Best OLED TV 2023: brilliant budget and premium OLED TVs

If you’re looking to buy a top-end TV you’ve probably at least considered an OLED set - and for good reason.

OLED TVs are a common sight on most top TVs, and despite the emergence of newer panel technologies, like micro LED and QD-OLED, appearing in recent months, based on our experience reviewing them, they’re still top performers.

Some of the best OLED TVs we’ve had the joy to test offer brilliant picture quality, with stellar HDR performance that lets you spot and enjoy details that are lost on cheaper sets when watching things like BladeRunner.

But, not every OLED TV is created equal and there can be massive differences in performance between them - trust us just picking a TV because it has an OLED panel is 100 per cent, not a bulletproof guarantee it’ll be good value or offer THE best performance you can get for your money.

All too often an OLED TV could still not offer quite as good HDR performance as a competing, similarly priced set. Or, as we often find, it could fail to deliver decent audio performance. 

Here to help you avoid these pitfalls and pick the best OLED TV for your specific space, needs, and budget we’ve created this handy guide. 

In it, we detail all the best OLED sets we’ve tried and tested, so you can trust our buying advice.

Towards the bottom of this page, below the specific TV recommendations, you'll also find our OLED explainer and a dedicated guide to choosing the right OLED TV, but here's the abridged version.

How to choose the best OLED TV for you

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There's a huge amount to consider when choosing a new OLED TV, but the biggest things are the money and space that you have available.

Size really does matter with TVs. Are you looking for a cinema-like experience in your lounge? Then you need to get the biggest OLED TV you can afford. If your budget is limited, it might even be worth sacrificing a little bit of picture quality and some next-gen features for a few extra inches of screen real estate.

Alternatively, you might have a specific size of TV in mind and an appetite for the best picture quality available. In that case, you need to prioritise performance and, if desired, next-gen features (more on which below).

Luckily, OLED TVs are now available in sizes ranging from 42 inches right up to a monstrous 98 inches, so you've got plenty of choice.

Are you planning to combine your new TV with a dedicated sound system? You probably should, because most OLED TVs sound only decent, and a picture that's amazing deserves sound that matches. That said, if you're determined to keep things neat and rely on the in-built speakers, check our reviews to make sure that they're good – there are some models that have very innovative and strong-sounding audio solutions.

If you're a gamer, it's also worth considering the next-gen gaming features of your prospective new TV. Xbox Series X and PS5 gamers can gain a competitive advantage on certain games if their TV supports 4K 120Hz, while VRR support can result in a smoother gameplay experience. 

ALLM, meanwhile, simply ensures that you automatically get the best visual experience from both games and movies / TV shows. If you're a more casual gamer or not a gamer at all, you can pretty much disregard these features, and doing so will usually save you a lot of cash.

The best OLED TVs you can buy

OLED TV: LG OLED65C2

While the G2 is even better in terms of picture quality, this C2 is the LG OLED to buy in 2022. (Image credit: Future / Netflix, The Bubble)
LG’s C-series OLED is still the model to buy in 2022

Specifications

Screen size: 65 inches (also available in 42in, 48in, 55in, 77in, 83in)
Type: OLED
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: webOS 22
HDMI inputs: 4 (4 x 48Gbps HDMI 2.1)
Gaming features: 4K/120, VRR, ALLM, Dolby Vision game mode, HGiG
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 83 x 144 x 4.5cm

Reasons to buy

+
Bright and punchy but also authentic
+
Unbeatable gaming specs
+
Engaging sound

Reasons to avoid

-
The best OLEDs are brighter
-
Slight bass rattle

While there are certainly reasons that you might want to opt for a rival, LG's OLEDs have been the go-to premium TV of choice for most people for years now. That means there is huge anticipation for each year's new models – particularly those in the C-series, which have typically been the sweet spot between performance, features and price.

That said, last year saw a picture quality gap emerge between the C-series and the brighter G-series. There is a gap this year, too; this year’s C2 has the ‘Brightness Booster’ technology of last year’s G1, while the new G2 takes things to ‘Brightness Booster Max’ levels.

Having put both the G2 and C2 through their paces (and at a variety of sizes), we are happy to proclaim that while the G2 certainly justifies its position at the top of LG’s 2022 OLED range, the C2 is still the model that most people should buy.

While not as bright as the G2, the new C2 is brighter than all of last year's LG OLEDs. There is noticeably more punch to the whole image, which pops much more effectively, and there is significantly greater contrast and dark detail. Crucially, there’s no downside, either. There is nothing artificial to the image – it’s lifted, but naturally, with no detriment to the colours or black depth.

The C2’s punchier, more attacking delivery is a definite improvement over the C1, too, although there is also a slight rattle from the speaker cabinet when the set is challenged by very deep bass, which is a bit of a shame.

As is now expected of LG's premium OLEDs, the feature set is practically flawless, particularly where next-gen gaming is concerned.

Those with seriously discerning tastes and the budget with which to satisfy them will find it worth levelling up to the G2 or Sony’s A95K, but the C2 is the current performance-per-pound champ.

We've now tested the C2 at 42-inch, 65-inch and 77-inch sizes, and each version has been Award-winningly exceptional – even the 42-inch version which, along with the 48-inch model, goes a little less bright than the larger variants. You can read the full reviews and unlock the lowest prices for each version by clicking below.

Read the full LG OLED42C2 review

Read the full LG OLED65C2 review

Read the full LG OLED77C2 review

OLED TV: Philips 48OLED807

The OLED807 is the latest in a long line Philips OLED TVs that strike performance-per-pound gold. (Image credit: Future / Netflix, Notre-Dame)
A great performer at a great price

Specifications

Screen size: 48in (also available in 55in, 65in, 77in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Operating system: Android TV 11
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 61 x 107 x 6.8cm

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptionally sharp and punchy image
+
Better sound than most
+
Substantial overall feature set

Reasons to avoid

-
The LG C2 is even better for gaming
-
Requires more picture tweaks than most
-
Sony does motion even better

In recent years, Philips has won plaudits for producing market-leading OLED TVs at aggressively low prices. In truth, these OLED TVs have been priced significantly lower than the performances have justified, and every year we half expect the company to ask for more money for its new models.

That time may yet come, but it’s thankfully not now: the 48OLED807 continues the trend by significantly outperforming its price tag.

While it still takes a little more effort than it should to get the OLED807 performing at its best, it’s effort that’s well worth making. On picture performance terms it’s right up there with the very best in class, surpassing them in areas such as punch, sharpness and shadow detail, and yet it costs a fair bit less and is likely to do so all the way through its lifespan.

Those chasing even more substantial gaming tech specs and a more hassle-free experience will be better served by an LG C2, but if you’re prepared to make a little bit of effort, the OLED807 will reward you with an exceptional performance.

Read the full Philips 48OLED807 review

OLED TV: Panasonic TX-55LZ980

Despite not boasting one of Panasonic’s Master OLED panels, the LZ980 is still an outstanding performer – and great value too. (Image credit: Future / Netflix, Lost Bullet 2)
This unexpectedly affordable OLED TV is no poor relation

Specifications

Screen size: 55 inches (also available in 42in, 48in, 65in)
Type: OLED
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
Operating system: My Home Screen 7.0
HDMI inputs: 4 (2 x 40Gbps HDMI 2.1)
Gaming features: 4K/120, VRR, ALLM, Dolby Vision game mode (up to 60Hz)
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 71 x 123 x 6.9cm

Reasons to buy

+
Beautifully refined picture quality
+
Good value for this performance level
+
Comprehensive HDR support

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as bright as some rivals
-
Marginal black crush in some modes
-
Only two full HDMI 2.1 ports

On paper, the Panasonic TX-55LZ980B is arguably the least interesting of the Japanese brand’s 2022 OLED TV range. After all, as Panasonic’s second most affordable 55-inch model for 2022, it doesn’t benefit from the fancy brightness-boosting panel technologies found higher up Panasonic’s range, or the new QD-OLED technology that’s turned up to dramatic effect in the latest TV ranges of Sony and Samsung. 

The LZ980 does, though, still benefit from Panasonic’s redoubtable premium image processing system, as well as the brand’s ongoing obsession with trying to deliver images that get as close as possible to the way their creators intended them to look. 

It ekes every last drop of performance out of its panel so successfully that on picture performance it actually outperforms, at least in some key ways, some of those more expensive rivals. It produces open, clean and clear sound, too, and two of its HDMI sockets support advanced gaming features such as 4K/120Hz and VRR.

Read the full Panasonic TX-55LZ980B review

QD-OLED TV: Sony XR-55A95K

The A95K is a new type of TV – a QD-OLED – and it's absolutely superb. (Image credit: Future / Netflix, Clark)
If money's no object, this is the TV to buy

Specifications

Screen size: 55 inches (also available in 65in)
Type: QD-OLED
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: Google TV
HDMI inputs: 4 (2 x 48Gbps HDMI 2.1)
Gaming features: 4K/120, VRR, ALLM
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 71 x 123 x 4.3cm

Reasons to buy

+
Supremely natural, authentic picture
+
Bright highlights that others miss
+
Excellent sound by TV standards

Reasons to avoid

-
LG OLEDs are better for gaming
-
Not outright brighter than an LG G2
-
Bravia CAM's usefulness is dubious

QD-OLED, which is (broadly speaking) designed to blend the best qualities of both OLED and QLED, is finally here in the form of Sony’s A95K.

OLED has become the premium TV technology of choice thanks to its perfect blacks, pixel-level contrast control, near-perfect viewing angles, super-thin designs and increasingly aggressive pricing, and QD-OLED is expected to overcome its main limitation – brightness.

If you are therefore expecting the A95K to be vastly brighter than the best standard OLED TVs, you might be slightly disappointed. Side by side with LG's G2 (the brightest standard OLED available) there is little to choose between the two in terms of peak brightness.

But while the A95K isn't brighter than the brightest traditional OLED TV, it does deliver better bright highlights with subtle shades and colours that its non-QD-OLED rivals miss.

In less cultured hands, the added colour vibrancy of QD-OLED’s Quantum Dots could lead to exaggerated vibrancy, but Sony’s careful, authenticity-led approach means the A95K is balanced and natural, and the fine detail, sharpness and three-dimensionality that its flagship 2021 OLEDs exhibited remains.

The bundled Bravia CAM – a camera that magnetically attaches to the rear of the set and peeks over the top of the screen – isn't terribly useful now and possibly never will be, but for picture quality the A95K is a star. It sounds great by TV standards too, thanks to its bespoke Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology, which utilises actuators that imperceptibly vibrate the whole screen to make sound.

In short, for movies and TV shows, in SDR and HDR and at all resolutions, the Sony A95K is exceptional. Hardcore gamers, particularly those on Xbox Series X, will still be better served by an LG G2, which has more HDMI 2.1 sockets, a Dolby Vision game mode and an HGiG setting, but for everyone else this is, albeit by a relatively slim margin, the new gold standard.

Read the full Sony XR-55A95K review

OLED TV: Sony XR-48A90K

Sony's top 'small' OLED for 2022 is a consummate performer. (Image credit: Future)
An astonishingly good ‘small’ OLED TV

Specifications

Screen size: 48 inches (also available in 42in)
Type: OLED
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: Google TV
HDMI inputs: 4 (2 x 48Gbps HDMI 2.1)
Gaming features: 4K/120, VRR, ALLM
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 62 x 107 x 5.9cm

Reasons to buy

+
Extraordinarily sharp, solid, detailed
+
Effortless naturalism
+
Good HDMI 2.1 feature set

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as bright or insightful as some
-
LG C2 has even better gaming specs
-
Very expensive in the UK

For reasons unknown, Sony didn’t launch a new 48-inch OLED TV last year. Instead, 2020’s A9 (A9S in the US) was tasked with holding the fort against increasingly large ranks of rivals for almost two years.

Thankfully, relief is finally at hand in the form of the Sony XR-48A90K – Sony’s flagship OLED for those who don’t have the space for its new A95K QD-OLED (above), which isn’t available below 55 inches.

Has the A90K been worth the wait? And does it deliver a true flagship performance? It’s a resounding yes to both questions.

The 48-inch Sony A90K OLED is a force to be reckoned with. It might not quite have the flawless gaming feature set of an LG OLED, but it’s close, and a very good gaming TV in its own right, particularly if you’re a PS5 player.

Where the A90K is almost flawless is in its picture quality. We have never before tested a TV this size that’s this good, and while we are yet to test the new 48-inch LG C2, it’s really going to have to go some to beat this Sony on pure picture quality.

Read the full Sony XR-48A90K review

4K TV: LG OLED65G2

The G2 is LG's brightest-ever OLED, and a worthy rival to new QD-OLED tech. (Image credit: Future / Netflix, The Adam Project)
LG dazzles with its finest, brightest OLED yet

Specifications

Screen size: 65in (also available in 55in, 77in, 83in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: webOS 22
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 82 x 144 x 2.4cm

Reasons to buy

+
LG’s brightest OLED pictures yet
+
Typically deep blacks, rich colours
+
Improved Gallery design

Reasons to avoid

-
Substantially pricier than the C2
-
Not as bright as premium LCD TVs
-
No stand in box

While not a change that all buyers appreciated, LG decided in 2021 that its premium G-series OLED TVs needed more than just a fancier design to make them a compelling step-up alternative to the brand’s all-conquering C series.

So 2021’s G1 benefited from a new, higher brightness ‘Evo’ panel that the C1 did not get – and instantly did a much better job of justifying its higher price. 

LG has continued this approach for 2022: while the new C2 does now have an Evo panel, the G2 boasts a new heat sink element that allows it to be driven even harder – or brighter, in other words – than its predecessor.

In short, if you want LG’s best 4K OLED TV right now, this is it.

The OLED65G2 is easily LG’s best OLED TV yet. Its sound is a solid improvement over LG’s 2021 built-in audio, while the extra brightness it achieves thanks to its new heat sink and accompanying new processor delivers nothing but positives, enriching everything from basic HD SDR to sparkling 4K HDR and the finest graphical wares of the latest gaming consoles and PCs. All without anything looking forced or like ‘brightness for brightness's sake’.

The extent of the improvements over the new C2 panel is more gentle than dramatic, perhaps raising questions for many about whether the OLED65G2 is worth £600 more than the OLED65C2. The cost issue is even more worthy of thought if you are not wall-mounting and will therefore need to budget for the optional stand. 

While not truly extreme, though, the OLED65G2’s advantages are not only easy for anyone to see, but also, crucially, they lift pretty much every image frame to a higher level. So if you are an enthusiast who just can’t rest unless you know you are getting the best home cinema experience available, the OLED65G2 is going to be seriously hard to resist.

Read the full LG OLED65G2 review

QD-OLED TV: Samsung QE65S95B

Samsung's first QD-OLED is a vibrant delight – and surprisingly well priced. (Image credit: Future / Netflix, Hustle)
Samsung’s first Quantum Dot OLED TV makes a dazzling debut

Specifications

Screen size: 65 inches (also available in 55in)
Type: QD-OLED
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+
Operating system: Tizen
HDMI inputs: 4 (4 x 48Gbps HDMI 2.1)
Gaming features: 4K/120, VRR, ALLM, HGiG
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 83 x 144 x 4cm

Reasons to buy

+
Spectacularly vibrant and dynamic
+
Peerless viewing angles
+
Excellent gaming support

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs tweaking for best results
-
Imperfect skin tones
-
Some brightness instability

In any sane AV world, we would be lauding the Samsung S95B as the world’s first Quantum Dot OLED TV. After all, Samsung basically invented the technology. Yet in the end it was actually Sony that gave us our first QD-OLED TV in the glorious form of the A95K.

Samsung has marked the arrival of its first QD OLED TV with quite the design statement. The S95B really is incredibly thin over the vast majority of its rear – just a couple of millimetres deep, in fact.

Connectivity is impressive. In particular, all four of the provided HDMI ports are true 2.1 affairs that are able to handle 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM, and there's an HGiG mode for better HDR accuracy with games. Dolby Vision isn't supported. of course, for gaming or for movie content.

The S95B boasts phenomenal contrast. On the one hand it instantly delivers the sort of immaculate, ultra-deep blacks long associated with the best of the OLED world, while on the other it delivers levels of brightness – both in small highlights and, even more noticeably, across the whole screen – that we haven’t seen before on any regular OLED TV. Including LG’s brilliant new G2 series. It 'pops' more than the Sony A95K, too.

Basically Samsung, as usual, seems more prepared than its rivals to take the brakes off, and while that means it's not quite as subtle or accurate as the best sets here (skin tones in particular look a bit off at times), it does provide unparalleled thrills. It sounds surprisingly decent, too, given the super-thin chassis, though bass is rather lacking and you would be wise to partner a picture this good with sound that matches via a soundbar or home cinema system.

Read the full Samsung QE65S95B review 

Best TVs: Philips 48OLED806

2021's OLED806 is still a great TV – and it's now much cheaper than before. (Image credit: Philips/Prey, Netflix)
An incredible picture at the most convenient of sizes

Specifications

Screen size: 48in (also available in 55in, 65in, 77in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Operating system: Android TV 10
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 62 x 107 x 6.8cm

Reasons to buy

+
Sharp and punchy but natural
+
Full apps and HDMI 2.1 features
+
Dolby Vision and HDR10+

Reasons to avoid

-
Sound can be bettered
-
Tricky to adjust for the best picture

In a world of ever larger TVs, the 48-inch OLED remains a beacon of hope for those with more modest needs.

You might have a smaller living space, or want a great gaming TV, a screen for the bedroom or perhaps the 48-inch option is a compromise with your less AV-enthusiastic housemate. Whatever the situation, the 48-inch OLED is an excellent choice, and the Philips 48OLED806 is the best 48-inch OLED we've tested.

It takes more effort than most to find the best picture settings, and the default picture presets offered for each signal type are often less than ideal, but with a bit of tweaking the OLED806 can be made to look both very accurate and supremely sharp and punchy. The performance is further enhanced by the beautiful Ambilight technology, which extends the onscreen action to the wall around the TV in the form of coloured light.

Gamers are also well served by the OLED806, which has two 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 sockets that support 4K@120Hz, VRR and ALLM. Input lag is very low, at around 14ms, and there is an HGiG picture setting for more accurate HDR tone mapping.

While we would certainly suggest taking advantage of the eARC/ARC functionality by adding a separate soundbar or AV receiver, the Philips OLED806 does sound decent by TV standards, producing a more detailed and dynamic sound than most (though not Sony's A80J or A90J).

All told, the 48OLED806 is a superb TV choice, and the 65-inch version is brilliant, too – you can read the full review of either model by clicking below.

Read the full Philips 48OLED806 review

Read the full Philips 65OLED806 review

Best TVs: Sony XR-55A80J

Sony's 2021 A80J OLED can still hold its own against newer, more expensive models. (Image credit: Sony)
Sony’s step-down OLED is a performance-per-pound champ

Specifications

Screen size: 55in (also available in 65in, 83in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: Google TV
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 71 x 123 x 5.3cm

Reasons to buy

+
Super-sharp and detailed
+
Punchy and vibrant but natural
+
Superb motion handling

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as good for gaming as an LG

We rate products on a performance-per-pound basis. That has always been the What Hi-Fi? way. We are not looking simply for the absolute best product in each category, as that would invariably involve recommending one of the most expensive products in each category; we are looking for the best bang for your buck. The product that best balances performance, features and price.

On that metric, the A80J is a stunner. This step-down model in Sony’s 2021 OLED range certainly isn’t quite as good as its flagship sibling but, by offering most of what makes the A90J great at a much more competitive price, it has turned out to be one of the very best TVs you can buy.

While not quite as bright and punchy as its flagship sibling, it's not far off, and that means it is still capable of producing more impactful highlights than rivals such as the LG C1. It is just as sharp and detailed as the A90J, too, which makes it an incredibly crisp and three-dimensional performer. What is most impressive is how the A80J combines the spectacular with the natural and authentic – no other TV available right now, bar the A90J, delivers on creative intent as faithfully.

The A80J has a 30W Acoustic Surface Audio+ sound system, which uses actuators to vibrate the screen in order to create sound. It means the audio is tied to visuals in a way that TVs from other manufacturers can't match. The sound is also weightier and more spacious than that produced by similarly priced rivals, and there is impressive punch and dynamic range on offer, too.

In the UK, there is also a variant of the A80J called the A84J. This version has a microphone integrated into its bezel for completely hands-free voice-control (the A80J has only a remote-mounted mic), plus a feature called Rich Colour Enhancer, which adds a tiny bit of extra richness to colours. Otherwise, the sets are identical and equally brilliant.

Read the full Sony XR-55A80J review

Best TV: Sony XR-55A90J

The A90J redefined OLED TV expectations when it launched in 2021 and it's still awesome now. (Image credit: Future / Leonardo, Amazon Prime)
It's very expensive, but the A90J is worth every penny

Specifications

Screen size: 55in (also available in 65in, 83in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: Google TV
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 71 x 122 x 4.1cm

Reasons to buy

+
Outstanding picture quality
+
Superb motion handling
+
Impressive sound

Reasons to avoid

-
LGs make better gaming TVs
-
Expensive for a 55-inch TV

While Sony’s OLEDs are highly regarded, it is 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 took OLED picture performance to new, thrilling levels when it launched in 2021, while maintaining the authenticity for which Sony is justifiably renowned. It also sounds significantly better than all of the other TVs you are likely to 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.

Do check out the A80J at the top of this before handing over your money, as it offers much of (but not all) the A90J's excellence at a significantly lower price. However, if your pockets are deep and your tastes discerning, you won't regret spending the extra on this flagship beauty, which we have now tested in both its 55-inch and 65-inch guises.

Read the full Sony XR-55A90J review

Read the full Sony XR-65A90J review

Philips 65OLED986

Designed to as a hi-fi system as well as a TV, the OLED986 is a singular proposition. (Image credit: Philips / Netflix, Reacher)
Philips OLED + B&W sound = movie magic once more

Specifications

Screen size: 65in
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Operating system: Android TV 10
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, with stand): 134 x 145 x 38cm

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastically sharp and punchy
+
Excellent sound
+
Still supremely stylish

Reasons to avoid

-
Picture requires too many tweaks
-
Slight motion processing issues

The Philips 65OLED986 has a single, very bold aim – simply to be the ultimate TV. To that end, it takes last year’s Award-winning OLED806 and adds an extra picture processor, a brighter OLED panel, and a B&W speaker system consisting of Continuum-cone drivers and a Nautilus-tube tweeter.

The idea here is that the OLED986 is capable of replacing not only your existing TV, but also a hi-fi, and while we wouldn't go quite as far as to recommend that, it is certainly the best-sounding, most musical TV we have tested.

On top of that, the OLED986 also boasts the best picture performance you can currently buy, taking the awesome performance of the OLED806 and adding extra brightness, punch, solidity and shading subtlety.

So if the Philips 65OLED986 is the TV with the best sound and best picture, why is it not at the top of this list? Because its very high price and floor-standing design make it the epitome of a niche product. Almost every TV-buyer will be better served by one of the other models listed here, but if you do have the money and the space, and you want the very best, this is currently it.

Read the full Philips 65OLED986 review

How we test TVs

How we test TVs

Testing a TV, OLED or otherwise, is a long and complex process because a modern TV simply does so much. Not only does it need to handle a variety of content resolutions – standard-def, 1080p, 4K and sometimes 8K – and both standard dynamic range and high dynamic range (the latter in a number of formats), all of which need to be specifically tested, it also has a sound system with various advanced settings and a full smart platform. A TV is an all-in-one device in the best sense, but that also makes it a challenging review proposition.

As part of our testing process we manually check that every major app – from Netflix to All 4, Prime Video to Spotify – is not only present, but also outputting in the video and sound formats that it should. Just because there's a Disney+ app doesn't necessarily mean it's working in Dolby Vision and/or Dolby Atmos. In fact, in many recent cases it hasn't been.

We also connect both a PS5 and Xbox Series X in order to establish which advanced gaming features are and aren't supported, and on which of the TV's HDMI ports. Is 4K 120Hz supported? How about VRR? Is there a Dolby Vision game mode? Is there an HGiG preset for more accurate HDR tone mapping? We check all of these things, and measure input lag using a Leo Bodnar device.

We then test the TV's picture quality using a huge variety of content, from old DVDs to the latest 4K Blu-rays and plenty of streamed movies and TV shows in between. Every TV is tested against the best model at its price and size – we have a stockroom packed full of Award-winners for this very purpose.

We don't accept the out-of-the-box settings that a TV comes in either. While we intentionally don't go down the route of professional calibration (you shouldn't have to have your TV professionally calibrated in order to get the best out of it), we do spend hours adjusting settings using a mixture of test patterns and real-world content until we're sure we're getting the best out of a TV so that it has the best chance to shine.

While we almost always advise that a new TV is combined with a dedicated sound system such as a soundbar or AV amplifier, many people still prefer to stick with their flatscreen's built-in speakers, so we thoroughly test these too, using a wide variety of movie and music content and with great attention spent on the TV's many processing modes and individual settings.

We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Bath and Reading, where our team of expert reviewers do all of our testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency. What's more, all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer, again helping to ensure consistency and avoid any personal preference.

The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics.

From all of our reviews, we choose the best products to feature in our Best Buys. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended above, or on any other Best Buy page, you can be assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi? approved product.

What is OLED?

What is OLED?

So what is OLED? It's basically the next step on from LCD. Unlike LCD TVs, OLED flatscreen TVs don't need a backlight. This means they can be ultra-thin, and because each pixel can be switched off and on individually, they generally deliver the best black levels and contrast in the TV business.

OLED is also a more efficient and eco-friendly technology than LCD. OLED TVs are more expensive to produce, though. Previously, this meant you didn't see OLED TVs under 55 inches, but 48-inch sets hit the market in 2020 and 2022 has seen the arrival of 42-inch models.

LG actually manufactures all of the OLED panels used in standard OLED TVs today, but don't go thinking that means they all perform the same. While you can pretty much guarantee excellent blacks and contrast from any OLED, there are lots of differences between models, from sharpness and motion processing, to colour accuracy, brightness and shadow detail. Specifications vary, too, particularly where HDMI features are concerned.

There's also a new type of OLED TV now available. QD-OLED TVs combine OLEDs with Quantum Dots in an effort to create something of a best-of-both-worlds technology. In truth, the advancement so far appears to be more subtle than that, but the world's first QD-OLED – the Sony A95K – does produce even better images than the best standard OLEDs, particularly in terms of the brightest colours and details.

How to choose an OLED TV

What size OLED TV should you buy?

While it might be tempting to think that bigger is better, the size of set that’s right for you is closely dependent on how close to the screen you’ll be sitting, and the resolution of the source material you’re watching.

Luckily, an organisation called SMPTE (which stands for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) has published detailed guidelines on exactly how far you should sit in order to optimise the performance of your TV.

If you’re sitting the correct distance from your TV, you’ll see lots of detail, good edge definition and smooth, clean motion, but if you’re sitting too close to the screen, then you’re going to see more picture noise and artefacts.

On the other hand, sit too far away from the TV and you’ll struggle to pick up all the picture detail your TV has to offer.

The following distances are a good place to start:

  • 65in - minimum 2.5m (Full HD) or 2.1m (4K)
  • 50-52in - minimum 2.2m (Full HD) or 1.7m (4K)
  • 46in - minimum 1.9m (Full HD) or 1.5m (4K)
  • 42in - minimum 1.7m (Full HD) or 1.3m (4K)

Should you buy a 4K or Full HD OLED TV?

This question is pretty much moot now, as the vast majority of TVs are now 4K. In fact, there's not a single Full HD OLED TV currently available – and there likely never will be again.

Should you buy an 8K OLED TV?

While you can now buy 8K TVs from a number of brands, including Samsung, LG and Sony, LG is alone in selling an 8K OLED TV.

It's important to note that almost no native 8K content is available. If you buy an 8K TV and want to show of its ridiculously high resolution, you'll have to do so using nature, scenery and space footage from YouTube. At this stage, no streaming services have even hinted at launching 8K content, and it seems unlikely that an 8K disc format will ever materialise.

For those reasons, it's hard to recommend that you pay the extra for an 8K TV at this stage. That said, if you've got deep pockets and want to be as ready as possible for the potential 8K content of the future, there's no real harm in going for an 8K TV now, although we haven't yet had LG's 8K OLED TV in for review.

Should you buy an HDR OLED TV?

Again, this is a fairly moot point as all currently available OLED TVs support HDR. Still, High Dynamic Range is without a doubt a much bigger deal than 8K, and certainly something you should consider before buying your next TV.

Essentially, the higher the dynamic range (brightness and colours), the more lifelike the picture. HDR offers greater subtlety and depth of gradations of colours, plus stronger contrast.

There are various types of HDR out there, and with different TV brands backing different variants, it can be a minefield trying to find the best option. Allow us to explain.

First up is HDR10, which is essentially the core HDR format that every HDR TV should support.

HDR10 is a static HDR format that applies the HDR values on a scene-by-scene basis (i.e. whenever the camera cuts to a new scene).

Dolby Vision, on the other hand, applies this image information (called metadata) on a frame-by-frame basis. This dynamic form of HDR, when implemented properly, has the potential to improve upon the standard HDR10 presentation.

HDR10+ is a rival format to Dolby Vision. Created by Samsung, it also uses dynamic metadata but, whereas Dolby Vision is licensed, HDR10+ is a free, open format that any company can deploy as it sees fit.

Of these two 'dynamic' HDR formats, Dolby Vision is by far the most prevalent, both in terms of TVs and content, and if you have to choose between one and the other, that's the one we'd recommend. That said, you can now buy OLED TVs from the likes of Philips and Panasonic that support both Dolby Vision and HDR10+.

Finally in our rundown of HDR formats is HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), which was developed specifically for broadcasting by the BBC and Japan's NHK. It's used to deliver all of the HDR content offered by the BBC and Sky, so can be considered very important. Luckily, it's now almost as common as standard HDR10 in TV spec lists, so you should have little problem finding a model that supports it.

What inputs and outputs does your OLED TV need?

These days, it's all about HDMI, which is used to connect everything from set-top boxes to video streamers, Blu-ray players to games consoles. Thanks to ARC/eARC (Audio Return Channel / Enhanced Audio Return Channel), a single HDMI connection can even be used to output sound to an AV receiver or soundbar at the same time as it receives a video signal.

Currently, three HDMI connections is standard on budget and mid-range TVs, while four is the norm for premium models, including every OLED that we're aware of.

The specification of the HDMI connections tends to differ depending on the price of the TV, too, with premium models now commonly getting at least two HDMI 2.1 sockets. These have greater bandwidth than their HDMI 2.0 counterparts and can support advanced formats such as 4K@120Hz and 8K@60Hz. Fancy gaming features such as Auto Low Latency Mode and Variable Refresh Rate are often supported via HDMI 2.1 sockets, too, though not always. It's sensible to check the specs thoroughly if there are particular features you're after.

After HDMIs, USB ports are the most abundant on modern TVs. You can use these to keep devices charged (often particularly useful for stick- or dongle-style streamers), and some TVs allow the connection of flash drives and hard drives for the recording of live TV content.

On the subject of live TV, you can expect practically every TV to have an aerial socket via which it can receive Freeview broadcasts, but many also have a satellite connection. Be warned, though; the presence of a satellite connection doesn't guarantee that there's a Freesat tuner on board. Without one, you'll receive only a patchy and disorganised selection of satellite TV channels.

Other useful connections include optical and stereo outputs, which can be used in lieu of HDMI ARC to connect legacy audio equipment. Headphone outputs are still fairly common, too, although they're beginning to be phased out in favour of Bluetooth – a trend started by Samsung and now being followed by the likes of Sony.

Lastly, while some TVs feature composite inputs (often via an adapter), most – even at the budget end – have phased out legacy connections such as SCART. So those clinging on to old video cassette recorders, for example, should be aware of that.

Which TV smart features and streaming apps do you need?

As with 4K, it's now hard to buy a TV that doesn't have a smart platform packed with streaming apps. Almost every TV will have Netflix and Amazon Prime Video on board, and Disney+ is fast approaching a similar level of ubiquity. Apple TV (which is great for pay-as-you-go movies as well as the Apple TV+ subscription service) is becoming increasingly common, too.

You'd have thought that BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 and My5 would be present on every TV available in the UK, but there always seems to be one brand that's lacking (it was LG in 2020 and Sony in 2021) so do check before you buy if any of those are important to you.

Other apps that are less common but potentially worth looking out for include BT Sport, Now, Britbox, and music apps such as Spotify and Tidal.

Should you buy a QD-OLED TV?

As outlined above, QD-OLED combines OLEDs (Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) with Quantum Dots in an effort to combine the best aspects of both: essentially the perfect blacks and flawless contrast provided by the self-emissive properties of the former with the colour vibrancy of the latter.

It's early days for the technology but the world's first QD-OLED TV – the Sony A95K – suggests that while QD-OLED isn't a huge leap forwards, it is capable of adding more detailed shading and colour vibrancy to the brightest parts of an image. At this stage, we wouldn't suggest opting for a QD-OLED simply because it's a QD-OLED as there are so many other factors that contribute to a winning TV, but it certainly seems capable of brilliance and has the potential to get even better.

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.

  • yholmes
    Hi, I’ve read several of your reviews (extremely helpful thank you) and I’m looking for some expert advice. Out of these three options which would you choose: Panasonic TX-55HZ1000 (£1899), Panasonic TX-55GZ2000B (£1499 clearance price), LG OLED55CX (£1599). The TX-55GZ2000B I found in a local shop seems to be a bargain price but I’m wondering if I should go for a 2020 model. Thank you.
    Reply
  • yholmes said:
    Hi, I’ve read several of your reviews (extremely helpful thank you) and I’m looking for some expert advice. Out of these three options which would you choose: Panasonic TX-55HZ1000 (£1899), Panasonic TX-55GZ2000B (£1499 clearance price), LG OLED55CX (£1599). The TX-55GZ2000B I found in a local shop seems to be a bargain price but I’m wondering if I should go for a 2020 model. Thank you.
    I would go for the GZ2000 if you can get it at that price brand new. It won’t have HDMI 2.1 though if you are a gamer I would go for the LG OLED.
    Reply
  • yholmes
    Thank you so much for your quick reply! I’m not a gamer but my partner likes to play every now and then so I will look into the LG OLED a bit more. I’ll make sure check whether the Panasonic is brand new at the shop as well. Thanks again!
    Reply
  • Mr. C Nation
    It should be by default an impossibility for any TV to get 5 stars if it does not include all major content provision, such as catch-up.

    TVs are simply devices to watch content. They have no other purpose and they have no intrinsic merit in themselves.

    You wouldn't award a can 5 stars just because it was made of gold with a platinum ring-pull if it did not contain any beans!
    Reply