Top 5 best gaming TVs for every budget in 2021 – ideal for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and a PC
Nowadays, TV is much more than a device for passively watching the content. The best 4K and 8K TVs are capable of so much more, but many of them are not great for gaming. That is especially important since the introductions of the ninth generation of consoles, including PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. There are plenty of reasons to purchase these powerful platforms that natively support 4K gaming, with 8K becoming a reality eventually. The same goes for PCs, as even midrange configurations can handle some 4K titles just fine.
|LG OLED65CX||[email protected]||65″||13.6 ms||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Samsung Q80T||[email protected]||65″||10.1 ms||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Samsung Q900T||[email protected]/[email protected]||75″||10.1 ms||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Sony X900H||[email protected]||65″||15.4 ms||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Hisense H8G||[email protected]||55″||11.5 ms||SEE ON AMAZON|
|LG OLED65CX||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Samsung Q80T||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Samsung Q900T||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Sony X900H||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Hisense H8G||SEE ON AMAZON|
What are the essential things for the best gaming TV in 2021?
If you are a gamer, it is critical to choose a display that will make the most of the current generation of consoles and PCs. Of course, while the resolution and picture quality are essentials, you also have to pay attention to additional factors. I will mainly focus on 4K displays, as they are affordable and perfectly suited for all gamers in 2021. However, I won’t neglect 8K screens if you care about future-proofing or are just curious. Every category will feature my preferred device, and all of them are currently available. However, I’ll update this guide frequently to reflect the market changes and enlist new models. Also, don’t miss the FAQ section as there you will find answers that will help you make an informed decision. If you are looking for a great gaming laptop to connect it to your TV, check my list of the best gaming laptops.
The best overall gaming TV
You can often hear that LG is making the best OLED TVs, so I wanted to test that by checking out one of their current top models. While 8K screens are the future, 4K OLED is the best choice you can make in the next couple of years, especially if you are a gamer. As I have mentioned, though both PS5 and Xbox Series X (but not S) in theory support 8K games, I highly doubt we’ll see them soon, if ever. While I tested the 65-inch model, LG CX is also available in 48, 55, and 77-inch sizes.
There is no difference among them when it comes to features, so choose what best fits your room. However, know that 55-inch and 65-inch models usually have the best price point. If you never had an OLED TV, then LG OLED65CX will impress you as it’s incredibly thin. Luckily, things are even better after you set it up, as the build quality is supreme.
The ultimate choice for OLED gaming
When it comes to input lag, it reaches an excellent 13ms in gaming mode without sacrificing the picture quality (at least I didn’t catch any). Of course, the screen supports 4K gaming at 120 fps, although compatible titles are currently rare on PS5 and Xbox Series X. Still, I don’t mind having this option, and if you are lucky to have a monster PC, you can try it now! Finally, LG is doing a great job with VRR support. Both FreeSync and G-Sync are present, so you can enjoy a smooth experience in every game that supports it.
So far, so good, but there are still some reminders that there is no such thing as a perfect TV. Nonetheless, OLED is an excellent choice for SDR content, as dark tones and contrast, in general, is far better than on LCDs. However, HDR is a bit less impressive. Don’t get me wrong, I love how everything looks, and there are even slight improvements compared to the last generation. Yet, be aware that there’s no support for HDR10+, which is usually found on Samsung models. Nonetheless, you get Dolby Vision, which is essentially doing the same and currently has more comprehensive support on streaming services.
LG uses the third generation of Alpha 9 chipset to perform upscaling. The more detail on the screen, the better it will look! Naturally, that is great news if you have some classic consoles limited to 1080p at best. This TV has four HDMI 2.1 ports, and while you probably don’t need more than two, they may come in handy in a couple of years.
Despite lacking HDR10+, LG CX is the best choice you can make if you are a gamer. Low input lag, excellent picture quality, wide angles, and VRR support are its best qualities. As there are more than a couple of HDMI 2.1 ports, you can even plugin PS5 and Xbox Series X simultaneously.
Finally, this is an excellent TV overall. If other members of your family aren’t enthusiastic about gaming, they will still enjoy it during movie nights. Better models will come, but I can’t see this becoming obsolete until the 8K era takes over. This TV is also in the top position in our list of the best all-around TVs in 2021 and in the list of the best budget TVs in 2021.
The best QLED gaming TV
Lowest input lag on our list
Complete VRR support
Wide viewing angle
49/50-inch version lacks essential features
Slight screen blooming
When it comes to TVs, the latest usually is the greatest, but the question is, do you need it? As it often happens, the new generation brings only slight improvements, and you may not even need some of them. Plus, their introduction means that that previous generation has its price slashed, and that is what is happening with Samsung Q80T. When you are looking for a new TV, you may easily miss this one, as it doesn’t look attractive. I mean, it’s not ugly, but it is just, very plain. However, things are looking much better once you turn it on.
While 65-inch is my choice because of the price point, 49-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, 75-inch, and 85-inch models are also available. However, I highly recommend skipping 49-inch and 50-inch models as they don’t have HDMI 2.1 ports. Moreover, they don’t support 120Hz, even at 1080p.
Extra low input lag for multiplayer battles
Samsung Q80T has a stunningly low 10.1 ms input lag in gaming mode, and I can’t see anyone playing on consoles complaining about it. However, for better picture quality, leave Game Motion Plus on. In that case, image lag will grow to 19.7, which is still great for slower-paced games. Generally, in single-player, I would stick to Game Motion Plus in almost every case and turn it off in intense multiplayer duels.
As I mentioned, forget about 49-inch and 50-inch models if you own PS5 or Xbox Series X or plan to buy them. Larger models support HDMI 2.1, although on a single port. In practice, this enables 4K gaming at 120Hz, so you will be ready for the future. Further reasons to skip the smallest models are that they don’t support variable refresh rate, G-Sync FreeSync, or Ultra Viewing Angle technologies.
HDR is finally becoming a big thing in gaming, and this display won’t disappoint you. Colors are excellent, and blacks are deep for a QLED, even though there is some screen blooming. Yet, you will not see it unless the game is in letterbox format. Well, I have never been a fan of those anyway! If you are not aware of it, Samsung is not a Dolby Vision believer. Instead, you get HDR10+, which is basically an alternative that is still gaining traction. SDR content looks excellent, and I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. As most games don’t support HDR, that is still essential.
Finally, let’s not forget upscaling as it is among the best. Even SD content, like DVD, is looking stunning, and like is the case with LG CX, this is valuable if you still own consoles and games that don’t support resolutions beyond 1080p.
While it’s an excellent all-around solution, Samsung Q80T excels at gaming, as long as you pick a 55-inch model or bigger. There are some compromises, including a single HDMI 2.1 port and the usual lack of Dolby Vision support, but that shouldn’t be a problem, especially at this price point. While the colors are better on OLED65CX, this model offers lower latency and a brighter screen. If you are gaming in a room with plenty of daylight, it’s an even better choice than the OLED screen.
Best buy 8K gaming TV
While the LG ZX series is indeed impressive, it is not affordable, to say it politely. However, the Samsung Q900T series offers similar quality for a much lower price. What’s even better, this QLED model comes in three different sizes, from 65 to 85 inches. Nonetheless, the 75-inch option is my choice, as it’s optimal for 8K screens.
While it is not as thin as some other QLEDs, I would still call it elegant, thanks to its minimalistic style and small bezel. Nevertheless, you’ll need someone to help you with this, as this is not a lightweight TV.
Bright 8K gaming
Since this is not Samsung’s top model (that honor goes to Q950TS), it’s not a surprise that this TV has four HDMI ports, but only one of them is 2.1 compatible. Of course, it needs to be reserved for your PS5, Xbox Series X, or even PC, if you have the high-end graphics card. Luckily, you probably don’t need HDMI 2.1 for anything else, as 8K Blu-ray is nowhere in sight.
HDR 10+ makes HDR-compatible games look glorious, although SDR content is also impressive thanks to 3,000 nit-brightness. Samsung still ignores Dolby Vision, but you are not missing much as the screen is so bright. Luckily, Q900T has the strong support of gaming features, including low latency mode (activates automatically) and VRR. Unfortunately, it’s limited to FreeSync, which is available on Xbox Series consoles and will be on PS5, too.
Input lag is now only 10.1 ms, which is not far off the best gaming monitors. However, if you play some slower-paced game like an RPG, enable Game Motion Plus for motion smoothing. You will love the better picture quality, and the increase of input lag to 27.4 ms is still tolerable.
Of course, this display uses the highest possible 8K resolution and has excellent AI upscaling, which is essential for gamers. Still, while this solution is better than the standard upscaling, it’s far from perfect. This means that you may experience grain around background objects in action, sports, or driving games. However, in practice, you’ll have a hard time spotting them.
Overall, Samsung Q900T is a relatively affordable entry into 8K gaming, with everything you need to enjoy long gaming sessions. The bright screen makes it a much better choice than OLED for gaming during the daylight while providing excellent performance in the dark.
The best midrange gaming TV
Four HDMI 2.1 (after firmware update)
VRR support (after firmware update)
Terrific HDR Performance
Lack of FreeSync and G-Sync
No wide-angle support
I never believed in theories that you need a Sony TV set to fully enjoy gaming on Sony’s consoles. Yet, you may hear that X900H (XH90 in Europe) is an excellent choice for PS5, at least for the price. However, this model is much closer to premium than low-end models, as it features almost everything that gamers will need.
Plus, it doesn’t look cheap with its thin bezels and classy V-shape feet, if you don’t want to wall-mount it. Of course, as this is a LED TV, it’s not the skinniest on the market, but two inches of depth is still decent. What’s always a plus is when a model comes in many different sizes, and X900H doesn’t disappoint. While only a 55-inch unit sells below $1000, you can go for 65, 75, or 85-inch versions.
Upgrade makes all the difference
When it was announced, X900H didn’t look impressive at all. Those who bought it could expect only HDMI 2.0 ports, meaning no 4K 120Hz gaming or VRR support. However, that is changing right now, as Sony issued a firmware update that enables HDMI 2.1 on all HDMI inputs! Besides what is mentioned, the upgrade also includes auto low latency mode that is enabled automatically when gaming. Well, Sony made a huge mess with this TV! First, their official website claimed that the VRR update plans are scrapped, but later, they changed the tune, saying it was an error.
Like LG, Sony is completely ignoring HDR10+ and instead uses standard HDR10, but combines it with Dolby Vision. Despite this, HDR performance is beyond what’s expected for this price level, and no matter the situation, the uniformity of backlighting is excellent. Maybe I was a bit lucky with this particular unit, but I don’t see many complaints from other owners.
As I’ve mentioned, X900H supports HDMI 2.1 after the firmware update, which also enables VRR. However, there are limitations, as FreeSync and G-Sync are still not supported. That’s why this TV is not a great choice for PC gamers, but if you own any of the current consoles, this doesn’t matter. As for the input lag, after the upgrade, it goes down to 15ms in 60Hz and only 7ms in games that support 120Hz. Nonetheless, if you are having a couch co-op session, be aware that viewing angles are limited.
Sony is continually improving HD/SDR upscaling, and it looks great, especially with 1080p movies. There are some struggles with black depth, but that is usual with LED screens. The same goes for gaming, so don’t be afraid to hook up your pre-4K console for some retro sessions.
X900H is a great choice for console gaming, and it will serve other purposes, but only after a firmware update. Be aware that you might have to be patient, as some regions will get it as late spring 2021. However, the upgrade will happen, and you will have a screen that will serve you well until we enter the 8K era.
The best budget gaming TV option
While Hisense doesn’t promote this model as meant for gamers, there’s plenty of reasons to get it just for that purpose. This TV is available in four different sizes, starting with the 50-inch model to 75 inches. Of course, I chose the 55-inch version because it is only slightly above $500.
Keep in mind that 50 and 55-inch versions lack headphone and optical audio, but nothing else. H8G impresses with its thin bezels, and you can easily set it up alone. A nice touch is that the TV has two standing positions, so choose what best fits you.
Top budget gaming
As H8G is your standard 4K 60Hz display, there is no support for HDMI 2.1. However, you’ll get four HDMI 2.0 ports as they enable wonderful [email protected] fps gaming, the standard for PS5 and the Xbox Series X. There is also support for MotionRate 240, which makes the action smoother, although it’s not a substitute for real 120Hz panels.
You can quickly turn off extra processing for pure gaming performance, making the input lag only 11.5 ms. That’s slower than its main rival, Samsung TU-8000, but not by much. Turning on dedicated gaming mode is essential, as without it, input measures sky-high 65ms. As expected, the viewing angles are not great, so if you’re playing a co-op adventure like Diablo III, not everyone will see the colors as they should.
Hisense has joined the majority of manufacturers, as it supports Dolby Vision HDR. In combination with Hisense’s Quantum Dot Wide Color Gamut Technology, this helps produce much better colors than on previous models from the same class. Coupled with a decent brightness of 700 nits, we get a picture quality better than Samsung TU-8000.
Combining amazing colors and low input lag, Hisense H8G is the best you can get in the $500 class. For this price, you can’t ask for much more. Plus, as the upscaling algorithm is decent, it is an excellent choice for older consoles too. Check my list of the budget gaming laptops to connect it to your new TV.
The best gaming TV – frequently asked questions
What is the acceptable input lag for gaming?
Input lag expresses how long it takes for a display to react to an electrical signal you have sent via a device such as a gamepad or a keyboard. In general, TVs have a higher input lag than monitors, but anything below 30 ms is considered very good. However, even bigger values are not a problem if you are playing slower-paced games. Also, games that support 120Hz mode are much more responsive and can lower input lag by 50 percent. Nonetheless, you won’t feel much difference between 10 ms and 20 ms input lag unless you are a very competitive gamer.
Do I need a gaming TV with HDMI 2.1?
As I’ve mentioned, there are currently almost no [email protected] games for PS5 or Xbox Series X. A few of them, like Dirt 5, Devil May Cry V: Special Edition, or Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, do support 120Hz gaming, but only at 1080p. The drop in resolution is usually not enough to achieve such a high frame rate, so the graphic detail also suffers. Currently, the only PS5/Xbox Series X game that supports natural [email protected] is Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. However, this is a 2D game that would fly even on PlayStation 3. So, as we assume that the trend will continue, does that mean that HDMI 2.1 is pretty pointless? Well, not really. First, HDMI 2.1 brings VRR, enabling a smooth frame rate, and secondly, you’ll still feel benefits on 120Hz TV if the game is somewhere between 61-120 fps.
Does it matter if HDMI 2.1 ports have a transfer rate of 40 Gbps instead of 48 Gbps?
HDMI 2.1 is not a universal standard, meaning there is some difference in the data transfer rate. So, are you missing anything if you see that your brand new TV has only a 40 Gbps transfer rate on its HDMI 2.1 ports, instead of the full 48 Gbps? In theory, yes, but not in reality. That additional 8 Gbps is needed to display [email protected] content with HDR, VRR, and 12-bit color depth. Every TV on our list supports 10-bit color, so they won’t ever need a 48 Gbps transfer rate.
OLED or QLED TV – what is better for gaming?
I know you don’t like this answer, but both technologies have pros and cons. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s a matter of personal preference, but your needs. OLED screens are considered the top of current technology, as they offer the best contrast and unrivaled black levels. However, that becomes irrelevant if the TV is in a well-lit surrounding. In that case, QLED is superior as it has a much brighter screen. In that regard, OLED is similar to plasma TVs.
Is burn-in still a problem on OLED screens?
One other thing that OLED shares with plasma technology is the possibility of a permanent burn-in effect if the screen or parts of it remains static for a long time. However, if you are buying an OLED in 2021, you don’t have to worry about that, thanks to various protections that include Logo Dimming, Pixel Refresher, or Pixel Shift. You can also apply automatic brightness limitation, and although that will slightly impact HDR, rest assured that your TV will be burn-in free. So yeah, you can take hours to make your next move in the game of virtual chess or in your favorite turn-based strategy.
When will be the right moment to purchase 8K TV?
I know people who ignored those 720p TVs when they appeared more than a decade ago and waited for full HD display. One of them was me! So, is it a good idea to just skip 4K and wait for 8K prices to come down? Well, maybe not. First, in the best-case scenario, 8K will become mainstream in about 3-4 years, and even then, 8K content will be minimal. But what about PS5 and Xbox Series X? While in theory, both systems support 8K, playing new Gran Turismo, Gears of War, or God of War at such resolution seems impossible, even at 30 frames per second. Even the most potent PC setups are currently struggling with 8K, which won’t change anytime soon.
Finally, to see 8K resolution benefits, you will need a giant screen, like 75-inches or even bigger! So if you don’t have a large living room, it’s doubtful you will ever benefit from it.
If you are looking for a budget option check out list of the best budget 4K gaming Tvs.
Buying guide for the best gaming TV
What is the best gaming TV you can buy for your budget in 2021?
Buying a new gaming TV is not an easy task because there’s no universal solution. What you should do is choose something that best suits your needs, your budget, and the space where you want to have your new TV installed. While that’s not crucial, we all want a slim device that has an excellent build quality and is aesthetically pleasing.
The LG OLED65CX is my top choice as it has brilliant picture quality and everything that gamer needs, including low input lag, excellent HDR, VRR, and HDMI 2.1 inputs. As 8K won’t be a standard for a long time, rest assured that you won’t need to replace it anytime soon.
However, as I said, even the best gaming TV isn’t the best option for all of us. If you plan a TV for your living room that receives lots of daylight, OLED might not look that great, as it’s not a champion when it comes to screen brightness. In that case, you have Samsung Q80T as a worthy alternative that is also considerably cheaper.
If you want an 8K experience, going with Samsung Q900T is the best you can do. While there is only a single HDMI 2.1 port, it is way cheaper than the LG ZX series and available in smaller size.
Going down the price segment, you can still find plenty of excellent gaming TV. These devices are now competent for gaming, and Sony X900H has everything that you need, including VRR (after update), 120Hz, and of course, HDMI 2.1. This makes it perfect for gaming on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, even though viewing angles are limited.
If you need a secondary TV for gaming or your budget is very tight, then $500 options are the best choice for you. What I learned is that gaming TVs in this class can still have incredibly low input lag, as they have dedicated gaming modes. Hisense H8G has everything mentioned, and its price is only slightly above $500. Yet, one thing to consider is that none of the sub-$500 TVs have VRR, HDMI 2.1, or support 120Hz. However, I still don’t think that it marks them unusable on the current generation of systems.
When is the best moment to buy a new gaming TV?
I’m sure that someone will always tell you to wait a bit more to buy a new TV set, but the truth is, the choice is already excellent. For less than $500, you can already buy a great 4K TV that will recognize your shiny new console and even automatically apply low latency mode once it’s turned on. For twice that much, you’ll gain HDMI 2.1, 120Hz mode, VRR, and overall better picture quality, and I guarantee that you’ll be pleased for years to come. Finally, the top class is still a viable choice, so you will get the absolute best if you can invest in the LG CX series. If you don’t own a gaming PC, PS5, or Xbox Series X/S or don’t plan to get it this year, then you don’t need a gaming TV. But as you came here to read about gaming TVs, that probably isn’t the case!
What are the main traps to avoid when buying a gaming TV?
Manufacturers still use different tricks to fool unaware customers, and I pointed out some examples in this article. Like, I said that Samsung Q80T is a great choice, but also that you should skip 49/50-inch versions as they don’t have HDMI 2.1 or 120Hz panels. The general rule is that you are safe from these unpleasant surprises if you buy a 55-inch or bigger TV, although you should always double-check.
The other thing that will happen more often is that you bought a fantastic TV on paper, but it seriously lacks in reality. For example, Sony X900H doesn’t even have HDMI 2.1 support or even 120Hz before the update. The problem is that the updates may roll out very slowly, so you need to wait up to six months to get them. Well, is that Sony suggesting to us that we currently don’t need HDMI 2.1, as there is such a huge shortage of PS5 consoles since the day it was released?
What is the best size for a gaming TV?
Yes, larger is better, especially for console gamers. Still, be reasonable as a 75-inch screen won’t look good in a small room. The best size for your new TV is the one you can afford and the one that is not too big for your home. With 4K screens, the size is so important because it allows you to see more details. If you buy a 55-inch 4K set only to watch it from 12 feet distance, it will be like you are using a 1080p screen. Most people are fine with a 65-inch TV, but again, find the one that’s right for you, but don’t go below 55-inch models.
Of course, PC gamers, you are an exception! If you want a gaming TV for your monitor, even a 40-inch screen looks gigantic! Plus, as it is probably around two feet in front of you, you will still catch all the details!
Finally, should you choose a massive TV or a smaller one that has better picture quality? Again, there is no universal rule. If 55-inch OLED is big enough for your home, but you can still fit that larger 65-inch LED, I would personally go with OLED. However, if the size is your priority, go for it!
What Is the best gaming TV in 2021?
If your budget is not limited, then LG OLED65CX is the best you can get. The beautiful OLED screen and excellent gaming performance make it worth every penny. Yet, Samsung Q80T is a healthy alternative and is considerably more affordable. If your budget is more limited, then Sony X900H is a great choice.
In the lowest class, Samsung TU-8000 and Hisense H8G are really close, so pick the currently cheaper one and check if you can afford 65-inch versions.