Xbox Series X can run games in 120Hz while outputting 4K, but that’s meaningless if you don’t have one of the few TVs capable of supporting both.
Given the impressive new technical capabilities Microsoft is promising with the upcoming Xbox Series X console, potential owners will need to do exhaustive research to find a smart TV that takes advantage of the upgrades. Many of the defining traits of next-gen console gaming are tied directly to a TV’s display capabilities. Sure, promised features like faster loading times and ray tracing will affect every Xbox Series X owner, but things like HDR, 4K resolution, and variable refresh rate almost guarantee the need to upgrade a display.
4K Smart TVs are now easier to find than ever, but features beyond that are where things get complicated. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X boasts 12 teraflops of computing power and the best way to showcase that is through running games smoothly with a 120Hz refresh rate. Furthermore, a TV with meaningful HDR capability is also a necessity for those interested in getting the best image quality possible. The problem is, it’s hard to find an affordable TV that combines 4K resolution, quality HDR, and support for up to 120Hz. As a result, the majority of Xbox Series X buyers in 2020 are unlikely to be able to take advantage of the machine’s astounding performance options.
Fortunately, the rarity of a single smart TV with all the necessary features also helps narrow down the field of best choices to pair with a new Xbox. Without question, the best display available in 2020 is the LG OLED CX line. This smart TV has a feature set that opens the door to everything we’ve heard the Xbox Series X can do, including that vaunted 4K/120Hz performance. What pushes it over the top though is the variety of display perks related to smoother, more responsive gameplay. These include things like Auto Low-Latency Mode (ALLM – the TV will switch settings to decrease input delay automatically when it detects the Xbox) and G-Sync (synchronizes refresh rate and frame rate to create the most fluid image possible). The LG CX also has one major advantage over practically every TV on the market: 120Hz gaming requires HDMI 2.1 and each of this TV’s four HDMI ports is 2.1 compatible.
Less Expensive TVs To Maximize Xbox Series X
The LG OLED CX smart TV may have the best combination of features, but it’s also expensive with the smallest sizes coming in around $1,500. That opens the door for a few competing displays that may not have quite a laundry list of features, but will still go great with the Xbox Series X. One such option is the Samsung QLED Q90/Q80. These displays handle HDR, 4K resolution, ALLM, and can manage 120Hz. They’re also more resistant to screen burn-in than OLED displays. Compared to the LG OLEDs, the biggest drawbacks here are the lack of G-Sync (though, they have great input delay as-is) and the fact that they only provide one HDMI 2.1-capable port. If those aren’t deal-breakers, a Samsung QLED Q90 or Q80 will usually cost about $200-$500 less than the LG OLED CX line.
For anyone who wants to get the most out of Microsoft’s new flagship console without spending over $1,000 on a TV, there’s still a good option right now. The TCL 6-Series Roku smart TV, which can often be found for about $600, is a great display that boasts 120Hz capability. Its low price comes with two caveats, however. The first is the TV is limited to 1440p when outputting at 120Hz. For what it’s worth, the Xbox Series S caps out at 1440p, which makes this TV perfect for the cheaper next-gen Xbox. Additionally, based on the few reports about Xbox Series X games running at 120Hz, most use a variable resolution which fluctuates between 1440p and full 4K.
The other caveat with the TCL 6-Series is its viewing angle. For gaming specifically, viewing angle isn’t much of a concern, considering the player is likely seated directly in front of the display. If the TV is intended to be watched by multiple people, however, those viewing from side angles will get a compromised image quality and colors. Still, for $600-$800 that may be worth it for a cheaper TV to match the Xbox Series X.
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