Best 48, 49, 50-inch TVs 2022, for every budget

Best 48, 49, 50-inch TVs 2022, for every budget

Editor’s Note: October 2022

While stock is still available, the LG C1 is our pick as the best 48- to 50-inch TV because there’s no better balance of image quality, features and price. That’s because it’s a TV from 2021, but its features and image quality haven’t actually been meaningfully beaten by newer TVs – despite its massive price drops over time.

Most recently, we added the new LG A2 OLED TV to this list. It’s going to be a budget smash later in the year once prices settle down, but for now it’s overshadowed by the C1 in particular.

Matt Bolton, Senior Editor – TV & Audio

The best 48, 49 and 50-inch TVs are the best TVs for most people: if you want a real home theater experience but don’t have the money or room for a giant television, this is the sweet spot. That’s because at this size you get the benefits of 4K resolution, the rich contrast of HDR and the great colours of modern TV tech, but you don’t have to take out a second mortgage or throw out all your furniture to make room for it.

There’s another reason that this is the sweet spot for TVs, and that’s because at this size you’re absolutely spoilt for choice. There are tons of really great TVs at equally great prices, and you might be surprised by just how much cutting-edge TV tech you can get without having to splash too much cash. You’ll find some of the very best TVs in this part of the market, with cutting-edge image processing and advanced panel tech – and these days, the choice even includes some of the best OLED TVs. OLEDs are fiendishly difficult to make in smaller sizes and until very recently the smallest models you could get were 55 inches, but manufacturers have come up with increasingly clever manufacturing techniques and you can now get OLED TVs under 50 inches too.

You’ll see many of the TVs listed here in our other best buy guides, such as our guide to the best TVs under $1000 and or recommendations for the best TVs under £1000. Whether you’re looking for a budget bargain or a cinephile treat, you’ll find both kinds of TV here and everything in between.

If you’re worried that buying one of these TVs means missing out on cutting edge gaming tech, we’ve got good news about that too: some of the best gaming TVs are right here. In fact, pretty much the only type of TV you won’t find in this particular guide are the best 8K TVs, because you need to have a much bigger panel before 8K makes any visible difference. 

In this guide, then, we’ll look at 48, 49 and 50-inch TVs. If you need something a bit smaller we also have a guide to the best 40-inch TVs, and if you come to the conclusion that 50 inches aren’t quite enough then we have a great guide to the best 55-inch TVs too. 

Best 48- to 50-inch TVs: the list

(Image credit: LG)

The best 48-inch TV for most people

Specifications

Screen size: 48 inches

Resolution: 4K

Panel type: OLED

Smart TV: webOS

HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision

Reasons to buy

+

Beautiful 4K HDR picture

+

Four HDMI 2.1 ports

Reasons to avoid

Reflective glass surface

No HDR10+

The LG C1 launched in 2021, and is now available for an incredible cheap price – and when you balance that with its future-proofed connectivity feature and tremendous image quality, it’s an incredible-value buy today. 

You can expect breathtaking 4K HDR images, with Dolby Vision (but not HDR10+), along with OLED’s trademark deep blacks, rich colors and infinite contrast ratio. LG’s image processor features ‘AI’ smarts to between distinguish between objects and their backgrounds, and help make sure that any upscaled HD videos look very nearly as good as natively 4K movies. 

This stellar OLED TV packs in four dedicated HDMI 2.1 ports all with 4K 120Hz and VRR support (ideal for next-gen gaming), and it even comes with a new Game Optimizer menu that gives you the option to quickly adjust brightness, contrast and latency levels on the fly.

The LG C1 isn’t flawless, as we did encounter issues around how the new a9 Gen 4 processor upscales faces, and how reflective the all-glass screen is during daylight hours, but the issues are few and far between. Overall you’re getting a knockout OLED TV, and it’s a great investment at this price – depite being slightly older, it’ll last for years and years.

Read more: LG C1 review

The Samsung BU8500 tv against a blue background

(Image credit: samsung)

The best affordable 50-inch 4K TV

Specifications

Screen size: 50 inches

Resolution: 4K

Panel type: LED

Smart TV: Tizen

HDR: HDR, HDR10, HLG,

Reasons to buy

+

Accomplished 4K picture performance

+

Very acceptable specification at the price

+

Slim and (relatively speaking) quite elegant

Reasons to avoid

Has its limits when upscaling

Sound is quite hard and thin

The Samsung BU8500 is one of our top picks because it’s a great all-rounder TV, delivering up-to-the-minute functionality, discreet looks, and rock-solid build quality at an affordable price. In our review we wrote that it’s fantastic value for money: “For the price, it’s very hard for anything to beat the assured consistency of quality that Samsung delivers here.”

There’s a 4K HDR specification—although it’s without Dolby Vision—as well as a trio of HDMI inputs, voice-control, two (count ‘em!) remote controls and a Tizen smart TV interface featuring all the apps you want at this sort of money. It looks great too, it’s slimmer and more understated than flagship TVs from a few years ago. 

The picture performance isn’t a match for some of the best TVs on the market at the moment, but it’s a fantastic option if you’re after a smaller TV or one that’s under $1000/£1000. During our testing, we found that in every significant area of picture-making, the Samsung’s never less than competitive—and its backlighting is beautifully implemented, which helps the impression of quality no end.

We’re recommending the 50-inch version here, as it’s a perfect size for many homes. But it’s available in a range of different sizes from 43 inches up to 75 inches, depending on what you’re looking for. 

Read more: Samsung BU8500 (55BU8500) review

the Samsung 50Q80B tv pictured in a brightly lit living room

(Image credit: samsung)

3. Samsung 50Q80B

The best mid-range 50-inch TV

Specifications

Screen size: 49.5 inches

Resolution: 4K

Panel type: LED

Smart TV: Tizen

HDR: HDR, HDR10+, HLG

We’re working on our full review of the Samsung 50Q80B. But until then, this TV enters our list because it’s a fantastic mid-range choice if you’re looking for a reliable, mid-range TV that comes in at 50-inches.

It’s a TV we’d recommend for a number of different uses. First up, it has a wide viewing angle, so should fare well in awkward-shaped rooms. It’s also a good option for gamers because it supports HDMI 2.1 across all four of its HDMI 2.1 ports, including the 4K 120Hz compatibility, ALLM, HGiG and VRR (including Freesync Premium Pro) aspects of next-gen console specification too. 

But if you just want it as a multi-purpose TV for shows and movies. Its built-in AI Quantum Processor 4K also allows for a degree of intelligence, meaning it can detect the type of content you’re watching and adjust its picture settings accordingly. It’s also accomplished where upscaling of sub-4K content is concerned, and uses some machine learning to attempt to bring greater three-dimensionality to on-screen images. 

Although this panel tech does mean blacks aren’t always as deep and dark as they should be and you might notice some blooming due to local dimming.

the lg c2 oled tv on white background

(Image credit: LG)

The best 48-inch OLED

Specifications

Screen size: 48 inches

Resolution: 4K

Panel type: OLED

Smart TV: webOS

HDR: HDR, HLG, Dolby Vision

Reasons to buy

+

Beautiful 4K/HDR picture

+

Four HDMI 2.1 ports

+

WebOS is fantastic

Reasons to avoid

Lack of cable management

No HDR10+ support

The LG C2 is the best TV you can buy right now, so what’s it doing so far down our list here? The short answer is that the smallest C2 doesn’t have the same brightness booster as its larger siblings, so it’s very good rather than absolutely amazing, and the very similar C1 is still available and much cheaper. The rest of the spec is identical to the larger C2 models, however, and that means full HDMI 2.1 support for PS5 and Xbox Series X, incredibly low lag (with game optimiser turned on), astonishing colour accuracy and LG’s fantastic WebOS smart TV platform.

As you’d expect from an LG OLED the colour reproduction is excellent, and improved over the C1: where it tended to be a little warm sometimes this model is much more accurate. The blacks are wonderfully deep and contrast is excellent, with superb HDR that really makes movies and nature documentaries sing. 

We like this TV a lot. It delivers all the benefits of OLED without requiring a huge amount of room or an equally huge investment, and while the bigger C2s are even brighter this model is still very impressive. If you want a relatively small OLED, this is the one to buy.

Read more: LG C2 OLED review

Couple on sofa watches couple on park bench on Samsung TV

(Image credit: Samsung)

The best high-end 50-inch TV for dazzling HDR

Specifications

Screen size: 50 inches

Resolution: 4K

Panel Type: QLED

Smart TV: Tizen

HDR: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+

Reasons to buy

+

Full array backlight

+

4K Quantum image processor

+

High peak brightness

Reasons to avoid

No Dolby Vision

Not the prettiest QLED

The Samsung QN90A is one of the first 4K screens in 2021 to use the company’s hyped-up Neo QLED panels that sport a higher count of light emitting diodes per square inch than previous generations. The result is a brighter TV than before, if that’s even possible with Samsung, and one that can display a deeply satisfying array of colors. 

All Neo QLED TVs sport the higher-end Neo Quantum Processor 4K that uses a neural network to analyze images for better HD upscaling and Motion Xcelerator Turbo+ for better motion handling – all of which has really paid off for Samsung’s flagship screen. 

That said, there are a few looming issues this year that we can’t ignore, like the slight wobble of the pedestal stand, or the surprisingly lackluster sound quality that doesn’t befit a flagship 4K TV. There’s also no support for Dolby Vision still, which means you’re stuck with HDR10 on Netflix and HDR10+ elsewhere.

That’s not a deal-breaker, but it does lower Samsung’s 2021 flagship QLED TV to the number four spot on our best TV list.

Read more: Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV review

Samsung The Frame smart TV hanging on wall while displaying painting, near orange chair

(Image credit: Samsung)

The most stylish 50-inch TV out there

Specifications

Screen size: 50 inches

Resolution: 4K

Panel type: QLED

Smart TV: Tizen

HDR: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+

Reasons to buy

+

Beautifully made

+

Customizable bezels

Reasons to avoid

Expensive

Low brightness

You might be surprised to see a designer television in this small TV guide, but this art-minded Samsung TV is a shoo-in by bringing QLED picture quality and a chic design aesthetic to a reasonably sized screen.

The Frame’s main feature is to blend in with your decor, with an Art Mode that displays classic artworks and an Ambient Mode for moody screensavers. Customizable bezels mean you’ll be able to fully control the appearance and color of your set, too, whether you’re wall-mounting among some real picture frames or placing it on a bedroom shelf for some late-night watching.

The Frame is more expensive than most on this list, but if you’re after something that feels like a TV and more like an aesthetic adornment to a room, it’s ideal.

You get a QLED screen so it’s rich in colors, and offers good contrast overall – though it uses an edge-lit panel, so for the price you can find better image quality. But The Frame range has been a hit for a reason – people are happy to balance pure image quality with something that’s more pleasing to the eye, and this achieves that.

Read more: Samsung The Frame (2021) review

LG A2 OLED TV angled left showing smart interface

(Image credit: Future)

The best budget OLED you can buy

Specifications

Screen size: 48 inches

Resolution: 4K

Panel type: OLED

Smart TV: WebOS

HDR: HDR10, HLG, HDR10 Pro, Dolby Vision

Screen Size

48-inch – 65-inch

Reasons to buy

+

Deep blacks and detailed shadows

+

Accurate out-of-box color (Filmmaker mode)

+

Affordable for an OLED TV

Reasons to avoid

Lacks higher-level gaming features

Limited brightness compared with top OLED TVs

Unimpressive audio performance

Smaller OLED TVs are still fairly rare, but with the A2 LG shows the competition how it’s done. The A series is LG’s most affordable range, and while that means the A2 lacks some of the specifications of its more expensive siblings it still delivers an awful lot of TV for an impressively low price tag. It’s not the best choice for hardcore gamers – while it delivers very low lag, you’ll need to move up the range for 120Hz refresh rates – but it’s a great TV for TV and movie watching, casual gaming and streaming from your phone or tablet too.

The main difference between the A2 and its more expensive stablemates is that its panel isn’t as bright, so if you have a room that’s very brightly lit this might not be the best option for you. But its OLED panel delivers incredibly deep blacks and great contrast in typical night-time viewing, and there’s a Filmmaker mode to deliver movies as the director and cinematographer intended. HDR performance is particularly good; that’s something OLED TVs excel at.

It’s also worth highlighting LG’s webOS operating system, now in its 22nd version: it’s far and away the best smart TV interface, and using it is a pleasure compared to the frustrating slog that some other firms’ interfaces put you through. It’s easy to customize the picture presets to get everything just-so, too.

Read more: LG A2 review

BEST 50-INCH TV FAQ

What is the best 50-inch smart TV?

In our opinion, that’s the Panasonic HX800… but only if you live in the UK, Europe, Australia or Canada. If you live in the US, we recommend the Sony X90J. It’s a bit newer and has HDMI 2.1 ports for the PS5 and Xbox Series X.

How much should you pay for a 50-inch TV?

It all depends. If you want the TVs with the most amount of features, expect to pay close to $800 / £700 / AU$1,000. That said, you can easily find 50-inch TVs at half that price if you don’t mind skimping out on performance. If you consider yourself a cinephile and love to watch movies at their best, it’s better to spend a bit more for a more premium model.

What should you look for in a 50-inch TV?

Like shopping for any other TV, there are a few important specs to pay attention to: resolution, contrast, native refresh rate and HDR support all matter here. Ideally, you’re looking for a 4K 120Hz TV with a peak brightness of around 1,000 nits and support for Dolby Vision and/or HDR10+. That’s hard to find outside of our top pick – but that’s what you’re looking for in an ideal world.

For gamers, you definitely want to find HDMI 2.1 ports like the ones you’ll find in our second pick while sports watchers should pay extra attention to a TV’s motion handling. The latter is tough to suss out through specs, but definitely something you can spot in-person if you go to the store.

What makes shopping for 50-inch TVs tricky is that manufacturers typically don’t make their flagship TVs in that size. That means you’re basically stuck shopping between all the B-list TVs and lower.

If you can stretch your budget – and wall – a bit further, we’d really implore you to consider a 55-inch TV instead. There’s a much wider selection of models available and many of them are the brand’s flagship TVs. If, however, a 50-inch is all you fit, then hopefully you’ve found at least a few options above.

Author: Brandon Torres