7 of the best 55-inch TVs 2018

55-inches is the most popular size of TV available on the market today, but which model should you buy? Say hello to your new flatscreen wonder

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Looking for the best TV for your budget? If you've got the space then a 55-inch TV tends to be the ideal sweet spot between price and performance. While it's a struggle to find high-end technologies like OLED panels and Dolby Vision with 32-inch TVs or 40-inch TVs, they're much more common in larger sizes. So here's our guide to the best 55-inch TVs to help navigating the minefield of choosing the right TV a little easier...

1. LG OLED55B7

The cheapest OLED around is an absolute steal

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: WebOS
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic black levels+Low input lag+Cheap for an OLED
Reasons to avoid
-Weak sound

LG produce a dizzying array of different OLED TVs, but the important thing to realise is that each of them have completely identical screens. That means that the B7 is an absolute steal in terms of its picture quality, which has every bit of depth, vibrance and clarity as the W7 that costs several times its price. 

Where LG has cut back in order to offer this set at a more affordable price point is with its sound, which is the weakest of LG's entire range. 

We're not bothered by this sound complaint for a couple of reasons. First off is the fact that if you're spending this much on a TV, then you really should be buying an external sound system in the form of a soundbar or set of speakers.  Secondly, we just can't get over the B7's price. It's a price point that makes a complete mockery of the high-end LCD market, and we think slightly weaker sound is a completely fair tradeoff when the picture quality is this good. 

As a final point, the B7's phenomenally low input-lag (most have measured it as being around 21ms) means this is a great gaming TV

2. Sony KD-55A1

This TV makes old content look almost as good as modern 4K/HDR

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: Android TV
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision (incoming via firmware update)
Reasons to buy
+Phenomenal upscaling+Excellent sound 
Reasons to avoid
-Unusual stand design-High price

It's an open secret within the TV industry that all of the manufacturers of OLED TVs are using the same panel as LG, which really begs the question of why you'd want to spend extra on a non-LG set. 

The answer in the case of Sony's KD55A1 is obvious; it's absolutely amazing at upscaling HD/SDR content to look almost identical to modern 4K/HDR content. 

That's an important bit of functionality. Although in an ideal world everything we watch would be in 4K/HDR, the fact is that until the transition is fully completely we're likely to be stuck with HD/SDR content for the forseeable future. The A1's upscaling abilities are thus incredibly important if you want this content to look as good as possible. 

There are a couple of downsides to this television that are worth bearing in mind. The first is that all this upscaling has an impact on input lag, which just isn't as good as the B7's. This means that in order to get the best gaming experience  you'll either have to use a 4K console (which means sadly no PS4 or Nintendo Switch) or turn off the upscaling tech (at which point paying the price premium for this TV doesn't make nearly as much sense). 

Finally, the TV's stand is a bit of a love it or hate it affair. Its aisle-style design is certainly eye-catching, but seriously limits the kinds of stands you can place the TV on. It's not the worst thing in the world, but it's worth bearing in mind. 

3. Hisense H55N6800

A fantastic budget buy

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: LCD
Smart TV: Vidaa U smart portal
HDR: HDR10
Reasons to buy
+Nice interface+Impressive HDR
Reasons to avoid
-Only two 4K HDMI ports-Lacks the black levels of OLED

Not everyone has the budget for OLED, we get it, but that doesn't mean you have to settle for a terrible picture experience. Nothing makes this point more clear than the Hisense H55N6800. 

It might be a 4K TV from a budget-focussed brand, but there's very little to sneer at here. HDR performance is decent thanks to the set's ability to offer great highlights, and the build-quality of the entire TV is also pretty good to boot. 

Toshiba's smart OS is less proven than its competitors, but there's enough here to get the job done thanks to support for all the major catch-up and streaming services. 

You won't get nearly the same quality of black levels as its OLED competitors, but if you want 4K HDR on a budget, then the Hisense H55N6800 is a great choice. 

4. Philips 55PUS6272

Ambilight is a great addition to this wallet-friendly TV

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: LCD
Smart TV: Android TV
HDR: HDR10
Reasons to buy
+Ambilight impresses+Decent smart OS
Reasons to avoid
-Low-spec HDR

At the cheaper end of the 55-inch TV spectrum your priorities have to shift a little. Whereas premium sets are all about offering scorchingly bright highlights and lovely deep blacks, you have to lower your expectations a little more if you're paying this little. 

So what can you expect from the PHILIPS 55PUS6272? Most notable is the Ambilight technology, which uses a series of rear-mounted RGB LEDs to project light onto the wall behind the set. In theory this is supposed to reduce the eye strain you get when you watch TV in a dark room, but in reality we just like the pretty colours, and we're sure you will too. 

Smart functionality is also good, with a combination of Android TV and Freeview Play offering fast and easy access to all the streaming services you require. 

You won't get the most stunning looking picture quality out of this set, but rest assured that if you're buying a TV on a budget then you could certainly do a lot worse. 

5. Philips 55POS9002

Ambilight and OLED are a match made in heaven

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: Android TV
HDR: HDR10
Reasons to buy
+Stunning Ambilight+Lovely picture quality
Reasons to avoid
-Occasionally clunky Android TV-Sound could be better

Of course, if you want to pair the delights of Ambilight with a more premium TV, then Philips is more than happy to oblige. 

Enter the Philips 55POS9002 (which confusingly is set to be renamed to 55OLED873 in 2018), a TV that features a stunning OLED panel alongside the company's great wall-illuminating technology. 

Since this TV's price is so closely matched to the LG B7 above, going for it will certainly be a matter of preference. Its colours are lovely and vibrant, but other sets offer slightly more realistic neutral tones, and its motion-handling could be a little better. 

6. LG OLED55E7

A great interface with far better sound

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: WebOS
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Reasons to buy
+Beefy sound+WebOS
Reasons to avoid
-Can be pricey

If you like the look of our top pick, the LG OLED B7, but don't want to have to buy an external sound system, then the more premium E7 is the television for you. 

Rather than relying on puny downward-firing speakers, the E7 is equipped with a chunky forward-facing soundbar, that offers a far better sound without taking up too much extra space. 

To be clear, you'll still get better performance from a dedicated soundbar or set of speakers, but depending on your sensitivity you might not feel the need to upgrade. 

Outside of the sound improvements, all the good things we had to say about the B7 are also true here. Picture quality an input latency is excellent, and WebOS is still one of our favourite operating systems around. 

Yes it's pricey compared to the B7, but the extra money is very well spent. 

7. Panasonic TX-55EZ952

One for the real AV geeks

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: My Home Screen
HDR: HDR10
Reasons to buy
+Phenomenal colour accuracy+Snappy OS
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly weaker sound-Pricey

If you want the absolute most accurate colours a 4K television is capable of, then Panasonic's TX-55EZ952 is the set to go for. 

The EZ952 comes at a significant price premium over the other OLEDs on this list, but what that extra money is getting you is a phenomenally accurate display, that shows you colours and detail exactly as the creator's intended. 

It's a difference that's going to be all but imperceptible to all but the most discerning of viewers, but if you want the most accurate image quality around, then this is the set to beat. 

Unfortunately, the sound side of the equation isn't nearly as impressive. The EZ952 lacks the soundbar of the EZ1000 which results in much weaker sound, so an external sound system is a must if you want an audio experience to match up to the picture. 

It's the most expensive TV on this list and won't be for everyone, but if it's accuracy that you need at 55-inches, then the Panasonic TX-55EZ952 is the set to go for. 

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