The best TVs 2021 are marvels to behold, and choosing the right one will be the difference between a fuzzy, off-color movie and the capabilities to make those 4K Blu-rays or Netflix movies truly shine.
Top 10 Best TVs In Uk 2021
How to buy the best TVs 2021 for you
Shortlisting your next television can be a complicated business, but a few simple rules of thumb will help.
As we move from HD to 4K and ultimately 8K, screen size becomes a key consideration. To see incremental differences in resolution, you’ll probably need to buy a bigger screen than you had previously, or move your seating closer. Long story short: think big, then buy bigger.
Counterintuitive it may well be, but ultra-large 8K screens are perfect for smaller rooms if you want to really see every drop of detail. Everything you think you know about viewing distances is changing…
Then there’s the viewing environment. If you tend to watch in high ambient lighting, or during the daytime, an LED or QLED screen will typically serve you better than OLED. If you prefer to watch with low or no lighting, an OLED will deliver greater subjective contrast and shadow detail.
Smart platforms are no longer a decisive reason to buy. All TVs are smart these days, and the choice of apps ubiquitous – focus on image quality, price, and any other features you’re keen on.
1. Samsung 2020 85″ Q95T Flagship QLED 4K HDR 2000 Smart TV with Tizen OS, CARBON SILVER
The Samsung Q95T represents the latest flagship 8K TV from the manufacturer, combining all the benefits of the Samsung Q900 8K screen we saw in 2019.
Combined in one top-notch QLED TV, the new Samsung Q95T offers an 8K panel and AI-enhanced image processing, plus wider viewing angles, an improved black filter, and standard-setting HDR performance. If all that wasn’t enough, Samsung’s smart TV platform is the most comprehensive on the market.
So if you’re looking for a state-of-the-art new Samsung TV – and don’t mind paying top-dollar for it – the Q95T should be at the top of your shortlist.
Of course, Samsung is always iterating, and you’ll want to watch out for this year’s QN900 8K QLED to see what a Mini LED upgrade does to Samsung’s top-tier set.
2. Best TVs 2021 for the money: TCL 6-Series
No TV I’ve ever tested offers this much picture quality for this little cash. The 2020 TCL 6-Series has even better image quality than its predecessor, thanks to mini-LED tech and well-implemented full-array local dimming that helps it run circles around just about any other TV at this price. It’s also a solid choice for gamers with a new THX mode that combines low input lag and high contrast. As if that’s not enough, the Roku TV operating system is our hands-down favorite.
2021 outlook: TCL says this TV will remain on sale through most of 2021. I don’t expect it to be replaced until at least the fall, and it might stick around the entire year. An 85-inch version will be released “in the coming months.” TCL will also sell an 8K version of the 6-Series, but I don’t think it will be worth the money.
3. Best TVs 2021 overall: LG CX OLED
The LG CX OLED is the best 4K smart TV, and the best TV overall, with an amazing display, built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa support, and a ton of other smart features. From LG’s webOS 5.0 to the addition of smart home control and an intuitive motion-control remote, it’s one of the smartest TVs we’ve ever seen.
LG has improved on its superb OLED with a more powerful processor, the addition of Dolby Vision IQ (which adjusts HDR performance based on the ambient lighting), and beefs up the sound with AI-powered audio tuning. And while the LG CX OLED’s premium price might put off some shoppers, it packs in more premium value than more expensive OLED competitors, while still delivering an unparalleled picture. It’s the TV to beat.
4. Sony BRAVIA KD49XH81 – 49-inch – LED – 4K Ultra HD
It’s official: 49 is the new 55. The time was that you couldn’t get an OLED TV under 55in, but then LG launched the world’s first commercially available 49-inch OLED set. And now Sony has one of its own, too.
Sony has embraced the smaller size, making the TV as petite as possible thanks to its tiny bezels and low profile pedestal stand. It does have a rather large enclosure bolted onto the back (to house the speakers, processing hardware, and connections), but you’ll only notice if you look at the set side-on.
Disappointingly – and somewhat surprisingly for such a cutting-edge TV – it lacks some next-gen HDMI features such as 4K@120Hz (HFR), VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode). Which is bad news for gamers looking to hook up a PS5 or Xbox Series X.
But that’s about the only fault we can find with this TV. Sony’s X1 Ultimate processor makes images suitably stunning, there’s plenty of dark detail on show, and it serves up pretty much every streaming app you could hope for. Motion control is still industry-leading, and in terms of sharpness and detail, there’s never been a better TV at this size. If you can stump up the funds, you will not be disappointed.
5. HISENSE 50U7QFTUK Quantum Series 50-inch
The best TV on the market in the budget category that we’ve tested is the Hisense H8G. It’s a step-down in price from the Hisense H9G, but it still offers good overall performance that most people should be happy with. It’s a well-rounded model that has decent build quality, and it’s a good choice whether you’re using it in a bright or darkroom. It comes with built-in Android TV, which has a ton of apps available to download but may not be the easiest to use at times.
Its VA panel provides an excellent native contrast ratio and decent black uniformity, and it also has a full-array local dimming feature that does a decent job at improving the contrast ratio. It has decent reflection handling and great SDR peak brightness, so visibility shouldn’t be an issue in well-lit rooms. It displays a wide color gamut for HDR content and has okay HDR peak brightness, but it may not be enough to deliver a true HDR experience. It doesn’t have gaming features like VRR support, which is expected in this price range, but it still has a quick response time and low input lag.
Unfortunately, our unit has uniformity issues with dirty screen effect in the center, and the out-of-the-box accuracy is just okay; however, both of these vary between units, so your experience may be different. It also has narrow viewing angles, but that’s normal for a VA panel, so it’s not suggested for a wide seating arrangement. Regardless of these small issues, it’s one of the best TVs that we’ve tested if you’re on a budget.
6. The Best TVs 2021 For Gaming: Samsung Q80T 65-inch 4K
Gaming has a unique set of demands compared to movies and TV. While all visual mediums benefit from great contrast, color clarity, and resolution, gaming needs a fast display. The Q80T has a high refresh rate of 120Hz, making it possible to support high frame rates and appreciate the added detail and motion clarity that enables, and the response time is just a few milliseconds. Together, they enable an input lag of around 5ms, making sure that whether you’re playing something solo, or competitive, you won’t find the display holding back your lightning-fast reflexes, and motion blur is kept to a minimum.
Freesync support is available as standard, helping to avoid screen tearing on PC games that are driven by an AMD graphics card, or on the Xbox One S/X consoles and Xbox Series X. Both next-generation systems will be fully supported by this TV thanks to its use of multiple HDMI 2.1 connections. They also enable eARC support, for simplified cabling and better surround sound audio support.
HDR support for this TV is solid too, with a decent brightness that helps make HDR-supporting games look that bit better. As with the other best Samsung TVs, Dolby Vision isn’t supported, but every other HDR box is ticked, giving you plenty of options.
Want to enjoy the sport when you’re not gaming? This TV is excellent for that too. Its lack of motion blur and crisp picture make it excellent for high-speed action, especially in bright rooms where OLED panels just aren’t as capable.
The LG CX is also a valid alternative for the best gaming TV, but as an OLED it is very susceptible to burn-in which is a real problem for games that have static HUD elements. If you do opt for that style of TV, LG CX or no, then it’s important to display as much varied content as you can, and not play with static HUDs on screen for too long at a time.
7. Best TVs 2021 Under $500: TCL 5-Series
TCL’s partnership with Roku has made its TVs quite popular—and they deserve the praise. The 6-Series offers the most perks, but the 2020 5-Series 4K TV with HDR is the top entry-level TV we recommend.
Unlike the previous model, which was edge-lit, the new 5-Series gets full-array local dimming, which means it has deeper contrast than many TVs. It’s usable for gaming and looks better than the HD set you might have right now. It comes with Roku built-in, which means the remote is easy to use, and it streams right out of the box. We recommend the 50-inch model because it’s the best bang for your buck, but TCL does sell other sizes.
8. The best OLED TV money can buy: PANASONIC TX-55HZ2000
The unique Professional Edition Master OLED panel is the heart of this TV’s success – while most OLED TVs are ultra-thin and live with limited brightness compared to LED TVs (using their deep blacks to create stunning HDR), Panasonic has made its TV slightly thicker to accommodate lots of extra heat dispersion tech, so that it can overdrive the panel to be brighter than other OLED TVs, while still having all the advantages of the deep blacks.
When mixed with Panasonic’s penchant for calibrating the TVs to be as close to Hollywood mastering screens as possible (meaning what you’re seeing is just like what the directors saw when approving the look of films), the result is the most sumptuously cinematic TV available.
For bring every drop of nuance from 4K HDR sources (partly thanks to being the only TV in our top 5 to support all HDR formats), we simply love the HZ2000. It also deals with upscaling from HD to 4K with aplomb, and SDR images look bright and rich too – it handles movies and TV from any format excellent. For movie buffs, there’s no TV we’d recommend more.
However, there are a few limitations to it – it doesn’t support the latest and greatest gaming features for PS5 and Xbox Series X, there’s no Disney+ currently, and the screen size choice is more limited than a lot of models here – that means that we still (just) rate the Samsung Q950TS higher for being a more solid all-rounder. But if you love movies, you’re not bothered about games and the sizes that work for you, this is the TV to get.
9. Samsung Frame
If you’re on the hunt for a TV that doesn’t look like a TV, Samsung’s Frame remains one of the few standouts. Newly refreshed for 2020, it keeps its classic picture frame design—great either mounted on a wall or placed on a TV stand—and adds a new 4K QLED panel. (The sizes broaden, too, with options from 32 to 75 inches.) If you really want to tailor the TV to your space, you can also buy customizable bezels that attach magnetically. Beyond the striking design, it’s a more than capable TV, boasting 4K resolution with HDR support and Samsung’s Tizen smart TV platform with voice assistant support.
10. Best value OLED TV: Philips Ambilight 55OLED805
Typically, you can expect to pay more for an OLED TV than an LED LCD model. Unlike LED LCD models, OLED screens have the ability to deliver a perfect deep black, with realistic shadow detail, image clarity, and color vibrancy. Picture enthusiasts love them.
But Philips didn’t get the price memo and is selling this 55-inch OLED754 model for less than £1,000. If you’re after a premium performer at a great price, snap it up.
One reason why the TV undercuts others in the Philips OLED range is that it uses last year’s P5 graphics engine. Not that you’ll notice. Philips knows how to make images really pop, and the OLED754 exhibits superb definition, dynamics, and color.
Design is a winner too. The bezel is fashionably thin and there’s a nice brushed metal effect on the rear panel. You might scratch your head when it comes to adding the best soundbars in front of the screen though, as the panel sits virtually flush with its stand.
Connected smarts are top-notch. Freeview Play covers all the usual Catch-Up TV needs, with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Rakuten TV and YouTube also catered for. The set looks particularly fabulous with 4k HDR from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video – images are wonderfully cinematic!
And of course, the TV comes equipped with Philips’s secret weapon, Ambilight. A ring of LED lights cast colors onto the wall behind, creating spectacular mood lighting.
What Screen Size Should I Get?
A big TV that’s too close can be just as uncomfortable to watch as a small one that’s too far away, so don’t assume that the biggest screen available is the best choice. There are a few different rules of thumb regarding TV screen size based on your distance from it.
Generally, the distance of your couch to your TV should be between 1.2 and 1.6 times the diagonal measurement of your screen. So if your couch is six feet away from your screen, you can comfortably watch a TV between 42 and 60 inches. If your couch is five feet away, a 37- to 52-inch screen should work well.
If you want the absolute biggest picture possible, you should think about getting a projector. The Hisense 100-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart Laser TV (100L8D) produces a massive, bright 100-inch native 4K picture that no consumer LCD or OLED can offer.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best televisions for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn’t worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no TVs that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of TVs. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.