Microsoft has made it clear that the Xbox One X is not for everyone – it’s for the hardcore gamer who wants the very best in console gaming power. Which is a neatly subtle way of guilting us all into saying “I, sir, am hardcore, so I shall be having one”. I, personally, shall be having one, but I’ve also realised that there’s no point in having a 4K console without a 4K TV. So I set out to find one, and you should do the same.
First things first, I’m not a Rupert, or an Oppenheimer, or one of Christo Wiese’s kin (those are all rich people in South Africa, by the way, try to keep up), so my prospects were limited – as are yours for the most part, I assume. A Samsung 65″ QLED UHD television is a little rich for my blood. But there are a number of 4K TVs out there right now that won’t have you selling your precious kidneys, so let’s take a quick look at your options, shall we?
First of all, if you’re going to bother with a 4K TV for gaming, you need to make sure that your new set features HDR among its back-of-the-box bullet points. There are a number of UHD screens which look the business on paper, but if you dig into the model number you’ll see that HDR is conspicuous in its absence. That simply won’t do. A lot of the Hisense TVs look hella cheap, and have everything to lure you in, but no HDR. Oh, and for the record, I reckon somewhere between R10,000 and R13,000 is the basic range if you’re considering getting into 4K gaming. Sure, you can spend R40,000, but come on, we all still have to buy bread. And games.
Which brings us to the Samsung 55″ MU7000. I’ll be honest, this was my first choice. You get Samsung brand peace of mind, with a nice 55″ of screen real estate. I feel that 55″ is the golden size at this price point. Most of us are coming off of somewhere between 40″ and 48″ FHD screens, so it’s essential that your replacement screen makes big enough a difference to make you feel like you spent you Christmas bonus wisely. This one comes in both flat and curved variants, and if you’re lucky you’ll find a Makro with stock of the MU7000 with a 2.1ch Samsung sound bar thrown in for around R12,000.
Hisense also has a few relatively affordable screens, but you’ll have to accept the caveat that your TV will say Hisense at the bottom. Sorry, brand snob sensibilities coming through there. The Hisense 55″ 55M5010W has all the bells and whistles within that price range – HDR specifically – and it’s going for around R10,500. That being said, I saw a few Hisense screens on display at various retailers though, and they all seemed to have a sort of washed out look. Faded whites and greyed out blacks.
In the end I settled for an LG unit. The LG 55UJ630V. And I’ll tell you, within its price range, it’s a thing of beauty. It doesn’t hurt that my surround sound rig is already LG, so I’ve got that whole brand loyalty thing going. But regardless, this TV is a looker. The bezel is, like, “omg where’s the bezel” thin, and the picture quality is, well, it’s just lovely. I upgraded my Netflix account to the UHD variant, and it worked a treat – especially with the Netflix button right there on the remote.
I was genuinely worried that I would cough up the cash and wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between this and my LG 42″ FHD screen, but I was blown away. As was the chap who was tasked with carrying the bloody thing up the stairs to my sitting room. It’s got Netflix baked right into the unit, and firing up the UHD content streams gave me instant buyers glee. Watched some stupid coral reef documentary and I was like, oh jeez oh wow oh coral reefs are so beautiful. In that voice. It set me back R11,000.
I’m going to be straight with you, even though I went LG, if you can find the above mentioned Samsung 55″ for around R12,000, take it. It’s a better screen, and that’s all there is to it. But stock seems to be super limited right now, so if your Xbox One X is primed for a 22 December arrival (as it should be), just make sure you have at least one of these televisions perched on your entertainment unit come launch day.
On that note, you might need a bigger entertainment unit. If you’re accustomed to 40-something inches as I was, 55″ will look like Ster Kinekor broke into your house and installed a screen.
Anyway, for now I’m going to go watch some more coral reefs in deep, rich HDR with brights that burn my retina and darks that quench my soul.