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Step into a world of limitless entertainment with an Internet-ready TV.
With the likes of Roku TV, Android TV, Tizen, and webOS, you receive many smart capabilities ranging from apps to streaming.
In any smart TV, knowing which features are worth the price can be a costly endeavor. But, a feature you don’t want to underestimate is the resolution. 1080p is no longer the standard. We are making the switch to superior 4K picture quality. And, 4K on its own is not enough. At least not without High Dynamic Range (HDR), which enhances contrast levels and offers more color.
We are here to talk about these features and show you which smart TVs are the best.
TCL 55R617 T-Series is the ideal choice for most people. It delivers crisp images with stunning details. Its localized dimming zones give you perfect blacks and bright images.
On the other hand, the LG Electronics OLED55B8PUA is our top pick. With the help of an OLED panel, it does not need lighting and is, therefore, one of the brightest in any viewing environment.
TCL S-Series 55S405 does it all for a smart TV, yet it is not close to the most expensive options out there. With its Roku interface, it gives you access to over 500,000 movies and TV episodes.
It is clear that some of the features on the TCL 55S405 are budgetary. Contrarily, you get a 4K resolution and the HDR for lifelike images. Although basic, picture clarity is exceptional on the 55-inch display.
Its color accuracy achieves a Delta E rating of 2.2. It is quite adequate, though we would have loved to see it closer to zero as it’s better that way. Seeing that TCL 55S405 reproduces detailed images, we can see why most households love to gather in front of this TV.
This smart TV comes with an LED direct-lit display. The result is a decent picture clarity since dark scenes tend to be darker, especially when watching in a poorly lit room. Fortunately, it boasts a 120Hz refresh rate to eliminate blurring in fast-paced action movies.
TCL 55S405 is quite slim and will fit nicely in any living room. It has a 0.8-inch bezel at the bottom while the top is only 0.6 inches thick. It uses a glossy, black, plastic bezel that should last in good condition seeing that most people don’t move their TV a lot.
Input, Streaming, and Audio Quality
Don’t let the sub-par picture quality keep you from this TV as it has some areas where it truly shines above the rest. You will find the Roku media platform intuitive and exceptional thanks to the unlimited access to plenty of channels and movies. You can stream Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Google Play, game consoles, cable TV, and more.
It comes with a responsive user interface that allows you to sort movies by title, actor name, director name. You can even use your voice to browse through the offered content. It is incredible that it has a mobile app that brings in the audio and voice search capabilities. The app also allows you to listen over headphones on your tablet or smartphone so you can still watch with the volume level of your choice.
TCL 55S405 comes with a beautiful set of 8W speakers to produce two-channel sound. You may still want to bring in a nice soundbar, but its audio is enough to fill a large room.
When it comes to the ports, TCL 55S405 offers an Ethernet port, three HDMI 2.0 ports with HDCP and one with ARC. It has a USB port, composite, RF, a headphone jack, and audio out.
The brightness of TCL 55S405 is something most people pick a bone with. It seems to be darker than most smart TVs. Even though you can increase the brightness, the picture washes out, and you have bad picture quality at high brightness levels.
TCL 55S405 is one of the highly functional smart TVs on the cheap. If you are entering the smart TV world and want to test how good it can get, this model sits right in with your needs. You may not get movie-theater picture quality, but it as good as you can get for the price.
From the T Series, TCL has their brilliant and top choice model at a midrange price; the TCL 55R617. This TV comes with advanced features and good picture quality.
TCL 55R617 is thin and elegant, but its priority is getting perfect picture quality. The TV has accurate colors with rich contrast and perfect brightness. If you have dealt with skewed colors on any of the TCL models especially on the S-series, you can count on the T series to give you a much better experience.
TCL 55R617 55-inch has locally dimmed backlights in 96 zones resulting in good brightness with the blacks preserved well. You should not see any shadowy areas when watching a drone scene of New York’s skyscrapers.
This TV boasts an accurate reproduction of over 1 billion colors. It falls right in with its claim of producing videophile-grade picture quality.
We like that TCL 55R617 uses brushed metal bezels over plastic ones. It looks so good that it might pass for a pricier smart TV. The TV is wall mountable, and you will find the two stands do not stick out from the bottom when it is on a flat surface.
Streaming and Inputs
Away from its striking imagery, TCL 55R617 works with the Roku media interface. It is rated as the most advanced, yet it is simple to use. If you’ve never experienced Roku TV before, then the streaming options it provides will amaze you. It offers YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon streaming, to name a few.
This platform offers free updates with feature improvements. The apps and the inputs are all on the homepage, and it allows a cross-platform search making it easy to compare prices. You can also pause live TV from a USB Stick and antenna source.
The voice app offers you the ability to search with your voice. It also allows you to enjoy the TV audio via your headphones on a smartphone or a tablet.
Its ports include three HDMI (HDCP 2.2 and HDMI 2.0a), an analog video input (composite), Ethernet and USB ports, a headphone jack, one RF input, and an optical digital audio output.
Viewing this TV from an angle reveals some reflective issues that can affect how you see a scene. It can be annoying since most of the time you may be sharing the TV with other members of your household.
TCL 55R617 proves that you can have picture clarity and streaming capability on a budget. Seeing that it is equipped with advanced image processing including HDR10 and Dolby Vision, this TV is going to serve you in the long haul.
Samsung has always led the pack when it comes to technology. Their Samsung UN55NU8000FXZA is in the same class as TCL 55R617, but with a few tweaks that make it unique.
Samsung UN55NU8000FXZA looks stylish, but without any unnecessary design choices. It has a thin LED bezel and a black border that is only 0.25 inches thick. The bezel is almost non-existent, and its complemented with a brushed metallic band. The gorgeous silver stand finalizes the overall elegant design.
This TV gives you stunning images from the 4K screen that supports HDR video. It is also able to handle hybrid log gamma and HDR10+. With this model, you get bright, colorful images even though it does not support Dolby visuals.
With the help of the 120Hz motion rate, high motion pictures are speckle-free, and only a small trail follows them. As for the contrast ratio, it is a bit flawed, but it can produce a high native contrast ratio. It allows you to view everything in detail thanks to its Ultra Slim Array. The Ultra Slim Array controls lighting and makes dark zones on the screen appear truly dark.
Although it performs well in a dark room, you may be dealing with reflectivity when watching it in a bright room. Glare is prominent when viewing the TV from an angle.
You will like that you won’t notice the dirty screen effect, which is useful for watching sports. This way you can invite friends over to enjoy crisp action.
The ports on the Samsung UN55NU8000FXZA are on the right side together with the cable management system. You get an Ethernet port, two USB ports, four HDMI ports, a 3.5-inch audio jack, antenna/cable connection, and an optical audio output.
Samsung chooses to use its smart TV platform. Like Roku and Android platforms, it also gives you a wide array of streaming services and apps to choose from. It has two live TV guides that include the standard live TV guide and TV Plus. You get to stream Internet TV channels like Pluto without needing to have a subscription.
Not to mention that it can also stream Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, and more. Samsung UN55NU8000FXZA also gives you access to its Steam Link Support and GameFly Streaming. The auto game mode comes in handy since the TV allows gaming consoles to optimize its settings for superior refresh rates and minimal input lag.
The Samsung UN55NU8000FXZA allows you to do voice search with the Bixby Intelligent Voice Assistant.
This TV does not include a composite output such that it is impossible to connect old video systems, DVD players, and VCRs. The sound quality of 40W speakers isn’t even close to the best. The bass rattles and the mids and highs sound confined at volume levels above 50%.
If high-end smart TVs are a bit too much for you, Samsung UN55NU8000FXZA is in the midrange with a nice balance of features. Its motion control, black uniformity, and contrast ratio are some of the best in its class. It manages to bring out its entertaining side while remaining functional and elegant.
Sony XBR65X900F sets the bar quite high. It brings the outstanding 4K resolution, Alexa voice control support, and an inbuilt Google Chromecast. You can find it in sizes of 65 and 75 inches, and both of them will set you back quite a bit. So, why Sony XBR65X900F?
This TV does not scream for attention, at least when it is turned off. But when the pictures come to life, the thin bezels disappear, and all you have is a beautiful image as it processes color with utter perfection.
Sony XBR65X900F is a solid TV that never suffers from design flaws like loose seams and gaps. It is a direct-lit TV that combines local dimming to bring out bright images. It produces a brightness of 990 nits, making it one of the brightest TVs you will have for the money.
With a 120Hz refresh rate, Sony XBR65X900F processes fast-moving images correctly. The refresh rate makes playing games like Need for Speed Payback on the PlayStation 4 more enjoyable than on other TVs. What’s more, it does well in all environments whether in shadowy scenes or with bright and dark colors.
It can reproduce up to 99.96% sRGB color space, and it expresses high color accuracy to showcase its rich color processing. We like that it includes a decent remote controller and though we have observed it is a bit old-fashioned, it gets the job done.
Sony opts to use its customized Android Smart TV Platform. It is replete with streaming options including the popular Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and a wide array of apps from Google Play Store. You will like that it supports both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It is an effortless way of connecting all your devices and connecting your Smart TV for a seamless smart home.
Better still, this TV gives you an array of ports including four HDMI ports. All the HDMI ports support 4K HDR sources and HDMI 2.2CP, but HDMI 2 and three are recommended for high bandwidth sources like 4K HDR gaming consoles. The TV also has three USB ports, a headphone jack, an audio input port, IR blaster port, Ethernet, optical audio output, and antenna/cable TV port.
Although Sony XBR65X900F has competitive sound quality, you won’t be able to enjoy high-quality bass sounds. Its 10-watt speakers lack treble and will need support from a good soundbar.
Sony XBR65X900F is a great option for everyone looking for 4K HDR picture quality on a smart TV. It processes every image with precision and clarity that leaves you happy with your purchase. Thanks to various voice assistants, your input gets simplified even if its Android platform is cluttered.
Vizio P Series is an exceptional 4K smart TV. It lets you enjoy Live TV, movies, games, music, and more, on solid 4K HDR for immersive viewing.
If you are looking to get the home theatre experience, Vizio P Series might meet your needs. A generous 75-inch screen measured diagonally is sure to fill your living room. It comes with a slim metallic stand, a brushed metallic bezel, and a plastic back. It does not, however, have cable management, but you will like the overall sleek and premium design.
For life-like pictures, the Vizio P Series explores HDR10, HLG, and Dolby vision. Pictures are not only bright and balanced but also crisp, no matter the scene. It offers 2160 pixels resolution for ultra HD quality in images.
Vizio P Series is a model of the future as more entertainment companies continue to adopt the 4K platform. It uses its special scaling engine to transform HD and full HD content to 4K Ultra HD resolution. It enjoys a nice contrast ratio with the localized dimming of up to 120 zones. This means it can reproduce deep blacks in dark environments as well as vibrant colors and high levels of brightness.
We like that this TV has a quick start mode to turn the TV on with your voice. It allows it to boot faster and therefore uses less energy.
Smart Platform and Ports
Vizio P Series gives you access to hundreds of streaming channels and apps over the Vizio SmartCast smart interface. It is Chromecast media streaming enabled such that you can stream from any smart device. It becomes an extension of all your smart devices like phones, tablets, gaming consoles, and more.
This TV comes with 18 pre-installed apps, and it does not have a way to add more besides the constant Vizio updates.
Its connectivity features include five HDMI ports. One is HDMI 1.4, which is suitable for 1080p/120Hz, while the others are HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 support. The other ports include a USB port, Ethernet, optical digital audio, composite, video input, and a stereo analog audio.
The smart TV interface is slow compared to other platforms. It tags behind Roku and Android, and the inability to add apps also makes it less versatile. You will find that the screen brightness is too bright on words such that it is impossible to watch movies with subtitles.
Vizio P Series features state of the art visuals and a balance of contrast and brightness found in some of the best smart TVs. Though with a slow smart interface, its HDR and Dolby Visual combined with a large number of ports make it a nice option.
LG Electronics OLED55B8PUA is another great option. The major downside is a higher price than most smart TVs thanks to its AI ThinkQ and OLED technology.
LG gives us its most elegant OLED smart TV. It does not have any build issues and feels solid owing to the thin metallic bezels. When measured diagonally, the TV is 56.4 inches such that everyone can get an immersive view when installed in a large living room. The ports face the side, making them easy to access.
Being an OLED TV, it does not need a light source, and therefore offers better picture quality in dark rooms. LG is the only company that makes OLED screens without skimping on the latest technologies. It makes pictures noticeably better, even the upscaled ones from YouTube and Netflix.
With its a7(Alpha 7) Intelligent Processor, LG can bring forth bright images and in-depth details. It has pixel-level dimming that, together with AI ThinQ technology, helps to brighten, dim, or power off pixels. The result is a high-detail picture with perfect blacks.
The screen does not only have a 4K resolution, but it is also supported by HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG for scene-by-scene optimization.
Audio is not always the stellar feature in smart TVs. But, LG OLED55B8PUA integrates Dolby Atmos to produce cinematic sound. The bass is not as punchy, but it has details in the sound. As always, you will need a home theatre sound system to complete your entertainment setup.
Smart Platform and Ports
LG’s smart platform gives you access to over 70 free premium channels on popular streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Video, and YouTube. It runs on version 4 of the LG Smart platform, which has a considerable number of apps, though not as many as you could find on the Google Play store.
This interface works fast thanks to the a7 processor, which ensures that everything runs smoothly. You should not experience any frame drops on the B8, but the experience is much faster on the C8 which uses an Alpha 9 processor.
LG OLED55B8PUA has four HDMI ports, three USB ports, one composite port, Ethernet, RF, optical, a mini jack, and an audio return channel.
This TV suffers from blur and streaks when watching fast action movies. You need to have sharp eyes to notice, but there are other TVs that cost less and have higher refresh rates.
LG OLED55B8PUA takes center stage with its OLED panel. Knowing that it performs well in all lighting conditions means you never have to deal with washed out colors and low contrast ratio. In addition to the use of intelligent voice control, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to enjoy the perks of a smart TV.
We’ve always admired how well Samsung gets on top of technology with its innovative features. With the Samsung QN65Q9F, we see a model that explored QLED technology for pristine depth.
At 65 inches you will probably never want to watch the game alone. Everything about it is cinematic. It pushes color technology with 100% color volume and over a billion shades owing to its proprietary Quantum Dots.
Samsung has its unique HDR technology to tailor its visual experience to QLED. It brings out colors in dark scenes and delivers crisp detail through its anti-reflective screen. With a motion rate of 240Hz, you can play the fastest action movies without any blur.
We love this TV’s build quality. It is engineered with inorganic materials that ensure it lasts in good condition. It explores the Q Style Elite design to minimize on the wires. It comes with a separate box for the wires such that you have a clean TV.
Watching TV is now seamless and effortless on Samsung’s Q Smart Hub platform. You can find streaming channels and live TV with a live universal guide or Bixby voice assistant. It allows you to sync all your compatible devices for fast and easy access to channels.
What’s more, you can get your questions answered by the Bixby Voice Assistant. Whether you want to know the current weather or the meaning of a word, Bixby is all you need.
The ports on the Samsung QN65Q9F include four HDMI ports, three USB ports, Ethernet, digital optical audio out, analog audio out RCA, and a tuner.
Samsung has been rated poorly for its customer service. For such an expensive smart TV, we expect follow-ups and repairs to be prompt. It can resemble a cat and mouse chase seeing that you may find yourself being passed on from department to department with no solution in sight.
Samsung QN65Q9F is a phenomenal quantum color smart TV. With a single cable connection, it remains sleek thanks to the Connect box. With its distinct HDR technology, powerful voice controls, and intuitive user interface, you get value for the money. It features more than other smart TVs in its price range.
Best smart TVs can greatly improve the entertainment in your home. You can use them to watch movies, TV shows, stream Netflix and other on-demand content services, play video games, and plenty more.
But, not all of the smart TVs are created equal. Unfortunately, some of them aren’t worth spending money on. The problem is that all of them look the same until you take a careful look.
Before you can distinguish between a smart TV that will last you a long time and a smart TV that isn’t worthy of your money, you need to know a couple of things. Unfortunately, searching for all of the relevant info will take you a long time.
Luckily, we have dedicated a lot of time to gather all of the useful information, so you don’t have to.
To put it short, OLED is the best picture technology. LED TVs are backlit, while the OLED ones are not. OLED TVs use every pixel by turning it on and off, they don’t need a backlight. The result is picture quality that is superior to LED TVs.
When it comes to working under different lighting conditions, LED TVs work well in well-lit spaces. On the other hand, OLED TVs look great in dim rooms.
Since LED TVs can’t go completely dark, the shadows won’t look as good as on OLED TVs. More importantly, OLED TVs make the colors pop, so the contrast is true to life. When it comes to black levels, OLED TVs take another victory.
LED TVs have problems with viewing angles – they force you to sit directly in front of them. Contrarily, OLED TVs can be viewed from almost any angle. If you want a slim smart TV, go for an OLED TV – they are slimmer than LED TVs.
The only superiority that the LED TVs have over OLED TVs is the price. So, if the price is an issue, then an LED TV might be a better choice. Fortunately, OLED TV prices are dropping, so you might want to wait with your next purchase.
UHD (Ultra High Definition) TVs allow you to enjoy movies and video games in the 4K resolution. While most of the smart TVs come in UHD, some of them support only the 1080p resolution. Some people might tell you that they can’t see the difference between 4K and 1080p, but we sure can, especially on a high-quality smart TV. But, if you are curious if you can spot the differences, you can try to do it in any well-stocked shop.
Since 4K resolution has become a standard, we have to say that it is worth spending money on it. On the other hand, 8K resolution is pretty new, and there is almost nothing to watch in such a high resolution. So, if you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars, feel free to ignore 8K TVs.
If you want to see a big improvement of the picture quality, go for a TV that is compatible with HDR (High Dynamic Range). Bear in mind that you will need to watch HDR content if you want to get the most use out of it.
In conclusion, if you want the best picture quality, then go for a 4K HDR smart TV.
Now that you know what kind of a smart TV to look for, you need to know about a few important factors.