Best 4K TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar’s round-up of the best 4K TVs you can buy for any budget in 2018.
There has never been a better time to buy a 4K Ultra-HD TV. The technology is better now than it’s ever been, and 4K content has become the new norm for streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, as well as Blu-ray discs.
Yes, far from being the nichetechnology that it was a few years ago, 4K (also known as Ultra HD) is the 4x improvement your TV has been waiting for.
But making a good 4K TVs isn’t just about how many pixels you can push to a screen; it’s about the quality of those pixels. To that end, there’s even newer technology that we’re excited about, like High Dynamic Range and Wide Colour Gamut, that promise to take all those new pixels and make them truly shine.
If the world of TV buying feels unapproachable when you’re first getting into it, don’t worry. Give it some time and it will all make sense. Plus, you’ve got us here to help you pick out the best 4K TV on the market.
Over the years, hundreds of TVs have passed through our reviewers’ doorsteps. Using that wealth of experience, 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.
Check out our video above for an introduction to the world of 4K.
What you need to know about 4K TVs
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.
- Want something to watch? Check out our best movies on Netflix and best movies on Amazon Prime guides.
- Need to give your TV’s sound a boost? Check out our guide to the best soundbars available.
- Ultra HD Blu-rays are a fantastic way of watching 4K content without worrying about buffering. Check out our guide to the best Ultra HD Blu-ray players for some suggestions.
The best 4K TV of 2018: Samsung Q9FN (65Q9FN)
The best 4K TV ever made? We think so.
After an underwhelming debut, Samsung’s QLED technology really needed to bounce back in style in 2018. It didn’t surprise us in the least, then, to discover Samsung threw the kitchen sink in with its new Q9FN QLED Series of TVs.
As well as being even brighter and more colorful than last year’s equivalent model, Samsung’s 2018 flagship screens use a completely different lighting system to combat its predecessor’s contrast problems: Full Array Local Dimming rather than edge-lit LED lighting. The FALD panel works in tandem with Samsung QLED Quantum Dots to produce a picture that’s brighter and more colorful than near any we’ve seen come from the South Korean manufacturer.
Do those features alone make Samsung Q9FN the best TV on the market? No, but throw in technology like HDR10+ and Q HDR EliteMax – what Samsung bills as its maximum High Dynamic Range experience that’s exclusive to the Q9FN – and there’s very little doubt in our mind that this is Samsung’s best TV ever.
Read the full review: Samsung Q9FN QLED TV (65Q9FN)
The best mid-range 4K TV: Sony XF90 (KDL-55XF9005)
This is the 4K HDR flatscreen we’ve all been waiting for
65-inch: Samsung QE65Q9FAM
Short and sweet, the KDL-55XF9005 is a brilliant mid-priced TV. Every one of the improvements Sony has introduced over and above last year’s already excellent XE90 series – better processing, more brightness, slightly more backlight dimming zones, improved motion performance – delivers the goods, resulting in picture quality that humbles many more expensive TVs.
Its Android TV system and some generally minor backlight clouding stop it short of perfection, but it’s hard to imagine any similarly priced upcoming 65-inch rival getting the better of it.
Read the full review: Sony BRAVIA KDL-55XF9005
The best premium 4K TV: Sony BRAVIA A1
Sony’s flagship OLED TV from 2017 is simply amazing
65-inch: Sony A1E OLED
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 A1 OLED
The best entry-level OLED: LG OLEDB7 Series
LG’s entry level OLEDs continue to impress
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.
The B7 series is no different. Contained within the TVs is exactly the same panel that’s powering the more expensive C7, E7 and yes even the W7 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 2018.
Read the full review: LG OLED B7
The most accurate 4K TV: Panasonic EZ1002 OLED
Panasonic’s flagship TV takes OLED to another level
65-inch: Panasonic TX-65EZ1002
With a price tag of nigh £6,000, the 65EZ1002 needs to be special. Fortunately, it is. By implementing a number of features usually reserved for the professional mastering monitor world, Pana’s flagship OLED is able to deliver the most consistently beautiful and accurate pictures seen to date, with both HDR and SDR sources. It also offers a highly effective smart system, and a strong audio performance from its built-in soundbar.
For AV enthusiasts keen to reproduce their favourite directors’ vision at home with no expenses spared, the 65EZ1002 is simply as good as it gets.
The most visually striking 4K TV: Philips 65PUS7601
Brilliant backlight controls make this surprisingly affordable Philips 4K TV one of the year’s most pleasant surprises.
65-inch: Philips 65PUS7601
On paper the 65PUS7601’s pictures shouldn’t really work. It only delivers 700 nits of brightness versus the 1000 nits we’re seeing from the highest-level TVs this year, and it only hits around 76% of the expanded ‘DCI-P3’ colour range usually considered necessary for a premium HDR experience.
The reality of watching the 65PUS7601, however, is that once you’ve wrestled with a rather complicated picture set up system it produces one of the most immersive and spectacular pictures the TV world has to offer. Particularly key to its success is its direct LED backlight system, which manages to deliver a good (albeit not full) sense of HDR without causing nearly as many backlight clouding distractions as any of its more extravagantly bright rivals.
The 65PUS7601 does this, moreover, while also giving you the hundreds of apps available via Google’s Android TV smart platform and costing many hundreds of pounds less than other direct-lit 4K rivals like the Panasonic DX902s and Samsung KS9500s.
Read the full review: Philips 65PUS7670