Best 4K TV 2018: 7 awesome Ultra-HD TVs you need to see to believe | Tech & Gadgets
Best 4K TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar’s round-up of the best 4K TVs you can buy for any budget in 2018.
There has never been a better time to buy a 4K Ultra-HD TV. The technology is better now than it’s ever been, and 4K content has become the new norm for streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, as well as Blu-ray discs.
Yes, far from being the niche technology that it was a few years ago, 4K (also known as Ultra HD) is the 4x improvement your TV has been waiting for.
But making a good 4K TVs isn’t just about how many pixels you can push to a screen; it’s about the quality of those pixels. To that end, there’s even newer technology that we’re excited about, like High Dynamic Range and Wide Colour Gamut, that promise to take all those new pixels and make them truly shine.
If the world of TV buying feels unapproachable when you’re first getting into it, don’t worry. Give it some time and it will all make sense. Plus, you’ve got us here to help you pick out the best 4K TV on the market.
Over the years, hundreds of TVs have passed through our reviewers’ doorsteps. Using that wealth of experience, we’ve created a list of the best 4K TVs. We constantly update the list with the latest and greatest panels, so if you see things shuffled around a bit since the last time you were here, don’t freak out.
Check out our video above for an introduction to the world of 4K.
What you need to know about 4K TVs
Not only do these screens have four times the amount of pixels as their aged (but still-revered) 1080p brethren, but 4K screens also usually pack in screen technology like High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) that really make those extra pixels shine in all their glory.
The last reason 4K TVs have taken off is that game consoles, like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, have totally embraced the 4K future, as have the Blu-ray industry and streaming video player market. Pretty much everyone is on board the 4K Ultra HD train these days.
If all of this sounds weird or archaic or tough to understand, don’t worry. We’re here to help decipher the wild, wonderful world of Ultra HD. Give us a few minutes of your time and we’ll help you get the best 4K TV on the market.
Why can you trust us? Well, over the years, hundreds of TVs have passed through our reviewers’ doorsteps. Using that wealth of experience – plus some neat side-by-side comparisons – we’ve created a list of the best 4K TVs.
We constantly update the list with the latest and greatest panels, so if you see things shuffled around a bit since the last time you were here, don’t freak out. Embrace that times change and that these are the best TVs we’ve ever found.
1. Samsung Q9FN QLED TV
The best 4K TV of 2018, bar none
Spectacular HDR picture quality
Powerful, well-rounded sound
Good smart system
Limited viewing angles
After an underwhelming debut, Samsung’s QLED technology really needed to bounce back in style in 2018. It didn’t surprise us in the least, then, to discover Samsung threw the kitchen sink in with its new Q9FN QLED Series of TVs.
As well as being even brighter and more colorful than last year’s equivalent model, Samsung’s 2018 flagship screens use a completely different lighting system to combat its predecessor’s contrast problems: Full Array Local Dimming rather than edge-lit LED lighting. The FALD panel works in tandem with Samsung QLED Quantum Dots to produce a picture that’s brighter and more colorful than near any we’ve seen come from the South Korean manufacturer.
Do those features alone make Samsung Q9FN the best TV on the market? No, but throw in technology like HDR10+ and Q HDR EliteMax – what Samsung bills as its maximum High Dynamic Range experience that’s exclusive to the Q9FN – and there’s very little doubt in our mind that this is Samsung’s best TV ever.
Read the full review: Samsung Q9FN QLED TV (65Q9FN)
2. Sony XF90 Series
The best mid-range 4K TV available on the market
Excellent motion handling
HDR isn’t the brightest
Remote doesn’t feel as premium
Short and sweet, the KDL-55XF9005 is a brilliant mid-priced TV. Every one of the improvements Sony has introduced over and above last year’s already excellent XE90 series – better processing, more brightness, slightly more backlight dimming zones, improved motion performance – delivers the goods, resulting in picture quality that humbles many more expensive TVs.
Its Android TV system and some generally minor backlight clouding stop it short of perfection, but it’s hard to imagine any similarly priced upcoming 65-inch rival getting the better of it.
Read the full review: Sony BRAVIA KDL-55XF9005
3. Panasonic FZ952/FZ950
The best 4K OLED TV in the UK
Stunning contrast performance
Unprecedented colour accuracy
No Dolby Vision support
Some occasional vertical banding
There’s a very good reason that Hollywood video editors master on OLED TVs – they simply outmatch anything else on the market.
And while LG and Sony certainly have their merits in this area (the former is the largest producer of OLED panels in the entire world, after all), Panasonic is certainly no slouch in this arena. All you need to do is look at the Panasonic FZ952, the latest OLED reference TV from Panasonic, to see why.
The FZ952 is a luscious OLED that puts performance first. Its colour handling is class-leading, and its HDR talents are a match for any of its rivals. In fact, it just might offer the best picture performance that we’ve seen on a 4K OLED to date.
The FZ952 isn’t the complete package, lacking as it does Dolby Vision and Atmos compatibility, but it wins more arguments than it loses. We suspect you’ll appreciate the easy sophistication of its smart platform, the quality of that low-lag game mode, and the sheer musicality of the Technics soundbar.
Read the full review: Panasonic FZ952/FZ902 OLED
4. Sony BRAVIA A1
The best 4K TV for those with a big budget
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 A1 OLED
5. LG C8 OLED
The best entry-level 4K OLED TV
Superb picture quality
Highly effective smart platform
Limited peak brightness for HDR
More expensive than last year
We’ve long loved LG’s B-Series of OLED TVs with last year’s B7 OLED as the pinnacle of affordable OLED technology. But this year, LG has delayed the B-Series and has instead made the C-Series its front-running screen.
While we’re a bit miffed at the price increase from last year’s B7 to this year’s C8, it’s hard to say it’s unwarranted: LG’s C8 builds on the success of last year’s models, resulting in a TV that can deliver astonishing HD/SDR images and equally impressive 4K/HDR pictures. It’s not as bright as an LCD TV but those deep blacks make a huge difference to the dynamic range of the image. It’s also capable of vibrant and gorgeous colors, not to mention an astounding level of detail with native 4K content.
The WebOS smart platform remains the best available and the choice of streaming services is second to none. Once you add the gorgeous design and a comprehensive set of features, you have one of the most complete TVs that we’ve ever reviewed.
Read the full review: LG C8 OLED (OLED55C8, OLED65C8)
6. Philips 55POS9002
The best designed 4K TV that fits any room
Ambilight works a treat
Excellent all-round picture quality
Android TV can annoy
Slightly weak sound
The £2,000 TV market has started to get pretty congested this year, but Philips’ OLED does enough to stand out from the crowd. Its Ambilight system is as fun and appealing as it is unique, while its new P5 picture processing system takes Philips’ picture quality in an interesting and welcome new direction, trading a little of the brand’s customary dynamism for a lovely and immersive naturalism that many AV enthusiasts may find hard to resist.
Overall, it’s both a strong picture performer and unique enough in the way it goes about its picture business to stand as a genuine alternative to similarly priced OLED competitors.
Read the full review: Philips POS9002
7. Samsung Q7FN QLED TV
The best 4K TV for very bright rooms
Startling colour accuracy
Great for daytime viewing
Edge-Lit VA panel
Limited viewing angles
While Samsung’s Q7FN isn’t quite the pinnacle of QLED technology – that honor is reserved for the Q9FN – it is a great compromise between price and performance, offering a bright screen, three forms of HDR and incredibly accurate colours for £1,999 (around AU$3,699).
Ambient Mode adds a design aesthetic sure to please even the keenest of eyes and its low-latency game mode makes it a competent companion for the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. HDR+ mode helps liven up HD/SDR content and of course 4K/HDR content has an eye-watering sheen when viewed on this set. While the Q7FN isn’t the shining star of the QLED range, it’s still a bright spot in the mid-range.
Read the full review: Samsung Q7FN QLED TV