Best 32-inch TV 2018: 4K and HDR televisions for those who don't need to try too hard

And/or live in small spaces, or require a second or third TV for a small room. The best 32-inch televisions available to humanity

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Need a smaller TV for the bedroom or kitchen? Or just prefer not to have a TV that's bigger than your book case? The best 32-inch TV will fit the bill perfectly. Here’s our pick of the best 32-inch smart TVs out there right now…

Buying the best 32-inch TV: what you need to know

If you’re after a second TV for a bedroom, kitchen or playroom, a 32-inch flatscreen should serve you well. But just because you’re thinking small, there’s no reason to short change functionality. 

All of our chosen TVs put up great image quality offer network connectivity via smart platforms, and support USB recording and media playback.

Whatever your panel predilection, we’ve got you covered. Our chosen tellies include high design (notably the Samsung Serif Medium) and fashionable thin bezel models, but there are key differences in both tuner choice and panel resolution too.  

Realistically, do you need 4K for a 32-inch TV? No. Do you need 1080p? That's more marginal. I'd say you do but you are hardly going to pauper yourself by settling for 720p.

Best 1080p and 720p, 32-inch TVs from most expensive to cheapest

1. Samsung UE32LS001DU Medium Serif

Superb full-HD 1080p 32-inch TV for designer apartments

Specifications
Screen type: LED 1080p
Other sizes available: 40-inch, 24-inch
HDR: No
HDMI: 2
USB: 2
Dimensions: 447 x 732 x 137 mm
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous design and artisanal screen-saver mode
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive for the screen size, clearly

The Serif Medium is a 1080p iteration of Samsung’s extraordinary collaboration with the industrial design team of Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. It’s smaller than the UHD Serif model, naturally, but just as dramatic in its design execution. In fact, the look may even work better at this screen size.

Despite the small screen size, Samsung has lavished some high-end image processing on this set, including Micro Dimming Pro and a Wide Colour Enhancer.  Integrated Bluetooth also allows it to function as a music-only speaker, making good use of the set’s 20W stereo sound system. Smart services include Netflix, Spotify and TuneIn. 

The Serif monicker is derived from the capitalised ‘I’ design, which it resembles when viewed from the side, and to continue the font analogy, it looks bold. The frame is self-standing, so you can easily keep it on a shelf, however it comes with a retro stand if required. Connections include two HDMIs, and a pair of USBs. The back panel is actually a fabric cover, held in place with magnets.

The Bouroullec-designed Curtain Mode user interface is a delight, allowing the set to function as a clock or JPEG viewer when not in use. An onboard USB media player handles music, photos and videos from a thumb drive.  

If this is what happens when Scandi design meets TV tech, I like it.

2) Panasonic 32ES503BSAT

A somewhat cheaper but still high-quality 32-inch TV

Specifications
Screen type: LED 720p
Other screen sizes available: 40-inch, 49-inch
HDR: No
HDMI: 2
USB: 2
Dimensions: 437 x W733 x D71 mm
Reasons to buy
+Excellent smart platform+Good all round performer
Reasons to avoid
-720p looks fine but feels a bit 2008

The 32ES503 features one of my favourite smart TV platforms, Panasonic’s My Home Screen v2.0. It's shown off on a bright, 720p panel that's well worth the asking price. 

Because it’s down with the kids, the ES503 also boasts a Freeview Play tuner, which means a fistful of Catch-Up TV services are accessible from the programme Guide (BBC iPlayer, ITVHub, All4 and Demand5). If you don’t have a terrestrial aerial available, or just would rather not watch Dave, which is Freeview-only, the set offers a Freesat satellite tuner option (there's also a less expensive version without that).

Derived from the open source Firefox TV OS, My Home Screen 2.0 is built around an intuitive, uncluttered home screen which you can personalise with preferred channels or services. Partial to a night of Netflix binging? Pin a Netflix shortcut onto the Home page. Other streaming services available from the Panasonic app store include Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.

To improve contrast on this small screen, Panasonic uses Adaptive Backlight Dimming. This monitors incoming pictures, and adjusts the light output of the panel accordingly.

The TV also supports programme recording onto an external USB hard drive. Remember, there’s just a single tuner available, so you can’t record one TV channel while watching another. A USB media player allows playback of music, photos and videos, and thanks to a 20w stereo speaker system, there’s no shortage of volume.

Connectivity is par for the course, with two HDMIs and two USBs, but the design and simple, wire-frame pedestal stand are a slightly above par. A strong contender for second-room TV honours, then.

3) Sony Bravia KDL32WE613

Best 32-inch TV for PlayStation gamers

Specifications
Screen type: LED 720p
Other screen sizes available: 49-inch
HDR: HDR10
HDMI: 2
USB: 2
Dimensions: 442 x 731 x 70 mm
Reasons to buy
+HDR compatible+Freeview Play
Reasons to avoid
-Sound quality could be better

This cute, compact Sony stands apart from its HD-ready rivals in that it actually offers HDR10 compatibility, mainly for HDR-enabled PS4 games.

The set itself looks slick enough, with the thin black bezel being suitably swish. This set may be inexpensive, but it’s not bargain basement. Integrated cable management keeps spaghetti under control.

Image quality is great for the money. HD resolution is 720p, but Sony’s X-Reality PRO picture processing engine enhances fine detail. This pixel magic works on all sources, from Freeview HD to Blu-ray. X-Reality PRO also helps compensate for compressed streams. Motionflow XR 400Hz is on-hand to improve motion clarity, at least in terms of reduced judder and blur.  

The set features the latest Freeview Play tuner, which includes integrated catch-up TV (BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and Demand 5) via a rollback programme guide.  A simplified smart platform includes all key streaming services, including YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.  Other attractions include Photo Sharing Plus and recording to a USB hard drive.  

A surprisingly well specified telly, then. If you’ve got a games room, it could be ideal.

4) Cello Platinum P32ANSMT

Specifications
Screen type: LED 720p
Other screen sizes available: 43, 50, 55 and 60-inch
HDR: No
HDMI: 2
USB: 3
Dimensions: 731 x 505 x 87 mm
Reasons to buy
+Surprisingly powerful audio+Low input lag
Reasons to avoid
-Android 4.4 platform is dated

UK TV maker Cello’s flagship Platinum range straddles both HD and 4K sets. This 32-incher looks just like its bigger siblings, all silver-grey frame and slightly intimidating, forward-facing speakers, but built around a 720p panel.

The stereo sound system has also been slightly downsized, but it’s still novel to have a TV with this screen-size sounding anything other than puny. The audio output is rated at 16w, but stereo presentation is pronounced.

Connections are also generous. In addition to two HDMIs and three USBs, there are phono AV inputs, VGA PC input and even a MicroSD card reader.

Pictures are bright and colourful. There’s a level of edge emphasis which could stand to be toned down, but overall the image is suitably sharp.  The USB media player offers wide file support for video and music.  

The screen runs Android 4.4, which could hardly be described as cutting-edge, but at least it means you can download apps from the Google Play Store. Bundled is an IR remote with Air Remote USB dongle. This offers mouse-like control of an on-screen cursor, and it works well.

Solid functionality and a great sound system make this small screen worth shortlisting.

5) LG 32LJ610V

The biggest 32-inch TV bargain going, with 1080p resolution and great features

Specifications
Screen type: LED 1080p
Other screen sizes available: 53, 49 and 55-inch
HDR: No
HDMI: 3
USB: 2
Dimensions: 441 x 739 x 84 mm
Reasons to buy
+1080p panel resolution+Freeview Play with webOS
Reasons to avoid
-Poor audio-Limited RAM for apps

It's 'last' on this list due to being the cheapest option, but LG's 32LJ610V is pound-for-pound perhaps the best of the lot. A copper-bottomed bargain. 

The cheapest route onto LG’s superb webOS smart platform, the 32LJ610V is a budget 32-incher that’s big on connected entertainment. The design is probably best described as unobtrusive: a thin, metallic black bezel relies on two widely spaced feet for support.

But significantly, unlike many rivals of this size, it’s built around a 1080p panel, with image clarity bolstered by LG's Picture Mastering Engine and Resolution Upscaler technologies, the latter of which really makes the most of standard-def sources. Connectivity is above average too, with three HDMI inputs and two USBs.  

Running the latest 3.5 iteration of the webOS smart platform, this LG offers a wide variety of premium streaming services, including Now TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube.  

In addition, there’s Freeview Play, the connected update of the familiar Freeview HD TV platform. With main channel catch-up TV integrated into the programme guide, and extra on-demand content, you’ll always have something worth watching.

No terrestrial aerial feed? No worries. There’s also a Freesat satellite tuner onboard. This could be useful if you’ve churned away from Sky, and have a dish cable spare. Another nicety is the USB media player, which allows you to watch videos or JPEGs, or play music stored on a thumbdrive.

Corners have to be cut somewhere, and the 10w stereo sound system is not going to knock anyone's socks off but sonics and a slightly basic appearance aside, this extremely well specified small screen doesn’t miss a trick.