8K TVs were all the rage at CES this year, but when you ask most folks the resolution of the big screen in their living rooms, it's unlikely that 7680x4320 is the answer you hear in response. Instead, the vast majority of video game enjoyers are just now starting to ponder the best 4K TV for gaming – what is it, who makes it and what are the specs.
Boasting a high pixel density of 80 pixels per inch(!), the Sony XBR-55A1E is indisputably our top pick. But since it uses OLED panel technology to display deep blacks and vibrant colors, it's expensive as all hell. That's why we've curated a whole list of competitive 4K TVs, complete with specs and pricing. Even if you don't have $2,500 to spare, you're bound to find something amid our rankings that suits your budget. That said, the best 4K TV for gaming is one that you can fit in your entertainment, so if you're in the market for something smaller, might we recommend one of the best gaming monitors around?
What makes a TV the best 4K TV for gaming?
When shelling out for a new TV, admittedly there's an overwhelming number of factors to consider before whipping out your credit card and reciting its many digits before your preferred e-tailer. A fun one that's come up as of late is HDR, or high dynamic range. In short, this technology is responsible for producing brighter white and darker black tones on-screen while ensuring the color depth never dips below 10 bits. It's a tall order, and one that is further complicated by the fact that numerous HDR formats exist, the most common of which are HDR10 and Dolby Vision. For us, the most important thing to keep in mind is that both PS4 Pro and Xbox One X only support HDR10. Anything beyond that is inessential for console gaming.
Another choice you'll have to make along the way is whether you prefer (or your wallet prefers) OLED or QLED. For some deep dives into this subject, check out our guides to the best LG TVs for gaming (OLED) and the best Samsung TVs for gaming (QLED). Before you do that, however, keep reading for the best 4K TV for gaming, joined by five tasty alternatives in the paragraphs below.
A note on all our listings: US and UK TVs have different model numbers, but the same features. We have listed the US model where available, and included the UK model name after. They are, however, the same TVs and the prices you see are correct for your region.
1. Sony XBR-55A1E (Sony KD-55A1 in the UK)
Arguably the best TV Sony has ever manufactured, offering unbeatable elegance and amazing black levels
Screen size: 55 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: Yes, Android Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1228(w) x 710(h) x 339(d)mm
A TV isn’t just there to provide a window into your favorite games and movies; it’s also a piece of furniture that can tie together/ruin the look of your living room. When it comes to aesthetic elegance, Sony’s A1 may just be the sexiest television ever made. With a unique bracket stand that can’t be seen when viewing the TV from the front, the A1’s slightly slanted, utterly minimalist design gives the impression you’re looking at a colossal picture frame, not a cutting-edge OLED display.
Being an OLED, Sony’s wonderful set inherently delivers best-in-class blacks, brilliant color reproduction, and Sony’s usual suite of excellent processing features, like X-tended Dynamic Range and Motionflow. As the actual panel is manufactured by LG, the A1 shares the same (admittedly minor) faults of the likes of the South Korean’s B7 TV. Only AV obsessives with the eyes of a bald eagle will notice the tiny imperfections, though, like minor vertical banding on deep, deep blacks. Everyone else should simply bask in an awesome TV, which is near identical to this year’s Sony A8F OLED but cheaper and better looking.
2. LG OLED 55B7A (LG OLED 55B7V in the UK)
One of the best TVs you could ever hope to own
Screen size: 55 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: Yes, webOS 3.5 | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1229(w) x764(h) x 254(d) mm
Supremely obvious spoiler warning: OLEDs are awesome. Thanks to their light-omitting diodes, these sets can perfectly dim every on-screen pixel, leading to utterly flawless blacks even the best LED TVs can’t come close to matching. And in the B7, you’re looking at the best balance between price vs performance of any TV on the market. As this model is part of LG’s 2017 lineup, it’s significantly cheaper than the firm’s new 8 series. Functionally though, the B7 mostly matches LG’s newest sets blow for blow. While the likes of the C8 may be slightly brighter (especially when it comes to HDR), the B7’s pictures look broadly similar in all other regards.
Screen uniformity is even better than 2016’s wonderful E6 model, with banding all but eliminated in bright scenes – that means no more visible vertical lines when playing FIFA 19 or panning the camera across the skies of Hitman’s Sapienza level. For those who want to get the most out of Red Dead 2's brilliant HDR mode, the B7’s HDR Game preset delivers silky smooth performance, with input lag clocking in at just 21.4 ms. While LG’s display can’t produce as strikingly bright pictures as Samsung’s QLED TVs, overall contrast performance is still superior, owing to those perfect blacks. If you do a lot of nighttime gaming in a dark room, this supreme 4K set will last you for years.
3. Samsung QN65Q9F (Samsung QE55Q9FN in the UK)
One of the punchiest 4K sets you’ll ever find
Screen size: 65 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Panel technology: LED with full array local dimming | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1450(w) x 828(h) x 254(d) mm
Gah! Our poor burned corneas! The Q9F’s pictures are bright… ‘surface of the sun’ bright. One of OLED’s only real weaknesses is the underlying tech of the panels can’t get quite as bright as the very best LED TVs, and the Q9F is certainly one of those. There are plenty of cute features stuffed into this cutting-edge display. The set’s One Connect box helps cut down on the clutter of HDMI cables hanging from the back of the TV, while the Ambient Mode feature is a cool party trick to impress friends with. The latter feature essentially attempts to mimic the pattern of your wall when the TV is in standby – so if you have a brick wall, it will show a brick background.
For gamers though, the main selling points of the set are the TV’s brilliant backlight system and automatic game mode. The first sees Samsung deploy a full array local dimming system boasting 500 zones to ensure blooming and haloing are kept to an absolute minimum, even in the darkest of rooms. Outside of an OLED, you’re unlikely to find better black performance. As for the auto game feature, it automatically analyzes the content you’re playing, and can tell the difference between Netflix and Red Dead 2 (for example); automatically switching modes when it detects a video game. HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR are also welcome for those obsessed with high dynamic range. This being a Samsung, input lag is predictably excellent, clocking in at 21.5 ms when playing games at a 4K signal.
- Not looking for a TV? Here are the best gaming monitors in 2019
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- And here are the best best Xbox One headsets you can buy
4. LG OLED 77C8PUA (LG OLED 77C8LLA in the UK)
The ultimate gaming TV comes at a hefty cost
Screen size: 77 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1722(w) x 1052(h) x 253(d) mm
We just can’t do a best ‘4K TV list’ without including one ludicrous luxury purchase. If you happen to be a recent lottery winner/oligarch/A-list actor, the 77-inch LG C8 OLED is pretty much the finest television you can buy. Sure, it costs more than most people usually spend on their first car, but just imagine near 80 inches of Uncharted 4. Isn’t that worth more than some clapped-out Citroën Saxo? While the signature W8 remains the most expensive in the LG range, in reality, each one of the 8 series has an identical picture. The only thing separating the C8 from the W8 is the latter’s flashy wallpaper-thin aesthetic.
The C8, like the rest of LG’s 2019 OLEDs, is the finest television the manufacturer has ever built. Input lag at 4K measures in at just 21.1 ms, while those legendary blacks are as seductively inky as ever. While dark greys still produce banding effects – curse you, barely perceptible vertical lines! – general screen uniformity is much better than 95% of LED TVs. Banding in bright scenes is also better than the 7 or 6 series, and panning the camera in games with bright, uniform skies like in Red Dead shows absolutely no streaks or smudges. The 8 series also produces slightly brighter HDR pictures than last year’s range of models. In short, if you have a spare $9,000/£7,800, you simply won’t find a more spectacular TV.
5. Samsung UN55NU8000 (Samsung UE55MU7070 in the UK)
Sammy serves up a speed demon
Screen size: 55 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Panel technology: LED with edge-lit dimming | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1226(w) x 711(h) x 55(d) mm
If this Samsung had a spirit animal, it would be a cheetah… a cheetah with rockets strapped to its furry feet. The NU8000 boasts impeccable input lag of just 17.8 ms when playing games in 4K. That’s not only enough for competition level online gaming, it’s not far from the response rate of certain PC monitors. Not that this TV is a one trick, preposterously speedy pony. High native contrast produces convincing blacks, making this a good fit for those who game in dark rooms.
The screen uniformity on the NU8000 is far superior to most LEDs, with little sign of dirty screen effect. There’s also very little clouding on this set, leading to uniform blacks free form distracting lighter patches. With excellent motion-handling and stellar response rates, the NU8000 can perform for faster games than Red Dead Redemption 2, but will still show off Rockstar's epic at its best.
6. Sony XBR-55X900F (Sony KD-55XF9005 in the UK)
A brilliant, well-balanced LED
Screen size: 55 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Panel technology: LED with direct LED lighting and local dimming | Smart TV: Yes, webOS 3.5 | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1288(w) x 771(h) x 268(d) mm
This ace LED is the best mid-range TV you’re likely to find. Hell, it’s one of the best sets you can buy, regardless of price range. Sony has wisely ditched the LED edge-lit backlight tech it used with many of its past displays in favour of switching to a local dimming system. The switch results in far more convincing contrast performance, with much less ‘haloing’ (distracting light clouds) in dark scenes. While blacks aren’t quite up to OLED standards, the XF9 offers just about the best dark room viewing experience you can get from an LED.
While viewing angles are limited compared to OLEDs, or the likes of Samsung’s Q7F QLED, the XF9 has one crucial advantage over its Sammy rival: it exhibits virtually no ‘dirty screen effect’. Sony’s set has some of the best screen uniformity we’ve seen on an LED, and because the screen’s light levels are so consistent, the smudgy streaks that can often appear when you pan the camera over a blue sky in a game – GTA 5 is a killer for this – are markedly reduced.
The XF9’s internal processing is also top notch. Sony’s new X-Motion Clarity and X1 Extreme processor ensure pictures clearer than ever, making the TV not only a great native 4K performer, but a display that’s also great at upscaling 1080p content. Yes, the Android system holding up this set’s menus is still cluttered and clunky, but as a purely gaming set the XF9’s brilliantly punchy contrast performance and speedy 4K pictures – input lag measures in at just 24.2 ms with a 2160p signal – means we strongly recommend this stunning Sony.
- Need to go 4K? Here are the best PS4 Pro deals right now
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- And if it's all too much for you, here are the best 4K TVs for under $500
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