Although you might at first associate Android with mobile phones and tablets, Google’s operating system provides the foundation for top-not TVs as well. The best Android TVs on the market make it easy to watch your favorite streaming apps or mobile content cast directly from your phone. It’s not surprising that some of the best TVs in the market are Android TVs, even if they do sacrifice speed and responsiveness for innovation.
All Android TVs have smart features, built-in Chromecast, thousands of apps, Google Assistant, support for 4K resolution and HDR, and are available in stunning LED, OLED, and QLED displays. These TVs will also have many connectivity ports for you to connect your laptop or game consoles for a brilliant large-screen experience.
In this buying guide, we look at what Android TVs are, their pros and cons, how long they last, and other aspects. Keep reading to learn more about choosing the best Android 4K TV for your home.
Top Android TVs
- Total Brands/Products Tested
19 Brands, 156 Products
- Top 2 Brands
- Price Range (Budget-Premium)
- Average True Score
- Important Test Criteria
Contrast Ratio (1000:1)
- Most Trusted Testers
- Recommended Retailer
- Typical Warranty
- Covered by Insurance
Yes – AKKO
- Test Methodology
Beginner’s Guide to Android TVs
What is an Android TV?
An Android TV is a television with smart technology that runs the Android operating system (OS). Several television brands make Android TVs, such as Sony, Vizio, and Hisense TVs. The operating system was developed by Google and gives users a smooth experience on TVs, similar to a smartphone. Like the Roku or Amazon streaming sticks, an Android TV has a clean, easy-to-use interface that lets you consume digital content from major streaming services like YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and many others.
Android TV vs Other TVs
Like other TVs, an Android TV displays your favorite TV shows, movies, and games, but the difference is with regards to the operating system. The interface is similar to what’s on your Android smartphone, so it’s easy to navigate between different apps and access online entertainment.
Unlike other TVs, Android-equipped models (and Google TV) have built-in Chromecast support, which allows you to cast videos or images from your phone to the TV with just the tap of a button. Of course, you can use Chromecast on a non-Android TV, but to do so, you have to purchase a small Chromecast device that plugs into the unit’s USB port.
|Feature||Android TVs||Non-Android TVs|
|Operating System||Android OS||Various (Tizen, WebOS, Roku TV, etc.)|
|App Ecosystem||Access to Google Play Store||Varies by OS; often more limited|
|Price Range||$200 – $2000+||$100 – $1500+|
|Voice Control||Google Assistant integrated||Varies; some have built-in, others require external devices|
|Customization||High customization possibilities||Varies; generally less customizable|
|Updates & Support||Regular updates from Google||Varies; dependent on manufacturer|
|Compatibility||Good compatibility with Google services and apps||Varies by OS and manufacturer|
If you have an Android phone, you can use it as a TV remote too. Android TVs come with Google Assistant, so you can use the voice controls to input requests, like playing music and videos, among many other things. Non-Android TVs will not have this functionality.
Another feature that you won’t find on non-Android TVs is access to Google Play. Android models provide access to over 5000 apps from the Google Play Store, so there are plenty of options to choose from across all categories (like gaming, streaming, and productivity).
How an Android TV Works
At the most basic level, an Android TV works the same as the best 80-inch TV — it transforms electrical signals into pictures and sounds and shows them on a screen. The operating system lets you use internet-based content, so you won’t need to connect streaming devices, like the Amazon Fire Stick or Roku Streaming Stick. But just like your laptop and smartphone, smart TVs need Wi-Fi networks to operate.
Fortunately, there is virtually no learning curve for Android TVs. From the moment you first power on your television, you’ll see the Discovery bar at the top, which displays suggested content and apps. You can also search using voice commands. To use the Chromecast feature, you simply press the Cast button on your phone to watch it on the television.
Why should you buy an Android TV?
If you want to switch from your old dumb or non-smart TV to a smart TV, an Android TV is an excellent choice. This is especially true if you also use an Android smartphone with your LG TV, although it’s unnecessary. Let’s look at why it is worth buying and why you will want to avoid it.
Are Android TVs Worth Buying?
- Android Applications: As mentioned earlier, the Google Play Store is loaded with applications of all kinds, and on an Android TV, you’ll have access to over 5000 apps. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to streaming, gaming, and other entertainment and productivity apps.
- The Google Assistant: The Google Assistant is incredibly convenient and responsive to voice commands. It’ll be considerably easier to input requests through the Assistant rather than doing it manually.
- Built-in Chromecast for Quick Casting: With Chromecast, you can swiftly and conveniently cast applications from your Android device to the Android TV.
Why an Android TV May Not Be for You
- You Have a Streaming Stick: If you already have a streaming stick that adds smart functionality even to the best dumb TV, then it doesn’t make sense to buy an Android TV.
- It Can Feel Slow At Times: The Android TV OS does a lot of work behind the scenes, so at times, the TV can feel slow. Even when turned on, it could take a little more time than other TVs.
How Long Will an Android TV Last?
How long an Android TV will last depends on how much it is used, how well it is maintained, its quality, and most importantly, its display technology.
You’ll get between 50,000 to 60,000 hours of viewing from an LCD TV, which means it will last for nearly two decades.
In contrast, LED TVs boast a lifespan of 40,000 to 100,000 hours when used at maximum or near-maximum brightness. Even with heavy use, these TVs will work well for 5 to 7 years and over a decade with moderate or low usage, although you may experience a pronounced decline in image quality.
An OLED TV performs better than an LED TV, but since the material used to create these panels is organic, they have a limited lifespan. You’ll see a decrease in image quality after using these TVs at max settings for 8 to 10 years.
QLED TVs use quantum light-emitting diodes to greatly enhance the colors and the brightness of visuals on the screen. Since it is not based on organic materials, QLED TVs don’t degrade over time and provide excellent picture quality even after years of heavy use. At max settings, you can expect QLEDs to last between 7 to 10 years or longer without any reduction in picture quality.
Another advantage to QLED technology is that they are also burn-in-free, so they’ll offer you an excellent viewing experience over the long run. If a static image is displayed on the screen for long periods with other screen types, it will even leave a permanent outline on the screen, known as burn-in.
How to Choose the Best Android TV
Now that you’ve decided to buy an Android TV, it’s time to consider several factors to narrow down your selection. The resolution, display technology, and price range are some of these factors. Let’s look at these and more below.
Android TV Key Factors
1. How Much Resolution?
Resolution is the number of pixels that create the images on a TV display. In general, the higher the pixel count, the better the sharpness and quality of the visuals.
With standard HD, you get 921,600 pixels, which increases to 2 million with Full HD. If you have a 4K TV, you’ll have 8 million pixels, providing a massive upgrade in image quality from Full HD. TVs with 8K resolution are becoming more common, but you won’t find them in sizes smaller than 65 inches. Of course, there’s very little 8K content to stream, and you won’t find any on a single streaming platform.
2. What Display Technology Do You Want?
You’ll find four display technologies on the TV market — LCD, LED, OLED, and QLED.
LCD stands for liquid crystal display, and these displays rely on fluorescent tubes to produce light. Compared to LED, OLED, and QLED displays, its picture quality is quite low, so it’s no wonder that it’s the least expensive option.
LED technology (light-emitting diodes) also uses a liquid crystal display but relies on light-emitting diodes to create light. This gives LED TVs superior picture quality and sharper images compared to standard LCDs.
Next, an OLED TV (organic light-emitting diode) uses a sheet of organic LEDs with subpixels that create their own light. This produces deeper blacks, incredible image contrast, and the best picture quality that maintains its sharpness even when viewed from an angle.
QLED (Quantum-dot LED) TVs are traditional LCD panels that are lit by LEDs. A quantum dot layer fills the space between the LCD panel and the backlight. QLED displays are brighter than OLEDs and are the perfect choice for sunny spaces with a lot of ambient light. But they don’t have as good picture quality as an OLED TV.
3. What’s the Refresh Rate?
The refresh rate refers to how many times a picture is refreshed on the screen per second. Measured in Hertz, the standard refresh rate on most televisions is 60 Hz or 60 times per second.
A 60 Hz refresh rate is great for watching basic television programs but not for high-action shows or sports programs with a lot of movement. Models with higher refresh rates, like 120 Hz and 240 Hz, are what you’ll need to get smooth visuals when watching action films or sports matches, or playing video games.
4. Does It Support HDR?
HDR is short for “high-dynamic range” and enables a television to produce a wide range of more accurate colors than non-HDR TVs. Without HDR, you simply won’t get great color accuracy. However, while HDR is supported across LCD, LED, OLED, and QLED screens, it’s only available on 4K displays.
5. How Many HDMI Ports?
The number of ports you need depends on how you use your TV and how many devices you plan to connect to it. Since you can’t add HDMI ports later, it’s best to pick a TV that has enough ports for your needs. If you’re big on gaming, you’ll need HDMI ports to connect your consoles (PS5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch) and the sound system, but look for models with USB-C and USB ports, too.
6. What’s Your Budget?
Although you’ll find Android TVs available at a reasonable price, the cost of these TVs varies across a wide price range. On sale, you can find one for as low as $128, but on the upper end, they can go as high as $5000. Pricier Android TVs will have a larger screen size, advanced smart TV features, better connectivity options (HDMI 2.1), and incredible display technology with 4K and HDR support.