We spend a lot of time looking at OLED TVs. With Samsung, Sony, LG and others putting out more than a dozen of them collectively each year, there’s almost never a week that goes by that we’re not testing them, reviewing them or writing about them in some capacity.
There’s a good reason that OLED TVs take up so much space on our list of the best TVs — they’re simply better than older LED-LCD TV models in nearly every aspect. The only disadvantage of OLED is that the technology really hasn’t been able to get that bright, but even that is something manufacturers have fixed with the advent of QD-OLED technology and LG’s third-generation Micro Lens Array OLED panels.
Not sure which OLED TV to buy and which one to avoid? Here’s a quick primer.
Buy this: LG C2 OLED
The LG C3 OLED might be the newest kid on the block, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about the LG C2 OLED from 2022. With nearly the same performance as the newer C3 OLED, the C2 delivers an incredible picture at a vastly reduced cost. For that reason, we named the LG C2 OLED the best TV of 2022 and still sits in our top three half-way into 2023.
So what makes the C2 OLED so special? Not only does it have superior contrast because, duh, it’s OLED, but it also has better color reproduction and accuracy than any LED-LCD TV on the market. For gamers, it has four HDMI 2.1 ports that can accept a 4K/120Hz signal from a PS5 or Xbox Series X, plus it supports multiple forms of HDR (including Dolby Vision) as well as Dolby Atmos sound.
If you want to stick to an OLED that’s both exceptional in performance and still affordable, then the LG C2 OLED is our top pick.
Buy this: Sony A95K OLED
The Sony A95K OLED, Sony’s first QD-OLED TV from last year, takes everything that makes the LG C2 OLED great and dials it up to 11.
First, let’s look at the brightness. While the LG C2 OLED topped out at 800 nits in its brightest picture mode, the A95K at over 1,000 nits. That extra brightness means that it doesn’t need a completely dark room to show off its adroit performance and colorful scenes have more of a pop to them.
The other meaningful change on the Sony A95K OLED is the switch to Google TV — which, if you use a Google device and are plugged into the Google Home ecosystem of smart devices, is a huge plus. What we like most about Google TV is its great content recommendation system that has its finger on the pulse of what’s new and exciting. LG’s WebOS is great from a utility standpoint, but does little in the way of curating content.
So what’s the downside to the A95K? It’s pricey. Starting at $2,499 for a 55-inch model, it’s nearly double the price of the C2 OLED and while there’s a noticeable difference for cinephiles, everyone else will love the C2 OLED just as much.
Buy this: Samsung S95C OLED
If you want to stick with the leading producer of TVs, we don’t blame you. Samsung might have spent the last decade avoiding OLED TVs like the plague, but starting with the Samsung S95B OLED last year, it’s made a triumphant comeback. The new Samsung S95C OLED is the best OLED TV you can buy right now. How can we be so sure? It’s the first TV in 2023 that we’ve given a 5-star rating to.
We like the Samsung S95C OLED because it splits the difference between the affordable LG C2 OLED and the slightly more expensive Sony A95K OLED. While the C2 OLED is great for console gamers, the S95C OLED is great for living room PC gamers as the TV can support a 144Hz refresh rate when connected to a gaming PC. It’s also brighter than both the Samsung and Sony with a peak brightness of 1,370 nits. If you have a bright living room where you plan on putting a new OLED TV, the S95C is the one to go for.
Skip this: LG A2 OLED
The LG A2 OLED had its moment in the sun back around Black Friday last year when LG dropped its price to just $599. As you’ve seen, OLED TVs are never that cheap, so we were telling anyone and everyone who’d listen about how good of a deal it was.
Unfortunately, the days of the $600 OLED are over and the A2 OLED has shot back up to its regular price of $800. That’s still not bad for a 55-inch OLED TV, but for the money we think you’re better off spending a bit more for an LG C2 OLED that starts at just $899. Not only does it have the penultimate LG A9 Gen 5 processor, but it has a full array of HDMI 2.1 ports and a native 120Hz screen that’s better for sports and fast-moving action movies.
We love our budget TVs as much as anyone else, but the LG A2 OLED just can’t match the picture-performing prowess of the LG C2 OLED.
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Nick Pino heads up the TV and AV verticals at Tom's Guide and covers everything from OLED TVs to the latest wireless headphones. He was formerly the Senior Editor, TV and AV at TechRadar (Tom's Guide's sister site) and has previously written for GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade. Not sure which TV you should buy? Drop him an email or tweet him on Twitter and he can help you out.
if you choose LG, don't expect any meaningful customer service-- they simply don't care after your check clearsReply
I concur. I say don't buy Samsung or LG. Both are good at ignoring you after they sell you their TVs. I have one from both. They advertise all the brightness, colour crap which no one tell a difference in and completely bypass app and os support. Trust me YouTube stops working on TVs and sure enough other apps follow. Then you have to buy an external box like fire stick/shield anyway. I think I will be buying a "good enough" cheap tv and adding a media player I mentioned earlier and avoid these pricier fancy TVs.Reply
Amazingly none of the reviewers seem to ask the reps why consumers should buy their stuff when they ignore them anyway