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Best 40, 42 and 43-inch TVs in 2020: small TV bargains

Best 40, 42 and 43-inch TV Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best  40, 42 and 43-inch TVs you can buy in 2020.

Manufacturers are so desperate for you to buy one of their biggest and most expensive TVs that they dedicate almost no effort to promoting their smaller and more affordable sets.

But for many people, a 65-inch TV is too big and even 50-inch is a stretch. That's where the 40, 42 or 43-inch TV comes in.

Lest we forget, just a few years ago this was considered large for a telly, and a TV in one of these sizes can still be fairly cinematic without turning your lounge into an Cineworld.

Unfortunately, flagship specs are rarely, if ever, available at sizes such as these – heck, the first sub-55in OLED has only just been launched – so if this is as big as you can go, you're going to have to accept that your new TV will probably be a little less fully featured than the biggest and best sets out there.

As mentioned, you won't find an OLED at this size, so you'll be looking at LCD models with LED backlights, generally of the edge variety. Direct LED (also known as full array) backlights aren't unheard of at these sizes, but they are fairly rare.

It's now common to find 4K on 40, 42 and 43in sets, even at the budget end, and support for HDR formats (including HDR10+ and even Dolby Vision in some cases) is usually included, too. Peak brightness and colour depth are often a bit limited, though, so it's generally best not to expect the sort of dazzling HDR performance that you get from bigger, more expensive sets.

TVs at these sizes almost always have a smart platform that gives access to streaming apps. The operating system might be a little stripped-back compared to that of more premium TVs from the same brand, although Samsung in particular is good at offering more or less all of its smart features across all of its TVs. If you're not going with Samsung, you should ensure that Netflix and Amazon Video to be on board at the very least, plus Disney+ if you're a fan.

Got all of that? Then here are our favourite 40, 42 and 43in TVs for your delectation.

Best 40, 42 and 43in TVs: small TV bargains

(Image credit: Future / Expanse, Amazon Prime )

1. Samsung UE43RU7020

Samsung's most affordable current TV

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD with edge LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | HDMI inputs: 3 | HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG | Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 56 x 97 x 5.8cm

Reasons to Buy

Good HDR handling
Excellent smart platform
Strong detail and scaling

Reasons to Avoid

Unimpressive audio
Slight colour inconsistency

A notch or two below the UE43RU7470, featured above, sits the UE43RU7020. It loses the swish One Remote and Bixby voice assistant, and swaps Samsung’s Dynamic Crystal Control colour technology for the less advanced PurColor, but also shaves a bit off the price.

Ultimately, we think the 7470 is the very best 43-inch TV, but the 7020 is very good in its own right and if you can get it for a good deal less, it may be worth making the saving.

Read the full review: Samsung UE43RU7020

Best 40, 42 and 43in TVs: small TV bargains

(Image credit: Future / Stargirl, Amazon Prime)

2. Toshiba 43UK4B63DB

Toshiba UK4B 'flagship' model is handsome, competent and very affordable.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 43in (also available in 50in, 58in) | Type: LCD | Backlight: Edge LED | Resolution: 4K | HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | HDMI inputs: 4 | ARC/eARC: ARC | Optical output: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Good HDR handling
Solid upscaling
Natural, easy-going image

Reasons to Avoid

Poor sound
Somewhat compromised contrast
Minor colour inconsistencies

Toshiba has recently refocused its attention on a budget battle with brands such as Hisense and TCL: smaller sets and lower prices. So, while the price tag on the Toshiba 43UK4B63DB may look low, it’s actually part of the company's flagship series.

At 43in, it’s the baby of a three-strong line up – the other options are 50in and 58in screens – and it’s fully fitted with HDR10 and Dolby Vision, a Dolby Atmos-badged sound system (produced in conjunction with Onkyo) and even a built-in microphone for Alexa and Google Assistant voice interaction. There aren’t many more stops that Toshiba could have pulled out here.

In terms of performance, the UK4B is a big improvement on what we’ve seen from this former great in recent years. The sound performance is poor, but that’s not an insurmountable problem, given that we’d usually advise some form of external sound source anyway. The picture is solid at all levels. For detail, for scaling, for contrast and largely for colour too, it forms a decent image for its very modest price.

Read the full Toshiba 43UK4B63DB review

Best 40, 42 and 43in TVs: small TV bargains

(Image credit: Future / Modern Love, Amazon Prime)

3. Panasonic TX-40GX800

Punchy and bright, but this 'small' TV has quite a big price

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD with edge LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | HDMI inputs: 3 | HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG | Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 52 x 90 x 6.3cm

Reasons to Buy

Vibrant and punchy picture
Supports all HDR formats
Clear, balanced audio

Reasons to Avoid

Image lacks nuance
SDR detail can drift

The big news here is that the 'small' GX800 supports all current major HDR formats - so that's HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. That's great news for those who don't want to hedge their bets.

Performance is strong, too. This is a punchy and vibrant picture with lots of detail. Sound, meanwhile, is clear and easy to follow.

True, the Samsungs above are both more balanced in their delivery and boast a better operating system - they're more affordable, too - but if the 3-inches between then makes all the difference or you really want Dolby Vision support, the GX800 is a strong option.

Read the full review: Panasonic TX-40GX800

  • Rowethren
    I was looking at this guide and was very interested in the top rated Samsung but none of the 3 variants are available anywhere. Is there an updated version of these available?
    Reply