65-inch: Sony XBR-65X900E | 75-inch: Sony Bravia XBR-75X900E
Excellent motion handling
HDR isn’t the brightest
Remote doesn’t feel as premium
Although LCDs haven’t quite achieved the same black levels as their OLED rivals, the Sony X900E’s HDR performance comes tantalizingly close.
This is achieved through the set’s direct LED backlight, which allows it to achieve a brightness uniformity that edge-lit displays often fall short of.
Add in fantastic detail and motion handling, and you’ve got yourself a set that strikes an excellent balance between price and performance for mid-range 4K TVs, and is well worth a look … even if its Android TV interface can feel a little cluttered, and its remote a little cheap.
Read the full review: Sony BRAVIA XBR-X900E
3. The best budget 4K TV: TCL P-Series (55P607)
TCL’s 55P607 is simply the best budget TV of 2017
Bright, colorful HDR
Roku TV is amazing
Upscaling isn’t world-class
Poor black level performance
TV manufacturers have long sought the formula to a great performing TV at a bargain price and, speaking for the last seven years since LED LCD hit the mainstream, have never quite achieved that perfect balance. Until now.
For us, TCL’s P-Series 55P607 does just that – it packs powerful technology under the hood, including support for WCG and Dolby Vision, in an affordable package that will only get cheaper once the seasonal sales start in November.
If you like your TVs bright, colorful and well-stocked with the latest display technologies, the TCL P-Series 55P607 should be at the top of your list.
Read the full review: TCL P-Series (55P607)
4. The best premium 4K TV: Sony BRAVIA A1E
Sony’s brand-new flagship TV for 2017 is returning to OLED
65-inch: Sony A1E OLED
Gorgeous picture quality
Innovative and excellent sound
It’s not very bright
Android TV is clunky
If you have the money to bankroll them, the 55A1 – and the A1 OLED series overall – are crowd pleasers in just about every way. Their ‘picture only’ design has been beautifully realized, managing to be simultaneously subtle and dramatic. Their vibrating screen delivers a far more powerful and effective sound performance than I’d thought possible, too.
The real stars of the show here, though, are the A1’s exquisitely detailed, contrast-rich and colorful pictures. These prove emphatically what we’ve long suspected: More brands using OLED technology can only lead to good things.
Read the full review: Sony A1E OLED
5. For the brightest HDR: Samsung Q9F QLED Series
Phenominally bright panels do wonders for HDR content
65-inch: Samsung QE65Q9FAM
Fantastic color levels
Very bright screen
HDR color banding can occur
Backlight clouding can be an issue
Samsung was the first brand to introduce an HDR-compatible screen back in 2015, but it’s not been resting on its haunches ever since.
Samsung’s latest flagship, the Q9F, is a perfect example of this. It ups the brightness to 1500 nits, 50% higher than the level required for UHD Premium certification, making it one of the brightest TV we’ve ever tested.
Outside of an impressive-sounding number this brightness has a real impact on the set’s image quality. Detail is preserved in even the brightest areas of the image, and colors are exceptionally vivid and bright. That means even non-HDR content looks fantastic thanks to Samsung’s SDR upscaling technology.
No TV is perfect, and the Q9F can occasionally suffer from some backlight clouding around bright objects and some settings cause color striping in HDR colors, but in all other respects this is the best television around at the moment.
Read the full review: Samsung Q9F QLED TV
6. For the cinephile in your life: Sony XBR-65Z9D
Sony’s 2016 flagship TV set new standards
Brilliant SDR picture quality
LOOK AT THAT PRICE TAG
Limited effective viewing angle
Look, there aren’t many people out there willing to drop 5,500 on Sony’s 2016 flagship TV. But those who are will be teated to some of best images this side of a high-tech movie theater. There’s just nothing better in the LED-LCD world.
In fact, it might just be the holy grail of television for 2016: a TV able to combine the extreme, high dynamic range-friendly brightness of LCD technology with a 600 LED backlight arrangement capable of getting LCD closer than ever before to the stunning light control you get with OLED technology.
If all that wasn’t enough, the 65Z9D also sports the ‘X1 Extreme’ video processing system and the latest version of Sony’s reliable Triluminos wide color technology for unlocking the extended color spectrums associated with HDR sources – a must-have if you want to get the most from your movie collection.
Read the full review: Sony XBR-65Z9D
7. The best entry-level OLED: LG OLEDB7 Series
LG’s entry level OLEDs continue to impress
55-inch: LG OLED55B7V | 65-inch: LG OLED65B7V
Excellent all-round image quality
Complete HDR support
Great smart platform
No Dolby Atmos passthrough
Mediocre onboard audio
LG’s ‘B’ line of OLEDs has consistently offered a great entry point into the display technology without compromising on what makes it so exciting.
And the B7 series is no different.
Contained within the TVs is exactly the same panel that’s powering the more expensive , and yes even the LG televisions, which means an exceptional bump over last year’s OLED panels at a much lower price.
So where has LG saved the money? In a word, sound. The B7’s downward firing speakers are the worst all the company’s OLED TVs. Not only that, but the set is also currently unable to pass Dolby Atmos to an external sound system over HDMI (although a firmware update to fix this is on the way).
If however, you’re content to put up with a standard surround sound experience, then the B7 is a fantastic entryway into a piece of TV tech that still feels futuristic in 2017.
Read the full review:
8. For great-value HDR: Sony BRAVIA XBR-X850E Series
4K HDR TV that doesn’t destroy your bank account
55-inch: Sony XBR-55X850E | 65-inch: Sony XBR-65X850E
Good HDR pictures
HDR isn’t very bright
Android TV is frustrating
By introducing its exceptional X1 video processor further down its TV range than ever before and being brave enough to dial down the brightness a bit to deliver a more even, immersive backlight experience, Sony’s struck mid-range gold with the X850E Series. While it’s not the brightest or most colorful TV on the list, the simple fact is that few TVs we’ve seen in recent times have balanced price, contrast, brightness and color quite so all-round effectively as the 65X850E.
If you’re looking for a great TV that doesn’t destroy the bank account, Sony’s X850E series is the clear winner.
Read the full review: Sony XBR-65X850E
9. For the best black levels: LG OLEDE7 series
OLED isn’t done getting better just yet
55-inch: LG OLED55E7 | 65-inch: LG OLED65E7
Gorgeous picture quality
Thinness of OLED
Minor picture noise problems
LCD TVs are still brighter overall
Thanks to the thinness the technology affords, OLED televisions often look striking, but LG’s OLEDE7’s ‘picture on glass’ design looks especially fantastic.
Sure, the E7 might not have the same sexy allure as LG’s flagship from this year, the crazy-expensive OLED W7, but frankly the E7 offers a very similar level of quality at a much lower price. It still looks great, it’s still packing Dolby Atmos, and although it can’t boast the wallpaper thinness of the W7, it’s not far off.
If you want almost all the high-end features LG’s OLED series have to offer without taking out a second mortgage on your home, the E7 OLED is a worthwhile, cost-effective addition to any home theater.
Read the full review: LG OLED E7
10. The best budget QLED: Samsung Q7F QLED TV
Samsung’s entry-level QLED TV really shines
65-inch: Samsung QE65Q7FAM
Poor black levels
Apps hang periodically
QLED is delivering on Samsung’s promise of better, brighter screens at a more affordable price, with the Samsung Q7F leading the charge as the manufacturer’s entry-level set.
Unfortunately, though, the Samsung Q7F QLED is an extraordinary TV hindered by ordinary issues. It’s one of the brightest, most colorful and we daresay one of the most enjoyable TVs to watch from Samsung in 2017. And while it would be nice to unequivocally recommend it, some damning black level performance, issues with off-axis viewing, audio and operating system performance keep on the most beautiful TVs from being one of this year’s best.
Read the full review: Samsung Q7F QLED TV