Best gaming TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best gaming TVs you can buy in 2020.
If you want to amp up your favourite video game, it's worth splashing out on a bigger, brighter telly, and one with deeper blacks that will immerse you in the action.
Broadly speaking, a TV that's generally great should also be great for games, but there are a few gaming-specific features to look out for. The big one is input lag, which tells you how long your gamepad button presses will take to appear as onscreen actions. Lower is better, but anything below 40ms will be imperceptible to almost all gamers, and 20ms or less is lightning-fast.
A couple of next-gen gaming features are starting to appear, too – Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) are both part of the HDMI 2.1 spec, but are available via some TVs with HDMIs that are certified as 2.0.
VRR matches the TV's refresh rate to the frame rate being output by the console in real-time, resulting in a smoother, faster gaming experience – you'll need an Xbox One X or One S, or a PC in order to take advantage, though.
ALLM is simpler: it just means that your TV will automatically switch to its 'game mode' to reduce input lag when it senses a signal from your games console.
But those specific gaming features aren't the be-all-and-end-all. What you really get from the best gaming TVs is the punch and vibrancy to do justice to brighter, flashier games, but also a natural balance that doesn't oversaturate those tonally subtler blockbusters, such as Red Dead Redemption 2.
Black depth is important for delivering drama, too, but you want to be able to see plenty of detail in shadows, so avoid a TV with a reputation for crushing dark detail and be sure to tweak the brightness/gamma setting for your game – most titles have a specific option for this.
HDR is a must, of course, as all versions of the PS4 and the Xbox One X and One S output HDR, and it would be a mistake not to get a 4K screen, even if you don't yet have a 4K console. The good news is that it's now pretty hard to buy a TV that doesn't have 4K and HDR. (We'll hold fire on mentioning the possibility of 8K games on the forthcoming PS5.)
Right, that's the broad strokes. Want some specific models? Read on.
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If money is no object, Samsung's mighty Q90R ticks all your boxes and then some. Its QLED technology makes it brighter and punchier than its OLED rivals, but it's also naturally balanced and realistic – a best of all worlds approach.
Input lag is very low indeed, both VRR and ALLM are supported, and there are some neat extra features available for the Game Mode, including a motion smoother and black detail enhancer.
It's basically the most gaming-friendly TV out there – and it's great with everything else, too.
Read the full Samsung QE55Q90R review
Read the full Samsung QE65Q90R review
For a size of TV that is all too often overlooked, we’re delighted to see that Samsung has served up a stunner for the average household with the modestly priced and brilliantly performing UE43RU7470.
This Samsung seems like impossibly good value. It ticks all the right tech boxes – HDR, 4K, an excellent smart platform and arguably the best TV user interface around – and delivers a detailed, colourful picture.
And not only do games look great played in the RU7470, they perform brilliantly, too, thanks to super-low input lag.
Read the full Samsung UE43RU7470 review
The LG C9 is simply the best performance-per-pound TV you can buy right now, and it makes a great choice for gamers. It might not go as bright as the Samsung above, but its blacks are deeper and more dramatic, and overall contrast is stunning. There's a richness to the colour palette that works really well, particularly with brighter, more vibrant games.
The HDMIs are actually HDMI 2.1-certified, so they support VRR and ALLM, and the TV can handle Dolby Vision (a few Xbox games support this). The input lag figure of around 13ms is about as low as it gets, too.
Read the full review: LG OLED65C9
Here's the very best TV we tested in 2019. An OLED so good that it beats the LG C9 with which it shares a panel, and with integrated upward-firing speakers for genuine Dolby Atmos sound.
So why isn't it at the top of this list? It's very pricey, for starters, and it also lacks advanced gaming features such as ALLM and VRR. Truth be told, we'd suggest overlooking those omissions and focusing on the awesome picture and sound, and the perfectly respectable 22ms input lag. Make no mistake, this is still a great TV for gamers.
Read the full review: Panasonic TX-55GZ2000B
The LG B9 is a mixture of the old and the new – it combines the company's 2018 processor with its 2019 OLED panel. This makes it the most affordable model in LG’s current OLED range and a tempting proposition indeed.
The picture is natural, colourful and well-measured for contrast whether you’re watching in 4K or upscaling from HD, and whatever processor power is missing certainly won't ruin your TV experience. Input lag is super-low, too.
There are small discrepancies in light and dark detail that the top LG processor offers and it’s worth paying the extra for them if you can. As far as this price proposition goes, though, the LG OLED65B9PLA gets our full vote of confidence.
Read the full LG OLED65B9PLA review
If you need to keep a tight rein on your budget, this gaming TV offers impressive performance at a tempting price. The big news overall with the GX800 is that it offers support for both Dolby Vision and HDR10+, unlike the two more expensive models above.
HDR10+ isn't (yet) a concern for gaming, but having all of the HDR bases covered is no bad thing. What's more, the Panasonic offers low input lag and ALLM support.
This 50in model is great for an immersive gaming experience without completely taking over the lounge (it's also available in 40in, 58in and 65in sizes), and the natural balance makes it a real all-rounder for games. You won't get the punch or crisp three-dimensionality of the TVs above, but for the money, this is a great choice.
Read the full review: Panasonic TX-50GX800B
Read the full review: Panasonic TX-58GX800B
Samsung's QLED TVs might grab the headlines, but there's loads of value to be had further down the company's TV ranges. Take the UE49RU8000 - it's a fantastic 49in set that offers a big chunk of the performance of its more expensive models at a fraction of the price.
It boasts one of the best, most app-packed operating systems in the business, and picture quality is very good for the money. Crisply drawn edges, impressive detail levels and punchy bright colours are the order of the day here, especially with 4K content.
Gamers will also be pleased by the RU8000’s super-low input lag of 13.1ms, as well as its gaming-specific features (such as variable refresh rate) and picture settings (including a dark detail enhancer) that help to make it an excellent gaming monitor.
Read the full Samsung UE49RU8000 review
£2000 is no small amount to spend on a TV, but compared to the Samsung and LG options above, that price makes this Sony a bit of a bargain – particularly as it offers a performance that's not far off flagship-level.
Images aren't quite as deep and involving as those of either the Samsung Q90 or LG C9, and the backlight is a touch inconsistent, but make peace with those comparative flaws and you can have a big, bright and detailed picture for a good deal less.
Read the full review: Sony KD-65XG9505