Time to Upgrade

The Most Beautiful TVs You Can Buy Are OLEDs. Period.


Buying Guides By Photo by Henry Phillips
From Issue Five of Gear Patrol Magazine.
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The most beautiful TVs you can buy are OLEDs. Period. OLED technology produces darker blacks and more lifelike colors than any LED LCD TV. For years, however, the main strike against buying an OLED has been that they’re wickedly expensive. LG released its first OLED in 2013; it was 55 inches and cost roughly $15,000.

Today, you can buy a 55-inch OLED TV starting around $2,000. And as manufacturers continue to build them, you can expect those prices to continue to fall. Yes, they’re still expensive, especially when you can get a similarly sized 4K LCD TV for under a grand. But if gorgeous picture quality is your jam, it’s really OLED or bust.

The next thing to know is that all the major manufacturers that sell OLED displays source the technology from one company: LG. That’s right, LG makes the OLED displays for Sony, Panasonic and Philips, as well as LG-branded OLED TVs — essentially every OLED you can find in Best Buy. So don’t worry about the quality of the OLED slipping from brand to brand.

Instead, you can focus on the same factors you would with older TV technology: size, thinness, pixel resolution, speaker quality and general aesthetics, as well as newer concerns like curvature, processing chips, HDR compatibility and smart functionality. Whatever your priorities, if you’re in market for a new TV, it might finally be worth it for you to spend a little extra on an OLED.

LG C7P

The C7P is LG’s new flagship, boasting the same stunning 4K picture quality as the brand’s high-end W7 OLED. It has an ultra-thin design and a surprisingly intuitive smart TV interface, all of which has garnered universal praise; David Katzmaier of CNET wrote that it was “the best-performing TV we’ve tested to date.”

Sony XBR-A1E

The A1E ticks all the boxes in terms of picture quality, 4K and HDR compatibility, and smart functionality. But what really separates it from other OLED displays is Sony’s Acoustic Surface technology: Rather than speakers, the higher-frequency sound comes from the screen itself, while the bass comes from a subwoofer housed in the kickstand. That’s right, the sound literally comes out of the TV.

LG Signature OLED TV W7

LG’s “Wallpaper TV” is the thinnest TV you can buy, its panel roughly the size of a stack of three quarters. It’s arguably the best-looking, too. LG took most of its guts — the inputs, power supply, processing chips and speakers — and bundled them in a separate sound bar, which happens to support Dolby Atmos. The picture quality is as good as any OLED TV on the market, but the wow-factor is untouchable.

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A version of this story appears in Gear Patrol Magazine: Issue Five, 270 pages of guides and reports that put product first. Subscribe Now: $39