They're not all that common, but the best 50-inch TVs can deliver a lot of value and performance in a more reasonable screen size than, say, larger 65-inch TVs.
That said, 50-inch TVs are so uncommon because they sit in between the two most common screen sizes for 4K HDR TVs – 55-inches and 40-inches. This makes them a bit harder to find than other sizes but, for some folks with limited wall space, a 50-inch TV is the ideal solution.
In terms of seating, you should be looking at a 50-inch TV if you plan on sitting around four feet away from the screen. That should fill your field of view pretty nicely without feeling overwhelmed. You can always sit a bit further away if you don't mind missing out on some of the details but we wouldn't go more than nine feet (3m).
Not sure which 50-inch 4K TVs you should be looking at? Don't worry, we've got a guide to the best mid-range 50-inch TVs you can buy in 2021.
Best 50-inch TVs in 2021
The best 50-inch TVs in 2021
The best 50-inch TV? That accolade should really go to the Panasonic HX800. You won't get it in the US, which means it comes with an asterisk – though for anyone in the UK, Europe, Australia or Canada it should be your first port of call.
As the successor to the GX800, the HX800 continues everything that made us fall in love with Panasonic's mid-range LCD offering in the first place, with a sweet spot of price, performance, and functionality all in one.
Panasonic gets a lot of goodwill by offering multi-HDR support – throwing in HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG in a single set – and is also unique in how this support is implemented across so much of its TV range. As a mid-range LCD, it's incredible that Panasonic ensures it has the same format support as higher-end OLED TVs like the new HZ1000 and HZ1500.
Add to that Panasonic's HCX processor, with filmic images and smooth action far beyond what we'd hope for at this price point, and you have a clear winner for the best 40-inch TV. Despite a bare-bones operating system, there's really very little to complain about.
You'll find the 50-inch model retailing at £899 at the time of writing, with a larger 58-inch model costing just £999 should you find you want a slightly larger screen size.
Read our full Panasonic HX800 TV review
There's little doubt in our mind that, for gamers, the new Sony X90J is one of the best 50-inch televisions out there.
It has excellent image quality, thanks in part to a new Cognitive XR processor rolled out to Sony's top 2021 sets, making for excellent upscaling and contrast control. The X90J also sports the new Google TV smart platform, for easy setup and broad app support as well as the perks of Google Cast from Android devices. There's Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio packed in too.
When it comes to gaming, the X90J has a 120Hz panel with 4K resolution and two full-spec HDMI 2.1 ports for your Xbox Series X and PS5, with VRR (variable refresh rate) and ALLM (auto low latency mode, for sub-10ms lag) to really up your gaming experience. Just be sure to head into the picture settings and switch on 'Enhanced format' for your selected HDMI port, otherwise you won't get the benefit of its 2.1 specification.
There are still a few lingering issues, including middling off-axis viewing and struggles with direct daylight – and the X90J will no doubt be beaten by the capabilities of its step-up X95J model for a small uptick in cost. Still, the Sony X90J succeeds in delivering stellar performance for a reasonable price.
Read the full review: Sony X90J 4K TV
The Hisense H8G Quantum Series is a great choice for those looking to spend little and get a lot from their smart TV.
At just $519 for the 50-inch version of the Hisense H8G on Amazon it’s outstanding value. You're not having to make do with a sub-standard set, though, as the apps are easy to find and use, Google Assistant support is well-implemented, and the technical specs rival much pricier models. Motion is brilliantly smooth, too, with great performance across HD and 4K video despite a drop in brightness compared to competing QLED models.
You won't get quite the quality experience of many others in this list, and the design of this set isn't very inspiring. For the price, though, the Hisense H8G Quantum Series certainly delivers.
Read the full review: Hisense H8G Quantum Series
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 the full review: Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV
You might be surprised to see a designer television in this small TV guide, but this art-minded new Samsung TV is a shoe-in by bringing QLED picture quality and a chic design aesthetic to a reasonable size 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 the finest 32-inch TV / home furnishing, this is going to be it.
There is a newer version available for this year, with an even slimmer casing and more options for customization, retailing for approximately the same price too – so be sure to find that model wherever it's available.
Read our full review: Samsung The Frame (2020)
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.
- Looking for the top TV in any screen size? Check out our guide to the best TVs of 2021