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Best 40, 42 and 43-inch TVs 2021: these 'small' TVs are great value

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 2021.

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 Odeon.

Unfortunately, flagship specs are rarely, if ever, available at sizes such as these – heck, the first sub-55-inch OLED was only launched a few months ago – 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 feature-rich 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 43-inch 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 are 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 43-inch TVs for your delectation.

Best 40, 42 and 43in TVs: Samsung UE43TU7100

(Image credit: Samsung / Fear The Walking Dead, Amazon Prime )

1. Samsung UE43TU7100

A strikingly good performance-per-pound proposition.

Specifications
Screen size: 43in
Type: LCD
Backlight: edge LED
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Operating system: Samsung Tizen
HDMI inputs: 2
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 56 x 96 x 5.9cm
Reasons to buy
+Impressive sharpness and detail+Tonally balanced+Intuitive, app-packed interface
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly sluggish operation-Only two HDMI inputs

This is one of the cheapest 4K TVs that Samsung currently offers. But fear not, it still boasts Samsung's core performance and feature set, at a smaller size and a lower price. In short, it's pretty much the best cheap TV you can buy.

Most 43in TVs offer about a tenth of the features of a bigger set, but not this one. The Tizen operating system is identical to that found on pricier sets, with the same winning UI and stacked app selection. It's 4K, naturally, HDR formats are well catered for (with the exception of Dolby Vision, which no Samsung sets support), and it supports Auto Low Latency Mode, which switches the TV to game mode when it detects a gaming signal. That's a feature missing from many much pricier sets, such as the 48in Sony in the top spot on this list.

The contrast ratio isn't as impressive as an OLED or QLED TV, of course, but that's to be expected. The blacks are actually surprisingly deep for a TV this affordable, and there's a hefty amount of punch. The TU7100 is a sharp and detailed performer, too, and it handles motion with a good balance of smoothing and authenticity. It's an excellent picture performance for a TV of this size, and you'd have to spend a fair bit more to get a significant improvement.

Read the full Samsung UE43TU7100 review

Best 40, 42 and 43in TVs: Samsung UE43RU7020

(Image credit: Future / Expanse, Amazon Prime )

2. 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: Toshiba 43UK4B63DB

(Image credit: Future / Stargirl, Amazon Prime)

3. 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

Tom Parsons

Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. He began his career as What Hi-Fi?'s Staff Writer and is now the TV and AV Editor. In between, he worked as Reviews Editor and then Deputy Editor at Stuff, and over the years has had his work featured in publications such as T3, The Telegraph and Louder. He's also appeared on BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and Sky Swipe. In his spare time Tom is a runner and gamer.

  • 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