Earlier this week, I made an update to our input lag database with several new HDTVs, just in time for the holiday/Black Friday sales. I felt an updated guide was in order, as several new HDTVs have hit the market, including a plethora of 4K options. With the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 seeing some tempting price drops and bundle deals, it only makes sense to pair them with a new low-latency display. Tired of what you’re currently gaming on? Then read on to find out our top picks for this fall!
It should be no surprise to anyone to see Sony once again claim the top spot for one of the best gaming HDTVs on the market. Sony has been offering incredibly low input lag timings in their main HDTVs since 2013, once set into the “Game” scene mode, bringing average input lag values as low as 17ms. This makes the HDTV responsive enough for almost any kind of gaming genre you throw at it, whether it’s twitch-based shooting or frame-perfect fighting games. I personally own a 2013 KDL-65W850A, tested to be approximately 18ms of input lag, and it feels wonderful for everything I throw at it. The W950B also features Sony’s strobing backlight technology, labeled as Motionflow Impulse. Enabling this mode drastically increases motion clarity, at the cost of display brightness. Enabling this function will provide similar motion clarity to an old-school CRT display. The W950B series comes in both 55-inch and 65-inch sizes, with identical input lag ratings across both. While not a 4K set, its 1080p resolution will be relevant for several more years before 4K becomes a true standard. It’s definitely a set to consider if input lag is a big priority for your gaming needs. Click here for reviews and current pricing from Amazon
This is a really hard category. Unfortunately, unlike 1080p sets, there isn’t a clear-cut winner when it comes to 4K gaming sets. The best ones all hover in the same 40ms input lag range, a consistent trend since 4K’s big debut this year. The best sets I had tested at the time were Sony’s line of XBR sets, with everything else testing over 60ms of input lag. The story changed a bit this year, particularly with Samsung. Samsung issued a firmware update to several of their 4K sets, such as the HU9000 series, which cut input lag numbers by nearly half. The input lag of Samsung 4K HDTVs are now very comparable to Sony’s lineup of 4K HDTVs, literally within 1-2ms of each other. The HU8550 series is one of the 4K models that achieved this lower input lag rating, with an input lag rating of 40ms under “Game” mode. I personally feel that the HU8550 achieves the best balance of picture quality and input lag. Some of Samsung’s higher-end 4K sets also have the same input lag rating, but are cost-prohibitive, venturing into the $5,000+ price range. Several of them also feature curved screens, which aren’t for everyone. On the opposite end of the spectrum, entry level sets such as the Sony X850B and Samsung HU7250 may lack the kind of quality you expect at the $2,000 price range. After all, 4K capability still carries a premium for being a new standard. The HU8550 series features local dimming, a 120hz refresh rate, and the Smart TV features you’ve come to expect from modern Samsung HDTV. Four HDMI 2.0 inputs, as well as component and composite inputs, are available to connect almost every device you’d need to connect. It does support HDCP 2.2 to maximize the compatibility of 4K content. Click here for reviews and current pricing from Amazon
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There is another 4K HDTV that must be considered, as it features the lowest recorded input lag in a 4K display. I haven’t tested this HDTV personally, but there is enough evidence submitted to me by readers that a specific VIZIO model, the VIZIO P552ui-B2, features an excellent average input lag rating of 18ms under “Game” mode, using the HDMI 5 input. A video posted by AVSForum user buzzard767 documents the latency when these conditions are met, which greatly exceeds any other 4K set on the market. This HDTV is also capable of accepting a native 1080p@120hz signal from a PC under the HDMI 5 input, which VIZIO dubs as “High Velocity” mode. VIZIO is currently the only manufacturer on the market that officially support native 120hz input via HDMI, which does wonders for PC gamers and reducing input lag. Some other HDTVs also have this capability, though it requires unofficial workarounds and tweaks to get it working. If you must have a 4K HDTV with the lowest possible input lag, then the VIZIO P552ui-B2 is currently the only 4K HDTV on the market that can offer it. Click here for reviews and current pricing from Amazon[/tab][/tabs]
Almost certain to fly over everyone’s radar, I tested this little gem earlier this week and found it to have one of the lowest input lag numbers available in its screen size. It’s one of LG’s most basic displays, featuring a 1080p resolution and a 60hz refresh rate. No fancy WebOS or Smart TV functionality here either. For what it lacks in flash, it makes up for in operation. The OSD is very quick and responsive, along with its low input lag numbers when set to “Game” picture mode. Which, by the way, clocks in at a very low 27ms, putting it very close to some of Sony’s faster displays! Two HDMI inputs are present, along with an old school component/composite connection, for those still rocking analog devices. The real star of the show is its price tag. Here’s a hint: it’s well under $500, making it the perfect impulse purchase for any gamer. Click here for reviews and current pricing from Amazon
With the emphasis on 3D, 240hz, 4K resolution, curved screens, and everything in between, sometimes we tend to forget about the little guy, like this tiny 32″ LG HDTV I recently came across. Don’t expect anything crazy here; you’re getting 720p resolution, 60hz refresh rate, no Smart TV functions, and two HDMI ports. With that said, it meets two important criteria worth mentioning: low price and low input lag. Specifically, a low input lag of 30ms. It can also be found for under $300, which warrants consideration if you’re on a strict budget. Click here for reviews and current pricing from Amazon
Want something even cheaper? The 2012 Samsung UN32EH4003 is still one of the best values found in budget-priced HDTVs, and features an input lag of 26ms. I’m sure one of these two displays will fulfill the gaming needs of those unwilling to break the bank.
This concludes our top gaming choices for fall 2014. Hopefully this article helped towards narrowing down the perfect gaming display for your needs!