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Best 40, 42 and 43in TVs: 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 2019.

Manufacturers really, really want you to buy one of their biggest and most expensive TVs. To such an extent, in fact, that they dedicate almost no effort to promoting their smaller 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, a few short years ago this was considered large for a telly, and a TV in one of these sizes can still be fairly cinematic without, you know, turning your lounge into a cinema.

Unfortunately, flagship specs are rarely, if ever, available at sizes such as these – heck, the smallest OLED currently available is 55in – 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 bit basic compared to the big boys 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 relatively rare.

It's now common to find 4K on 40, 42 and 43in sets, even at the budget end, and support for HDR formats is usually included, too, but peak brightness and colour depth are often a bit limited 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, although the operating system might be a little stripped-back compared to more premium TVs from the same brand. At the very least you should expect Netflix and Amazon Video to be on board.

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)

1. Samsung UE43RU7470

The best 'small' TV around right now - and it's great value

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

Budget price
Excellent 1080p upscaling
Impressive HDR performance

Reasons to Avoid

Panel could be brighter

The Samsung UE43RU7470 seems like impossibly good value. It ticks all the right tech boxes – 4K, HDR (including HDR10+), and peerless selection of streaming apps that includes the brilliant Apple TV and arguably the best user experience in the business. All of this wrapped up into a lifestyle-friendly 43 inches and priced at a wallet-friendly £429.

To top it all off, the performance is excellent. A more premium (and therefore almost certainly bigger) TV will go even brighter than this, but the RU7470 is punchy in its own right and takes a much more sophisticated and subtle approach to colours and definition than you might expect. All told, it's a lovely TV to watch and to live with.

It’s worth noting that UE43RU7470 is a Currys exclusive, but that Samsung says its performance is identical to that of the UE43RU7400 and UE43RU7410, with the only differences between the three models being aesthetics. Having not tested all variants we can't vouch for that, but there's little reason to doubt Samsung's claim.

Read the full review: Samsung UE43RU7470

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

(Image credit: Future / Expanse, Amazon Prime )

2. Samsung UE43RU7020

Samsung's most affordable 2019 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 worth stretching to, but if the price gap increases top much more than £60 (which was the difference when we tested both models) it may be worth making the saving. The 7020 is certainly a strong performer in its own right.

Read the full review: Samsung UE43RU7020

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

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

3. Panasonic TX-40GX800

Punchy and bright, but can 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 all on board. 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 is clear and easy to follow, too.

True, the Samsungs above are both more balanced in their delivery and boast a better operating system, not to mention more affordable, 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