The best gaming TVs to buy in 2018

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You've done it. You've invested in a Xbox One X or PS4 Proand now want a gaming TV to match. All those pixels need a perfect way to fire into your eyes. But which gaming TV to choose? The market is a veritable minefield of specifications and brands, each promising to bring a whole new world to your living room. If you want to know exactly what it all means, check out our  what do 4K and HDR mean anyway? article but my guess is you're here because you want to buy and the good news is that there's never been a better time. 

Modern TVs deliver a suite of apps and streaming services, but 'smart' features aren't the focus here. Our key concern is picture quality, because when it comes to assessing the best gaming TVs, image is the major differential. While TV tech is rapidly marching forward - be it 4K, OLED panels or HDR - all the sets below will give you a great experience for years to come. Without further ado, here's our picks of the very best gaming TVs. 

1. Samsung UE49KS8000T Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR LED 49-inch TV

A superb set that combines an excellent picture with lightning quick response times.

Screen size: 49-inches | Tuner: DVB-T2 Freeview HD Tuner | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 635.8 x 1094.2 x 42.5 mm

Bright, punchy pictures
The 20.9mms input is perfect for games
‘Dirty screen effect’ during some games
Image quality can’t quite match the KS9000

Samsung has been knocking it out of the park in the TV sector over the last few years. The South Korean manufacturer is making class-leading sets in almost every area of the market; be it the very high-end scale or budget ranges. The KS8000 sits nearer the top end of the tree and is an absolute humdinger of a gaming TV thanks to its killer response times, incredibly bright pictures and impressive handling of HDR (High Dynamic Range) content. 

What separates Samsung TVs from the rest of the LED pack is the Korean giant’s ability to make sets with brilliantly low input lag. Engage Game Mode on the KS8000, and you’re looking at response times of just 20.9ms. In layman's terms, this TV’s pictures refresh so quickly, you’ll never be able to blame a single COD death on controller lag again. Blacks are also handled more confidently than the majority of LED panels, with little sign of backlight bleed or clouding when playing in a dark room. The only slight downer? The KS8000’s pictures aren’t terribly uniform, with the panel’s patchy light distribution causing pictures to look a little dirty during panning shots - like in FIFA matches. 

Best for.... Anyone who want a brilliantly bright, decent value, exceptionally fast gaming set.

2. LG OLED55B7V Smart 4K Ultra HD OLED 55-inch TV

The best 55-incher around delivers unbeatable blacks

Screen size: 55-inches | Tuner: DVB-T2 Freeview HD Tuner | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 764 x 1233 x 254mm

Perfect blacks that will ruin all LED TVs for you
The 21.5ms response time is excellent for an OLED
It’ll make your bank account pretty sad 
Pictures don’t get quite as bright as the best LEDs

Your eyes deserve an OLED. Forget 4K and HDR for a second: there’s no gaming upgrade you’ll appreciate more than switching from a regular LED panel to an OLED display. LG is still the all-conquering king when it comes to light-omitting diodes, and its 2017 range of sets retain their crown. When it comes to delivering incredible contrast performance and perfect, endlessly believable blacks, OLED beats the brakes off LED.

The firm’s B7 model is a hell of a lot cheaper than it was at launch, and though it’s not exactly going for chump change, the TV’s blacks will have a transformative impact on your favourite games. OLED panels can individually light and dim every on-screen pixel, leading to incredibly inky blacks that will make the likes of The Evil Within 2 look beautifully rich. LG has finally implemented Dolby Vision alongside standard HDR, while the set’s ‘Blade Slim’ makes for a bewilderingly skinny offering. Combine all of the above with the fact screen uniformity is still streaks ahead of LED TVs – you’ll find no clouding or dirty screen effect on an OLED – and this really is the ultimate gaming TV, going for a price that’s now no longer insane. 

Best for... Gamers who have cash to spare and want the best picture money can buy. 

3. Sony Bravia KD55XE9305 Smart 4K Ultra HD LED 55-inch TV

This superb HDR performer will brighten up your life

Screen size: 55-inches | Tuner: DVB-T2 Freeview HD Tuner | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 790 x 1232 x 282mm

Incredibly bright pictures make this a brilliant TV for HDR
Its native contrast is seriously impressive
Input lag isn’t great at 1080p, though bizarrely gets better at 4K
Viewing angles are much tighter than an OLED

If you pressed your eyeballs up against the Sony XE9305’s exquisitely bright screen, you’d probably give your corneas third-degree burns. OLED screens may still be top of the class when it comes to black performance, but even LG’s amazing TVs can’t get as blistering bright as this LED star pupil. Thanks to surprisingly good local dimming features, this set performs better than most in darker rooms. When you combine these decent black levels with the XE9305’s, frankly insane, peak brightness of 1442 cd/m2, you’re left with one hell of an HDR performer. 

Yes, you’re paying a hefty premium for those stellar High Dynamic Range pictures – this is still a Sony set, after all – but we’d argue the XE9305 actually delivers punchier HDR performance than some OLEDs. The only real downside? Input lag measures in at a kinda lethargic 42.3ms when dealing with a 1080p/60fps signal. Still, you won’t find many better LED TVs on the market.

Best for… HDR doubters. Play Uncharted 4 on this baby, and be converted forever. 

4. Panasonic TX-40DX700B Smart 4K Ultra HD LED 40-inch TV

An excellent, mid-range 4K performer with balanced pictures

Screen size: 40-inches | Tuner: DVB-T2 Freeview HD Tuner | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 514 x 895 x 40 mm

Aggressively priced for a 4K and HDR-compatibility
Impressively uniform pictures
HDR images aren’t the brightest
40-inches is a tad small for 4K

It’s not something people usually discuss in polite (read: ‘sane’) company, but most LED TVs suck at creating truly uniform pictures. Thanks to the inherent problems with backlight technology, the vast majority of modern flatscreen sets all exhibit varying degrees of banding - vertical strips/streaks across the screen - or dirty screen effect - whereby uneven light distribution leads to areas on the panel that are darker than others, leading to a smudgy look during panning camera moves. 

That’s why Panasonic TX-40DX700B is such a steal. It’s not only a well-priced 4K, HDR-compatible TV; it’s also a set that boasts genuinely impressive screen uniformity. Both black and grey uniformity perform admirably on this TV, meaning you’ll see very little dirty screen effect when panning the camera across a bright blue sky in the likes of GTA 5. For those with less obsessive eyes, the amount of features this Panasonic packs in  is the real selling point. The screen may not be the brightest - images are a little too dark to make HDR truly come alive - but this is a great value 4K set thats quality belies its price tag.

Best for... Those looking for a brilliant bedroom TV for that second console 

5. Samsung UE40MU6400U Smart 4K Ultra HD LED 40-inch TV

A budget buy that doesn’t skimp on quality

Screen size: 40-inches | Tuner: DVB-T2 Freeview HD Tuner | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 520 x 904 x 54 mm

Great value for money
Good at upscaling 1080p pictures
Struggles to get bright enough to truly make HDR sing
lacks can look a little washed out

Remember the days of chunky CRT TVs, when any set over 26-inches was considered colossal? Truly, those were simpler, eye-squinting times. Of course in 2018, TV manufacturers now consider anything below 55-inches ‘small’, which is frankly ridiculous. If space in your house is at a premium, or you’re looking for a second TV for the bedroom, the 40-inch MU6400 (or the US-exclusive, 40-inch version of the MU7000) will do you proud. 

Considering how cheap this TV is, it’s admirable Samsung has managed to make it HDR compatible. Sure, this panel struggles to deliver bright enough images to really do High Dynamic Range justice, but it’s still capable of delivering punchy pictures. Image detail is excellent on the MU6400, while the screen does a good job of upscaling 1080p signals – great news if you’ve not upgraded to a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X. Black levels obviously aren’t up to OLED standards, but an input lag of just 21.3ms means this Sammy is still a great little gaming TV. 

Best for… Gamers on a tight budget looking for a capable 4K/HDR TV. 

6. Samsung UE55MU7000 Smart 4K Ultra HD LED 55-inch TV

A marvelous mid-range performer

Screen size: 55-inches | Tuner: DVB-T2 Freeview HD Tuner | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 780 x 1223 x 240 mm

Both motion handling and response times are great
Delivers deeper blacks than you’d expect for an edge-lit LED
Contrast doesn’t get near OLED levels
HDR pictures could be a little brighter

If you want a decidedly decent TV that won’t obliterate your savings, this Samsung will make both you and your still intact change purse very happy. For a mid-range set, the MU7000 delivers a lot of bang for your buck. Thanks to some canny BFI treatment – that’s black frame insertion, for those of you who aren’t Terminator-eyed AV nerds – motion handling on this panel is top notch. Said feature makes this a great gaming TV; one that’s perfect for fast paced COD matches. 

At this price point, you won’t find many panels that offer better blacks. For an edge-lit display, the MU7000 delivers much inkier pictures than you expect – something you can thank the TV’s winning local dimming system for. This set is also a good HDR performer, and is capable of reaching a peak brightness of 560 nits. The final cherry on this sumptuous black forest gateau? The MU700’s response times are terrific: turn on Game mode, and you’re dealing with just 19ms in HDR, and 24ms for SDR content.  

Best for… Anyone who takes their shooters seriously and wants an ultra responsive TV. 

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