QLED technology has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 2017, evolving to establish itself as an increasingly compelling alternative to the OLED panels that otherwise dominate the high-end TV market. A lot has changed: Samsung is no longer the sole QLED TV manufacturer, and QLED displays are no longer restricted to premium budgets. With Vizio, TCL, and Hisense joining the fray in the past years, there have never been so many QLED panels at such a wide range of price points.
It’s easy to get lost in the sheer number of options, but we’re here to help you make sense out of a sprawling market with our guide to the five best QLED TV’s.
Samsung Q90R: Best High-End QLED TV - $2,599
The choice between QLED and OLED is often framed as a story of trade-offs: QLED TV’s typically offer higher brightness and slightly better color accuracy but at the cost of poor viewing angles and less pronounced contrast levels. With their 2019 flagship Q90R, Samsung has gotten closer than ever to overcoming this logic, achieving class-leading color reproduction while trading blows with its OLED competitors in contrast performance. The Q90R’s combination of excellent colors and superb contrast, along with Samsung’s robust features package, makes it arguably the best QLED TV.
Keep in mind that the Q90R is a 2019 flagship that’s due to be replaced by the recently-announced Q90T. According to early testing, the performance differences are subtle enough that it may be worth opting for the older Q90R if you can find one at a significantly discounted price. Our Q90R review is available here.
Samsung Q900R: Best QLED TV For Future-Proofing - $2,499
8K content may be scarce in 2020, but that’s going to change rapidly through the mid-2020’s; considering that the average household is on a four to five year TV upgrade cycle, now is a great time to become an early adopter of 8K technology. Samsung’s Q900R leverages the latest in Samsung’s AI “smart upscaling” techniques to add details to 4K content that weren’t there to begin with, and is surprisingly affordable to boot. The Q900R is slightly outperformed by the Q90R in color reproduction and blacks, but consider it as a long-term investment that will increasingly yield fruit as 8K content becomes more widely available.
Vizio P Series Quantum X: Best Mid-Range QLED TV - $1,099
Once barren, the mid-range QLED category has become fiercely competitive over the past years. At MSRP prices, the Vizio P Series Quantum X arguably delivers best-in-class blacks and colors, as well as excellent peak brightness and stellar gaming performance thanks to its low input lag. You can’t go wrong with the Quantum X, but be sure to check your local deals for the comparable Samsung Q70R to make sure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
TCL 6-Series: Best Budget QLED TV - $599
For those looking to experience QLED on a budget, TCL’s 6-Series offers a bright and colorful picture at an unbeatable price. To further sweeten this already-incredible deal, you’re also buying into Roku’s robust TV streaming ecosystem. The Hisense H9 Series is a close runner-up in the budget category, offering a slightly better picture for around $100 more.
Samsung Frame TV: Best Lifestyle QLED TV - $1,499
Are you looking for a QLED display that can make a fashion statement while still putting out a great picture? Are you intrigued by the idea of a TV that blends seamlessly into your home and doubles as an art panel? If so, Samsung’s novel Frame TV may be right up your alley.
Mark Episkopos is a frequent contributor to the National Interest and serves as a research assistant at the Center for the National Interest. Mark is also a Ph.D. student in History at American University.