If we’re all going to be stuck in our homes watching TV for the foreseeable future, then we should at least have the best viewing experience possible.
That’s just not the case for those still settling for their old or sub-par television, and if that sounds familiar then it may be time to bite the bullet and invest in a brand new set.
For most of us the dream would be to get the largest screen possible to enjoy our next Netflix binge, but a 40 inch TV can be the perfect combination of function and appearance - not overwhelming your space but still capable of offering a theater-worthy experience. Usually measuring in at between 40-43in, it’s a solid option if you want to upgrade.
The other features you need to consider will depend on your priorities. Image quality needs to be measured by colour intensity, the depths of blacks and whether your set has 4K resolution, among other things.
Then there’s design, with Samsung recently winning our vote with The Frame Art Print that literally fades into the rest of your décor. Scroll down to see what we thought.
And if you’re not totally sure about which size to go for, then check out our ranking of the best TVs for a guide on the best screen, size and features.
The best 40 inch TV 2021
It’s not the most premium TV on the list but, dollar for dollar, you won’t find better than this television from Samsung.
Impressive image quality
It’s edge-lit by a good array of LEDs over which the TV’s processor has very good control. That means it can create a smooth and subtle variation of lighting needed to deal with the light and dark areas of the screen equally well.
Great user interface
Samsung also happens to have one of the best TV user-interfaces around. It’s intuitive and stuffed with more of your favorite apps than any other smart TV platform. It even includes the Apple TV app for direct access to content from the iTunes Store.
Enjoy HDR content
Samsung doesn’t support the Dolby Vision standard at the moment but you can still enjoy HDR through HDR10+ material which you’ll find on Blu-ray discs and on plenty of Netflix and Prime Video content.
Not sure you want a 40 inch TV after all?
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The best 4K TVs
This Sony TV gets our vote for the best premium TV, although they sit about midway through the company’s TV range.
Edge-lit LED model
It’s an edge-lit LED model but one of the better performing sets of this type you’ll find. There’s no patchy backlight issues and the picture is nice and strong thanks to Sony’s X1 processor which runs the show.
Impressive motion processing
Ever noticed any judder when you’re watching TV and the camera pans across a scene? Well, one of the things Sony does particularly well is motion processing. So, you can guarantee that the action on this 4K HDR set will be the smoothest you’ll find on this list.
This LG set packs a ton of value and makes a great option for those seeking a top rated 40 inch TV.
It has the 4K HDR credentials of the others on this list and good picture quality too but what sets it apart is the wide viewing angles it offers. It doesn’t matter how far off the main axis you’re sitting, the image will stay as strong as ever without any hint of the colors looking washed out.
Make the most of LG’s magic remote
We also like LG’s magic remote for gesture controls and how well this set fits into your smart home thanks to its ability to work with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa without having to attach an Echo or Home device to it. Just talk down the remote and your wish is its command.
The Serif and the Frame, which you'll find below, are going to offer very similar performance to both each other.
They all represent the lower end of Samsung’s excellent QLED range and Samsung scores them very similarly on its PQI (Picture Quality Index) rating. The major differences instead are aesthetic and that’s really down to what you’re looking for in your home.
While Q60R is the basic design, what you get with the Serif is a set designed to sit on tall, freestanding legs anywhere in a room, independent of any other furniture. The other approach is to balance it on its frame on any flat surface — such as a sideboard — without its legs. That’s possible thanks to its Bouroullec Brothers design who have given it a capital I shaped cross-section, an I, of course, with serifs.
Enjoy ambient mode
The Serif looks great but you definitely pay for the privilege. It comes in a 43in size and features an Ambient mode to turn the panel into a series of attractive images instead of just a black rectangle and you can connect your phone to it using NFC by resting your device on its top edge.
A TV for true design enthusiasts, The Frame from Samsung hides your set in plain sight with its Art Mode displaying photos and artwork that fit in seamlessly with the rest of the room. Basically, it’s a smart picture frame that you can use as a 4K television whenever you want!
Personalised to you
The 2020 Frame TV brings some updates with it, including a new AI-based auto-curation feature that draws suggested artwork from the Frame’s Art Store (£3.99pm subscription) based on your tastes.
Another of The Frame’s key selling points is its no gap wall mounting, which basically means that the TV sits absolutely flush to your wall with only enough space for a tiny near-invisible cable to run discreetly down to the One Connect box. This box is where you’ll plug in all of your other devices - like a set top box, Blu-ray player or external speakers - and can easily be tucked away in a cupboard.
Strip the Serif of the Frame of their aesthetic niceties and you'll end up with something very similar to this Samsung alternative.
QLED is Samsung’s top panel technology and while the very best QLEDs don’t come much smaller than 50in, the baby of the family does. This 43in Q60 is an edge-lit version. It’s not quite such a talented performer as its bigger brethren but then it’s considerably cheaper. Most QLEDS are much north of the $1,000 mark.
Impressive picture quality
As a QLED, the Q60R benefits from exceptionally good dark details, nice deep black levels, rich colors and excellent viewing angles. No matter where you’re seated in the room, you’ll get a brilliant picture.
This may be a value-priced TV but this set still boasts some savory tech and plenty of great features.
HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR content
It offers full HDR support including HLG and Dolby Vision.
The Vizio V-series incorporates a number of features typically reserved for higher-end models, like Dolby Vision, hands-free voice control, Ultra-Bright 400, and Octa-core processor, and Clear Action 180 which supports fast-moving scenes.
How to buy the best 40 inch TV
Our recommended retailers for the best 40 inch TVs
How can I get the best possible image quality?
Make sure whatever you choose has 4K resolution for the best possible resolution. Look out for 40-inch TVs which are HDR-compatible to get the best from dark and light areas of the image on your screen. If possible, those which support HDR10+ and/or Dolby Vision are also preferable to just HDR10.
OLED or LED?
Even though you’re not likely to find an OLED panel at this size, LCD TVs still come in enough different flavours to make it worth knowing what you’ve got on your wish list. Those that are edge-lit by LEDs can be much thinner and often more aesthetically pleasing, but their direct or back-lit LED counterparts can produce a more subtle and nuanced picture even if their frames aren’t quite as easy on the eye.
Does my TV need to be smart?
Anything you buy these days should be a Wi-Fi enabled smart TV with at least three HDMI sockets around the back. You should also be sure that your favourite streaming services are available on its app platform. Very few TVs cover all of the bases, but remember that you can always add an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast or NOW TV Smart Stick etc. to plug those missing gaps.
How much should I spend on a 40 inch TV?
Even though all of the televisions on our list are of a similar size, you’ll notice that the prices vary wildly. This could be for a number of reasons including image quality, extra features or even just the brand, so it’s important to ensure you’re getting all the features you want for the best price. In general, you probably won’t be able to go any cheaper than $400-ish, but our top-rated choice will set you back close to $1,500.
What is the best 40 inch TV?
If you want the best 40 inch TV in your home (in our opinion), we recommend you buy the Samsung RU7100 43". While it's not the most premium model around, it offers the best design and performance for its price. Enjoy a high quality audio visual experience and easy access to your favorite streaming platforms, including Netflix, Samsung TV Plus, YouTube and more.
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