So, you've decided (or got permission) to buy a new TV – congratulations! This is a great time to be TV hunting: prices are the best they've been for ages and the past couple of years have seen the arrival of envelope-pushing MLA and QD-OLED technologies.
Of course, standard OLED, QLED and LCD technology is constantly getting better and more affordable, too, so you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to buying your next TV.
The only problem with that is that it can be incredibly hard to find the best TV for your budget and needs. That's where we come in: we’ve created this definitive guide detailing the best TVs we’ve tested covering every size and budget. Every TV on this set has been tested by a team of experts in our controlled viewing rooms, with direct side-by-side comparisons with its closest rivals – so you can trust our buying advice.
We're looking for a TV that provides as-the-director-intended picture quality, exciting but clear sound, a user-friendly operating system that features all of the major streaming services, plus support for the latest gaming features – and all at an accessible price. These are the sets that get closest to that vision of televisual perfection.
If you’re looking for a great discount on your new TV also make sure to keep an eye on our best TV deals guide and check back with What Hi-Fi? during Black Friday 2023, where we’re expecting a fresh wave of price drops.
Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products for over 15 years. He's tested every type of TV on the market and is an expert at picking the best-performing and best-value options for every type of buyer.
The quick list
You can see a quick breakdown of all the TVs in this list with a short summary of what they’re best at and why we think they’re worth your money in the table below. If you want more detail you can click the photo of a TV to go to the in-depth entry, where we offer a more comprehensive breakdown of the specs, features and real-world performance.
Best TV overall
Sony's A80L OLED is the surprise package of 2023 so far and the TV we most readily recommend thanks to its awesome performance-per-pound credentials.
Best cheap TV
Amazon's Omni QLED range offers loads of features for a low price – and a surprisingly sophisticated performance, too. At full price, it's very good – when discounted, it's amazing.
Best 42-inch TV
The latest 42-inch C-series OLED TV from LG is yet another superlative performer for movies and games alike, and it's now been discounted to a more accessible level.
Best 48-inch TV
The 48-inch version of the LG C3 OLED is every bit as capable as its smaller sibling and has a nicer design. It's usually better value, too, costing only a little more.
Best premium TV
Sony's second-generation QD-OLED is a very special TV that is super-bright and vibrant but still subtle and authentic. It sounds great by TV standards, too.
The best TVs in 2023
Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.
Below, you can see our picks of the best TVs currently available. Every set has been tested by our team of product experts to ensure it delivers great performance and value, so you can trust our buying advice.
The Sony A80L is the TV surprise of the year. It's based on 'traditional' OLED technology (i.e. it's not a QD-OLED or MLA model) so we broadly thought we knew what to expect, but it stunned us during our extensive test by offering a picture performance with a near-perfect balance of the spectacular and the subtle. It sounds good by TV standards, too, and the feature set will be strong enough for all but the most hardcore of gamers.
The A80L looks very similar to the A80K it replaces, which is fine but the design is starting to look a little bland. It's a little thicker than rivals such as the LG C3, but partly that's down to its actuator-based sound system, which vibrates the whole screen in order to generate sound.
Around the back are four HDMI sockets, two of which are HDMI 2.1-spec and support 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM. One of these is also the eARC port, and if you use that to connect a soundbar or AVR you'll have just one left for a games console or gaming PC. The TV also lacks support for Dolby Vision gaming, despite Dolby Vision being present for movies and TV shows.
The seemingly effortless way that the A80L combines the spectacular with the subtle is quite extraordinary. The neon lights and holographic billboards of Blade Runner 2049’s downtown LA pop from the overall gloom of the city in brilliant fashion, but skin tones are handled with realism-boosting nuance and the seemingly hundreds of slightly different shades of grey that make up the bark of the tree at Sapper Morton’s farm are made clear to see.
The TV’s ability to subtly recreate different shades doesn’t come at the expense of dynamism, and contrast extremes such as the intro text at the start of the film emerge brightly from the pure black background. There’s a rare purity to highlights, too, such as Love’s white jacket and the light panels above her head in the records room of the Wallace Corporation.
All of these qualities combine to make an image that’s brilliantly solid and has a lovely three-dimensional feel. On top of all of this, detail is also outstanding, with clothing textures, skin imperfections and complex patterns all rendered crisply but without artificial definition.
Through our extensive suite of tests, our only complaint is that a bit of dark detail is missing when watching SDR content.
In terms of sound, the A80L is a bit bass-light, but that does mean that it stays composed even through our Blade Runner 2049 stress test. That slight lack of bass depth aside, the A80L sounds really rather good by TV standards. Put it in the Cinema sound mode and the spaciousness of the delivery is very impressive, yet this spaciousness combines with the sort of focus that can really only come from having the sound literally coming from the screen.
While flagship sets with discrete speaker systems will sound even better, for a step-down model the A80L sounds very impressive. This should be a strong consideration for anyone with this sort of budget who is determined not to combine their new TV with a dedicated sound system.
Read the full Sony A80L review
|Picture||A brilliant performance that combines the spectacular with the natural||★★★★★|
|Sound||Really good sound for a TV but deeper bass would be nice||★★★★☆|
|Features||Generally good, but only having two HDMI 2.1 ports is disappointing||★★★★☆|
It’s fair to say that the standard of budget TVs has dropped significantly in recent years. Salvation is at hand, though, and from a slightly unlikely source – Amazon.
We first reviewed the 65-inch version of its Omni QLED range and discovered a TV with a surprisingly sophisticated performance to go with its surprisingly comprehensive feature set. It just missed out on five stars, but knowing how much variation there can be between different-sized versions of the ‘same’ TV, we decided to take a separate look at this 50-inch model – and we're glad we did.
This is a TV that's very good value at its full price of £650, but even so, you shouldn’t pay that much for it. That’s because it's frequently discounted by large amounts. We have seen it go as low as £400, but find it for anything under £500 and you've unearthed a bargain.
What makes the Omni QLED appear to be such a bargain is its specification, which includes a QLED panel with full-array local dimming, support for every current HDR format, gaming features such as VRR, ALLM and even Dolby Vision gaming, and the app-packed and user-friendly Fire OS operating system (which can be fully operated via Alexa, of course).
But what's most impressive about the Omni QLED is the considered and consistent nature of its performance. Too many budget TVs attempt to dazzle you despite not having the requisite ability and they end up looking awful as a result. The Omni QLED, on the other hand, works within its limits: it's not going to knock your socks off but it gets all of the basics right and delivers a picture that's true to what the creator intended. It’s natural in a way that means you don’t question the delivery and instead focus purely on what you are watching, and that’s a more impressive feat than you might imagine, particularly at this level.
On the sound front, the Omni QLED is a simple stereo affair, and all the better for it. Instead of attempting fancy processing, it simply provides a clean, clear and direct audio performance that's ideal for general TV content. You're advised to add a soundbar for movies, though.
Read the full Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED review
|Picture||It's not up there with a flagship OLED, but for the money the picture is very impressive||★★★★★|
|Sound||No fancy processing but the sound is clean, clear and direct||★★★★☆|
|Features||QLED panel tech, numerous gaming features and an app-packed operating system||★★★★☆|
LG's C-series OLED TVs are always the company's most popular, and the 42-inch C3 is the baby of the 2023 range. It's got a slightly less bright panel than the larger C3 models and it doesn't feature MLA or QD-OLED tech (which hasn't yet made it down to this sort of size), but it does boast the same exceptional feature set as well as the best overall picture quality available at this size. It's cheaper than its rivals, too.
The 42-inch C3 has a different design to its larger siblings that makes it look more like a monitor or bedroom TV. The biggest design difference is that it has two blade-like feet rather than a pedestal.
Outside of that, it retains the same core features we love about the C3 range as a whole. Specifically, it features the same Alpha 9 Gen 6 processor as every other C3 (and G3) and identical connectivity, with it sporting four PS5 and Xbox Series X/S-ready HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM. It can also handle Dolby Vision gaming (right up to 120Hz, in fact) and an HGiG mode for more accurate HDR gaming.
The OLED42C3 features the same panel as other 42-inch OLED TVs such as the Sony XR-42A90K. This panel is less bright than the one used for the best and brightest larger OLED TVs, and that's before you even consider the new MLA and QD-OLED technologies.
That said, it's still more than bright enough for almost all scenarios, and the perfect blacks and pixel-level contrast control make the image exceptionally dynamic. What's more, there is an inherent advantage that 'small' 4K TVs have over their larger brethren – pixel density. Because the pixels are more tightly packed, sharpness is increased, and the crispness of the OLED42C3’s delivery actually makes its 65-inch sibling look a bit soft.
Even against other 42-inch OLEDs that have the same inherent picture traits, the C3 comes out on top. This is a bold, impactful TV that delivers images with superb solidity and dynamism, but it's also very consistent and never makes you aware of the picture processing in play.
Unfortunately, it's not the same story on the audio front. Like its larger siblings, the 42-inch C3 still suffers from a rather dull delivery. It's perfectly fine for everyday TV, but it doesn’t have the punch, weight or dynamic range to satisfyingly deliver a movie soundtrack. A soundbar is a must.
Read the full LG OLED42C3 review
|Picture||It's by far the best budget OLED around||★★★★★|
|Sound||You'll want to pair it with a soundbar||★★★☆☆|
|Features||Four HDMI 2.1 sockets with support for every gaming feature worth having||★★★★★|
The C3 is the latest in LG’s long-running and stonkingly popular C-series of OLED TVs. That popularity is well-earned: LG’s C-series has been a near-perfect intersection of performance, features and price for years, and not just compared with other LG OLEDs, but with TVs in general.
The 48-inch C3 differs in design to both the 42-inch model and the 65-inch version. So, unlike the 42-inch model, which has desktop-friendly feet, the 48-inch C3 has the same 47cm-wide pedestal stand as the larger models. This makes it relatively easy to find space for – although finding somewhere to put an accompanying soundbar is decidedly trickier.
And unlike the 65-inch model, which features an incredibly lightweight and minimalist chassis, only the top third of the 48-inch C3 is super-thin, with the bottom two-thirds being covered by plastic casework that takes the set’s overall thickness to 4.7cm – still fairly slim by modern TV standards.
To put it plainly, there’s no better-specified TV available at this size. While neither MLA nor QD-OLED technology have made it below 55 inches yet, the C3 uses the best 48-inch OLED panel currently available from sister company LG Display. This panel can’t be pushed to go as bright as larger models can due to how tightly packed the OLEDs are, but this is the case for all OLEDs of this size and, as we’ll see, the 48-inch C3 goes plenty bright enough.
All four of its HDMI sockets are 48Gbps 2.1-spec affairs that support 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM, and it supports Dolby Vision gaming and has a really well-implemented HGiG setting that makes it a doddle to get more accurate HDR with many modern games.
In action, the 48-inch C3 delivers precisely the sort of bold and brassy picture presentation we’ve come to expect from this year’s C-series models. Brilliantly bright and punchy one second, subtle and considered the next, the C3 delivers precisely what's required at all times.
It produces an image that’s really solid and has a three-dimensional feel, too. In fact, the increased pixel density of having a 4K resolution squeezed into a 48-inch space means this smaller C3 looks significantly sharper than its 65-inch sibling (though also slightly less sharp than the 42-inch model). Also contributing to the solidity of the image is the C3’s awesome contrast. OLEDs this size can’t go as bright as their bigger brothers, but the inky blacks of OLED plus the C3’s particularly bold approach make for an image that’s packed with punch.
This 48-inch C3 actually sounds a little more upfront and engaging than its siblings did when we reviewed them, with a little more punch to effects and a degree of dynamic range. However, it's all too easy to provoke the set into bassy distortion that's horribly distracting, and the presentation is often cluttered and uncultured. LG just can't seem to get the sound right with its TVs.
There are very few TVs that sound good, though, so we almost always recommend adding a soundbar. Follow that advice and the 48-inch C3 is comfortably the best TV at its size.
Read the full LG OLED48C3 review
|Picture||Excellent balance of dynamism and subtlety||★★★★★|
|Sound||Fine for everyday TV but sadly lacking for movies||★★★☆☆|
|Features||Four HDMI 2.1 sockets with every significant spec flawlessly implemented||★★★★★|
The A95L is the successor to the A95K, arguably the best TV of last year if you don't take price into account. One of the two first QD-OLED TVs launched, it trumped its Samsung S95B rival by deploying its brightness-boosting, vibrancy-adding Quantum Dots in a more considered and authentic fashion – and by offering a far superior sound system to boot.
The promise of second-generation QD-OLED panels is an even brighter and more efficient performance, but we were just as excited to find out how the team at Sony could refine the performance further with an extra year of experience with the new panel technology. Having now put the Sony A95L up against pretty much every other TV you might be considering, we can safely say that it is, with very little doubt, the very best TV you can currently buy.
Playing the super-bright Pan 4K Blu-ray, the A95L's additional brightness and colour vibrancy over the step-down Sony A80L and even the MLA-boosted Panasonic MZ2000 are immediately clear in the first scene's streetlamps and headlights, which are reproduced with a more intense and accurate yellow glow. The moon over London, meanwhile, is not only brighter on the A95L, but it also has some subtle pink shading and lots of texture detail that is missed by rivals. This is precisely the sort of picture element that QD-OLED is designed to excel at.
There's no loss of black depth, though, with the grimy streets of Victorian London being both oppressively dark and packed with shadow detail. What's more, the A95L also reproduces colours expertly in these darkest parts of the picture so that skin tones remain accurate and lifelike where other TVs allow them to go a bit pale.
The extra contrast afforded by the brighter highlights helps to reinforce edges and textures, giving everything an even more solid and three-dimensional appearance, yet this is also masterfully combined with an even greater degree of subtlety. The lights shining on a tiled wall reveal all sorts of subtle shades on the A95L, and as Peter peers into a bottle in Mother Barnabus's office, the little ship inside is resolved with fabulous fine detail and excellent solidity.
What's perhaps most impressive is the way that the A95L achieves all of its pop and dynamism without eroding subtlety or authenticity in the way that Samsung's S95C QD-OLED is occasionally guilty of.
While less-bright HDR movies and SDR content don't show off the A95L's advantages quite as strongly, it's still a cut above its rivals with everything we watch during testing, particularly in terms of colour vibrancy and accuracy.
For sound, the A95L uses a very slightly tweaked version of the 2.2-channel actuator-based sound system of the A95K. Two actuators vibrate the whole screen in order to produce sound, backed up by two regular woofers that add bass. This results in a level of directness that other TVs can't match, with dialogue that literally comes from the screen.
What's surprising is the way this sound system also extends the sonic presentation far to the sides and above the set, creating a very impressive pseudo-Atmos effect. On top of that, the sound is crisp, clear and detailed. Some extra bass weight and depth would be nice, but this is still very good sound by TV standards.
The A95L only has a couple of deficiencies and they won't bother everyone. Gamers will be disappointed that there are still only two HDMI 2.1 sockets (one of which inconveniently doubles as the eARC port) and that Dolby Vision gaming is coming at a later date. The terrestrial catch-up apps are coming later, too, which is particularly annoying in the case of BBC iPlayer. You can solve that by adding an inexpensive video streamer, but you shouldn't have to.
Those flaws are well worth putting up with, though, because the Sony A95L is an absolutely stunning performer.
Read the full Sony A95L review
|Picture||Stunning brightness and vibrancy but with excellent subtlety and authenticity||★★★★★|
|Sound||Crisp, clear and direct, but with impressive spaciousness, too||★★★★★|
|Features||Good overall but let down slightly by having just two HDMI 2.1 sockets and no UK catch-up apps||★★★★☆|