7 Best 55″ Smart TVs in the U.K. for 2020

Budget
Samsung 55" TU7100 HDR Smart 4K TV with Tizen OS
Value-for-Money
Panasonic TX-50GX800B 50 inch LED 4K Ultra HD HDR Smart TV with Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos Sound and...
The Best
Samsung QE55Q60R QLED TV
Title
Samsung 55" TU7100 HDR Smart 4K TV with Tizen OS
Panasonic TX-50GX800B 50 inch LED 4K Ultra HD HDR Smart TV with Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos Sound and...
Samsung QE55Q60R QLED TV
Rating
Resolution
3840 x 2160
4K Ultra HD
4K
Connectivity
Wi-Fi, LAN, Bluetooth
Wireless, Bluetooth, USB, HDMI
HDMI 2.1 port
HDMI Ports Qty
2 ports
3 ports
n/a
Price
£449.00
£536.24
£769.00
Budget
Samsung 55" TU7100 HDR Smart 4K TV with Tizen OS
Title
Samsung 55" TU7100 HDR Smart 4K TV with Tizen OS
Rating
Resolution
3840 x 2160
Connectivity
Wi-Fi, LAN, Bluetooth
HDMI Ports Qty
2 ports
Price
£449.00
Value-for-Money
Panasonic TX-50GX800B 50 inch LED 4K Ultra HD HDR Smart TV with Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos Sound and...
Title
Panasonic TX-50GX800B 50 inch LED 4K Ultra HD HDR Smart TV with Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos Sound and...
Rating
Resolution
4K Ultra HD
Connectivity
Wireless, Bluetooth, USB, HDMI
HDMI Ports Qty
3 ports
Price
£536.24
The Best
Samsung QE55Q60R QLED TV
Title
Samsung QE55Q60R QLED TV
Rating
Resolution
4K
Connectivity
HDMI 2.1 port
HDMI Ports Qty
n/a
Price
£769.00

Table of Contents

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1.  Toshiba 55UL2063DB

Introduction

55UL2063DB is one of Toshiba’s most budget-friendly TVs, featuring support for standard HDR and Dolby Vision, as well as Toshiba’s TRU Picture Engine technology, one of the Brand’s latest innovations, which combines the traits of three different technologies that produce a much smoother, more detailed and colourful image.

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At a Glance

  • Brand: Toshiba TV
  • Model: 55UL2063DB
  • Mounting Type: Wall Mount
  • Connections: Wireless, VGA, Bluetooth, HDMI, USB, Ethernet
  • Display technology: LED
  • Supported Internet Services: Netflix, Prime Video, Freeview Play, YouTube
  • Colour: Black
  • Display Size: 55 Inches
  • Resolution: 4K Ultra HD 3840 x 2160p
  • HDR: Dolby Vision – HDR10
  • Bezel width: 8 mm
  • Motion rate & Processing rate: 50 Hz
  • Peak brightness: 350 nits – Black level: 0.05 nits
  • Native contrast ratio: 6000:1
  • Dynamic contrast ratio: 20000:1
  • Video CODEC: HEVC H.265 / VP9 – 4K upscaling picture enhancement
  • Noise reduction
  • Toshiba Smart Platform – Linux
  • Smart TV services: BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5
    Streaming: Netflix 4K, Prime Video 4K
    Full internet browser
    Social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube 4K
    Gaming apps
  • Works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
  • Connectivity: Built-in WiFi, Ethernet, Bluetooth (Connections: HDMI 2.0 x 3, SVGA x 1, Component x 1, Composite x 1, USB 2.0 x 2; Audio output: 3.5 mm jack x 1, Optical x 1)
  • Freeview HD
  • AUDIO Speakers: 2 (Audio power: 20 W)
  • Sound enhancement:
    DTS TruSurround
    DTS HD
  • Features PVR function
  • Energy efficiency class: A+
  • On-mode power consumption: 86 W
  • Annual power consumption: 125 kWh
  • Dimensions
    TV with stand: 765 x 1243 x 245 mm (H x W x D)
    TV: 719 x 1243 x 81 mm (H x W x D)
  • Guarantee: 1 year

Design & Build

The design seems pretty standard for a budget 55-inch Smart TV, yet the 55UL2063DB would easily catch your eye with its slim bezel and elegant black finish.

The TV is super slim because of using edge-lit design instead of full array lighting. In the back, you find all the connectivity options, including VGA, HDMI ports, USB ports, a digital audio out port, and, of course, an Ethernet port. The USB ports can be used to power a streaming stick if you don’t wish to use Toshiba’s smart built-in platform. Of course, they can also be used for USB sticks with extra media. Connect different games consoles and devices with the 3 HDMI sockets, so you don’t need to swap wires over. Or watch home videos directly from the stick via the 2 USB ports.

The stand legs provide are not the sturdiest we have seen; better use a wall mount for this one. It will look nicer too.

Let’s turn our attention to the features now, and to the image quality. Toshiba promises cinema-quality displays and clear crisp images to the viewers because of the 4K Ultra HD resolution. While such descriptions are obviously exaggerated, we found nothing in the image and overall performance of the 55UL2063DB that could cause us to frown.

Indeed, for a Smart TV of this price the detail and colours are excellent. The advanced Dolby Vision HDR technology and enhanced colour contrast indeed keep the promise of the manufacturer for brighter whites and darker blacks, making actions scenes much more realistic and lifelike. Toshiba’s TRU picture technology indeed has greatly improved Toshiba’s image in its budget models, while TRU Micro Dimming improves contrast, focussing on all the different regions of the image. The combination of these two technologies makes 4K HDR content much more enjoyable, making colours much more vibrant.

The sound is not as good though. Despite the Dolby Audio Processing, which is designed to enhance your listening experience with richer, clearer and more powerful sound, you should probably need to invest on a soundbar or an audio set for genuine sound thrills, or plug in a pair of headphones for complete immersion.

As to smart features, internet browsing proved effortless and smooth. The 55UL2063DB is also compatible with Alexa, affording you full voice control. Just connect to either an Echo, Echo Dot or Google Home Mini device and the rest is easy. Google Assistant offers access to entertainment, control smart devices and answers on-screen, while Alexa enables you to enjoy your favourite tracks, hear the news and more, simply by using your voice.

Equipped with both Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, it allows you to easily stream on pre-installed apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Prime Video, Freeview Play and YouTube. Setting up is a breeze, even if you have never done it before. Just follow the displayed instructions and the built-in Freeview Play tuner will do the rest.

Get more flexibility and a truly cinematic experience. TV designed with you in mind.

Pros
  • Budget-friendly
  • TRU Picture Technology
  • Considerably thinner than average
  • 3D technology
  • Voice control
Cons
  • Poor sound quality

Our Opinion

55UL2063DB is the definition of a “value for money” pick. For the price asked, its image quality and overall performance is amazing, allowing you to enjoy more than basic Smart TV technology without draining your credit card.

2.  Samsung 55″ TU7100 HDR Smart 4K TV with Tizen OS – The Cheap Choice

Introduction

Posed as an enticing combo of a famous brand with all its paraphernalia (reliability, ease of use, plenty of handy features) and advanced Smart TV technology, the Samsung TU7100 is neither cheap nor expensive – at least for the things, it offers.

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At a Glance

  • Brand: Samsung
  • Model: UE55TU7100K 7 Series – 55″ LED TV – 4K
  • Type: LED-backlit LCD TV – Smart TV
  • Diagonal Class: 55″
  • Colour: Silver carbon
  • Platform: Tizen OS
  • Resolution: 3840 x 2160
  • Display Format: 4K UHD (2160p)
  • HDR Technology: Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), HDR 10+
  • Frame Rate & Enhancement Technology: 2000 Picture Quality Index
  • Video Interface: HDMI
  • HDMI Ports Qty: 2 ports
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, LAN, Bluetooth
  • LCD Backlight Technology: LED backlight UHD dimming
  • Image Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • TV Tuner: 1x analogue, 1x digital
  • Digital TV Tuner: DVB-C, DVB-T2
  • Internet Streaming Services: HbbTV
  • Picture Enhancements: Digital Clean View, Mega Contrast, contrast enhancer, PurColor, Game Enhancer, Crystal Display
  • Intelligent Assistant: Google Assistant, Alexa
  • USB
  • Voltage: AC 230V (50/60 Hz)
  • Energy Efficiency Class: Class A+
  • Power Consumption Operational: 145 Watt
  • Power Consumption (On Mode): 84 W
  • Power Consumption Stand by 0.5 Watt
  • Energy Consumption per Year: 117 kWh
  • Dimensions (WxDxH) – without stand: 123.05 cm x 5.95 cm x 70.72 cm
  • Weight: 13.9 kg

Design & Build

Nothing particularly fancy with the design, except for the colour, which is a nice silver carbon instead of the standard (and pretty dull) black bezel we are used to.  As usual with Samsung’s models, the TU7100 is stylish, with a nice matte finish and a rather thin bezel that gives the impression from afar that there is almost no frame at all around the screen.

On the back, you will find the usual mount holes. Note that if you decide to mount it on a wall, most ports will be largely inaccessible. Equipped with two HDMI ports (including an ARC port for connecting soundbars or similar audio systems), a pair of USB ports for flash drives or power for streaming devices, an RF connector for TV antennas and Ethernet port. Of course, the model comes with a built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability for wireless network connectivity.

Resolution-wise, a Samsung model of this price could offer nothing less than a 4K full 3840 x 2160 resolution ad a 60Hz refresh rate. Indeed, the picture quality is amazing. Offering several picture enhancements, including Digital Clean View, Mega Contrast, contrast enhancer, PurColor, Game Enhancer, and Crystal Display, TU7100 delivers crisp details, vibrant colours, and impressive contrast. We would expect it to perform a bit better with rapid motion, but still, nothing we saw actually disappointed us to a degree that would make this issue a deal-breaker. Brightness could be a bit better too, but that is probably something that has to do with personal preferences than with objective criteria. Most users find nothing wrong with it whatsoever, mostly thanks to the LED backlight UHD dimming.

Now, when it comes to sound, most Smart TVs suffer a bit; TU7100 is a pleasant exception. Its pair of speakers are capable of surprisingly high volume – especially after considering that this model does not have a subwoofer. Still, keep in mind that this performance is considered good only compared to other Smart TVs of the same or lower price range. For a truly immersive audio experience, a soundbar is necessary.

As to smart features, Samsung rightly holds sway as the brand with the best and most sophisticated smart TV technology in the industry. Easy to navigate menus, smooth and responsive browsing, plus full compatibility with Google Assistant and Alexa. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video and the on-screen content guide, as well as Disney, Apple TV, Now TV, and BT Sport apps offer prime 4k content on-demand, at excellent quality.

Pros
  • Prime construction quality
  • Elegant design
  • Excellent colours
  • Much better sound quality than most Smart TVs
  • Samsung’s unrivalled Smart TV technology
  • Voice control
Cons
  • Rapid motion handling suffers sometimes

Our Opinion

The Samsung RU7100 is undeniably one of the best 55-inch Smart TVs in today’s market. Elegant design, prime constructions, surprisingly good sound (for a Smart TV), voice control, and Samsung’s famed Smart technology offered at an affordable (if not budget-friendly) price, it is surely worth your consideration.

3.  LG ELECTRONICS 5OUM7500PLA – 2020 Edition

Introduction

The LG Electronics 5OUM7500PLA TV offers a great image quality thanks to its 4K resolution, which is actually four times larger than full HD.  By far the most interesting display feature is the 4K UHD, which is designed to create life-like images with vibrant colours which burst from the screen, it is a must for animal documentaries and game playing.

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At a Glance

  • Brand: LG Electronics
  • Model: 5OUM7500PLA
  • Display Size: 55 Inches
  • Mounting Type: Table Mount
  • Resolution: 4K UHD
  • Connections: Bluetooth, USB
  • Display technology: LED
  • Supported Internet Services: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Browser
  • Refresh Rate: 50 Hz
  • Operating System: WebOS
  • Energy efficiency class: A+++_TO_D
  • Visible screen diagonal: 55″ / 140 cm
  • Picture Processor: Quad-Core Processor 4K
  • HDR: HDR10 Pro / HLG
  • Picture Quality: Filmmaker Mode
  • Sound Quality: Ultra Surround, AI Sound
  • Smart Tech: Magic Remote, Voice Control
  • Content: Prime Video, Disney+ and more
  • Connectivity: HDMI x 4, USB, WiFi, Bluetooth
  • Design: Crescent Stand
  • Model Year: 2020

Design & Build

The overall design of this TV is very chic and the quality of the build is superior to that of its predecessors.  The frame is fairly thin and looks best wall-mounted, but the new crescent stand is much more appealing than the previous one.

Featuring a WebOS operating system The 50OUM7500PLA comes with HDMI, USB, and WiFi connectivity, and allows you to connect it to the internet so that you can find apps or stream films (Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube etc.). The advanced ThingQ artificial intelligence enables you to use the magic remote which makes browsing and general TV usage far easier than with a normal remote. Note that the 2020 edition comes with voice control too. It also has Google Assistant and is compatible with Google Home and Alexa devices.  Bluetooth is available, and you can easily connect it with your Smartphone.

This model is equipped with two built-in speakers with 10W power each for a total output of 20W which is enough for most unless the room is very large.  In that case, you may need to purchase external speakers which will create a home cinema ambience.  The ultra-surround mode is excellent, especially with external speakers.

On the downside, however, especially for film buffs, is that the TV doesn’t support local dimming, which, more or less means that the blacks aren’t as good as they should be.

Pros
  • 4K UHD Resolution & active HDR provide good picture quality
  • Compatible with Google Home & Alexa devices
  • Sound is loud & clear
  • Chic design
Cons
  • No local dimming

Our Opinion

LG50OUM7500PLA TV is an excellent buy and will meet most users’ needs.  The quality of the picture is good due to the 4K resolution and active HR technology.

The colours make up for this though with their beautiful accuracy so it really isn’t a deal-breaker. The sound is loud and clear for most room spaces. The design is good and will fit in with your home décor.  All in all, a very good buy.

4.  Samsung UE50RU7400UXXU

Introduction

The Samsung UE50RU7400 produces fantastic picture quality.  The HDR 10+ feature means that you can watch colours explode from the screen and even unveil what lurks in the shadows. It is ideal for viewing nature documentaries or playing games. It also features a Universal Guide, which recommends popular shows tailored for you based on set preferences.

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At a Glance

  • Brand: Samsung
  • Model: UE50RU7400
  • Dimensions: 73.5H x 112.4W x 34.7D
  • Colour: Charcoal black
  • Weight:  16.5 kg
  • Screen size: 50”
  • Screen type: LED
  • Resolution size: 3840×2160
  • Resolution type: 4K Ultra HD
  • Energy Rating: A
  • HDMI Input: 3
  • Internet: Wi-Fi & Ethernet
  • Special Feature: VESA 200 x 200
  • USB Input: 2

Design & Build

This Samsung model has a 50” screen and an elegant, slim design which looks good from any angle. Cables are even neatly hidden away from view in one of the legs.

The TV is compatible with smart devices and Bixby, Alexa and Google Assistant, which connect through SmartThings.  It is also possible to connect a keyboard and mouse via a USB port for easier access. You will also be able to download apps in the smart hub or stream films.

UHD Dimming means shadows are better detailed with more accurate colours and tone, brightness and sharpness are adjusted accordingly., while the UHD dimming controls the darkest and brightest elements of any image for a more lifelike experience in viewing.

There is just one remote control for everything.

The TV can easily find the title of any background music or movie soundtrack.  The UE50RU7400 is equipped with two Dolby built-in speakers with a total of 20W output.  The sound quality is good but there are not enough sound pre-set settings in some people’s opinion.  A soundbar will improve things in a larger room.

Pros
  • Stunning sharpness & clarity
  • Dynamic HDR10+ vibrant colour
  • Widest range of streaming apps including Apple TV
Cons
  • Navigation needs getting used to

Our Opinion

The Samsung UE50RU7400 certainly keeps its promise for fantastic picture quality. The price is just fine if you consider the quality of the picture and the excellent features that are included. Easy to set up, with a particularly fast menu system, it will do everything it is meant to and prove an ideal addition to any modern home.

5.  Panasonic TX-50GX800 – Value-for-Money

Introduction

The Panasonic TX-50GX800 offers Dolby Vision and HDR10+ dynamic metadata systems on the one TV – making it the first time this has been seen in the UK market.  More or less, it is designed to ensure that the content is played back within the capabilities of the TV and, therefore, to make sure that HDR performance be at its very best.

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At a Glance

  • Brand: Panasonic
  • Model: TX-50GX800
  • Display: 49.5 in, VA, Edge LED, 3840 x 2160 pixels
  • Viewing angles (H/V): 178 °/ 178 °
  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz
  • Frame interpolation: 1600 BMR (Backlight Motion Rate)
  • TV tuner: DVB-T, Analog (NTSC/PAL/SECAM), DVB-T2, DVB-C, DVB-S2
  • Dimensions: 1120 x 651 x 62 mm
  • Weight: 14 kg / 16 Kg (With the Stand)
  • Screen size: 50”
  • Screen resolution: 4K Ultra HD
  • HDR format: Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG
  • LED Backlight: LED Edge

Design & Build

The design looks conservative at first glance but on inspection, you will note that the LCD panel is located on top of the surrounding bezel instead of within.  This creates an elegant appearance of glass-on-frame.  TV is edge-lit and extremely thin.

It also has a handy centre stand, so no need to buy extra furniture.

The remote control isn’t stylish at all and is a bit daunting at first glance but you will soon get used to it.  However, It has sport, Netflix as well as Freeview Play dedicated buttons.

Connections are restricted to three HDMIs, as well as two USB ports, digital optical audio out, component AV and Ethernet. The UK version has Freeview Play but there is no satellite option.  Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both supported.  Bluetooth connectivity supports headphone pairing but there are only three HDMI inputs.

This model is really easy to use with Panasonic’s refined smart platform which is the best around at the moment.

Both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are integrated.  The Home platform starts with a trio of buttons:  Devices, Apps and Live TV.  You can also customise the user interface by adding your own short-cuts for streaming as well as connected devices.

The Device button offers locally connected sources such as set-top TV boxes, Blu-ray player or games consoles and also recognises networked NAS devices with media servers.  Servers are immediately listed with their content playable.  File support is great too, no problem unspooling MKV files through the TV.

On top of this, the Panasonic GX800 has a wide choice of key streaming services such as Netflix, Rakuten, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video as well as less famous ones.

The addition of a two-way Bluetooth Audio link enables you to stream Bluetooth audio to the TV as well as pair wireless headphones for listening in private.

The HD/SDR performance greatly enhances the picture as well as Local Dimming technology which really highlights shadowed areas.  The contrast is well above average and clarity is improved by the HCX image processor.

With SDR, the options are Dynamic, Normal, Cinema, True Cinema, Custom and Sport.  It is ideal for gamers as well, input lag measures only 10.2ms in a dedicated Game mode.

The Normal mode proved best for daylight viewing whereas True Cinema is perfect for darker surroundings.

Even motion handling is much improved for studio content and sports, the Min setting works very well.  Motion artefacts are more noticeable on Mid and Max settings, however, horizontal pans become much smoother.

For 24Hz films, it is best to turn off IFC to remove any motion artefacts, creating only mild panning judder.  IFC is available in Min, Mid and Max or can be switched off altogether.

4K/HDR performance is enhanced with the provision of HDR10, HLG (broadcast HDR), HDR10+ as well as Dolby Vision make this a wonderful undertaking for disc collectors and streamers alike.

Dolby Vision is a real plus on a mid-brightness screen where variable tone mapping allows the screen to be able to more precisely reflect the intent of the creator.  A dynamic HDR approach enables the TV to manage high brightness and shadow details scene by scene.

A warning though, the GX800’s HDR performance, its ability to produce bright highlights is tied to the image presets.

Lastly, the sound is good, rated at 10 watts it has plenty of volume for everyday viewing.  It should be noted that it is also compatible with Dolby Atmos and with this, you will get a huge audio boost from sources like Netflix and Amazon.

Pros
  • Dolby Vision & HDR10+ Support
  • Dolby Atmos audio capable
  • Superior HCX image processing
Cons
  • Peak HDR performance tied to Dynamic viewing mode
  • Only three HDMI inputs

Our Opinion

The Panasonic T-50GX800 is just the ticket for HDR support and it is difficult to ignore this 4K set.  The use of dynamic metadata makes a huge difference on an HDR set such as this one.  Precise tone mapping enables images to appear much better than expected.  Bear in mind that you will have to view in Dynamic mode for the brightest and most spectacular highlights.

This set is really a brilliant buy for film fans and highly recommended.  We love it!

6.  Samsung 55” QLED Q60R – The Best Choice

Introduction

This new Samsung model is the lowest price of 4K HDR TVs with Quantum Dots (QLED) technology.

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At a Glance

  • Brand: Samsung
  • Model: QLED Q60R
  • Dimensions: 26.39 cm x 1.24 m x 79.09 cm
  • Display: 54.6 in, VA, Edge LED, 3840 x 2160 pixels
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m²
  • Static contrast: 6500: 1
  • Refresh rate: 120 Hz
  • Frame interpolation: 3000 PQI (Picture Quality Index)
  • TV tuner: Analog (NTSC/PAL/SECAM), DVB-T, DVB-T2, DVB-C, DVB-S2
  • Cores: 4
  • Weight: 18.6 kg
  • Colour: Charcoal Black
  • 4K Ultra HD connected
  • Scanner Resolution:
  • Backlighting: Ultra Slim Array
  • Design: New Edge
  • Bezel Width: SNB
  • Dimming Technology: Supreme UHD Dimming
  • Style: Flat Panel
  • TV Type: QLED

Design & Build

The design is excellent, the slim bezel is kept to a minimum and it has U shaped legs which sit comfortably under the screen.  It is even slim when viewed from the side and will look great wall-mounted as well.  In fact, wall-mounting is a better idea since the bezel and legs are plastic and could break or chip.

The TV is super slim because of using edge-lit design instead of full array lighting.

At the back are all the connection ports as well as four HDMI ports, all of which are HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 4 has ARC, plus two USB ports and one digital audio out port.  The USB ports can be used to power a streaming stick if you don’t wish to use Samsung’s smart built-in platform or they can be used as ports for a USB stick with extra media.

The Samsung Q60R boasts Tizen which is the smart platform which acts as the brains of the set and is fast, responds well and is certainly one of the best platforms on the market.

You can connect with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu in the US and the BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub in the UK.

The Universal Guide which is located at the far left of the home content bar will give you recommendations for new content and Samsung’s TV+ app which combines online constant feeds with OTA channels if you have an antenna.

Created to produce a brighter image (enhancing HDR) but sadly it doesn’t quite live up to its QLED moniker.  For example, it doesn’t use the One Connect box for cables.  On top of this, it doesn’t use full array lighting but instead bundles LEDs into the edge of the screen.  So actually, it isn’t quite QLED with the bright, colourful panels seen elsewhere which really make HDR content really stand out.

Having said this, it is still great for watching HD/SDR content, it just isn’t up to the standards of other QLED TVs on the market.

Ambient mode is included as well as Apple Airplay 2 and Apple TV so that you can stream films from your iTunes account and Apple devices.  Bixby is still the primary virtual assistant to help smart devices linked by your Samsung SmartThings account.

The Q60R is an excellent choice for gamers who prefer responsiveness to visual quality, as well as for people who love documentaries which don’t need cinema-type quality visuals.

The sound is adequate and you can expect good dialogue due to the new intelligent Audio feature.

Pros
  • Good price for this type of TV
  • Great HD/SDR performance
  • Fast smart platform
  • Excellent for gamers
Cons
  • Edge-lit panel
  • No OneConnect box for neat cables
  • Limited brightness

Our Opinion

To sum up, the Q60R is an excellent 4K TV, even though it doesn’t provide the best value or even performance in its class.  However, it gets top marks for HD/SDR content.

We also liked the fact that Samsung uses the same Tizen smart platform as the Q90R – for example, Quantum Processor 4K, Intelligent Audio and Freesyn support.  The major drawback is that it has no full array panel and so the performance of the picture will never live up to the more expensive models.  But again – you get what you pay for and the choice is totally up to you.

7.  LG OLED55E8PLA

Introduction

Highly developed by LG, OLED or Organic Light-Emitting Diode TV provides the most advanced image quality available on the market at the moment.  It doesn’t require backlighting like LED screens, which means the colour is consistent with much-enhanced contrast levels.

The LG OLED55E8PLA is priced and is worth every penny in our opinion and also comes with a 6-year guarantee.

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At a Glance

  • Brand: LG Electronics
  • Model: OLED55E8PLA
  • Dimensions: 1360W x 878H x 175D (Including Stand)
  • Display: 54.6 in, OLED, 3840 x 2160 pixels
  • Viewing angles (H/V): 178 ° / 178 °
  • Brightness: 400 cd/m²
  • Refresh rate: 120 Hz
  • TV tuner: Analog (NTSC/PAL/SECAM), DVB-T, DVB-T2, DVB-C, DVB-S, DVB-S2, DVB-T2 HD
  • Cores: 4
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 8 GB
  • Weight: 20.5 kg
  • USB Ports: 3
  • Power Consumption: 157 annually
  • Panel Bit Depth: 10 Bits
  • HDMI: 2.0
  • Screen Resolution: 4K Ultra HD
  • Pixel Resolution: 3840 x 2160
  • Energy Rating: A
  • Local Dimming: OLED pixel
  • LED Backlight: OLED

Design & Build

This model has an elegant picture-on-glass design which made up of an ultra-thin panel with a translucent glass back.  If viewed from the side, the panel is just a bit thicker than a pane of glass.

At the back of the set, there are four HDMI inputs, three sides facing and one rear-facing and all allow 4K and HDR pass-through.  There are also two USB ports on the back and one on the side, an ethernet port as an alternative to Wi-Fi plus an optical output to connect to a soundbar or sound base.

The interesting design point is the stand – below the screen and strip of speakers, there is a glass panel which you can slot the trapezoidal-shaped stand into making the TV appear to float in the air.  The stand is metallic-finished and the thin frame of the TV looks really chic.

The powerful Alpha 9 processor enhances motion handling, resulting in smoother images.  Contrast is greatly improved giving a more realistic appearance.

True Colour Accuracy Pro adds to the number of data points for colour which makes flesh tones truer and animations much more vivid.  In fact, everything appears more life-like.

The LG OLE55E8PLA has the widest range of HDR support with Active HDR.  The advanced HDR by Technicolor creates reference levels of images and colour accuracy.  This TV also offers to decode for HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision.

Dolby Vision totally optimises the HDR format resulting in the most accurate and sharpest images possible. High Frame Rate Support via OTT gives smoother images with brilliant realism. Dolby Atmos compatible soundbar is built-in which can decode Atmos soundtracks. The 4.2 speaker is built-in with a powerful 60-watt amp giving excellent sound for a flat TV.

The incomparable ThingQ AI system allows control of a wide range of products. The more LG ThingQ AI products you have in the home, the more seamless and integrated the control.

This is the fourth year that LG has used its WebOS Smart system now with Google Assistant.  It is user-friendly and one of the most highly rated on the market.  It is now smarter than ever and can change the channel and input by voice command.  It also works with Google Photos and Google Maps as an added bonus.

Freeview Play makes catching-up TV easy.  Just find programs on BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub, All4 and Demand 5 along with over 60 TV channels and up to 15 HD channels.  Just scroll back in the TV guide to the shows you missed in the last 7 days, making sure the TV is connected to the internet and you are ready to go.

Pros
  • Leading class picture with lifelike colours
  • Beautiful design
  • The image display is extra detailed & smooth
  • Well-equipped smarts
  • ThingQ features
Cons
  • Overpriced

Our opinion

The LG OLED55E8PLA has been described as overpriced – but it actually is far from the sort. In fact, the only significant drawback is the built-in sound system – but this is a well-known deficiency of most Smart TVs. That aside, it is one of the very best performing and equipped TVs ever which is saying quite a lot.  It is an excellent buy if you can afford it and we highly recommend it.

Smart TV Buying Guide

If you are on the market for your first smart TV, there are some pointers to bear in mind.  First of all, you will naturally need a TV priced to suit your budget.  Secondly, the size of the set needs to be taken into consideration in terms of where you will put it.  Thirdly, the screen size is important but for a typically sized living room a 55” or 60” should be more than adequate.

Choose your screen resolution – 4K or HD (8K is more expensive).  A rule of thumb is the higher the resolution, the clearer the picture.  The 4K models have four times the number of pixels as current HD TV screens and give richer, more lifelike images and detail.

The different features on each TV are further discussed in the article below which we hope will be of help in deciding which TV will be the best for you and your family.

What is a Smart TV?

A smart TV, aside from the standard features of a regular TV set, offers internet connectivity and support for apps, making movie and show streaming and internet use a lot easier for the user.

Smart TV technology integrates more capabilities by the day, such as voice control or smart home integration. Basically, a smart TV can be used much like a smartphone when it comes to the internet and streaming and gaming apps, thus adding an array of entertainment options.

How Does a Smart TV Work?

While regular TVs just use an antenna to receive signals, a smart TV uses a home network for video streaming and internet services, either via Ethernet wiring or a Wi-Fi connection.

Note that most new TV sets come with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for video streaming or app use, on-demand movie downloading and game-playing, so, in a way, most of them fall under the broad “smart TV” umbrella term. Hence, the fierce competition has forced manufacturers to improve their interfaces and add more capabilities to the new models; soon, the term “TV” will be more or less obsolete, since most sets will be used more or less as laptops or tablets.

If you plan to use the Wi-Fi connectivity, note that most new smart TVs support 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and some the much faster 802.11ax (the so-called Wi-Fi 6); you should steer clear from those still using the older 802.11n standard. You should also make sure that your Wi-Fi coverage is sufficient, especially if you have a large house. A bad signal will affect your streaming and app running. Of course, a Wi-Fi extender can do the trick in such a case.

What Should I Look for in My Smart TV?

What is the Best Screen Size for a Smart TV?

That depends on your space, the number of people that will be watching the set at the same time, and the distance between the TV and the couch and the user; and, of course, it depends on your budget.

Nowadays, the most popular smart TV screen sizes range between 55 and 65 inches. When it comes to distance, just bear in mind that the screen size should be three times smaller than the distance from the user, or two times smaller for a 4K UHD TV.

What is the Best Screen Resolution for a Smart TV?

Resolution refers to the number of pixels making up the picture. Naturally, the greater their number, the higher the resolution and the sharper the picture.

What are your options resolution-wise?

  • High Definition (a resolution of 1920 x 1080, also referred to as “full HD”) has been the standard for many years and remains the most common choice, but the tide has already turned in favour of the much better Ultra HD resolution, also known as 4K, since it has four times more pixels than HDs and providing a much crisper picture, especially from a distance.
  • High Dynamic Range, or just HDR, is a new 4K Ultra HD feature that delivers more colours, more contrast levels and increased brightness.
  • 8k resolution has also become available in high-end models, but it is not easy yet to find content that can actually use so high a resolution to the fullest, so, before going the extra mile and paying the premium, make sure you can indeed use it.

What is the Best Refresh Rate for a Smart TV?

Well, the rule is simple here: the faster, the better!

The refresh rate refers to the number of times a picture is refreshed in one second. The standard refresh rate nowadays is 60 times per second (60 Hz, which is great for gaming), but you can get sets that reach a 120 Hz or a 240 Hz refresh rate. Some smart TVs are equipped with a High-Frame Rate (HFR) support, boasting a higher refresh rate and added support for content with higher refresh rate than 60 Hz – which is the best for live sports buffs!

On the other hand, be aware of the phrase “effective refresh rate”! It means that the actual frame rate is half the stated one!

Smart TVs & Connectivity

The more HDMI ports a smart TV set has, the better, cause you will soon find out that you will need a bunch of them. If you decide to get a 4K Ultra HD, just make sure it supports HDMI 2.0 to make the most of it. In some models, you even get an HDMI 2.1 format, which is great for 8k content.

What is the Difference Between LED and LCD Smart TV Sets?

Nowadays, we basically have two types of TVs, LCD and OLED. Let’s check their main characteristics and differences.

LED LCD TVs are HD and Ultra HD sets using LEDs to illuminate the LCD screen. this practically means that…

  • their screen is rather thin;
  • they come in a great variety of prices, sizes and features;
  • they perform great even in sunny environments;
  • they often feature full backlighting and/or quantum-dot technology.

On the downside, LED TVs’ display suffers from rapid motion imperfections (in live sports shows for instance), and the image fades a bit when viewed from the side.

OLED TVs, on the other hand, use a layer of organic LEDs to achieve much better contrast and, consequently, a better overall picture, colours, deeper blacks and shadow details, whatever the angle.

On the other hand, all these come at a premium, and you may also check out whether there is a possibility of a “burn-ins” due to a static picture.

What is the Best Contrast Ratio for a Smart TV?

The contrast ratio refers to the range of brightness levels that can be displayed, and the better it is, the crispier the picture gets. The problem is that there isn’t a standard way to measure it, and every manufacturer picks the one that paints its model with the brightest colour. So, be aware of it, especially if a smart TV uses it as its banner.

Smart TVs & Sound

Unfortunately, the sound is the weakest point in most Smart TVs, and manufacturers don’t look so keen to fix that, in an effort to force consumers to buy an extra audio system, like a soundbar. So, you shouldn’t just reject a smart TV set just because the audio doesn’t seem that impressive.