Best 40, 42 and 43in TVs: 'small' 4K TV bargains

Best 40, 42 and 43-inch TV Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best  40, 42 and 43-inch TVs you can buy in 2019.

TVs have just got bigger and bigger in recent years, which means suddenly, there isn't quite so much action at this screen size. The likes of LG, Panasonic and Sony don't spent too much time concerning themselves with smaller screen sizes - and lest we forget, a 40, 42 or 43-inch TV is still a very decent-sized screen.

Unfortunately, flagship specs are rarely, if ever, available at sizes such as these - heck, the smallest OLED currently available is 55in - so if this is as big as you can go, you're going to have to accept that your new TV will probably be a little bit basic compared to the big boys out there.

As mentioned, you won't find an OLED at this size, so you'll be looking at LCD models with LED backlights, generally of the edge variety. Direct LED (also known as full array) backlights aren't unheard of at these sizes, but they are relatively rare.

4K is now common on 40, 42 and 43in sets, even at the budget end, and support for HDR formats is usually included, too, but peak brightness and colour depth are often a bit limited so it's generally best not to expect the sort of dazzling HDR performance that you get from bigger, more expensive sets.

TVs at these sizes almost always have a smart platform that gives access to streaming apps, although the operating system might be a little stripped-back compared to more premium TVs from the same brand. At the very least you should expect Netflix and Amazon Video to be on board.

Got all of that? Then here are our favourite 48, 49 and 50in TVs for your delectation.

Best 40, 42 and 43in TVs: 'small' 4K TV bargains

1. Philips 43PUS6703

It isn't perfect, but this Philips is our current favourite at this size.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD with edge LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | HDMI inputs: 3 | HDR: HDR10, HLG | Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 57 x 97 x 7.7cm

Reasons to Buy
Natural pictures across sources
Ambilight
Decent app selection
Reasons to Avoid
Weak HDR performance
Occasionally frustrating operation
Imperfect motion

A disappointing HDR performance doesn't stop this Philips being our favourite current TV at this size.

The built-in Amblight tech, which extends the colours of the onscreen action onto the wall around the TV using a series of LEDs on the back, goes a long way to winning us over, but it's the natural and detailed picture with all SDR content that we appreciate the most. The thorough selection of apps helps, too.

Read the full review: Philips 43PUS6703

Best 40, 42 and 43in TVs: 'small' 4K TV bargains

2. Sony KD-43XF8505

This Sony struggles to justify its high price, but some might find the performance worth paying for.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD with edge LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | HDMI inputs: 4 | HDR: HDR10, HLG | Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 57 x 97 x 5.8cm

Reasons to Buy
Vibrant, natural colours
Good detail and motion
Excellent upscaling
Reasons to Avoid
Struggles to produce blacks
Poor off-axis viewing
Juddery in use

A handsome, premium-looking TV by the standards of this size, the Sony KD-43XF8505 is in many ways the best performer in its class, with fabulous colours, good detail and excellent motion. The Android TV operating system, meanwhile, is a bit jerky here but does allow access to one of the broadest selections of streaming services available.

The XF8505's problems are a weak backlight that refuses to darken enough to produce good blacks, and a high price for the size. Still, if you can find it discounted (we tested it at £699), it's worth a look.

Read the full review: Sony KD-43XF8505