If you’re after a new TV and you want the best there is, you’ve come to the right place. Below we list the very best TVs – including 4K and HDR models – available to buy in the UK right now.
Also see: Best TV Deals
We’ve tested and rated specific models, but other sizes are available in all ranges, so if one is slightly out of your price range or you just don’t want such a large one, then our ratings also apply to those too.
Alll but one of the TVs tested here have 4K resolutions. These UHD (Ultra HD) sets are the ones to buy now. Only go for a so-called Full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) set if you really can’t afford a 4K model. 4K content is becoming more widely available with broadcasters gearing up to show a lot of sport and drama in 4K in 2017. 4K is also available over your internet connection (as long as it’s quick enough – around 15Mb/s or so) via Amazon Video, Netflix and Sky Q. Alternatively you can buy a 4K Blu-ray player and buy movie discs.
BT also offers pay TV subscribers UHD sport (football, rugby, Moto GP, squash, to name but four) via its Infinity broadband delivered Sports channel. Because this streams at 2160/50p a much faster broadband connection is required. BT will generally refuse to offer a 4K set-top box to those Infinity customers on less than a 45Mb/s connection.
You might be interested in our roundup of the cheapest 4K TVs available to buy right now
See also: 4K and UHD explained
TV buying guide
The latest generation of 4K televisions combine 3840×2160-pixel resolution – that’s four times more than Full HD – with the latest HDMI inputs able to handle incoming 4K content sources, such as Ultra HD Blu-ray and media streamers like the Nvidia Shield and Amazon Fire 4K TV box.
The key specification to look out for when it comes connectivity is a HDMI version 2 input with HDCP 2.2 support. The latter is a new level of copy protection is being used by all external 4K sources, so the more inputs that support it the better. If you buy a budget 4K telly, it most likely will only have one HDCP 2.2 compliant input. This could prove to be a bit of an Albatross when the content floodgates finally begin to open (have faith!).
The prices of 4K UHD TVs has fallen dramatically. Most are typically priced where HD models where just a few years ago. Manufacturers are transitioning all their larger sets to 4K resolution – so you’ll probably end up with one even if it’s not that important to you.
While the extra resolution that 4K offers is best appreciated on a large screen (55in plus), that hasn’t stopped smaller panels appearing. While there’s no reason not to buy a 4K TV at 40-inches, and the performance can be excellent, don’t expect to see overt picture improvements from typical viewing distances.
The general rule when buying a 4K set is go larger than your HD screen and view at the same distance, or sit closer. Or do both. 4K scales really large without revealing the pixels themselves, so it’s comfortable to view up close.
It’s worth remembering though that the 4K UHD specification is an ever-evolving feast. Unlike previous leaps in TV quality (black and white to colour, SD to HD), it’s not intended to launch full formed. Hence a rolling calendar of phased updates which will continue past 2020, maxing out with 8K resolutions screens. A new generation of HDR (High Dynamic Range) UHD TVs arrived this year which offer higher peak whites and better colour depth than what we have now. However, to appreciate these capabilities you need to feed your HDR 4K TV with HDR content, and there isn’t much around.
See also: Best smart TV deals
Voice-operated Smart TVs
Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant are voice assistants that originated in smartphones but are gradually finding their way into all corners of consumer tech, such as speakers, headphones. TVs are set to be the next tech category to get virtual assistants, and LG has announced its first Google Assistant ThinQ TVs at CES 2018.
With the Google Assistant onboard, you’ll be able to adjust the volume and change the channel on the TV, but also control anything else within Google Assistant’s scope, such as smart lights and heating.
It’s early days for the technology, so we have not yet reviewed any TVs that include voice assistant. However, it is one up and coming technology that we’re sure will make waves – keep an eye out for it when buying your next TV.
How we test TVs
All TVs are put through their paces with a variety of Full-HD and native 4K content. To further help assess motion resolution, colour performance, black levels and greyscale, we employ a variety of industry-grade test patterns.
All TVs are viewed with real-world content, delivered via onboard tuners, and with a selection of favoured Blu-rays, including Kill Bill Vol 2 (Uma Thurman’s burial is a dastardly test of dynamic contrast) and Interstellar. All 4K TVs will ‘upscale’ HD content to a lesser or greater degree (it won’t simply appear as a small box in the middle – it is ‘stretched’ to cover all 8 million pixels). It’s a task some do better than others.
Where appropriate, we also don 3D glasses to see just how convincing a dimensional experience the TVs deliver, with a little help from Disney’s Tangled and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Of course, to really gauge the value of these UHD screens, you’ll need a native 4K source, and the only real options currently available are Amazon and Netflix (and 4K Blu-ray discs). Some sets have 4K services integrated, for the rest we delivered them via the Amazon 4K Fire TV box, an £79 streamer.
Finally, file-playback tests comprised accessing a collection of audio and video clips, comprising various codecs and wrappers, from both USB and a DLNA-capable QNAP NAS running Plex and Twonky Media.
Best TVs 2018
Samsung UE50MU6120 50″ Smart 4K Ultra HD with HDR TV
Sony ZD9 Series
The 65-inch Sony ZD9 may come with a steep price tag, but it’s also the best implementation of HDR on an LED TV we’ve seen this year. Key to its success is Sony’s unique full array Backlight Master Drive, which comprises an unspecified number of precision calibrated LED lights controlled by a proprietary lighting algorithm. These allow the ZD9’s backlight to work with uncanny precision. The set has no problem delivering the kind of spectral highlights that really make HDR shine!
Design is also striking. The bezel of the ZD9 is trimmed in a rose gold, while connections are hidden behind pop off panels. There are four HDMI inputs, all HDCP 2.2 ready, plus, digital optical audio output and Ethernet/Wi-Fi. Active 3D is also supported.
The ZD9 runs the Android TV OS. This can be inelegant at times, but there’s no shortage of streaming services. These include Netflix, Amazon Video (both 4K capable) and YouTube, plus a full complement of Catch-Up TV, courtesy of a YouView TV guide overlay.
Picture quality is outstanding. In addition to that Backlight Master Drive, the set employs a new X1Extreme HDR image processor which does a remarkable job with all sources, even when they’re not 4K resolution.
If the set does has an Achilles heel it’s audio. A small carp (which incidentally is what it sounds like), given the general excellence of this superb set. And you’ll probably use a soundbar anyway.
Let’s not beat around the bush: this budget 4K 50-incher is ridiculously well specified. It adds HDR compatibility to 2160p resolution, throws in a Freeview Play tuner and comes with a well-stocked, contemporary smart portal. It even has the temerity to look svelte, with its thin bezel and fashionably thin (50mm) panel.
Hisense’s Vidaa U smart portal isn’t half bad either. It comprises a scrolling list of service and apps. Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube can all stream content on 4K, while the set’s provision of Freeview Play ensures that you have key catch-up services, including BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 and Demand 5, ready to hand.
Connections include four HDMI inputs (but only two support 4K at 60Hz), three USBs, plus composite and component AV. The remote control has satisfying heft and is finished with a chrome trim.
Image quality is solid, thanks to a full fist of 4K detail and vibrant colour palette. HDR support is effective. We measured peak whites in a 5 per cent window at 520 cd/m2 (aka nits).
This translates to real zing, be it from UHD Blu-ray, streaming services or Sky Q.
Ultra Smooth Motion reduces motion judder. It’s effective but imposes artefacts around moving objects. Our advice is use the Clear preset for sports, but switch it off for anything else.
The set’s audio performance is far less impressive. Despite a 2 x 10w output and dbx-TV audio processing, it sounds unpleasantly thin. Compensation comes with the set’s gaming performance. In Game mode, we measured input lag at just 29.1ms.
All things considered, a bit of a bargain then.
Cello 55 Platinum P55ANSMT-4K
There’s nothing insubstantial about Cello’s 55-inch 4K LCD TV. It’s unashamedly bulky (88mm deep) and distinguished by an integrated soundbar which makes a design feature of its tweeters and woofers. It’s this soundbar that gives the set an edge over rival budget screens. It’s not hi-fi, but it has undeniable weight and clarity. This isn’t a TV designed to sit quietly in a corner.
Rear side connections comprise three HDMIs, all HDCP 2.2 compliant, plus a trio of USBs and composite AV. Unusually, there’s also a micro SD card reader. The tuner is standard Freeview HD offering.
The smart platform is an early iteration of the Android TV OS, v4.4, and proves a bit of a horror to use. If you want streaming services, buy an HDMI dongle or use a Blu-ray player. The UI is also a simple affair. Picture modes comprise Standard, Dynamic, Theatre and Personal, but there’s no option to fine tune images.
When it comes to 4K resolution, this set puts it all on screen. But there’s no HDR support. Indeed, it’s not particularly bright. We measured a full white field at just 175.473 cd/m2. As a consequence, it’s best not used in a room with high ambient light. Opt for a darker viewing room though and you’ll be fine. Blacklight uniformity is good, and colour fidelity strong. There’s a limit to just how black it can go though.
We noted a 5 per cent overscan as standard. The only way to combat this is to swap HDMI Video mode to HDMI PC Mode. The screen doesn’t have any interpolation modes to retain motion detail, but the image actually looks quite filmic. There’s another benefit to this paucity of processing. This Cello’s gaming performance is great. We measured a low 30.3ms in HDMI video mode, dropping to 26.5ms in HDMI PC mode.
In terms of design, this tidy Toshiba is a clear winner. The thin-bezeled 49-inch screen sits on a reassuringly heavy flat chrome stand. Look closer, and you’ll spot a forward facing micro-speaker array, disguising by a cloth grille. It’s very classy.
Rear connections comprise four HDMI inputs, all HDCP 2.2 compatible, three USBs (one of which is a fast blue v3), composite and component inputs, VGA and SCART.
The Smart portal has Netflix and YouTube, both of which can stream in 4K, but it’s a bit dated. Freeview Play ensures all main catch-up services are available.
There’s no support for HDR, but average picture brightness is quite high for this class of screen. We measured a full white field at just over 230 cd/m2. The set uses a wide colour gamut panel too, and presents hues without oversaturation.
To maximise sparkle, use the Dynamic mode (not a recommendation we give often). The Toshiba looks filmic with all HD sources. Native 4K is crisp, but resolution benefits aren’t so obvious on a such a relatively small screen.
Watch out for the Energy Saving mode, which is on by default. This should be turned off, as it diminishes image brightness.
Audio performance is surprisingly entertaining for such a slim set, a benefit of those forward facing drivers. This isn’t a TV for gamers though. In Game mode we measured input lag at a high 59.4ms.
This cheap 43-inch 4K TV has an obvious edge over rival budget models: it sports Ambilight. It may basic, two-sided Ambilight, but it still provides brilliant room lighting and can be used in conjunction with a Philips Hue system.
The bijou set has other niceties too. Not only is it HDR compatible, there’s Freeview Play with copious Catch-Up TV, plus Netflix, YouView and Amazon 4K streaming.
In terms of design, the set looks fine, but the finish is plasticky. Connections include three HDMI inputs all of which are HDCP 2.2 compliant. There’s also component AV and two USB ports.
This Philips has a reasonably sharp UHD picture, but it’s not overly bright, so best manage your HDR expectations. We measured peak HDR luminance with a 5 per cent window at 358 cd/m2. The HDR Movie mode is very dull indeed. Ultimately, the screen is at its best with SDR sources, be it Freeview HD or Sky Q 4K.
Motion handling is pernickety. When watching films, select Off or Movies from the Motion Style menu. Use Sports for…well, you know.
Audio quality is unremarkable, so plan to add a soundbar at some point.
This impressively specified 55-inch UHD TV is actually the cheapest model in LG’s 2017 OLED range. It may be mid-priced, but everything about the B7 remains reassuringly premium. The slim silver bezel and crescent stand are suitably ritzy, while an all-white rear adds a designer flourish to the rear. The screen is wafer-thin, but extends to 48.6mm to accommodate electronics.
Connections include four HDMI inputs, all HDCP 2.2 enabled. There’s also three USB inputs, one of which is v3.0. Smart connectivity is via LG’s excellent webOS, accessed via the cursor-based Magic remote. Freeview Play makes Catch-up viewing a cinch.
Another thing we’re not short of here is HDR variants. Netflix streams with both HDR and Dolby Vision, as well as Dolby Atmos audio when available. There’s also Amazon with UHD HDR and YouTube in 4K. Technicolor HDR support is promised, although we’re not sure why.
Image quality is outstanding. OLED’s trademark black level performance is complemented by superb shadow detail, and wide colour. Peak brightness is high, just over 750 cd/m2, lending real punch to HDR content.
Motion handling is reasonable. For sports coverage, opt for the Clear Trumotion setting. For other content, select User (de-judder 0/de-blur on 8).
Inevitably, audio is less impressive, although there is a Dolby Atmos decoder onboard. To take advantage of this, partner the TV with a sound solution that’s also Atmos compatible.
It may not be Panasonic’s UHD hero screen, but the THX-certified 55-inch EZ952 OLED remains this year’s best Panasonic TV Buy.
With its ‘Pro 4K’ processing and deftly tuned cinematic presets, this 55-incher offers sumptuous image quality that really makes the most of 4K content. Indeed, it seems to pull more detail and nuance from 4K material than any screen in its class.
Images are both supremely sharp, but naturalistically detailed. It’s near black performance is also exemplary, and colour rendering excellent. Panasonic’s 4K Hexa Chroma Drive Pro image engine claims to cover almost 100 per cent of the DCI-P3 colour space.
The design is unfussy. The panel itself is just 4mm thin, swelling only to accommodate electronics. Connections include four HDMIs, all HDCP 2.2 compliant, plus three USBs, including a v3.0 variant, and a minijack adaptor for AV. There’s also an SD card reader.
Panasonic’s My Home Screen 2.0 is derived from the Firefox TV OS, and is highly customisable, while Freeview Play offers easy access to all the main catch-up TV services. Netflix streams in 4K with HDR, Amazon Video and YouTube also offer 4K support.
To be honest, this isn’t the brightest premium HDR screen we’ve seen (we measured its peak output at less than 600 cd/m2), but the overall balance is expertly judged. It’s a very comfortable implementation of HDR. A Brightness Enhancer improves HDR image quality in rooms with high ambient light.
Panasonic’s Intelligent Frame Creation motion smoother is overly aggressive though. Engage IFC Mid or Max, and motion artifacts become all too apparent.
The least noteworthy aspect of the EZ952 is its audio. While there’s no shortage of welly, it’s hardly a match for set’s picture prowess.
With its Acoustic Surface audio technology and stunning design, Sony’s 65-inch A1 OLED flatscreen debut literally stands apart from the rest.
The ‘one-slate’ design is minimal, yet inventive. The set doesn’t use a conventional pedestal. Instead, the OLED panel leans back on an angled support, braced for rigidity. The impression is that the A1 is lightly resting on its bezel, quite a feat for something that tips the scales at 30kg.
Acoustic Surface Technology allows the panel itself to radiate sound. Attached to the rear of the panel are a pair of sonic actuators. These vibrate to create stereo. They handle the mid-range and up, leaving deeper bass to a conventional woofer built into the stand. The total audio output is 50W – 2×20 for the stereo pair, and 10W feeding the sub.
Connections comprise four HDMIs, all HDCP 2.2 compliant, alongside a trio of USBs.
Tuner is Freeview HD, but there’s a YouView app running on top. The set uses the Android smart platform and has Chromecast built-in. Apps include Netflix and YouTube in 4K.
Picture quality is fabulous. This wide colour OLED couples huge dynamics with vibrant colour. Sony’s 4K HDR X1 Extreme image engine is largely responsible. Super bit-mapping technology takes an 8-bit or 10-bit signal and upconverts it to a 14-bit equivalent gradation. The result is clean, band-free images.
Meanwhile object-based HDR remastering does a brilliant job selectively boosting peak highlights, yet maintaining detail, in regular SDR content.
The A1 supports HDR and Dolby Vision. It’s also bright for an OLED, measuring just shy of 800 cd/m2.
Motion handling is a mixed bag. Motionflow XR Smooth and Clear settings suffer from artefacts around moving objects. For sports, use the Custom setting (Smoothness 3, Clearness Low).
Overall, we consider the A1 a sensational TV. Picture quality is top notch, and Sony’s Acoustic Surface wizardry is as effective (if not better) than any mid-range sound bar.
LG OLED65W7 ‘Wallpaper’ TV
LG hints at a very different TV future with the W7. This so-called ‘wallpaper TV’ is so thin it can be hung on a wall with magnets. But there’s some devil in the detail.
The W7 is basically an OLED TV deconstructed. All the bits that make up a regular set are present and correct, just reimagined. The back panel of the TV has become the wall mount, onto which the OLED screen sticks (magnetic lugs ensure it can only fix to the on-wall plate one way).
This is tethered to a soundbar/hub, which handles the electronics and sound system, by a thick flat cable. Connections include four HDMIs, three USBs and an AV minijack.
As a feat of engineering, this concoction is amazing.
The matching soundbar hub is hailed as a 4.2 solution and boasts a Dolby Atmos decoder, but it doesn’t perform quite as you might imagine. The distinctive cylindrical speakers which pop up are not up-firing Atmos height speakers, they simply elevate the main soundstage to better integrate sound with the detached screen.
What’s more, the system has no deep bass at all, and there’s no way to add a subwoofer. It’s sonically disappointing.
Usability mirrors any other LG OLED. The webOS smart platform is a cut above, and offers access to all key streaming and Catch-up TV services.
Picture quality is superb. The screen boasts deep blacks, excellent shadow detail and bright HDR (both HDR10 and Dolby Vision). If you’re watching movies, we suggest you use the Cinema Home preset as it offers a significantly higher picture level than the somewhat dull basic Cinema mode.
Overall then, this is a thrilling example of OLED TV engineering, but not without foibles. But the LG futurists are probably right. One day we will all end up sticking our OLED screens to the wall.
Philips 9000 series 55POS901F/12
OLED and Ambilight are two a dynamic duo, the bright colour washes of the latter perfectly complementing the drama of the former. Ambilight is presented here in a three-sided configuration, so you’ll get the classic multicoloured halo behind the set.
The design is icy cool. The set has a thin, chrome bezel, while the back is finished in gloss grey. The inclusion of the Ambilight LEDs make this model a little thicker than rival OLEDs (49.4mm), but not by much. The integrated soundbar hints at a sonic performance that goes above and beyond.
Connectivity includes four HDMI inputs, all of which are HDCP 2.2 compliant. There are also three USBs. Smart functionality is average. The set uses an unadorned Android smart hub, and catch-up TV apps are thin on the ground.
But if you can make do with iPlayer, there’s also Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube with 4K support.
OLED generally tends to make everything look great, and that’s the case here. From regular HD Blu-ray, to Sky Q and 4K streams, visuals are impressive. 4K resolution is outstanding, while Philips Perfect Colour processor ensures wide colour support.
As this uses an older OLED panel, peak HDR brightness is low at 540 cd/m2. But the provision of Ambilight remains a tempting proposition.
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