Best TV buying guide: TechRadar & # 39; s guide to the best TV & # 39; s available in 2018.
There is no worse experience than staring at a go and staring at a gangway from TV & # 39; s to Best Buy: "Huh, they all look good."
We know the feeling – it looks like any TV that looks great with its brightness cranked and colors beyond supersaturation. In such places it can be very difficult to say which TV is really good and which … well, are not true.
We understand that the money is tight and that you would rather just have someone who really has tested TV's and gives you the insider knowledge you need to make the perfect choice.
The good news? You are in the right place here.
Some screens really do better than others, with better contrast, higher brightness and new technologies such as Wide Color Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR) that will dramatically improve your TV viewing experience.
We have tested them for ourselves and can now say with absolute certainty which screens to buy and which ones to avoid. Our choices are shown below from the best-of-the-best to the still-fantastic – and unlike running through the TV aisle at Best Buy, you can not go wrong with any of them.
"So, do I have to buy a TV now or wait?"
This is a question we get a lot. Like most technology (cough, iPhones) TV's are getting better – which means, yes, if you wait a year, there will probably be a bigger, more flashy TV for less money.
But while you do this, you will definitely get a bigger screen for a better price, some of the best panels are already being produced. Although the screens of tomorrow may be a bit bigger, a bit brighter and a bit cheaper, the screens of today are just as competent in themselves.
We can say with confidence that most manufacturers have finally embraced the three major standards on televisions: Ultra HD, Wide Color Gamut and HDR (HDR10 and, if you're lucky, Dolby Vision). If a TV you are watching does not support at least one of these, you should probably look elsewhere.
Do not you know where to start? These are the best TV's we have tested this year.
1. Samsung Q9FN QLED (2018)
The best TV ever? Could be!
65-inch: Samsung QE65Q9FN
Spectacular HDR image quality
Powerful, well-rounded sound
Good smart system
Limited viewing angles
After a disappointing debut, Samsung's QLED technology really had to rebound in style in 2018. It did not surprise us in the least to discover that Samsung was throwing the sink in with its new Q9FN QLED television series.
In addition to the fact that Samsung's 2018 flagshades are brighter and more colorful than the comparable model of last year, they use a completely different lighting system to combat the contrast problems of their predecessor: Full Array Local Dimming instead of edge-lit LED lighting. The FALD panel works with Samsung QLED Quantum Dots to produce a photo that is brighter and more colorful than almost everything we have seen from the South Korean manufacturer.
Do these functions only mean that Samsung Q9FN is the best TV on the market? No, but throw in technology like HDR10 + and Q HDR EliteMax – what Samsung regards as its maximum High Dynamic Range experience exclusive to the Q9FN – and there is very little doubt in us that this is the best TV ever from Samsung.
Read the full review: Samsung Q9FN QLED TV (65Q9FN)
2. LG C8 OLED series (2018)
LG sets a new standard with its 2018 OLED range
55-inch: LG OLED55C8 | 65-inch: LG OLED65C8
Excellent image quality
Very effective smart platform
Limited peak brightness for HDR
No support for HDR10 +
At the top of our list for 2018 is the LG C8 OLED – available in both 55 and 65-inch iterations. It's here because it combines an impressive photo, an extensive range of features, an attractive design and an unparalleled smart platform to deliver one of the best TVs we have seen so far. It is not as bright as an LCD TV, but those deep blacks make a huge difference to the dynamic range of the image. It is also capable of vibrant and beautiful colors, not to mention a stunning level of detail with native 4K content.
There are other OLEDs that are worth this year (see: Sony & # 39; s A1E and A8F OLED or LG & # 39; s own E8 and W8 OLED models), but we think the OLED C7 offers the best price-performance ratio for every TV in the sun in the year 2018.
Read the full review: LG OLED C8 (OLED55C8, OLED65C8)
3. Sony XBR-Z9D series (2016)
An LCD LED TV for the history books
65-inch: Sony XBR-65Z9D | 75-inch: Sony XBR-75Z9D | 100-inch: Sony XBR-100Z9D
Stunning HDR image quality
Android TV feels slow
Pretty average sound
From the moment we saw the XBR-65Z9D, we were desperate to get one. It is, without doubt, the holy grail of television for 2018: a TV that can combine the extreme, high dynamic range-friendly brightness of LCD technology with a backlight that brings LCD closer than ever to the stunning light control you get with OLED technology.
This backlight consists of more than 600 LEDs behind the screen of the 65Z9D that are able to perform their own light levels independently of their neighbors. This should allow the TV to produce more of the extremes of light and shadow associated with new high dynamic range (HDR) technology, while having fewer LCD TVs with distracting clouds, stripes or halos of unwanted, strange light.
As if this did not have enough attraction yet, the 65Z9D also sports Sony's new X1 Extreme & # 39; video processing system and the latest version of Sony's reliable Triluminos wide color technology for unlocking the extensive color gamut in relation to HDR sources.
4. LG Signature Series W7 OLED (2017)
LG & # 39; s W7 OLED is thinner than your smartphone
65-inch: LG 65W7OLED | 77-inch: LG 77W7OLED
Insanely slim design
Color, brightness and contrast
Movement problems with TruMotion
The LG W7 OLED is really something special. It is not only one of the thinnest TVs that ever graces our vision (it is 2.75 mm thin), but it is also one of the most beautiful. When feeding the right kind of content – in this case 4K HDR10 or Dolby Vision video – it really shines. A super slim design alone would not have been enough to justify the extra costs for an upgrade to the latest LG panel. But the thin frame on top of a Dolby Atmos soundbar on top of four types of HDR support on top of the magnetic mounting system on top of the new webOS 3.5 operating system certainly did the trick. This incredibly beautiful TV is not without errors (see: motion handling, the sticker price and soundbar problems), but in terms of pure image performance there is nothing fun about it at the moment.
5. Sony Bravia A1E OLED (2017)
Sony's triumphant return to OLED is still one of his best
65-inch: Sony Bravia 65A1E | 55-inch: Sony Bravia 55A1E
Beautiful image quality
Surprising, monolithic design
Innovative and excellent sound
It is not very smart
If LG & # 39; s OLED is not your thing, then spend some time viewing the new OLED from Sony.
The 55A1 and the A1 OLED series in general are audience visitors in almost every way. Their & # 39; photo-design is beautifully realized, at the same time it has succeeded in being subtle and dramatic. Their vibrating screen delivers much more powerful and effective sound performance than I thought possible. However, the real stars of the show here are the beautifully detailed, high-contrast and colorful photo's of the A1. These emphatically prove what we have long suspected: more brands that use OLED technology can only lead to good things.
6. Sony Bravia X900F series (2018)
This is the HDR flat screen that we have all been waiting for
65-inch: Sony Bravia X900F
Direct LED with local dimming
Excellent movement handling
Unfussy but elegant design
HDR is a bit weak
OK, so you do not want Sony's new A1E-oled or the fantastic but pricey ZD9 (or can not afford it). So what do you have to buy? View the X900E series. With excellent 4K image clarity, powerful SDR to HDR remastering and smooth direct LED backlighting, Sony offers something completely different with the X900F. We loved the consistency of the images, the eye-catching vividness of the wide color gamut panel and the easy-to-view HDR – you get spectral highlights without losing the fatigue of your eyes.
Given the high, but fair price of this set, all the problems we have are negligible. The X900F is highly recommended and deserves our recommended award.
Read the full review: Sony Bravia X900F (XBR-65X900F) review
7. LG E8 OLED series (2018)
A small processor makes a big difference for the OLED range
55-inch: LG OLED55E8 | 65-inch: LG OLED65E8
Great image quality
Opulent and beautiful design
Excellent operating system
Incidental image noise
Fog clarity relative to LCD
Because they may have pushed the hardware capabilities of its current OLED display technology as far as possible, LG has drawn attention to the software that drives these screens in 2018 – and this shift in focus has produced surprisingly impressive results, leaving many of the remaining problems in connection with the existing OLED sets of 2017.
The OLED65E8 loses a bit of ground from its predecessor and there is some stiff competition this year from Samsung's new Q9FN flagship LCD TV, but all growing legions of OLED fans will probably have to hear that the OLED65E8 is comfortably the best OLED TV LG has ever made it.
8. Samsung Q8FN QLED TV (2018)
The 2018 QLED TVs from Samsung continue to impress
Very bright HDR photos
Good smart TV system
Limited viewing angle
Some mild backlighting flourish
Although it is clearly a step back from Samsung's all-important Q9FN, the Q8FN is still a fantastic TV. Phenomenally clear, colorful and ultra-sharp – it has the right things for a huge impact of today's most advanced image sources.
It's worth paying attention to, this is a fantastic TV for HDR content, because the direct lighting system manages to produce as many as 2,100 measured nits of light from a 10% white HDR window. This kind of clarity is unparalleled for the price of the TV and ensures that it delivers the highest extremes of HDR's extended brightness range with spectacular effectiveness and punch.
So why is it not higher on our list? If you view the TV from an angle, the color saturation decreases and the backlight becomes more visible. Secondly, Samsung's automatic motion processing system is a bit too aggressive and it causes too many disturbing side effects for comfort. Fortunately, the image is not too stingy if you prefer – as we did – to put the movement processing in general.
Also, due to the usually high standards of Samsung, the Q8FN is something of a clear Jane. It is deeper than most TV's on the back, it sits on two rather simple feet instead of a chic, centrally mounted tripod, and all its connections appear on the TV instead of on a separate junction box.
These are of course minor problems and the image quality is still top for a LED-LCD screen. But they keep the Q8FN at number 8 on our list.
Read the full review: Samsung Q8FN QLED TV
9. TCL 6-Series (R615, R617) (2018)
An exceptional 4K HDR TV for the budget-oriented buyer
55-inch: TCL 55R617
Bright, colorful HDR
Supports Dolby Vision
Roku TV is great
Loss of dark details
Limited motion settings
If you had deep pockets and a checkbook with empty checks, we would tell you to come deep and deeper for only the best TV's on the market – LG & # 39; s crazy. OLED W8 or the ultra-bright Q9FN QLED from Samsung (both shown in this list). But that is not realistic. For the vast majority of us, our TV budget is limited to somewhere under $ 1,000 – and often less than that.
That is why it is absolutely fair to say that the TCL 6 series is the best TV you can get in this price range. The performance per dollar is unrivaled and the image quality – despite a few small shortcomings – will really impress you.
Read the full review: TCL 6 series (R615, R617)
10. Bang & Olufsen BeoVision Eclipse
Looking awesome. Good sound. Beautiful design. But only worth buying if you have money to burn
Excellent image quality
Dolby Vision HDR support
More reflective screen
Limited effective viewing angle
The B & O BeoVision Eclipse is the complete package. It's smart, the picture looks great and the sound quality is amazing. But then there's the price – $ 9995, and that's for the 55-inch model and does not include the floor fixture. If you choose the larger 65-inch model and want the floor fixture, view $ 15,595.
So you have to buy it? Well, if you are absolutely full and want a TV that looks and sounds great, and it fits in your ultra-modern home environment, then it is not a bad option. However, if you are willing to spend more time on your setup, you may be better off buying an LG OLED TV and a special surround sound system.
Read the full review: Bang & Olufsen BeoVision Eclipse
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Go to page two to read what to look for when buying a TV!
- Do you want better audio? View our guide for the best soundbars available.
- After you have chosen a panel, first read our guide to make sure you get the most out of it.