When looking for the best 55 inch smart TV, you should be most concerned about picture quality, user friendliness, smart capabilities and input port availability for all your TV accessories. To help you find the best option for your streaming needs, we purchased the top 20 smart TV sets in the 55 inch range and spent over 40 hours watching our favorite shows. We even played our favorite video games to measure refresh rates and input lag.
Read: What is a Smart TV?
After we finished testing the TVs, it was a clear choice to make the LG OLED55B9PUA our winner for 2020. Nothing can beat the picture quality on an OLED display and LG’s user interface is so seamless, it hardly feels like you’re using a smart TV. Keep reading below to learn more about smart TVs and the other top picks we selected for our list.
Top 5 Best 55 Inch Smart TVs Compared
#1 LG OLED55B9PUA – Top PickWHY WE LIKE IT: The LG OLED55B9PUA is LG’s flagship smart TV and it’s easy to see why. It features best-of-class picture quality with its premium OLED design, beautiful colors and blacks and overall solid performance.
You simply cannot beat OLED picture quality, which is one the best features we tested on the LG OLED55B9PUA 55 inch smart TV. OLED TVs give you extra-wide viewing angles so everyone in the room can enjoy what’s on, plus a superb image quality that has the most accurate color accuracy and the deepest darks. This is hands-down one of the best 4K TVs we’ve ever tested, which is why it made it to our top spot.
If you’re a gamer, you’ll also enjoy this LG smart TV. With NVIDIA G-Sync compatibility, the LG B9 OLED TV also provides the ultimate smooth gaming experience. You can even use this TV with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay 2. If we had to complain about one thing here, it would be that OLED TVs can’t get as bright as other options, but that’s not a huge deal in the long run. If you want the best of the best, buy the LG OLED55B9PUA.
#2 Samsung QN55Q80RAFXZA – Honorable MentionWHY WE LIKE IT: The Samsung QN55Q80RAFXZA, also known as the Q80R is a QLED TV with a premium 4K experience that delivers rich colors, deep black levels and seamless smart functionality. This 4K UHD TV is the best TV for mixed applications, including gaming and home theater.
The Samsung QN55Q80RAFXZA is one of Samsung’s flagship smart TVs, offering the most functionality and premium features you can buy in this price range. QLED is a direct competitor to OLED, but still remains an actual LED panel, unlike OLED TVs. Regardless, the Samsung Q80R’s QLED display is ultra bright and features some of the richest colors we’ve experienced to date. You can’t go wrong with this smart TV, even when it comes to gaming. The Samsung features an impressively low input lag and plenty of input ports for even the most hardcore gamers.
We were also really impressed with the Tizen smart TV platform that Samsung uses for all of its smart TVs. This UI doesn’t get as much praise as it should, but in this TV, Tizen is at the top of its game. Everything is smooth and getting connected to the internet is a breeze. You can even connect to the Apple TV app directly from this interface, something that’s exclusive to Samsung right now. Overall the amazing Samsung QN55Q80RAFXZA will fit a wide range of needs in your home, which is why it made its ways onto our top picks list.
#3 TCL 55R617 – Best ValueWHY WE LIKE IT: The TCL 55R617 is the most affordable 4K smart TV on our list, making it an easier purchase to make when it comes to the 55 inch range. With a surprisingly good picture quality and smooth user experience, you’re getting a killer deal with this TV.
The TCL 55R627 isn’t the flashiest of 55 inch smart TVs, nor does it offer the best-of-class picture quality, especially when compared to OLEDs and QLEDs. However, it still outperforms a good majority of 55 inch smart TVs available today. The picture quality is actually quite good when you consider this budget 4K TV’s price point. In fact, we don’t think you’ll be able to find a TV that offers a better combination of price to picture quality than you will here.
The TCL TVs exclusively feature the Roku smart user interface, which is one of the most seamless and easy to use platforms. While there are a couple menu options that can get a little clunky, we were generally very pleased at how easy it is to use the TCL 55R617. You have access to most of the major streaming services and WiFi connectivity isn’t a problem. One thing we wish we could see more of here is additional picture settings. Unfortunately, there’s not much to customize with this TCL TV.
#4 Sony X950G – Best 4K HDRWHY WE LIKE IT: The Sony X950G offers the best HDR performance we’ve tested thus far, making it an excellent 55 inch smart TV for people who love brightness and color accuracy. It’s also a wonderful TV for gamers with its low input lag and fast response times.
While the Sony X950G struggles to keep up with top-name competitors like LG and Samsung, especially in this size range, it still comes together to beat out the rest of the competition. The feature we liked the most about this 4K smart TV is its superb HDR content performance. With the brightest display and most accurate colors, HDR content really shines here.
The Sony X950G is also a surprising contender for the best gaming TV on this list. It features ultra-low input lag when in its game mode. Unfortunately, viewing angles aren’t the greatest with the Sony X950G, so you’ll need to sit almost directly in front of the screen to get the best viewing experience. All in all, you can’t go wrong with the Sony X950G HDR TV, especially if you want to enjoy the enhanced experience that HDR10 provides.
#5 Toshiba 55LF711U20 – Best BudgetWHY WE LIKE IT: The Toshiba 55LF711U20 is a good all-around TV that performs well in most applications. It features deep blacks, good color accuracy and an excellent smart TV experience with the Amazon Fire TV interface.
With over 8 million pixels all working together to give you stunning 4K resolution and amazing color accuracy, the Toshiba 55LF711U20 4K Fire TV is the perfect 55 inch smart TV for anyone looking at an affordable entry point into the category. We were most pleased with the Fire TV interface on this TV. While not as refined as some of the other user interfaces we’ve tested on this list, it still provides a mostly seamless streaming experience. The only thing we would actively improve in this sense is the TV’s web browser. It just doesn’t work that great.
The Toshiba 55LF711U20 is also designed really well with a stable stand and simple aesthetic. While the TV is a little thicker than other options, it’s still lightweight and easy to move around. If you need a good entry point into 4K smart TVs, the Toshiba 55LF711U20 isn’t a bad place to start.
What to Look for in the Best 55 Inch Smart TV
4K Resolution: Gone are the times where 4K UHD resolution was a big question mark. Most of the popular streaming services are now creating original content in 4K quality, so your smart TV should also offer ultra-HD resolution.
Processing Power: For a smart TV to provide the best performance, it needs processing power, much like the best laptops. The television will need plenty of memory, too, for video and music streaming buffering. Unfortunately, there’s no uniform standard for listing the processors and memory amounts included in Smart TVs yet, which can make comparisons difficult.
Connection Options: A Smart TV should have at least a couple of different options for making the connection to the Internet, whether it’s a Wi-Fi connection or an Ethernet wired connection.
Wireless Keyboard: If you think you might want to access the Internet on the smart TV, just like you would on a laptop computer or tablet, you may want to see if the 55-inch smart TV you’ve selected has a wireless keyboard available as an add-on device.
Mistakes to Avoid
Selecting a Model on Apps Alone: Because Smart TV manufacturers often will update their apps and software after you purchase the television, don’t pick your top 55-inch television based on the smart TV features alone. Such features could change in several months if the manufacturer chooses to update the interface, for example.
Interface Over Picture: A clean and simple smart TV interface is most certainly important. But don’t prioritize it over the TV’s picture quality. You’re also going to want a TV with enough USB and HDMI ports to meet your needs.
Most Important 55 Inch Smart TV Features
Smart TV Features
- While nearly every new television can be considered a Smart TV because it has an Internet connection capability, all Smart TVs are not created equal. Smart TVs separate themselves by the type of software and apps used to run them, as well as the types of services they offer.
- Web OS 2.0 is derived from years of R&D, while Google TV and Roku are both well vetted platform, with the latter having solid success in the consumer market.
Connectivity Options and Ports
- Most Smart TVs include Wi-Fi connectivity, although not every unit will offer the fastest data transmission Wi-Fi standard of 802.11ac. It’s not a deal breaker, but something to keep in mind.
- Smart TVs often will contain an Ethernet port, too, just in case you want to make a wired connection with your television, which aren’t subject to interference, like WiFi.
- If you think of a Smart TV like a smartphone or computer, you’ll understand why it needs a processor like a smartphone or a computer. Just as with a laptop, a faster processor in your Smart TV will allow it to work faster and smoother. And if your 4K TV will upscale HD programming to take advantage of the 4K resolution, a processor does this work, too.
- Unfortunately, most Smart TV manufacturers don’t give detailed specifics on processor speed or type of processor, making it difficult to compare these chips from TV to TV.
- A Smart TV needs memory too, allowing it to run software and apps. Again though, TV manufacturers rarely list the specific memory amount or type in the Smart TV’s specifications, making comparisons tough.
- You have two primary display technology options with 55 inch TVs. OLED TV technology uses a layer of organic LEDs, where the TV’s software can control individual pixels, allowing for high contrast.
- OLED televisions are more costly than LCD televisions, which is the most common type of TV display technology on the market. Often, and these days, LEDs backlight the LCD panel in these types of TVs. An LED that provides light to the entire LCD panel (full array or local dimming) will have better image quality than an LED that only backlights the edges (edge lit) of the LCD panel.
- Most new 55-inch televisions will offer 4K resolution in the screen, which is 3840×2160 pixels. It’s also called Ultra HD or UHD resolution. You can go here to read more about this tech: What is 4k
Read: Best 55 Inch 4k TV
- The refresh rate measures how many times per second the television refreshes the screen. At 120Hz, or Hertz, the screen refreshes 120 times per second.
- If you watch a lot of sports or play high-end video games on your 55-inch smart TV, you’ll want a minimum motion handling rate of 120Hz natively.
Also Read: Best TV For Gaming
- Smart TV screens will be either flat or curved. A curved screen tries to simulate the immersive feeling you receive with an IMAX screen. But most smart TVs will be flat screens, as some people believe the curved screen is more of a gimmick than a must have feature. You’ll have to decide. But it does look cool, though.
Which Best 55 Inch Smart TV Is Right For You?
Keep in mind that a smart TV isn’t “smart” necessarily because of the hardware it contains. Rather, a smart TV is only as useful as the software and apps it can run. If a unit has a clunky interface for accessing streaming services, it won’t be very useful to you, even if it has the fastest connection speeds and processors.
When seeking the best 55-inch smart TV to meet your personal needs, the best thing you can do is to go to a local store and test the connection interfaces. As with smartphone interfaces, finding the best smart TV interfaces often is a matter of personal choice. Find one that is well organized and makes sense to you, allowing you to make the most of all of its connectivity features.
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