Best 4K TV Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar’s round-up of the best 4K Ultra-HD TVs you can buy in 2017.
Can you imagine how hard it was a decade ago to find the best TV? Like the technology of the era, finding anything was a nightmare. Thankfully, the 21st century not only brought us serious improvements like Wikipedia, but also a brand-new TV technology called 4K that revolutionized the visual world.
4K, also called Ultra-HD, is a term that describes how many pixels a TV can display at one time – typically referring to a resolution of 3840 × 2160.
But just because a TV supports a higher resolution, doesn’t mean it performs well. In fact, there’s a large amount of variation in the quality of their interfaces, their execution and support of High Dynamic Range (HDR) and physical design.
Our constantly updated list of the best 4K TVs is the best way to find a set that does what you need it to do without spending more money than you need to on extraneous features.
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 nine of the best 4K TVs to help you make your buying decision:
- Samsung Q9F QLED
- LG E7 OLED
- Sony XBR-X900E
- Sony A1E OLED
- LG B6 OLED
- Sony XBR-X850E
- Samsung KS7000
- Sony XBR-X930E
- Samsung Q7F QLED
- Need to give your TV’s sound a boost? Check out our guide to the best soundbars available.
- Ultra HD Blu-rays are a fantastic way of watching 4K content without worrying about buffering. Check out our guide to the best Ultra HD Blu-ray players for some suggestions.
1. For bright HDR pictures: Samsung Q9F QLED Series
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 colors, but in all other respects this is the best television around at the moment.
Read the full review: Samsung Q9F
2. For the best black levels: 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. For the best ratio of price-to-performance: Sony Bravia X900E 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 X900E’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 BRAVIA XBR-X900E
4. The best premium TV: 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.
Read the full review: Sony A1E OLED
5. The best cheap OLED: LG OLEDB6 Series
The OLEDB6 series is the most affordable way to get your hands on LG’s 2016 OLED TV technology.
Gorgeous, contrast-rich picture quality
Spectacularly thin design
Detail clipping in bright areas
Occasional brief colour noise
The brilliantly simple attraction of the LG OLEDB6 4K TV range is that they bring you a similar level of OLED-based picture quality thrills that saw the OLEDE7 range bag a slot right near the top of this list, but they do it at a much more affordable price.
The thing is, the reasons the OLEDB6 models are so much cheaper than the E-series models are down to things like design, build quality and reduced audio performance rather than massively compromised image reproduction. So it still delivers the unbeatable black levels, lovely rich colours, extreme contrast and pixel-level light control of its step-up OLEDE6 siblings.
As a last-generation set (we’ll have a review of the current generation B7 soon) the OLEDB6 suffers more with OLED’s tendency to lose detail in very bright areas of HDR pictures, but it’s as good as it gets with the SDR content we still watch for most of the time and remains the natural successor to the plasma TVs so beloved of AV enthusiasts.
Read the full review: LG OLED B6
6. The best value TV: Sony BRAVIA XBR-X850E Series
4K HDR TV that doesn’t destroy your bank account
Good HDR pictures
HDR isn’t very bright
Android TV is frustrating
By introducing its exceptional X1 video processor further down its TV range than ever before and being brave enough to dial down the brightness a bit to deliver a more even, immersive backlight experience, Sony’s struck mid-range gold with the X850E Series. While it’s not the brightest or most colorful TV on the list, the simple fact is that few TVs we’ve seen in recent times have balanced price, contrast, brightness and color quite so all-round effectively as the 65X850E.
If you’re looking for a great TV that doesn’t destroy the bank account, Sony’s X850E series is the clear winner.
Read the full review: Sony XBR-65X850E
7. The oldie-but-goodie: 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 more premium KS9500 range, Samsung’s KS7000 series meets the demanding specifications set out by the Ultra HD Premium standard. Which means, essentially, that it’s got enough brightness, contrast, color and resolution to produce an uncompromising HDR picture.
In more or less words, HDR sources look unprecedentedly dynamic and rich for the KS7000 range’s segment 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 series
8. The best up-scaler: Sony BRAVIA XBR-X930E series
Bright HDR images and rich colors make this set one worth considering
Bright HDR with rich colors
Great HD upscaling
Issues with blooming
The Sony X930E range is the more premium range that sits alongside the XE90 above and it’s certainly a more ambitious set.
The X930E 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 X930Eis a great looking set, but while it may be much more premium than the X900E listed above, it doesn’t quite go all the way in justifying its increased cost.
Read the full review: Sony X930E
9. The best budget QLED: Samsung Q7F QLED TV
Samsung’s entry-level QLED TV really shines
65-inch: Samsung QE65Q7FAM
Poor black levels
Apps hang periodically
QLED is delivering on Samsung’s promise of better, brighter screens at a more affordable price, with the Samsung Q7F leading the charge as the manufacturer’s entry-level set.
Unfortunately, though, the Samsung Q7F QLED is an extraordinary TV hindered by ordinary issues. It’s one of the brightest, most colorful and we daresay one of the most enjoyable TVs to watch from Samsung in 2017. And while it would be nice to unequivocally recommend it, some damning black level performance, issues with off-axis viewing, audio and operating system performance keep on the most beautiful TVs from being one of this year’s best.
Read the full review: Samsung Q7F QLED TV
Note: We are not writer of this article, original source is mentioned below.