Top 5 best gaming TVs for every budget in 2021 – ideal for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and a PC
Nowadays, TV is not only a device for passively watching content. The best 4K and 8K TVs are capable of so much more, but many of them aren’t great for gaming. Gaming capabilities are especially relevant 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 C1||[email protected]||65″||10.1 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 C1||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 important, 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 about them. Every category will feature my preferred device, with 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’ll 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 gaming TV overall is packed with features
Four HDMI 2.1 inputs
Lots of gaming settings
Very low input lag
Supports G-Sync and FreeSync
Modest improvements over LG CX
Not meant for bright rooms
Last year’s LG CX was a fantastic TV, but as it’s getting phased out, its place is taken by C1. While this is not a revolutionary product, there are plenty of improvements for gamers. This is another gorgeous-looking device, though physically, it’s almost the same as CX or even C9. The one thing you should know is that it needs a lot of space on the table, because of its wide stand.
LG C1 comes in five different sizes, including 48, 55, 65, 77, and 83-inches. The last option is a new one, but it’s also the rarest and not at all affordable. While the 65″ version is what I recommend, you can save money on the 55″ edition. Finally, 48″ might be too small for your living room, but it’s perfect for your PC. Whatever variant you choose, all of them have identical features and performance.Like its predecessor, LG C1 is unbeatable with four HDMI 2.1 inputs, which is more than you need even if you own both PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. The fact that the maximum bandwidth is 40 instead of the maximum 48Gbps is pretty much meaningless, as other manufacturers are doing the same. Other inputs include 3x USB 2.0, digital optical audio out, analog audio out, tuner, and ethernet.
Faster gaming performance
While the CX series was already impressive with a 13ms input lag in gaming mode, LG C1 takes it down to 10.1ms thanks to its new Boost mode. While some rival models are even faster, one or two milliseconds won’t mean anything to anyone. Thanks to HDMI 2.1, you can enjoy [email protected] fps gaming, although the list of compatible titles is very modest. This device has everything you need, including VRR, FreeSync, and G-Sync. Finally, you’ll find the predefined settings for various genres, including FPS or RPGs. We’ll see if more is coming via firmware update.
This all wouldn’t matter if the picture quality wasn’t up to the highest standards. While the improvements over CX are minimal, you still get an infinite contrast ratio with perfect blacks and realistic colors. Unfortunately, the brightness hasn’t improved, but you won’t be affected in a moderately dark room. In 2021, LG G1 is the OLED series with the highest brightness, but it’s too expensive for the improvements it brings. As per tradition, LG ignores HDR10+, but the more popular Dolby Vision is included. As for the upscaling, it’s better than ever with the fourth generation of Alpha 9 chipset. That’s important if you own any sub-Ultra HD consoles.
Even if you’re the only gamer in the family, you won’t have a hard time persuading others to purchase LG C1. Whether you are watching sports, TV shows, or movies, this device delivers, and it will stay relevant for a while.
The best LED gaming TV beats its successor
Lowest input lag on our list
Complete VRR support
Wide viewing angle
49/50-inch version lacks essential features
Slight screen blooming
Buying the latest generation of TVs is not always the smartest move. The improvements they bring are often minimal, or they may even be degraded. Plus, their introduction means that that previous generation has its price slashed, and that is what is happening with Samsung Q80T, which is superior to the new Q80A. When you are looking for a new TV, you may easily miss this one, as it’s not attractive. I mean, it’s not ugly, but so plain-looking. However, things seem 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 editions as they don’t have HDMI 2.1 ports. Moreover, they don’t support a 120Hz refresh rate, even at 1080p.
The Q80T has a single HDMI 2.1 input, with three additional HDMI 2.0, but if you have only one current-gen console, that’s not a downside. As for the other inputs, you have two USB 2.0, digital optical audio out, tuner and ethernet. The lack of component input is not a surprise, as it became increasingly rare.
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 titles. Generally, in single-player, I would stick to Game Motion Plus in almost every case and turn it off for intense multiplayer duels. HDMI enables 4K gaming at 120Hz, so you will be ready for the future. There’s also everything else you might need, including VRR, G-Sync, FreeSync, and Ultra Viewing Angle technologies. None of this is available on models smaller than 55 inches.
HDR is finally becoming a big thing in gaming, and this display won’t disappoint you as it’s very bright. 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. If you are not aware of it, Samsung doesn’t believe in Dolby Vision. 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 many games don’t support HDR, this is still essential. Finally, let’s not forget upscaling as it is among the best. Even SD content, like DVDs, is looking stunning, and like is the case with LG C1, 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 LG C1, 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. Grab this 2020 model while you still can, and don’t settle for the new and expensive Q80A, which has a much lower contrast ratio and negligible improvements.
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 (sometimes referred to as Q900TS) offers similar quality for a much lower price. While it is not as slim 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 install it, as this is not a lightweight TV.
This QLED model comes in three different sizes, ranging from 65 to 85 inches. Nonetheless, the 75-inch option is my choice, as it’s optimal for 8K screens. You probably shouldn’t even think about the 85-inch version, as it’s currently way more expensive.
The Q900T has a single HDMI 2.1, so make sure you save it for your PS5 or Xbox Series X. Luckily, you probably don’t need HDMI 2.1 for anything else, as 8K Blu-ray is nowhere in sight. It also has three HDMI 2.0 inputs and two USBs. The rest of the inputs are pretty standard and include analog audio out, digital optical audio out, tuner, and ethernet.
Bright 8K gaming
The HDMI 2.1 enables 4K/120Hz gaming, and you also get VRR and FreeSync, currently supported only on Xbox Series consoles. Input lag is now only 10.1 ms in gaming mode, 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.
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. 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 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 it.
Overall, Samsung Q900T is an 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. With it, you are ready for the future!
The best midrange TV for console gaming
Four HDMI 2.1 (Firmware update needed)
VRR support (Firmware update announced)
Lack of FreeSync and G-Sync
No wide-angle support
I never believed how you need a Sony TV set to fully enjoy gaming on Sony’s consoles. Yet, you may hear that X900H 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. I recommend the 65-inch version as it has the best price point and is the easiest to find.
This device has an impressive four HDMI 2.1 inputs, like the LG C1. Besides it, it also includes two USBs, digital optical audio out, analog audio out, tuner, IR in, and ethernet. Composite in is also supported, but you’ll need to purchase the adapter.
Firmware upgrade makes the difference
When it was announced, the 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, as Sony issued a firmware update that enables HDMI 2.1 on all HDMI inputs! The upgrade also includes an auto low latency mode that’s enabled automatically when gaming. Sony actually 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. However, VRR is still not enabled, and the same goes for FreeSync and G-Sync. That’s why this TV is not a great choice for PC gamers, but if you own any of the current consoles, this shouldn’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.
Like LG, Sony completely ignores HDR10+ and instead uses standard HDR10, combining 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 hear many complaints from other owners.
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 terrific 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 the VRR upgrade is already late. However, it 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 are plenty of reasons to get it just for that purpose. 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 your home. Of course, you can also easily wall mount it.
This TV is available in four different sizes, including 50, 55, 65, and 75-inch models. Of course, I chose the 55-inch version because it’s only slightly above $500. Keep in mind that 50 and 55-inch versions lack headphone and optical audio, but nothing more than that.
HDMI 2.1 is still not available in this class, but H8G at least has four HDMI 2.0 inputs. It also includes two USBs, analog and digital audio out, tuner, ethernet, and even composite in. The lack of component input might hurt you if you own older consoles like Wii or the original Xbox, but you can buy a component to HDMI adapter.
Top budget gaming
As H8G uses HDMI 2.0, this means it supports [email protected] Currently, this is not a severe downside, as it’s a standard mode for PS5 and Xbox Series X. You can quickly turn off extra processing for pure gaming performance, lowering the input lag to only 11.5 ms. Turning on dedicated gaming mode is essential, as without it, input measures sky-high 65ms. There’s also support for MotionRate 240, which makes the action smoother, although it’s not a substitute for 120Hz panels. I do encourage you to try it, as you might like it in slower-paced games.
Hisense has joined the majority of manufacturers as it integrates 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. 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. On the other hand, the upscaling algorithm is decent, making this TV an excellent choice for older consoles.
Combining amazing colors and low input lag, Hisense H8G is the best you can get for gaming in the $500 class. However, this is also a fantastic TV for the whole family, as the impressive contrast makes it suitable for movie nights. Finally, if you need a secondary TV for your home, this model is the right pick.
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, titles 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 pro 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 less relevant 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. Additionally, you can also apply automatic brightness limitation, and although this 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.
VA or IPS panel – which one is better?
The VA and IPS are two very popular types of LCD panels. In fact, it’s not uncommon that a single TV model uses different panels! For example, the Samsung Q80A employs IPS for 55″, 65″, and 75″ inch models, but VA for 50″ and 85″ versions. As you can imagine, this means that both technologies have their pros and cons.
IPS panels shine when it comes to viewing angles, so if you are often watching movies and playing games with friends and family, they are much better than VA. However, contrast is the exact opposite, so a VA panel is a better choice if you regularly watch a TV in the dark. Finally, VA usually has better black uniformity.
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 displays. One of them was me! So, is it a good idea to 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. Also, 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.
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 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 C1 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 it, 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. For example, 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 didn’t have HDMI 2.1 support or a 120Hz refresh rate 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 launch date?
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 away, 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 serving 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 the larger one.
Buying guide for the best gaming TV
What is the best gaming TV you can buy for your budget in 2021?
Purchasing 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 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 C1 65″ 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 most reasonable 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 the 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 a smaller size.
Going down the price segment, you can still find plenty of excellent gaming TV. Sony X900H has everything that you need, including VRR (yet to come via 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. I learned 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.
What Is the best gaming TV in 2021?
If your budget is not limited, then LG C1 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.