Best gaming TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best gaming TVs you can buy in 2022.
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.
Before we get into our full list of the best gaming TVs, it's worth going over what makes a great gaming TV and explaining what the acronyms you'll see in the spec lists actually mean. That said, if you already know all of that stuff (or simply don't care) click here to get straight to the best gaming TVs you can buy.
How to choose the best gaming TV
Important gaming TV features to look out for
Broadly speaking, a TV that's great for TV and movies should also be great for games but, if you're looking for the very best TV for gaming, there are a few gaming-specific features to look out for, particularly if you've got or are planning to get a PS5 or Xbox Series X.
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 few next-gen gaming features are starting to appear, too – Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and 4K@120Hz (aka HFR or 'High Frame Rate') are all part of the HDMI 2.1 spec, but are also 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. The Xbox Series X, Series S, One X and One S (and certain PCs) can all output VRR.
ALLM is simpler: it just means that your TV will automatically switch to its 'game mode' to reduce input lag when it senses a game signal from your games console. It's also intelligent enough to switch game mode off again if you play a movie or TV show via your console, using the Netflix app, for example.
4K@120Hz has suddenly become a big deal, too, as both the PS5 and Xbox Series X support it. Put simply, this allows a TV to handle 4K games at frame rates of up to 120fps. There aren't loads of TVs around that can do this (most are limited to 60Hz), particularly at lower prices, but there are some and you can expect the number to grow significantly over the next couple of years.
Microsoft has recently upped the ante further by introducing Dolby Vision gaming, right up to 4K@120Hz. Most TVs that support Dolby Vision for movies and TV shows should support gaming in Dolby Vision, but very few will do so at 4K@120Hz and some (including Sony) don't have a dedicated Dolby Vision Game mode, and that can have a big impact on input lag. With those TVs you're best off sticking with standard HDR rather than the more advanced Dolby Vision format.
On the subject of HDR, it's also now worth looking out for HGiG. Rather than a fixed standard or certification, HGiG (which stands for HDR Gaming Interest Group) is a consortium of companies that have come together in order to create guidelines and best practices for the implementation of HDR in gaming. Console-makers Microsoft and Sony instigated the creation of HGiG, and members include TV manufacturers such as LG, Samsung and Panasonic, and game developers and publishers such as Activision, EA, Rockstar and Ubisoft.
Put simply, the aim of HGiG is that each game is tailored to the specific capabilities of your TV without the need for endless calibration screens. Samsung and LG have already added HGiG settings to their top 2020 and 2021 sets, and they result in a more accurate picture with deeper blacks and more detailed highlights.
General qualities that translate well for gaming
Those specific gaming features are all well and good, but focusing on specs alone really isn't wise: your new TV also needs a broad range of core skills. For example, it needs to have the punch and vibrancy to do justice to brighter, flashier games such as Astro's Playroom, but also a natural balance that doesn't oversaturate tonally subtler blockbusters such as Assassin's Creed: Valhalla.
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 the PS4, PS5, Xbox One X, One S, Series S and Series X all output HDR, and you might want to look for one that supports Dolby Vision as well as standard HDR10 if you're an Xbox Series X owner. More obviously, 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 at least HDR10.
8K vs 4K@120Hz
But what about 8K? Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X can handle 8K in theory, but neither has the feature enabled at launch.
It seems that the focus is on higher frame rates in the short term, with higher resolutions potentially coming later. Even then, native 8K gaming seems unlikely. It's broadly agreed that neither console has the processing power to run blockbuster games at that resolution. We might, though, see games appear that dynamically scale at resolutions above 4K before being output as an 8K signal, much as the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X invariably handled 4K on games (truly native 4K games were very rare until this new console generation).
In other words, while 8K should perhaps be at the back of your mind, we don't think it's essential that you buy an 8K TV right now. Such sets will likely be much, much more affordable by the time 8K gaming becomes a serious concern – assuming it ever does. That said, there is an excellent 8K TV on this list for those who have very deep pockets.
Right, that's the broad strokes. Now it's time for our list of the very best TVs for gaming. You'll notice that most models here are from LG and Samsung, and there's a simple reason for that – they currently offer the most complete gaming feature sets and the best gaming performance.
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The best gaming TVs you can buy
LG's new C1 isn't a huge improvement on the CX it replaces, but it didn't really need to be. The picture performance and feature set were already exemplary, and LG has slightly improved the former with its new Cinematic Movement motion processing and enhanced de-contouring feature (which reduces banding), and slightly improved the latter with a better menu system and a more complete app selection (all UK catch-up apps are present).
As before, the C1 boasts four 40gbps HDMI 2.1 sockets with support for eARC, 4K@120hz, ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). VRR is supported in all three current formats, the most important HDMI VRR format, Nvidia G-Sync and AMD Freesync Premium.
There's an HGIG option in the menus, too, which delivers more accurate contrast with HDR games. Since launch, LG has even added support for 4K@120Hz with Dolby Vision.
LG also now has a dedicated Game Optimizer menu that gives you quick access to all of those game-related settings as well as features that adjust gaming picture performance, either based on the genre of the game you’re playing or through manual tweaking of the detail in the brightest and darkest parts of the picture.
In short, there's no better-specified gaming TV out there, and it's great with movies and TV, too. Do also check out the G1 below, though, as it offers all of the same features and also boasts a new, brighter OLED panel.
We've tested the C1 in its 48-inch and 65-inch sizes. It's also available as a 55-inch, 77-inch and 83-inch model. We've not yet reviewed these versions but you'll see the latest, lowest prices for all of them below.
Read the full LG OLED48C1 review
Read the full LG OLED65C1 review
Samsung's 8-series has traditionally been positioned just below the company’s glamorous range-topping QLEDs. In the past, it has proven to be the sweet spot where picture quality and price intersect to maximum effect. And so it proves once more.
The UN55TU8000 is astonishingly good value. For comparatively very little money you're getting a 55-inch TV that performs brilliantly, particularly with HDR content, and boasts the best, most app-laden operating system available at any price.
It is missing support for VRR and 4K@120Hz, but ALLM is on board and input lag is vastly lower than that of many sets costing four times as much. If you're a gamer on a tight budget, we've not found a better option.
Read the full Samsung UN55TU8000 review
For the last few years, the C-class model has been the sensible choice of each new LG OLED range. Until now, it has been the most affordable model with the latest panel and picture processing tech: go further up the range and you might get better sound and a fancier design, but you won’t get a better visual performance.
For 2021, though, LG introduced a new ‘OLED Evo’ panel that promises increased brightness and sharpness, and to get the Evo panel you have to step up to the G1. That’s slightly disappointing because you also end up paying extra for a rather niche design (the G1 is designed to be wall-mounted, to the extent that there's no stand or feet in the box) that you may not want.
Still, if the design works for you and you don't mind forking out the extra $500, the G1 is undoubtedly the best OLED that LG has ever produced. It takes the picture performance of last year’s GX and CX and improves upon it in almost every way, particularly in terms of brightness, sharpness and detail. That makes it a seriously stunning picture performer.
It's also got all of the gaming features we've come to expect from LG OLEDs: four 40gbps HDMI 2.1 sockets with support for 4K@120Hz, VRR and ALLM (plus eARC); an HGIG mode for more accurate contrast with HDR games; a sub-13ms input lag; and a new Game Optimizer that allows for more game-related fine-tuning and puts all options at your fingertips.
Sound is less strong, but if you were always planning to combine your new TV with a separate sound system and the design works for you (and you've got deep pockets), the G1 should be seriously considered.
Read the full LG OLED65G1 review
Just because a TV is small by today’s increasingly expansive standards doesn’t mean it has to be boring. The 50-inch Samsung QE50QN90A is a case in point: here we have a relatively diminutive screen that throws everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at delivering a premium picture and sound performance to rival the best that its much bigger brethren have to offer.
For starters, this is a Neo QLED model, which means it combines Quantum Dots with a Mini LED backlight. This results in a supremely bright and vibrant picture with truly excellent contrast – that's a particularly tasty combination for gaming. While only one of the HDMIs is 2.1-certified (LG's 48-inch C1 has four HDMI 2.1 sockets), it does support all of the key gaming technologies, including 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM, and there's an HGiG mode for more accurate HDR tone mapping.
Images look exceptionally detailed and crisp with both video and gaming sources, fully selling the screen’s native 4K resolution despite the relatively small 50-inch screen size, and the sound is good, too, with good punch and weight.
This is a great buy if you want a premium gaming experience at a smaller size, but do also check out the LG OLED48C1.
Those looking for a larger screen might be interested to read that the QN90A is available in a wide variety of sizes, but be aware that these all appear to use a different panel type (IPS rather than the 50-inch model's VA), so performance may well vary. Still, you'll find the latest, lowest prices for every model in the range below.
Read the full Samsung QN50QN90A review
Not only is the LG CX a superb all-round performer for everything you watch, it's got all of the gaming credentials you could possibly need.
All three current formats of VRR are supported, as are ALLM and 4K@120Hz. Input lag is an almost impossibly fast 13ms, too. There's simply no better specified TV when it comes to gaming.
Of course, it's got the usual perfect black depth that you get from OLED TVs, but there's greater shadow detail than LG's 2019 models could manage, ensuring you're less likely to be caught out by an enemy camping in the gloom. And while the set isn't as ultimately bright as a Samsung QLED, it produces surprisingly punchy highlights in otherwise dark scenes, which makes for some brilliantly exciting imagery.
If a 55-inch TV is a bit too big for your room, you can now buy a 48in version of the CX (the OLED48CX, top). There are also 65-inch and 77-inch versions if you're looking to go bigger – you'll find a link to the review of the 65-inch version below.
Read the full LG OLED55CX review
Read the full LG OLED65CX review
You certainly don't need an 8K TV for gaming, what with there being no 8K games or even consoles out there, but the extra resolution does actually help when you get into very large screen sizes. That's because it increases pixel density which, when combined with excellent upscaling such as that of the QN900A, results in a sharper, crisper picture than you get from similarly sized 4K models.
The QN900A also boasts all of Samsung's top gaming tech. All four of its One Connect box's HDMIs are 2.1-certified, with full support for ALLM, 4K@120Hz and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). There's an HGIG setting, too. A lack of Dolby Vision is the only disappointing omission, and that's not a big deal for games... yet.
Samsung's also created the 'Game Bar' – a pop-up menu that gives you quick access to various game-related features and delivers live information on the signal being received, including the VRR format and frame rate. Input lag is astonishingly low – low enough, in fact, that you can afford to sacrifice a few milliseconds to enable some gaming-specific motion smoothing, should you so wish.
To top it all off, this is one of Samsung's Mini LED-backlit Neo QLED models. It goes brilliantly bright and, thanks to thousands of individual zones, has excellent contrast, too. If that makes it sound like a bit of a blunt instrument, the opposite is actually true – the QN900A is just as capable of delivering nuance and subtlety as it is awesome punch and vibrancy. This is a truly exceptional TV that will reward those willing to sacrifice the money and space.
Read the full Samsung QN75QN900A review
The A80J might well be the best performance-per-pound TV that Sony has ever produced, boasting most of the brilliance of the flagship A90J at a much lower price. It's actually better than the LGs and Samsungs in this list when it comes to watching movies and TV shows, and only ends up below them in this list because it's slightly behind in terms of next-gen gaming specs.
The good news is that the A80J does have HDMI 2.1 sockets that support 4K@120Hz and ALLM, but there are only two of them and one of them also handles eARC/ARC, potentially limiting you to connecting just one HDMI 2.1 source if you need to use the other for your sound system. VRR is missing at this stage, too – Sony says this will be added via a firmware update, but said update keeps getting delayed.
Finally, while the A80J's 4K@120Hz feature works fine with a PS5, it causes problems with an Xbox Series X if Dolby Atmos sound is also enabled. It also appears to disable ALLM, which works fine when 60Hz is selected.
It’s also worth noting that to enable 4K@120Hz, Dolby Vision is disabled, so you won’t get Dolby Vision from the Xbox Series X’s built-in apps unless you first switch the TV from its ‘Enhanced Format’ mode (which enables 4K@120Hz) to its ‘Enhanced Format (Dolby Vision)’ mode. You then have to switch back if you want to play a game in 4K@120Hz. With an LG OLED, you don’t have to jump through any of these hoops – it simply works.
Plenty of caveats, then, but none that should be of concern to PS5 gamers, and the A80J's superb picture and sound performance translates very well indeed to 4K and HD games.
We've tested the A80J in its 55-inch size, but it's also available as a 65-inch and 77-inch model. We've not yet reviewed those versions but you'll see the latest, lowest prices for all models below.
Read the full Sony XR-55A80J review
The X90J’s pictures aren’t exactly shy and retiring – and that’s fine by us. Exceptional amounts of brightness make it onto the screen with startling consistency, delivering some of the most flat-out punchy and bright HDR pictures we’ve ever seen on a 50-inch TV.
It’s not just brightness for brightness sake, either. Sony is unashamedly using it to deliver as uncompromising an HDR experience as it can within its backlight limitations. So daylight HDR scenes look more natural and realistically bright by far than they do on any other current TV in its size and class.
Even more impressively, the XR-50X90J has enough headroom with its brightness to ensure that the brightest highlights of already bright HDR images enjoy that extra step up in intensity that usually only the most premium TVs provide.
The price you pay for this superb brightness is slightly elevated black levels and occasional backlight blooming, but neither issue is a huge deal-breaker, and you can also add excellent motion processing, natural colors and decently dynamic sound to the list of the Sony's strong points.
It's also got two HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K at 120Hz, making it a good option for next-gen gamers. VRR support is due to be added, too, although this has been promised for a while.
As well as the 50-inch model, we've also tested the X90J at 65 inches, and that's a very solid gaming TV, too. There are also 55-inch and 75-inch versions available. You'll find the latest, lowest prices below.
Read the full Sony XR-50X90J review
Read the full Sony XR-65X90J review