The Best 48-49-50-inch TVs (2021 Reviews)

Need a new 48-inch, 49-inch, or 50-inch TV? We've done all the heavy research in order to present you with the best 48", 49", and 50" TVs right now.

budget pick

TCL 50S425

tcl 55s425 tv
  • Affordable
  • High contrast ratio
  • Low input lag and decent response time speed
best value

Vizio M50Q7-H1

Vizio M50Q7 H1 TV
  • High contrast ratio with local dimming
  • Decent peak brightness, wide color gamut
  • Low input lag and decent response time speed
premium pick

LG OLED48CX

lg oled cx tv
  • Infinite contrast ratio, high peak brightness
  • Wide color gamut, low input lag, quick response time
  • HDMI 2.1 with 4K 120Hz support

Whether you’ve got limited space in your room or simply don’t want a TV larger than 50″ – you’ll find the best 48″, 49″, and 50″ TVs right here, as well as everything you need to know about them!

TVPanelPeak BrightnessContrast Ratio 
VA2006000:1
VA4505500:1
IPS5501500:1
VA12004000:1
OLED800Infinite

As you can see, you have quite a selection when it comes to ~50″ sized TVs, so be sure to check out the reviews below in order to ensure you’re getting the best one for you!

The models we selected offer the best value for the money in their categories, so it’s worth checking out the ‘Alternatives’ sections as well, depending on availability and region. We’ll also mention if there are any upcoming TVs worth keeping an eye on.

The Pros:

  • High contrast ratio
  • Low input lag and decent response time speed
  • Affordable

The Cons:

  • Low peak brightness
  • Minor ghosting behind fast-moving objects, mostly visible in darker scenes

About The TV

It seems impossible for us to write a TV buyer’s guide and not include TCL’s S425 series TVs, but that’s only because they offer such an excellent image quality and smooth gaming performance at such an affordable price!

Image Quality

The TCL 50S425 offers a high static contrast ratio of 6,000:1, which makes for deep and inky blacks resulting in vivid details in shadows of the picture.

Peak brightness, on the other hand, is not as impressive at measly 200-nits, but the TV can still get decently bright under normal lighting conditions.

It’s also hard to find a notably brighter TV at this price range, so if you plan on watching the TV in a particularly bright room with plenty of windows and sunlight, you should consider investing in a more expensive TV.

As expected from a budget TV, it covers ~80% of the DCI-P3 color space. So, colors will still be rich and vivid, but not quite as vibrant as that of the more expensive models with 90% or close to 100% DCI-P3 gamut coverage.

The TCL S425 supports HDR10 (High Dynamic Range), but due to its low peak brightness and lack of local dimming, among other things, HDR content won’t look particularly great – again, as is expected from a budget TV.

Features

Besides the exceptional contrast ratio for the price, the TV also offers impressive input lag and response time performance.

Input lag is the measured delay between your actions and the result on the TV; at just ~13ms of lag, you won’t be able to feel or notice any delays while gaming!

Further, the pixel response time speed of around 12ms is sufficient to eliminate most trailing behind fast-moving objects, but since pixels take a bit longer to change from really dark into bright pixels, some smearing in dark scenes will be noticeable, but to a tolerable or even negligible degree, depending on how sensitive you are to it.

Just like most TVs, the TCL 50S425 uses PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) to regulate brightness below the maximum. At 17/100 brightness setting, it introduces a 120Hz dimming frequency, which might bother some users sensitive to flickering after prolonged use.

The TV is based on Roku TV OS for smooth and simple navigation through the apps, it can remove 24p judder from DVDs and Blurays, and it supports 4:4:4 chroma for sharp text when connected to a PC.

Design & Connectivity

TCL 50S425 TV Back

The design of the TV is fairly slim, has thin bezels, and 200x200mm VESA mount compatibility.

Connectivity options include three HDMI 2.0 ports (HDMI3 with ARC for Dolby Digital and DTS audio passthrough), digital and analog audio ports, dual 8W integrated speakers, USB 2.0, composite-in, tuner, Ethernet, and WiFi.

Alternatives

The S425 line-up is from 2019. The 2020 series, TCL S435, has slower pixel response time, so it’s not as good for gaming or watching fast-paced content.

Therefore, if you can’t find the S425, we recommend one of these TVs as an alternative, though they aren’t quite as good:

  • Toshiba Fire 2020 (50LF621U21) – lower contrast ratio (4000:1), but higher brightness (350-nits); no 4:4:4 chroma support
  • Vizio V Series (V505-H19) – lower contrast ratio (5000:1) and much slower response time (~22ms)
  • Hisense 50R6090G – lower contrast ratio (5500:1), slightly higher brightness (250-nits), and slower response time (~16ms)

The Pros:

  • High contrast ratio and local dimming
  • Decent peak brightness
  • Impressive color gamut
  • Low input lag and decent response time speed

The Cons:

  • Minor ghosting behind fast-moving objects, mostly visible in darker scenes

About The TV

Now, if you want a bit better TV, the Vizio M50Q7-H1 is the best TV under $500!

Image Quality

Apart from the notably higher 450-nit peak brightness in comparison to the S425, the Vizio M7 Quantum TVs also offer an incredible 99% DCI-P3 color gamut; it offers more vibrant and vivid colors than most $1000+ TVs!

While the contrast ratio is slightly lower at 5500:1, the TV also has local dimming with 30 zones. These zones can dim parts of the image that need to be dark, without greatly affecting the parts of the screen that should remain bright.

Since there are only 30 zones, it’s not particularly effective, but some scenes where dark and bright objects are far apart can look notably better. Other scenes can look worse, so you’ll have to choose whether to turn local dimming on or off, depending on content.

Additionally, the Vizio M50Q7-H1 supports all major HDR formats, including HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG.

Features

Gaming performance is just as good as that of the TCL S425. You get imperceptibly low input lag of ~11ms, while the pixel response time speed is decent at ~12ms.

On top of that, the Vizio M7Q TVs support AMD FreeSync, allowing you to synchronize refresh rate with frame rate for tear-free gameplay between 40 and 60FPS if you have a compatible Radeon graphics card or an Xbox console.

The TV uses PWM to regulate brightness, but at a high 480Hz frequency, which shouldn’t bother even those sensitive to flickering.

It’s based on SmartCast OS, supports 4:4:4 chroma, and can remove 24p judder from DVDs, Blurays, and streaming applications. There’s also a BFI (Black Frame Insertion) feature available called ‘Clear Action.’

This technology inserts black frames between regular ones in order to reduce perceived motion blur, but sacrifices picture brightness in the process.

Design & Connectivity

Vizio M50Q7 H1 TV Design

The Vizio M50Q7-H1 boasts a modern and slim design with thin bezels and 200x200mm VESA compatibility.

Connectivity options include four HDMI 2.0 ports (HDMI1 with ARC/eARC for Dolby Digital/DTS and Dolby Atmos/DTS:X audio passthrough, respectively), USB 2.0, digital (optical) and analog (RCA) audio ports, dual 10W built-in speakers, composite-in, tuner, Ethernet, and WiFi.

Alternatives

If the Vizio M7Q is not available, check out the following models. They have similar input lag and response time performance, but no FreeSync support.

  • TCL 50S535 – higher contrast ratio (7500:1), a bit lower peak brightness (400-nits), not quite as wide color gamut (~95% DCI-P3); no HDR10+ support, more expensive
  • Hisense 50H8G – lower contrast ratio (5000:1), higher peak brightness (650-nits), not as wide color gamut (~90% DCI-P3)

The Pros:

  • Wide viewing angles
  • High peak brightness
  • Wide color gamut
  • Low input lag and decent pixel response time speed
  • FreeSync + 120Hz support
  • HDMI 2.1

The Cons:

  • Low contrast ratio
  • Minor ghosting behind fast-moving objects, mostly visible in darker scenes

About The TV

If you want a TV with a native 120Hz refresh rate for a responsive gaming experience, the LG NANO85 is the only ~50″ model available around the $600 price point, with other models going for ~$1000.

Image Quality

The LG 49NANO85 has an IPS type panel, so it offers superior viewing angles to the VA counterparts, allowing you to watch the TV from basically any angle without the image degrading in quality.

For most people, viewing angles on VA panel displays aren’t an issue unless you have a lot of people in the room watching the TV at various angles.

The main downside of the IPS technology is the lower contrast ratio.

The NANO85 has a contrast ratio of around 1500:1, so blacks will appear somewhat grayish in dark or dim-lit rooms. Local dimming is supported, but as there are only several dimming zones, it’s not very effective.

The lack of contrast won’t be as evident in brighter rooms, which is where this TV excels, thanks to its high 550-nit peak brightness.

The TV also has a decent ~90% DCI-P3 gamut coverage; moreover, the colors are consistent and won’t shift in saturation when viewed at an angle.

Supported HDR formats include HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG.

Features

With a pixel response time speed of ~16ms, some trailing will be visible in fast-paced games, but to a tolerable degree.

Input lag, on the other hand, is imperceptible at ~16ms at 60Hz, and ~6ms at 120Hz. Thanks to its HDMI 2.1 support, the NANO85 supports up to 120Hz at 4K UHD resolution, making it a great pick for the Xbox One X/S and PS5, as well as PC gaming.

120Hz is also natively supported at both 1080p and 1440p, which is good news since most games are too demanding for a high frame rate at 4K, even with high-end hardware.

What’s more, the TV supports FreeSync and even though it’s not officially certified as ‘G-SYNC Compatible’ by NVIDIA, you can use it with HDMI 2.1 compatible graphics cards with a 48-120Hz VRR range.

In some cases, however, brightness flickering is noticeable when your frame rate fluctuates around 48FPS as LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) is triggered. The intensity of flickering varies across different units of the TV, and depends on the game.

The TV uses PWM dimming at 240Hz, which shouldn’t bother most users. It’s based on WebOS, supports 4:4:4 chroma, and can remove 24p judder from any source.

Both 30FPS and 60FPS framerate interpolation is supported for the soap opera effect, and there’s a BFI feature called TruMotion for less motion blur.

Design & Connectivity

LG 49NANO85 TV Back

The thin and modern design supports 200x200mm VESA mount compatibility, while connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports (HDMI3 with ARC/eARC for Dolby Digital/Atmos) and two HDMI 2.1 ports (HDMI3 and HDMI4).

Other inputs include three USB 2.0 ports, digital audio, two 10W built-in speakers, composite-in, tuner, Ethernet, and WiFi.

Alternatives

The LG 49NANO85 is the only ~50″ 120Hz TV you can get that does not go for ~$1000 or more. Samsung’s Q60R series at this price range, for instance, only offer 120Hz and FreeSync on 55″ or larger variants.

So, if you don’t like the LG 49NANO85 because of its IPS panel, you’ll have to either get a larger 120Hz TV or invest in one of the two TVs we’ll get into next.

The Pros:

  • Decent contrast ratio
  • Impressive peak brightness
  • Wide color gamut
  • Low input lag and decent response time speed
  • 1080p 120Hz support

The Cons:

  • No HDMI 2.1 ports
  • No FreeSync support
  • No 1440p 120Hz support
  • Minor ghosting behind fast-moving objects, mostly visible in darker scenes

About The TV

The Sony XBR49X950H is the best ~50″ LED-backlit TV you can buy!

Image Quality

The Sony X950H is by far the brightest TV in this list with a stellar 1200-nit peak brightness for incredibly vivid highlights of the HDR picture.

The contrast ratio is not as impressive at around 4000:1, but you still get notably deeper blacks than that of the IPS technology with 1000:1 – 1500:1 contrast ratio.

Further, there’s a local dimming solution that can greatly improve the viewing experience in some scenes, while the ~95% DCI-P3 gamut coverage ensures rich colors.

Supported HDR formats include HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG.

Features

The Sony X950H TV also has a decent ~11ms pixel response time speed, which results in only minor visible trailing behind fast-moving objects.

Input lag is a bit higher than the ideal, amounting to ~19ms at 60Hz or ~11ms at 120Hz. However, most gamers won’t be able to notice any delays.

Additionally, the TV doesn’t support HDMI 2.1 or 1440p natively, so you can only choose between 4K 60Hz or 1080p 60Hz/120Hz.

This won’t be an issue for PS5 users as most games don’t support 4K 120FPS and PS5 doesn’t support 1440p anyway.

However, if you have the Xbox Series X/S, then the lack of 1440p 120Hz – on top of the already less than ideal input lag performance, makes this TV hard to recommend. But, since there aren’t that many options in the 50″ size range, it’s still worth considering for casual and semi-competitive gaming if you really like the other features of the TV.

The Sony XBR49X950H uses PWM dimming at a very high 720Hz dimming frequency, so it won’t bother most people sensitive to flickering. It’s based on Android TV 9.0 OS, can remove 24p judder from any source, supports 4:4:4 chroma, BFI (Clearness), and both 30FPS and 60FPS motion interpolation.

Design & Connectivity

Sony XBR49X950H TV Design

The TV has a slim and modern design with thin bezels and 200x200mm VESA mount compatibility.

Connectivity options include four HDMI 2.0 ports (HDMI3 with ARC/eARC for Dolby Digital/Atmos and DTS/DTS:X), USB 2.0, USB 3.0, digital audio, two 10W integrated speakers, composite-in, tuner, Ethernet, and WiFi.

The Pros:

  • Infinite contrast ratio
  • High peak brightness
  • Impressive color gamut
  • 4K 120Hz support
  • Low input lag and rapid response time speed
  • HDMI 2.1
  • FreeSync/G-SYNC Compatible support

The Cons:

  • Risk of permanent image burn-in

About The TV

If you want the absolute best ~50″ TV, there’s the LG OLED48CX.

Image Quality

While the LG CX has a notably lower 800-nit peak brightness than the Sony X950H, the main advantage of the OLED technology is basically infinite contrast ratio as there’s no backlight and each pixel is self-emissive.

This results in true blacks, amazing HDR image quality, and no backlight bleeding.

Additionally, the colors are exceptional thanks to the wide ~97% DCI-P3 gamut coverage and OLEDs also have the best viewing angles making the image flawless at basically an angle.

The main disadvantage, however, is the risk of permanent burn-in and temporary image retention.

If you leave your TV on for a long time with an image that has static elements (like TV channel logo), there’s a risk that it will permanently ‘burn in.’

As long as you’re careful though, this won’t be an issue and there are plenty of built-in features (screen savers, pixel refreshers, etc.) that help prevent burn-in and image retention.

For a more detailed explanation of OLED screen burn-in, you can check out our dedicated article. You can also read our full LG OLED48CX review for additional information.

Features

Yet another big advantage of OLEDs is the instantaneous <1ms pixel response time speed, which prevents overshoot and trailing behind fast-moving objects.

Input lag is excellent as well, amounting to ~14ms at 60Hz or ~7ms at 120Hz for no perceptible delay while gaming.

Both FreeSync and NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible VRR technologies are supported up to 120Hz at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K for tear-free gameplay.

Using the OLED Motion Pro feature, you can insert black frames in order to reduce perceived motion blur at both 60Hz or 120Hz.

The TV is based on WebOS, it can remove 24p judder from any source, supports 4:4:4 chroma, and there’s a framerate interpolation feature for the soap opera effect.

Supported HDR formats include HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG, but there’s no HDR10+ support.

PWM is not used to regulate brightness, but there’s a very slight and essentially unnoticeable shift in brightness every ~8ms.

Design & Connectivity

lg oled cx tv design

The OLED panel allows the TV to be exceptionally slim, as you can see in the image above. It also has a 300x200mm VESA mount compatibility.

Connectivity options include four HDMI 2.1 ports (HDMI2 with ARC/eARC for Dolby Digital/Atmos), three USB 2.0 ports, both digital and analog audio jacks, dual 10W speakers with a 20W subwoofer, composite-in, tuner, Ethernet, and WiFi.

Alternatives

If the CX is out of your price range, you might want to keep an eye on the upcoming LG 48″ A1 model, which will be cheaper, but have a lower 60Hz refresh rate.

Conclusion

Did you find the best ~50″ TV for you?

Overall, you can’t go wrong with the LG OLED48CX, however, if you can’t afford it or you’re worried about burn-in, both the LG 49NANO85 and the Sony XBR49X950H are worth considering as alternatives, depending on your personal preference.

In case you’re on a tight budget, the TCL 50S425 offers an excellent image quality and performance for the price, but we recommend saving up for the Vizio M50Q7-H1 to get the best value for the money.

Related Reads

Rob Shafer
Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.