The best 55-inch TVs: amazing OLED and QLED 4K TVs

The best 55-inch TVs bring top-quality panels and processing tech, but at a not-outrageous size

Included in this guide:

Panasonic JZ2000
(Image credit: Panasonic)

The best 55-inch TVs are massively popular because they give you a rich, all-encompassing TV experience, but you don't require an absolutely massive room to make the most of them. They also tend to be the smallest size where the truly elite TV technology becomes available, though there are also plenty of more affordable models instead.

The best 55-inch TVs are unquestionably cinematic, offering not just a pretty big amount of screen real estate to view, but also brighter and more carefully controlled images to view on the it. When it comes to TVs, bigger tends to undoubtedly better – as long as you've got the space.

Many of the elite models in our list of the best TVs overall include 55-inch options, and for years this was the only size you could get the best OLED TVs in, though you can now find OLED models in our list of the best 48- to 50-inch TVs.

However it isn’t all about 55-inch OLED TVs, with some fantastic 55-inch LCD TVs also available, including the popular QLED TV options from Samsung. Whatever price bracket you're aiming at, or quality level you want to hit, there's a 55-inch TV for you.

And do you want to know the best part? There's never been a better time to buy with the best Black Friday deals making it more affordable than ever to take home that quality screen you've been coveting. Keep your eyes peeled on our live prices below that are always bringing you the lowest prices available on any given day and treat yourself to a little something special as we head into the holiday season. Go on, you deserve it! 

Best 55-inch TV: Is this the right size for you?

A 55-inch TV may initially sound too big, but once you consider recent tech and design trends, you might change your mind. For a start modern TVs are much thinner, and not just the OLEDs. 

A 55-inch HDR TV will only be 2 or 3cm deep, and minimalist designs, shrinking bezels and hidden speakers mean both OLED and LCD TVs are primarily a screen with no extraneous design features, and less thick edges. As a result you may be able to fit a 55-inch 4K TV into a space previously occupied by a smaller but older model.

For small living rooms, 55 inches will likely be the upper limit of what will fit, and it is worth taking some measurements to be sure. But it can give you an epic cinema screen feel if you're sitting around 10 feet away.

In larger living rooms, where you may be sitting further away, it's basically the standard size you should be aiming for if you're sitting around 14 feet from the screen. Any more than that, and you should take a look at the best 65-inch TVs, though these do come with a price hike (and, of course, are notably bigger).

Best 55-inch TV: What to look for

The top-quality 55-inch 4K TV market is dominated by OLEDs and high-end QLED TVs (or equivalent LCD technology). As a result, you can expect the LCD screens to use a direct LED backlight with local dimming, which help them get closer to the deep black range that OLED offers.

If you go down the price ladder, you'll lose the OLED panels, and the LCD panels will become simpler, with fewer dimming zones in the backlight, before moving to edge-lit LED panels as you go more budget. These will still offer strong brightness and colours, but won't be as capable when it comes to dark scenes.

Both TV techs will offer extensive HDR support and AI-enhanced image processing on fancier models. You might also be looking for higher-end sound systems (though with more budget models, you'll still want to add one of the best soundbars), comprehensive smart systems, and plenty of cool gaming features – many of the best gaming TVs come in this size.

Best 55-inch TV: the list

Sony XR-55A90J

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony XR-55A90J

The best 55-inch TV you can buy right now

Reasons to buy
+Astonishing picture quality+Impressive sound+Excellent motion handling
Reasons to avoid
-No VRR yet-Missing UK apps

It's hardly cheap, but the Sony XR-55A90J is an astonishing OLED TV. It delivers the kind of picture quality we expect from Sony's highest-end models but also improves the user experience to bring it closer to the likes of LG when it comes to features and usability.

The key here is the new Cognitive Processor XR, which adds clever intelligence to Sony's previous X1 picture processor. It uses real-time analysis of the sound and picture to enhance both, delivering visuals that are closer to the way we see the world than other TVs can offer. The OLED panel is brighter than before, and the screen uses Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology to vibrate the screen and deliver positional audio. There are also twin woofers for low-end thump.

If you love Sony picture quality but don't love Android TV, you'll like the Google TV OS here: it's much faster, much easier and much better, although the personalisation is fairly limited: it'll suggest shows from Disney+, Apple TV and Prime Video but not Netflix or Sony's own Bravia Core streaming service, which offers free streaming of movies including IMAX Enhanced content if your broadband is fast enough.

The Sony XR-55A90J is a stunning TV, but there are some minor niggles and one major one. The major one is that right now, UK users don't have Youview, which means there's no BBC iPlayer, All 4, My5 or the ITV Hub. They were promised "later in 2021" back in May, and there's not much of 2021 left. 

In addition to the usual HDMI, USB, aerial and satellite sockets there are also speaker terminals, because this TV can be the centre speaker in a surround sound setup. Two of the USBs are HDMI 2.1, and annoyingly one of them is the eARC one – so if you're intending to connect your TV to your sound system, you're down to a single 2.1 HDMI. It's not a deal breaker by any means, but if you plan to have this TV for a long time it may limit what you can add in the years to come.

If you're a serious gamer you need to know that at the moment, this set doesn't support variable refresh rates (VRR), which Xbox and PC gamers can use on rival sets (the PS5 doesn't support VRR yet either). It does run at 4K/120Hz, although if you also want Dolby Vision gaming you'll need to switch into Enhanced Format mode and then switch back when you're done.


(Image credit: LG)

2. LG OLED55C1

The best 55-inch OLED TV for most people

Reasons to buy
+Excellent picture quality+Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos+Awesome smart platform
Reasons to avoid
-No HDR10+ support-Middling sound

The LG C1 is the best 55-inch OLED TV for most people, coming in at around half the price of the Panasonic JZ2000, but still delivering superb image quality. It delivers the gorgeous colours and perfect blacks that are the hallmarks of OLED, but also boasts just about every conceivable smart feature, including best-in-class gaming support.

It also uses LG’s AI-enhanced processing to deliver remarkably clean and detailed upscaled images. This impressive 55-inch 4K TV can produce stunning images with both SDR and HDR content. In the case of the latter it also supports HLG and Dolby Vision, with only a lack of HDR10+ to disappoint.

The C1 includes fully four HDMI 2.1 inputs that include support for eARC, 4K at 120fps, variable refresh rates and auto low-latency mode, which is incredibly rare at this price – most similar TVs will have two such inputs at most. You also get incredibly low input lag time, which is great for gaming, while the option to add souped-up sound system with Dolby Atmos immersive audio over eARC is really welcome, since the built-in speaker are pretty pedestrian. 

However it’s the webOS smart system that’s the cherry on top: it’s responsive and intuitive, with built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Throw in a comprehensive set of video streamers, and the LG C1 is hard to fault – it's one of the best TVs in the world for its price.

Sony 55X90J

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony 55X90J

The best mid-range 55-inch TV for sports and upscaling

Reasons to buy
+Dolby Vision and Atmos+Good smart TV platform+4K 120Hz support
Reasons to avoid
-No Variable Refresh Rate for gamers-Some glare-Average audio

The Sony X90J is the 'sweet spot' TV for the company in 2021, boasts a host of high-end image enhancing features designed to deliver a superior picture performance, just without the very highest-end panel technology, delivering a great price balance overall. There a direct full-array LED backlight and local dimming, which results in really strong HDR colours, wider viewing angles, deeper blacks, improved shadows, and increased brightness. 

That's powered by Sony's Bravia XR 'Cognitive' processing, which means the best-possible upscaling and motion handling – it makes less-than-4K video look pristine, and adds detail into fast-moving sport, without anything looking artificial. We really dig into all this in our full Sony X90J review, as you would expect.

The X90J supports Dolby Vision, although there’s no HDR10+, and it produces bright, detailed and colourful images with SDR and HDR. The twin HDMI 2.1 inputs are great news for gamers, though it's a shame that it lacks VRR at the moment – it's promised to come in an update in the future, but we've been waiting a long time for that. 

The Google TV software is really easy to use, and is really solid for streaming service support, meaning it's easy to watch your favourite stuff at the best image quality.

Panasonic JZ2000

(Image credit: Panasonic)

4. Panasonic JZ2000

The best 55-inch OLED TV for awesome cinematic pictures

Reasons to buy
+Bright, rich OLED pictures+Great Dolby Atmos audio+Dolby Vision & HDR10+
Reasons to avoid
-Very premium price

The Panasonic JZ2000 isn't like most OLED TVs: it has a special panel design that means it can go brighter, in exchange for being a bit thicker (but only the same size as your average LCD TV), but quite a lot more expensive.

The results speak for themselves, though – this offers the most refined, cinematic pictures we've ever seen, thanks to a combination of OLED's incredible handling of contrast and HDR, with Panasonic's tuning of the sets pictures in conjunction with professional Hollywood colourists, so it's as close to what they use when making the movies as possible.

For movie fans, this is as good as it gets in 4K TVs, in our opinion. It's a smash for TV too, thanks to excellent upscaling and processing, so everything you watch makes the most of its panel. It even has support for great new gaming features, such as 4K 120Hz.

As an added bonus, there's a built-in Dolby Atmos sound system, including forward-firing speakers under the screen, and upfiring speakers on top for real height. Of course, most people spending this money on a TV will probably get a dedicated sound system, but this does give you the option of saving your money.

Samsung QN85A

(Image credit: Samsung)

5. Samsung QN85A

The best QLED 55-inch TV for the price, made for stunning HDR

Reasons to buy
+Superb HDR performance+Comprehensive smart platform+Excellent gaming features
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision or Atmos

The Samsung QN85A is the company’s most affordable model with its next-gen Mini-LED technology in, known as 'Neo QLED'. A direct backlight with many more lights in than before, and more precise local dimming, ensures a picture with 100% colour volume, deep blacks, added shadow detail and levels of brightness that even the best OLED TVs can't match.

This gives it stunningly vibrant HDR images (and is useful in brighter rooms, since it means sunlight won't wash out the image as much), and while it still doesn't handle deep blacks as well as OLED does, it's closer than you might think, and for a great price. Our full Samsung QN85A review talks more about where the picture quality excels, and where it falls back compared to higher-priced sets.

The AI-enhanced Quantum Processor also delivers a superior picture with SDR and HDR sources, with the latter looking particularly impressive. There’s support for HDR10+, and about the only complaint regarding this TV is the lack of Dolby Vision.

The QN85A doesn’t support Dolby Atmos either, but it can send the immersive audio format from its built-in apps via eARC. And there’s a lot of apps, with video streaming from the likes of Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Apple TV+, Disney+, and the UK catch-up services. There’s also a handy Universal Guide to help you make sense of all this choice. 

Other useful features include easy setup using the SmartThings app, and the ability to work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. The QN85A is also a great 55-inch 4K TV for gamers, with a very low input lag and support for 4K at 120Hz, variable refresh rate, and auto low latency mode.


(Image credit: LG)

6. LG BX

The best cheap OLED 55-inch TV

Reasons to buy
+Rich OLED contrast+HDMI 2.1 features+Dolby Vision & Atmos
Reasons to avoid
-Not that bright-Sound needs upgrading

This is the cheapest OLED TV we recommend, if you want the nuanced detail in dark areas and lush colours that the technology can provide for the best possible price. To get the price under £1000, this is a TV from last year, so the processing and panel technology isn't quite the latest and greatest, but the difference really isn't huge, and the image quality is way beyond anything else you'll get for under four figures.

You still get OLED's ability to show infinitely deep black levels, and it does an excellent job with showing rich colours, detailed 4K images, and clear motion. It's far more cinematic than you get from mid-range LCD models – this is the movie lover's best choice in the price range.

It's also an excellent choice for gamers, thanks to its support for HDMI 2.1 features, including 4K 120Hz and Variable Refresh Rate – it's right up to date for PS5 and Xbox Series X. Read our full LG BX review for more on why this TV has been a top pick for us since its launch.

Hisense R55B7120UK

(Image credit: Hisense)

7. Hisense R55B7120UK

The best cheap 55-inch TV

Reasons to buy
+Excellent software and apps+Strong image quality and upscaling+Incredible value
Reasons to avoid
-Dark details and motion handling-No Dolby Vision or HDR10+

This Hisense TV offers truly impressive image quality for its price, but what really puts it over the competition is having Roku's excellent and user-friendly smart platform built in, giving you a fantastic range of streaming services.

Obviously, a budget TV isn't going to compete with the high-end models here for overall image quality, but it gets all the important things right, including strong upscaling from HD to 4K, which is great given how much of what we watch isn't natively Ultra HD yet.

The picture is well-balanced overall, giving you natural and pleasing images – they're just not as bright as more expensive sets, or quite as convincing with black levels. But as we said, for this price, we're more than happy with what it delivers.

For those looking for a nice big screen, easily understood software for finding things to watch, and a low price, this is just about unbeatable. Read our full Hisense R55B7120UK review for more.