Best 4K TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar's round-up of the best 4K TVs you can buy for any budget in 2018.
For years, there was a large audience of people who couldn't care less about 4K TVs. They loudly proclaimed that 1080p was the best standard around, and that while 4K seemed like a good idea, content makers would never support it.
Those people are all eating their words right now. 4K TVs are here to stay.
So why have 4K TVs taken off like they have? Well, for one, they're just as cheap as 1080p screens, and two, they look four times as awesome. (No seriously, 4K isn't just a catchy marketing term, 4K TVs are actually four times the resolution of traditional 1080p displays.) Finally, and perhaps most importantly, TV makers really aren't putting out as many 1080p TVs as they used to.
It's 4K or the highway these days.
But that's not such a bad thing. 4K TVs truly make a world of difference to the shows and movies you love to watch. So, trust us, bring one of these Ultra-HD TVs home and you'll never want to look at a 1080p screen ever again.
What you need to know about 4K
Not only do these screens have four times the amount of pixels as their aged (but still-revered) 1080p brethren, but 4K screens also usually pack in screen technology like High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) that really make those extra pixels shine in all their glory.
The last reason 4K TVs have taken off is that game consoles, like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, have totally embraced the 4K future, as have the Blu-ray industry and streaming video player market. Pretty much everyone is on board the 4K Ultra HD train these days.
If all of this sounds weird or archaic or tough to understand, don't worry. We're here to help decipher the wild, wonderful world of Ultra HD. Give us a few minutes of your time and we'll help you get the best 4K TV on the market.
Why can you trust us? Well, over the years, hundreds of TVs have passed through our reviewers' doorsteps. Using that wealth of experience – plus some neat side-by-side comparisons – we've created a list of the best 4K TVs.
We constantly update the list with the latest and greatest panels, so if you see things shuffled around a bit since the last time you were here, don't freak out. Embrace that times change and that these are the best TVs we've ever found.
- Need to boost your audio arsenal? Check out our best soundbars 2018 guide.
- If you're a physical media lover, don't miss this guide to the best Ultra HD Blu-ray players for the latest and greatest decks.
After an underwhelming debut, Samsung’s QLED technology really needed to bounce back in style in 2018. It didn't surprise us in the least, then, to discover Samsung threw the kitchen sink in with its new Q9FN QLED Series of TVs.
As well as being even brighter and more colorful than last year’s equivalent model, Samsung's 2018 flagship screens use a completely different lighting system to combat its predecessor’s contrast problems: Full Array Local Dimming rather than edge-lit LED lighting. The FALD panel works in tandem with Samsung QLED Quantum Dots to produce a picture that's brighter and more colorful than near any we've seen come from the South Korean manufacturer.
Do those features alone make Samsung Q9FN the best TV on the market? No, but throw in technology like HDR10+ and Q HDR EliteMax – what Samsung bills as its maximum High Dynamic Range experience that’s exclusive to the Q9FN – and there's very little doubt in our mind that this is Samsung's best TV ever.
Read the full review: Samsung Q9FN QLED TV (65Q9FN)
Short and sweet, the 65X900F is a brilliant mid-priced TV. Every one of the improvements Sony has introduced over and above last year’s already excellent X900E series – better processing, more brightness, slightly more backlight dimming zones, improved motion performance – delivers the goods, resulting in picture quality that humbles many more expensive TVs.
Its Android TV system and some generally minor backlight clouding stop it short of perfection, but it’s hard to imagine any similarly priced upcoming 65-inch rival getting the better of it.
Read the full review: Sony BRAVIA XBR-X900F
If you have deep pockets and checkbook filled with blank checks, we’d tell you to reach deep and shell out for only the best TVs on the market – LG’s crazy-thin OLED W8 or Samsung’s ultra-bright Q9FN QLED. But that’s not realistic. For the vast, vast majority of us, our budget to spend on a TV is limited to somewhere under $1,000 – and often it's even less than that.
To that end, it’s absolutely fair to say that the TCL 6-Series is the best TV you can possibly get in this price range. Its performance per dollar is unmatched and its picture quality – despite a few minor flaws – will truly impress you.
Said simply, if there’s a better value TV on the market, we’ve yet to see it.
Read the full review: TCL 6-Series (R615, R617)
If you have the money to bankroll them, the 55A1 – and the A1 OLED series overall – are crowd pleasers in just about every way. Their ‘picture only’ design has been beautifully realized, managing to be simultaneously subtle and dramatic. Their vibrating screen delivers a far more powerful and effective sound performance than I’d thought possible, too.
The real stars of the show here, though, are the A1’s exquisitely detailed, contrast-rich and colorful pictures. These prove emphatically what we’ve long suspected: More brands using OLED technology can only lead to good things.
Read the full review: Sony A1E OLED
Having potentially pushed the hardware capabilities of its current OLED screen technology as far as they can go, LG has for 2018 turned its attention to the software that drives these screens – and this shift in focus has yielded surprisingly impressive results, improving and even removing many of the residual niggles associated with 2017’s already in truth outstanding OLED sets.
The OLED65E8 loses a bit of ground sonically from its predecessor, and there’s some stiff competition this year from Samsung’s new Q9FN flagship LCD TV, but all the growing legions of OLED fans will probably need to hear is that the OLED65E8 is comfortably the best OLED TV LG has ever made.
Read the full review: LG E8 OLED (OLED55E8, OLED65E8)
Look, there aren't many people out there willing to drop 5,500 on Sony’s 2016 flagship TV. But those who are will be teated to some of best images this side of a high-tech movie theater. There's just nothing better in the LED-LCD world.
In fact, it might just be the holy grail of television for 2016: a TV able to combine the extreme, high dynamic range-friendly brightness of LCD technology with a 600 LED backlight arrangement capable of getting LCD closer than ever before to the stunning light control you get with OLED technology.
If all that wasn't enough, the 65Z9D also sports the ‘X1 Extreme’ video processing system and the latest version of Sony’s reliable Triluminos wide color technology for unlocking the extended color spectrums associated with HDR sources – a must-have if you want to get the most from your movie collection.
Read the full review: Sony XBR-65Z9D
We've long loved LG's B-Series of OLED TVs with last year's B7 OLED as the pinnacle of affordable OLED technology. But this year, LG has delayed the B-Series and has instead made the C-Series its front-running screen.
While we're a bit miffed at the price increase from last year's B7 to this year's C8, it's hard to say it's unwarranted: LG’s C8 builds on the success of last year’s models, resulting in a TV that can deliver astonishing HD/SDR images and equally impressive 4K/HDR pictures. It’s not as bright as an LCD TV but those deep blacks make a huge difference to the dynamic range of the image. It’s also capable of vibrant and gorgeous colors, not to mention an astounding level of detail with native 4K content.
The WebOS smart platform remains the best available and the choice of streaming services is second to none. Once you add the gorgeous design and a comprehensive set of features, you have one of the most complete TVs that we’ve ever reviewed.
Read the full review: LG C8 OLED (OLED55C8, OLED65C8)