Let’s face it: the more time you spend on quality on your Xbox One X or PS4 Pro, the more important it is to do it with quality control. Of course, you can connect your game console to any old 720p or 1080p monitor, but any gamer who is worth his salt knows that one of the best 4K TVs for gaming makes the difference. When the current generation of Xbox and PlayStation consoles was first launched, the HD-ready machines had everything they needed to showcase your games in their best light. Fast forward to 2019, when mid-cycle hardware upgrades gave us consoles capable of performing both 4K resolution and High Dynamic Range (HDR) for all your video and gaming needs.
Although this is all great news for the quality of our gaming experiences, it is putting more and more pressure on your TV to connect it to the output of your slot machine. A console can have all the power of the world, but it makes little sense if it is connected to a TV that cannot use that improved power. So What’s exactly makes a TV, one of the Best 4K TVs For Gaming? Let’s discuss:
Features Of The Best 4K TVs For Gaming
The Xbox One S performs all games in 4K, achieved via surprisingly well-built-up scaling. The PS4 Pro also delivers games in 4K, using a combination of upscaling and in-game enhancements. The Xbox One X has now been designed with sufficient power to control more games than ever before with native 4K support integrated into the game engine. Yes, you can still get non-4K Xbox One and PS4 consoles, and the Nintendo Switch is not interested in 4K either. And yes, non-4K games need to be scaled up by a 4K TV, so they will not be completely ‘pure’. Upscaling is now remarkably good on the best 4K TVs for gaming and can be done without adding a significant delay to the time a TV needs to display photos.
Sitting right next to the 4K in today’s video world is the high dynamic range (HDR) technology. This produces photos with a much wider range of light than the standard photos with dynamic range with which we live for decades, the photos we see on our screens closer to the way our eyes see the real world. The Xbox One S supports HDR in some of its games and through some of its streaming apps. The same situation applies to both the PS4 and the PS4 Pro and of course the Xbox One X also delivers HDR. Most people would say that HDR has done well yields more impact than 4K, especially on small screens.
One of the most important elements of good HDR performance is clarity. Many movies and games focus on 1000 nits or more for the brightest elements, so if you have a TV that is less clear, the full potential of HDR is not unlocked. Especially in an environment with video games, where graphics images in contrast terms can be stronger than ‘real life’ often seems to be. It is perfectly possible for TVs to make great HDR photos without reaching 1000 nits and more clarity. This is especially true for OLED screens. But the darker a screen, the harder its processing will have to work to try to figure out how image information can be solved in HDR areas above its capabilities.
If you are really a serious gamer – especially when it comes to response-based online games – you should consider input lag: the time a certain TV needs to receive image data received at its inputs. You are of course looking for low numbers if you do not want to be shot by an opponent in your face, your TV can not even be seen! Again, manufacturers do not have a tendency to provide input lag figures in their specifications provided. In general, we measure the input lag on the TVs that we test. We have also provided the input lag measurements for all our recommended TVs.
Sound design has always played an integral part in a great gaming experience. With the advent of surround sound games, however, it is still a step up today. In fact, the Xbox One S and Xbox One X consoles even support the Dolby Atmos: Dolby’s most advanced sound system to date, which introduces a height channel and ‘object-based’ precision for the sound image. With impressively good timing, LG is at the point of extending support for Dolby Atmos via HDMI to its OLED TVs in 2017 (some of which feature integrated sound bars). Although integrated Atmos support is not yet found elsewhere, a sharp rise in televisions has taken place this year with really powerful sound systems. So unless you are considering investing in an external sound system, it will certainly pay you to have both sound and image quality in mind when you buy your gaming TV.
Samsung QN65Q9FN QLED TV
This high-end 65-inch Samsung set has a number of unique gaming-friendly benefits. To begin with, unique screen filters mean that photographs remain almost completely unaffected by ambient light. And believe us: being able to play in daylight and enjoy photos that look just as intense, clear and contrasting as in a dark room is nothing less than a revelation. The set also solves majestic 4K resolutions, while the robust build quality makes it possible to produce reasonably powerful and distortion-free audio performance (despite having no apparent speakers).
If all that was not exciting enough, the QN65Q9FN blows the competition with an exceptionally low input lag of 12ms when using Game mode. That said, the QN65Q9FN can suffer from slight light-load problems during very high contrast HDR sequences, and unfortunately, it is painfully expensive. But nothing stops it to take the top spot on our list of best 4K TVs for Gaming.
- Spectacular HDR picture quality
- Powerful, well-rounded sound
- Cutting-edge gaming features
- Limited viewing angles
LG E8 OLED55E8
Although the LG E8 OLED does not have as much HDR-friendly clarity as the Samsung Q9FN range, it is amazing when it comes to the other end of the brightness story, with beautifully rich, deep black colors that are completely free from the kind of clouding problems that LCD TVs. Also, while OLED cannot yet be as measurably clear as LCD, the way the darkest pixel in an OLED photo can be right next to the brightest without pollution between the two gives the OLED55E8’s pictures a beautiful luminous quality that is especially effective in dark game settings.
Gamers will now be happy to hear that the OLED E8, in contrast to the previous two predecessors, no longer dampens the image heavily while playing in HDR Low latency mode. It also supports 120 fps gaming with HD resolutions, full 4:4:4 PC color and an exceptionally low input-lag rating of less than 20 ms. Overall, this is one of the best 4k TVs for gaming to buy right now.
- Gorgeous, contrast-rich images
- A built-in soundbar is great
- The B7 has the same panel!
Sony’s XE9305 series is unique in the world of LCD TVs for the use of two light guide plates. This essentially gives twice the control over how much light reaches different parts of the screen when you’re using other LCD TVs lit on the edge. As a result, the 55-inch XBR-55X930E so far has been able to display brightly colored HDR highlights (up to 1400 nits and more) on the screen next to deep blacks more effectively than any other edge LCD. This makes it one of the best contender for best 4K gaming TVs.
Thanks to Sony’s Triluminos processing, the colors also look exceptionally rich and lively, and no brands process the movements just as tightly as Sony. You can sometimes “block” light traces around striking HDR objects, but the 55XE9305 photos are for the most part blisteringly bright gaming nirvana. The only downside is the input lag figure of the 55XE9305 of about 38ms. This is slightly higher than we would ideally see and occasionally slips to 52ms. However, this is one of the best 4K TVs for gaming to buy right now.
- Exceptional picture quality
- Space-saving design
- Input lag figure of around 38ms
Samsung’s spectacularly bright QLED and Sony’s phenomenal LED LCDs are praised throughout the year for their stunning performance, imaging technologies, and technical abilities. It is a pity that these are not the TVs that most people buy. If you’re looking for a mid-range TV that contains all the chopping to play games in 4K HDR without cutting back on the images, take a look at the Samsung NU8000 series. It may not be as clear as some of the competition on this page, but give the HDR+ mode a chance, and you might be surprised at what this underdog can do. Such things make it one of the best 4K gaming TVs to buy right now.
- HDR+ Mod
- Bright, beautiful colors
- Motion issues
- Bixby hurts more than help
Panasonic’s newest LCD TV may not be as bright as most of its rivals, but it does have a pretty cool trick: new, digitally enhanced backlighting technology that adjusts the angle of each pixel to match the usual light glare problems associated with LCD technology. This gives you darker game scenes more uniformity, making it easier to stay immersed in the action. The 50EX750 also distinguishes itself from the audience for gaming with its excellent input-bearing of 10ms when using the gaming mode. Frustratingly, you actually get the best image quality of the 50EX750 when you use the dynamic image preset – but you could always stay with Dynamic for most of your gaming and switch to Game only if you play something where reaction times are really important. This is one of the best 4K TVs for gaming in the world.
- Digitally enhanced backlight
- 10ms of input lag
- Sound not so good
LG OLED 55B7
Although the OLED55B7 does not have the ultra-glamorous design and built-in soundbar of the LG OLED55E7 higher in this list, it remarkably enough provides almost exactly the same high level of contrast-rich picture quality for a whole lot less. Input lag remains just as strong in just 21ms, and while it’s important to re-emphasize that OLED’s 740 nits peak clarity limits the impact of its HDR photos in some ways, the ability to place deep black colors is just a pixel distance. Overall, this is one of the best 4K TVs for gaming to buy right now.
- Jaw-dropping HDR pictures
- Unexpectedly good sound
- Some backlight ‘blooming’
- Colour striping in HDR mode
One of our last recommendations for one of the best 4K gaming TVs is another big one. This gives us the chance to mention a final point about gaming on the consoles and PCs of today compared to previous generations: that you really have to think big if you want to get something like the ultimate gaming experience. This is partly because you need a relatively large screen to get the most out of 4K resolutions, but also because the major TV brands produce more and truer HDR-friendly colors, contrast and brightness in their relatively large – and unfortunately expensive – televisions.
Even a 55-inch Sony model struggles for a bit of clarity in its attempt to make 4K HDR photos relatively affordable. However, it does a great job with colors within that brightness limit thanks to the Sony Triluminos processing engine, while the black level performance is excellent for such an affordable and edge-lit LCD model. It also suffers only on average with 21ms input lag – although oddly, lay occasionally slips to about 50ms for a frame or two. But overall, this is one of the best 4K TVs for gaming right now.
- Strong picture quality
- Attractive design
- Struggles for brightness
- Input lag can slip to 50ms
The Philips 65PUS7601 offers perhaps the most aggressive and one of the best 4K gaming TVs on this list, in the form of its Ambilight system. Ambilight uses LED lights along the left, right and top edges of the TV to throw out colored lights that can be constantly compared in terms of shadow, intensity and even the location of the colors in the photo you are viewing; the result is a greatly improved connection with what you are viewing, something that is especially useful for gaming.
The Ambilight system even features a special gaming mode, designed to respond faster than normal to changes in your graphics. The 65PUS7601 also generally offers a strong (at the reasonably low price) 4K and HDR image quality, and you can get input-lag to only about 30 ms if you are careful with setting it up. The set even includes a special HDR game mode that adapts HDR processing to the relatively gritty and precise look of game graphics versus ‘natural’ video. Overall, this is one of the best 4K TVs for gaming to buy.
- Excellent backlight control
- Great price for the picture quality
- Complicated picture set-up
- Doesn’t deliver full HDR experience
The Best 4K TVs For Gaming compensates a number of factors. Regardless of the price range or feature set you are looking for, if you are buying a new television now, you might want something that best shows games in 4K – even if you’re still stuck in the 1080 era, 4K is fast moving to become the basis, so you will want to prove yourself in the future. Our list of Best 4K Gaming TVs represents the 4k TVs you can buy right now to enjoy your games on PS4 Pro and Xbox One S.