5 of the best 40 inch TVs for 2018

Tight on space? Don't settle for a second-class viewing experience. These 40 inch TVs picked by tech guru Jon Porter are the way to go...

TODO alt text

Choosing a new 40 inch TV? It's the perfect size TV for anyone with a living room that's not fit for a 55, 60 or even 75 inch TV. Here in the real world, we're lucky if we can find enough space for even a modestly-sized television. But thankfully, even if you are tight on space, there's no need to settle for anything less than a fantastic-looking TV. Welcome to our buying guide to the best 40-inch TVs. 

Find more fab TVs (and much, much more) in our buying guides. Or, if you're on the hunt for a TV deal, we've got all of the very best in our cheap TV deals page.

What to consider when choosing a 40 inch TV

At this size, you won't get the latest and greatest technologies like OLED panels or amazing HDR; but you can still get some surprisingly good televisions in this form-factor.

Since it's unreasonable to expect top-of-the-line tech, we've focussed this guide around the TVs that are packed full of the most functionality at this size. 

First and foremost, a decent Smart OS is pretty essential in this day and age if you have any intention of watching streaming or catch-up services on-demand. And we're also fans of the Freeview Play eco system as an easy-to-use means of accessing catch-up services, so we've prioritised sets that have it built in. 

Resolution starts to be more of a concern at 40-inches. Ultra HD sets at this size are increasingly common, but, ultimately, until you get to around 55-inches, the rule should always be quality over quantity when it comes to pixels. 

One final note is that we've allowed ourselves a pair of 43-inch TVs in those instances where a manufacturer doesn't offer any 40-inch sets. 

1. Panasonic TX-40EX700B

A 40-inch TV that ticks all the boxes

Specifications
Tuner: Freeview Play
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: LCD (VA)
Smart TV: My Home Screen
USB Recording: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Freeview Play+USB recording
Reasons to avoid
-Only edge-lit

Our pick for the best 40-inch TV available right now is the Panasonic TX-40EX700B. Functionally, there's just so much to like about it; the top being the Panasonic My Home Screen operating system inside. It's fast to navigate, easy to customise, and features all the apps you could possibly want in a modern television. If you don't want to navigate using the My Home Screen interface, the TV is also equipped with Freeview Play to offer convenient access to catch-up services from within the electronic program guide (EPG). 

In terms of its raw picture quality, things continue to look good as the TV offers several important features when it comes to displaying HDR content. From Ultra HD resolution, to more importantly a VA LCD panel to get more impressive levels of contrast than competing IPS panels. However, unfortunately the Panasonic TX-40EX700B is similar to the rest of the TVs in our list, and features an edge-lit backlight rather than a more capable full-array backlight. For those who are worried about it fitting with their home decor, that will be the least of your worries; its simplistic chromatic bezel creates a minimalist design to fit right in to your home, whatever your style. Looking for a TV this size can be hard, but we think the Panasonic TX-40EX700B offers the best overall experience for a 40 inch, bar none.

Samsung UE40NU7120

(Image: © Samsung)

2. Samsung UE40NU7120

The best looking 40-inch TV you can buy

Specifications
Tuner: TVPlus
Resolution: UHD
Panel type: LCD (VA)
Smart TV: Samsung Smart Hub
USB Recording: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Great image quality+360 design
Reasons to avoid
-No Freeview

If you want the absolute best picture quality available in a 40 inch TV, then the Samsung UE40NU7120 should be at the top of your list. Cheaper than our top pick, and you're getting a remarkably good looking image with great colours and contrast. It also has a remarkably responsive screen, with input lag being so low as to be almost imperceptible. With access to Samsung's Smart Hub which has all of the channels, programmes and films you'll ever need, this TV gives you the best of both worlds. A good choice for those who don't have a small budget, and even better for those who use other catch-up services than Freeview Play; the Samsung UE40NU7120 is a better looking set, it just depends if it has everything else to suit your TV watching needs.

3. Philips 43PUS6262/05

Ambilight is a great addition to this 40-incher

Specifications
Tuner: Freeview Play
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: LCD (IPS)
Smart TV: Linux
USB Recording: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Ambilight impresses+Great looks
Reasons to avoid
-Screen could be brighter

Calling Philips' televisions 'eye-catching' is something of an understatement. For the last couple of years the veteran TV manufacturer (now owned by TP-Vision in Europe) has equipped its TVs with a technology known as 'Ambilight', which uses sets of rear-mounted RGB LEDs to project light onto the wall behind them. Not only does this additional light complements the images on screen, but it also works to reduce eye strain, which a lot of viewers experience when watching a bright TV in a dark room. Elsewhere, there's a lot more good stuff to say about the Philips 43PUS6262/05. Its IPS panel offers great viewing angles (without quite the same level of contrast as the VA panels in our top two choices), and clarity is also good. Unfortunately, although Philips use the full-featured Android TV operating system further up their range, the Smart OS on the 6000 series is a much more limited affair. You still get access to most of the services you'd need, but it's just not quite as extensive. Still, if it's an eye-catching design that you want, you'll find plenty to love here. 

4. Sony KDL-40WE663

HDR isn't just for 4K

Specifications
Tuner: Freeview Play
Resolution: Full HD
Panel type: LCD (VA)
Smart TV: Linux
USB Recording: Yes
Reasons to buy
+HDR in an HD set+Neat cable management
Reasons to avoid
-Only Full HD

HDR has generally been an exclusive feature of 4K TVs, but 2017 saw Sony take the plunge and add the technology to its Full HD sets, meaning that in theory, you'll be able to enjoy its benefits without having to fork out for a premium TV. Unfortunately however, it does mean doing without Ultra HD resolutions which, although not essential at 40 inches, would still be nice to have. Elsewhere, functionality is good as Freeview Play is on board to offer easy access to catch-up services, and you can of course record to an external USB drive. Similar to the Philips TV above, the Sony KDL-40WE663 doesn't feature the Android operating system featured on the more premium Sony sets, but you'll still get a decent selection of apps built-in, albeit without having the ability to expand them too much further. 

5. LG 43UJ750V

The delights of WebOS on the small screen

Specifications
Tuner: Freeview Play
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: LCD (IPS)
Smart TV: WebOS
USB Recording: N/A
Reasons to buy
+WebOS is a delight+Slick design
Reasons to avoid
-Difficult to find at a good price

Amongst the various smart operating systems available on TVs, we've long loved the sleekness and simplicity of LG's WebOS. Using your remote as a pointer you can very easily hop between apps, and even set favourites as bookmarks on your remote's number pad so they can be reached as easily as possible. In our opinion, the LG 43UJ750V's interface is well designed, and thankfully is contained within a nicely designed chassis as well, meaning it'll look great in your home. Unfortunately, this functionality just isn't enough to justify the price premium that this set is currently commanding (if you can find it on sale at all). Nevertheless, if it's a decent interface you want then this set could certainly be worth a look. 

More TV buying guides: