OLED TVs are some of the best-looking TVs around. OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) is a panel technology that makes for stunning contrast, incredible color, and ultra-slim profiles—it's the reason OLED TVs have topped our Best-of-Year lists for several years.
If you're looking for the best of the best in the world of OLED, we recommend the LG C2 (available at Amazon for $1,296.99) . Not only does the C2 top our list of the best OLED TVs, it's also our current pick for the best TV you can buy, thanks to its unbelievable picture quality, razor-thin design, and future-facing features. Since almost every OLED TV looks amazing, what really ends up guiding the buying decision can be features and price. All of the OLEDs here are glorious in their own right, however, and have been vetted with our strenuous cycle of lab tests.
Screen sizes: 42”, 48”, 55”, 65”, 77”, 83”
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
Smart platform: LG webOS
The LG C2 OLED is the successor to our favorite TV of 2021, the LG C1. While not radically different from the C1, the C2 nevertheless improves on an already-fantastic formula. It’s our current pick for the best TV you can buy right now.
The main ingredient of this successful formula are the C2’s self-lit pixels. Unlike traditional LED TVs, OLED displays are capable of adjusting their brightness on a pixel-by-pixel basis, even turning pixels off. This allows for perfect black levels, which is why OLED TVs feature unparalleled contrast.
Anchored by perfect black levels, the C2 delivers exceptionally bright highlights for its class. It features LG’s OLED evo display technology, a blend of software and hardware enhancements that were only available in the company’s tippy-top G1 Gallery model last year. OLED evo succeeds at what it sets out to do: improve brightness and color volume. In HDR, the TV is capable of producing specular highlights in the 700- to 800-nit range, and it covers about 97% of the HDR color space (DCI-P3). SDR content (like most cable broadcasts and streaming titles) also look spectacular on the C2, though not as bright.
Cinephiles and A/V enthusiasts will appreciate the C2’s Dolby Vision support. If you’re a gamer, the C2 is one of the best TVs you can buy this year. All four of the C2’s inputs are full-bandwidth HDMI 2.1, meaning they support 4K gaming at 120 hertz (Hz). The C2 also supports both Auto Low Latency (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), with AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync along for the ride, too. Like the C1, the C2 is equipped with LG’s Game Optimizer settings menu, which toggles the TV’s various VRR options, relays frame rate information, and allows for easy tweaks to the TV’s picture while gaming.
It’s not a perfect TV, however. LG TVs quietly stopped supporting DTS audio in 2020, so if you own Blu-rays with DTS soundtracks and you’re planning on connecting a Blu-ray player directly to the TV, you won’t be getting the full DTS experience. LG’s smart platform, webOS, can also be a chore to use, as it’s chock-full of sponsored content and often slows down during navigation. If you spring for the C2, we recommend pairing it with an external streaming device so that you don’t have to rely solely on the TV’s smart features.
The LG C2 is the newest addition to a long line of winning OLED TVs from LG. It’s pricier than most TVs, but the price is justified by its world-class performance and impressive, all-encompassing list of features.
The A95K is Sony's first attempt at a quantum dot-enhanced OLED TV, and the result is an absolutely mindblowing experience. From a picture quality standpoint, it's the best-looking TV we've ever seen. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most expensive TVs we've ever seen, too, which will undoubtedly make it a tough sell for most shoppers.
Like all OLED TVs, the A95K delivers perfect black levels and the widest viewing angles money can buy. Although a lack of brightness has been an issue for OLED TVs in the past, this isn't much of a concern for the A95K; it's one of the brightest OLEDs we've ever tested. As long as it's not positioned directly in a sunbeam, its plenty bright for both daytime and nighttime viewing.
Thanks in part to Sony's quantum dot technology (dubbed Triluminos Color), the A95K's colors are staggeringly good. It covers an impressive 100% of the HDR color gamut (DCI-P3), and its bold, bright colors pop across all content types, be them TV shows, movies, or games. Most impressive is the A95K's ability to properly render skin tones and subtle gradations—you're not likely to notice any color banding, even during upscaled content.
The A95K's Google-based smart platform is fast, flexible, and relatively easy to use, too. It's a great option for everyday streaming. And while the A95K doesn't offer quite as much gaming flexibility as some of its high-end competitors, you're still getting a decent amount of gaming support for next-gen consoles. Two of the TV's HDMI 2.1 inputs support 4K gaming at 120Hz (though one of these inputs also serves as the TV's eARC-enabled port). The A95K also comes with Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low Latency Mode, and G-Sync compatibility.
Most folks will understandably balk at the A95K's head-spinning price tag, but if you're looking for the absolute best picture money can buy, look no further.
The LG G2 is LG’s top-performing OLED this year. While we believe the LG C2 to be a better pick for most people, the G2 offers a similar feature set and slightly better picture quality.
Alongside perfect black levels, the G2 sports the brightest picture we’ve ever seen from an LG OLED. In fact, one of its main advantages over the C2 is that it can push much brighter highlights during HDR. Simply put, its world-class contrast makes the G2 one of the best TVs you can buy to showcase HDR10 and Dolby Vision content. The G2 blends this exceptional contrast with rich, voluminous color, covering about 99% of the extra-wide HDR color gamut (DCI-P3).
As far as gaming features go, the G2 has you covered—and then some. All four of its HDMI 2.1 ports support Auto Low Latency, Variable Refresh Rate, and 4K gaming at 120Hz. Like the C2, this TV comes with LG’s Game Optimizer, a dedicated settings menu where gamers can tweak the picture, toggle gaming enhancements, and monitor frame rate.
Anyone considering splashing out on the G2, however, should be aware of its design. LG’s Gallery OLED line is intended to hang on the wall like a portrait. You can purchase a stand, but it wobbles significantly. Additionally, it settles into a leaned-back position, like an easel. If you don’t intend on wall-mounting the G2, we recommend opting for the LG C2.
The Samsung S95B is one of the first TVs to combine the perfect black levels of an OLED display with the color- and brightness-boosting qualities of quantum dots. Commonly referred to as QD-OLED technology, the S95B showcases its advantages brilliantly.
For years, one of the main criticisms of OLED TV technology was that it was incapable of getting anywhere near as bright as an LED TV—particularly an LED TV with quantum dots. And although the S95B still doesn’t get as bright as a TV like the Samsung QN90B, it’s nevertheless the brightest OLED we’ve tested to date.
Coupled with OLED’s perfect black levels, the S95B’s added brightness has an incredibly powerful impact on HDR content, be it a movie, a video game, or otherwise. Specular highlights pop off the screen, adding an astonishing level of depth. But perhaps the most significant improvement brought to the table by quantum dots is their effect on the S95B’s color reproduction. In particular, reds and greens look stunning on the S95B.
It's built for next-gen gaming, too. All four of the S95B’s HDMI ports support 4K gaming at 120Hz, Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). Combined with Samsung’s Game Bar (a dedicated settings menu for game optimization), avid gamers will be covered for years to come.
Being a Samsung TV, the S95B does not support Dolby Vision (though HDR10 and HDR10+ support are included). Samsung’s Tizen-based smart platform is a bit laggy and difficult to navigate this year, too, which will incentivize pairing the S95B with an external streaming device. Picture purists who don’t intend on hiring a professional calibrator might want to check out the LG C2, as that OLED TV’s out-of-the-box picture is closer in line with reference standards.
However, if you’ve been waiting for an OLED TV that’s better suited for bright room viewing than almost every other OLED TV on the market, the S95B is an excellent (albeit pricey) choice. Despite its lack of Dolby Vision and its cumbersome smart platform, the Samsung S95B is a total game-changer.
The LG C1 is a stunning OLED TV. Its array of future-facing features will help maintain its value for several years to come. The LG C1 was our pick for the best TV you can buy before its successor, the LG C2.
OLED TVs are known for incredible contrast, and the LG C1 is no exception. It pairs a perfect black level with stellar highlights. Its sustained peak brightness of around 700 to 800 nits in HDR makes it one of the brightest OLED TVs we’ve ever seen.
The C1’s color performance is top-level, too. It features 100% SDR color saturation (Rec.709) and 97% HDR color saturation (DCI-P3). That means that whether you’re watching TV shows or Blu-rays, you can expect rich, true-to-life color.
The LG C1’s four HDMI 2.1 inputs all support 4K resolution at 120Hz. That makes it a great TV for gaming on an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5.
In fact, the LG C1 is stuffed with gaming-centric features. You’ll find Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and FreeSync/G-Sync support. The TV’s Game Optimizer menu features a suite of additional picture enhancements.
The C1 comes with the sixth iteration of LG’s webOS smart platform pre-installed. While it’s not our favorite smart software, most folks will find it meets their needs. It’s zippy, easy to navigate, and offers a broad app selection via LG’s Content Store.
The incredible performance, wide array of features, and elegant design means the LG C1 is still one of the best TVs you can buy, even a year after its release.
If you don’t mind splashing out on an ultra-premium TV, the Sony A90J is one of the best OLED TVs we’ve ever tested, and one of the best TVs we’ve ever tested, period.
OLED naturally offers picture-perfect black levels. The A90J augments that with excellent highlights for an OLED. It regularly reaches 700 to 800 nits in HDR, with highlights getting much brighter than that in short bursts.
The added brightness elevates the TV’s colors, which are both 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.
This Sony is also packed to the gills with features. It includes the Google TV smart platform, replacing Android TV. It has eARC compatibility and support for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. It has a native refresh rate of 120Hz. Its Center Speaker mode lets you use the A90J’s built-in speakers as the center channel of a surround sound setup.
Crucially, two of the A90J’s HDMI 2.1 ports offer Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Low Latency Mode, and support for 4K content at 120Hz. If you want to get the most out of current-gen gaming consoles, these features are essential.
If you have the means and want an incredible out-of-the-box TV experience, the A90J is one of the best you’ll find. Having been on the market for over a year now, the A90J is currently on sale, making it a great time to pick one up.
The LG A1 is one of LG’s most affordable OLED TVs. It’s aimed squarely at the crowd that wants to experience this impressive display technology without spending too much for the privilege.
While most OLED TVs are a marvel to look at, several unique factors make the A1 worth considering. Thanks to its self-lit pixels, the A1 features the perfect, inky black levels that make OLED TVs stand out.
Its color production is also terrific. The A1 covers 100% of the SDR color gamut (Rec.709) and 96% of the extra-wide HDR color gamut (DCI-P3). Everything you watch on this TV will look crisp, detailed, and brimming with life.
Unfortunately, the A1 struggles to get much brighter than 400 to 500 nits. That makes HDR content feel lackluster compared to other options in the price range.
OLED TVs are famously much dimmer than traditional LED TVs. But the A1 is dimmer than nearly every other OLED we’ve seen in the last few years. The LG C2 can climb as high as 770 nits in HDR, for example.
Unlike the C2, the A1 also lacks in the features department. It doesn’t support HDMI 2.1. It’s also limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, so 4K gaming at 120Hz is out of the question.
The A1 does support Auto Low Latency Mode. Unfortunately, it lacks Variable Refresh Rate, one of the most sought-after features among gaming enthusiasts. Of course, if you aren’t a gamer, you might prefer the A1 since you won’t be paying for features you won’t use.
The LG A1 is impressive in a handful of ways that only OLED TVs can achieve. Its panel is thinner than most smartphones. Its black levels are perfect. And its viewing angles are among the most accommodating on the market today.
Since it’s last year’s model, the A1 can be found on sale. For most folks shopping in this class, though, the C2’s high-level performance and laundry list of features make it a more appealing option.
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 a Konica Minolta CS-200 tristimulus color meter, an LS-100 luminance meter, a Leo Bodnar input lag tester, a Murideo Seven 8K signal generator, and more Blu-rays than we can keep track of. For software, we use Portrait Displays’ Calman Ultimate color calibration software, 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 Should You Consider Before Buying an OLED TV?
When it comes to knowing what you're paying for, almost no category is harder to sift through 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:
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 and Wide Color Gamut, which can display many more shades than HD TVs.
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 many times the brightness and 30% more color production than non-HDR TVs. Current top HDR formats include HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision.
60Hz/120Hz: These numbers refer to what is called a refresh rate, with Hz (hertz) representing "times per second." So if a TV's refresh rate is 60Hz, this means it re-scans and updates for picture information 60 times per second; with 120Hz, it's 120 times per second. Currently, most TVs come in 60 or 120Hz. 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 Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, and 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.
Are There Any Downsides to Owning an OLED TV?
While OLED TVs have many upsides, their major concern comes in the form of "burn-in" or "image retention," which are essentially two sides of the same coin. Image retention refers to any image that "sticks" on a screen, even when the picture changes. It usually appears as a faint ghost, and with most TVs this fades after a moment or two. Burn-in, on the other hand, is a form of image retention that lasts much longer, and it's usually visible even when playing other content. Both terms have haunted conversations about OLED TVs since the display technology was first introduced, but the truth is, there's not much to worry about.
Burn-in is typically caused by leaving a static image on a screen for a long period of time. When it comes to most contemporary TVs, image retention and burn-in are only risks during extreme circumstances. For instance, our lab tests indicated that long-term OLED burn-in was only a risk if a static image was left on the screen for well over 20 hours, and most minor image retention issues seemed to go away with time.
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.
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.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.