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We’re in the process of reviewing 2018’s new TVs, and so far we’ve been seriously impressed by the Samsung Q9FN QLED, which is the first TV in years to get the full 10/10 score from Trusted Reviews. Hot on its heels is the LG E8 OLED. Right now you’ll struggle to find better TVs, in terms of performance.
The LG B7 OLED is was the best overall TV to be released in 2017, and the Samsung MU7000 was the best-value option. Both are still available and heavily discounted, so if you’re looking for a TV bargain and you’re not too fussed with getting the very latest tech, now’s the time.
How we test TVs
Our crack team of 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 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.
Samsung Q9FN QLED
- Gorgeous brightness and colours
- Impressively deep blacks
- Full-array local dimming
- Lovely finish
- Not quite OLED levels of shadow detail
The Samsung Q9FN is the first TV in years to receive a full 10/10 score from Trusted Reviews. That’s because it’s a truly brilliant telly. This is the best performance we’ve ever seen from an LED LCD, thanks to the use of a direct backlight with full-array local dimming, plus some very effective dimming algorithms. Samsung made a lot of its QLED TVs (Quantum Dot LED) in 2017, but 2018 is the year it really shines.
Usually in TV land you choose to prioritise light performance (LCDs) or low-light performance (OLEDs). There are LCDs that offer decent shadow detail, or OLEDs that offer great highlights, but there just hasn’t been a TV that excels in both extremes. Until now, that is.
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The Samsung Q9FN offers astonishing levels of brightness and colour, but it also has properly deep blacks that generally have no business on an LCD TV. The result is a hugely versatile picture: whether you want to watch films in a darkened room or put on the football with the lights blazing, this will do nicely.
The biggest surprise is the reasonable price tag – this flagship telly costs £3799 at 65 inches, which puts it in direct competition with some of LG’s more affordable OLEDs, costing less than the £4000 LG C8 that we’ll be reviewing very soon. Meanwhile…
LG E8 OLED
- Stunning picture quality
- Unique and attractive design
- Excellent smart TV system
- It’s expensive
- Sound is a little disappointing
- No HDR10+ support
The LG E8 OLED is the first LG TV we’ve reviewed this year, and if it’s anything to go by, LG is going to have another great year. Panel technology hasn’t changed much, but LG has really upped their game on the processing front. As a result, HDR looks far brighter than it ever has before on an OLED TV – all the while maintaining the perfectly inky blacks that the format is known for. It’s still not as bright a Samsung’s QLED LCD TVs, but for most people it will be plenty.
The only potential problem is the LG C8, which we’ll be reviewing soon. That’s supposed to offer the same picture, with less premium body, for less.
LG B7 OLED
- Unrivalled blacks and contrast
- Improved shadow detailing
- Vibrant yet accurate colours
- Supremely low input lag
- Imperfect motion processing for interlaced broadcast
- Peak brightness insufficient for impactful HDR
If you’ve been looking to buy a 2017 OLED but have been waiting for prices to drop, this is your chance. The LG 55OLEDB7 is the least expensive in the range, and it’s now even cheaper thanks to some fairly sizeable price drops.
It’s as big a bargain as £1699 can ever get you, because the picture performance is almost identical to its £4000 sibling, the LG OLED65E7V, save for the lack of built-in soundbar. And most people buying a TV at this level would likely be considering a separate sound system anyway.
Picture quality is nothing short of stunning, and makes it one of the best performing sets this year, not to mention one of the best value. Contrast is outstanding, detail levels are high, and colours are vibrant but believable. It was a great TV at its review price – now, it’s a steal.
- Good brightness and contrast
- Strong shadow detail
- Intuitive smart TV interface
- Limited viewing angles
- Black levels could be deeper
The UE49MU7000T is a 49-inch 4K LCD TV from just above the middle of Samsung’s 2017 range. It doesn’t get Samsung’s new QLED technology, with its ground-breaking brightness and colour properties, but it does feature Dynamic Crystal Colour technology based on Samsung’s 2016 flagship TVs, along with a claimed peak brightness of 1000 nits.
Having dropped in price since its release to well under the £1000 mark, it’s a compelling option for those wanting 4K HDR on a budget. It’s well built, easy to set up and has a great smart TV system with all the services you could want.
Its picture performance is where it really shows off what it’s made of though, and we like what we see. It’ll go bright for a mid-range TV, which means it can give HDR a good go, though blacks don’t go quite as deep as further up the range.
Colours look natural and subtly blended, and both 4K and 1080p images are sharp and detailed. For the money, it’s one of the most appealing TVs Samsung has released this year.
Buy now: Samsung MU7000 for £640 from Amazon
Sony A1 (KD65A1)
- Outstanding picture quality
- An innovative sound system that works
- Gorgeous design
- Uninspiring remote
If we had a prize for most unusual TV design, this would win it.
The Sony A1 isn’t just an OLED TV – Sony’s ‘Acoustic Surface’ technology does away with speakers entirely and shakes the screen to make sound. And it totally works.
Crazy sound systems aside, Sony’s first commercial 4K OLED TV is a huge success, with bags of fine detail, lovely colours and class-leading motion handling. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but if you want something that can show off what TVs are all about in 2017, this will do nicely.
This here is the 65-inch version, but it also comes in 55 inches.
If you’re not keen on that leaning design, check out the Sony AF8 OLED, which is the same TV in most respects, except for a more conventional design.
- Bright with lovely colours
- Strong contrast
- Premium build and design
- External connections box
- Occasional lighting issues
Samsung’s QLED range is the best the company has to offer this year, and the Samsung Q7 is the most affordable option. It boasts a peak brightness of up to 1500 nits – up from the 1000 nits offered by last year’s best. It’s not just brighter, Samsung has also worked hard on colour.
This QLED series is a new take on Samsung’s existing Quantum Dot technology. The Quantum Dot crystals have been wrapped in a metallic alloy, with the aim of improving contrast and vibrancy. It totally works, giving you some seriously lush and bright images that OLED screens aren’t capable of. The downside, however, is that dark-room performance isn’t amazing – there are some noticeable lighting uniformity issues that you’ll spot in blackened rooms.
Still, for those who like to watch TV with the lights up, you’ll struggle to find anything more impressive. Well, except perhaps the brightest and biggest QLED model, the QE65Q9FAM.
Buy now: Samsung QE55Q7For £1,048 from Amazon
- Class-leading colour accuracy
- Perfect blacks with excellent shadow detail
- Low input lag
- No Dolby Vision support
- HDR could do with a little more impact
Panasonic took a break from OLED in 2016, but this year it’s back. Everybody seems to be handling OLED differently this year, but Panasonic is taking the no-nonsense approach. It’s not the most fancy of designs – gone is the strokable Alcantara back of the CZ952 – but you do get the most natural, believable colours available on an OLED TV this year.
If that’s not enough for you, check out the Panasonic EZ952’s stablemate, the EZ1002 – that’s the professional option, with USB 3D lookup tables, a Technics-tuned soundbar and an extra filter to catch reflections. That’s a lot more expensive, mind. For most people, the EZ952 will be plenty. It’s available in 65 and 55 inches.
- Stunning SDR and often gorgeous HDR playback
- Excellent sound quality
- Eye-catching design
- Some backlight flaws with high-contrast HDR images
- The design could be divisive
- Limited effective viewing angle
Panasonic hasn’t given us any of its upper-midrange LCD TVs yet, but while we wait there’s this. The 58-inch Panasonic TX-58DX802 sits towards the top of Panasonic’s 2016 TV range, and is nothing if not different. Its 4K/UHD, HDR-capable screen is mounted in a seriously striking easel-type stand. Rather than trying to fit speakers into its slim frame, it ships with an external soundbar.
Colours look absolutely beautiful for most of the time, with both HDR and SDR content. The wide colour gamut we’re now routinely getting with HDR content is delivered with bags of impact. The addition of the soundbar helps to deliver one of the best out-of-the-box sound performances of any TV we’ve tested in the past year. It’s particularly strong at outputting bass that’s far beyond the capability of the speakers built into typical mainstream flat-screen TVs.
With its striking design, seriously impressive sonics and mostly lovely UHD and HDR picture quality, the TX-58DX802 does more than enough to justify its £1600 asking price.
- Gorgeous design
- Mostly outstanding picture quality
- Decent sound quality
- Can be complicated to use
- Uses a 2016 OLED panel
- Input lag slightly high
Philips operates on a different timetable to the other manufacturers, leisurely releasing this TV at the end of 2016, way after everyone else had their products on the market. It’s possible the company took that time to learn about the competition, because this OLED TV is the most impressive one to come out of 2016.
It uses LG’s OLED technology, but the processing that Philips added on top makes for a picture that’s more detailed, subtle and overall more impressive than LG’s own efforts. On top of that, you get Philips’ own Ambilight technology, which projects light on the wall behind the TV. It’s supposed to make for a more comfortable viewing experience.
The Philips 901F doesn’t have the latest OLED specs, and 2017 models are definitely a step up, but it does have price on its side.
- Great size:price ratio
- UHD Premium
- Impressive contrast
- Good smart TV interface
- Colours could be more natural
- Other UHD Premium TVs are more subtle
The Hisense H70NU9700 is a 70-inch monster. But it’s not only massive, it’s the company’s first UHD Premium TV. That means it meets the minimum requirements to be considered a next-gen TV. It’s capable of up to 1000 nits of peak brightness, and it can handle HDR with its 10-bit panel.
It’s not nearly as refined as the best from the bigger TV brands, as colour accuracy could be better, but contrast and lighting uniformity are very impressive for an LCD TV.
If you’re looking to upgrade to a huge screen and you’re not too picky about your colours, £3000 gets you a lot of TV for your money.
- Excellent contrast for a mid-range TV
- Impressive colours and sharpness
- Class-leading motion processing
- Android TV is still a clumsy smart TV system
- Occasional backlight blooming around bright objects
- Limited viewing angles
Sony is the first to bring its 2018 stock to market, and it’s starting strong. Curiously, rather than going big with its flagship model, Sony has decided to focus on its upper-midrange model: the Sony XF90. It’s a smart move, because these TVs aren’t hugely expensive, so they’re more likely to sell.
Sony has decided to make the XF90 a direct-lit model. That’s a rare treat these days: direct backlighting with local dimming is far superior to the common edge-lit/zonal dimming configuration. If you want good contrast and those top OLED models are just out of your price range, this is well worth checking out.
Those are our top picks of the best TVs. If you want to know more about what to look out for when buying a TV then read on.
TV Jargon Buster
Full HD vs 4K/UHD
Most TVs are Full HD, which gives you a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. These are gradually being overtaken by Ultra HD (commonly known as UHD or 4K), which gives you a resolution of 3840 x 2160.
That’s four times the number of pixels, crammed into generally the same TV sizes. It means greater sharpness, detail and clarity.
There used to be a real lack of 4K content, but these days there is plenty to stream from Netflix and Amazon Video – and you can buy 4K Blu-rays. Read our guide: What is 4K TV and Ultra HD?
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Essentially it promises a wider range of brightness, colour and contrast – because your eyes can perceive more information than TVs have traditionally been able to display.
There’s not much content mastered in HDR yet, but there is plenty on the way – this is the next big thing in the world of TVs. Read our guide: What is HDR TV?
LCD/LED vs OLED vs QLED
Plasma TVs are no more, so most TVs are either LCD (often referred to as LED) or OLED.
LCD is the most common, though there’s a big difference between the cheapest and most expensive LCD TVs due to the types of backlight, panel and processing technologies used.
OLED is a relatively new technology and it’s expensive, but it’s seen as a natural successor to plasma technology. Unlike LCD, OLED pixels produce their own light, so there’s no need for backlighting or edge lighting. Contrast and rich colours are its strengths, although LCD screens are generally brighter. Read our guide: OLED vs LED LCD.
QLED is a tricky one. In the last few years QLED has been used to refer to a theoretical self-lighting technology, similar to OLED. But now Samsung is using the QLED name to refer to its latest Quantum Dot TVs. This is still LCD technology, albeit one with fancy crystals. Consider this a beefed-up version of LCD, rather than an entirely new category.
For more detail, take a look at our guide: What is QLED?
Related: Best TV deals
You may have noticed there are no small TVs in this round-up, and that’s because the best TVs only come in larger sizes. If you’re looking for a small, typically Full HD-only model, you’ll want to look at our Best value TVs round-up.
Also, if you have loyalty to a particular brand make sure to take a look at our ultimate guides:
- Panasonic’s 2018 4K HDR and HD TV lineup explained
- Sony TVs 2018: What you need to know before you buy Bravia
- Samsung QLED TVs 2018: Every new Samsung 4K TV explained
- Philips TVs 2018: Every new OLED, LCD, 4K and HD model explained
- LG’s 2018 OLED and LCD TVs
Best Very TV Deals
This massive Samsung 55-inch TV has had a massive price cut. This TV has plenty of smart apps to keep you entertained, from Netflix to the catch-up services. It also has 4K upscaling to make Full HD content look its best.
This big 55-inch LG TV includes built-in Freeview Play, letting you easily catch up on shows you've missed. It also runs webOS, LG's excellent operating system. It also supports Dolby Vision for even better HDR performance.
A massive 49-inch HDR TV for £350 sounds almost too good to be true, but it's a reality with a big £170 saving on this model.
Which TV takes your fancy? Do you have a preferred manufacturer? Let us know by tweeting @TrustedReviews