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Taken in Reviewed Testing Lab

The Best 55-inch TVs of 2021

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With its top-shelf performance and incredible array of future-facing features, the LG C1 is one of the best TVs of the year and one of the best TVs we've ever tested, period. Read More

Pros

  • Incredible contrast and color
  • Impressive array of features

Cons

  • Not a good fit for particularly bright rooms

The TCL 6-Series is one of the most value-packed TVs, offering a bright, colorful picture, a built-in smart platform, and a host of gaming-centric features. Read More

Pros

  • Quantum-dot brightness and color
  • Built-in Roku
  • Great choice for next-gen gaming

Cons

  • Garden-variety design
  • Lackluster internal speakers

The Sony A90J OLED is one of the brightest, most accurate OLED TVs we've ever tested. If you can swallow the cost, it'll serve you well for years to come. Read More

Pros

  • Incredible contrast and color
  • HDMI 2.1-specified features
  • Zippy, flexible smart platform

Cons

  • Brighter than last year, but still dim compared to LCD/LED TVs

This 77-inch screen offers incredible contrast, spectacular color, and a full suite of future-proof features. But the price point is considerable. Read More

Pros

  • Top-tier picture quality
  • Speedy processing
  • Beautiful design

Cons

  • Overkill for many shoppers

The LG BX is one of the most affordable ways to secure incredible OLED performance as well as future-proof features like HDMI 2.1 ports and FreeSync support. Read More

Pros

  • Perfect black levels
  • Voluminous color
  • Incredible design

Cons

  • Not quite as bright as other high-end TVs
  • LG C1

  • TCL 6-Series

  • How We Tested

  • What You Should Know About TVs

  • Other 55-inch TVs We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

We've all read "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," right? There's something to be learned from those hot and cold bowls of porridge about a thing being "just right," and when it comes to TVs, 55 inches is one of the most popular screen sizes around the world for a reason. Not too big and not too small, 55-inch TVs feel luxuriously large without entirely dominating your living room.

If you just want the best 55-inch TV money can buy, go with the LG C1 OLED (available at Amazon for $1,296.99). Between the array of future-facing features and mind-blowing OLED picture quality, you really can't go wrong. That said, if you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on the best TV money can buy, we totally understand. That’s why we’ve tested great TVs in every price bracket—we’re sure you’ll find something that fits your budget.

These are the best TVs we tested, ranked in order:

  1. LG C1
  2. Sony A90J
  3. LG G1
  4. LG BX
  5. Samsung QN90A
  6. Vizio OLED
  7. Samsung Q90T
  8. TCL 6-Series
  9. Samsung QN85A
  10. Samsung Q80A
  11. Samsung Q60A
  12. Sony X800H
  13. TCL 5-Series

The LG C1 OLED TV displaying 4K/HDR content
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The LG C1 series combines the unbelievable performance of an OLED with an array of exciting features.

Best Overall
LG C1

The LG C1 (available in 48-, 55-, 65-, and 77-inch models) is a stunning OLED TV with an array of future-facing features that will help maintain its value for several years to come. It’s easy to see why it’s our pick for the best 55-inch TV you can buy right now.

OLED TVs are known for their incredible contrast, and the LG C1 is no exception. It pairs a perfect black level with stellar highlights, offering a sustained peak brightness of around 700 to 800 nits in HDR, making it one of the brightest OLED TVs we’ve ever seen. When it comes to color, the C1 is a top-level performer, too; it features 100% SDR color saturation (Rec.709) and 97% HDR color saturation (DCI-P3). That means no matter what you’re watching, you can expect rich, true-to-life color. From cable TV to Blu-rays, the C1 makes TVs and movies look their best.

The LG C1 is equipped with four HDMI 2.1 inputs that all support 4K resolution at 120fps, which makes it a great choice for gamers who own (or plan on owning) an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. In fact, the LG C1 is stuffed with gaming-centric features, like Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and FreeSync/G-Sync support, and a suite of picture enhancements that can be found in the TV’s Game Optimizer menu.

The C1 also comes with the sixth iteration of LG’s webOS smart platform pre-installed, and while it’s not our favorite smart software going right now, most folks will find it suitable to their needs; it’s zippy, easy to navigate, and offers a broad selection of apps via LG’s Content Store.

Although the LG G1 and the Sony A90J are better-performing TVs by the thinnest of margins, we believe that, for most folks, the slight difference in picture quality isn’t worth the added cost.

Between its incredible performance, its wide array of features, and its elegant design, the LG C1 is the best TV you can buy right now. True A/V enthusiasts might be tempted by the LG G1 and the Sony A90J’s slightly superior picture quality, but if you want the best ride for your money, the C1 offers a nearly identical experience for a considerably friendlier price.

Pros

  • Incredible contrast and color

  • Impressive array of features

Cons

  • Not a good fit for particularly bright rooms

TCL 6-Series (2020)
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The 2020 TCL 6-Series offers a taste of quantum dot performance for a price most people can justify.

Best Value
TCL 6-Series

The 55-inch TCL 6-Series (also available in 65- and 75-inch variants) is one of the most value-packed TVs of the year, thanks to a robust offering of features and picture quality that punches well above its weight. All told, the 6-Series performs better than just about every TV in its price range, making it a great pick for folks looking to maximize their dollar.

The TCL 6-Series produces a bright, colorful 4K picture during both SDR and HDR content, thanks in part to the TV’s quantum dots. In our lab, we consistently clocked the 6-Series at around 800-900 nits of brightness while receiving an HDR signal. This makes the 6-Series a fantastic option for folks whose living rooms receive a fair amount of ambient light. The inclusion of quantum dots also makes for rich, well-saturated colors, particularly during HDR content.

Gamers will be thrilled with the 6-Series’ native 120 Hz refresh rate (up to 1440p at 120 Hz) as well as the addition of something called THX Certified Game Mode, a suite of enhancements that includes VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) support and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) to adjust to the different frame rate of gaming content.

Being a Roku TV, the TCL 6-Series comes equipped with our favorite streaming platform right out of the box. Its software is sleek, easy to use, and offers access to a vast library of apps.

The TCL 6-Series isn’t quite as impressive as the top TVs on our list, but its performance and features are highly commendable given its price tag. In short, it’s one of the best deals in the industry at the moment.

Pros

  • Quantum-dot brightness and color

  • Built-in Roku

  • Great choice for next-gen gaming

Cons

  • Garden-variety design

  • Lackluster internal speakers

How We Tested

Credit: Reviewed

Our lab is outfitted with much of the same equipment you would find at a factory that manufactures and calibrates televisions.

The Testers

Reviewed has been testing TVs since some of its current employees were in middle school. While many proud TV testers have come and gone through Reviewed's labs, the current Home Theater team consists of Michael Desjardin and Lee Neikirk. Michael is a senior staff writer and a six-year veteran of the Reviewed tech team. A film enthusiast and TV expert, he takes picture quality seriously but also understands that not every TV is a good fit for everyone.

As Reviewed's Home Theater Editor, Lee doesn't do as much testing these days. However, he designed the company's current TV testing methodology after receiving calibration certification from the Imaging Science Foundation.

A TV tester measuring a TV's contrast
Credit: Reviewed / Chris Snow

We measure things like peak brightness, black level, hue, and so on.

The Tests

It'd be an understatement to say that we're serious about TV testing. The lab in our Cambridge location is outfitted with much of the same equipment you'd find at a factory that manufactures and calibrates television.

On the hardware side, we've got things like a Konica Minolta CS-200 tristimulus color meter, an LS-100 luminance meter, a Leo Bodnar input lag tester, a Quantum Data 780A signal generator, and more Blu-rays than we can keep track of. For software, we use CalMan Ultimate, the industry-standard in taking display measurements and calibrating screens to specifications.

Our testing process is equally complicated and has been honed over many years to gather data that is marginal enough to satisfy curious video engineers, but also relevant to the average person's viewing experience. We measure things like peak brightness, black level, hue and saturation for primary and secondary digital colors, the accuracy of the TV's electro-optical transfer function—you get the idea, it's complicated.

Weighting for our performance tests is based on how the human eye prioritizes vision, which means we put "brightness" data (monochromatic eye based on light sensitivity) higher than colorimetry, which is also scaled by the eye's sensitivity, and so on.

Outside of the strictly technical tests, we also spend a lot of time just watching and using each TV, getting a feel for the at-home experience of doing things like dialing up streaming video service, connecting a Blu-ray player and watching movies, using the smart features, and checking out the TV's ports, remote, and on-set buttons—anything and everything that might be relevant.

What You Should Know About TVs

While everyone has different eyes, generally, our vision all functions the same way: we prioritize dynamic information and bright, compelling colors over subtler hues and resolution (sharpness). Generally, a TV can be considered a good TV when we forget that we're watching a TV. We don't see pixels creating mixes of red, green, and blue to simulate colors; we see the real world, lit and colored as it is, in fluid motion.

In simpler terms, this means a TV that can get very bright and dark without obscuring details; produces accurate colors (compared to various color standards designated by the International Telecommunication Union); possesses proper bit-mapping and the right codecs and decoders for video processing; and can properly play the various types of content thrown at it without judder, blurring, and so on.

Note that specs alone (pixel count, measured brightness) aren't automatic indicators of quality, much like intense speed is not automatically an indicator of a good car.

What TV Terms Do I Need To Know?

When it comes to knowing what you're paying for, almost no category is more rife with subterfuge and tomfoolery than TVs. While knowing the specs of the TV you're shopping for is only half the battle, it's the bigger half. Here are the key bits of jargon you'll want to know while browsing:

LED/LCD: This refers to Light Emitting Diode and Liquid Crystal Display. LEDs are the backlights used in LCD TVs, also sometimes called a LED TV for this reason. The LED backlight shines through a layer of a semi-solid substance called "liquid crystal," so named for its ability to morph in reaction to tiny electrical volts and allow light to pass through.

OLED: This means Organic Light Emitting Diode. This is an altogether different panel technology than LED/LCD, albeit on the surface they work similarly. Rather than an LED backlight element shining through an LCD panel element, OLED TVs essentially combine the backlight and crystal array, using sub-pixel strata that produce light and color individually.

4K/UHD: Usually 4K refers to resolution—specifically, 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. This is the current standard/mainstream resolution for most TVs. UHD means Ultra High Definition, and actually refers to a suite of picture improvements like 4K resolution, Wide Color Gamut, and High Dynamic Range.

High Dynamic Range: Like "UHD," High Dynamic Range (or HDR) refers to both a type of TV and a type of content that expands on the typical range of brightness (luminance) and color that a TV will produce. HDR TVs are newer and usually a bit more expensive, but can have four times the brightness and 30% more color production than non-HDR TVs, at least. Current HDR formats are HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

60 Hz/120 Hz: These numbers refer to what is called a "refresh rate," with Hz (hertz) meaning "times per second." So if a TV's refresh rate is 60 Hz, this means it re-scans and updates for picture information 60 times per second; with 120 Hz, it's 120 times per second. Currently, TVs only come in 60 or 120 Hz. A higher refresh rate is always better, but not always necessary.

Smart TV: The term "smart TV" has evolved a lot over the years, but all it really means is that the TV connects to the internet. Most smart TVs these days are just a way to watch streaming services like Amazon Prime Video on your TV. Some smart TVs have browsers, calendars, or even Roku or Android functions. All smart TVs have ethernet or WiFi built-in.

Quantum Dots: Quantum dots are used in LED/LCD TVs only. These are microscopic nanocrystals that produce intensely colored light when struck with light. Quantum dots can be used to vastly improve the red and green saturation of a TV, and are one way that LED/LCD TVs can match the color spectrum of OLED.

Local Dimming: OLED panels look great because each pixel can operate independently. LED/LCD TVs can imitate this functioning via a process called local dimming, where localized clusters of LEDs dim or boost depending on whether the screen needs to be darker or brighter, sometimes vastly improving their performance and worth.

What is a TV Series?

You may notice the TVs listed in this roundup don't follow the traditional naming convention you might see in a store or online. That's because rather than nominating a single size of TV (such as the LG OLED65C8PUA, aka the 65-inch LG C8 series OLED), we nominate the entire range of sizes within a "series."

Typically these TVs are identical in performance but differ in price and size. We do this in order to offer you more flexibility in your decision, but also because it's the most accurate representation available.


Other 55-inch TVs We Tested

Product image of Sony XR-55A90J
Sony A90J

If quality is what you’re after and you don’t mind splashing out on a high-end TV, the Sony A90J is not only one of the best OLED TVs we’ve ever tested, but one of the best TVs we’ve ever tested, period.

The A90J blends the picture-perfect black levels of an OLED with some of the brightest highlights we’ve ever seen for this impressive display technology. In HDR, the A90J regularly climbs as high as 700 to 800 nits, with specular highlights getting much brighter than that in short bursts. The added brightness also elevates the TV’s colors, which are equal parts voluminous and accurate. In fact, the A90J’s HDR color palette covers about 98% of the expanded DCI-P3 color space when the TV is in its “Custom” picture mode.

The Sony A90J is also packed to the gills with features and enhancements, including the Google TV smart platform (which replaces Android TV), eARC compatibility, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision support, a native refresh rate of 120 Hz, and Center Speaker mode, which allows users to use the A90J’s internal speakers as the center channel of a surround sound setup.

Crucially, two of the A90J’s HDMI 2.1-specified ports offer Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low Latency Mode, and support 4K content at 120 FPS. If you own (or plan on owning) a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, these features are essential if you’re hoping to get the most out of the newest generation of gaming consoles.

If there’s one major criticism you can level at this remarkable TV, it’s that its cost is much higher than most TVs. Even among other high-end TVs in its own category, the Sony A90J sticks out as one of the priciest. Still, if you have the means and you’re searching for a TV with incredible out-of-the-box performance, the A90J is one of the best you’ll find on shelves today.

Pros

  • Incredible contrast and color

  • HDMI 2.1-specified features

  • Zippy, flexible smart platform

Cons

  • Brighter than last year, but still dim compared to LCD/LED TVs

Product image of LG OLED65G1PUA
LG G1

The LG G1 (available in 55, 65, and 77 inches) is the crown jewel of LG’s consumer-facing OLED TV lineup for 2021, offering slightly better performance than the LG C1, though at a significantly higher price point. It’s not an ideal fit for most people—even many folks shopping in a higher price bracket—but it’s an incredible TV stuffed with an incredible amount of features.

Being an OLED TV, the LG G1 sports perfect black levels and an incredible level of picture detail. It’s one of the few LG OLED TVs that uses the company’s “OLED “evo” panel technology, which allows the G1 to get slightly brighter than the LG C1. The OLED evo panel is also marginally better at saturating HDR color than the C1. That said, only the keenest of eyes will recognize the difference in picture quality between the G1 and the C1.

In terms of features, the G1 offers everything but the kitchen sink. With a 120Hz refresh rate, HDMI 2.1, G-Sync/FreeSync, Auto Low Latency Mode, and various game optimization settings, the G1 is one of the best TVs available for gamers. It also comes with the sixth iteration of LG’s webOS smart platform, which we find fast and flexible enough for most users.

The “G” in G1 stands for “Gallery,” and LG’s Gallery OLED series carries that name because it’s designed to hang on a wall like a piece of art. If you don’t want to wall-mount your next TV, you’ll need to shell out extra for the G1’s stand, which is sold separately.

There’s no denying that the LG G1 is one of the best TVs we’ve ever seen, and one that performs marginally better than the LG C1. The added cost, however, is anything but marginal—especially once you factor in the G1’s separately sold stand. For this reason, the G1 isn’t at the top of our ranking. If you decide to go all-in on the G1, however, you’ll be investing in one of the best TVs money can buy—and it’ll stay that way for years to come.

Editor's note: As of May, 2021, the most reliable place to find the LG G1 in stock is via LG's online store. According to LG, new inventory is being added regularly.

Pros

  • Top-tier picture quality

  • Speedy processing

  • Beautiful design

Cons

  • Overkill for many shoppers

Product image of LG OLED55BXPUA
LG BX

The 55-inch LG BX (also available in a 65-inch variant) is one of the most affordable OLED TV series released in 2020, which makes it a great pickup for folks who don’t mind paying a premium for stunning, top-of-the-line TV technology, but nevertheless don’t want to spend the extra dough to land a better-performing TV, like the LG CX.

The BX is a 4K TV with HDR support including Dolby Vision. Since it’s an OLED TV, you can expect perfect black levels and dazzling, voluminous color. Like the CX OLED, the BX also comes with LG's webOS smart platform pre-installed. The software is user-friendly, responsive, and should satisfy AV enthusiasts and novices alike.

For some folks—gamers in particular—the main draw of the BX will be its special features; the TV is equipped with HDMI 2.1 ports, supports FreeSync/G-Sync, and features a native refresh rate of 120 Hz. Simply put, the BX is one of the most affordable ways to secure a TV that will get the most out of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, even if its price tag doesn’t seem very affordable at first glance.

Because OLED TVs don’t get as bright as quantum dot LED TVs—and because the LG BX isn’t as bright as higher-end OLED TVs like the LG CX—folks with relatively bright living rooms might want to give brighter TVs a closer look. The LG BX isn’t exactly a dim TV, but it’s not as bright as you might expect given its price tag.

Here’s the bottom line: The LG BX isn’t a budget-friendly TV, but it is one of the most affordable ways to secure incredible OLED performance and future-proof features.

Pros

  • Perfect black levels

  • Voluminous color

  • Incredible design

Cons

  • Not quite as bright as other high-end TVs

Product image of Samsung QN55QN90AAFXZA
Samsung QN55QN90AAFXZA

If you’re shopping for a top-shelf TV with a bright, colorful picture, the Samsung QN90A (available in 55-, 65-, 75-, and 85-inch models) is one of the year’s best options. It combines the impressive performance we’ve come to expect from Samsung’s flagship TVs with an incredible toolbox of extra features and enhancements.

The QN90A is outfitted with Samsung’s Neo QLED display technology, which marries quantum dots with mini-LED backlights. Quantum dots make for a brighter, more color-rich picture, while the TV’s abundance of mini-LEDs allows for better-than-average black levels and tight contrast control. The end result is one of the best pictures we’ve seen all year, especially when it comes to HDR content.

But the QN90A’s dazzling display is only half of its appeal, as it’s packed to the brim with hardware and software enhancements. The TV’s 120Hz refresh rate—combined with its HDMI 2.1 support—make it a great choice for avid gamers. It supports both Auto Low Latency Mode and Variable Refresh Rate, two features widely considered essential for next-generation gaming. The QN90A also puts all of its gaming-related settings in an easy-to-access menu called Game Bar—a feature introduced in a handful of Samsung TVs in 2021.

The QN90A offers a host of extras not related to gaming, too, from Multi View (which allows users to watch more than one source at a time) to the Samsung Health ecosystem. And while the QN90A’s Tizen-based smart platform isn’t our favorite, it’s easy to use and offers enough flexibility for most users.

All told, the Samsung QN90A is the best Samsung TV in 2021, and while it’s not exactly budget-friendly, its excellent performance and future-facing features make it a great option for shoppers seeking a luxury TV experience.

Pros

  • Searing brightness

  • Rich color saturation

  • Beautiful design

Cons

  • Occasional LED bloom in high contrast scenes

Product image of Vizio OLED55-H1
Vizio OLED

Vizio’s first OLED TV successfully blends the high-end picture quality we’ve come to expect from OLED TVs with the value-forward philosophies that helped give way to Vizio’s recent rise in popularity. It’s one of the most affordable ways to secure an OLED TV.

The Vizio OLED is packed with features fit for next-generation gaming, including HDMI 2.1 support (with eARC passthrough), VRR, and ALLM. Like all of the OLED TVs we’ve tested in recent years, the Vizio OLED also features a native refresh rate of 120 Hz. This refresh rate, combined with the TV’s HDMI 2.1 support, means that the Vizio OLED will be capable of 4K gaming at 120 FPS.

And then, of course, there’s the Vizio OLED’s picture, which is unsurprisingly stunning. Due to the self-emissive nature of each pixel in an organic LED display, the Vizio OLED is capable of perfect black levels and rich, accurate colors. Although it doesn’t get nearly as bright as high-end quantum dot TVs, it’s about as bright as its direct competitor, the LG BX.

If you’re hoping to make your next TV an OLED, the Vizio OLED is the most affordable way to do so while still getting the latest, state-of-the-art TV tech. Simply put, when you factor in its performance chops and its next-gen gaming features, the Vizio OLED is one of the most value-packed TVs on the market.

Pros

  • Sensational contrast and color

  • HDMI 2.1 support

  • Great value

Cons

  • Doesn't get as bright as the competition

  • Smart platform lacks flexibility

Product image of Samsung QN55Q90TAFXZA
Samsung Q90T

The 55-inch Samsung Q90T (also available in 65-, 75-, and 85-inch variants) is one of the brightest TVs we’ve tested this year, making it a great pick for people with bright living rooms—or folks who see themselves gaming during the daytime. Picture quality is top-notch, too; the Q90T is capable of bright, vibrant colors and respectable black levels, in part because of quantum dots (microscopic dots that enhance a TV's colors and overall brightness level).

As far as gaming features go, the Q90T has you covered: four HDMI ports (including one HDMI 2.1 port and eARC passthrough support), VRR (FreeSync), and ALLM are all accounted for. The TV also features a native refresh rate of 120 Hz, which is a great feature to hang your hat on if you're a gamer or a sports fan. The Q90T's built-in, Tizen-based smart platform isn't our favorite, but it offers a fair amount of flexibility for folks who don't want to invest in a streaming device—though we recommend that you do if you don't end up buying a Roku TV.

Because the Q90T is one of Samsung’s flagship TVs, the price is a bit steep compared to most TVs in its performance class. That said, if you don’t mind paying a premium, it’s a great fit for all uses—including next-generation console gaming.

Pros

  • Bright and colorful

  • HDMI 2.1 support

Cons

  • No Dolby Vision

  • Middling smart platform

Product image of Samsung QN55QN85AAFXZA
Samsung QN85A

The Samsung QN85A (available in 55-, 65-, 75-, and 85-inch models) is a second-tier flagship that packs many of the same hardware and software features you’ll find in the Samsung QN90A, but there are some crucial differences between the two.

Like the QN90A, the QN85A features Samsung’s Neo QLED display technology, which combines quantum dots with mini-LEDs. The quantum dots allow for incredibly bright highlights and rich color, while the mini-LED backlights give the QN85A tight control over its contrast zones. Unfortunately, while the QN85A boasts some serious brightness (well over 1,000 nits in HDR), its black levels are very shallow, creating a washed-out look during dark scenes and flattening detail overall. We suspect that the TV’s panel type is the culprit.

Still, there’s quite a bit to appreciate here, if you’re able to get past the QN85A’s disappointing black levels. While its panel may not be the best for movie night, it offers great off-axis viewing, meaning it looks similarly good from anywhere in the room, so it works well with a crowd. One (but not all) of the TV’s HDMI ports offers HDMI 2.1-specified features, including 4K/120fps support and FreeSync, making it a good choice for gamers. Samsung’s new Game Bar feature is nice to have in tow, too, as it puts useful gaming-related information and settings into one easy-to-access menu.

Overall, we recommend the Samsung QN85A to anyone who’s looking for a bright, well-designed smart TV with a focus on gaming, but we don’t recommend it for A/V enthusiasts and cinephiles who value picture quality. It’s an impressive TV in many respects, but its worse-than-average black level is a significant strike against it.

Pros

  • Gets incredibly bright

  • Packed with extra features

Cons

  • Abysmal black levels

Product image of Samsung QN55Q80AAFXZA
Samsung Q80A

The Samsung Q80A is a mid-range TV with the look and feel of a luxury set. It’s a great option for gamers (or for folks who are just looking for a bright TV), but the Q80A’s panel type produces very shallow black levels. This makes it a not-so-great choice for people who watch Blu-rays and stream content in a dim or dark setting.

The good news is that, setting aside the subpar contrast, the Samsung Q80A gets good marks in other performance areas. Its quantum dot display creates a colorful, well-saturated picture, and it’s capable of sustaining 500+ nits of brightness in HDR, so newer content (like 4K Blu-rays and certain streaming content) will really shine.

If features are what you’re after, the Q80A has those in spades: Tizen Smart TV, HDMI 2.1 support, FreeSync (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode, Samsung Game Bar, Multi View, Samsung Health, and support for Q-Symphony soundbars.

The best thing you can say about the Samsung Q80A’s panel type is that it delivers extra-wide horizontal viewing angles, making it a great option for group viewings. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of the TV’s contrast. Additionally, a fair amount of light bloom is noticeable when bright picture elements clash with dark.

All told, it’s easy to recommend Samsung Q80A to gamers and bright TV enthusiasts, but there’s a harder case to be made for its use as a home theater centerpiece. With black levels this shallow, cinephiles are better off springing for the Samsung QN90A, whose panel type delivers a picture that’s better suited for movie night.

Pros

  • Sleek design

  • Terrific extras

  • Bright, colorful picture

Cons

  • Disappointing black levels

Product image of Samsung QN55Q60AAFXZA
Samsung Q60A

If you’re looking for a taste of the quantum dot experience but don’t want to pay top dollar for a luxury option, the Samsung Q60A is a great choice, as long as you understand its limitations ahead of time.

The Q60A’s panel is outfitted with quantum dots and Samsung’s dual-LED backlight technology. The latter doesn’t offer the high-level contrast control of Samsung’s mini-LED backlight—which is exceptionally showcased on Samsung’s QN90A—but it gets the job done. We measured deep black levels and better-than-average brightness for a mid-range LED TV (around 400 to 500 nits in HDR). And while the Q60A isn’t as colorful as some of Samsung’s more premium quantum dot-equipped offerings, it’s still capable of about 90% HDR color saturation, which makes it a great pick for cinephiles on a budget.

In addition to its decent performance, it’s got a sleek design and a fair number of features. Most of this year’s flashy Samsung-related TV features can only be found in the company’s higher-end models, but there are still a few to be found in the Q60A, including the Samsung Health suite, Ambient Mode, and support for Q-Symphony soundbars. You’re also getting the newest version of Samsung’s Tizen-based smart platform.

The Q60A does offer Auto Low Latency Mode, but as far as gaming enhancements go, that’s about all there is; you’re not getting Variable Refresh Rate or support for 120fps, which makes it a less-than-ideal choice for serious gamers.

If you want a better-performing 4K/HDR TV, or a TV that’s better-equipped to handle next-generation gaming, there are better options out there. That said, if all you need is a good-looking TV with a sleek design and a handful of nifty features, the Samsung Q60A is a good choice.

Pros

  • Good picture quality

  • Sleek design

  • Plenty of features

Cons

  • No HDMI 2.1 features

  • Only 60Hz refresh rate

Product image of Sony XBR-55X800H
Sony X800H

The 55-inch Sony X800H is a solid mid-range TV with accurate color, impressive brightness, and dependable viewing angles. It’s a great option if you’re a diehard Sony fan, but if you’re just looking to maximize your dollar, there are better-performing TVs in this price range.

Thanks to Sony’s Triluminous technology, the X800H produces rich, accurate color and offers Dolby Vision support, making it a terrific mid-range option for cinephiles. It also gets quite bright for a TV at this price, so if you’re planning on putting your new TV in a brightly lit room, the Sony X800H is worth a look.

Unfortunately, the X800H gets so bright that its black levels remain relatively shallow. In addition, the X800H’s native refresh rate is 60 Hz, so it’s not exactly the ideal choice for hardcore gamers.

There are better-performing TVs that offer similar peak brightness levels and comparable color production, but that’s not to say that the Sony X800H isn’t worth consideration. Just keep its limitations in mind.

Pros

  • Gets very, very bright

  • Accurate color

  • Dependable viewing angles

Cons

  • Shallow black levels

Product image of TCL 55S535
TCL 5-Series

The TCL 5-Series isn’t the most robust 4K TV on the shelf, but what it lacks in performance it makes up for in value: This is a budget-friendly quantum dot TV with commendable picture quality that won’t break the bank.

While not nearly as bright and colorful as the rest of the mid-range and high-end QLED TVs we reviewed this year, the TCL 5-Series is nevertheless brighter and more colorful than most of the slightly cheaper, entry-level TVs that occupy the same store shelf.

Its motion handling and viewing angles aren’t particularly impressive, and it won’t net you any up-and-coming features like VRR and ALLM, but the 5-Series is a better performer than you might expect given its price. Plus, being a Roku TV, it features a terrific, easy-to-use smart platform built right in.

If you’re looking for a bargain but you want to avoid scraping the bottom of the barrel for the cheapest possible TV, the TCL 5-Series is worth the minor price hike over the lowest-tier options. It's an especially great TV for folks who are upgrading to 4K for the first time.

Pros

  • Dependable performance

  • Built-in Roku smart platform

  • Sensational value

Cons

  • Doesn't get very bright

  • Limited viewing angles

Meet the testers

Michael Desjardin

Michael Desjardin

Senior Staff Writer

@Reviewed

Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.

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Lee Neikirk

Lee Neikirk

Editor, Home Theater

@Koanshark

Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.

See all of Lee Neikirk's reviews

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