Before discussing the top features found in our list of best 55 inch Smart TVs for 2019, it may be helpful to understand what a Smart TV can and cannot do. The Smart TV isn’t going to give you a better picture, for example. And it’s not smart enough to help your child with his or her homework better than you can … even new math homework.
Read: What is a Smart TV?
What a Smart TV will do is make it easier to gain access to streaming services, as Wi-Fi connectivity and extra processors are built into the television, potentially leading to cord cutting.
It may be easier to think of a Smart TV using simpler terminology: It’s an Internet connected TV with built-in navigational software, almost like a smartphone interface. While nearly every large television on the market now has the basic Smart TV characteristics, that doesn’t mean all of these models are equal. Finding the best 55 inch Smart TV for the money requires seeking units with a mixture of great image quality, and beneficial and easy to use Smart TV features.
- 1 Top 55 Inch Smart TV Comparison
- 2 #1 Pick Samsung UN55JS9000 55-inch Ultra-HD Smart TV
- 3 #2 Pick LG 55EG9600 55-inch OLED Smart TV
- 4 #3 Pick Vizio D55U-D1 55-inch 4K Smart TV
- 5 #4 Pick TCL 55FS3850 55-inch Smart TV
- 6 #5 Pick Sony KDL55W800C 55-inch Smart Television
- 7 What to Look for in the Best 55 Inch Smart TV
- 8 Mistakes to Avoid
- 9 Most Important 55 Inch Smart TV Features
- 10 Which Best 55 Inch Smart TV Is Right For You?
Top 55 Inch Smart TV Comparison
|Samsung UN55JS9000||LG 55EG9600||Vizio D55U-D1||TCL 55FS3850||Sony KDL-55W800C|
|Rank||#1 - Editor's Pick||#2 - Best Picture||#3 - Budget Buy||#4||#5 - Android User Buy|
|Smart TV Features||Tizen OS||webOS 2.0||Vizio Internet Apps Plus||Roku TV||Android TV|
|WiFi & Ethernet||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Connectivity Options and Ports||4 HDMI, 1 Component Video In, 3 USB||3 HDMI, 1 Component Video In, 3 USB||5 HDMI, 1 Component Video In, 1 USB||3 HDMI, 1 Component Video In, 1 USB||4 HDMI, 1 Component Video In, 2 USB|
|Processors||Octa-Core||Quad-Core||Quad-Core and Dual-Core||NA||NA|
|Check Prices||Check Prices||Check Prices||Check Prices|
#1 Pick Samsung UN55JS9000 55-inch Ultra-HD Smart TV
Retail Price: $2,797.99 | Smart TV Interface: Tizen OS | 4K Resolution: Yes
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Octa-core processor allows for very fast Smart TV performance.
Samsung’s UN55JS9000 55 inch television combines Samsung’s fastest processor in the JS series with a strong set of Smart TV features.
The UN55JS9000 runs Samsung’s Tizen operating system Smart TV software, which is well organized and very easy to use. The Tizen system, which currently is only available in higher-end Samsung televisions, makes use of the Smart Hub menu, which allows you to organize your favorite apps and programs easier than other Smart TV systems. Samsung has implemented social networking updates into its Smart TV functionality too. You’ll receive a touchpad remote control that’s easy to use with this model. And Samsung gave this television an octa-core processor to allow for top-end software and app performance.
If that isn’t enough, the UN55JS9000 also has a 4K resolution, and it provides accurate color representation. Versus other LED-LCD televisions, Samsung provides extremely bright whites and deep blacks with this 55-inch model. And for those watching HD programming this set can upscale to 4K to take full advantage of the UN55JS9000’s resolution.
#2 Pick LG 55EG9600 55-inch OLED Smart TV
Retail Price: $1,999.99 | Smart TV Interface: webOS 2.0 | 4K Resolution: Yes
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Highly customizeable Smart TV features will reflect your favorites.
The 4K LG 55EG9600 55-inch television makes use of webOS 2.0 as its Smart TV interface. This interface, which is clean and intuitive to use, also offers strong response times and is well organized, making for what should be an enjoyable Smart TV experience.
That in mind, you can customize the main screen to highlight your favorite apps and features, which is a feature not found on some other Smart TV interfaces.
LG included a quad-core processor with this model, which makes this set’s interface snappy, though it can’t quite match the octa-core performance of our #1 pick, the Samsung UN55JS9000.
The 55EG9600’s display is OLED technology, and while it doesn’t have anything to do with this television’s Smart TV capabilities, it provides better contrast and color quality than an LED TV. However, the OLED display technology does drive up the price of the 55EG9600 versus the best LED 55-inch TV options. But, keep in mind that this display is curved (wow factor and some additional immersion), and offers 4k resolution, making it a bit more future proof. LG is providing HDR compatibility through a firmware upgrade to this model.
#3 Pick Vizio D55U-D1 55-inch 4K Smart TV
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Extremely low price point for 4K resolution screen.
The 55 inch D55U-D1 TV from Vizio provides a significant upgrade in its Smart TV functions versus older Vizio models.
The Vizio Internet Apps Plus function is able to provide the basics of what you’d expect from a Smart TV interface, including well organized tiles and apps. This interface is extremely easy to use, which is nice, although it’s not quite as feature rich as some of the other models on this list.
Read: Vizio D55U-D1 Review
The D55U-D1 offers 4K resolution at an extremely competitive price, and the quality of the TV screen is strong enough to make it well worth considering. The 4K upscaling capabilities of this model are very good too.
#4 Pick TCL 55FS3850 55-inch Smart TV
Retail Price: $729.99 | Smart TV Interface: Roku TV | 4K Resolution: No
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: More than 1,800 apps included with this Smart TV option.
While the TCL 55FS3850 55 inch TV is a simplistic unit, offering only the most basic display features, its built-in Roku TV interface is extremely well built and polished.
Roku also offers set top boxes that you can connect to any television, but this TCL model has Roku’s interface built directly into the television’s software and is the root of its smart TV functionality. The search function in Roku is among the best on the smart TV market, and more than 1,800 apps are included.
Read: Best LED TV 2019 Reviews
Roku also manufactured the remote control included with the TCL 55FS3850, so it works seamlessly (and intuitively) with the unit’s Smart TV functions.
The 55FS3850, while not 4K, does offer full HD resolution. It has no Ethernet port, only one USB port, and only a 60Hz refresh rate, all of which rank toward the bottom of the 55-inch TV market. But it has a great price and also is one of the best 55-inch smart TVs for under $1,000, thanks in large part to the inclusion of Roku.
#5 Pick Sony KDL55W800C 55-inch Smart Television
Retail Price: $947.90 | Smart TV Interface: Android TV | 4K Resolution: No
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Android users will appreciate this model’s familiar Smart TV features.
The Sony KDL55W800C is a full HD resolution 55-inch smart TV, so it lags a bit behind the 4K resolution units on the market.
Its smart TV functionality comes by way of Google’s Android TV interface, which is a significant improvement over Sony’s previous in-house smart TV interface. Those who are already extensive Google/Android/Chromebook users will appreciate the Android smart TV functionality. That all in mind, the KDL55W800C also boasts smart TV voice control, which greatly speeds things up.
For a full HD resolution unit, this Sony model has an average to above average price. The KDL55W800C has a good collection of ports, including Ethernet and four HDMI ports.
What to Look for in the Best 55 Inch Smart TV
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 HDMI and USB ports to meet your needs.
Ignoring 4K: While there isn’t much content available in 4K (UHD) resolution yet — streaming or otherwise — within a few years 4K (or UHD) content almost certainly will be more commonplace, even on streaming services. If you want to ensure that your new 55-inch television is going to have several years of longevity, make sure it has 4K resolution capabilities. But if you’re looking for a good model at a good price, HD resolution likely will meet your needs for the foreseeable future.
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 your best 55 inch Smart TV. 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 refresh 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.
Read: Best 65 Inch TV