To help you find the best smart TV for your home entertainment set up, we’ve combed through plenty of models, testing them for resolution, pixel count and, most importantly, built-in integration with popular smart home devices and TV streaming devices, such as Amazon Fire TV and Roku TV. We also took a look at functionality with voice-controlled smart assistants, such as Alexa and Google Assistant. Finally, we favored products with useful add-ons, like lengthy warranties, plenty of outputs and the ability to play a large variety of video formats.
Of the seven TVs on this list, the Toshiba Ultra HD Smart TV impressed us the most, with a large display, up to 50”, built-in Fire TV functionality, compatibility with Alexa and a stunning 4K resolution with over eight million pixels. Keep reading to learn more about the Toshiba Ultra HD Smart TV and the other models on this list.
- 1 Top 7 Smart TVs Compared
- 1.1 #1 Toshiba 43LF711U20 Ultra HD Smart TV (43”, 50”) – Top Pick
- 1.2 #2 TCL 32S327 Roku Smart TV (32”, 40”, 43”, 49”) – Honorable Mention
- 1.3 #3 Insignia NS-50DF710NA19 4K Ultra HD Fire TV Edition (43”, 50”) – Best for Live TV
- 1.4 #4 TCL 50S425 4K Roku Smart TV (43”, 50”, 55”, 65”, 75”) – Best for Headphones
- 1.5 #5 Samsung Series 7 UN65RU7100FXZA Ultra HD Smart TV (43”, 50”, 55”, 65”) – Best for Bluetooth
- 1.6 #6 TCL 75R617 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart TV (55”, 65”, 75”) – Best for Gaming
- 1.7 #7 Samsung UN32M4500A 32-Inch 720p Smart LED TV – Best for Small Spaces
- 1.8 How We Decided
- 2 Smart TV Buying Guide
Top 7 Smart TVs Compared
#1 Toshiba 43LF711U20 Ultra HD Smart TV (43”, 50”) – Top PickWHY WE LIKE IT: A stunning product, with 4K HD resolution, an 8 million pixel count and a refresh rate of 60 Hz, plus all of the benefits of a Fire Stick built right in the television, with a speedy processor that makes searching a breeze and Alexa support on the remote. This is just a fantastic TV with a truly gorgeous display, accurate color, plus a host of smart features. It is the best TV for the money. 4K content looks amazing on this set.
The Toshiba Ultra HD Smart TV offers up a 4K HD resolution and it shows, with a bright, beautiful display that boasts stunning clarity, thanks to its 8 million pixel count and a wide color gamut. The built-in Fire TV functionality gives you instant access to all major streaming platforms, such as Netflix, and the quad-core CPU/multi-core GPU makes navigating menus and searching for content extremely speedy. The Alexa-enabled remote works great, even allowing for control of smart home appliances, and the product is constantly updating on the fly, thanks to WiFi.
Though this television isn’t the biggest on the list, capping out at 50”, the gorgeous display and smart features more than makes up for it. We did have a spot of trouble navigating the built-in web browser, as it offers a somewhat clunky interface, but we didn’t find much need to surf the net on it anyways.
#2 TCL 32S327 Roku Smart TV (32”, 40”, 43”, 49”) – Honorable MentionWHY WE LIKE IT: A best-in-class app makes this product truly shine, allowing for navigation, volume control, search and headphone listening right from your phone or tablet. This is a great smart TV for those who prefer smartphones to garden variety remote controls, though it does come with one of those as well. They come in odd sizes like 43inch 4k as well.
The TCL Roku Smart TV is extremely easy to use, this simplicity furthered by the fantastic related app, which allows you to control every aspect of the device right from your phone or tablet. You can even plug in headphones right to your phone or tablet and listen from there, bypassing the need for Bluetooth or a similar functionality. It comes built-in with support for Alexa and Google Assistant, creating another avenue for control, and the UI is elegant, allowing for speedy searches throughout every major streaming platform.
While the TV is not 4K, coming in at 1080p, we found the picture to be bright and gorgeous, with stellar clarity belying its somewhat lower resolution. The product does offer a suite of parental controls, but we found these to be somewhat confusing to set up and use.
#3 Insignia NS-50DF710NA19 4K Ultra HD Fire TV Edition (43”, 50”) – Best for Live TVWHY WE LIKE IT: A fantastic product with a stellar 4K display, with an 8 million pixel count for clarity, built-in Fire TV support, Alexa integration via remote control and a pleasing UI that automatically combines streaming options and live TV on a unified home screen. This is a great product for folks who watch a lot of live TV.
The Insignia 4K Ultra HD Fire TV Edition boasts a fantastic 4K display that delivers crisp and sharp visuals, with an 8 million pixel count for clarity. The product comes packed in with Fire TV support, so all of your favorite streaming options are available from the get-go, and boasts a highly intuitive UI that automatically combines live TV and streaming options together on one home screen, making deciding what to watch as simple as possible. The Alexa-enabled remote works great, allowing for voice control.
Though the selection of streaming options is robust, featuring all of the major players, we did notice that there is no option for the Xfinity app, which could be an issue if that is your cable provider. Additionally, the remote control takes a bit of getting used to, using a series of rings in order to navigate channels. We found using Alexa to be much simpler.
#4 TCL 50S425 4K Roku Smart TV (43”, 50”, 55”, 65”, 75”) – Best for HeadphonesWHY WE LIKE IT: A stunning 4K TV available in a wide variety of size options, bottoming out at 43” and maxing at 75”, with Roku functionality built-in, HDR integration, a powerful mobile app and support for Alexa and Google Assistant. This is a great television available in a large variety of sizes, including 65inch 4k, suiting the needs of just about any family.
The TCL 4K Roku Smart TV is available in a large variety of sizes, maxing out at 75”, which should make it easy to find a place for it in any room of your home. It has stunning image quality, boasting 4K resolution, and the related app is extremely easy to use, allowing you to control nearly aspect of the television right from your phone or tablet. It has Roku built-in, so it can stream from all major platforms, and the ability to sync with Alexa or Google Assistant. Also, you can listen to your TVs sound through a pair of smartphone connected headphones thanks to the Roku app, which includes a private listening mode. It’s great if you don’t want to disturb your partner at night.
Though the TV does boast a USB port, allowing for content to be streamed via stick or external hard drive, we found that it didn’t recognize every device we plugged in. Additionally, the company claims this product has a refresh rate of 120 Hz, but in actuality, it is 60Hz with some motion interpolation technology to give the illusion of the higher rate. Not a huge deal, but still.
#5 Samsung Series 7 UN65RU7100FXZA Ultra HD Smart TV (43”, 50”, 55”, 65”) – Best for BluetoothWHY WE LIKE IT: A sleek, ultra-thin product, with tons of Samsung bells and whistles, including 4K resolution, a powerful UHD processor that automatically upscales standard HD signals to Ultra HD, Alexa and Google Assistant support and built-in Bluetooth. This is the perfect product for those who like to use Bluetooth to stream to headphones or external speakers in a home theater.
The Samsung Series 7 Ultra HD Smart TV is a highly capable product, with plenty of the kind of sheen that has made the company such a major player in the space, including an ultra-thin frame, clocking in at just over 2 inches, a built-in UHD processor that automatically upscales standard HD to 4K and the ability to integrate with Alexa and Google Assistant. The UI is neatly organized, making searching through streaming options and live TV on the faster end, and the built-in Bluetooth is a fantastic addition, allowing for use with headphones and external speakers, though keyboards are not supported.
We found that the product was slightly heavier than comparable models, though just by a few pounds, and that the prices were, on average, higher than most of the other TVs on this list. We also noticed that it took around a minute for the television to connect to WiFi after turning on or after returning from sleep mode.
#6 TCL 75R617 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart TV (55”, 65”, 75”) – Best for GamingWHY WE LIKE IT: It offers some quality-of-life improvements over the other TCL products on this list, including Dolby Vision HDR technology and a proprietary Contrast Control Zone (CCZ) technology that helps deliver a deep black and a pure white color array. It also has a low input lag functionality, making it truly shine while playing video games or watching Amazon Prime Video.
The TCL 75R617 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart TV is perfect for gaming, thanks to its low input lag functionality and suite of color-enhancing technologies, including Dolby Vision HDR, helping to deliver stunning true-to-life graphics and seamless control to all of your favorite gaming applications. The UI is sleek and easy-to-use, with Roku enabling streaming from all major platforms, and the remote can be controlled via Alexa. Additionally, TCL always packs in an 18 month warranty with their products, which is higher than the standard one year warranty found with comparable models.
The product does not boast Bluetooth functionality, nor does the remote have a headphone jack, which could somewhat limit your ability to wear headphones comfortably, though the TV does integrate nicely with a related app, which does allow you to stream content from your phone or tablet, though not every streaming platform is supported. Additionally, the 75” model is the highest priced product on this list.
#7 Samsung UN32M4500A 32-Inch 720p Smart LED TV – Best for Small SpacesWHY WE LIKE IT: This is a no frills smart TV that delivers excellent visuals, belying its 720p resolution, and extreme portability, weighing in at just nine pounds. This is a great product for a kitchen or dorm room and the low weight factor makes it easy to move around at will.
The Samsung 32-Inch 720p Smart LED TV boasts an extremely small form factor, weighing just nine pounds, making it easy to move around the house at will. The small screen size also makes it a great fit for kitchens, dorm rooms and anywhere else where space is a commodity. The speakers are loud and crisp, offering clear sound throughout the room, and the picture is fantastic, as the small screen size covers up the lower-than-average pixel count. Samsung’s UI is fantastic, as always, allowing for simple navigation on every major streaming platform.
This is the smallest display on the list, however, so if you are looking for “wow” factor, you might want to pick a bigger television. Also, we couldn’t help but be saddened by the lack of support for smart assistants, such as Alexa and Google Assistant, making this TV a strictly analog affair, with no voice controls available.
How We Decided
To help narrow down to the above list, we tested these smart TVs across a spectrum of functionalities, and smart platforms, looking for products that delivered crisp and clear visuals that met or exceeded their advertised resolutions, with high quality speakers that produce the kind of world class sound that is ideal for Hollywood blockbusters and streaming dramas alike. They also had to have the perfect black level and the right contrast ratio. We also tried to find a nice mix of 4K and standard HD products, to match whatever entertainment budget you are working with.
We also wanted to make sure these TVs were actually smart, with easy access to all major streaming platforms, via Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV or Samsung’s proprietary UI. We favored products with simple-to-navigate menus and powerful internal processors to make searching as quick as it would be on a computer or tablet.
Finally, we took a look at additional smart features, such as Alexa and Google Home functionality, providing hands-free control over the unit, and built-in Bluetooth for headphones and external speakers. We also tested out the remotes to make sure they worked as advertised and checked out any related apps to see if navigating via phone or tablet was effortless. Viewing angles were also considered. Every product on the above list also has a warranty of at least one year, with a few boasting 18 months.
Smart TV Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- Screen Size and Resolution
Just like their not-as-intelligent counterparts, smart TVs live and die by their max resolutions. If you absolutely need to have the crispest picture quality, go for something offering a 4K or Ultra HD resolution. If you are fine with standard HD, at 1080p or 720p, then you can save a few bucks by eschewing 4K. Screen size is also something to consider. Where is it going to be placed? If it’s going to be the centerpiece of your entertainment room, bigger might be better. If it’s going to be placed in a kitchen, small bedroom or dorm room, then you might want to pick a smaller television, to conserve space.
- Access to Streaming Platforms
The best part of a smart TV is that they are bundled with access to Roku, Fire TV or a similar streaming provider, meaning you won’t have to fork over extra cash for external streaming devices. Make sure that the television you are thinking of buying has access to all of the major streaming platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video etc. Additionally, look for products that offer useful apps, including web browsers and, on occasion, simple video games.
- Voice Control
Many smart TVs offer smart assistant integration, allowing you to use Alexa or Google Assistant to control the device. Though hands-free operation is certainly a perk, most of these products do require an external purchase, such as an Amazon Echo, in order to achieve this functionality. Still, once you are set up, this can turn the TV into something of a smart home hub, allowing you to adjust smart appliances throughout the house.
- What’s the difference between HD and ultra-HD?
Ultra-HD typically refers to 4K televisions, offering 3840 x 2160 pixels or 4096 x 2160 pixels, depending on the model. HD typically refers to your standard 1080p products, which clock in at 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is not as rich of an image as with 4k TVs. 4k UHD is going to be much clearer and detailed.
- What is a refresh rate?
Refresh rate is the number of times per second (written in hertz, or Hz) a TV refreshes its image. Movies are almost always filmed at 24 frames per second, or 24Hz. Live TV shows are typically filmed at 30 or 60 frames per second. Most TVs refresh at 60Hz,with some higher-end models refreshing 120Hz.
- Do I need an Echo or Google Home to make the most out of smart assistant functionality?
For the most part, yes. While most of the above products offer support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, they do typically require an external purchase, in the form of an Amazon Echo, Google Home or something similar. The Echo Dot is an extremely versatile, and cheap, solution to this problem.
- Will a smart TV work without Internet connection?
While the TV will still operate without an Internet connection, allowing you to watch cable or live TV, you need WiFi or ethernet in order to stream content, internet with a smart assistant or use many of the other useful features that TV technologies allow today.
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