50 inch TV Reviews – (Updated 2019) Best Guide for 49 inch – 50 inch 4K TVs for Sale – Buy a 49″ or 50″ Smart, Flat Screen Television with Confidence!
Stephan Jukic – Updated January 7, 2019
Smaller 4K UHD TVs are generally less recommendable as home entertainment systems for really enjoying the format because 4K resolution, at least when enjoyed at normal viewing distances of 7 to 10 feet looks much better and creates more impact on a larger screen. From an optimal or normal viewing distance of about 8 feet, 4K resolution tends to look almost identical to Full HD if content in either pixel format has been well formatted and the TV in question (4K UHD or HD) is working optimally.
However, this isn’t to say that we don’t recommend smaller 48 to 50 inch 4K TVs for those of you who are indecisive about 4K vs sticking with Full HD. Quite the contrary. For starters, with a smaller 48 to 50 inch 4K TV you can know that while not necessarily highly notable, the extra resolution on the screen is indeed there, and if you want to move closer to your TV for whatever reason or have it installed in a small space, you’ll definitely start to see the extra sharpness.
Furthermore, as the new, cutting-edge technology, 4K in TVs is where all the cool additional technologies are going. HDR (high dynamic range) isn’t even available in Full HD televisions and much of the same applies to a number of other display features like enhanced (usually quantum dot) color and backlighting features.
In other words, resolution aside, a high quality 4K TV like the ones we’re about to cover will definitely offer up some powerful and very visible advantages over even a great Full HD display.
The 6 Best 49-50 inch 4K TVs of 2018 / 2019
Now, without further ado, let’s get down to the meat of this guide. The following are the six best 49 to 50 inch 4K TVs across the board on the current market. This list will also undergo updates as newer and possibly better 49-50 inch models emerge later but for what’s available for sale at the time of this writing, you simply cannot go wrong with the following. All of the following TVs come with a native 120Hz refresh rate unless otherwise stated in a description.
The following models consist of a mix of mainly Samsung and Sony TVs with TCL and LG editions thrown in as well. All of them offer some very good to downright excellent HDR specs and while none of them fall under the category of ultra-premium 4K UHD TVs (which tend to start at 55 inches and go up from there) at least a couple are truly superb by any measure. You’ll also note that there are no OLED TVs listed here. These start to dominate the rankings at 55 inches but again, because OLED 4K UHD HDR TVs tend to be designed as very high end models, none are sold in the 49-50 inch range.
That said, all of these are absolutely HDR TVs in at least some sense and a couple of them are truly superb, high end 4K TVs by any measure despite their slightly smaller screen size. The top-ranked 4K TV we mention below is in fact one of the single best ultra HD TV deals of 2018 and early 2019 in our view.
Also be sure to click on the links in the listed TVs titles for our comprehensive review of each specific model for those that we have reviewed.
Sony XBR49X900F 49 Inch 4K UHD HDR TV
Sony’s X900F 4K UHD TV is one of the truly outstanding 4K UHD TVs of 2018 and early 2019 period. In the 48-50 inch range it’s easily the single best 4K HDR television choice we can think of but even if we measure this model among all 2018 4K UHD TVs, it deserves an exceptionally, near top-level ranking for its nearly perfect blend of high quality display specs, stellar overall performance, numerous premium features and excellent price. The 49 inch model is the single best 4K TV you can get for less than $1000 dollars (as we covered in our guide to the best 4K TVs for below $1000)
What does the X900F offer that’s so awesome? It’s just great in every major regard. This is a full HDR 4K UHD TV with all the display specs you need to really deliver high dynamic range video to the spectacular levels it deserves. The X900F pulls this off by offering brilliantly high display brightness, excellent, deep rich black levels, powerful contrast ratio and some truly vibrant full HDR color rendering with both wide color gamut and 10-bit color. Additionally, the X900F has been designed with full-array LED backlighting that delivers full-array local dimming technology. This means that it can take black levels and HDR contrast to a whole different level from what edge-lit 4K TVs can manage. This is the only model that offers this technology on this list or at this size.
This TV is also extremely responsive to gaming from consoles while also delivering full support for multiple color, contrast and resolution formats such as (but not limited to):
- 1080p @ 60Hz
- 1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
- 1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
- 1080p @ 120Hz
- 4k @ 60Hz
- 4k @ 60Hz + HDR
- 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
- 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
- 4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
- 4k With Interpolation
Overall, the X900F is just across-the-board awesome and you can’t do better if you want a 49-50 inch 4K TV at a price like this.
Samsung Q6FN QLED 4K UHD HDR 49 Inch Smart TV
Taking a very, very close second place on our list of best 49-50 inch 4K UHD TVs for 2018 and early 2019 is the Samsung Q6FN. This is the most affordable of Samsung’s QLED TVs and by far the best offering from this brand at this price and size. The Q6FN delivers nearly out-of-this world color vibrancy for any kind of content and offers up some fantastically good contrast and black levels. It’s worth noting that the QLED aspect of this particular model isn’t just a marketing gimmick; it consists of quantum dot nano-crystal filter layers inside the screen and as far as we could see, they definitely create an above-average level of color accuracy and color vibrancy even during very dark or very bright scenes in content playback.
The Q6FN is also one robustly great 4K TV in terms of motion handling, with excellent specs for motion blur control motion interpolation and playback of low-frame rate content like Blu-ray disc movies and certain types of broadcast TV programming. In addition to this, it delivers really responsive results in terms of input lag when used for console gaming or as a PC display. Quite simply, we can’t recommend it enough. It’s only real flaws (which are what make us rank it in second place here) are that this particular model is slightly on the expensive side despite all its good qualities and that it doesn’t support Dolby Vision HDR like the Sony X900F does. Also, its local dimming simply isn’t as good as that of the Sony model above.
SAMSUNG UN49NU8000 49 Inch 4K UHD HDR Smart TV
Samsung’s NU8000 is the brand’s outstanding non-QLED 4K TV of 2018 and early 2019 and we really appreciate its quality across almost all important metrics. This model comes with the kind of specs that would have been the domain of Samsung’s ultra-premium models just a couple years ago but is “just” one of Samsung’s mid-range TVs today. The NU8000 is the priciest of the NU-Series models, yes but it’s still reasonably affordable, very elegantly built and comes with excellent color vibrancy, superb motion handling and full HDR display specs, including some very decent peak brightness that nearly reaches 1000 nits. Furthermore, this IS one excellent gaming TV, with extremely good responsiveness for HDR, 4K or just about any sorts of console games.
On the other hand, the NU8000 lacks the still deeper color vibrancy of QLED display technology and while it does have local dimming, the quality of this feature in this model is only mediocre. Nonetheless, it’s a sure choice for one of the three best 40-50 inch 4K HDR TVs of 2018 and early 2019. On a final note, the NU8000 49 inch model is fairly cheap and makes for a particularly great alternative to the Q6FN if you’re fixed on getting a Samsung TV.
TCL 5 Series S515/S517 49 Inch 4K HDR UHD Smart TV
We gave the TCL 5-Series model second place in our guide to 43 inch 4K UHD TVs and here it is again but with a bit of stiffer competition. Nonetheless, it still ranks highly and among 50 inch 4K TVs it’s one of our top picks as well mainly because for one thing, this television offers very robust specs that make it a really good starter HDR TV and secondly because the 5-Series is exceptionally affordable compared to the other models on this list. The S517 doesn’t come with some of the more advanced features of the models ranked above, such as local dimming for even deeper, more uniform black levels, and its overall quality of display black rendering is a bit on the cloudy side but as a TV with a VA-type display panel, this model still manages to produce very good contrast and black levels. Furthermore, it offers up exceptionally vivid full HDR color rendering with support for both wide color gamut and 10-bit color. Like all of TCL’s 4K TVs, the S517 also supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR standards and one other thing we really like about this model is that it offers an extremely high level of gaming performance, with responsiveness that’s way above average along with excellent low input lag.
On a final note that’s crucial to our rankings of TCL’s 4K TVs, this model comes with the fantastically good Roku TV smart platform, which we consider to be one of the best in existence today due to its sheer quantity of content app “channels” and its tens of thousands of hours of available content. Roku alone makes the 5-Series that much better.
TCL 49S405 49 Inch 4K UHD HDR Smart TV
Next on our list is TCL’s next tier of 4K UHD HDR TV, the S-Series S405. This model is not quite as bright or quite as powerful in rendering vibrant colors as the 5-Series model above but it comes with similarly great black levels, contrast ratio and just the same very high quality gaming responsiveness in its connectivity specs. Furthermore, the smart TV platform in the TCL S-Series is the exact same superbly versatile and user-friendly Roku TV system. What’s best with the S405 is that while being very similar to the S517 above, it’s considerably cheaper. As a starter 4K TV and for use by console or PC gamers, this particular model is an excellent extreme budget choice in the 49 inch range if you want to shave even more off of what you’d spend on the TCL S517.
LG 49SK8000 49 Inch 4K UHD HDR Smart TV
Our final 49-50 inch 4K UHD TV in this ranking guide is the LG SK8000. We like it and we also don’t like it, which is why we gave it last place. LG’s LCD 4K TVs may take a distant second place to the extremely popular brand’s OLED masterpieces, but they’ve gotten much better in 2018 that they deserve quite a bit more attention. Among the 2018 LCD models from LG, one of the best in terms of overall performance and price is without a doubt the SK8000. Unlike many older LG LCD TVs we’ve reviewed on 4k.com, this model delivers some very decent black levels despite its IPS display panel technology and in terms of HDR and SDR color rendering, it’s a solid display performer. Additionally, the SK8000 comes with local dimming technology that further boosts its black level and contrast performance. One other benefit of this model is the IPS screen itself: while this display technology means weaker contrast and black levels on the one hand, it also offers much better viewing angles, making the SK8000 an ideal budget 4K TV for a living room or den in which some of the seats are way off to one side. We should also mention that this LG LCD TV model supports Dolby Vision HDR specs and offers very good gaming connectivity.
However, and this is crucially why we rank the SK8000 last here, the SK8000 is still much weaker than any other 4K TV on this whole list at delivering rich, deep black levels. This is its single biggest weakness. Additionally, while it does support wide color gamut for HDR content, the coverage percentage of those 1 billion extra color values isn’t as good as that of any other model ranked here.
Bonus TV: Samsung NU7100 50 inch 4K UHD HDR Smart TV
Samsung reaches this list again with the NU7100. This particular smart TV isn’t quite as great as the LG SK8000 listed above and it’s a far cry in terms of quality from Samsung’s Q6FN and NU8000 models that take the tops spots in our rankings of best 49-50 inch 4K TVs but we still think it’s a great choice due to the fact that it’s screen is ever so slightly larger than those of the others on this list, at 50 inches (it’s a small difference but it is noticeable) and because this model does offer some very, very good black levels and contrast ratio for a 4K TV without local dimming technology. TCL’s two TVs above deliver better color quality and the SK8000 is slightly better overall in all regards except how well it offers black levels but the NU7100 holds its own nicely in most regards and most importantly happens to be an excellent gaming TV, with some superb responsiveness and very good input lag that’s almost consistently below 19ms. Finally, the NU7100 handles motion in content pretty well considering its low price and mid-range specs. The 4K resolution in this model is as good as any other you’ll get from any 4K UHD TV.
An Overview of 4K TV Technologies
All newer model 4K TVs, regardless of size, will offer mostly the same connectivity essentials across the board. Most brands and models may include an extra HDMI port, or come with HDMI 2.0a instead of the older HDMI 2.0, or possibly come with more 4K video compression technology and HDR options but what you’ll get in any 4K TV on sale in 2019, from older 2017 or 2018 models to the latest televisions consists of the following core essentials:
HDMI: When it comes to 4K UHD TVs in particular, HDMI is the de facto lead connectivity technology for most of your content supply from external devices. All modern models of 4K televisions, from OLED to LCD TVs and regardless of price, come with at least three HDMI ports built into them. It is via these ports that you’ll connect external media devices like set-top boxes, media players, gaming consoles and Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray players to your TV. For 4K at a smooth 60 frames per second, all 4K TVs built in the last couple of years at least come with HDMI 2.0a ports, instead of the older HDMI 1.4 connections which are more suited for Full HD video.
By now all newer 4K TVs pretty much come with high dynamic range across the board and as a result their HDMI specs and other internal features are designed to at least allow HDR video formats to pass through and be displayed. Some 4K TVs such as the X900F or Q6FN listed above really show off stunning high dynamic range versatility while others such as the TCL models and the NU7100 only offer limited HDR content display. All models do however support HDR10 high dynamic range at the very least.
USB: USB is the standard connectivity technology for low intensity peripheral devices like smartphones, tablets and external memory units. Again, it’s integral to all modern 4K TVs and at least a couple of USB 2.0 or more powerful USB 3.0ports will be found on any 4K model worth its salt. However, USB connections cannot be used to transmit 4K video feeds from any external device. They lack the bandwidth for this.
Internet Connectivity: Internet connectivity through Ethernet cable is what delivers hardline internet access to a 4K television and without it, the vast majority of modern smart TV platforms would be mostly useless, particularly when it comes to their media apps and streaming 4K video sources. The Ethernet connection to your 4K TV is absolutely crucial for effective access to streamed movies, shows and music as well as for access to the web browsing features most 4K TV smart platforms offer today.
However, if 4K video over Ethernet (through your home internet connection) is what you want, connectivity speeds to your home will have to be of at least 10 to 15Mbps, at a bare minimum, and would ideally have a speed of at least 20Mbps. 4K video won’t effectively stream over anything weaker than these with current video compression technologies like HEVC (H.265) and VP9.
Thus, also keep in mind that any 4K TV you buy, of any size, should also come with compatibility with both HEVC, VP9 and even more importantly, HDCP 2.2 content copy protection technology. Without access to these specs, a 4K TV will not work with a majority of existing ultra HD entertainment sources. Luckily, virtually all modern 4K TVs offer all three of the above specs.
Finally, we should briefly mention WiFi. It’s not quite up to the task of streaming 4K content from one device in your home to the other, but it is useful for mirroring non-4K content from smartphones and tablets to the 4K TV and vice versa. This is useful for sharing videos and also enjoying them through the giant upscaled display of the TV screen instead of on a tiny mobile device.
Smart TV Platforms
All major 4K TV brands offer smart TV functionality of one caliber or another on their 4K TVs regardless of model. This is one of the oldest 4K TV features in existence and it’s crucial for access to the streaming content apps we mentioned above and their entertainment. Sony 4K TVs come with Google’s own Android TV smart OS, LG models come with the company’s superb WebOS platform and with Samsung 4K models you get your hands on the company’s Tizen smart platform. Other 4K Television brands all offer their own versions of the same essential technology, with smart platforms such as the fairly new but astonishingly good Roku TV smart platform becoming increasingly popular among many budget ultra HD television models from a number of manufacturers.
The best smart platforms on the market also come with features like gesture and voice control and a majority of smart platforms include full web browsing capacity.
Currently, the three best smart TV platforms we’ve reviewed are LG’s WebOS, Samsung’s Tizen Smart Hub platform and Sony’s Android TV platform, with Roku’s Roku TV smart TV platform giving them all serious competition.
Then of course there are also external streaming media device options for any modern 4K HDR TV. These come with their own distinct smart TV interface and can often offer much better functionality and apps access than even the native OS of your particular television. We cover these external HDMI-connecting media devices in extreme detail over at our devices page, here.
Upscaling and Native 4K viewing
Obviously, all 4K TVs will offer the ability to display native 4K content from a variety of sources, both streamed and from external media devices like 4K Blu-ray players, 4K cameras and set-top boxes of assorted types. This content feeds into the 4K TV either via Ethernet as streaming video or from a hard copy or external streaming media source through HDMI 2.0. Native content display quality will vary from 4K TV to 4K TV and among brand names but for the TVs on this list, the best in their size class, this shouldn’t be a problem.
As for upscaling, it’s the process by which a 4K TV takes non-4K content like HD streams and DVD movies, and then reprocesses it through specialized internal algorithms to create a picture quality that looks sharper and more like native 4K. This is a crucial feature for any 4K TV worth its salt since most content in the current market isn’t native 4K and upscaling technology is what makes a 4K TV worth using even if you can’t access native resolution entertainment. Fortunately, all of the Top 5 TVs on this list offer great or even fantastic upscaling capacities for a range of different non-4K resolutions.
HDR technology is now a crucial, pretty much must-ahve feature of all 4K TVs and this includes the models ranked here in this 49-50 inch guide. With high dynamic range, display quality takes a major leap upward and the 2018 standards for HDR that the top 4K TVs in this list have adopted are considerably better than what we saw of this technology in 2016 or even 2017. For an even more detailed breakdown of how the HDR technology in 4K UHD OLED and LCD TVs works, check out our guide to high dynamic range for a complete overview.
Other Display Features
Many 4K TVs, and particularly those that are the top of their brands line, offer further display technologies for superior picture quality. These often include high dynamic range in the display, superior contrast, augmented color gamuts and faster than normal refresh rates of 120Hz instead of the slower 50 to 60Hz. Once again, the majority of the TVs listed below offer at least one of these technologies, be it HDR or expanded color through technologies such as quantum dot nanocrystals or colored phosphors.
In addition to all of the above, there is also the new level of high dynamic range technology which has become a standard feature of most 49 inch or larger 4K LCD TVs by this point. More than any other display technology in this years 4K televisions, HDR does the most to deliver stunning picture quality across the board. For a much deeper rundown of how high dynamic range works, check out our deep guide on the technology.
These technologies without a doubt further add to the value of a high quality 4K TV like those below and they’re what’s largely responsible for making the viewing experience on even smaller 4K TVs like these 48-50 inch models so deeply superior to that of a comparably sized high quality HDTV.
Backlighting and Local Dimming
Backlighting in 4K ultra HD televisions can basically be divided into two different technologies: OLED and LCD/LED. For a highly comprehensive review of how these differ from each other and which is best, check out our OLED vs. LCD page here.
However, in basic terms, OLED is the superior lighting technology by which pixels in the screen itself provide their own light for visual elements on the display, and LCD, the slightly to highly inferior technology, generates illumination and contrast by activating arrays of LEDs behind an LCD display in the TV screen. These LED arrays can be of the best kind, called full-array LED backlighting and involve dozens or even hundreds of specific dimming and brightness zones or they can be designed so that lines of LEDs are places only along the edges of a 4K TVs screen, with rather imprecise “local” dimming delivering darkness or light horizontally from the TV bezel inwards.
None of the 50 inch models we’re covering here offer OLED technology (which currently belongs only to select premium LG and Panasonic 4K TVs) but some of them do offer full-array LED backlighting and others only edge-lit LED arrays.
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