Best 55-inch TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s guide to the best 55-inch 4K TVs you can buy in 2021.
55-inch TVs are the sweet spot for many people – more impressive visually than smaller sets, more able to fit in a tight space than giant, big-screen TVs. And it's an increasingly popular size now that more and more of us are enjoying HD and 4K content.
Take the time to make sure your choice of TV has the connections you need and the feature support to watch your favourite streaming services. You can rest assured all the below sets deliver great pictures, while some come with upgraded TV speakers or soundbars to offer high-quality sound, too. So without further ado, let's help you choose the best 55-inch 4K TV for your home.
It's a good time to upgrade your home entertainment experience and for many people, a 55-inch TV will be the optimum size. If that's you, read on, because we've trimmed down our list of the best TVs to bring you a specific run down of the best 55-inch TV sets currently available.
How do we choose the best 55-inch TVs?
Here at What Hi-Fi? we review hundreds of products every year. So how do we come to our review verdicts? And why can you trust them? The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics.
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London and Bath, where our team of expert reviewers do all our testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency. All products are tested in comparison with rival products in the same price category, and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer.
From all of our reviews, we choose the best products to feature in our Best Buys. That's why if you buy one of the products recommended below, or on any other Best Buy page, you can be assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi? approved product.
While Sony’s OLEDs are highly regarded, it’s typically hard to justify buying one over a rival LG. Historically, the Sony has a more authentic picture and better sound but is also a step behind on features and usability – and at least a level or two more expensive.
But what if Sony could produce a TV with most of those previously missing features, a more satisfying user experience, and a unique, high-quality movie streaming app, all while raising the picture and sound quality to even greater heights? That's exactly what the company's done with the A90J.
In performance terms, the Sony A90J is an absolute stunner. It takes OLED picture performance to new, thrilling levels while maintaining the authenticity for which Sony is justifiably renowned. It also sounds significantly better than all of the other TVs you might be considering. The new Google TV operating system means the user experience is better than that of any pre-2021 Sony TV, too, and the exclusive Bravia Core streaming service is a genuine value-added feature.
UK catch-up apps are currently missing but we don't expect that to remain the case for very long. Hardcore gamers might want to take a wait-and-see approach, though, as the set doesn't yet support VRR (an update has been promised but not dated) and we found the 4K@120Hz support a little buggy.
However, if movies and TV shows are your priority and you have a big budget, we haven’t tested a better television than the Sony A90J. It’s pricey, but it’s also a clear cut above the competition.
Read the full Sony XR-55A90J review
We can't praise the Philips OLED805 highly enough – it produces a natural-looking picture that impresses and superb sound by TV standards. Provided you're willing to forego a few cutting-edge features, this well-priced all-rounder is one of the best 55-inch TVs you can currently buy.
Its crisp picture is enhanced by Philips' awesome Ambilight tech, which uses coloured LED lights to extend the onscreen action onto the walls (you can switch it on or off as you please). In addition to standard 4K HDR formats, this set supports Dolby Vision and HDR10+, which means you can stream content from both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in the best quality available.
Sound is rich and bass is surprisingly solid for a TV. As for the software, Philips has opted for Google's Android TV operating system, which places plenty of apps at your disposal.
Despite the outstanding spec, design and performance, Philips has managed to price the 55-inch OLED805 lower than equivalent sets from LG, Sony, Panasonic and Samsung. In short, it's a top-notch set at a price that's hard to beat.
Read the full Philips OLED805 review
The C-series tends to represent the sweet spot in each year's LG OLED range, and so it proved in 2020.
The CX's performance is superb. The perfect blacks and near-perfect viewing angles we're used to from OLED, combine with bright, punchy whites and vibrant but natural colours. LG's motion processing improved for 2020, too (although it's better still on 2021 sets), and its OLEDs continue to impress in terms of upscaling 1080p and standard-def content.
On top of all that you get certified HDMI 2.1 sockets that support next-gen features such as eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), HFR (High Frame Rate), ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), and all current formats of VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). Those last two features will be of particular appeal to those gamers looking to upgrade to the PS5 or Xbox Series X.
One fairly big downside for UK buyers is that some of the UK's terrestrial catch-up apps are still missing from LG's 2020 smart platform (although BBC iPlayer has thankfully now been added). You can obviously add these fairly easily and inexpensively by adding a streamer such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, but you really shouldn't have to.
Read the full LG OLED55CX review
The Samsung Q90T is a slightly tricky proposition. It’s the top 4K TV in Samsung’s 2020 TV range, but as a result of the company’s increased focus on 8K models, it’s also less of a flagship model than its predecessor.
Any whiff of a downgrade is bound to set alarm bells ringing, but it’s rarely sensible to draw conclusions from a spec sheet alone. And so it proves here: the Q90T is an excellent TV and a great alternative to its OLED rivals.
Purchasers of the PS5 or Xbox Series X will love the feature set, which includes eARC, HFR (High Frame Rate), ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). The Q90T also has an input lag of just 11ms and a couple of gaming-specific picture features that can smooth motion and increase dark detail, thereby increasing its gaming credentials even further.
But it's great for movies and TV, too, being noticeably brighter than its OLED rivals. Sharpness and detail are excellent, and the delivery is lovely and punchy, too. And in terms of audio, it has a tonally natural and balanced sound, with decent dynamic subtlety and a good combination of spaciousness and directness.
Read the full Samsung QE55Q90T review
The Panasonic TX-55HZ1000B might resemble Clark Kent, but power it up and you'll discover that it performs more like Superman. This brilliant OLED set produces a punchy, vibrant, well-controlled picture that makes the most of 4K HDR content and does an impressive job when upscaling lower resolution video.
Sports fan? Panasonic's new Smooth Motion Drive Pro technology handles motion (almost) as skillfully as Lionel Messi despatches defenders. Sound is clear and dialogue well-projected, but you might want to take a look at our list of the best soundbars for audio to match this TV's superb picture.
In addition to HDR10 and HLG, Panasonic supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, though it's a shame that the implementation of Dolby Vision makes it difficult to optimise. Also, the remote doesn't feel very 'premium' in comparison to the TV.
Such trifles should be quickly overlooked, though – this is one of the very best 55in TVs you can buy and a great choice for both sports and movie fans.
Read the full Panasonic TX-55HZ1000B review
Sony might now be in the shade of LG and Samsung in some people's minds when it comes to TVs, but its clever picture processing and innovative TV sound technology make this 2020 OLED one of the company's best models.
The Sony KD-55A8 combines an LG OLED panel with Sony’s picture and sound smarts, and does so to excellent effect. It's thin (just over 5cm), though buyers should note that the feet are positioned at the edge of the screen, so you'll need a large stand to accommodate it.
One thing you may not need is a soundbar, as Sony uses actuators that vibrate the screen imperceptibly, essentially turning the display into a big, flat speaker. The A8 combines two of these actuators with two subwoofers. It's a neat trick and performs brilliantly.
Expect the typical connections, streaming apps and tech features, including support for the crucial HDR picture formats. But the real excitement is finding out just how strongly the A8 performs when it comes to picture and audio. It majors on realism and authenticity, delivering a subtle but vibrant picture, without sacrificing punch or colours. Fast motion is handled with aplomb, too. Throw in the fact it sounds very good by TV standards, and you have one of the best 55-inch TVs of recent times.
Read the full Sony KD-55A8 review
This Samsung QLED offers high-end performance at a mid-range price. In fact, since launch, it's been discounted so much that it could almost be considered a budget option.
It may look fairly familiar, a little bit chunkier than 2019's models, but there have been plenty of upgrades. The four HDMI inputs support the key features of HDMI 2.1, such as eARC and HFR, while 4K HDR streaming is available via Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Apple TV+. In fact, the app support is superb, with pretty much every video and music streaming site you can think of on offer here. If there is a gap in the feature set, it's Dolby Vision.
A simple TV to set-up when it comes to getting the best possible picture, the Q80T ultimately delivers a brilliantly dynamic image with deep black levels, excellent contrast and neutral but vibrant colours. The colour balance remains a strength, no matter the material you're watching, while motion is handled confidently and smoothly throughout our testing. And while we'd recommend adding a soundbar or some speakers, Samsung's Object Tracking Sound technology provides open, engaging audio.
There are rare occasions when playing an HDR video that the Samsung’s vibrancy seems a touch exaggerated but overall, this mid-range 55-inch TV impresses with a dynamic and solid picture, substantial sound and cracking feature set.
Read the full Samsung QE55Q80T review