Best Buy 4K Ultra HD HDR LED TVs over £1,600
These are the best 4K LED TVs we've seen this year
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The world of TV has changed beyond all recognition over the last few years, as we move to a new set of industry standards that embrace increased resolutions, wider colour gamuts and higher dynamic ranges.The advent of High Dynamic Range (HDR) has had a seismic affect on the television landscape, with TVs in 2016 now able to reach their full potential and no longer restricted by standards based upon obsolete technologies. So if you're looking to buy one of the latest high-end 4K LED TVs, then you can expect a combination of phenomenal picture quality and cutting-edge technology. All the models on this list are Ultra HD 4K of course but they also use 10-bit panels and support a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and HDR. Most of these TVs use a full array back light and some employ more discrete local dimming zones than have ever been used before. The majority are certified as Ultra HD Premium by the UHD Alliance and one is also THX certified. There are flat screens, a curved screen and 3D support, to cater for all needs, whilst they all have state-of-the-art Smart TV platforms. So let's take a look at five LED models that are, quite simply, the best 4K LED TVs that we have reviewed this year.Samsung UE55KS9000 – £1,699 – Highly Recommended
- 4K UHD (Ultra HD)
- Smart TV
- Content Streaming
- Buyers Guide
- High Dynamic Range (HDR)
The Samsung KS9000 is an attractively designed and well made TV that offers a host of cutting-edge features at a decent price. The 360 degree design works well, resulting in a TV that combines a minimalist approach with a degree of visual flair. The chrome stand not only gives the impression that the TV is floating in mid-air but also provides stable support without using a huge footprint. The One Connect box is a great idea, with plenty of connections including four HDMI 2.0a inputs and three USB 2.0 ports, along with twin tuners and built-in WiFi. The Smart Hub has had a makeover and is now even more intuitive to use, making finding your favourite content easy. The addition of auto device detection is handy, as is the universal Smart Controller, and the Smart View remote app is also very effective. The sound quality is surprisingly good, considering the dimensions of the chassis, and the energy consumption has also been improved from last year. If you're a gamer the KS9000 could be ideal because we measured the input lag at only 21ms in Game Mode and you can use it with HDR games, the TV is also Ultra HD Premium certified.
The picture quality was generally excellent, with an impressive level of greyscale and colour accuracy with standard dynamic range content. The upscaling and video processing were superb and the TV produced lovely, natural-looking images with both standard and high definition content. The KS9000 could produce detailed and accurate images that boasted excellent blacks thanks to a decent native performance and highly effective local dimming system. The motion handling was good for an LCD TV and, despite the use of a VA panel, the viewing angles were also an improvement on last year. The moth eye filter on the front of the panel also proved useful, reducing the instances of reflections when there was ambient light in the room. Despite the use of edge LEDs, the backlight was very uniform, although you did occasionally notice brighter edges with dark scenes on letterboxed films. When watching films in HDR the KS9000 showed its full potential with detailed and dynamic images that really enhanced our viewing experience. Overall the Samsung UE55KS9000 proved to be a great value TV and comes highly recommended.
Panasonic TX-65DX902 – £2,499 – Highly Recommended
Panasonic's DX902 was the first high-end TV to hit the UK market this year and it remains one of the best. Panasonic set out to make an LED LCD TV that could compete with their plasma models of the past and they largely succeeded with a panel that uses 512 local dimming zones and is both THX and Ultra HD Premium certified. Thanks to some recent price drops, it also offers incredible value when compared to the competition. So if you're in the market for a great all-round Ultra HD 4K TV that can not only deliver an excellent standard dynamic range picture but also a superb high dynamic range image then the DX902B should be at the top of your very short list. The DX902 is well made and has a great set of features that includes a well designed remote control, an intuitive menu and the simple but effective Firefox Smart TV platform. Thanks to the larger chassis size the sound quality is also excellent and overall the Panasonic has all the features that you'll ever need.
Perhaps more importantly, the DX902 delivers the best colour accuracy of any TV we have measured this year and the local dimming and video processing are also excellent. So whether you're watching standard, high or ultra high definition content, the DX902B will always deliver in terms of detail and image fidelity. It isn't perfect of course and due to the use of a VA panel the optimal viewing angle is fairly small, whilst there was occasional banding on horizontal pans. There was also some crosstalk in 3D content and serious gamers might prefer a lower input lag than 35ms but it should be low enough for most. The panel is fairly deep for a modern TV and the large stand might also be a bit too wide for some people but there is always the option of wall mounting. However these minor points aside, the Panasonic TX-65DX902B delivered a superb all-round performance and when you take into account all of the positives, the 65-inch screen size and the price, it's hard not to consider this TV an easy best buy.
Samsung UE65KS9500 – £3,299 – Highly Recommended
The Samsung KS9500 is their flagship TV for 2016 and as you'd expect it's an attractive TV, with a surprisingly slim form factor considering its full array LED backlight, and a well-designed stand that provides solid support and offsets a deliberately minimalist appearance. There's a moth eye filter and a One Connect box that minimises the number of cables that you need to run to the panel itself but has every connection you'll need, including four HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 inputs. The KS9500 is just as feature-packed on the inside and whilst it doesn't support 3D, it has just about everything else. So you get Samsung's new Smart Hub, an Auto Detection feature and the new Smart Controller. The KS9500 uses a 10-bit Ultra HD 4K curved panel and Precision Black Pro local dimming. The use of a VA panel delivers a fantastic black level for an LCD TV, even without engaging the local dimming and the optimal viewing angles were surprisingly wide. The backlight uniformity was also excellent thanks to the full array but there was a tiny bit of banding with certain content. The local dimming was highly effective and the motion handling was particularly good for an LCD.
The KS9500 delivered an excellent level of greyscale and colour accuracy both out-of-the-box and after calibration but we would like to see Samsung fine tune the gamma tracking slightly. However the TV combined all of its picture features and accuracy to deliver natural-looking and delightfully detailed images with both standard and high definition content. The KS9500 actually delivered the best tracking against the HDR PQ EOTF that we've measured, the colour gamut is also very wide and the TV tracks Rec.2020 correctly. As a result the HDR images that the Samsung produced from Ultra HD Blu-ray were spectacular and amongst the best we have seen. Thanks to the larger size of the chassis and the screen itself, the sound quality on the KS9500 is actually quite good, although we expect most owners will ultimately seek an outboard audio solution. Finally the KS9500 is very energy efficient and has an input lag of only 21ms, making it ideal for gaming. In fact the Samsung UE65KS9500 does everything a flagship TV should do and it does it all very well, making it an obvious candidate for anyone's short list this year.
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Sony KD-75XD9405 – £3,999 – Highly Recommended
If you're looking for a really large screen TV then the Sony XD94 should definitely be on your list and at current prices it might well be the only one on your list. The XD9405 isn't just very reasonably priced, it's rather pretty and despite the 75-inch screen and the full array LED backlight, it remains both stylish and surprisingly thin. The unimposing nature of this big screen TV is partly thanks to Sony's minimalist design but also thanks to the manufacturer dropping the big forward-firing speakers found on previous generations. However despite this, the XD94 still sounds good, although we would expect anyone buying a screen this large to have an outboard audio solution. Along with the new look, the XD94 also includes a comprehensive set of connections, including HDMI 2.0a inputs with support for HDCP 2.2, along with covers and grooves for tidier cable management. The XD94 comes with Sony's newly designed controller, although there's also a free remote app for iOS and Android, and the latest version of Android TV. The input lag is a reasonable 35ms and the energy consumption actually quite low considering the sheer size of the screen.
The out-of-the-box image accuracy was excellent before calibration and reference afterwards, with impressive black levels and a highly effective local dimming system. The video processing was also very good, as was the motion handling and the XD9405 delivered the goods with both standard and high definition content. Sadly the Sony wasn't as impressive when it came to 3D, with excessive crosstalk ruining an otherwise good image. The HDR performance was largely very good with a great dynamic range and a decent level of colour accuracy. However the peak brightness was limited to around 760nits, which would explain why the XD94 doesn't have Ultra HD Premium certification. Despite this, the XD94 could still deliver a great picture with HDR content and when combined with the fantastic-looking high definition material, the screen size and the price, the Sony does start to look like a real bargain. So if it's big screen entertainment that you're after, then the Sony KD-75XD9405 is just the ticket with a 75-inch screen size, superb performance and a price tag that won't break the bank.
Sony KD-65ZD9 – £3,999 – Highly Recommended
The Sony ZD9 was one of the last TVs released this year but it's also a contender for one of the best TVs of the year, with more local dimming zones and a higher peak brightness than any other model on the market. It has a minimalist but elegant design, with some nice stylish touches and a clever series of removable panels at the rear for tidier cable management. The build quality is excellent and the overall feeling is of a well engineered flagship model. The ZD9 comes with Sony's latest remote control and a pair of 3D glasses, whilst around the back there is a fairly comprehensive set of connections, although strangely only two of the four HDMI inputs are the full HDMI 2.0a variety. There's Android TV of course and although it's an improvement over last year it remains prone to the occasional crash and the whole platform still feels fragmented. The ZD9 is surprisingly energy efficient when you consider its size and brightness and although the 42ms input lag isn't bad, it might be a bit high for serious gamers.
The big selling point of the ZD9 is the Backlight Master Drive with its 646 zones and over 1,800 nits of peak brightness. The ZD9 performed superbly in our tests and the local dimming is excellent, allowing the ZD9 to deliver impressive images with both standard and high dynamic range content. The out-of-the-box performance was reasonably good and the calibrated measurements were near-reference, whilst the HDR measurements were generally excellent. Like most HDR TVs the ZD9 doesn't tone map content graded over 1,000 nits without clipping but in all other respects it was a superb performer. The only real weaknesses were the limited viewing angles, which is to be expected with a VA panel and some crosstalk with 3D. Sony have created a real quandary for TV enthusiasts this year, with the both the 75-inch XD94 and the 65-inch ZD9 available for the same price. However if you go for the Sony KD-65ZD9 you won't be disappointed thanks to its marvellous all-round performance.
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