best budget hdr tv for gaming

It’s never been a better time to buy a 4K HDR TV for gaming, as the enhanced consoles have become ubiquitous, mid-range gaming PCs are now capable of 4K and a new console generation is only a few months away. It’s an exciting time in the world of TVs too, with 4K HDR becoming standard on all but the cheapest sets and new technologies like variable refresh rates and auto low latency modes boosting responsiveness for games. What follows are our recommendations for the Best Budget Hdr Tv For Gaming and the best gaming TVs from the 2019 and 2020 model years.

When looking at a 4K HDR TV for gaming, one of the most important metrics is input latency, which measures how long it takes for your buttons presses to translate into in-game actions. The best 4K HDR TVs offer input latency of around 20ms or less, average models around 30ms, and slower screens react in 40ms or more; generally a difference of about 15ms between two screens is noticeable. However, you’ll only accomplish these speeds by engaging gaming modes, which go by different names on different televisions.

As well as input latency, we’ll also be looking at how these televisions handle motion, their peak brightness figures, which HDR formats they support and the strength of their built-in smart TV interface. Of course, price is a prime consideration as well. Right now, more expensive OLED sets start at around $1700/£1700 for a 55-inch display while LCD models at the same size can cost less than half of that amount. There are also even cheaper options that provide relatively poor HDR but still deliver a lot of screen for the money.

best budget hdr tv for gaming

LG B9/C9 (OLED): the best 4K TV for HDR gaming

c9_gears
  • Specs: 55, 65 or 77 inches. HDMI 2.1. HDMI VRR + G-Sync Compatible. DolbyVision.

LG’s C9 model is our current top recommendation, thanks to its gorgeous OLED display which features excellent motion processing, extremely low input latency (~13ms in its gaming modes at 60Hz, ~6ms at 120Hz) and the inclusion of forward-looking HDMI 2.1 ports which should work well with next-gen consoles and PC graphics cards.

Image quality, colour reproduction and contrast are top-notch thanks to the OLED panel used, although Samsung’s QLED sets are able to hit higher peak brightness figures. The LG C9 doesn’t come with FreeSync, but it does support HDMI VRR, a similar adaptive sync standard supported on the Xbox One X and – as of a recent firmware update – on PCs with Nvidia RTX 20-series and GTX 16-series graphics cards as well.

4K HDR content is where the C9 sings, but the television also handles lower-resolution content with aplomb thanks to excellent upscaling and full OSSC and Framemeister compatibility for retro gaming. The LG TV’s webOS software is also arguably the best on the market, thanks to an intuitive and responsive interface that includes easy Wiimote-style selection and rapid multitasking.

If you’re operating to a stricter budget, the LG B9 uses an older processor but provides near-identical image quality, low input lag and so on – making it a clever way to save a few hundred without making a significant sacrifice.

Pros

  • HDMI 2.1 will allow 4K/120Hz when HDMI 2.1 source devices are released
  • Extremely low input latency when using gaming modes
  • Black frame insertion enables better motion processing
  • Excellent scaling for lower-resolution sources

Cons

  • No option for filter-free 720p or 1080p upscaling
  • No FreeSync support for PCs with AMD GPUs
  • DolbyVision and HDR10 are supported, but HDR10+ is missing

LG B9 OLED 65-inch 4K HDR TV$2371.49$2496.99Buy NowLG C9 OLED 55-inch 4K HDR TV$1696.99Buy NowLG B9 OLED 55-inch 4K HDR TV$1849.95$1999Buy NowLG C9 OLED 65-inch 4K HDR TV$1949.90$2599Buy Now

The newer alternative: LG CX OLED

The CX OLED is now available, offering a few advantages over the C9 including a faster processor, FreeSync support for AMD graphics cards (via a recent update) and 120Hz black frame insertion (BFI). If you can use these features, the CX makes sense, but discounted B9 and C9 models remain the better value for money picks as of mid 2020. That changes a bit if you particularly want that 48-inch CX, which fits better in smaller rooms.LG CX OLED 48-inch 4K HDR TV$1499.99Buy NowLG CX OLED 55-inch 4K HDR TV$1825$1999.99Buy NowLG CX OLED 65-inch 4K HDR TV$2372.14$2799.99Buy NowLG CX OLED 77-inch 4K HDR TV$4137.23$4496.99Buy Now

Samsung Q90/Q90R (QLED): best non-OLED for 4K HDR gaming

q90
  • Specs: 55, 65 or 75 inches. HDMI VRR + FreeSync. HDR10+.

While OLED TVs are impressive, they are expensive and may be prone to burn-in in extreme cases. They also can’t match the brightness of high-end LCD displays. If you’ve decided against OLED for whatever reason, Samsung’s QLED TVs are a good alternative. The flagship-grade Q90 we’re recommending sports truly excellent brightness, peaking at over 1300 nits in HDR content, while great local dimming allows for contrast ratios of 11,000:1. Note that peak brightness and contrast are reduced when compared to last year’s Q9FN, but improvements in viewing angles and input lag make up for this in our eyes.

Input lag is also a strong point for this television with HDR content at 4K responding in an impressive 15ms while game mode is enabled. FreeSync support is included too, which is handy when playing games on the Xbox One or PC. Of course, this TV does have some minor flaws as well, with subpar viewing angles (despite improvements over its predecessor) and an occasionally laggy Tizen smart TV interface. Still, given its strengths, the Q90 makes a compelling argument against OLED.

Pros

  • Support for 4K 120Hz (albeit only on one HDMI port)
  • Excellent brightness and low input lag in game mode
  • Good motion handling with black frame insertion
  • Variable refresh rate (FreeSync) support on Xbox One and PC
  • No risk of burn-in

Cons

  • Black levels and viewing angles don’t compare to OLED
  • Tizen OS is intuitive but can exhibit slowdowns and includes ads
  • No DolbyVision support, but HDR10 and HDR10+ are supported

Samsung Q90 QLED 82-inch 4K HDR TV$4499.99Buy NowSamsung Q90 QLED 75-inch 4K HDR TV$3499.99Buy NowSamsung Q90 QLED 65-inch 4K HDR TV$2469.99$2599.99Buy Now

Samsung Q60R: the best mid-range choice for 4K HDR

q60r
  • Specs: 43, 49, 55, 65, 75 or 82 inches. FreeSync*. HDR10+.

The Samsung Q60R is the cheapest QLED monitor in Samsung’s 2019 portfolio. While its VA panel can’t compare in colours, brightness or contrast to a more expensive OLED, it still looks great with SDR and HDR content and its motion handling is superb. The Q60R is a particularly canny pick for gamers, as it comes with one of the lowest input lag figures we’ve seen, at around 14ms while in game mode. If you use the TV at 120Hz at 1080p or 1440p – something regrettably only afforded to the 55-inch and larger models – this decreases to around 10ms. *FreeSync variable refresh rate support is also included on models at 55 inches and larger, which is a boon to Xbox One and PC owners.

Pros

  • Incredibly low input lag for at 1080p or 4K (14ms)
  • Excellent motion handling with fast response times
  • Good contrast ratio (6000:1) and decent uniformity
  • Supports FreeSync and 120Hz at 1080p or 1440p

Cons

  • Mediocre viewing angles due to the choice of a VA panel
  • Mediocre sound quality, although soundbar bundles are offered
  • High refresh rates and FreeSync not available on 43-inch and 49-inch models

Samsung Q60 QLED 82-inch 4K HDR TV$1799.95Buy NowSamsung Q60 QLED 55-inch 4K HDR TV$999.99Buy NowSamsung Q60 QLED 65-inch 4K HDR TV$799.99Buy NowSamsung Q60 QLED 75-inch 4K HDR TV$1219.49$1486Buy Now

Samsung RU8000 (VA): best value 4K TV for HDR gaming

ru8000
  • Specs: 49, 55, 65, 75 or 82 inches. FreeSync*. HDR10+.

Samsung’s RU8000 is an excellent choice for 4K HDR gaming for those on a tighter budget. The TV boasts some of the best input lag we’ve seen for a 4K HDR set and includes deep blacks for excellent contrast as well – even if it’s not quite as good as an OLED TV.

This TV’s lower price point is evident in its disappointing viewing angles, which result in colour shifts if you’re sitting even slightly off-centre, and its implementation of local dimming is lacking as well. Motion handling is solid though with the option for black frame insertion. The Tizen software that Samsung includes on this set is also not ideal, with occasional home screen ads and annoying slowdowns on occasion. *Finally, the cheapest 49-inch model doesn’t support FreeSync, so we would recommend the 55-inch model or larger if you’re going to be using this television with a PC or Xbox One.

Pros

  • Excellent input lag at 1080p or 4K with SDR and HDR content (~18ms)
  • Good contrast ratio for a VA panel (5500:1)
  • Good motion handling with black frame insertion
  • Variable refresh rate support (FreeSync) on 55-inch and larger models

Cons

  • Poor local dimming
  • Disappointing viewing angles
  • Tizen OS is intuitive but can exhibit slowdowns and sometimes includes ads

Samsung RU8000 49-inch 4K HDR TV$429.99Buy NowSamsung RU8000 65-inch 4K HDR TV$719.99$899.99Buy NowSamsung RU8000 55-inch 4K HDR TV$699.99Buy NowSamsung RU8000 75-inch 4K HDR TV$1156.99Buy Now

TCL R625 (VA): the best budget 4K TV for Americans

tcl_r617
  • Specs: 55 or 65 inches. DolbyVision.

TCL is well known for its budget televisions in the US, and for good reason – it has some of the best in the business, delivering mid-range features at cut-down prices. The R625 we’re recommending here is perhaps the best example with a 55-inch 4K HDR screen costing less than $600. With that, you get input lag that’s among the best we’ve seen as long as game mode is enabled (~11ms) whether you’re gaming in SDR or HDR at 1080p or 4K. Other benefits include a clean and sensible Roku TV interface, excellent contrast (~5000:1) and good motion handling too. However, this TV does exhibit the typically narrow viewing angles of VA panels, making it less suitable for sharing a film with friends or indulging in couch co-op. Another potential issues is the grey uniformity, which can make scenes with motion appear a little cloudy. However, this does vary from panel to panel, so you may not find it to be an issue. While TCL do offer television sets in Europe, the R625 doesn’t appear to be one of them – shame.

Pros

  • Excellent input lag with game mode enabled (~11ms)
  • Top-notch contrast for a VA panel (5000:1)
  • Excellent brightness regardless of content

Cons

  • Not available in Europe
  • Very limited viewing angles
  • Grey uniformity issues on some units

TCL R625 65-inch 4K HDR TV$799Buy NowTCL R625 55-inch 4K HDR TV$839.86Buy Now

LG UK6300 (IPS): the best small 4K TV for HDR gaming

lg_uk6300
  • Specs: 43, 50, 55 or 65-inches.

For anyone that wants a small TV for 4K HDR gaming that offers a great size vs price ratio, the LG UK6300 is a good option. It’s available in Europe and the US – unlike our TCL budget pick – and it’s available as small as 43 inches, which is a good fit for smaller spaces like bedrooms or offices. The IPS panel offers low input lag, at 12ms in game mode, even with 4K HDR content. Viewing angles are also a point of pride here, with better results than even more expensive VA TVs. The downside to this kind of panel is that contrast is subpar, with relatively low peak brightness values and blacks that look more like grey, which limits the effect of HDR content. The IPS panel also uses four subpixels, RGBW vs the standard RGB, which reduces clarity for fine details like text, making the UK6300 a poor choice as a PC monitor. Still, if you’ll use this TV primarily for console or PC gaming, this could be a great shout despite its limited HDR capabilities (It’s worth mentioning that PC monitors can work well in this role too, so check out our picks for the best gaming monitor round-up.)

Pros

  • Superior input lag (~12ms) in game mode
  • Better viewing angles than VA TVs
  • Clean and responsive webOS smart TV interface

Cons

  • Poor contrast results in overly bright dark scenes and doesn’t do HDR justice
  • Grey uniformity issues produces a cloudy picture in some scenes
  • Relatively poor colour accuracy out of the box

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