Whether it’s because you’re short on space, shopping on a budget or you’re looking to add a second TV to your home, saving on screen size for your new TV doesn’t mean you should expect to compromise elsewhere.
Much as with the best TVs of larger sizes, the best 48- and 50-inch TVs in Australia offer impressive specs to suit a variety of needs. This often includes PS5 and Xbox Series X-friendly features also found in the best gaming TVs.
That said, there can be some differences between models at these sizes and their larger siblings, so finding the right 48- or 50-inch TV for your needs can be a bit more challenging. So in order to make shopping for your next TV as painless as possible, we’ve put our years of experience testing and reviewing TVs to good use.
Below, you’ll find our picks for the top 48- and 50-inch TVs that Aussies can buy right now.
The best 48 and 50-inch TVs for 2023
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Best 48- to 50-inch TVs: the list
Surprise, surprise, the home screen that takes the title of best TV also shines with its 48-inch model – if only with a slight caveat. LG's 48-inch (and 42-inch) C2 OLED doesn't feature the same same brightness booster as its larger siblings, something worth noting, but is otherwise identical to the remainder of the stunning LG C2 line. That means the impressive Alpha a9 Gen 5 processor remains at its centre, providing superior object enhancement, dynamic tone mapping and overall contrasts to its predecessors.
The C2 OLED also includes full HDMI 2.1 support, VRR and ALLM, which is perfect for PS5 and Xbox Series X, and enough for it to also take the title as best gaming TV. Add in astonishing colour accuracy plus LG's fantastic WebOS smart TV platform and you have a uniquely powerful and impressive home screen.
Despite its Dolby Vision prowess, the lack of HDR10+ support in the C2 screens is a slight disappointment well worth mentioning, and its price tag is as high as you'd expect for such a premium quality TV, but there is otherwise very little reason to fault the C2 as being the best 48-inch TV money can buy right now.
Read more: LG C2 OLED review
When factoring in price, features on offer and overall quality, it's tough to find any real flaw with the TCL C635 even if its picture quality doesn't quite match that of the (much) more expensive LG C2. That's not to say the TCL 635 lacks in the area of picture quality, though, as it mimics the rest of TCL's C-Series TVs to punch well above its weight in this arena.
Contrast, colours and shadows for this price are simply excellent, even with modest backlight and overall not quite matching the achievements of more expensive TVs. And for this price, the array of gaming features on offer are quite extraordinary. Although only boasting the one HDMI 2.1 port, the C635 nonetheless packs in 100 Clear Motion Rate (CMR), VRR and ALLM to allow video games to perform at levels worth far more than the asking price here.
Considering the TCL C635 offers HDR10+ decoding where the LG C2 doesn't, there's a very good argument to be made that the C635 sits too low on this list. And when factoring in that it'll cost you less than AU$1,000, the TCL C635 is more than worthy of consideration - it demands it.
Another OLED TV that will cost you a bundle, but which manages to reach impressive heights as a TV with a moderately sized screen, the Sony A90K is an impressive competitor for the title of best 48 to 50-inch TV. Featuring two HDMI 2.0 sockets and two HDMI 2.1 sockets, the Sony A90K doesn't quite reach the gaming-friendly heights of the LG C2 above it on this list but nonetheless boasts 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM features with a not outstanding but serviceable input lag of 21ms.
Where the A90K stuns most though, much like with the LG C2, is its picture quality. As our colleagues at What Hi-Fi wrote in their review, "The A90K’s image is just as sharp and solid as that of its A95K sibling, which is perhaps no great surprise given the shared processing technology and the increased pixel density of the smaller set."
The A90K's audio quality is decent, sitting on the higher end of what smaller sized TVs can manage. Still, given you might be best advised to purchase a quality soundbar with the purchase of any smaller screen TV, the price tag attached to the A90K might be a problem for you. If it isn't, though, you are getting your hands on an exceptionally high quality OLED home screen.
While it may not be able to boast the picture quality prowess capable of its OLED or QLED competitors (or larger sizes of its same model), the Hisense U7HAU is still an exceptionally high quality option for its price. And with HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support, it features levels of adaptability that even more expensive options above it on this list can't match.
That's not all – the U7HAU also offers a very confident soundstage for such a small screen TV which is boosted by its Dolby Atmos support. Its value goes even further thanks to a generous array of gaming friendly features including VRR and ALLM –even if it can't quite meet the levels that the similarly priced TCL C635 (above) can achieve.
All things considered, for its asking price there is a hell of a lot to like about the Hisense U7HAU.
As one of Samsung's Neo QLED panel TVs, Samsung's QN90B counts a higher count of light emitting diodes per square inch as one of its key features, resulting in a brighter TV with a dynamic colour array and terrific black levels.
Samsung's Neo QLED TVs also sport the higher-end Neo Quantum Processor 4K that uses a neural network to analyse images for better upscaling and the Q90B in this 50-inch size is no exception. Generous contrast and colour levels, plus HDMI 2.1 ports and a related array of gaming support features make the Samsung QN90B an impressive home screen option.
Where the QN90B falls short, however, is its modest audio performance and lack of Dolby Vision support at a price on the highest end of TVs at this size. It's impressive, but maybe not quite impressive enough to consider over other options above it on this list.
Looks aren't everything... unless they are, in which case there's every likelihood that the best TV option for you is the Samsung's The Frame. And beyond its decor-friendly design, there is a lot to like about what's under the hood for Samsung's aesthetically-driven models.
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. Customisable bezels mean you'll be able to fully control the appearance and colour of your set, which already manages to boast generous QLED picture quality offering dynamic colours and contrast.
The brightness could certainly be better, but The Frame more than makes up for it with impressive audio for a TV of this size and a decor-friendly design that delivers picture quality that's more than competent. Gamers might be better off looking elsewhere, though, as the The Frame can't quite match the top-level gaming features offered by the majority of the tellies listed above.
Best 50-inch TV FAQ
What is the best 50-inch smart TV?
As with anything, what's best for you might not necessarily be best overall. For sheer picture quality and premium-level power, though, it's hard to go past the might of the LG C2.
But in terms of overall value? The TCL C635 is a great option thnaks to its balance of performance, quality and features worth well more than the asking price.
How much should you pay for a 50-inch TV?
If you're on the hunt for a TV with a smaller screen size, there's every chance you're doing so because:
(a) You're looking for a second TV to add to your home
(b) You're shopping on a budget
If you're a serious cinephile who wants nothing but the best quality picture from any TV on display in your home, you should consider looking at more premium models, usually ranging from AU$2,000-AU$3,000. Thankfully, you don't have to pay that much for a high quality TV these days.
What should you look for in a 50-inch TV?
At a minimum, what you should be looking for in a 50-inch TV is a balance between quality and value. If you're a gamer, you'll probably want to find a TV offering HDMI 2.1 ports with gaming features such as variable refresh rates (VRR) and auto low-latency mode (ALLM).
If you're a cinephile, you're looking for features like resolution, panel type (eg. OLED, QLED), contrast, colours and HDR support. You should also check to see if your television offers a Movie or Filmmaker Mode in its picture settings in order to watch your favourite films as they were intended to be seen.
What makes shopping for 50-inch TVs tricky is that manufacturers typically don't make their flagship TVs in that size. Or, you may also find that some flagship TVs in smaller sizes provide less impressive specs than the same models in larger sizes (such as with the LG C2).
If the best quality overall is what matters to you, it might be worth considering some of the best TVs overall in larger sizes – some of which you might be surprised to learn fit your budgets better than you'd think. However, if saving on space is your concern, the guide above should help you find everything you might need in your new 48 or 50-inch TV.