IGN rounds up the best 4K TVs you can get in the UK for gaming.
Modern video games draw you in with immersive narratives, expertly crafted storylines, stunning visuals and dramatic soundtracks and scores. To truly make the most of what is on offer, however, you need to choose a TV which can keep up with both your machine of choice and the games you intend to play on it.
Having a sub-par TV hooked up to a PS4 Pro, Xbox One X or high-end gaming PC is like having a Porsche engine in a rusty old car – it just won’t do. So if you’re serious about gaming you should be on the lookout for a few key features to ensure you get the best out of your downtime.
Before you embark on your search for a new 4K TV for gaming, you should take note of your available space, seating choices, hardware and, of course, budget, and be careful to avoid making common mistakes like choosing a TV which isn’t remotely future-proof or opting for one that has all the Smart TV bells and whistles but lacks fundamental features.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a short guide to help you choose your next 4K TV – and to make things even easier for you, we’ve also taken the liberty of putting together a short list of our current favourites.
One thing to consider when buying a new 4K TV intended for gaming is latency AKA input lag.
Put simply, input lag is the time it takes for your display to process the command issued by your source (controller/keyboard/any other input device). Having a TV with high latency is a massive no-no for gamers, making for an unresponsive and sluggish gaming experience, especially if you play fast-paced titles such as first-person shooters or sports games.
You could have the reflexes of The Flash but if your TV takes its sweet time handling your instructions, you’re still going to end up flat out or 3-0 down by half-time. So be on the lookout for TVs with latency no higher than 50ms (or 40ms if you’re particularly competitive).
It goes without saying that any 4K TV intended for gaming should be able to produce rich, vibrant colours and deep blacks – or your gaming experience is going be poor. Thankfully, most TVs manage to deliver satisfactorily, though some excel far beyond their peers.
HDR is also something to consider, as it can make a huge difference to picture quality, especially on smaller displays. For those uninitiated, HDR – or High Dynamic Range – offers a wider range of light, which in turn makes visuals look more true to life. However, it does require a display to work harder to display fine differences in brightness.
Currently there are five flavours of HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision and Technicolor’s Advanced HDR. The most common form is currently HDR10, an open standard that has been taken up by the likes of Netflix and the Blu-ray Disc Association – this should be the standard when choosing a new TV, and any 4K television worth its salt should have it.
The other standards are still maturing, but the fresher tech the set you choose has, the better, as it will make the display better future-proofed.
Many of us prefer to hook our TV up to separate audio devices, such as speakers, soundbars or headphones, but you should still ensure the television you choose meets the standard required to deliver solid performance without the need for added hardware. However, it’s important to remember that as TVs become slimmer, their audio quality diminishes – it’s a matter of acoustics.
Ensuring your new TV offers support for standards like Dolby Atmos and DTS should be a good place to start, but if you’re after the full experience, you should seek out a decent soundbar at least and if you’re willing to push the boat out, look for a good surround sound system like JVC’s TH-D588B 5.1.2 setup.
Ordinarily, you can work on the basis that a larger room should require a larger TV, but with gaming you’re going to need to pay a bit more attention to your choice.
To accurately work out what size is best for your purposes, you should measure the distance between where you plan to put the display and where you plan to sit to game, with 4K TV’s a distance of between one and 1.5 times the size of the screen is commonly recommended. So if you plan to sit 5 feet from your TV to play your game, you should seek out a 60-inch display to enjoy optimal performance.
However, not everyone can splurge on a huge 4K TV, so you should realistically aim for the biggest display your budget (and home) will permit and, unless you plan to use headphones, factor a sound system into your budget, too.
Most top-end televisions come with smart TV features now, including support for YouTube, catch-up TV services, on demand and even playing media from external sources like media servers, USB sticks and external hard drives. Some run on the likes of Google’s Android OS, which will give you access to the Google Play Store and all the apps and games therein – but these shouldn’t be your primary concern if you’re looking for a companion upon which to play proper games.
Choosing a better performing TV with more limited ‘extras’ will leave you with a better experience all round because, after all, an Amazon Fire TV stick will give you all the smartness you’re likely to need for less than £40 and it can be chucked away and replaced if and when it breaks.
It’s also worth remembering that many quality TVs come with voice control and smart features built-in. These can be a real boon but there have also been some notable security concerns associated with these sorts of features, so read your manufacturer’s terms and conditions and be aware of your rights and what you’re agreeing to.
Best All-Round 4K TV for Gaming
LG’s C8 OLED TV has received rave reviews, and with good reason. The TV delivers a fantastic sharp picture, superb colour reproduction and with input lag of around 21ms, you’re not going to suffer any drawbacks while playing your fast-paced action games.The C8 also weighs in with HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG and Advanced HDR, giving you some future proofing, and also boasts Dolby Atmos sound and speakers that punch well above their weight. While this TV certainly isn’t the cheapest on the block, it’s definitely up there with the very best and we don’t hesitate to recommend it.
Best High-End 4K TV for Gaming Under £2,000
On John Lewis
5 year guarantee included
Panasonic has a good name which has been hard-earned and this TV shows why the company has come to be so well regarded. It delivers on all fronts, with superbly accurate pictures, great colours, powerful sound for its slim form factor and solid support for apps. You’ll find the latest 4K and HDR versions of Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube, not to mention the full range of catch-up apps. The FZ952 supports HDR10, HDR10+ and the BBC and NHK’s HLG, which is the standard for HDR television broadcasting and streaming, and also boasts a great gaming mode which delivers a latency of around 21ms.
Best 4K TV Money Can Buy
On John Lewis
5 year guarantee included
Regarded by many experts as the very best TV available right now, Samsung’s Q9FN provides everything you could ever need to immerse yourself in your gaming world. The TV boasts a tremendous range of brightness, colours and deep blacks, supports HDR10, HLG and HDR10+ and weighs in with input lag of around 15.5ms, making it a perfect choice for gaming. In terms of its audio performance, the Samsung Q9FN also impresses with speakers ample enough to allow you to enjoy your favourite games without immediately lashing out more hard-earned money on speakers or a soundbar – which is no mean feat.
Best Mid-Priced 4K TV for Picture Quality
Our first Sony pick is a stormer. The Bravia XF900 performs astonishingly well for its price-point, delivering excellent 4K performance across the board and Sony’s Triluminos colour management system makes for great colour reproduction. The television supports HDR10 and HLG and also delivers on the audio front, with solid speakers and support for Dolby Digital, Dolby Plus and Dolby Digital Plus as well as DTS digital surround. Latency sits at around 24.1ms running 4K at 60Hz and drops to 12.9ms at 1080P at 120Hz, so if you get capped in your game, don’t blame Sony!
Quality 4K TV for Under £730
As the price drops, so often the performance follows, but Samsung’s NU8000 manages to deliver solid performance despite being a quarter of the price of some of our other choices. The TV offers up accurate colour reproduction, excellent sharpness and noise reduction and also has impressively low input lag, with a measurement of around 14.1ms, making it a fantastic choice for a frenetic gaming session. The NU8000 supports HDR10, HLG and Samsung’s own HDR10+ standard, so it should hold its own as time passes. In terms of audio, the TV’s speakers perform pretty well, though you’ll likely want to reach for the soundbar sooner rather than later.
Another Affordable 4K TV for Gaming
Another great performer with a more manageable price-tag. The LG OLED 55B7V is capable of delivering vibrant colours, deep blacks and excellent sharpness, in addition to increased brightness which positively impacts its HDR performance, which is very good for the money. Speaking of HDR, the 55B7V boasts support for HDR10, HLG, Technicolor’s Advanced HDR and Dolby Vision, making it as close to future-proof as you’re likely to get right now. If you switch the set to gaming mode you’ll also get a latency of around 21ms for both 4K HDR and 1080P, which is a solid score for a TV at this price point. The TV’s smart features come courtesy of WebOS, which has proven its worth as a TV OS time and again, and you’ll get dedicated Netflix and Amazon buttons on the remote.
A 4K TV for Gaming Under £500
The TCL 55DP608 is easily the cheapest TV in our selection, coming in at under £500. The set provides support for HDR10 with performance which is surprisingly good for this price point. The TV’s audio performance is, again, much better than you’d expect to get at this price with 8-watt speakers that are easily capable of filling all but the largest of living (or gaming) rooms. To add to this TV’s considerable charm, it’s input lag sits at around 14.9ms at 4K/60Hz + HDR, so it will keep up with your button mashing without any trouble, and given the device comes courtesy of streaming maestros Roku, it’s smart features are excellent. Roku’s operating system takes care of everything as you would expect. Put simply, for the money, this TV is an absolute banger.