What is the best OLED TV?
Best OLED TV: OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode and it’s a screen technology that offers the best contrast and black level performance you can get. For anyone looking to bring their movies to life, an OLED TV is a sure bet.
LG, Panasonic, Philips and Sony have released OLED TVs, choosing the screen technology for their premium sets over LCD LED.
And the number of manufacturers means there’s variety in the market, with each brand using it as a showcase for their philosophy. 2020 also brings the smallest OLED TV size we’ve seen with LG and Sony launching 48-inch OLEDs.
All OLED panels produced are by LG, but Panasonic, Philips and Sony will make their own tweaks to the existing panel. While OLED TVs aren’t as bright as Samsung’s QLEDs, comparatively, Panasonic’s OLEDs are the brightest you can get, and the rich contrast and wide viewing angles means they are great to watch during the day and at night.
Many detractors of OLED have said that they suffer from burn-in (retention of images over long periods of time). While this can happen, customers shouldn’t be unduly worried by this. Manufacturers have taken steps to ensure burn-in is less of an issue with screensavers, AI enhancements and variable brightness. In truth the risk of burn is something that can only happen with a static image over long periods, and is not likely to happen with most sets available for purchase.
If you’re after a new OLED or want to dip your toes into the technology and see what it’s all about, we’ve laid out the best TVs you can currently buy.
- Best OLED TV: Panasonic TX-55GZ2000
- Best value OLED TV: LG OLED55C9
- Best HDR OLED TV: Panasonic TZ-55GZ1500
- Best Ambilight OLED TV: Philips 65OLED934
- Best stylish OLED TV: LG E9 OLED
- Best sounding OLED TV: Sony KD-65AG9
- Best entry-level OLED: LG OLED65B9
- Best 2020 OLED TV: LG OLED65GX
The most complete OLED
- Superior OLED panel brightness
- Excellent peak HDR and near-black performance
- Dolby Atmos implementation
- Heavy price premium
- Over-specified for AV enthusiasts
There isn’t an OLED quite as ambitious or as impressively specified as the GZ2000. Its OLED screen is the brightest on the market, it supports all HDR formats (including the new HLG Photo format), and it comes with integrated Dolby Atmos sound for an audio presentation that’s better than what we’ve become accustomed to.
It still commands a high price, but with the HZ2000 set to replace it in July/August, look for the price to drop as it’s phased out of retail stores.
LG C9 OLED
The best value OLED
- Impressive image accuracy
- Amazing blacks and contrast
- AI-enhanced smart platform
- Dolby Vision and Atmos
- Incredibly low input lag
- Limited HDR brightness
- No HDR10+ support
The C9 fended off an impressive field to get our Best TV award for 2019. Since then, it’s price has come down further, making it one of the best value OLEDs you can buy.
With an impressively accurate image, very good sound and a comprehensive feature set that includes HDMI 2.1, AI-assisted smarts and a super-quick gaming performance. Its feature set has been updated to bring it more in line with LG’s new 2020 OLEDs, so you can now get more for less than its original RRP.
Fantastic picture quality
- Beautifully refined and detailed picture quality
- Strong sound from the Blade speaker
- Easy-to-use smart system
- Slight banding in HDR colour blends
- Occasional motion stutter
- Smart system is less sophisticated than some rivals
When it was released, the GZ1500 wasn’t even Panasonic’s top-range effort for 2019. It still managed to wipes the floor with most of its closest rivals.
The GZ1500 offers excellent management of near-black light levels; has support for all the main HDR formats and the “Blade” speakers on the rear panel offering high-quality sound for a flatscreen TV. If the GZ2000 range proves too eye-wateringly expensive, then this OLED –exclusive to John Lewis – is a great, more affordable alternative especially with prices reaching close to £1300.
An attractive Ambilight OLED
- Outstanding sound quality
- Attractive, Ambilight-enhanced design
- Gorgeously sharp, colourful, contrast-rich pictures
- Not the easiest TV to set up
- Picture presets could be more helpful
- No Freeview Play, YouView, Amazon Dolby Atmos or All 4 app support
The OLED+934 is a showcase for Philips’ aggressively bold and vivid HDR image quality. The Ambilight-design adds to the set’s attractiveness and for a flatscreen TV, the sound produced by the Bowers & Wilkins external speaker system is outstanding.
Bear in mind that if you already have a decent external sound system, it will be much more suited to playing the latest Hollywood blockbusters than the built-in soundbar.
LG E9 OLED
The best OLED design
- Terrific image quality
- Comprehensive webOS functionality
- Very good audio performance
- Low input lag
- No HDR10+
- Settings and modes can be a maze to navigate
The picture quality of the C9 and E9 are the same, but the focus with the latter is on the design (which is fantastic) and audio, which is head and shoulders above the C9.
The E9 has a rich, colourful HDR palette and makes good use of LG’s AI upscaling qualities for sub-4K content. LG’s webOS smart platform is slick and easy enough to navigate, and if voice support is of interest, the E9 supports all the major versions. The AI Sound feature is truly impressive, unleashing an awesomely powerful and big sound from the TV’s slim frame.
A fantastic flagship OLED
- Bright, effective HDR
- Best-in-class HD SDR upscaling
- Excellent audio
- No HDR10+ support
- No Freeview Play
The AG9’s picture quality is impressive, offering superb upscaling of HDR SDR images. Motion processing is excellent too, with Sony’s interpretation arguably the best of any brand.
There’s no Freeview Play on this set and the TV’s version of Android TV is better than previous versions, but still lags behind its counterparts. This 2019 OLED does boast Sony’s innovative Surface Audio+, which vibrates the screen to produce sound. It’s properly impressive.
LG B9 OLED
Excellent entry-level OLED
- Great, contrast-rich picture quality
- Gorgeous high-end design
- Good smart system
- Some slight black crush
- Pictures not as detailed or finely coloured as the C9 pictures
- Potential for screen burn
While the picture quality is less advanced and the feature set trimmed compared to LG’s 2019 OLEDs, the B9 is a great choice for those who want an OLED for less.
Picture quality is excellent with a gorgeous, contrast-rich image, and the design is slick. Where there’s some strong competition from the OLED754, its more refined and subtle picture performance, plus its more user-friendly smart platform, means it gets a place on this list.
LG GX OLED
One for the wall
- Fabulous image quality
- Impeccable design and finish
- Dolby Vision HDR
- No Freeview Play
- No HDR10+
- More dynamic OLED HDR performers can be had for less
LG’s OLEDs appear all over this list, so it’s with a raised eyebrow that one of its latest features towards the bottom of this lis.
And that’s because picture quality is not as good. In fact, the GX offers fabulous 4K images with LG making strides with its AI enhanced technology. For a flatscreen it doesn’t half sound bad either, and there have been some useful tweaks to the webOS platform.
The reason why the LG GX Gallery series is mainly to do with the price premium over LG’s own CX as well as other similar models. That it doesn’t ship with a stand (the GX is primarily for wall-hanging), and that it doesn’t feature Freeview Play mean it doesn’t offer the best value where OLED TVs are concerned.
How we test the best OLED TVs
Every TV that passes through our doors gets put through a series of tests and naked eye checks to gauge its overall picture quality and optimal settings. Key things we look out for are screen uniformity, black level, maximum brightness and colour vibrancy/accuracy. We also check input lag to make sure gamers won’t lose their edge when playing online.
A variety of test footage is used to cover every type of scene, so we can assess a 4K 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.
If you’re interested in checking out TVs at different price models, models and brands. Look through our main best ofs below models for everything from cheap and best value 4K HDR TVs, to the latest from LG, Samsung and Panasonic.