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Updated: 17 Mar 2022

The four new TVs we can't wait to test in 2022

The smallest ever OLED TV from LG, a Frankenstein screen from Sony and more

Hundreds of new TVs are fast approaching and among the mass of black plastic and polished glass there will be Best Buys. We don't know which ones will ace our tests or which of the big brands will make them, but we do know the ones trying something new.

We've singled out four TVs - from Hisense, LG, Samsung and Sony - that are doing something a bit different.

These four aren't the only ones with new features, but we do think they have the best chance of making a difference to quality. Tried and tested tech at a new screen size and new screen technologies are more likely to have an impact than the NFT (digital assets used as investments linked to cryptocurrency) catalogue built into Samsung's latest high-end sets.

There are still bargains to be had among the 2021 sets still available. Take a look at our top five TVs to see our favourites.

1. The 42-inch C2: LG's smallest OLED TV

LG 42-inch C2 OLED 4K TV

LG's OLEDs are shrinking. Three years ago a 55-inch set was the smallest available, then we got a 48-inch model and in 2022 we'll finally have a 42-inch one to test. Take a look at our OLED TV reviews to see if the screen size makes much difference to quality.

The 40 to 43-inch size bracket is one of the most popular in the UK and 4K TVs don't get any smaller, so the 42-inch option is likely to be the end of the miraculous OLED shrinking routine, and it has the potential to be the most popular size.

Far more people look at our reviews of 43-inch TVs than 55 inches or bigger. UK homes tend to be smaller than some of the other big TV markets (mainly the US) and many don't have the space for anything larger (read our guide to find out what size of TV is right for you). That hasn't stopped OLEDs from being desirable of course and now a huge portion of buyers have access to an OLED in a size that suits them.

An OLED screen isn't a guarantee of quality and not every one we test gets a Best Buy rosette, but the C2 isn't some cut-price OLED that's not comparable to its big-screen cousins. It has the same list of features as the 48, 55 and 65-inch C2 OLEDs, so it has a great chance of doing well in our tests.

Want to find out more about OLED screens? Our OLED guide explains all.

Smaller screen, smaller price?

Sadly, a smaller screen size doesn't always translate into a lower price. When the 48-inch OLED debuted in 2020, prices were similar to the 55-inch model. And, while the TVs around it followed the typical start expensive and get cheaper over the next 12 months cycle, the 48-inch one didn't. There were several points where the 55-inch model was cheaper than the 48-inch one.

There's a chance that the 42-inch C2 could follow a similar pattern. There are several reasons for this, but generally it's to do with manufacturing costs. Factories are set up to make bigger OLED TVs and work with bigger OLED panels. The processes are optimised for these bigger screens and adding a new size costs money, which will affect the cost of the TV.

We don't know what it will cost yet and we hope we're wrong, but there's a chance that the 42-inch C2 OLED will hold its price while the 48, 55 and 65-inch versions start to fall.

LG's not alone

Sony is the only brand that keeps pace with LG when it comes to OLEDs and it will release its first 42-inch OLED in 2022 as well. It's always good to have options and we have similarly high hopes for Sony's foray into small OLED TVs.

We don't know what the Sony Master Series A90K TV will cost, but, as with the C2, we think it will cost plenty more than your average 40 to 43-inch TV, which tend to be the most basic available.

We look for TVs on offer every month, so you can get a good set without paying more than you need to. Take a look at our top TV deals.

2. The 43-inch Neo QLED: Samsung's most high-end small TV

Samsung 43-inch NEO QLED 4K TV

Sticking with feature-packed small TVs, we have the first 43-inch Neo QLED from Samsung coming in 2022. Samsung has worked fast, since Neo QLEDs only debuted in 2021. You can see how the smallest Neo QLED did in our 50-inch Samsung QE50QN90A review.

Neo QLED is an evolution of standard QLEDs and the difference is more to do with backlight than screen. It's still a quantum dot display, which are colour-boosting specs working alongside liquid crystals (from LCD TVs) to create the picture, but the LEDs in the backlight are far smaller than what you'd find on a traditional QLED. This means Neo QLEDs have better control over how the screen is lit, which helps everything from contrast to colour accuracy.

We were excited when Samsung announced a 43-inch QLED, but by the time it did, QLEDs were no longer exclusively high-end and these new small models were mid-range at best. The Neo QLED on the other end is at the top of Samsung's 2022 lineup.

A record year for small TV Best Buys?

Small TVs have struggled in recent years. High-end models didn't exist and mid-range models were few and far between. If you wanted a small TV you were limited to each brand's cheapest ranges.

That's all changing.

We can't guarantee that any of the TVs we've outlined will be Best Buys, but they have a better chance than any small TV we've tested in the last five years. It's an exciting prospect.

3. The first ever QD-OLED TV from Sony (or anyone else)

Sony A95K Master Series 4K QD-OLED TV

Sony's A95K Master Series TV is a collaboration of Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith proportions. It aims to take the best of OLED and quantum dot TVs and wrap them into something unstoppable, unbeatable and unparalleled.

There's huge potential in this TV and we can't wait to get our mitts on it, wipe our fingerprints off - read our guide to find out how to clean your TV - then watch it.

But why combine these two technologies at all? Well, OLEDs may have made quite the name for themselves, but there are drawbacks to not having a backlight. Having a layer of bulbs shining on the colour producing layer means backlit TVs are brighter than OLEDs. And the colours themselves can cause problems. Quantum dots are designed to produce more vibrant hues and some manufacturers, in an effort to compete, have added more colour producing layers to their OLED TVs. Every extra layer of cells you add diminishes that brightness even further though, so there's a limit to how far manufacturers can take this approach.

Enter the QD-OLED, all the contrast perfection of OLED screens, with the colour boosters stripped away to help brightness, and the addition of quantum dots to keep the screen looking vibrant.

It could be a match made in TV heaven, or it could be a flash in the pan the doesn't really make any perceivable difference. Either way, we'll find out soon enough.

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4. Hisense U8HQ MiniLED: the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink TV

Hisense is far from the bit part it once was. Its TVs look the part and have the features people want, but they often fall short in our tests.

Each year we see glimmers of quality and some models get close to challenging the best models from LG and Samsung, but the U8HQ might just be the TV that succeeds.

On paper, it's got everything... everything. Speakers packed into every gap in the case, pointing in all directions to give you width and, dare we say, surround sound effects. The 120Hz panel and FreeSync is perfect for anyone wanting to make the most of a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. It covers all the HDR bases with HDR10+ and Dolby Vision IQ, which adjust contrast based on the ambient light in your room.

Then there's the headline feature, those mini LEDs. It's similar to Samsung's successful Neo QLED range and it's a simple premise: make the LEDs smaller, put more of them in the backlight and you have more control over contrast. Beyond contrast, having all these dimming zones means you should see less bloom, which is where brighter parts of the picture bleed into darker ones.

We were worried there would only be a 75-inch U8HQ, since that's all Hisense told us about when it debuted the TV at CES, but now we know there are smaller 65 and 55-inch sets, too.

Will the U8HQ fit into Hisense's low-cost philosophy?

One of the factors that put Hisense on the map was how it undercut its rivals while offering the same suite of features and the U8HQ may end up costing less than similarly high-end sets from rival brands.

There's no chance this TV could ever be considered cheap though. Surely even Hisense can't get so many high-end features in a TV and charge much less than £1,500 for it.