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Best gaming TVs for 2019

Best gaming TVs for 2019
Best gaming TVs for 2019
(Image credit: Future)

Selecting the best gaming TV is a big decision. And it's not just about picking the priciest or the shiniest: there is now so much choice in the range of quality 4K TVs available now that you can get a good gaming TV for far less money in 2019. Also, the best TV for watching movies on might not be the best for games: not all TVs are created equal, after all. There are premium panels which can cost a pretty penny (read: several thousand bucks), and while a bunch of them won't be worth it, the higher-end models do provide an extra level of detail and vibrancy to pictures that the more budget-end models simply can't come close to matching. The upward trend of higher price means more, does follow suit in the realm of features and bells and whistles, too. More upmarket TVs will bag you more intricacies, with some of them often being geared toward gaming (though not always). With such a wide variety to choose from, we're here to help you get the best gaming TV for your needs.

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It's relentlessly realistic and true to life, but first consider you budget and what size TV you want. While it'd be counterproductive to spend more on a TV that is well  oversized for the room or space it'll be in, we have also never heard of  anyone complain that their TV is 'too big'. Ever. Just be sensible, know where you're putting it and aim for the biggest appropriate size (budget depending) In terms of features that enhance games, you need to really consider the type of panel you're getting: most are edge-lit LED panels and most come with HDR as standard, so will display pictures with reasonable color and sharpness. Those looking for more vibrant pictures (ideal for colorful games like Assassin's Creed Odyssey) should consider one of Samsung's QLED sets, which run brighter than any other panels. Anyone who prefers darker games with more blacks (Metro: Exodus) should look at OLED panels (from a range of manufacturers, but LG's screens are the most well known here). If you can't afford those, as these are premium TVs, look to get a gaming TV with a high refresh rate and decent response time, and one that has a 'Game Mode' or two, and other features like Freesync. You should be fine by default but check on the number of HDMI ports they have; the more the better for gamers, particularly those with multiple games consoles, devices and sound systems and so on.  For us, too, the last thing to consider is the User Interface - how easy is it to use? Is it quick at snapping between channels or inputs, and can you voice control the TV too? 

These are the best gaming TVs right now, based on value and gaming performance. While some aren't the newest, we feel that the money-saving you make is well worth it.

Best gaming TVs for 2019

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1. LG OLED 55E8PUA - 65" OLED 4K TV

The best gaming TV in 2019

Screen size: 55 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1226(w) x 777(h) x 50(d)mm

Peerless black performance
Stupidly sexy design
OLED screen is incredible
It’s intimidatingly expensive

Those lucky enough to have a hefty bank balance should really consider treating themselves to this wonderful OLED. The E8 is one of the most beautiful ‘traditional’ looking sets we’ve ever seen, and it's far better value than LG's W8 TVs, which are designed to be hung on a wall and used primarily for sports. The E8's clear, ultra skinny stand has been designed in such a way that it appears the picture is floating in mid-air, making it even easier to become immersed in gorgeous games like Forza 7 or God Of War

LG’s 8 series also benefits from an impressive new Alpha 9 processor, helping make the TV’s HDR pictures brighter than previous OLEDs from the South Korean firm. In HDR10 mode, compatible games appear more dynamic, as long as you have Dynamic Tone Mapping switched on. Additionally, and unlike 7 series models, the E8 no longer dims the picture when set to HDR game mode, helping the likes of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and its lovely high dynamic range setting look even more alluring. Throw in predictably peerless blacks, and responsive input lag of just 21.4 ms, and this incredible OLED performs as well as it looks. 

Here's our full guide to the best LG TVs for gaming, including advice on OLED tech.

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2. Samsung Q60R - 55 inch QLED 4K TV

The best value QLED TV, and it's currently under $1000

Screen size: 55 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Panel technology: QLED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1226(w) x 777(h) x 50(d)mm

Vibrant picture
Very fast panel
Looks great
Blacks not as deep as OLED

Such was the popularity of Samsung's 2018 Q6FN, that the newest model - the Q60R - is available in a wide variety of sizes, and a genuinely superb price. For less than $1000 you can get this entry-level QLED panel, which offers more vibrant pictures than any other type of TV. It's sharp too, although the black levels don't quite match LG's OLED range. While the Q60R doesn't benefit from some of the fancier features in the high-end Samsungs, like Direct Full Array (it's edge-lit), it brings incredible HDR, a 120Hz refresh rate, and speakers that perform well above average for standard TV audio.

All Samsung's QLED range have solid Game Modes (this 2019 model comes with Real Game Enhancer) that boost refresh rate to maximum and response rate to below 10ms, and while this does come at the cost of the HDR brightness, it's worth the slight cut. It has Freesync too. The Q60R also has voice control (via the admittedly inconsistent Bixby - we suggest pairing with Alexa instead), the excellent Samsung Universal Guide and interface, and a bunch of streaming services built into the TV. The bright colours really are the star of the show here, and like all QLEDs this TV can light up a dark room while maintaining wonderfully sharp images. There's no risk of screen-burn with this tech either. 

If budget is an issue, Samsung does a 43" version of this TV, but we'd recommend 55" or above.

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3. Samsung UN55RU8000FXZA - 55" 4K TV

A superb Samsung with plenty of gaming features

Screen size: 55 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions (including stand): 9.3 in x 48.7 in x 30.6 in

Tuned for gaming
A great panel with decent HDR
Not overly expensive...
...but only just cheaper than QLED
Voice control is poor

If you don't want to spend OLED or QLED prices, but still want a premium 4K TV for your gaming, the new RU8000 series from Samsung is worth looking into. Samsung's panels are very good across their whole range, and the 2019 models have made big strides around viewing angles and the quality of upscaling non-4K pictures. What we like about the RU8000 series models is the Real Game Enhancer feature, which drops the response time of the panel to a super-low 6.8ms. Combined with Freesync, this makes the panel superb for faster-paced shooters and games that require reflexes as well as a handsome display. Just be aware that the 49" version doesn't have a number of these features, including Real Game Enhancer, so make sure you stick to 55" or above for this set.

This is the 2019 model too, so you get a bunch of Samsung's 'nice to have' features, like a universal remote (with built-in voice control - although this is very, very inconsistent), cable management around the back of the TV, and the Universal Guide with a whole bunch of streaming services already built in. It's a nice all-rounder. While the rest of Samsung's standard 4K TV range is cheaper, the 8000 series is best for gaming, so it's worth spending a little extra on. 

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4. TCL 55R617 - 55" 4K TV

The best value 4K TV

Screen size: 55 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1231(w) x 777(h) x 271(d)mm

Unbeatable price for the features you’re getting
Great contrast levels deliver punchy images
Lightning fast input lag
Finish and build is less sturdy than Samsung and LG models

TCL’s 2018 55-inch LED is ridiculously good value. If you love a bargain, this is the one for you. It's regularly less than $500, there’s no other TV in this price bracket that offers such a brilliant balance between price and performance. Thanks to this set’s decent blacks, punchy overall brightness, and winning contrast performance, it easily holds pace with a number of more expensive rivals from Samsung and Sony. 

Considering how cheap TCL is selling this display for, it’s super impressive the set boasts full array local dimming, rather than inferior edge-lit pictures. This system gives the R617’s convincing blacks, which stand out even more thanks to the TV’s wide colour gamut, brought about by what the manufacturer refers to as ‘Nano Band Phosphor’ tech. The panel becomes even more impressive when you consider its input lag measures in at a supremely speedy 17.9 ms when game mode is enabled, while the inclusion of HDR10 and Dolby Vision is borderline ridiculous for a TV at this price range. Looking for a new 4K television, and on a budget? Then you’d be a fool to overlook the R617. TCL55R617 - should you buy it? One word of warning: we wouldn't recommend TCL sets from earlier than 2018, as the company's panels have come a long, long way in the past few years. While the 2017 and earlier panels are not bad at all, the 2018 sets are easily the best deals among TCL's TVs.

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5. LG UM7300PUA - 43" 4K TV

The best small TV for gaming

Screen size: 43 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 8.50 x 38.50 x 24.80 Inches

Superb value
Sharp, colorful picture
Works with Alexa
43" is a small TV for games
Sound is fine, but not super

When it comes to 43" 4K TVs you've got plenty of choice. While you could drop in excess of $500 on a Sony set, or push yourself and get the Samsung Q60R in that size, our recommendation is the LG 7300PUA. The 2019 version of our favorite budget set, the 6200PUA, this 4K panel brings a few key improvements and still manages to offer itself for less than $300 for most of the year. That is exceptional value for this mighty TV.

It comes with an IPS screen, which means the picture stays great for anyone watching at an angle, and while the 60Hz refresh rate isn't the best for movies or games, the on-screen images are razer sharp. LG's panels are superb in this budget-category, and the processing power behind them is decent. While not as thin as an OLED, the 7300PUA is slender and neat, with a thinner bezel than previous models. It also comes with Alexa voice control compatibility and Google voice assistant which, while not 100% precise, is a neat extra and something that supplements LG's rather middling user interface. The sound quality is among the best for TVs in this sub-$500 range, although we'd recommend supplementing the built-in speaker with headphones or a surround sound system if you're serious about audio. In all, for sub-$300, it's tough to find anything better.

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6. Sony Bravia X800E - 43" 4K TV

A superb, small 4K set

Screen size: 43 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions (including stand): 38.00 x 9.70 x 24.40 Inches

Superb picture and HDR
Has Google assistant
Full of features
Expensive for a 43" TV
Lower refresh rate

If you're looking for a smaller TV with a superb picture, perhaps as a second TV for gaming instead of your main set, then the X800E from Sony is excellent. What you always get with a Sony is a superb panel and a powerful TV when it comes to the actual picture and any content upscaling. It lacks some of the premium gaming features touted by other TVs, like higher refresh rates, Freesync, and low response rates but... if you just want a small set that makes your games look magical, this is one to consider.

The Sony TVs come with plenty of extra features too. This is an Android TV, and is compatible with Google voice search, plus is has Chromecast built in (which is a handy bonus - although we don't yet know if that means it'll be Stadia-ready). Sony's UI is just fine, if not class-leading, and setting up the TV requires a bit of tinkering and learning how to operate the TV. If you can snag this TV for less than $500 in a sale, it's worth picking up. The newer X-series Sony TVs are great, but come with a massive price premium, so we'd definitely recommend picking up 2018's model to save money.

Jargon buster - here's what 4K TV tech actually does

4K

This is the resolution of the image that can be displayed by your TV. 4K refers to the resolution 3840x2160 pixels. It's also referred to as UHD or Ultra HD by some broadcasters or manufacturers. Basically, if a TV can display pictures in 3840x2160 it can be called a 4K TV or 4K ready TV. PS4 Pro and Xbox One X can both output a signal in 4K, and send it to your 4K TV. Almost all modern gaming TVs are 4K.

HDR

HDR means High Dynamic Range. The majority of 4K TVs come with HDR as standard, and it's a technology used to process colors within games, movies, and TV shows. HDR isn't strictly about contrast - it's a way of making the difference more noticeable between colors (and blacks), and HDR can actually be used by game makers and developers to pick out more details in their creations. Primarily, HDR is used to boost the color of a picture by making colors more vivid, thereby contrasting them further. If you can separate very similar shades of color, then you can create clearer images. The minimum standard for HDR is a brightness of 400 nits (the measure of brightness on a TV), although some TVs manage 2000 nits in 2019. 

OLED

This stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode, and it's a type of TV panel. Basically, while LCD and plasma panels require something called back-lighting or edge-lighting to create pictures on screen, OLED panels don't need it. With back-lit or edge-lit TVs, the LEDs in the panel are illuminated in groups or lines to create a picture. With OLED TVs, each LED on screen can be individually lit - switched on or off to create a picture. This is what allows for truer blacks in OLED sets. With the ability to completely switch off each individual LED, you get sharp edges on images and deep blacks because there is no backlight showing through at all.

QLED

This is Samsung's own technology, and it stands for Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode. Quantum Dots are particles, which are lit to create a picture on screen, and they can get much brighter than LEDs or QLEDs. This means QLED sets offer brighter colors and better contrasts than any other panel type. The panel is still either back-lit or edge-lit like traditional 4K TVs, and this can make a huge difference when it comes to black levels. Back-lit QLEDs can not only deliver the vivid colors, but they can also produce sharp images and blacks that rival premium OLEDs. This makes them perfect for gaming.

Samsung's Q7 4K TV is a great example of QLED tech

Samsung's Q7 4K TV is a great example of QLED tech

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Response time

You'll hear a lot about the response time of a panel, especially when discussing gaming TVs. This is basically the speed at which a color can change on your TV (eg. from black to white to black again). Most 4K TVs have response times quicker than we can perceive them, so it makes no real difference to gameplay outside the twitchiest of shooters. However, purists will want a TV with the quickest response time possible.

Refresh rate

This is the speed at which an image can be refreshed on your TV (and shouldn't be confused with response time). Basically, most TVs offer 60Hz-120Hz, although no 4K TV has anything higher and if you want 144Hz or even 240Hz, you need one of the best gaming monitors. A 60Hz 4K TV, for example, refreshes the image on screen 60 times per second, which allows a certain level of smoothness to the image. If the TV refreshes at 120Hz, the image is twice as smooth, and you notice that in how slick the motion appears on screen. Many TVs 'game modes' will boost refresh rate artificially, usually by downgrading other display features (eg. reducing the brightness of your picture).

HDMI

This stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface, and it's the standard connection cable between your 4K TV and most devices. You need at least an HDMI 1.4 cable to carry a 4K signal, although most modern HDMIs are 2.0 cables, capable of carrying 4K signals at 60 frames per second. The majority of modern console games can't display at 4K 60fps, so as long as you have a 2.0 cable and 2.0 port on your TV, you're fine. And no, you don't need to buy expensive gold-plated HDMI cables to get a better picture - just the Amazon Basics will do just fine.

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