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Best 50-inch TVs 2022: 4K TVs for every budget

Best 50-inch TV Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best 50-inch TVs you can buy in 2022.

There was a time when a 48-inch, 49-inch or 50-inch TV would have been considered huge – in 2022 it's now considered by many manufacturers (and some consumers) to be almost small and, as a result, unworthy of the latest tech. 

It was only in 2019 that the first Samsung QLED was released at this size, and it took until 2020 for the first OLED TVs at this size to appear (and, as you'll see below, very good they are too).

But what if a 50-inch screen is the maximum size TV that you want or are able to fit in your room? We've got good news. Not only can you now get a true flagship TV (one of those aforementioned 48-inch OLEDs), you're also in prime mainstream territory, where manufacturers and retailers sell the most models and where competition is at its fiercest. In other words, the best 48-inch, 49-inch and 50-inch TVs should deliver excellent value for money.

When it comes to picture technology, almost all models at this size are now 4K, and there's no need to look for a Full HD model, because these 4K TVs are already very affordable indeed. 

Features should be strong across the board, so expect streaming apps from Amazon, Disney+, Netflix, YouTube and more to come as a standard. You can expect HDR, too, at least in HDR10 form but often in the more advanced HLG, Dolby Vision and/or HDR10+, ensuring the best possible 4K pictures. 

Read on for our pick of the best 48, 49 and 50 inch TVs. 

How we choose the best 50 inch TVs

Here at What Hi-Fi? we review hundreds of products every year – and that includes plenty of TVs. So how do we come to our review verdicts? And why can you trust them?

We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London and Bath, where our team of expert reviewers do all our testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency. 

All products are tested in comparison with rival products in the same price category, and 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're getting a What Hi-Fi? approved product.

OLED TV: LG OLED48C1

(Image credit: LG/ Netflix, On My Block)

1. LG OLED48C1

The C1 isn’t much of a step-up from the CX, but it didn’t need to be – this is a superb TV at a competitive price

Specifications

Screen size: 48" (also available in 55", 65", 77", 83")
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: webOS 6.0
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 62 x 107 x 4.7cm

Reasons to buy

+
Good tonal details
+
Exciting, punchy picture
+
Brilliant for gamers

Reasons to avoid

-
Marginal gains on last year’s CX
-
Sound could do with more punch

There are few sets that scream ‘gaming TV’ quite like the LG OLED48C1, but don’t let that put you off if all you’re after is a modest-sized screen with top-notch picture quality. That’s very much LG’s MO too.

LG has been one of a happy few leading the way with OLED technology for many years now and, even before 2021, the company has had its C-series sets in a really good place, offering some very credible dark detail to accompany those typically deep OLED blacks. And don’t get us started on the rich, vibrant colors.

The current model boasts improved motion handling and better shading, but is largely the same great TV as before. It also boasts support for every gaming feature under the sun, right up to 4K@120Hz with Dolby Vision.

There's simply no better TV at this size.

Read the full LG OLED48C1 review

Best 48-inch TV

(Image credit: Sony / The Boys, Amazon Prime)

2. Sony KD-48A9

Sony’s first 48-inch OLED TV is superb.

Specifications

Screen size: 48in
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: Android TV 9
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 24" x 42" x 1.8"

Reasons to buy

+
Striking picture
+
Bold sound
+
Solid app selection

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Lacks next-gen HDMI features

While Sony's 2020 48-inch OLED isn't quite the king it was at launch, it is still an excellent buy. Sony has embraced the smaller size, making the XBR-48A9S as petite as possible thanks to its tiny bezels and low profile pedestal stand. It does have a rather large enclosure bolted onto the back (to house the speakers, processing hardware and connections), but you'll only notice if you look at the set side-on.

Sony's X1 Ultimate processor makes images suitably stunning, there's plenty of dark detail on show, and it serves up pretty much every streaming app you could hope for. Motion control is still industry-leading, and in terms of sharpness and detail, there's never been a better TV at this size.

It's lacking the next-gen gaming features of the LG C1 and CX, but if you're more into movies and TV shows, this remains a superb option.

Read the full Sony XBR-48A9S review

50-inch 4K TV: Sony XBR-50X90J

(Image credit: Sony / Lost In Space, Netflix)

3. Sony XR-50X90J

Charge of the bright brigade

Specifications

Screen size: 50in (also available in 55in, 65in and 75in)
Type: LCD
Backlight: Direct LED
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: Google TV
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 26" x 44" x 2.8"

Reasons to buy

+
Very punchy HDR
+
Good value
+
Sounds impressive for its size

Reasons to avoid

-
Blacks could be deeper
-
Some backlight blooming
-
Lacking key UK catch up apps

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. On the subject of promised features, apps for BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4 are currently missing from the X90J's smart platform. Will they ever be added? Sony has always said 'yes', but we're not so sure.

Still, if you've already got a dedicated streamer and you like the sound of Sony's brightness-first approach, the X90J is a strong option at its size and price.

Read the full Sony XR-50X90J review

Best 50-inch TV

(Image credit: LG / The Boys, Amazon Prime)

4. LG OLED48CX

The first 48-inch OLED of the 4K era – and it's an absolute stunner.

Specifications

Screen size: 48in (also available in 55in, 65in, 77in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: webOS
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 24" x 42" x 1.8"

Reasons to buy

+
Flagship-level OLED performance
+
Dramatic but natural picture
+
Forward-looking feature set

Reasons to avoid

-
Superseded by C1

The OLED48CX was the first 48-inch OLED TV that we reviewed – and we were, and remain, very impressed.

Picture quality is superb. The perfect blacks and near-perfect viewing angles combine with bright, punchy whites and vibrant but natural colors. LG's motion processing was a big step up in 2020 and its upscaling of 1080p and standard-def content remains among the best in the business.

On top of all that you get certified HDMI 2.1 sockets that support next-gen features such as eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), HFR (High Frame Rate), ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), and all current formats of VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). All of these are useful if you're looking to upgrade to the PS5 or Xbox Series X.

The only issue for the CX is that it's been replaced by the C1, which is the same but just a little bit better. Still, if you can find this 2020 model with a tasty discount, snap it up.

Read the full LG OLED48CX review

Samsung QN50QN90A

(Image credit: Samsung / The Unforgivable, Netflix)

5. Samsung QN50QN90A

Because small TVs are worth it too

Specifications

Screen size: 50" (also available in 43", 55", 65", 75", 98")
Type: QLED
Backlight: Mini LED
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HLG, HDR10, HDR10+
Operating system: Tizen
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 25" x 44" x 1.1"

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing contrast
+
Outstanding sharpness and detail
+
Excellent operating system

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive for its size
-
Only one HDMI 2.1 socket
-
No Dolby Vision

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.

While you need to tweak a couple of things to get the best out of it, a well set up QE50QN90A proves that Samsung’s Mini LED-driven Neo QLED technology is capable of elevating the brand’s TVs to new OLED-challenging performance heights even at a relatively mainstream size.

We reviewed the 50-inch version of the QN90A, but it's available in a huge variety of sizes, ranging from 43 inches right up to a whopping 98 inches.

Read the full Samsung QE50QN90A review

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Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. He began his career as What Hi-Fi?'s Staff Writer and is now the TV and AV Editor. In between, he worked as Reviews Editor and then Deputy Editor at Stuff, and over the years has had his work featured in publications such as T3, The Telegraph and Louder. He's also appeared on BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and Sky Swipe. In his spare time Tom is a runner and gamer.