Best 50-inch smart TVs in 2022

Looking for that 4K smart TV upgrade? Our best 50-inch smart TV guide has got you covered.

Philips 50PUS7304/12 50-Inch 4K UHD Smart TV with Ambilight

by William Lobley |

Upgrading to a 50-inch 4K smart TV is a real game-changer. 4K smart TVs improve your viewing time in a way that you couldn’t have predicted – the screen isn’t just a thing to look at, but something to experience.

What will a smart TV offer me?

The smart TV is an integral part of any decent home entertainment set-up, no matter how serious you take your TV watching.

If you’re a casual viewer, the smart TV will transform the way, and the ease, with which you watch your favourite shows and movies. Thanks to on-demand catch-up services like Freeview Play, BBC iPlayer, and All 4, you can catch up on sitcoms, soaps, and reality shows new and old without any subscriptions (other than your standard TV license). Whatever time you sit down to relax, you'll be guaranteed to find something you want to watch.

For the connoisseur of the small screen, a smart TV will unlock untold possibilities. Like the casual viewer, you'll be able to peruse what the traditional channels have to offer (because let’s face it, they’ve been pulling their finger out recently with the likes of Devs, Killing Eve, and The Handmaid’s Tale). You'll also have access to subscription services!

If you take things one step further and integrate a new TV with a wider entertainment eco-system consisting of an Amazon Fire Cube, Blu-ray player and soundbar, you’ll find yourself unlocking whole new realms of TV enjoyment.

Jump to:

Is a 50-inch TV right for me?

Smart TVs of all sizes will transform your viewing experience, but what size is right for you will depend on your living space. A 50-inch TV (wall-mounted or not) will look best from a distance of around 2.5 – 3.5 metres. Any closer and you risk the image looking pixelated, further away, and you’ll miss the details. Don’t worry if this means you have to consider a more compact 32-inch or larger 65-inch option – we’ve rounded up the best of those for you elsewhere.

To help you find the 50-inch smart TV that works for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best – whichever you go with, you’re going to love it.

The best in detail:

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Hisense QLED 50A7GQTUK

Best budget TV
Hisense QLED 50A7GQTUK
Amazon

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Taking cues from the successful 2020 model, the Hisense 50A7GQTUK offers up both excellent picture and sound quality for a low price. The not-so-secret reason behind the image quality is the QLED panel which, with the help of Dolby Vision, brings brightness and energy.

Audio is cared for by Dolby Atmos, which creates cinematic surround sound - just be aware that you need a compatible soundbar or speaker system to make the most of this. The 60Hz refresh is acceptable for sports fans and gamers looking for an affordable fix, and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are supported. Though there are some limits to the TV's power, Hisense has constructed an attractive package in the 55A7G.

Pros Cons
• Affordable quality • Lacks some refinement
• Sharp 4K experience • Speakers are average
Specifications
Screen: 50-inch 4K UHD, QLED, HDR10+, 60Hz
Connections: HDMI x3, USB x2
Audio: Dolby Atmos
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: VIDAA U5
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LG OLED48C14LB

Best OLED TV
LG OLED48C14LB

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Okay, so this TV isn't quite 50-inches, but some manufacturers just like to make everyone's life difficult by picking the in-between sizes. Though two inches smaller than the rest on this list, the payoff is significant. Using OLED self-lit pixel tech and the industry-leading α9 Gen4 AI processor, this LG TV produces images with excellent contrast and colour fidelity.

Dolby Vision and Atmos are also onboard, adding to the cinematic chops of the C14. It uses LG webOS, which has long been held a user-friendly and well-featured interface - it's here that you'll find amble streaming platforms, with additional streaming is accessed via screen mirroring. Gamers are well-catered for here too, with 2.1 HDMI connections and VRR making 4K/120fps a reality.

Pros Cons
• Pin-sharp display • OLED is expensive
• Excellent colour fidelity and depth • Not the best in brightly lit rooms
• Great for gaming at 4K/120fps
Specifications
Screen: 48-inch 4K UHD, OLED, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, 120Hz, VRR
Connections: HDMI x4, USB x3
Audio: Dolby Atmos
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: webOS
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Samsung QE50QN94A (2021) Neo QLED

Best QLED TV
Samsung QE50QN94A (2021) Neo QLED

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The Samsung QN94A range uses Neo QLED, a new iteration of QLED tech that uses mini-LEDs for improved brightness and image depth - the effect is incredible. The pop and vibrancy of the image are staggering across all media types, from TV shows to the latest 4K video game and Hollywood Blockbuster.

The colour too is helped by the Neo QLED and Quantum HDR 2000, being impressively realistic and showcasing fine details well. Audio is powerful too, thanks to the AI-powered Object Tracking Sound Lite. There's a suite of game-specific enhancements, including Motion Xcelerator Turbo Plus, FreeSync and Dynamic Black Equalizer. Couple the TV with a Samsung Health app to turn your living room into a gym, and enjoy the pro-green feeling of using a solar-rechargeable remote control.

Pros Cons
• Neo QLED is fantastic • Over the top for casual viewers
• Excellent features
• Classy frame design
Specifications
Screen: 50-inch 4K UHD, Neo QLED, Quantum HDR 2000, HDR10+
Connections: HDMI x4, USB x2
Audio: Object Tracking Sound Lite, Q-Symphony, Dolby Digital Plus
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: Tizen OS
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PHILIPS 58PUS9006/12 58" Smart 4K Ultra HD TV

Best for immersive viewing
PHILIPS 58PUS9006/12

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The PHILIPS 58PUS9006/12 is a powerful, smart, and affordable option for a great 4K set up in your home. Utilising the PHILIPS P5 engine, the 58PUS9006 upscales images in real-time, giving you absolutely perfect image quality regardless of what you’re watching.

The Philips 58PUS also has a unique feature: Ambilight. This feature casts a glow from the rear of the screen, freeing your entertainment from the border, creating an immersive viewing experience. The abundant image customisation options are also a real boon, offering ample fine-tunings to really perfect the visual performance.

The Android OS is a pleasure to use. However, setting the TV up can be a time-consuming process if you're not TV literate, it'll be worth having the manual to hand. The sound profile is a little uninspiring, but the available customisation options combat this to a certain degree.

Pros Cons
• Range of customisation options • Audio lacks volume - external speakers or soundbar needed
• Has Ambilight
Specifications
Screen: 58-inch 4K UHD, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, Ambilight
Connections: HDMI x4, USB x2
Audio: Dolby Atmos
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: Android TV
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JVC LTLT-50CF810 Fire TV Edition

Best TV under £400
JVC LT-50CF890 Fire TV Edition

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If you're not planning on splashing tonnes of cash, the JVC Fire TV Edition is here for you, offering tonnes of entertainment and a 4K screen for well under £500. The Fire TV Edition in its name refers to the operating system, which is basically a built-in Amazon Fire TV Stick.

The Fire TV platform streamlines your access to Amazon Prime TV shows and movies, streaming channels and services through integrated menus. Other streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and BBC iPlayer, are accessed via apps. The sound and the picture doesn't have the refinement found on more expensive units, but for the price, it can't really be beaten. Note: Prime membership is required to stream the Prime Video content.

Pros Cons
• Cheap • Visual and audio performance is basic
• 4K UHD resolution • Not great for non-Prime members
• Amazon Prime integrated
Specifications
Screen: 50-inch 4K UHD, HDR10, 50Hz
Connections: HDMI x4, Composite x1, USB x2
Audio: Built-in speakers
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: Fire TV
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Sony BRAVIA KD50X85JU

Recommended
Sony BRAVIA KD50X85JU

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The BRAVIA X85 range is no stranger to What's The Best's lists. With this range, Sony has demonstrated the ability to pack highly desirable features into a TV, and for a reasonable price. The screen is sharp and produces arresting colours, with Dolby Vision and similar HDR and object-based visual tech working to add depth and contrast. The Sony processor powering this TV is also adept at upscaling, so older non-UHD content still pops on screen. Video game fans with an Xbox Series X or PS5 have access to 4K/120fps gameplay too, with VRR support. All in all, a great TV delivered with precision.

Pros Cons
• Excellent features • OLED/QLED has a better picture
• Fantastic screen
Specifications
Screen: 50-inch 4K UHD, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, 120Hz, VRR
Connections: HDMI x4, Composite x1, USB x2
Audio: Dolby Atmos
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: Google TV
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Samsung UE50AU7100

Recommended
Samsung UE50AU7100
Amazon

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Samsung is a reliable brand with an impressive track record. Adding to this record is the AU7100, an affordable 4K smart TV that delivers all a TV and cinema fan could want in 2021. Powered by the Samsung Crystal Processor, the AU7100 has a bright and accurate colour palette with precise, clean lines. The chip is also reliable at upscaling and keeping fast movement blur-free via Motion Xcelerator. To access some impressive audio, you may want to add some speakers or a soundbar - Samsung Q-Symphony LITE will make sure that all visual and audio is synced up, too. The Tizen OS is a nice operating system, and clearly presents all the apps you need for a night of entertainment.

Pros Cons
• Reliable quality • Average sound
• Reasonable price
• Great picture
Specifications
Screen: 50-inch 4K UHD, HDR10, HDR10+, 60Hz
Connections: HDMI x3, USBx2
Audio: Dolby Digital Plus
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: Tizen OS
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Sharp 4T-C50BL2KF2AB

Recommended
Sharp 4T-C50BL2KF2AB
Amazon

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The Sharp 4T-C50BL2KF2AB is a budget TV that's ideally placed as an affordable upgrade from a Full HD TV, or as a secondary set for a bedroom. While the resolution is a notable upgrade from 1080p sets, and the multiple HDMI ports are great for consoles and Blu-ray players, the TV's real strength is its operating system. It uses Android TV, which is a simple-to-use system that offers a great choice of streaming apps, games and other Google services. Google Assistant is also onboard for voice control, as is Chromecast, which allows you to stream content directly from your smartphone.

Pros Cons
• Affordable 4K • Not the most sophisticated visuals
• Android TV • Operating speed occasionally lags
• Chromecast
Specifications
Screen: 50-inch 4K UHD, HDR10
Connections: HDMI x4, USB x2, MicroSD x1, Micro USB x1
Audio: DTS Virtual:X, Dolby Digital
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: Android TV
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LG 50UP77006LB

Recommended
LG 50UP77006LB
Amazon

View offer

The LG 50UP77006LB is a great TV that cuts back on extravagant features to deliver on the basics. Its 4K UHD panel provides a shape image, with contrast being processed via Active HDR and dynamic colour for a more arresting experience. Upscaling is here too. The OS is home to a fully-fledged streaming suite that includes Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV and Amazon Prime. The sound is processed via LG AI Sound, which helps build atmosphere and helps voices to cut through the mix clearly. Voice control is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Pros Cons
• Nice performance across essential elements • Won’t excite TV geeks
• Affordable • Limited HDMI connections
Specifications
Screen: 50-inch 4K UHD, Active HDR
Connections: HDMI x2, USB x1
Audio: AI Sound
Internet: WiFi built-in, Ethernet
Bluetooth: Yes
OS: webOS

If you're not sure with some of the technical jargon, check our FAQs at the end of this article.

FAQs

What's the best 50-inch smart TV for visual experience?

They're all great at what they do, but our current pick would have to be tied between the LG OLED48C14LB and the Samsung QE50QN94A (2021) Neo QLED. They both deliver a crisp and vibrant picture quality, but it does come at a price.

For those on a tighter budget, the Hisense QLED 50A7GQTUK offers brilliant value for money. The visual experience is a marvel considering its reasonable pricing.

What size TV do I need?

The answer to this question is very much a decision arrived at after deliberation between your available space, budget and requirement. However, it tends to be sensible to have the smaller TVs in smaller rooms, larger in the biggest rooms.

If you're too close to a TV, no matter how high quality the image, it's going to look blown out and poor. Too far, and you may as well watch Netflix on your phone.

Here’s a rough guide to give you an idea of the minimum distance you should have from your TV when viewing HD content:

40-inches - 80 inches (6.7 feet)

50-inches - 100 inches (8.3 feet)

55-inches - 108 inches (9 feet)

60-inches - 120 inches (10 feet)

65-inches - 130 inches (10.8 feet)

75-inches - 150 inches (12.5 feet)

Screen Resolution guide:

HD: 1280×720

Full HD: 1920×1080

Ultra HD/4K: 3840×2160

What’s 4K and what is Ultra HD?

These terms refer to the same thing – TV resolution. 4K screens offer four times more pixels than HD screens, with 8.3 million pixels working across the screen. This means clearer, accurate images.

What’s HDR and HDR10+?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It works to get as much light, crispness and depth into your picture. Whites are brighter and blacks are darker. It offers a huge range of over one billion colours. HDR10+ is an extension of this, but the use of metadata creates an even more refined picture.

What is Dolby Vision?

Dolby Vision is Dolby’s HDR and HRD10+.

What is 4K?

smart TVs have resolutions with approximately a 4,000 horizontal pixel count. Put simply, screens give you the pixels, HDR takes care of making them look good.

What is High Dynamic Range (HDR)?

High Dynamic Range smart TVs are able to reach brighter and darker colours than regular HD TVs. This means the picture on-screen appears more like the real-life image.

What's OLED?

LED screens use a backlight to provide the image. With OLED, the pixels produce their own light which gives greater accuracy to the image. If you're interested in finding out more, take a look at our best OLED TVs guide.

What’s QLED?

QLED is a Samsung property that replaces Liquid Crystals (found in LCD) with Quantum dots, which Samsung believes to produce much more vibrant and bright colours and sharper images. If you're specifically looking for a QLED TV, why not check out our best QLED TVs roundup.

What can a smart TV do?

A smart TV is a television that can connect to the internet independently from any extra gadgets like an Amazon Fire Stick or a set-top box. They’re typically pre-loaded with a selection** of recognisable on-demand catch-up apps, such as BBC iPlayer, All 4, and ITV Hub, and subscription services such as Amazon Prime Video or Netflix. A smart TV will also allow the user access to other internet services, such as news apps, weather services, internet browsers and social media apps like Facebook.

Some models also offer additional features, such as Bluetooth connectivity for wireless audio connections, and smartphone and tablet connections.

**The selection of apps available pre-loaded or available to download may differ between smart TV manufacturers and models, so it’s worth double-checking the model you’re considering.

Is it worth buying a smart TV?

If you’re someone who loves to watch TV, whether it be soaps, Nordic noir dramas, reality shows or blockbuster movies, then a smart TV is likely to be worth it. The internet connection offers up plentiful access to free and paid-for content via apps, whenever you want it.

If you’re in doubt, read on for our discussion on the best smart TV apps.

What’s the cheapest smart TV?

This all depends on the day you’re looking – there are deals beginning and ending every day. If you’re looking for a great price, it’ll be worth following an article that follows the best smart TV deals.

What are the best apps for a smart TV?

Smart TV apps

In our opinion, the best smart TV apps are the ones that offer you the best entertainment choices, the most useful features and reliable quality of service. Here’s what we recommend:

Netflix – The pioneering subscription service that changed TV and film. The Netflix app allows you to access thousands of titles, both existing and original exclusive productions, such as Stranger Things, Black Mirror, Sex Education, The Witcher and The Stranger. The app itself is extremely reliable and simple to use, and there are a number of subscription package choices.

Amazon Prime Video – Another top-quality subscription service, offering an array of films and TV shows, including The Office US, The Hunters and Man In The High Castle. Prime Video often has a great selection of the latest movie releases and offers you the option to purchase or rent other titles that may not be included in your subscription. Like Netflix’s app, the Prime app is extremely easy to use. Bonus: If you subscribe to this service, you’ll automatically get access to Amazon’s Prime delivery service and basic music streaming package.

BBC iPlayer – This on-demand catch-up app gives you access to the best of the BBC. Programs are available to watch for up to 30 days after their original broadcast, and you can restart and rewind live programs. You’ll also have access to a large back catalogue of BBC programming, including brilliant shows like Killing Eve, Doctor Who, Would I Lie To You? and Have I Got News For You, as well as award-winning documentaries like Blue Planet II. You’ll need a TV license to use this service.

All 4 – All 4 is Channel 4’s answer to the BBC’s iPlayer. The content included covers Channel 4, E4, More 4 and Vice TV. The back catalogue available on the app will allow you to comfortably binge on comedies like Black Books, The IT Crowd and Peep Show, or catch up on The Great British Bake Off, 24 Hours In Police Custody and Gogglebox. This is a free service, but you’ll have to suffer through the occasional advert break.

YouTube – This is an important app for anyone who loves any one of the plethoras of YouTube personalities, gamers or influencers. Much like the smartphone app, this smart TV app will allow unlimited and free access to countless hours of independent entertainment. YouTube does offer a subscription service, known as YouTube Premium, but this doesn’t restrict the free access to a vast selection of content.

Spotify – Here, you can sign in to your Spotify account and access your favourite tunes through the smart TV. You can start a free Spotify account and start listening to the latest music immediately with occasional 30-second advert breaks, or you can sign up to Spotify Premium to have uninterrupted streaming. The app is super easy to use, reliable and great for a party.

There’s a huge array of other apps out there, offering great services and features – we just consider the above to be an excellent combination. Depending on personal preference, you could easily supplement this selection with weather, social media, news and music applications.

For these features to work, you’ll need an internet connection via WiFi or Ethernet connection with a good broadband connection and high or unlimited data limits. Apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Spotify Premium will require a subscription fee and will not allow you to access content without signing up.

What is Freeview Play?

Freeview Play is a service that combines on-demand and catch-up television streaming into one place, allowing you to browse forward to what’s upcoming, and backward to see shows from the previous week.

Do smart TVs have Bluetooth?

Smart TVs usually come with a Bluetooth feature. Whether or not a smart TV has a Bluetooth feature varies from model to model. If in doubt, check with the manufacturer.

Bluetooth is a great feature for a smart TV to have, as it allows you to connect wireless audio devices, like speakers, headphones, and hearing aids, or other peripheral devices like keyboards.

Can I pair my phone to my smart TV?

This depends on a myriad of factors, such as the TV brand and model, phone brand and model, available screen-mirroring apps, and Bluetooth connections. However, as technology improves, more and more smart TVs are capable of being paired with a smartphone.

Smart TVs with Google Chromecast in built can mirror content from both Android and iOS devices.

Many smart TVs come with a feature called something similar to ‘Screen Mirror’ or ‘Wireless Display’, which pairs with a smartphone via an installed app. This then shows your phone screen on the TV, which is great for viewing photos, videos or video chats.

There’s also app-to-app pairing, which will allow you to control a TV app with your phone, but not the TV itself – for example, you can browse Netflix’s catalogue on your phone app for The Witcher, select it and then tell it to play via the TV app.

If you’re really keen on displaying your phone on the smart TV, a failsafe method is to manually hook the phone up via an HDMI cable and adaptor.

Can I listen to my smart TV with wireless headphones?

If you’ve got wireless Bluetooth headphones and your smart TV has Bluetooth, then the answer is yes. Just be aware that the range on the connection may be limited to a radius of a few meters, so depending on your setup you might have to sit closer to your TV. Due to the idiosyncratic nature of some Bluetooth headphones and TVs, if you’re in doubt that your planned set-up will work, check with the manufacturers.

If you plan on regularly listening to your smart TV via wireless headphones, it would be worth considering purchasing a dedicated entertainment wireless headset with transmitter, as they tend to have a great range, with some models even accepting multiple headsets.

William Lobley is a Deputy Commercial Content Editor and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology, gaming and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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