We’ve tested all of the latest and best 4K TV models on the market, and here are the ones we’d recommend. These are the most advanced (and sometimes most expensive) sets on the market, and they represent the pinnacle of what’s possible in home cinema.
4K TVs have four times as many pixels as Full HD TVs. When you cram more pixels into the same screen sizes, your picture ends up much sharper and clearer, and you can really appreciate the extra definition and detail.
Many say 4K TVs can almost appear as if they’re in 3D, even when they’re not. Some people refer to 4K TVs as UHD (Ultra HD), but for TV-buying purposes, they are just different names for the same thing.
The best LCD 4K TV that we tested was the Samsung Q9FN, combining the brightness and colour of QLED, with the deep blacks OLED, it was one of the most impressive TVs we’ve reviewed in years. But then came the LG C8, which shows OLED TVs can do brightness too – and offers better lighting precision. If you’re on a tighter budget but still want impressively detailed, natural pictures, the Philips 55POS9002 is an excellent more affordable model.
Alternatively, take a look at our Best TVs page, which includes some of the older (but still excellent) models. Many of these have been significantly discounted and are now a bit of a bargain.
How we test 4K TVs
Our crack team of 4K TV reviewers use both their naked eye and specialist tools to check every set they test for contrast, black level, maximum brightness and input lag, plus any hint of backlight bleed, blooming or anything else that might spoil your viewing enjoyment. A variety of test footage is used to cover every type of scene, so we can assess a 4K TV’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as how it performs against the competition. Sound quality isn’t forgotten, either – we give the built-in speakers a thorough listen to determine whether you’ll need to invest in a soundbar or speaker system to beef things up.
- Gorgeous brightness and colours
- Impressively deep blacks
- Full-array local dimming
- Lovely finish
- Not OLED levels of shadow detail
The Samsung Q9FN is the most impressive LCD TV we’ve seen in recent memory. It’s a hugely versatile performer, with a properly impactful high dynamic range to go with the 4K Ultra HD resolution, plus the freedom to view it with as few or as many lights on as you want.
This is Samsung’s 2018 flagship TV and it’s something of a comeback after a flawed 2017. The biggest change is the use of a direct backlight with a full-array local dimming system, which means better lighting control than last year.
Specs aside, here’s why you should care: it offers black levels almost as good as rival OLED TVs, combined with unprecedented levels of brightness and colour volume.
Amazingly, Samsung has knocked over £1000/$1290 off the price of last year’s flagship. Now this is one of the most affordable ‘top’ models on the market, taking the fight directly to LG’s C8 OLED.
- Excellent value
- Impressively detailed, natural pictures
- Attractive, space-saving design
- Not the brightest OLED around
- Black levels not as deep as some OLEDs
- Android TV can frustrate
The Philips 55POS9002 is the company’s second stab at delivering an OLED TV, and is the successor to the impressive Philips 55POS901F.
Its £2200/$2838 price makes it one of the cheapest OLED TVs to date – and despite its affordability, it manages to combine a powerful new picture processing engine with Philips’ unique Ambilight technology.
Its design is delightfully minimalistic, with slim bezels and an understated stand that leave the screen to do the talking. Its remote is chunky, but the QWERTY keyboard is handy for typing passwords, and its connections are generous for the money too – all four HDMIs support 4K and HDR.
Both HDR10 and HLG HDR formats are supported here, so you should be futureproofed for HDR broadcasts. That’s good, because HDR content looks great, with a subtler approach than previous Philips sets that makes this look more natural.
Blacks don’t get as inky deep as some of the competition, but there is lots of detail here, and there are no banding issues during dark HDR scenes that we’ve seen elsewhere. It’s a consistently impressive picture, that’s never lacking for sharpness or insight.
The result is a TV that’s a genuine, if not as dynamic, challenger to LG’s OLED55B7.
LG C8 OLED
- Sharp and colourful picture
- Excellent upscaling
- WebOS still rocks
- Low input lag
- Motion could be better
- Better suited to darker rooms
We were impressed by LG’s ‘7’ series OLED TVs last year, but this year’s ‘8’ series is even better. Here we have the LG C8 OLED.
The LG C8 OLED is simply a stunning TV. It’s hard not to marvel at the picture quality. If you ignore all factors and rivals and just buy this TV right now, you won’t be disappointed.
The C8 is definitely brighter, more detailed and more impactful than last year’s LG B7, although it isn’t a massive jump up. However, this isn’t a negative when you consider that model was already excellent.
Like all OLED TVs, the LG C8 enjoys pixel-level luminance, which means remarkable lighting precision. Essentially the panel tech has remained mostly the same, and the emphasis is on the new processor. This essentially gets the most out of the panel. It’s a brighter HDR performance than ever, and there’s less noise in the blacks too. It’s not as bright as Samsung’s rival Q9FN QLED TV, but OLED is brighter than ever.
- Outstanding picture quality
- An innovative sound system that works
- Gorgeous design
- Uninspiring remote
Sony’s first step into 4K OLED is absolutely stunning. There’s nothing not to like here. The design is gorgeous, and comes with an innovative sound system. There are no speakers, because Sony’s Acoustic Surface tech shakes the screen and the screen itself acts as a speaker. Sounds weird, but it totally works.
Then there’s the picture: on top of OLED’s inherent strengths in deep blacks and punchy contrast, Sony has added superior processing. That improves motion handling and colour reproduction. The A1 also uses the latest OLED tech, which claims a peak brightness of 1000 nits. If you’re worried that OLED is not bright enough, you can stop worrying now.
Alternatively, check out the Sony AF8, a straight-standing version of the same TV.
- Gorgeous, accurate pictures
- Powerful sound
- Good smart interface
- Good app support
- Light-up remote
- Some of the menus could use a facelift
Panasonic was king a few years ago, but then the plasma TV industry died and the company lost its edge. After that, Panasonic poured its plasma experience into developing OLED, and the results are so good that even professional colourists in Hollywood use them to grade movies. The Panasonic FZ950/FZ952 OLED is one of those TVs. You’ll struggle to find an OLED TV in 2018 with a more natural picture, or one more close to the picture the filmmakers see with before release. New for this year is a dynamic Look-Up Table – a map telling the TV where to put colours – which optimise the picture every 100 milliseconds. The result is more precise colour handling, especially in midtones and highlights, which are traditionally areas where OLED TVs have struggled.
If this is a little pricey for you, check out the Panasonic FZ802/800 – the same TV minus the attached soundbar.
- Full array direct LED backlight
- Dynamic HDR performance
- Netflix, Amazon and YouTube in 4K
- Disjointed Android/YouView user experience
- High input lag
The Sony XF90 is excellent mid-range option. You get the the vivacity of HDR and the expertise of Sony’s image processing, but find yourself not the unevenness of edge-lit LCD screens. There’s a smoothness to the XF90’s FALD imagery that’s really captivating. It’s not on got the same level of lighting precision as Sony’s legendary ZD9 series, but it does a good job delivering contrast and brightness.
The only real caveat is input lag – if you’re a serious gamer looking for a fast HDR-capable UHD display, I’d probably advise you pass.