Best 43-inch TVs: get cinematic 4K HDR images from smaller sets | T3

Best 43-inch TVs: get cinematic 4K HDR images from smaller sets

The best 43-inch TVs still offer high-end 4K Ultra HD picture quality, even if you can't fit a giant wonder-screen into your life

Best 43-inch TVs
(Image credit: LG, Hisense)

If you’re looking for the best 43-inch TV, you’re in good company. Screens might be getting bigger and bigger, but it's pretty typical for people to need screens between 40- to 43-inches, simply because that's the amount of space lots of people have in their living room or den.

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Because of this, TV manufacturers target their best mid-range models at this key segment of the market, resulting in some cracking 43-inch smart TVs. You can expect to see a lot of the same technology as the best 48-to-50-inch TVs (just smaller), and there's also a lot of crossover with the best 55-inch TVs, though that's where the flag sets start to come in too.

The best 43-inch TVs won't have the same ultra-high-end panel tech as the very best TVs, but actually many of them will have the same smart platforms for streaming, which might well be the most important thing to you.

And there's no lack of support for HDR formats for truly modern viewing – that, and they're all 4K, naturally!

Best 43-inch TV: Is this the right size for you?

For many people, a 43-inch TV is the perfect size for smaller UK living rooms. It’s big enough to deliver a detailed picture at a sensible viewing distance, but not so big that you feel you’re in the front row of the cinema. 

As a general rule of thumb, the best viewing distance is around twice the diagonal screen distance. So for a 43-inch smart TV, you should ideally be sitting about seven to nine feet away.

Best 43-inch TV: What to look for

A 43-inch TV is the first screen size where you can really begin to enjoy the higher resolution benefits of 4K Ultra HD. LCD panel technology still dominates because the smallest OLED TV is 48 inches (see our LG CX review for the verdict on the only model available in this size), but you will start to see manufacturers employing direct LED backlights and local dimming for a superior picture. 

The HDR performance will also improve, with wider colours from technologies such as QLED, and increased brightness.

Some manufacturers will also include their full smart TV platforms, which is a bonus, since it gives you access to catch-up TV and streaming services without any additional boxes needed. Though it's not hard to add these if your chosen TV is light on support – the best 4K media streamers start from around £40/$40 with comprehensive app support.

Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday 43-inch TV deals

We expect to see some great offers on some of the sets in our list, or models very similar to them, in the Amazon Prime Day deals and Black Friday deals.

Some of the more premium sets, such as the Samsung QLED, have already had significant price drops, but for the more mid-range sets, it's common to see 20% or 30% off during the sales, so there are some big potential bargains to be had. Samsung, Philips and Hisense are usually part of these discounts, but you're likely to other brands pop up too.

Best 43-inch TVs: the list

Best 43-inch TV: Samsung QE43Q60R

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung QE43Q60R

QLED image quality in a smaller screen

Reasons to buy
+Superior picture quality+Comprehensive smart platform+HDR10+ support+Low input lag
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision HDR support

The 43-inch 4K TV market might be dominated by mid-range models, but no one appears to have told Samsung. The Q60R forms part of the Korean giant’s flagship range, offering the smallest screen size to provide an entry-point into the wonderful world of QLED TV.

The use of quantum dot technology ensures the Q60R is the best 43-inch HDR TV, with wider colours, higher peak brightness, and support for HDR10+. It also boasts the AI-enhanced Quantum Processor to upscale HD and SD content, and get the best out of the 4K panel.

The Q60R is also a fantastic 43-inch Smart TV, with Samsung’s full suite of features. These include easy set-up via the SmartThings app, Ambient Mode, and the ability to work with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

There’s a comprehensive selection of streaming services that includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Now TV, Apple TV+, Disney+ and all the UK catch-up services. There’s even a Universal Guide to make sure all this choice doesn’t overwhelm you.

If you’re a gamer there are plenty of useful features, including a very low input lag and enhancement options. The Q60R uses edge LED backlighting (rather than the more spectacular for HDR 'direct' backlighting of more expensive QLED models), and Samsung doesn’t support Dolby Vision, but otherwise this excellent 43-inch LCD TV is hard to fault.

Best 43-inch TVs: LG 43UM7500

(Image credit: LG)

2. LG 43UM7500

The best 43-inch TV for smart features

Reasons to buy
+Amazing smart features+Wide viewing angles+DTS Virtual:X
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision or HDR10+

The LG UM75 is hands-down the best 43-inch TV for Smart TV features, with exactly the same platform found on the manufacturer’s flagship models. That means you get the awesome webOS smart system with its responsive and intuitive Magic remote. You also get built-in ThinQ AI, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, along with voice control, all helping to turn your 4K TV into a fully-functioning smart assistant and digital hub.

The good news doesn’t stop there, with this 43-inch LCD TV using a 4K IPS panel for a wider viewing angle, a direct backlight for brighter HDR, and a quad-core processor for superior upscaling. There’s also DTS Virtual:X for an improved sonic performance, a low input lag and ALLM for gamers, and even support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 – all helping to make the LG UM75 the smartest 43-inch 4K TV money can buy.

Image quality and processing are bettered by some newer sets here, but this is also one of the cheaper models, and punches above its price tag for visuals overall.

Best 43-inch TV: Panasonic HX940

(Image credit: Panasonic)

3. Panasonic TX-43HX940

The best 43-inch TV for movie lovers

Reasons to buy
+Superb picture quality+Dolby Vision and HDR10++Dolby Atmos support+Decent sound quality
Reasons to avoid
-Basic smart system-Limited gaming features

When it comes to the the best 43-inch 4K TV for picture quality, nothing beats the Panasonic HX940. This high-end LED TV boasts intelligent local dimming, and a panel with increased brightness and wider colours. Hollywood professionals have tuned the panel, while Panasonic’s proprietary HCX Pro intelligent processor helps ensure the best-possible images when watching movies. The HX940 not only supports Ultra HD, but also every version of high dynamic range, including HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.

Panasonic hasn’t skimped on the sound system either, with a decent set of speakers and onboard Dolby Atmos decoding. The myHomeScreen 5.0 smart platform is somewhat basic compared with much of the competition, but its simplicity makes it easier to use, and it includes most of the key streaming services. The gaming features are fairly limited, but there’s a host of calibration controls for getting the very best out of the HX940. As a result, there really is no better 43-inch HDR TV for watching your favourite films and TV shows.

Best 43-inch TV: Hisense

(Image credit: Hisense)

4. Hisense H43B7500

The best-value 43-inch TV

Reasons to buy
+Great value+Dolby Vision+Simple but effective smart TV
Reasons to avoid
-No HDR10+-No Dolby Atmos

If you’re looking for the best-value 43-inch TV, then search no further than the new Hisense B7500. This 4K HDR TV is competitively priced, like the rest of Hisense’s range, and sports a simplified but intuitive smart system. Thanks to VIDAA U 3.0 this 43-inch Smart TV boasts a decent set of video streaming services that includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Rakuten TV along with all the UK catch-up services via Freeview Play.

The Hisense B7500 isn’t just smart, it also looks good thanks to a direct LED backlight and support for HDR, including Dolby Vision. There’s also effective image processing for keeping things sharp and clear, and a low input lag for gamers. The way we watch TV is changing, and the Hisense B7500 reflects this with its emphasis on smart features and video streaming services. So why not check out this excellent 43-inch 4K TV.

Best 43-inch TV: Sony KD-43XH8505

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony XH85 KD-43XH8505

The best high-end 43-inch TV

Reasons to buy
+Attractive design+High-end features+Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos
Reasons to avoid
-No HDR10+

The Sony XH85 benefits from the company’s design expertise, showcasing a striking metal finish that uses an aluminium bezel and metal blade stand. However this attractive 43-inch 4K TV isn’t all surface cosmetics, and also uses an Ultra HD Triluminos panel with edge LED backlighting. It includes the latest X1 4K HDR image processor that enables wider colours and brighter highlights for HDR, while Sony’s Motionflow XR 800Hz motion processing results in smoother and more detailed motion.

The XH80 doesn’t just deliver minimalist looks and impressive picture quality, it also sounds great thanks to decent speakers, powerful amplification and Sony’s Clear Phase technology. As with all of Sony’s TVs the XH80 uses the Android operating system, making it an excellent 43-inch Smart TV that not only includes built-in Google Assistant, but also works with Amazon Alexa. Overall the Sony XH80 is a superb 43-inch HDR TV that proves even at smaller screen sizes, you can still have a high-end experience.

Best 43-inch TV: Sony XH8096

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony KD-43XH8096

The best 43-inch TV for sport

Reasons to buy
+Excellent image processing+Great motion for sport+Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos
Reasons to avoid
-No HDR10+

The Sony XH80 boasts all the picture processing features associated with the Japanese manufacturer, making it the ideal 43-inch LCD TV for sports fans. The 4K Triluminos panel uses edge LED backlighting and includes the X-Reality PRO image enhancing engine. As a result colours are wider and highlights brighter for HDR, while Sony’s Motionflow XR processing produces smoother and more detailed motion with fast-paced sports action.

The XH80 doesn’t just deliver an impressive picture, it also delivers the sonic goods thanks to decent speakers, plenty of amplifier grunt and Sony’s Clear Phase technology. This is also a great 43-inch Smart TV thanks to the Android OS which includes built-in Google Assistant, although it also works with Amazon Alexa. Overall, the Sony XH80 is a solid 43-inch 4K TV regardless of what you’re watching, but will particularly please sports fans.

Best 43-inch TV: TCL EP658

(Image credit: TCL)

7. TCL 43EP658

The best budget 43-inch TV

Reasons to buy
+Dolby Audio+Good smart features+Great value
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision/HDR10+-No Dolby Atmos

If you're looking for a solid 43-inch Smart TV, but only have a limited budget, then the TCL EP658 ticks the key boxes for a remarkable price. This 4K LCD TV uses an edge-lit 10-bit panel, with micro dimming, AI image enhancement tech, quad-core processing, and support for HDR10. There’s also Dolby audio and a solid sound system that uses full-range speakers with decent amplification for a TV.

However, where the EP658 really impresses at this price is with its smart platform, which uses the same Android operating system found on more expensive models from Sony – including the two above! As a result, it offers all the associated benefits, including a built-in Google Assistant, extensive video streaming apps, and support for Freeview Play, which provides easy access to all the UK catch-up services.