What’s the most affordable TV you recommend?
There’s never a bad time to buy one of the best TVs of 2020. In January and February you can find deep discounts on last year’s models; March, April and May bring a slew of new TVs from Sony, LG, Samsung, Vizio, Hisense and TCL, then those TVs get progressively cheaper from June to December.
There’s certainly cheaper times to buy a new TV (*cough* Black Friday) but no matter what month you’re shopping, it’s always a good time to buy.
That said, if you can’t wait a few more months until new models arrive, there are plenty of amazing TVs from 2019 that are still well-worth buying – below you’ll find a list of 10 TVs total from this year and last year, with some budget models from Vizio, TCL and Hisense that offer great performance at a really good price and high-end options like QLED TVs from Samsung and OLEDs from LG.
We’re expecting a number of new television sets to hit the market in the coming months, but with 2020 only having just begun, we’re still recommending the best TVs from the previous year until their replacements officially come around.
- Editor’s note: While every TV on our list offers both a 4K resolution and High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, we also have a list specifically tailored to those features in the form of our best 4K TV list.
Best TV at a glance:
- Samsung Q90R QLED TV
- LG C9 OLED Series
- Vizio P-Series Quantum X
- Samsung Q900R QLED TV
- Sony A9G Master Series OLED
- LG B9 OLED Series
- Samsung Q70R QLED TV
- TCL 6-Series QLED (R625)
- Hisense H9F Series
- Sony Bravia X950G Series
1. Samsung Q90R QLED TV (2019)
Bright and beautiful but still missing some key components
Superb picture quality
Incredible HDR performance
Wider viewing angles
Comprehensive smart platform
No Dolby Vision
Last year, the Samsung Q9FN was the TV to beat. It won plaudits galore for its features and image quality, not to mention its excellent, improved smart platform that came with Bixby support and Samsung SmartThings.
However it wasn’t perfect and there were legitimate complaints about viewing angles and an over-aggressive local dimming system that crushed detail just above black.
Samsung has clearly taken these criticisms to heart, and directly addressed them in the Q90. The new model has a visibly superior viewing angle that holds its own against an OLED TV, and the local dimming delivers deep blacks without losing shadow detail. To that end, the new Ultra Black Elite filter is nothing short of a revelation, rejecting ambient light in a way that just staggers belief.
The Q90 is able to deliver images that can directly compete with an OLED, with natural colors, bright highlights, deep blacks, and well defined shadows. It can also surpass any OLED when it comes to HDR, with images that are often breathtaking in their detail and dynamic range.
In fact our only real criticism would be that, unlike some of the competition, the Q90 doesn’t support Dolby Vision. However in all other respects the Samsung Q90 is an absolutely stellar TV that takes QLED to another level.
Read the full review: Samsung Q90R QLED TV
2. LG C9 OLED Series (2019)
LG’s new OLED has evolved into the smartest TV on the planet
55-inch: LG OLED55C9 | 65-inch: LG OLED65C9
Superb picture quality
Highly effective smart platform
Limited peak brightness for HDR
No HDR10+ support
The LG C9 is a truly exceptional 4K OLED TV that takes what was so impressive about last year’s C8 OLED and builds on it. The major difference is the inclusion of the 2nd generation Alpha9 processor, which uses AI enhancements to deliver stellar SDR and HDR images, and helps make the upscaling and processing second-to-none with incredible levels of detail and image fidelity.
As is the case with all OLED TVs the panel brightness pales when compared to an LCD TV, but brightness isn’t everything. The absolute blacks and pixel level of precision afforded by the self-emissive technology ensures that HDR looks stunning. There’s support for Dolby Vision as well, and only the absence of HDR10+ disappoints.
There are other OLEDs worth considering this year (see: LG’s own E9 Series) but we think the OLED C9 offers the best price-to-performance ratio of any TV under the sun – true in 2019, and still true in 2020.
Read the full review: LG C9 OLED (OLED55C9, OLED65C9, OLED77C9)
3. Vizio P-Series Quantum X (2019)
This is Vizio’s best and brightest TV
65-inch: Vizio P-Series Quantum X PX65-G1
Full array backlight
Quantum dot technology
3,000-nit peak brightness
The Vizio P-Series Quantum X is a home run for Vizio. Sure, the SmartCast interface isn’t all the great, and the speakers are worth bypassing, but the TV is packed with awesome features and backed up by an excellent image quality. We’re looking forward to AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support, but even without those features the TV is still one of the best options in its price range.
If you truly have deep pockets and want the best image quality out there, then it’s still worth going for LG’s OLED or Samsung’s QLED TVs – but in the absence of a six-figure salary, the $2,199 Vizio P-Series Quantum X PX-65G1 is clearly an excellent option for those that want quantum dot tech in a smart TV at Vizio-level prices.
Read the full review: Vizio P-Series Quantum (PQ65-F1)
4. Samsung Q900R QLED TV (2019)
An 8K LCD-LED TV for the history books
85-inch: Samsung QN85Q900RAFXZA
8K pictures look immense
Incredible brightness and color
Ground breaking upscaling
85-inch screen limits market
…it’s also $14,999
With most people – *cough* content providers – only just getting to grips with 4K resolution, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Samsung had gone nuts by introducing the world’s first true 8K TV. And yet, while it’s easy to be critical about the Samsung Q900R, it truly does usher in a new era of TV picture quality.
Its native 8K pictures are incredible, looking just like the real world – only better. But even more crucially given the dearth of true 8K content for the foreseeable future, the 85Q900R makes all today’s lower resolution sources look better than they do anywhere else, too.
Whether 8K delivers the same impact on smaller screens remains to be seen, but if you have a big enough room and budget, the 85Q900R is a vision of the future that’s actually spectacularly worth buying today.
5. Sony A9G Master Series OLED (2019)
Equipped with the X1 Ultimate processor, the A9G is Sony’s killer OLED
65-inch: Sony Bravia 65A9G | 55-inch: Sony Bravia 55A9G
Luscious 4K HDR images
Best-in-class HD upscaling
Acoustic Surface+ audio
Android TV is clunky
No support for HDR10+
A direct replacement for last year’s Sony A9F/AF9 OLED, the Sony A9G/AG9 Master Series OLED is the new flagship of Sony’s TV fleet. It embraces a characteristically minimalist design that disguises a host of cutting-edge features like Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support, plus Netflix Calibrated Mode (of interest to many), and IMAX Enhanced certification (of interest to few).
This is a screen that looks premium, and has a spec on the right side of righteous. The Android platform is easy to live with, that vibrating sound system entertaining and picture quality top notch. Offering Dolby Vision is a welcome refinement, but the caveat is a lack of support for HDR10+. That said, it does a fabulous job up-scaling HD/SDR so it’s easy to overlook the lack of at least one HDR format.
It’s undoubtedly expensive but, all things considered, this glass is class.
Read the full review: Sony A9G Master Series OLED
6. LG B9 OLED Series (2019)
LG’s budget OLED delivers 95% of the performance at 50% of the cost
55-inch: LG OLED55B9 | 65-inch: LG OLED65B9
LG’s cheapest 2019 OLED
Rich colors and sharp detail
webOS smart platform
Not the latest processing
Some noise in dark scenes
The LG B9 OLED absolutely delivers on its promise – to give shoppers a cheaper way into a world of OLED, with the sharp contrast and vivid colors that involves.
Inevitably there are some corners cut to get there, and you’re not getting the excellent experience of the C9 or E9 – while the delayed launch of the budget B9 model, and continuing price cuts to more premium sets, means this year’s B Series isn’t quite the deal it would have been a few months ago.
If the B9 is all your budget allows for, it’s a solid purchase, though scrimping and saving for the LG C9 OLED – and keeping an eye out for it in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales – may be a better decision in the long run.
7. Samsung Q70R QLED TV (2019)
The Q70R is a solid mid-range model that has most of the flagship’s shine
55-inch: Samsung QN55Q70R | 65-inch: Samsung QN65Q70R
Extremely bright HDR pictures
Good smart TV system
Limited viewing angle
Some mild backlight blooming
No Dolby Vision
Samsung’s flagship Q90R QLED TV blew us away recently with its wider viewing angles, deeper blacks, and superior HDR images – sadly, however, not everyone can afford the flagship model. So what can Samsung offer for those wanting to experience QLED picture quality on a budget?
Despite sitting lower down in the QLED line-up, the Q70R includes the same comprehensive smart platform, extensive connections, and cutting-edge features found further up the range. This isn’t the flashiest-looking TV that Samsung has ever made, but if your funds are limited the Q70 is a cracking QLED all-rounder that’s worth checking out.
Read the full review: Samsung Q70R QLED TV
8. TCL 6-Series QLED (R625) (2019)
A beacon of hope for budget TV buyers
Bright, colorful HDR
Supports Dolby Vision
Loss of darker details
Limited motion settings
Few TVs have changed the home entertainment space in the same way that the TCL 6-Series has – it’s made high-end features like Dolby Vision support, full-array panels and Wide Color Gamut available to consumers at a third of the cost of high-end TVs. This year’s addition to the storied series, the TCL 6-Series QLED (2019), adds a Quantum Dot filter that makes colors more vibrant and contrast even more extreme and the new AIPQ upscaling engine that better converts HD video to 4K resolution.
It’s still not as good as the leading TVs from Samsung, LG and Sony in the upscaling department and has some motion issues due to the underlying 60Hz panel, but at just $599 we can easily overlook these issues. To that end, it’s absolutely fair to say that the TCL 6-Series is the best TV you can possibly get in this price range.
Read the full review: TCL 6-Series QLED (R625)
9. Hisense H9F (55H9F, 65H9F) (2019)
Hisense surprises with this stunning, high-quality TV at an ultra-affordable price
Incredible image quality
Google Assistant built-in
Android TV is slow
The latest model in Hisense’s ULED line is the Hisense H9F, and on paper, it has a lot going for it: With up to 132 local dimming zones, a modern design, and Android TV built right into it, this could be the TV to beat for under $1,000.
When it comes to raw picture quality, the Hisense H9F is simply the best TV in this price range. At $600, the TV offers a stellar image quality, with beautifully deep black-levels and crisp colors – all in a manageable 55-inch package.
Sure, the audio leaves a lot to be desired, and you may or may not like Android TV, but you can always buy a Roku streaming stick or Apple TV, and use the TV with a stereo surround system or other speakers – leaving the Hisense H9F to do what it’s best at: display a great image.
Read the full review: Hisense H9F (55H9F)
10. Sony Bravia X950G Series (2019)
A beautiful 4K HDR TV that desperately needs an attached soundbar
65-inch: Sony Bravia X950G
X1 Ultimate Processor
Netflix Calibrated Mode
Motion handling, 4K upscaling
Poor sound quality
Mediocre 4K/HDR black levels
OK, so you don’t want (or can’t afford) Sony’s new A9G OLED or the fantastic-but-pricey Z9G. So what should you buy? Check out the X950G series. With superb 4K image clarity, powerful SDR-to-HDR remastering, and a smooth direct LED backlight, Sony is offering something very different with the X950G.
Right out of the box, the best way to describe the image quality of the X950G is… well, natural. It’s not flashy. It’s not overly bright. Colors aren’t oversaturated. It’s just a really natural picture with subdued colors and great black levels perfect for HD/SDR content. That said, if you’re the kind of person that wants a bit more pop to your images all you need to do is turn on Live Color in the picture settings. This mode works on HD/SDR content to add a bit more color saturation to the image and helps to make the image ‘pop’ in a way that really grabs your attention.
It’s a shame that poor sound quality ruined such a great 4K/HDR TV, however, taken by itself, the Sony X950G is an immaculate screen with a ton of potential.
Read the full review: Sony BRAVIA X950G (XBR-65X950G)
Continue on to page two to read about what to look for when buying a TV!