Best 55-inch TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s guide to the best 55-inch 4K TVs you can buy in 2022.
55-inch TVs are the sweet spot for many people – more visually impressive than smaller sets, more able to fit in a tight space than giant, big-screen TVs. And it's an increasingly popular size now that more and more of us are enjoying 4K content.
Take the time to make sure your choice of TV has the connections you need and the feature support to watch your favourite streaming services. You can rest assured all the below sets deliver great pictures, while some come with upgraded TV speakers that offer high-quality sound, too.
It's a great time to upgrade your home entertainment experience and, for many people, a 55-inch TV will be the optimum size. If that's you, read on, because we've trimmed down our list of the best TVs to bring you a specific run down of the best 55-inch TV sets currently available.
How to choose the best 55-inch TV for you
Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
When choosing a new TV, picture technology is almost always the most important factor.
Without a doubt, OLED has become the premium TV technology of choice, thanks to its perfect blacks, extraordinary contrast and exceptional viewing angles. QLED, which combines LED (or Mini LED) backlighting with ultra-vibrant Quantum Dots, is a strong alternative, though, largely thanks to being capable of greater brightness and punchier colors. Standard LCD TVs (often, confusingly, sold as 'LED' TVs on account of their LED backlights) are more variable in overall quality but, if you shop carefully, can offer excellent bang for your buck.
Sound is massively important, too. Are you planning to combine your new TV with a dedicated sound system? You probably should, because most TVs sound passable at best, even at the high-end. But if you are determined to keep things neat and rely on the in-built speakers of your new TV, check our reviews to make sure that they're at least good – there's no point in a great picture if the accompanying sound is rubbish.
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 it's likely that doing so will save you a lot of cash.
The best 55-inch TVs you can buy
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, 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. And while we haven't yet tested it specifically at 55 inches, our reviews of the 65-inch, 77-inch and 42-inch models leave us confident enough in the TV's performance at various sizes to give this model a heartfelt recommendation.
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 colors 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 bang-for-buck champ of 2022.
Read the full LG C2 review
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 currently 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 colors that its non-QD-OLED rivals miss.
In less cultured hands, the added color 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 uses 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
We rate products on a performance-per-dollar basis. That’s always been the What Hi-Fi? way. We’re 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’re 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’s 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's still capable of producing more impactful highlights than rivals such as the LG C1. It's just as sharp and detailed as the A90J, too, which makes it an incredibly crisp and three-dimensional performer. What's 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's impressive punch and dynamic range on offer, too.
Read the full Sony XR-55A80J review
In any sane AV world, we’d 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.
Note that while we haven't fully reviewed the 55-inch version of the S95B, we have seen it in action and know that it performs more or less identically to its 65-inch sibling, which we have, so we're confident in giving it a hearty recommendation.
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 and 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'd be wise to partner a picture this good with sound that matches via a soundbar or home theater system.
Read the full Samsung S95B review
Samsung’s first flush of Neo QLED TVs has been nothing short of revolutionary to date. The extra-fine level of lighting control that mini LED brings has put LCD’s high peak brightness to sophisticated use. It’s added a care with contrast that’s led to a more nuanced on-screen image, with a more solid, three-dimensional depth than ever before. We’ve every reason to expect the same from the QN90A.
The QN90A was Samsung’s top 4K TV for the US in 2021. Typically Samsung, it’s practically bursting with features as well as raw performance power. From next-generation gaming potential to a full suite of apps and services, it’s more than ready to impress.
Picture quality is compelling and the sound isn’t bad at all. An OLED might look better in some scenes but there’s something quite addictive about the brightness of this set. Its super-contrasty and punchy HDR delivery is ever so more-ish.
There’s still no Dolby Vision support but you’ll be getting so much from HDR10 alone that it will hardly be on your mind. This is a great TV and a terrific buy at this price.
Read the full Samsung QN55QN90A review
While Sony’s OLEDs are highly regarded, it’s 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're likely 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 step-down A80J above before handing over your money, as it offers much (but not all) of 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've 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
How we test TVs
How we test TVs
Testing a TV 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 are 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 to the TV's many processing modes and individual settings.
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in 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 below, or on any other Best Buy page, you can be assured you are getting a What Hi-Fi? approved product.
How to choose a 55-inch TV
Should you buy a 4K or Full HD TV?
This question is pretty much moot now, as the vast majority of TVs are now 4K. It's actually rather hard to find Full HD (1080p) models, even at relatively small sizes.
If you're buying a TV below 32 inches and can save a lot of money on a Full HD model, by all means go for it (4K won't be a huge benefit at that sort of size anyway), but otherwise 4K is both worthwhile and, in all likelihood, your only option.
Should you buy an HDR TV?
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 colors), the more lifelike the picture. HDR offers greater subtlety and depth of gradations of colors, 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 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 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.
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 one or 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.
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, though Bluetooth is also supported by most TVs now and Samsung TVs in fact now feature the latter but not the former.
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.
Beyond those, you're going to want to look out for services such as HBO Max, Hulu, Paramount+ and Peacock, with priority given to those services to which you already subscribe.
Should you buy an OLED, QLED or LCD TV?
LCD TVs, which require a backlight usually made up of white LEDs to show a picture on the LCD panel, are available in a wide variety of screen sizes and, thanks in part to the technology's low cost of production, at affordable prices.
OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) is a panel technology that uses self-emissive particles – so there's no need for a backlight. This allows OLED TVs to be unbelievably slim, while also offering convincing pitch-dark blacks, strong contrast and superb viewing angles. LG, Sony, Panasonic and Philips are the big brands with OLED TVs in their line-ups and, broadly speaking, they're excellent.
QLED (Quantum-dot Light-Emitting Diode), meanwhile, is Samsung’s response to OLED. A QLED TV is an LCD TV but with a quantum dot coating over the backlight. However, the quantum dots (tiny semiconductor particles) in current QLEDs do not emit their own light. So QLED TVs, like conventional LCDs, rely on a backlight. The advantages of a QLED TV? You tend to get brilliantly vibrant colors, plus bright, sharp and crisply detailed images. Samsung's QLEDs have got better and better over the years, existing as a fine alternative to OLEDs TVs. Interestingly, though, Samsung has now launched its own range of OLED (QD-OLED) TVs.