Flat screens are a staple across the majority of modern households today. But technology has advanced past just your regular TV set. New models boast smart features that take your viewing experience to a whole new level. Whether you’re streaming your favorite show, gaming with your friends, or joining the family together to enjoy the latest box office masterpiece, it definitely pays to know your options for the best smart TVs.
There is the age-old warning from parents that TV will rot your brain, but that is not always the case. In fact, a recent study found that watching films with a particular mindset can be extremely beneficial and even therapeutic. It’s called the ‘Movie Method,’ and it involves watching films with mindful engagement (M), observing responses (O), voicing experiences (V), identifying personal relevance (I), and exploring new possibilities (E). Try it and see how you personally experience movies and TV shows differently moving forward.
If you love to kick back and watch some TV to destress, you’re not alone. A recent survey found that on a day-to-day basis, the average adult watches TV for three-and-a-half hours, amounting to 1,248 hours each year. In fact, another survey found that watching TV is a more common relaxation activity than yoga or taking a bath.
How to Choose the Best Smart TV: A Comprehensive Guide
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a smart TV:
- Screen size: Smart TVs come in a variety of screen sizes, from 32 inches to 85 inches or more. Choose a screen size that is appropriate for the room where you will be using the TV.
- Screen resolution: Smart TVs typically have a screen resolution of 1080p (Full HD) or 4K (Ultra HD). 4K TVs offer sharper and more detailed images, but they are also more expensive.
- Smart TV platform: Smart TVs use different smart TV platforms, such as Android TV, Roku TV, and Tizen. Choose a platform that offers the streaming apps and features that you are interested in.
- Price: Smart TVs can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Set a budget before you start shopping.
So, which smart TVs do the experts call the best bang for your buck? StudyFinds did the research, consulting 10 tech and pop culture websites in an effort to bring you a consensus list of the best smart TVs available. Our list comprises the seven most frequently listed TV sets from across these sites. Think we left a quality smart TV off the list? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
The List: Best Smart TVs, According to Tech Experts
1. Samsung S90C
The top spot on the list of the best smart TVs belongs to the Samsung S90C. This smart TV offers everything you need to create a world-class entertainment experience in your home.
“The best smart television we’ve tested is the Samsung S90C OLED. It’s an amazing TV with a great selection of smart features, including support for Bixby and Alexa voice assistants. This means you can choose your preferred platform and spend less time searching for content and more time enjoying your new TV. If you don’t want to use voice assistants, its well-organized Tizen smart interface is fast and easy to use. It has a huge selection of streaming apps, so you can quickly find your favorite shows,” explains RTINGS.
One of the main features users are looking for in a new smart TV is the variety and selection of apps. The more apps a smart TV offers, the better the experience. Streaming apps aside, most of us are also looking for a quality gaming experience. Samsung understands the value of gaming in the home entertainment space, and it’s this type of versatility that makes the Samsung S90C one of the best TVs on the market.
“Not just a beautiful TV, the Samsung S90C is also a gamers‘ paradise. With a refresh rate of 144Hz, it has four 2.1 HDMI ports that all support 4K 120Hz, VRR and ALLM. It also has a gaming hub so you can tweak setting easily to get the most out of your games. Add to this built-in sound quality that beats almost all other TVs, including LG’s OLEDs, you get a complete package with the S90C,” furthers techradar.
You’ll want to upgrade the sound system on nearly every smart TV you come across, but the Samsung S90C’s stock speakers will more than suffice until you find the perfect surround sound system for your new TV. Did we mention this is probably the best smart TV for gaming? Just check out the Samsung Gaming Hub and hit the sticks.
“The Samsung S90c packs some exciting gaming features for a smart TV. It supports streaming on platforms like Netflix, Apple TV+, and Xbox. It packs Samsung’s OLED technology along with 4K resolution and a native refresh rate of 120 Hz. Among its strong points are the Neural Quantum Processor with 4K Upscaling; Quantum HDR OLED, and Real Depth Enhancer. It features the Samsung Gaming Hub where gamers can play console games and check out game streaming apps,” adds GameRant.
2. TCL 6-Series
Next up on the list of the best smart TVs is the TCL 6-Series. TCL is known for its affordable quality, and given that these smart TVs are available in various sizes, you’re sure to find a set that does not disappoint.
“If you’re looking for a fantastic midrange TV that gives you the most bang for your buck, the TCL 6-Series is an easy recommendation. The picture quality is nice, with deep blacks and impressive brightness levels. Quantum dot technology helps enhance the rich HDR colors. Great upscaling tech means that standard-definition content will still look good on this 4K TV. It also has solid support for gaming features. It has 4 HDMI 2.1 ports, two of which are optimized for 4K 144 Hz support. You’ll also find settings like variable refresh rate for smoother motion, auto low latency mode to reduce input lag, and support for FreeSync Premium Pro,” furthers USA Today Reviewed.
The TCL 6-Series gives you a great picture on a very big screen for a fraction of the price of some of its competitors. The TCL 6-Series comes in a variety of screen sizes so you can get the quality you’re looking for in an affordable model from TCL.
“The TCL 6-Series display is a QLED, which results in a better overall picture. While professional reviewers say the 6-Series has excellent picture quality and deep blacks… the TCL 6-Series TVs are the cheapest QLEDs on the market. The 6-Series comes in screen sizes of 55, 65, and 75 inches,” explains U.S. News and World Report.
The 6-Series offers a lot of control and customization. However, it’s also a great smart TV for anyone who wants to substitute the TV for a gaming monitor. Add in the fact that these TVs are designed with the Roku interface and you have one of the best smart TVs available on the market.
“TCL has long been acclaimed for bringing a lot of performance to TVs that don’t cost a lot of money. That trend continues with its latest 6-Series Roku TV, the 65R655, which amps up key aspects of its performance—particularly brightness and gaming potential—while keeping the price affordable. Throw in the super-easy-to-use Roku TV interface and you have a set that more than delivers on its picture promise without busting your budget,” adds Tom’s Guide.
3. Sony A95K
The third spot on the list of the best smart TVs belongs to the Sony A95K smart TV. Sony is one of the leading brands in the home entertainment space, and this smart TV is a major reason why Sony is at the top of the television market.
“Although the Samsung S90C OLED is the best choice for most users, if you want the best home theater experience possible, consider the more expensive Sony A95K OLED. It delivers similar picture quality to the Samsung, using a similar QD-OLED panel. Still, the Sony TV is more accurate overall and has better image processing capabilities, so it displays scenes exactly as its creator intended. It supports advanced audio and video formats, like Dolby Vision HDR, a more widely supported format than Samsung’s competing HDR10+. Overall, you’ll get the best HDR experience possible from more content with the Sony than you would with the Samsung,” writes RTINGS.
This Sony Bravia smart TV is engineered at less than a half-inch thick, making it ideal for designing the perfect living room space. Still, Sony is a top brand in the TV market and this model demonstrates the quality and performance of a Sony smart TV.
“This set, which sits at the top of Sony’s expansive TV lineup, unites the industry’s defining technologies and Sony’s own groundbreaking processing and picture enhancements to deliver superlative performance in every area. And our own test results back this up,” furthers Tom’s Guide.
Sony designs its products to work together, so this smart TV works best with the PlayStation console – as will all Sony TVs. Sorry, Xbox users, this Sony will work brilliantly with a PlayStation.
“The Sony A95K is an amazing smart TV with excellent picture quality from its OLED panel, offering 4K resolution support and a 120Hz refresh rate for making everything from movies to games look stellar and smooth. Aside from these perks, it also offers some incredible smart features—and these worthwhile extras are the reason you’ll pay a small premium for Sony TVs. Sony’s dynamic upscaling is arguably the best of any TV manufacturer, with the company optimizing its picture for both films and its other top-selling device, the PlayStation. The result? The TV produces bright, vibrant and detailed images, and has the same dark blacks and low input lag for both movie watchers and gamers,” adds Forbes.
4. Hisense U8H
The fourth spot on the list of the best smart TVs belongs to the Hisense U8H. This model is powered by Google TV and offers one of the best home entertainment options to enhance every form of content imaginable.
“Its excellent image quality is anchored by best-in-class brightness that improves its bright-room picture quality and makes HDR TV movies, shows, and games really pop. It’s actually brighter than the TCL with better contrast… The TCL uses Google TV instead of Roku, and unlike the TCL, the UH8 includes an ATSC 3.0 tuner,” explains CNET.
Google TV means you’ll have to utilize the Google Play Store to find your favorite apps, but it also means you’ll have a ton of streaming options. Couple this with the reflection-handling design of the Hisense and you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite streaming services with a clear picture even when there’s a glare on your TV.
“The Hisense runs Google TV as its built-in smart interface, with many apps available to download through the Google Play Store, so you can find your favorite content. Google TV can take some time to learn, but once you do, it’s easy to use, and navigating the menu feels smooth. It also supports hands-free voice control, which makes it easy to find your favorite content, as you can ask it to search the name of your show or open a specific streaming app without even picking up the remote. Regarding picture quality, it gets incredibly bright and has excellent reflection handling,” adds RTINGS.
“This mini-LED TV from Hisense offers great value. It’s the brightest LED TV you can get for the money, and its inclusion of quantum dots offers rich brightness and strong colors without having to pay for an expensive OLED. Its local dimming delivers great contrast and nice brightness at any time of day, and the HDR offers rich, realistic color. It’s another fantastic TV that features the built-in Google TV smart platform. Again, while Roku is our favorite, Google TV is a fast, flexible, convenient platform that outshines a lot of first-party smart platform attempts. You’ll be set up and ready to stream pretty quickly with this Hisense,” furthers USA Today Reviewed.
Next up on the list of the best smart TVs is the Roku Plus Series. Of course, the Roku Plus Series utilizes Roku’s streaming services, so you know this smart TV is designed to stream all of your favorite content.
“Competition among TVs in the middle pricing band is heating up, and the Plus Series is the latest entrant in 2023… It adds a couple of step-up extras, including QLED and full-array local dimming, which help deliver a better picture than the TCL-4 Series, for example… The Roku Plus Series is a very good value,” explains CNET.
“The Roku Plus Series is a budget TV that provides very good overall picture quality that exceeds its price tag. Coupled with a great smart TV interface, the Roku Plus Series is a real option for people looking for a new TV on a tight budget. Picture quality is the real highlight of the Roku Plus Series. Colors are vibrant and have a real visual punch. Motion is also processed well, with fast panning shots not suffering from much blurring that a lot of budget TVs tend to and images look crisp and clean,” writes techradar.
The reliability and performance of this Roku smart TV make it a no-brainer for anyone on a budget – so most of us. Although the Roku Plus Series isn’t designed specifically for gaming, you can still rely on this model for a quality gaming experience.
“You can find a number of TVs better than the Roku Plus Series 4K QLED TV if you’re willing to spend more than $1,000 for them — but even compared against its more expensive rivals, the Roku Plus Series 4K QLED TV is an outstanding bargain that doesn’t let you down,” furthers Tom’s Guide.
The sixth choice on the list of the best smart TVs is the Vizio MQX. Vizio is known for engineering high-quality TVs at an affordable price, and the MQX smart TV offers everything you need to enhance your entertainment options.
“This Vizio MQX Series 4K television comes with a 50-inch display panel make with QLED technology. The Quantum Color technology allows increased color performance in a 4K resolution with the use of Active Full Array Backlight technology and local dimming. The TV supports Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+ for vibrant high dynamic range content. Vizio’s smart TV platform allows easy access to millions of titles from popular streaming channels and other apps. With Vizio WatchFree+, there’s also over 250 live streaming channels for free,” explains GameRant.
The Quantum Color Technology that Vizio offers harnesses the power of over a billion colors to deliver a picture that’s simply radiant. And, this smart TV is both PC and gaming console compatible.
“The Vizio MQX is one of the least expensive TVs to feature full-array local dimming, which lets is reproduce TV shows, movies, and games with enough contrast and pop to do HDR justice… it offers 16 zones on the 50-inch, 30 on the 65-inch and 42 on the 75-inch, which is more than enough for excellent overall picture quality,” writes CNET.
The MQX stands for Vizio’s M-Series Quantum X, which just sounds like an awesome futuristic television set. Name aside, this Vizio smart TV delivers an excellent all-around home entertainment experience.
“In creating the Vizio M-Series Quantum X, Vizio was attempting to bring much of the same technology found in its popular — but expensive — Vizio P-Series Quantum X to a more affordable screen. By working in quantum dots with full array local dimming, a 120Hz native refresh rate and HDMI ports with the latest spec, the M-Series Quantum X checks all the boxes,” adds Tom’s Guide.
7. Samsung QN90
Rounding out the list of the best smart TVs is none other than another Samsung model, this time it’s the QN90. Samsung is one of the pioneers of the smart TV market, and the QN90s with a QLED display are one of its best smart TVs yet. The Samsung QN90 line comes in a few different models such as the A-series and C-series, but regardless of which series you choose, you won’t go wrong with a Samsung QN90 smart TV.
“Super bright TVs are great for enjoying HDR content, but they’re also your best bet for a vivid picture during the daytime. The QN90C delivers equally amazing brightness so whether you’re dealing with reflections from a window, wide open curtains on a sunny day or just a lot of ambient electric light, the Samsung QN90C will give you amazing, bright picture quality every time,” writes Forbes.
Sports fans and avid daytime drama viewers will more than appreciate this Samsung’s ability to display a radiant picture when the sun is shining brightest during the day. These features also make the Samsung QN90 a great option for an outdoor TV set.
“The Samsung QN90A is a flagship smart TV with picture quality that reviewers say is comparable to OLED in many ways. The Neo QLED display delivers a bright, colorful picture and is less reflective than some of Samsung’s other Neo QLED sets… Screen sizes include 43, 50, 55, 65, 75, 85, and 98 inches,” explains U.S. News and World Report.
“The Samsung QN90C Neo QLED TV has almost everything you’d expect from a premium 4K Mini LED TV — outstanding HDR brightness, a good selection of sizes, consistent upscaling, ample support for a variety of content, and more. Powered by Samsung’s high octane Mini-LED panel, the QN90C promises excellent performance across the top genres,” adds Tom’s Guide.
You might also be interested in:
- CNN Underscored
- USA Today Reviewed
- US News and World Report
- Tom’s Guide
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