It’s hard to believe that just six months ago we were at CES 2023 seeing some of the most cutting-edge TVs of all-time, and now we have them in our own homes for testing.
From the QD-OLED TVs that showed us we can have both the best black levels and 1,000 nits of brightness to QLED TVs that are honestly making us consider buying sunglasses for our living room, there’s been no shortage of excellent TVs to keep our eyes enthralled.
Below you will find a top-tier list of screens that have wowed the editors here at Tom’s Guide over the last six months, all of which deserve your full consideration for a spot on your living room wall or home entertainment center. For more categories and champions, see the entire list of winners of the Tom’s Guide Awards 2023.
Best TV: Samsung S95C OLED TV
The Samsung S95C OLED TV is the best TV to hit our bench in the past year, and it’s among the best TVs we’ve tested, period. Samsung has proved that QD-OLED — the technology that combines quantum dots with OLED — can make an OLED TV brighter without compromising perfect levels of black in a picture. The One Connect box is a worthy solution for cable management, the 144Hz refresh rate for PC gaming and built-in SmartThings hub makes the S95C a great choice for a variety of needs. If buying a new TV is on your mind, you should put Samsung’s current-gen OLED on your shortlist.
Best OLED TV
Best OLED TV: Sony Bravia XR A95K OLED TV
Seeing the Samsung S95C in the top spot, it should be no surprise that the Sony Bravia XR A95K OLED TV snagged our number-two slot as the best OLED TV of the year. They both use Samsung’s QD-OLED panels and therefore both look amazing. What the Sony A95K brings to the table is the company’s world-class motion processing and color accuracy technology as well as the wonderfully simple Google TV smart platform that, in our opinion, easily trumps Samsung’s Tizen OS. The Samsung certainly has its own advantages, but if you’re looking for similar performance from a Sony-branded television, you can’t beat the A95K.
Best QLED TV
Best QLED TV: Samsung QN90C Neo QLED TV
Samsung is the QLED TV king once again with the Samsung QN90C Neo QLED TV, an impressive set powered by Mini LEDs. For those who don’t know, Mini-LED backlighting delivers high levels of brightness while maintaining realistic color and gradations of luminance. The QN90C has almost everything you’d expect from a premium 4K Mini LED TV — outstanding HDR brightness, a good selection of sizes, consistent upscaling, ample support for a variety of content, and more. Great off-angle viewing is another performance highlight, while the rechargeable remote and versatile interface are things we think customers will appreciate when they get the best QLED TV of the year.
Best value TV
Best value TV: Roku Plus Series 4K QLED TV
Not every TV needs to cost you several thousand dollars — there are still some truly great values to be had in the $500 range. Case in point: the Roku Plus Series 4K QLED TV. For around the cost of PlayStation 5, you’re getting a TV with superb brightness and color saturation and runs the simple-but-not-basic Roku TV smart platform. It’s missing some of the latest and greatest TV technology like HDMI 2.1 ports and only comes with a native 60Hz panel, but thanks to Dolby Vision support the Roku Plus delivers an experience that cinephiles are going to love. At this price point, the Roku Plus Series just can’t be beat.
Best TV design
Best TV design: Sony A80L OLED TV
It might not have the QD-OLED panel that the Sony A95K has, but the Sony A80L delivers the high picture quality you’d expect from an OLED and the surprisingly good sound you might not. That’s more impressive when you see that the A80L is little more than a single, thin quarter-inch panel attached to a thicker control box in the back. That sound quality we mentioned? You can expect pristine clarity, right up to the highest volume levels. Clarion, distortion-free trebles, even with high pitches sung loudly. Powerful, chest-rattling bass suggesting an invisible subwoofer stationed beneath your entertainment center. Dialogue, music, and complex sound effects all intertwine with just the right amounts of balance. We almost always recommend buying a soundbar with your new 4K TV. But the Sony A80L finally showed us that, you know what, you really don’t need one here.
Best TV innovation
Best TV innovation: LG G3 OLED TV
Just when it seemed like premium TV can’t get better, LG proved us wrong. The LG G3 OLED TV innovated the TV market this year with new micro lenses outfitted with the OLED panel. These lenses dramatically increase not just luminance, but picture uniformity. When we observed a blank white screen on the LG G3 off-angle, neither overall brightness nor color volume suffered. On last year’s LG G2, the same picture lost luminance off-angle, and some areas of white turned a very subtle gray. We probably wouldn’t have had a problem with the G2’s off-angle viewing had we not seen the improvements side-by-side with the G3, but it’s pretty incredible.
Best 8K TV
Best 8K TV: Samsung QN900C Neo QLED 8K TV
The Samsung QN900C Neo QLED 8K TV is so loaded with features that it stands out as the best 8K TV of the year. While other manufacturers have lessened efforts around 8K TV production, Samsung held strong, delivering its most advanced 8K television yet with the QN900C. High peak brightness? This TV knows how to shine. The ultimate gaming screen? The TV has HDMI 2.1 support and other gamer-centric features, too. Excellent upscaling, black levels, colors and in-built sound? Tick, tick, tick and tick. If you're unwilling to settle for anything but one of the most premium TVs out now, the QN900C is your winner.
Best gaming TV
Best gaming TV: TCL 6-Series (R655)
Every year the TCL 6-Series wins an award, and this year isn’t any different. We can’t help but love the affordably-priced flagship TV from TCL that takes some of the best features from high-end models and puts them into a screen that most folks can afford. For gamers, this year’s 6-Series is especially great as it was one of the first TVs to support 144Hz with VRR on two of the HDMI 2.1 ports. Tack on support for AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and a latency of 10.1ms and you have all the makings of one of the best gaming TVs. If maximizing your TV-buying dollar is your goal, $999 is a small price to pay for a TV that’s as feature-rich as the TCL R655.
Best big-screen TV
Best big-screen TV: Hisense L9H Laser TV
Despite all the best TVs impressing in terms of picture performance, sound quality and content features, there’s a huge limitation to regular OLED or QLED TVs: screen size. If you’re looking for a screen that’s 100-inches or larger that doesn’t cost $25,000 (or more), something like the Hisense L9H 4K Laser TV might be what you’re looking for. This short-throw projector gets placed close to the wall, altering the geometry of the projected image so that despite the positioning the picture appears as a normal rectangle on the wall or projection screen. The images can reach 100 inches or 120 inches depending on the unit, making it possible to bring a big-screen experience into any room that has ample wall space.
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