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

Best 55-inch TVs
(Image credit: Samsung, Panasonic)

The best 55-inch TVs are hugely popular, because they often represent the smallest screen size and most affordable price point for the higher-end TV technology that defines the sets worthy of being in our list of the best TVs overall

For example, 55-inch TVs offer consumers their first opportunity to buy an OLED TV, due to it currently being the smallest screen size in which the technology is produced (though this will change in 2020, when 48-inch OLED screen arrive, which are likely to go straight into 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, and whichever display technology you choose, both are dominated by high-end models offering state-of-the-art HDR and smart features.

• OLED vs QLED: What they are, and which is best for you

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.

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. You should also be looking for higher-end sound systems (including Dolby Atmos support if you're considering a high-end soundbar or a surround system), comprehensive smart systems, and plenty of cool gaming features.

Best soundbars – upgrade the audio of any TV instantly

Best 55-inch TV: the list

Best 55-inch TV: Samsung Q90R

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung Q90R

The best 55-inch TV for beautiful HDR images

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

The Samsung Q90R is the company’s flagship 4K QLED model, and as such this 55-inch LCD TV combines an impressive performance with cutting-edge features. A direct backlight with local dimming, wider viewing angles and quantum dot tech ensures a picture with 100% colour volume, deep blacks, added shadow detail and reference-setting levels of brightness. 

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 Q90R doesn’t support Dolby Atmos either, but it can send the immersive audio format from its built-in apps via ARC. 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 Q90R is also a great 55-inch 4K TV for gamers, with a very low input lag, enhancement features and support for VRR and ALLM.

Best 55-inch TV: LG C9

(Image credit: LG)

2. LG OLED55C9

The best 55-inch OLED TV

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

The LG C9 is the best OLED 55-inch TV you can currently buy. It not only represents the state-of-the-art in terms of that panel technology, but also boasts just about every conceivable smart feature. The display offers gorgeous colours and perfect blacks, which are the hallmarks of OLED. 

It also uses LG’s AI-enhanced α9 processor 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 C9 includes four HDMI 2.1 inputs – something of a rarity at the moment – which future-proofs this 55-inch Smart TV with support for eARC, 4K at 120fps, variable refresh rates and auto low-latency mode. The latter three are also good news for gamers, as is an incredibly low input lag, while a souped-up sound system with Dolby Atmos immersive audio is an added bonus. 

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 C9 is hard to fault – it's one of the best TVs in the world.

Best 55-inch TV: Panasonic 55GX950

(Image credit: Panasonic)

3. Panasonic TX-55GZ950

The best-value 55-inch TV for HDR

Reasons to buy
+Superb picture accuracy+Dolby Vision and HDR10++Dolby Atmos support
Reasons to avoid
-Smart system is basic

The Panasonic GZ950 might use an OLED panel made by LG, but the Japanese manufacturer has used its proprietary picture expertise to deliver a superb 55-inch 4K TV. All the usual OLED strengths are present and correct, with richly-saturated colours and perfect blacks. 

The HCX PRO intelligent process ensures the best-possible images regardless of the source, and the comprehensive HDR support includes HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. This THX-certified TV also delivers an impressive level of picture accuracy, and there are extensive calibration controls.

The GZ950’s build quality is excellent, and the minimalist design keeps things simple. However hidden away in that slim chassis is a pair of high quality speakers, and there’s also support for Dolby Atmos object-based audio. 

The My Home Screen 4.0 smart system is fairly basic when compared to the platforms offered by LG and Samsung, but it includes the main video streamers and Freeview Play, while also working with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. A competitive price is the icing on this particular OLED cake, making the Panasonic GZ950 the best-value 55-inch HDR TV.

Best 55-inch TV: Philips 55PUS7334

(Image credit: Philips)

4. Philips 55PUS7334

The best-value 55-inch TV overall

Reasons to buy
+Dolby Vision and HDR10++Dolby Atmos support+Comprehensive app support+Ambilight is a great addition
Reasons to avoid
-Edge LED backlight

If you’re looking for the best-value 55-inch TV, then look no further than the Philips 7334. This 4K LCD TV uses an LED backlight, and includes Philips’s Perfect Picture Engine image processing. The latter results in industry-leading upscaling, noise reduction and motion smoothing, producing remarkable images from both SDR and HDR content. In the case of the latter, it also supports every version including HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, making the 7334 a superb 55-inch HDR TV.

The backlight is edge-based, which means you don't get the excellent local dimming of the Samsung Q90R, say, which is also and LCD set. But then, this TV is half the price, and we wouldn't say the image looks half the quality by any means.

However it’s not just about picture quality, the 7334 also includes decent speakers and supports Dolby Atmos for a more immersive sonic experience. The Android TV operating system has built-in Google Assistant for a better smart experience, while a highly effective game mode ensures a very low input lag. 

Finally, three-sided Ambilight uses perfectly-time ambient light to enhance the images on screen, making the Philips 7334 an attractively-priced and well-specified 55-inch Smart TV.

Please note: this TV is available in Europe only – you may see it in available outside, but as an import it's likely to be more expensive, so won't be such good value.

Best 55-inch TV: Sony 55XG9505

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony KD-55XG9505

The best 55-inch TV for sport and games

Reasons to buy
+Excellent image processing+Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos+Great app support
Reasons to avoid
-No HDR10+ support

The Sony XG95 represents the company’s flagship 55-inch LCD TV, and boasts a host of image enhancing features designed to deliver a superior picture performance. There a direct full-array LED backlight and local dimming, which results in more colours, wider viewing angles, deeper blacks, improved shadows, and increased brightness. 

There’s also Sony’s X1 Ultimate image for the best-possible upscaling and noise reduction, combined with X-Motion Clarity for smoother and clearer motion – it makes less-than-4K video look pristine, and adds detail into fast-moving sport.

The XG95 supports Dolby Vision, although there’s no HDR10+, and it produces bright, detailed and colourful images with SDR and HDR. The exceptional motion handling is sure to please sports fans and gamers alike, while a low input lag is good news for the latter. 

The Android TV operating system includes Google Assistant built-in, but also works with Amazon Alexa, and while the choice of streaming services isn’t as comprehensive as LG or Samsung, the XG95 is an excellent 55-inch Smart TV for watching sport and gaming.