Manufacturers really start to play their A game with their TVs that are 49 inches and above. We rarely see high-end 43-inch TVs, but there’s no shortage of 49-inch models.
Presumably then, the following list is stacked with expensive TVs? Well no, not exactly. Not only are previously pricey TVs now at their cheapest (we can thank the coming onslaught of 2020 sets for that), but our testing found that a high price didn’t guarantee you a top TV in 2019.
Here are three 49-inch TVs of the 50 we tested from across the price spectrum for you to consider.
We had something to say on every 4K TV released by Hisense, LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony. You can read all our reviews here.
The pricey one: Samsung QE49Q70R – (£799)
Quantum dots – what a name. Samsung certainly knows how to make the tech in its TVs sound exciting. There’s something decidedly sci-fi about it, and since quantum dots are known to produce stunningly vibrant colours, Samsung’s QLED TVs should be perfect for watching neon-soaked future epics, such as Blade Runner and Guardians of the Galaxy.
The promise of richer colours doesn’t always play out, but it did here. Picture quality is where the Q70R really excelled. Each tiny pixel in the 49-inch display is pushed to its limit to produce sharp, colourful images.
We’ve yet to give a TV 100%. In fact we haven’t seen many get more than 80% in the past decade, and this TV wasn’t without its issues.
Head to our full Samsung QE49Q70R review to see if its faults mean it’s not as good as rival sets.
The cheap one: Samsung UE49RU7300 – (£379)
This could well be the last curved TV we ever see, so, please, a minute’s silence for the UE49RU7300…
We’re going to assume you’ve done it and move on.
It’s another Samsung, but where the Q70R is almost top of the range, the 7300 is right down the other end. But it’s still in the running to be one of the best 49-inch models of 2019.
Why? The sound of the 7300 impressed our experts. Bass, treble and mid-range are woven into a beautiful blanket that envelops your ears with a richness that some TVs three times the price couldn’t manage.
Barnstorming audio aside, this is still a basic TV with a basic remote, no PVR and feature list half as long as the Q70R above. So is the strength of that sound alone enough to make it one of the best 49-inch TVs from last year?
The one in the middle: LG 49SM8500PLA – (£599)
As is so often the case, it’s LG and Samsung battling it out at the top. The 8500 is a high-end LCD model that, like the Q70R, gets the picture quality right. When we originally reviewed it we loved the contrast and immaculate colour transitions. It’s unusual for a backlit TV to excel with contrast, since it’s harder for the screen to wholly obscure the light from the bulbs, but blacks were indeed voids – like peering down a well.
£599 isn’t very expensive for a TV, but there are still plenty of cheaper models at this size, including several from LG. And there are other important things to consider, including the sound and whether it’s easy to use. Does the 8500 do enough to justify its higher price?
Read our LG 49SM8500PLA review to find out.