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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Samsung 65" RU7100 4K TV | £629 (save £301)
This TV is normally nearly a grand, and it's 65-inches. This is so much TV for your money, and while it might not be a QLED model, it'll have the solid feature set the Samsung televisions come with.
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
1. LG OLED 55C8PLA - 55 inch OLED 4K TV
The best gaming TV in the UK right now
Screen size: 55 inches | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 120Hz | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1226(w) x 710(h) x 54(d)mm
If you've got some decent money to spend on a 4K TV, this is currently the one to get (although, we should point out, that we are expecting Samsung's new Q90 QLED TV for review, and many sources are calling that the best TV of 2019... at a vast price). OLEDs are superb for gaming, as they give you unparalleled black levels and thin panels that produce razer-sharp pictures. The most detailed pictures you'll find in all TVs. The C8 series from LG is the best of the OLEDs, especially when you take their relatively inexpensive price into account. While we love the extra features and superior sound of the Sony models, they're prohibitively expensive. This brings premium AV tech at a decent price.
This LG panel gives you a solid 120Hz refresh rate, which is ideal for gaming, and has plenty of features that help you smooth motion further on the TV. It's ultra-thin, and has enough HDMIs to accommodate a variety of devices. There are a few small caveats, however, that you should take into account: the sound is relatively poor for such an expensive set, so you should pair it with a speaker set-up of quality pair of gaming headphones. While screen-burn is an issue on OLED panels, you should only worry here if you're displaying static images on the screen for several hours per day, several days per week. And LG's user interface isn't quite as simple and fast as the one found in Samsung TVs.
If it sounds like an unusually negative description of our top TV... that's because the image quality, upscaling, and deep black levels are so good, they trump everything else.
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
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.
3. Samsung UE55RU8000 - 55 inch 4K TV
One of the most well-balanced mid-range TVs around
Screen size: 55 inches | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1226(w) x 710(h) x 54(d)mm
Unless you’ve recently robbed a bank, there’s a good chance you may not be able to afford Samsung’s premium QLED TVs. But fear not! This reasonably priced LED is a cracking mid-range performer. The RU8000 sports the sort of good looks that belie its aggressively set price point, while the sub-10ms input lag when hooked to a 4K source like a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X makes this Sammy more suitable for competitive gamers than many displays that cost twice as much. You get a lot of great TV for your money here.
Are there compromises? Of course. An edge-lit backlight means black levels can’t compete with OLED screens, though in the RU8000’s defence, general screen uniformity is very good, with few signs of clouding or the dreaded smudginess of dirty screen effect. Though it’s not quite a standout HDR performer, the fact this display supports HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid-Log Gamma) should be commended. HDR pictures never get bright enough to knock your socks off – peak brightness only measures in at around 365nits – but luckily, the RU8000 is truly excellent in SDR mode. If you’re not overly fussed about class-leading HDR performance, and want a brilliant, fairly priced TV, this Samsung will delight.
4. Panasonic TX-55FZ802B - 55 inch OLED 4K TV
An OLED for TV enthusiasts and tech-savvy players
Screen size: 55 inches | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 100 Hz | Panel technology: OLED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 1230(w) x 777(h) x 300(d)mm
If you’re a night owl with deep pockets and a fondness for 4am sessions on Red Dead Redemption 2, this Panny is the TV you’ve been having moist dreams about. Though LG has traditionally ruled the OLED roost since the technology’s inception, the Z802B is arguably better than any TV the South Korean giant has produced in recent years. Not only is this panel strikingly thin and admirably quick – input lag is a mere 21ms – but Panasonic’s OLED produces some of the most detailed blacks you can buy.
Panny’s new ‘HCX’ processing system lends oodles of shadow detail to dark games, such as Resident Evil 7. The Z802B was built for night time gaming in a dark room, and the panel’s flawless blacks produces wonderfully contrast-rich images. If you’re fortunate enough to have the requisite funds, you'll struggle to find a better gaming TV. This isn't the newest model, sure, but it represents decent value and you can find it a little cheaper in 2019.
5. Philips 43PUS7303 - 43 inch 4K TV
The best budget 4K TV
Screen size: 43 inches | Tuner: Freeview HD | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Panel technology: LED | Smart TV: Yes | Curved: No | Dimensions: 971(w) x 575(h) x 67(d)mm
Are you hard pressed for space? Are you looking to spend as little as possible to go 4K, but don't want to compromise on quality? Let us introduce you to this 43-inch budget hero. Considering it’s going for around £400, the pictures this Philips can produce are a minor miracle. Note that ‘can’ is the operative word. To get the most out of the 7303, you must first turn off the default, horribly dim Eco mode. Doing so brings the set’s punchy contrast performance to life, with the display’s naturally warm colours lending HDR games and movies a welcomingly inviting tone.
Considering Phillips is selling this brilliant budget TV for less than the price of an Xbox One X, the fact it delivers input lag of 27 ms is hugely respectable. It even has Ambilight tech, which lights up the side of your TV to mirror what's happening on screen, and is fully compatible with voice control and most Freeview and streaming apps. Looking for an awesome £400 4K TV? Your search is over.
Jargon buster - here's what 4K TV tech actually does
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 means High Dynamic Range. Almost all 4K TVs come with HDR as standard, and it's a technology used to process colours within games, movies, and TV shows. HDR isn't strictly about contrast - it's a way of making the difference more noticeable between colours (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 colour of a picture by making colours more vivid, thereby contrasting them further. If you can separate very similar shades of colour, 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.
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.
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 colours 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 colours, but they can also produce sharp images and blacks that rival premium OLEDs. This makes them perfect for gaming.
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 colour 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.
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).
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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