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!
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 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 11 Best 55 inch 4K TVs of 2016
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.
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.
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.
As is clearly visible here, LG dominates the roster of top-shelf 4K TVs in the 55 inch size range and with good reason, their OLED models are by far the most impressive 4K TVs we’ve seen go on sale as of mid-2016. The E6, at least in the 55 inch range is the best of the bunch even among these highly impressive TVs and with good reason. In all regards, this television delivers stunning display performance and other user features. Starting with a level of peak brightness that surpasses even a large percentage of LCD 4K TVs (even many HDR models form both 2015 and 2016) the E6 also manages perfect black level performance, perfect single pixel-level local dimming and some of the most stunning color performance we’ve seen in a 4K TV so far. These features of course make this model into a superb HDR-capable display which fully meets both HDR10 (UHD Allinance) and Dolby Vision standards for HDR content support. It may be expensive but the OLED55E6 is as of mid-2016 as good as it gets for 55 inch 4K TVs.
LG OLED55C6P (C6) 4K HDR Curved TV 55 inch model: $2999.99
Among the four different 4K OLED TV models released by LG in 2016, the C6 occupies the second tier along with its nearly identical cousin the B6 model. Offering OLED display and full HDR support just like its pricier E6 and G6 cousins, the C6 is a slightly superior model to the best late-2015 OLED TV from LG, the EF9500. That said, this is one superb TV whose classical curved design makes it look much more like the models of 2015 instead of the radically redesigned 2016 G6 and E6 flagship TVs.
Delivering the usual perfect black levl performancce, perfect pixel-level local dimming and some of the best color space coverage of any 4K HDR TV for 2016 (rivalled only by the Samsung SUHD TVs and LG’s own higher-level OLED TVs), the 55 inch C6 model is a relatively affordable (by OLED standards) choice for those looking for an OLED TV that offers the latest in HDR technologies.
LG EF9500 4K UHD OLED TV: $2,997.00
LG’s late 2015 EF9500 4K OLED TV is still one of the best 4K TVs on sale today. We’re expecting new LG OLED arrivals and also new Panasonic OLED 4K TVs in 2016, all or any of which might uproot the EG9600 from its ranking as the best in 4K TV technology but for now it remains in its stellar spot.
As one of LG’s OLED TVs, the EF9500 offers High Dynamic Range display and some of the best, most close to perfect contrast and light/dark technology your money can buy. The distinct nature of OLED displays means that each individual pixel is its own source of light and a “dimming zone” since it can be individual turned off. Thus, in terms of local dimming as it’s traditionally known in LCD 4K TVs, OLED takes things to a ridiculous new level, with as many dimming zones and points of light as there are pixels.
Aside from this, the EF9500 comes with all the usual superb 4K video connectivity specs, includes LG’s spectacularly good new WebOS smart TV platform, which we consider to be the best on the market so far, and delivers superb color accuracy and vibrancy, partly thanks to OLED technology and partly thanks to LG’s other color processing features. Our only complaints about this 4K TV are its odd lack of a fourth HDMI 2.0 port and the fact that OLED doesn’t quite reach the same maximum luminance as LCD.
Just like the EF9500 mentioned above, the EG9600is one of LG’s absolute top performers in terms of OLED technology and was widely considered to be one of the best 4K TVs of 2015 by numerous reviewers. With the EG9600 you get the same absolutely stunning contrast and HDR performance along with the same single pixel bright and dark control which makes OLED such a marvel in comparison to even the best in LCD TV display. Furthermore, the EG9600 offers the excellent WebOS 2.0, great connectivity specs and access to a broad range of the latest 4K UHD content from streaming and hard media sources. Best of all, it’s also compatible with HDR movies in 4K, unlike many rival models from 2015.
On the other hand, the EG9600 seems to lack a couple minor refinements to OLED that LG has likely fixed by now and thus can suffer from small amounts of luminosity variance and varying dark uniformity at times. Also, we don’t like this TV’s curvature. We generally consider curved screens to be a gimmick across the board but in 55 inch displays they’re particularly pointless for anything except aesthetics.
Samsung’s KS9500 2016 SUHD TV isn’t the brand’s very best model for this year but it comes very close and offers up what are some of the most superb LCD 4K TV display specs we’ve seen in this year. Only a couple other LCD models in larger size ranges and OLED beat this model in terms of sheer visual impact.
With what are the brightest edge-lit panels we’ve ever seen, the KS9500 TVs offer superb levels of peak brightness that put last year’s 2015 SUHD TVs to shame, with even the edge-lit JS9500 not being able to compete with the maximum 1400+ nit peak light output of this model. On top of this, the KS9500 also manages to offer rich deep black levels of less than 0.02 nits and also delivers some truly stunning and richly varied 10-bit color with excellent DCI-P3 color range coverage. The overall result is an HDR 4K TVthat truly meets the highest standards for 2016 and gives its viewers some stunning realism across the board.
Furthermore, as we’ve mentioned in some of the other 4K TV guides, the 2016 version of Tizen’s smart TV OS for all Samsung models is better than it’s ever been before, with improved user friendliness, better functionality and more apps access than we saw in 2015.
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
Samsung’s KS8500 4K SUHD TV for 2016 is the third best of the 2016 SUHD 4K HDR TVs but despite this lower overall ranking, it still offers superior display specs to any 2015 SUHD model 4K TV and that applies even if you compare it to the flagship. full-array JS9500 2015 model, at least as far as peak brightness, black levels and overall HDR specs are concerned. In all of these areas, this TV is a solid performer, delivering 1300+ nits of peak luminance, a stunningly dark 0.019 nits of black level and an overall contrast ratio which is only surpassed among LCD 4K TVs by Samsung’s pricier HDR LCD models listed above, at least in this 55 inch size range.
Again, Tizen’s 2016 version and its refinements are all present in the KS8500 55 inch model and while the sound quality of this and other 2016 SUHD TVs leaves a bit to be desired, the display specs on offer are definitely on par with the needs of a serious home entertainment system.
Vizio has taken its affordable and well-built 4K TV technology to a new level in 2016 and the 55 inch Vizio P-Series shows this off wonderfully in many ways. While this 4K TV comes with an IPS display which renders overall contrast at a lower level than what we’ve seen with both the smaller 50 inch 2016 P-Series models and the larger 65+ inch versions, the P55-C1 is nonetheless a superb performer at delivering Dolby Vision-certified high peak brightness and excellent color coverage in the 10-bit HDR range. The P-Series are possibly the second best HDR LCD TVs of 2016 and their display quality comes with Full-array LED baclighting to boot. No other 4K TV for this year offers that and all the associated local dimming zones of the P55-C1 at this price level.
What’s more, like all of the other 2016 Vizio 4K TVs of all types, this P-Series model also comes with the company’s new and completely game-changing mobile device-based smart TV app. Called SmartCast, the new platform keeps the smart TV functionality outside the TV itself and inside a downloadable application that can be installed on any compatible mobile device for instant access to numerous streaming media apps 4K content and Google Cast as well. No more losing the remote control now that Vizio has made any smartphone or tablet into a potential TV remote. All of the 2016 P-Series TVs come with an included 6 inch Android tablet remote with Full HD display and SmartCast already integrated.
Sony’s X930D 55 inch 4K TV for 2016 offers some superb HDR specs that don’t quite match those available with Samsung’s SUHD TVs or Vizio’s 2016 P-Series models, but the HDR of this particular TV is still better than that of any 2015 LCD model, including the brand’s own top-shelf models from last year. What’s more, Android TV in the 2016 X930D is better than ever in terms of apps access and functionality while Triluminos Display combined with the Wide Color Gamut of this model’s HDR technology combine together to offer some of the best color coverage we’ve seen in 2016 LCD 4K TV models.
The X930D doesn’t quite have the same powerhouse audio setup as its 2015 X930C predecessor did but it more than makes up for these qualities in a superior level of display performance. Last but not least, this year’s model looks downright stunning with its thin and minimalist body design.
Samsung’s glorious JS9500 is in our view a perfect example of the best that LCD TV technology on sale to date. This is one spectacular 4K TV by any measure and offers the very best of the company’s SUHD TV line manufacturing, with Samsung’s highest class of HDR technology, featuring Peak Illuminator ULTIMATE and Precision Black Pro, which combined together aren’t found in any other Samsung TV, not even the also superb JS9000. With this, the JS9500 offer the highest possible luminance of the brand’s entire lineup for 2015 and is fully qualified for the UHD Alliance’s “UHD Premium” standard for next generation 4K TV display.
Furthermore, there are all the other cool SUHD specs we’ve already covered in previous guides. These include enhanced quantum dot color, the superb Tizen smart TV OS with Smart Hub and Samsung’s slightly unique access to the widest possible range of 4K UHD media apps and entertainment sources. Judder and motion controls in the JS9500 are excellent and its contrast is, as expected for an HDR model, superb. On the other hand, we don’t like the curved screen, especially in this 55 inch display and think it only adds to a somewhat weak viewing angle range in the JS9500.
Once again, Samsung’s JS9000 makes our Top TVs listings with its 55 inch model, and with good reason. This is one spectacular piece of 4K TV technology. In many ways, the JS9000 is a superior performer to the JS9500 because it offers better color, superior motion blur control and better color vibrancy. It’s also a better performer in terms of gaming due to a much smaller input lag than the JS9500. On the other hand, it’s contrast and HDR are of a slightly lesser quality and that’s mainly why we rank it a bit lower. That said, the JS9000 is the more affordable model and if you want a superb 2015 LCD 4K TV with HDR and enhanced color, you simply can’t go wrong with this model.
Again, we get the screen curvature that Samsung insisted on putting into all of its premium 4K TVs to date and we ourselves don’t like it. It makes the TV look prettier but causes problems with viewing angles, mounting and screen reflections. In other words, it’s a gimmick and the idea of it being immersive on a 55 inch screen you’ll be sitting at least 2 meters away from is laughable.
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 TVfucntionality 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.