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Best 48, 49 and 50-inch 4K TVs 2019: budget to premium TVs

Best 48, 49 and 50-inch TV Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best 48, 49 and 50-inch TVs you can buy in 2019.

There was a time when a 48 inch, 49 inch or 50 inch TV would have been considered huge – it's now considered by many manufacturers to be too small to receive true, flagship features. OLED TVs don't get smaller than 55in, for example, neither does Samsung's flagship QLED range.

But what if that's the maximum size you want or are able to fit in your lounge? We've got good news. While a true flagship TV might be out of the question, you're in prime mainstream territory, where manufacturers and retailers sell the most models and where competition is at its fiercest. In other words, you can expect to get excellent value for money.

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. You can expect HDR, too, at least in HDR10 form but often in the more advanced HLG, Dolby Vision and/or HDR10+.

Most TVs at the size will have edge LED backlights, but some, generally more expensive models might have a direct, full array backlight that could result in greater brightness and contrast. That's no given, though - there are plenty of very good edge backlights out there and a fair few poor direct backlights. Use our reviews for guidance or, even better, check out the sets for yourself in your local shop.

Below you'll find our pick of the best 48, 49 and 50in TVs. If this is the size you've selected, scroll down to find your next TV.

How we choose the best 48, 49 and 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.

Best 49 inch TV

(Image credit: Future / Captain Marvel)

1. Samsung QE49Q70R

Stunning colours, intricate blacks and surprisingly good sound.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: QLED | Resolution: 4K | HDR support: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG | HDMI inputs: 4 | Dimensions (hwd, with stand): 70.8 x 109.5 x 24.8cm (with stand)

Reasons to Buy
Textured & detailed blacks
Huge breadth of colour
Thin-bezel design
Vast app selection
Reasons to Avoid
No Dolby Vision support
Slightly exaggerated reds

The title of best 49 inch TV isn't the hardest to win – there simply aren't that many to be found. That said, we're confident this Samsung 49 inch TV would do well even given a little more competition. It's the smallest QLED TV Samsung does, and OLED TVs don't go smaller than 55 inches, so there's a fair shout for this being the smallest top-quality TV around.

It doesn't have a flagship design or Samsung's One Connect box for keeping all your connections separate but it does have a thorough selection of inputs, outputs and features. This Q70R uses full array backlighting for the ultimate picture performance and you can test that out on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV, Google Play Movies and more. Samsung's Bixby, Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant are all here, too, and you can seize control with the SmartThings app.

Performance wise, it's a strong showing across the board. It justifies its fairly hefty price tag with great detail, vibrant, intense colours, palpable solidity and three-dimensionality. It's a cut above the prevailing standard for sound quality, too.

Read the full review: Samsung QE49Q70R

(Image credit: Future)

2. Panasonic TX-50GX800B

Broad format support and a natural performance make this a great budget TV

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD | Resolution: 4K | HDR support: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision | HDMI inputs: 3 | Dimensions (hwd, with stand): 65 x 112 x 6.2cm

Reasons to Buy
HDR10+ and Dolby Vision
Smooth, natural performance
Lots of detail
Reasons to Avoid
Weak viewing angles
Others are punchier
Average sound

A great, feature-packed TV, the delivers impressive performance on a budget. It's the first TV we’ve tested that supports both of the two competing dynamic metadata-based HDR formats, Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Panasonic (and other brands) claim that HDR formats with dynamic metadata are of more use to lower-end sets than flagship models, as they tailor the image to the specific capabilities of the set. It’s a compelling argument, and while this TV can't match the premium TVs, this is an undeniably great budget TV for the money.

Amazon and Netflix are here, in all their HDR 4K glory, as well as a whole host of the usual catch-up streaming TV apps, but no sign of Now TV or Spotify. There are enough HDMI and USB connections, plus optical and headphone outputs. The picture produced is natural, clean and free from motion judder. Black levels are pretty good, though they're let down by poor viewing angles, the picture losing brightness off-axis. 

Still, despite typically lightweight sound from a flat TV (even with 'Atmos' mode on board) we still think the performance here is good enough to make it a great deal at this price. A simple but effective 50 inch 4K TV.

Read the full review Panasonic TX-50GX800B

Best 48, 49 and 50-inch TVs 2019: Budget to premium 4K TVs

3. Philips 50PUS6703

This Award-winning Ambilight TV has a picture to brighten up your day.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD with edge LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | HDMI inputs: 3 | HDR: HDR10, HLG | Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 66 x 113 x 8.3cm

Reasons to Buy
Popping, dynamic image
Great handling of detail
Ambilight
Reasons to Avoid
Dull user interface
Amazon Prime Video isn’t HDR
Uninspired remote

Philips is enjoying a good run of form with excellent value TVs, and this 2018 What Hi-Fi? Award winner is the best of the lot.

Like any TV at this sort of price, the 50PUS6703 has its shortcomings: a pretty lacklustre interface and the absence of HDR support within the Amazon Prime Video app are the big ones. But it more than makes up for that with an impressively punchy, dynamic and detailed picture and an effective implementation of Ambilight (lights that shine on the wall behind and to the side of the TV to enhance what you're watching).

Netflix (4K HDR) and Amazon (4K) are both on-board, and on the catch-up side iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 and Demand5 all make an appearance. All in all, the 50PUS6703 is a superb TV at a startlingly low cost.

Read the full review: Philips 50PUS6703

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