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Best 40, 42 and 43in TVs: small 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.

Manufacturers really, really want you to buy one of their biggest and most expensive TVs. To such an extent, in fact, that they dedicate almost no effort to promoting their smaller sets.

But for many people, a 65-inch TV is too big and even 50-inch is a stretch. That's where the 40, 42 or 43-inch TV comes in. Lest we forget, a few short years ago this was considered large for a telly, and a TV in one of these sizes can still be fairly cinematic without, you know, turning your lounge into a cinema.

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 40, 42 and 43in TVs for your delectation. And with Black Friday just a few short weeks away, it's a good time to be keeping an eye out for bargains.

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

(Image credit: Future)

1. Samsung UE43RU7470

The best 'small' TV around right now - and it's great value

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD with edge LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | HDMI inputs: 3 | HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG | Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 56 x 97 x 5.8cm

Reasons to Buy

Budget price
Excellent 1080p upscaling
Impressive HDR performance

Reasons to Avoid

Panel could be brighter

The Samsung UE43RU7470 seems like impossibly good value. It ticks all the right tech boxes – 4K, HDR (including HDR10+), and peerless selection of streaming apps that includes the brilliant Apple TV and arguably the best user experience in the business. All of this wrapped up into a lifestyle-friendly 43 inches and priced at a wallet-friendly £429.

To top it all off, the performance is excellent. A more premium (and therefore almost certainly bigger) TV will go even brighter than this, but the RU7470 is punchy in its own right and takes a much more sophisticated and subtle approach to colours and definition than you might expect. All told, it's a lovely TV to watch and to live with.

It’s worth noting that UE43RU7470 is a Currys exclusive, but that Samsung says its performance is identical to that of the UE43RU7400 and UE43RU7410, with the only differences between the three models being aesthetics. Having not tested all variants we can't vouch for that, but there's little reason to doubt Samsung's claim.

Read the full review: Samsung UE43RU7470

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

2. 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

3. 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