Best gaming TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best gaming TVs you can buy in 2020.
If you want to amp up your favourite video game, it's worth splashing out on a bigger, brighter telly, and one with deeper blacks that will immerse you in the action.
Broadly speaking, a TV that's generally great should also be great for games, but there are a few gaming-specific features to look out for. The big one is input lag, which tells you how long your gamepad button presses will take to appear as onscreen actions. Lower is better, but anything below 40ms will be imperceptible to almost all gamers, and 20ms or less is lightning-fast.
A couple of next-gen gaming features are starting to appear, too – Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) are both part of the HDMI 2.1 spec, but are now available via plenty of TVs with HDMIs that are certified as 2.0.
VRR matches the TV's refresh rate to the frame rate being output by the console in real-time, resulting in a smoother, faster gaming experience – you'll need an Xbox One X or One S, or a PC in order to take advantage, though.
ALLM is simpler: it just means that your TV will automatically switch to its 'game mode' to reduce input lag when it senses a signal from your games console.
But those specific gaming features aren't the be-all-and-end-all. What you really get from the best gaming TVs is the punch and vibrancy to do justice to brighter, flashier games, but also a natural balance that doesn't oversaturate those tonally subtler blockbusters, such as Red Dead Redemption 2.
Black depth is important for delivering drama, too, but you want to be able to see plenty of detail in shadows, so avoid a TV with a reputation for crushing dark detail and be sure to tweak the brightness/gamma setting for your game – most titles have a specific option for this.
HDR is a must, of course, as all versions of the PS4 and the Xbox One X and One S output HDR, and it would be a mistake not to get a 4K screen, even if you don't yet have a 4K console. The good news is that it's now pretty hard to buy a TV that doesn't have 4K and HDR. (We'll hold fire on mentioning the possibility of 8K games on the forthcoming PS5.)
Right, that's the broad strokes. Want some specific models? Read on.
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Brand new for 2020, the Q95T isn't the successor to the Q90R that we were expecting it to be, but it is a brilliant TV in its own right and has launched at a lower price than did its 'predecessor'.
It has fewer dimming zones and goes less bright than the Q90R, but the Q95T is otherwise better in every meaningful way. It delivers a richer, more solid and more natural picture, as well as better sound.
The Tizen operating system is largely unchanged, and that's no bad thing. No other operating system has as much content or more quickly gets you to what you want to watch.
Best of all for gamers is support for ALLM and VRR (FreeSync is on board now and G-Sync is apparently on the way), as well as a record-low input lag of around 10ms. There are some gaming specific picture features to experiment with, too, such as Dynamic Black Equalizer (which improves detail in dark areas) and Game Motion Plus (which adds subtle motion processing to your games). All told, this is the best TV for gaming that you can currently buy.
Read the full Samsung QE65Q95T review
If you need to keep a tight rein on your budget, this gaming TV offers impressive performance at a tempting price. The big news overall with the GX800 is that it offers support for both Dolby Vision and HDR10+, unlike the two more expensive models above.
HDR10+ isn't (yet) a concern for gaming, but having all of the HDR bases covered is no bad thing. What's more, the Panasonic offers low input lag and ALLM support.
This 50in model is great for an immersive gaming experience without completely taking over the lounge (it's also available in 40in, 58in and 65in sizes), and the natural balance makes it a real all-rounder for games. You won't get the punch or crisp three-dimensionality of the more expensive TVs here but, for the money, this is a great choice.
Read the full review: Panasonic TX-50GX800B
Read the full review: Panasonic TX-58GX800B
LG's first 2020 OLED is a barnstormer. While we'd usually like to start the year with the C-class model, which is the most affordable set with all of the best picture processing, this GX takes that same picture and adds more powerful sound and a beautiful design.
This is LG's 'Gallery' model, and as such is entirely intended for wall-mounting. You don't even get a stand in the box (although feet can be bought separately), with a low-profile mount provided instead. The set is a uniform 2cm deep, which is exceptionally slim. The CX, by comparison, is 4.7cm deep.
Picture-wise, LG has taken the exemplary performance of its 2019 OLEDs and improved it in a few key areas, with dark detail, colour richness and motion handling all getting a worthwhile boost. The set sounds decent, too, particularly for one with essentially invisible speakers.
The HDMIs are fully 2.1-certified, which means they support both ALLM and VRR. VRR is currently only in the PC-focused G-Sync format rather than the Xbox-friendly FreeSync alternative, but LG says the latter will be added soon. LG's OLEDs are also unusual for featuring HGiG, a new format in the early stages of development that's designed to provide more consistent HDR gaming.
Read the full LG OLED65GX review
This new Samsung QLED sets a formidable benchmark for 55-inch TVs in 2020, offering a high-end performance at a fairly mid-range price.
The Q80T looks much like any other Samsung QLED, although it is a little bit chunkier than the Q95T above as all of the connections are inside rather than in a separate One Connect box. There's nothing wrong with the specs of those connections, though: the four HDMI inputs support the key features of HDMI 2.1, including gaming features such as VRR (FreeSync is supported out of the box and G-Sync is coming soon) and ALLM.
A simple TV to set-up when it comes to getting the best possible picture, the Q80T ultimately delivers a brilliantly dynamic image with deep black levels, excellent contrast and neutral but vibrant colours. While there are rare occasions when watching HDR that a skin tone seems slightly overcooked, this doesn't really impact games, which look superb via the display. Input lag of around 10ms means the TV won't let you down in a frag-fest either.
Finally, while we'd recommend a soundbar or some speakers, Samsung's Object Tracking Sound technology provides open, engaging audio. All told, this is a cracking TV for the money, particularly if gaming is your priority.
Read the full Samsung QE55Q80T review
The LG C9 is simply one of the best performance-per-pound TV you can buy right now, and it makes a great choice for gamers. It might not go as bright as a Samsung, but its blacks are deeper and more dramatic, and overall contrast is stunning. There's a richness to the colour palette that works really well, particularly with brighter, more vibrant games.
The HDMIs are actually HDMI 2.1-certified, so they support VRR and ALLM, and the TV can handle Dolby Vision (a few Xbox games support this). The input lag figure of around 13ms is about as low as it gets, too.
The C9 has now been superseded by the CX and GX (above) for 2020 but, thanks to heavy discounting, currently represents excellent value. Get it while you still can.
Read the full review: LG OLED65C9
Samsung's 2019 flagship 4K set is still available and still a fantastic choice for gamers. It actually goes brighter than its stablemate at the top of this list and, while it's a touch less subtle and rich in its delivery, its combination of punch and naturalism still makes it a winner.
Input lag is very low indeed, both VRR and ALLM are supported, and there are some neat extra features available for the Game Mode, including a motion smoother and black detail enhancer.
It's right up there with the most gaming-friendly TVs out there – and it's great with everything else, too. Get one while you still can.
Read the full Samsung QE55Q90R review
Read the full Samsung QE65Q90R review
There's a lot of pressure on the 49in KD-49XH9505 (XBR-49X950H in the States), as all three of its predecessors have taken home What Hi-Fi? Awards. While other challengers will emerge before the 2020 Awards deadline (the 49in version of the Samsung Q80T and 48in LG OLED CX could be very good), Sony's put itself in a great position to make it four in a row.
The company has basically reused the shell of last year's KD-49XG9005, which is a bit of a shame as it's fairly thick and has awkward-looking feet that give the set an overly wide footprint. But the set looks fairly smart in its own right. You do also get a better remote that's neatly laid out and doesn't require line of sight in order to send commands to the TV.
Most importantly, last year's shell has been stuffed with upgraded kit, including Sony's flagship processor, the X1 Ultimate, which brings with it lots of picture improvements. All told, this is a punchier and more richly coloured performer than its predecessor, with more dark detail and the excellent motion processing for which Sony is renowned. It sounds impressively weighty and solid, too.
Unfortunately, Sony hasn't seen fit to add support for VRR or ALLM, but the low input lag and all-round impressive picture performance still make it a decent choice for gamers looking for a 49in TV that's more premium than most.
Read the full Sony KD-XH9505 review
Here's the very best TV we tested in 2019. An OLED so good that it beats the LG C9 with which it shares a panel, and with integrated upward-firing speakers for genuine Dolby Atmos sound.
So why isn't it at the top of this list? It's very pricey, for starters, and it also lacks advanced gaming features such as VRR. Truth be told, we'd suggest overlooking those omissions and focusing on the awesome picture and sound, and the perfectly respectable 22ms input lag. Make no mistake, this is still a great TV for gamers.
Read the full review: Panasonic TX-55GZ2000B
The LG B9 is a mixture of the old and the new – it combines the company's 2018 processor with its 2019 OLED panel. This makes it the most affordable model in LG’s current OLED range and a tempting proposition indeed.
The picture is natural, colourful and well-measured for contrast whether you’re watching in 4K or upscaling from HD, and whatever processor power is missing certainly won't ruin your TV experience. Input lag is super-low, too.
There are small discrepancies in light and dark detail that the top LG processor offers and it’s worth paying the extra for them if you can. As far as this price proposition goes, though, the LG OLED65B9PLA gets our full vote of confidence.
Read the full LG OLED65B9PLA review
While not what anyone would call 'cheap', compared to the big Samsung and LG options above, this Sony a bit of a bargain – particularly as it offers a performance that's not far off flagship-level.
Images aren't quite as deep and involving as those of either the QLEDs or OLEDs, and the backlight is a touch inconsistent, but make peace with those comparative flaws and you can have a big, bright and detailed picture for a good deal less.
Read the full review: Sony KD-65XG9505