2020 Gift Guide: These Are Some Of Our Favorite TVs
2020: A year of seismic changes. But in the world of TVs, it was a year of incremental change. 8K TVs haven’t made much inroads in the consumer market—content is very sparse and prices haven’t dropped appreciably to justify their expense. I don’t recommend an 8K TV, especially when 4K prices keep going lower and lower and, hey, 16K is already here (seriously).
If you get in lost in the technical TV jargon like full array local dimming (FALD), HDMI 2.1, refresh rate, input lag, mini-LED, QLED and so on, just remember there’s really only one thing you should know, and it is this: LG OLEDs have the best picture quality, period.
Yes, OLED TVs cost more, but if you want to be totally happy with how your TV looks, buy OLED. This year, Vizio jumped onto the OLED bandwagon and will have a 55-inch model (#2 below) on sale for under $900 at Best Buy this Black Friday (page 5 of the ad).
While OLED again leads our list of favorite TVs, there are other outstanding displays that have excited Ben’s editors and visitors alike in 2020. Our top choices this year are all 4K HDR Smart TVs with capable, even outstanding, Smart TV platforms, reducing the need for set-top streamers.
Plus, if you’re in the market for next-gen consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, you will find excellent TV counterparts for them below. (Low input lag is your friend!)
Most importantly, we expect to see big discounts on these TVs over the course of the month-long Black Friday deals this year, so be sure to set deal alerts!
LG CX Series 4K HDR Smart OLED TV (2020)
The LG OLED TVs have been on this list year after year because they boast the best black level of any TV on the market, and the CX Series continues that tradition of excellence. Everyone from CNET to RTINGS heaps praise on this TV.
Pros: Amazing picture, and the price is lower than its predecessor—the 2019 C9 Series OLED. Low input lag for gaming. Supports FreeSync. webOS is an excellent Smart TV platform. Cheaper price compared to previous years, with holiday discounts nudging it closer to the step-down BX series. Excellent remote.
Cons: Still expensive. No longer has DTS support. A small, but possible, risk of burn-in (shared by all OLEDs).
Vizio OLED Series 4K HDR Smart OLED TV (2020)
Vizio’s OLED Series is their first OLED TV, and it doesn’t disappoint. It has some nifty features, like supporting 4K gaming at 120 FPS, and the slick design belies its budget label.
Pros: Great price for OLED. During Black Friday week at Best Buy, the 55-inch will go down to $899! Low input lag for gaming. Variable refresh rate.
Cons: Not as bright as the LG OLED. A small, but possible, risk of burn-in (shared by all OLEDs).
Sony BRAVIA X900H Series 4K HDR Smart LED TV (2020)
The Sony X900H Series is among the best LED panel TVs currently on the market. It meets all the expectations of discriminating Sony fans and will definitely complement this fall’s hotly anticipating gaming console, the PlayStation 5.
Pros: This model has won a lot of praise for its fantastic non-OLED picture and great HDR performance. Sports the sleek, high-end Sony design aesthetic. Features HDMI 2.1 support. Gamer (and PS5) friendly: low input lag and HDMI will support 4K @ 120 fps via firmware update.
Cons: Premium Sony price tag. No HDR10+.
Samsung Q80T Series 4K HDR Smart QLED TV (2020)
Samsung’s mid-range Q80T Series acts very much like its flagship sibling the Q90T, but is a much better deal. Its fantastic Smart TV platform (Tizen) has a new feature that allows you to cast your phone side-by-side with the main TV image.
Pros: Fantastic option for gamers: very low input lag, fast response time and support for AMD FreeSync.
Cons: Design is average. No Dolby Vision.
Hisense H8G Quantum Series 4K HDR Smart ULED TV (2020)
The Hisense H8G Series is feature-rich but at a much lower price than sets from the big names like LG, Sony and Samsung. Plus, it sports a stunning design with “barely there” bezels.
Pros: Budget pricing but still has full array local dimming, Quantum dots, Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos. Uses Android TV, same as in Sony models. Low input lag for gaming.
Cons: Viewing angles not great. No DTS support.
TCL 6 Series (R635) 4K HDR Smart Mini-LED QLED TV (2020)
TCL has been a leader in budget TVs for several years, and the new TCL 6 Series (R635) does not disappoint in terms of both price and performance. It is also a delight for fans of Roku, which is still the most user-friendly Smart TV platform.
Pros: Cutting edge “Mini-LED” technology for great contrast/brightness. Roku remote with voice search. THX game mode. Plenty of local dimming zones.
Cons: Viewing angles not great.
Samsung The Sero 4K HDR Smart QLED TV (2020)
You have to give Samsung credit for innovating where other manufacturers play it safe. Samsung’s Frame TVs have passionate fans, and now the company has introduced The Sero, which is basically a regular 4K TV that sits on a rotating stand. It seems like its high price tag has gone entirely into the stand, but for some heavy social media users, this feature just might find a niche in the years to come. We will see…
Pros: When you need TikTok or Instagram on a 43-inch display. The TV will auto-rotate (depending on the app). There’s also a “rotate” button on the remote.
Cons: Expensive for its size, but we’ve already seen The Sero as low as $1K on Amazon. No Dolby Vision. No local dimming. No Ethernet. Picture quality is just OK compared to others in its price range. Dependent on a smartphone to maximize the gimmickry, and not surprisingly, Samsung phones work better with it than iPhones.