55 inch TV Reviews – Best Guide for 55″ 4K Ultra HD Smart TV for Sale – Buy a 55 inch 4k Flat Screen Television with Confidence!
Stephan Jukic – Updated November 22, 2017
The 55 inch size category of 4K TVs is one of the most popular among both consumers and TV manufacturers alike. While many models from the different name brands aren’t released in smaller 50 inch or less dimensions and few 4K TV models reach up to beyond 70 inches, almost every important model of 4K TV on the market from all major brands comes in a 55 inch version. This is the case largely because 55 inches is sort of the “ideal” TV display size for mid-sized TVs, just like 65 inches is the ideal display size for larger TVs. 55 is big enough to appreciate the 4K resolution at a reasonable distance and feel immersed in the onscreen content with the TV’s respectable size while also not being so large that the TV looks odd in a smaller space. 55 inch 4K TVs also tend to have much more reasonable prices for a wider consumer base, even if they’re high-end premium models, as most of those we’re about to cover are.
In basic terms, 55 inch TVs could be considered as the electronic equivalent of Goldilocks’ proverbial porridge. Not too big, not too small but just right.
Factor in all the awesome cutting edge display technologies that start to get included in many 4K TVs when they reach the 55 inch size mark and you get a display quality that’s downright superb for the models we’re about to cover. Most of these are TVs with top-shelf features like HDR, OLED, enhanced color gamut, high brightness and excellent contrast enhancements.
A Note on 4K TV Viewing Distance
The ideal viewing distance for any 4K TV is a product of its size. In other words, for any given screen size, you want to sit far enough away to appreciate the extra sharpness conferred upon content by 4K resolution at 3840 x 2160 pixels while also being close enough to the screen to feel immersed. 55 inch 4K TVs are at the lowest size where 4K resolution starts to become distinctly notable even at larger distances. Smaller TVs than these, when viewed from more than a couple meters are almost indistinguishable from HD models in their resolution, but at 55 inches, the 4K sharpness is noticeable at normal viewing distance. For a 55 inch TV, ideal viewing distance for maximum enjoyment is about 8 feet, or 2.5 meters, though it’s still great at 7 feet or 9 feet too.
The 10 Best 55 inch 4K TVs of 2017 / 2018
Without further ado, here are the 10 best 55 inch 4K TVs on the market today. This list is longer than normal for our other TV guides by size because of how popular the 55 inch size range is. However it will continuously be updated throughout the year as any new 55 inch models with even better performance arrive for our review, so feel free to check back fairly regularly.
We should also strongly note here that the following TV rankings are made with both quality and price taken into consideration. Essentially, we’ve at least partly ranked these models in terms of their quality and value per dollar spent so that we could demonstrate what the best TVs are for the lowest possible prices in their category. The list does of course include lots of premium 4K HDR TVs but if the only measurement was absolute performance, we could simply rank the top five most expensive televisions, one from each of the major brands. Some of the top 55 inch televisions sold today aren’t necessarily the most expensive. Thus, those with nearly flagship performance sometimes rank a bit higher than absolute flagship TVs because they cost much less while performing almost indistinguishably as well in their core specs.
As you’ll note, this is the size range at which we finally start to see the superb, spectacular LG OLED 4K TV models, which don’t come in smaller sizes than this. They clearly dominate the rankings due to what are some inarguably excellent overall performance specs.
Also keep in mind that all 4K TV models listed come with a native refresh rate of 120Hz unless otherwise stated for any particular TV.
1. LG Electronics C7 Flat 55/65 Inch 4K Ultra HD OLED HDR TV (2017 Model)
There are more expensive and impressive looking OLED 4K HDR TVs in the 2017 LG lineup of models (one is in fact listed further down below) but the C7 takes top spot for one crucial reason: It performs as spectacularly as these pricier models while costing only a fraction of what they do. This makes it an absolute winner in our books. OLED televisions have been some of the best of the best among 4K TVs since they started emerging in 2014 and they’ve only improved since then to hit a true peak of performance that’s downright impressive today. Traditional OLED display problems like screen brightness capability being weaker than that of LCD displays are also pretty much a thing of the past with the new 2016 and even more so, 2017 models such as this one. With that said, the C7 is a truly outstanding home theater system. It’s display brightness is better than that of most 4K LCD HDR TVs sold today (excepting some premium LCD models such as those below) and the C7 delivers the full power of total pixel-level dimming control for perfect contrast, perfect black levels and an overall video quality that no LCD TV can come close to beating. Furthermore, this televsion supports all existing commercial HDR formats and with power, delivering extraordinary color performance. On a final note, because we’re talking about an OLED TV here, the C7 is an absolute master of motion handling for nearly any kind of content.
Did we mention that it’s also extremely affordably priced by OLED TV standards? Well it is, so check out its most recent cost below, along with our in-depth review.
2. Sony A1E 4K Ultra HD OLED HDR TV (2017 Model)
Sony finally unveiled an OLED TV for 2017 and the resulting model, the A1E, has been an absolute hit. This particular OLED TV uses LG’s excellent panel technology which we described so richly above but combines it with the exceptional power and picture processing specs of Sony’s own technology. The combination is unique, uniquely powerful and, for dfans of Sony TVs who also want OLED, a huge piece of awesome for the year 2017. In essence, the A1E performs almost identically well to the LG C7 above or the LG B7 below but with some unique twists of its own. Most of all, it’s design is truly one of a kind and this television has one of the best and most interesting built-in sound systems we’ve ever seen from a 4K TV: the speakers are literally inside the display itself, making sound flow out naturally from exactly the most properly centered point in the room. The A1E supports all major HDR formats and delivers spectacular general OLED picture quality with all the trimmings. Why did we rank it lower then? Because it’s also quite a bit pricier than the C7 despite offering very similar display quality. That said, if you particularly like Sony and want OLED, here is your perfect TV.
3. LG Electronics B7 Flat 55 4k ultra HD OLED HDR TV (2017 Model)
LG’s B7 is without a doubt the single most affordable high-end, cutting-edge OLED 4K HDR TV model in existence today among the 2017 TVs. Its display specs are pretty much identically good to those of the C7 and A1E above and its only real “defects” are that this television does not support native Dolby Atmos sound and comes with slightly weaker speakers than other OLED TV models for this year. On the other hand, oddly, the B7 is the single brightest OLED TV we’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing. In terms of peak maximum brightness it exceeds 800 nits and this is high enough to put even some of the other LCD 4K TVs on this very list to shame. It’s also damn impressive for an OLED TV. Aside from these things, the B7 is largely identical to the C7 in most display specs, full HDR support and awesome connectivity. Like all OLEDs it also offers superb motion handling and makes for one hell of a gaming console 4K TV. We can’t recommend it enough for anyone who wants a new OLED 4K HDR TV at the lowest possible price. Have a look at its latest discount price below and for detailed specs and analysis, click our in-depth review.
4. Sony X930E 4K HDR Ultra HD LCD TV (2017 model)
Sony’s X930E model is beaten by almost no other LCD 4K HDR TV in 2017 as far as overall quality and display performance go. Only the larger X940E and the Z9D (Also from Sony) quite match some of the specs this model offers, but neither of those two are available in 55 inch sizes. So with that, this is our top spot placeholder for superb HDR LCD TV technology, now that we’ve run through the inevitable OLED winners. The X930E is impressive indeed at that. This model is one of the brightest (literally, due to its peak brightness) HDR LCD TV’s we’ve reviewed for 2017 and to this it adds superb deep black levels for an excellent, almost unmatched contrast ratio. The X930E also offers some of the best full HDR color performance of any 4K TV you’ll find in 2017. It also supports Dolby Vision as an added bonus. Sony really outdid itself with this year’s model. We’d also like to mention that the X930E television makes a great console gamers TV and in general offers fantastic motion handling specs for nearly any kind of content. It’s slightly on the pricey side but cheaper than Samsung or LG’s top 2017 models. Check out its latest price and our in-depth review below.
5. Samsung QLED Q8 4K Ultra HD LCD TV (2017 Curved Model)
Samsung’s QLED Technology gives the brand’s 2017 4K HDR TVs one thing that no other premium TV has matched according to our own reviews of them all. Quite simply, they deliver the best wide color gamut coverage in the DCI-P3 spectrum that we’ve ever seen in a television. The Q8C delivers this at its maximum expression and adds to it with some fantastic peak brightness and deep black levels for an excellent overall high dynamic range experience. Watching the latest 4K Blu-rays or streaming movies in HDR on this TV is genuinely stunning across the board. The Q8C is one of the Samsung TVs with the highest peak brightness we’ve seen from this brand in 2017. Other excellent characteristics of this model include almost unbeatable motion handling, excellent input lag for console gaming and a great external connectivity box (the One Connect) which is fully replaceable as new connectivity standards arise. In other words, the Q8C is future-proofed to a large degree. We also love the elegant design of Samsung’s QLED TVs, including this one of course. One negative point is a lack of Dolby Vision HDR support and a still rather steep (but dropping) price. These are reasons why we’ve ranked this model lower than the X930E, though they’re amazingly close on quality. We also think the curved display of this televsion is pointless but some consumers like the look so we digress. It does no major harm in any case.
6. Sony X900E 4K Ultra HD HDR LCD TV (2017 Model)
Sony’s X900E is one of the truly superb 4K HDR TVs of 2017 in almost every way that’s important. It not only comes with a majority of the premium display and hardware specs offered by the Sony brand’s top-shelf X930E and X940E models (including multi-zone local dimming and full HDR support), it also manages to be amazingly affordable for this level of quality at the same time. The combination of these two features is what makes is love this particular television so much. In terms of its actual performance, the X900E produces stunningly vibrant and rich high dynamic range colors, excellent across-the-board motion handling specs and some truly superb console gaming functionality while also being a great all-around home theater platform for pretty much any kind of 4K HDR or SDR, non-4K content. We almost can’t recommend the X900E enough for its price and rich specs. The 55 inch model being mentioned here is also excellently priced with a tag of under $1000 at the time of this writing. Practically the only thing that Sony didn’t include in the X900E which do come in its more expensive cousins is support for Dolby Vision HDR, but this is a minor detail since most content doesn’t support the format either quite yet. If you’re on the market for a 55 inch television model, the X900E is just about the best offer in existence right now.
7. LG E7 4K Ultra HD OLED HDR TV (2017 Model)
LG’s E7 OLED 4K HDR TV not only delivers about as exquisitely fine a performance as any of the company’s 2017 OLED 4K HDR TVs are capable of, it also looks fantastically good while being an awesome home theater system. Designed with the same “picture-on-glass” build as the 2016 E6 and G6 OLED 4K HDR TVs, the E7 will completely impress anyone who walks into a living room where its hanging or sitting there. That’s just the basic design of the TV at work. Once you turn it on and use it for almost any sort of content, things only get more spectacular. Like all OLED 4K HDR TVs, the E7 delivers essentially perfect black levels, pixel-level light and dark control, extraordinarily vibrant, powerful color and some of the best possible motion handling in existence today (a feature of all OLED TVs). It’s also compatible with multiple HDR formats and offers support for the latest and most powerful audio specs like Dolby Atmos sound right inside its own speakers. This television is also amazingly thin and light for its size, with a display surface that’s just over half an inch thick. Why do we rank the E7 lower than the OLED C7 and B7 models above? Because it’s also considerably pricier than them even though their picture performance is almost identical. However, the sheer beauty of this TVs body does definitely impress more than most TV designs do.
8. Samsung QLED Q7F 4K Ultra HD HDR LCD TV (2017 Model)
9. Samsung MU9000 4K Ultra HD HDR LCD TV (2017 Model)
10. TCL P-series P607 4K Ultra HD HDR LCD TV (2017 Model)
11. Vizio P-Series XLED P55-E1 4K Ultra HD HDR TV (2017 Edition)
Bonus: Samsung 55 inch KS9000 2016 4K HDR SUHD TV: $2,299.99
Essentially identical to the above-described KS9500, the KS9000 offers all of the same superb specs and size ranges but also comes with a flat screen, which we ourselves definitely prefer to the gimmick of curved design. This is an HDR 4K TV like very few others and so far at least, only Samsung’s other models deliver the same or better performance as far as peak brightness, contrast, color richness and overall contrast are concerned. In fact, just like its KS9500 cousin, the KS9000 offers a level of contrast that’s incredible, completel beating even Sony’s X930D almost threefold and doing quite a bit better than Vizio’s also superb 2016 P-Series HDR TVs. These are impressive achievements for an edge-lit 4K TV. On top of the HDR, there are also high-end Samsung technologies like Quantum Dot color, Peak Illuminator Pro and of course, the excellent and now even more refined 2016 version of the Tizen smart TV OS with Smart Hub.
For those of you who want all the specs of Samsung’s best edge-lit 4K HDR TV for 2016 but without the same curvature, the KS9000 is your television of choice
4K TV Connectivity
Pretty much all major 4K TV brands offer the same core connectivity in their ultra HD TVs, regardless of size or price, so this isn’t a major concern as far as getting access to what you need for content viewing at a decent price is concerned. Thus, with all of the above models and their more affordable cousins, you’ll find several USB ports, several HDMI 2.0 or better ports and of course, built in WiFi and Ethernet connectivity for smart TV functionality and access to streaming content. Here is a breakdown of the most important content and web connectivity specs:
HDMI: HDMI is the core connection port technology in any 4K TV worth its salt. IT’s via HDMI 2.0, which is what’s found in virtually all modern 4K TVs, that you’ll get access to 4K and HD videos from external media sources like 4K Blu-ray players, conventional Blu-ray players, DVRs, set-top boxes and gaming consoles. The latest version of HDMI, 2.0 offers 4K UHD video at 60 frames per second with a 60Hz transmission refresh rate and a variant of HDMI 2.0 called 2.0a also allows for HDR coding in 4K content from external sources to be delivered to any HDR-capable 4K TV. Most ultra HD TVs and all of the above models offer at least three and usually 4 HDMI 2.0 ports.
USB: USB is your core connectivity port for peripheral media devices and mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. It’s also a great connectivity option for attaching external hard drives and controllers to your TV. Most 4K TVs today offer between 2 and 4 USB 2.0 ports with some models offering the even more powerful USB 3.0. These ports can be used to transfer music, non-4K video and other lower-bandwidth media to and from your 4K TV. They can also be used for charging devices from the TV.
Ethernet/WiFi: Ethernet is integral to the smart functionality and 4K/HD video technology of any 4K TV today. Without Ethernet connectivity, your TV definitely won’t be able to stream 4K UHD content from major commercial sources and it likely won’t have full smart TV functionality either. However, there is a caveat here, for full use of all the streaming media options in any of the above 4K TVs, you should also have an internet connection of at least 15 to 20 Mbps feeding your Ethernet cable and ideally, for maximal smooth access to streaming live sports and so forth, your home internet connection should offer at least 25 to 30Mbps.
As for WiFi, it’s useful for sharing certain types of content between your TV and other display devices nearby, like smartphones and tablets. Many 4K TVs allow you to stream content from your phone to their much larger screens, with their built in upscaling technology for superior visible resolution.
Smart TV Platforms
All 4K UHD TVs come with smart TV platforms built into them. These are what offers all of these TV internet browsing, digital media apps and communications capacity. The best smart platforms, like those found in almost all of the above models, also offer features like voice and gesture control and accompanying smart remotes with their own related features. Full web browsing capacity is also a common feature of most 4K TVs and of all of the top 55 inch models we’ve listed.
The LG WeboOS 2.0/3.0 smart TV platform variants are particularly good, easy to use, feature-packed and highly intuitive, and we thus consider WebOS to be the best smart TV platform on the market so far. Following closely behind are Android TV for Sony 4K models and Samsung’s Tizen smart OS with Smart Hub. Vizio’s new 2016 SmartCast mobile-device based smart TV platform is a great improvement from what Vizio offered in 2014 and 2015 annd sits at a close fourth to these leading smart OS systems but still suffers from a couple of minor flaws.
Native 4K display extras and Upscaling,
As we’ve covered in other guides, all 4K UHD TVs have variations between model types in how well they display their 4K ultra HD content. Yes, all TVs offer up the same quantity of pixels and thus technically the same fixed ultra-sharp resolution, but differences in central processor technology, color quality, contrast and other display specs can really make a massive difference in just how good native 4K video looks on a 4K UHD TV screen. All of the above 4K models are some of the best for their brands and thus offer superb picture quality for native 4K movies. However, even between them, there are serious differences, with the OLED 4K TV models delivering contrast and dimming technology which are simply incomparably better than those of the LCD 4K models in the listing above.
As for Upscaling, it’s an integral part of any 4K TV worth its value, for the simple reason that most TV content today is not in native 4K resolution and thus 4K TVs need a reason to be valuable for HD and non-HD video as well. This is what upscaling achieves. It reprocesses non-4K video to make it look sharper and closer to native 4K resolution. For Full HD video, the effect is stunning and in a good upscaling engine, even 480p video can be made to look better than it normally would. All of the listed 4K TV models offer superb upscaling engines.
HDR technology is also a crucial feature of the leading 2016 4K TVs in the 55 inch range. With high dynamic range, display quality takes a major leap upward and the 2016 standards for HDR that the top four 4K TVs in this list have adopted are considerably better than what we saw of this technology in 2015. For an even more detailed breakdown of how the HDR in the best 55 inch 4K TVs and other models works, check out our guide to high dynamic range for a complete overview.
Backlighting in all 4K TVs on sale today can basically be divided into two broad technology types: LCD/LED display and OLED display. Without going into too many details here, we believe OLED to be the far superior screen illumination technology in 4K models and the top-ranked LG OLED TVs we covered in the number 1 and 2 spots bear this out. However, for a really detailed breakdown of how OLED and LCD stack up against each other, check out our comparison guide here.