The best gaming TVs you can buy in 2016

Posted on 10/25 12:10 in | 0

When it comes to being a gamer, the single most important purchase you can ever make is buying the right television. Consoles come and go. Games pop up, fade into distant memory, then swiftly get remastered. But buy the right TV, and you’re potentially making an investment that will last the better part of a decade; enriching every game you play on it in along the way. That’s why we’ve scoured the market and picked out the best gaming TVs to match every budget - from 4K savants with Scrooge McDuck-deep pockets, to those on a tight budget. 

All modern TVs have tonnes of apps and streaming services, so we won’t be spending time discussing smart features here. What really warrants focus is picture quality, because when it comes to the best gaming TVs, image is king. While TV tech is rapidly marching forward - be it 4K, OLED panels or HDR - all the sets below will give you a great gaming experience for years to come. So whether you’re looking for a killer 4K TV to make the most out of PS4 Pro or merely want a great second set for the bedroom, you’ll find the best gaming TV to suit your needs below.

Samsung has been knocking it out of the park in the TV sector over the last few years. The South Korean manufacturer is making class-leading sets in almost every area of the market; be it the very high-end scale or budget ranges. The KS8000 sits nearer the top end of the tree and is an absolute humdinger of a gaming TV thanks to its killer response times, incredibly bright pictures and impressive handling of HDR (High Dynamic Range) content. 

What separates Samsung TVs from the rest of the LED pack is the Korean giant’s ability to make sets with brilliantly low input lag. Engage Game Mode on the KS8000, and you’re looking at response times of just 20.9ms. In layman's terms, this TV’s pictures refresh so quickly, you’ll never be able to blame a single COD death on controller lag again. Blacks are also handled more confidently than the majority of LED panels, with little sign of backlight bleed or clouding when playing in a dark room. The only slight downer? The KS8000’s pictures aren’t terribly uniform, with the panel’s patchy light distribution causing pictures to look a little dirty during panning shots - like in FIFA matches. 

Best for.... Anyone who want a brilliantly bright, decent value, exceptionally fast gaming set.

And on the seventh day, God created OLED, and mankind’s collective eyeballs exploded in eternal gratitude. Playing games on an OLED TV is a religious experience, thanks to the technology’s unbelievable contrast performance and spot-on motion handling. Because these displays operate without a backlight, they can produce perfect blacks; not the dark grey mist many LEDs try to pass off as black. It means pictures on an OLED absolutely sing in a dark room. Honestly, just wait until you play Alien Isolation at night on one of these babies. 

LG currently has a stranglehold on the OLED market, with the South Korean manufacturer producing stunning sets like this 55-inch E6 model. The price tag  obviously isn’t chump change, meaning we can’t justify giving the E6 top spot, but if your pockets are deep enough you’ll be rewarded with a set that produces images with incredible fidelity. The clarity of this E6 is astonishing at 1080p, let alone 4K, while it’s also a stellar HDR performer. Input lag isn’t class-leading - though 34ms is still respectable - yet in every other area, be it contrast, colour reproduction or image uniformity, OLED absolutely trashes LCD/LED technology. A TV fit for The Man Upstairs. 

Best for... Gamers with serious disposable income who want the absolute best gaming experience possible.

It’s not something people usually discuss in polite (read: ‘sane’) company, but most LED TVs suck at creating truly uniform pictures. Thanks to the inherent problems with backlight technology, the vast majority of modern flatscreen sets all exhibit varying degrees of banding - vertical strips/streaks across the screen - or dirty screen effect - whereby uneven light distribution leads to areas on the panel that are darker than others, leading to a smudgy look during panning camera moves. 

That’s why Panasonic TX-40DX700B is such a steal. It’s not only a well-priced 4K, HDR-compatible TV; it’s also a set that boasts genuinely impressive screen uniformity. Both black and grey uniformity perform admirably on this TV, meaning you’ll see very little dirty screen effect when panning the camera across a bright blue sky in the likes of GTA 5. For those with less obsessive eyes, the amount of features this Panasonic packs in  is the real selling point. The screen may not be the brightest - images are a little too dark to make HDR truly come alive - but this is a great value 4K set thats quality belies its price tag.

Best for... Those looking for a brilliant bedroom TV for that second console 

4K TVs may be clogging electronic stores up and down the land, but 1080p is still the go-to resolution the vast majority of people watch and play content at. If you don’t have any immediate to long(ish) term plans to buy a PS4 Pro, Microsoft Scorpio or 4K-capable PC, you really should consider this LG. Its 1080p pictures are an absolute delight, and thanks to that OLED screen, this is a fantastic set for late night gaming. Blacks are unbelievably inky, leading to the sort of outstanding contrast performance most LEDs could only dream about. 

Clearly you’re not buying a future-proofed TV. That said, with the vanilla PS4/Xbox One likely to keep pumping games at 1080p for years yet, the lack of 4K isn’t a deathblow and this is still one of the best gaming TVs available. Yet while Full HD pictures on the 9100 rarely fail to wow, there are a couple of areas that fall short. Banding (those nasty vertical streaks) can rear its ugly head on dark grey backgrounds, while standard def pictures are quite soft. This is still a great TV, of course and a killer looking bit of furniture, too.

Best for... Gamers who aren’t fussed about 4K and want an outstanding 1080p TV

Next time someone moans to you they can’t upgrade to 4K because Ultra HD sets are too expensive, kindly point them in the direction of the KU6400. This budget TV amazingly manages to squeeze in HDR support... even if the results are a little underwhelming, in part due to the screen’s limited colour gamut. Still, the fact this 4K TV supports High Dynamic Range at all is super impressive considering its price point.

For a sub £500/$500 price point you get an Ultra HD TV that delivers impeccable response times. With input lag measuring in at just 19.1ms, the KU6400 is an ideal option for gamers who take online shooters seriously. Of course, to cut the TV to this price, sacrifices have been made. For one thing, there’s no local-dimming on this set, which means blacks looks a little washed out, particularly at night. Grey uniformity is also poor - meaning this TV is no friend to sports games, what with their constant camera pans. When you consider what this set is going for, though, it’d be downright mean to be overly critical. 

Best for... Gamers on a budget who’re looking for their first taste of 4K. 

Less than £500/$500 for a 4K HDR television, and a 49-inch one at that, you say? That’s just obscene. This Philips represents fantastic value, even if picture quality is occasionally a little lacking. Really, though, for a super reasonable price you’re getting a whole lot of tech and screen real estate. This range of Philips sets also boast the firm’s proprietary Ambilight feature, whereby coloured light emits from the sides of the TV to match the onscreen picture. Example? Orange lights glow out of the side when there are, say, flames on screen. Don’t worry: it’s actually quite a subtle, unobtrusive effect and don't let it put you off one of the best gaming tvs on the market.

Contrast performance isn't perfect out of the box, but can easily be improved by fiddling around in the TV’s menus. This means it’s not a great HDR performer, but at this price point, Philips deserve credit for even supporting High Dynamic Range. 49-inches is also plenty of space to genuinely appreciate the increased fidelity Ultra HD brings over normal 1080p content. In the UK, you’ll want model 49PUS6401 while in the US, the 49PFL7900 offers a similar viewing experience. 

Best for... Budget-conscious people who want lots of screen for little money


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