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The 5 Best Smart TVs
Reviews

Best Smart TVs

194 Televisions Tested
  • Store-bought TVs; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
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Nowadays, finding a TV that isn't smart is very difficult. Only very cheap TVs, or old ones, will be without smart features. Generally, these won't have very good picture quality. Thankfully, they've grown to be a much better experience than they used to, so it's less problematic even if you dislike them. Not all smart TVs are built equal, though. Some platforms are much better than the others when it comes to speed, stability, features and supported apps.

We've tested 54 TVs and below are our recommendations for the best smart TVs to buy in the spring of 2018.

What is a Smart TV?

In their most basic form, a smart TV is a television that is connected to the internet and provides web-related features. It can be a web browser, but their appeal usually comes from their ability to use online services such as Netflix, Youtube, and Spotify. If you've ever used something like an Apple TV, a Roku or a Chromecast, then you are already quite familiar with their capabilities as they are quite similar.

Unfortunately though, while they offer the same features, they tend to be a bit slower and less stable. This has become less of an issue in recent years, but most TVs still don't quite match the speed and reliability of something like a Roku set-top box.

Best Smart TV: LG B7A

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
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Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2015
  • 0.9: Winter 2014
  • 0.8: Winter 2013
9.3
Movies
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What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
Type : OLED
Sub-Type
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What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
:
WRGB
Resolution : 4k
Sizes : 55" 65"

Of the 54 TVs we've tested in the past year, the best smart TV remains the LG OLED B7A. It is a versatile OLED TV with great features and a modern design. It is able to produce an amazing picture quality, with true blacks and an infinite contrast ratio. It also has an excellent wide viewing angle and is bright enough for most rooms.

It runs the impressive LG WebOS 3.5, which is easy to use and has a wide availability of apps. It doesn't have the new voice controls found on the LG C8 with ThinQ AI, but the voice controls work well. The B7A is often interchangeable with the C7. They are very similar TVs and whichever one is cheaper is the better buy.

See our review

Best Mid-Range Smart TV: Sony X900E

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
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Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2015
  • 0.9: Winter 2014
  • 0.8: Winter 2013
8.2
Mixed Usage
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What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
8.3
Movies
Show Help
What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
8.2
TV Shows
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What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
8.0
Sports
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What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
8.3
Video Games
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What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
8.2
HDR Movies
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What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
8.1
HDR Gaming
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What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
8.2
PC Monitor
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What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Score components:
Type : LED
Sub-Type
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What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
:
VA
Resolution : 4k
Sizes : 49" 55" 65" 75"

The best mid-range smart TV is the Sony X900E 4k LED TV. It comes packaged with the Android TV 7.0 smart platform which is rich in features and apps.

The Sony X900E has great picture quality at a reasonable price. It has an excellent native contrast ratio which is great for dark room viewing. The low input lag and great motion handling make it a great choice for gamers.

The smart interface isn't as advanced or as polished as WebOS, preferring function over style. It has the popular Google Play Store built-in, although only a small assortment of Android Apps are available. The voice assistant is one of the best, and understands some complex requests, although it is limited in its ability to change TV settings or access the menus.

See our review

Wide Room Alternative: LG SK9000

Type : LED
Sub-Type
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What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
:
IPS
Resolution : 4k
Sizes : 55" 65"

If you have a wide viewing area with lots of side seating or like to multitask, the limited viewing angle of the Sony X900E might be problematic. The LG SK9000 is a great alternative. It is a little more expensive than the X900E, but the IPS panel has a much wider viewing angle. It also has much better input lag and an improved Black Frame Insertion feature, which is great for gaming. LG's WebOS 4.0 smart interface is modern, feature-packed and fun to use.

See our review

Best Budget Smart TV: TCL R617

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
Show Help

Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2015
  • 0.9: Winter 2014
  • 0.8: Winter 2013
8.6
Video Games
Show Help
What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
Type : LED
Sub-Type
Show Help
What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
:
VA
Resolution : 4k
Sizes : 55" 65"

The TCL R617 is the best budget smart TV on the market. It has great picture quality and is perfect for bright and dark room viewing, although the viewing angle is a bit limited. It has good motion handling and great low input lag.

The smart features are excellent. The interface is one of the smoothest ones out there, with no frame drops or lag. The remote app is the best one. Beyond replacing the remote, many advanced settings can only be set with the remote app. It has a private listening feature that transfers the audio to your smart phone when playing videos from apps or streaming channels.

See our review

Cheaper Alternative: TCL S405

Type : LED
Sub-Type
Show Help
What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
:
VA
Resolution : 4k
Sizes : 43" 49" 55" 65"

The best budget smart TV is the TCL S405 LED TV. It's an inexpensive 4k TV that still comes with great smart features. It comes with the very popular Roku smart platform which is very responsive and easy to use.

While it doesn't have some of the more advanced features or personal digital assistants found on the higher end models, it can still compete with some of the more expensive models. It has a great contrast ratio, although it isn't very bright. It also has exceptionally low input lag, which is great for use as a PC Monitor. It has a powerful remote app for your phone, which even allows you to transfer the audio from your TV to your headphones plugged into your phone, which is great for late night viewing.

See our review

Not only does almost every TV include smart features today, most of them are pretty good. LG's WebOS and TCL's Roku definitely stand out for their quality, but most shoppers should be pleased by the features of any of them. If you're shopping for a TV, don't fret too much on their smart features since little of your time is going to be spent using them. Instead,  focus on the picture quality or other features that complement your usage. You'll get much closer to finding your perfect TV that way.

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