Best 4K TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar’s round-up of the best 4K TVs you can buy in 2017.
4K is the next step in TV technology. It offers four times the resolution of the previous generation of Full HD sets, which is a big increase in the amount of detail that it’s possible for a television to show.
But despite the fact that 4K televisions can now be had at budget prices, there are large differences in quality that mean it’s definitely worth doing some research to find the best 4K TV for your needs.
Between different Ultra HD televisions there are large differences in the quality of their HDR, colors, sound, and interfaces.
With most people holding on to a TV for much longer than the 2 years they tend spend with a phone, it’s worth spending the time finding a TV that’s right for you.
The world of TV buying can feel unapproachable when you’re first getting into it, but give it some time and it will all make sense. Let’s try and make your buying decision at least a bit easier with our picks for the best 4K TVs.
Here are the ten best 4K TVs to help you make your buying decision:
1. Samsung Q9F QLED
Phenominally bright panels do wonders for HDR content
65-inch: Samsung QE65Q9FAM
Fantastic color levels
Very bright screen
HDR color banding can occur
Backlight clouding can be an issue
Samsung was the first brand to introduce an HDR-compatible screen way back in 2015, but it’s not been resting on its haunches ever since.
It’s latest flagship, the Q9F, is a perfect example of this. It ups the brightness to 1500 nits, 50% higher than the level required for UHD Premium certification, and the brightest TV we’ve ever tested.
Outside of an impressive-sounding number this brightness has a real impact on the set’s image quality. Detail is preserved in even the brightest areas of the image, and colors are exceptionally vivid and bright.
Even non-HDR content looks fantastic thanks to Samsung’s SDR upscaling technology.
No television is perfect, and the Q9F can occasionally suffer from some backlight clouding around bright objects. Additionally some settings cause color striping in HDR colours, but in all other respects this is the best television around at the moment.
Read the full review: Samsung Q9F
2. LG OLEDE7 series
OLED isn’t done getting better just yet
Gorgeous picture quality
Thinness of OLED
Minor picture noise problems
LCD TVs are still brighter overall
Thanks to the thinness the technology affords, OLED televisions often look striking, but LG’s OLEDE7’s ‘picture on glass’ design looks especially fantastic.
However beyond its aesthetic appearance, the set delivers the same great picture quality we’ve come to expect from OLED, with blacks that are far darker than any you’ll see from an LCD TV.
It’s black levels were already impressive, but LG’s development this year has been to boost the maximum brightness level that the set is capable of, resulting in images that really pop.
LG’s flagship this year is the crazy-expensive OLED W7, but frankly the E7 offers a very similar level of quality at a much lower price. It still looks great, it’s still packing Dolby Atmos, and although it can’t boast the wallpaper thinness of the W7, it’s not far off.
For all those reasons and more, the E7 OLED is a worthwhile addition to any home theater.
Read the full review: LG OLED E7
3. Sony Bravia XE90 series
An fantastically sleek and capable set
Excellent motion handling
HDR isn’t the brightest
Remote doesn’t feel as premium
Although LCDs haven’t quite achieved the same black levels as their OLED rivals like the LG E7 above, the Sony XE90’s HDR performance comes tantalizingly close.
This is achieved through the set’s direct LED backlight, which allows it to achieve a brightness uniformity that edge-lit displays often fall short of.
Add in fantastic detail and motion handling, and you’ve got yourself a set that strikes an excellent balance between price and performance, and is well worth a look, even if its Android TV interface can feel a little cluttered, and its remote a little cheap.
Read the full review: Sony XE90
4. Sony BRAVIA A1E OLED
Sony’s brand-new flagship TV for 2017 is returning to OLED
65-inch: Sony A1E OLED
Gorgeous picture quality
Innovative and excellent sound
It’s not very bright
Android TV is clunky
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.
5. Samsung KS7000 range
The KS7000 delivers an HDR-friendly level of specification you just can’t find elsewhere for the same sort of money.
Good all-round picture quality
Some backlight clouding issues
Despite being much cheaper than the year’s more premium KS9500 range, Samsung’s KS7000 series still meets the demanding specifications set out by the Ultra HD Premium standard. Which means, essentially, that it’s got enough brightness, contrast, colour and resolution to produce an uncompromising high dynamic range performance.
So it is that HDR sources look unprecedentedly dynamic and rich for the KS7000 range’s level of the market. The sets also do an emphatic job of getting the maximum impact from their native 4K pixel counts.
The TVs look brilliant with standard dynamic range sources too – though a recent firmware update means that all Samsung’s 2016 SUHD TVs offer a surprisingly effective processing system for upscaling SDR to HDR.
There’s no 3D support, and very high contrast HDR images can suffer with fairly obvious signs of backlight striping and clouding. Neither of these issues, though, stop the KS7000 from being a great value way of finding out what all the HDR fuss is about.
Read the full review: Samsung KS7000
6. Panasonic DX902 series
Brand new LCD screen technology and stellar processing helps the DX902 range deliver spectacular 4K and HDR impact.
Bright, contrast-rich pictures
Clever and usually effective local dimming technology
Some motion blur
Panasonic was so obsessed with nailing high dynamic range picture quality on its flagship 4K TV series for 2016 that it came up with an all-new ‘honeycomb’ LCD panel technology. This puts physical dividers between the areas of the different ‘zones’ of picture illuminated by its direct-lit backlight system to cut down on the usual LCD problems of backlight clouding around bright HDR objects, and even introduces a new diffuser filter to try and stop the light ‘breaks’ between different LED zones looking too obvious.
Even this doesn’t completely solve LED’s light control issues with very extreme HDR content, but it certainly does enable the TV to deliver picture quality with HDR sources that for the majority of the time are second only to Samsung’s KS9500 TVs for their combination of dynamism, detailing and sheer spectacle – and the DX902s cost hundreds of pounds less than their Samsung rivals.
Read the full review: Panasonic DX902
7. LG OLED B7 Series
LG’s entry level OLEDs continue to impress
Excellent all-round image quality
Complete HDR support
Great smart platform
No Dolby Atmos passthrough
Mediocre onboard audio
LG’s ‘B’ line of OLEDs has consistently offered a great entry point into the display technology without compromising on what makes it so exciting.
The B7 series is no different. Contained within the TVs is exactly the same panel that’s powering the more expensive C7, E7 and yes even the W7 LG televisions, which means an exceptional bump over last year’s OLED panels at a much lower price.
So where has LG saved the money? In a word, sound. The B7’s downward firing speakers are the worst all the company’s OLED TVs. Not only that, but the set is also currently unable to pass Dolby Atmos to an external sound system over HDMI (although a firmware update to fix this is on the way).
If however, you’re content to put up with a standard surround sound experience, then the B7 is a fantastic entryway into a piece of TV tech that still feels futuristic in 2017.
Read the full review: LG OLED B7
8. Philips 65PUS7601
Brilliant backlight controls make this surprisingly affordable Philips 4K TV one of the year’s most pleasant surprises.
65-inch: Philips 65PUS7601
Excellent backlight control
Great price for the picture quality on offer
Complicated picture set up
Android TV interface is clunky and impersonal
On paper the 65PUS7601’s pictures shouldn’t really work. It only delivers 700 nits of brightness versus the 1000 nits we’re seeing from the highest-level TVs this year, and it only hits around 76% of the expanded ‘DCI-P3’ colour range usually considered necessary for a premium HDR experience.
The reality of watching the 65PUS7601, however, is that once you’ve wrestled with a rather complicated picture set up system it produces one of the most immersive and spectacular pictures the TV world has to offer. Particularly key to its success is its direct LED backlight system, which manages to deliver a good (albeit not full) sense of HDR without causing nearly as many backlight clouding distractions as any of its more extravagantly bright rivals.
The 65PUS7601 does this, moreover, while also giving you the hundreds of apps available via Google’s Android TV smart platform and costing many hundreds of pounds less than other direct-lit 4K rivals like the Panasonic DX902s and Samsung KS9500s.
Read the full review: Philips 65PUS7670
9. Sony XE93 series
Bright HDR images and rich colors make this set one worth considering
Bright HDR with rich colors
Great HD upscaling
Issues with blooming around bright objects
The Sony XE93 range is the more premium range that sits alongside the XE90 above and it’s certainly a more ambitious set.
The XE93 features a Sony innovation known as ‘slim backlight drive’ which attempts to deliver areas of concentrated light in the screen while maintaining a slim form-factor.
For the most part this system performs admirably, and creates fantastically bright images that have real punch and intensity to them.
But the system does have it’s issues with keeping this brightness to the bright areas of the image, where it can occasionally see this light ‘bleed’ out into darker parts of the image.
Thankfully this set is also no slouch in the sound department; it’s happily one of the better sounding TVs out there.
So the XE93 is a great looking set, but while it may be much more premium than the XE90 listed above, it doesn’t quite go all the way in justifying its increased cost.
10. Panasonic DX750 range
An eye-catchingly affordable way to bag yourself outstanding 4K standard dynamic range and decent HDR pictures.
Good all-round picture quality
Friendly smart TV interface
Some backlight concerns with HDR
Only gives a watered down HDR experience
The Panasonic DX750s are some of the cheapest TVs around to offer both 4K and HDR playback. Yet despite their affordability they are also very likeable performers. In fact, with the standard dynamic range sources we still spend the vast majority of our time watching they’re nothign short of excellent thanks to their winning combination of 4K sharpness, strong contrast and natural, nuanced colour tones.
With HDR the situation is a little less emphatic, as the screen doesn’t have the colour or brightness range to provide a truly full blooded HDR performance. There are various occasional backlight distractions with HDR playback too that you have to work hard in the set up menus to try and minimise. Actually, though, for most of the time the DX750s still look good with HDR and deliver at least a flavour of the extra colour and light dynamics that make it so special.
Add to all this Panasonic’s friendly, customisable Firefox TV smart engine and you’ve got a TV range that offers fearsome amounts of bang for your buck.
Read the full review: Panasonic DX750
Note: We are not writer of this article, original source is mentioned below.