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Best gaming TVs for 2019

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

Going out to choose the best gaming TV for your home is a pretty big decision. First off, it's likely that the TV is not purely going to be used for gaming, so you need to make sure it's the right one for your home in terms of size, usability, and efficacy for movies, TV and every day use too, to mention but a few. Plus. it really isn't just about picking the priciest or the shiniest. Such is the range of quality 4K TVs available now, you can now get a good gaming TV for far less money now - particularly with the Black Friday TV deals coming up. Predictably, the scale is real and can climb to ridiculous amount with the premium panels; these will cost many thousands of your hard earned bucks), and while a bunch of them won't be worth it, the higher-end models do provide a gaming panel that will take your experience to the next level visually offering extra detail and vibrancy that the cheaper models can't come close to matching. The upward trend of higher price means more and better TV, does apply here also 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. 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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Samsung 50-inch 4K TV | NU6900 | $327.99 (save $100)
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It's relentlessly realistic and true to life, but you have to consider your budget and, concurrently, what size of television you ideally want. While, of course, you shouldn't spend more on a TV that just doesn't fit a wall or is way too big for a smaller room, we have also never heard anyone complain that their TV is 'too big'. Ever. You just have to have your sensible hat on a bit here, and know where you're definitely putting it and then aim for the biggest appropriate size (budget depending).

Then, you can consider extra bits, and particular features that enhance games. First up is 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, contrasts and sharpness. Those looking for more vibrant pictures (ideal for colorful games like Assassin's Creed Odyssey) should definitely consider one of Samsung's QLED sets, which run brighter than any other panels. Anyone who wants to amke sure the other end of the spectrum is taken care of - blacks, greys etc, and for games like Metro: Exodus - should look at OLED panels (from a range of manufacturers, but LG's screens are the best here). If you can't afford those, as these are the most premium TVs (behind the extra-mortgage-inducing 8K TVs that are starting to appear), then look at TVs with high refresh rates and decent response times, and one that has a 'Game Mode' or other features like Freesync. In terms of inputs, you should be well catered for by default nowadays but it's worth checking 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.

Black Friday game deals
Black Friday is closing in, so bookmark our guide to keep up with the best offers. Don't to bear in mind the Black Friday gaming PC deals either which will house the best monitor deals we find. 

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 Q70R - 55 inch QLED 4K TV

The best value QLED TV for home gamers

Screen size: 55 inches | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Panel technology: QLED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1230(w) x 780(h) x 62(d)mm

Vibrant picture
Very fast panel
Solid HDR
Helpful smart features
Blacks not as deep as OLED
No Dolby Vision or Atmos support

An excellent choice for a mid-range QLED TV, the Samsung Q70 TV is a beautiful looking set with a clean design that can easily become a showpiece for any room. 

Offering the same features as it's pricier Q90 QLED sibling, the Q70 offers the same nearly bezel-less screen with decent HDR, and a nice range of rich colors just in time for watching all the colors pop on your fave Disney Plus shows. The Q70 does 4K at up to 120HZ, engages HDR10+ and uses a variable fresh rate. Console gamers will appreciate the 14ms input lag on this TV and take full advantage of the HDR glow up. 

The Q70 also comes loaded with everything to satisfying all your streaming needs. The Q70 even compiles a special watch list based on your viewing habits across all your apps. It also works with all your smart-home assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. It's definitely one of the smarter TVs on the market right now. 

Most importantly Samsung ditch the dreaded One Connect box that they use on the Q90, so all your connections hook up directly to the television's rear panel. I always appreciated what Samsung was trying to do but One Connect by plugging everything into a convenient cable hub. The only problem is that when it broke it essentially made your TV useless. The Q70 is a premium TV that won't bankrupt you. 

If budget is an issue, Samsung does a 43" version of this TV, but we'd recommend 55" or above. And we also like the Q60 model from Samsung which is a fine, ever-so-slightly older member of the QLED family to check out.

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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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