Preferred tv store
Updated

The 7 Best Smart TVs - September 2018
Reviews

Best Smart TVs
198 Televisions Tested
  • Store-bought TVs; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

Almost all new TVs come equipped with a smart platform. Some manufacturers choose to use their own smart platforms whereas others choose to integrate smart platforms like Android or Roku. No matter the case, the plethora of apps is great and most common apps are available on almost all platforms. 

We've tested 71 smart TVs and below are our recommendations for the best ones you can buy in 2018.

  1. Best Smart TV: LG B8

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches: test

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    8.8
    Mixed Usage
    What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
    Score components:
    9.3
    Movies
    What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
    Score components:
    8.4
    TV Shows
    What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
    Score components:
    8.6
    Sports
    What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
    8.9
    Video Games
    What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
    9.0
    HDR Movies
    What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
    Score components:
    8.6
    HDR Gaming
    What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
    8.3
    PC Monitor
    What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
    Score components:
    Type : OLED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    WRGB
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 55" 65"

    The best smart TV we’ve tested so far is the LG OLED B8. It runs the latest version of LG's smart platform, webOS, which has many available apps for download. The LG B8 has the same excellent picture quality as the more expensive LG C8 and can display perfect blacks. It has a wide color gamut and displays saturated colors and bright highlights that make HDR content look great. The image remains accurate even when viewed at an angle unlike more expensive models with VA panels like the Samsung Q9FN. It has excellent motion handling and a low input lag that makes it feel very responsive to gamers and PC users. 

    However, it isn't perfect. If you display static images for a prolonged time you run the risk of temporary image retention and the risk of burn-in, although we don't expect most people to experience this.

    Overall, the B8 is an excellent TV loaded with smart features that will keep you happy.

    See our review

  2. LED Alternative: Samsung Q9FN

    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 65" 75"

    If you do not want to worry about the burn in risk that the LG B8 has, we recommend the Samsung Q9FN (or the Samsung Q8FN, which is almost as good). You will not get the viewing angles of the OLEDs or the instantaneous response time. However, the Samsung Q9FN is an excellent TV that runs Samsung's Tizen OS, also known as Smart Hub. It has a remarkable brightness that contributes to an impressive picture quality that will keep most people happy no matter the usage.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Smart TV: Sony X900F

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches: test

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    8.3
    Mixed Usage
    What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
    Score components:
    8.5
    Movies
    What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
    Score components:
    8.2
    TV Shows
    What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
    Score components:
    8.1
    Sports
    What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
    8.6
    Video Games
    What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
    8.4
    HDR Movies
    What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
    Score components:
    8.6
    HDR Gaming
    What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
    8.3
    PC Monitor
    What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
    Score components:
    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 49" 55" 65" 75" 85"

    If the LG B8 is too expensive, the best smart TV we've tested in the mid-range category is the Sony X900F. It does not have the wide viewing angles of the LG B8 nor will you get the perfect blacks of the OLEDs.

    The Sony X900F has an impressive picture quality, with better dark room performance than more expensive models like the Samsung Q7FN, due to better local dimming that produces deeper blacks. HDR content playback is excellent as it can produce bright and vivid highlights and colors are very accurate. Motion handling is excellent as the TV has a fast response time and the ability to flicker the backlight to make motion crisper.

    Overall, the Sony X900F is a TV that can handle most usages very well. It runs Sony's version of the Android TV interface and will keep most people happy with its features and performance.

    See our review

  4. Better Viewing Angle Alternative: LG SK9000

    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    IPS
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 55" 65"

    If you find that the viewing angles of the Sony X900F are not good for your wide seating arrangement, then get the LG SK9000. The LG does not have the deep and uniform blacks of the Sony due to its IPS panel. It is, however, a great TV with good picture quality that runs the latest version of LG's smart operating system, webOS, and will perform very well in a variety of usages and its viewing angles are suitable for your wide seating arrangement.

    See our review

  5. Gaming Alternative: Samsung NU8000

    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 49" 55" 65" 75" 82"

    If you are looking for a gaming alternative to the Sony X900F with lower input lag, then get the Samsung NU8000. The NU8000 does not have as good a local dimming as the Sony and the picture quality is not as great. However, it has an excellent low input lag and supports variable refresh rate that will be appreciated by gamers. It is a very good TV that runs Samsung's 2018 Tizen smart platform, also known as Smart Hub with a great number of available apps. This TV will perform well in almost any usage.

    See our review

  6. Best Budget Smart TV: TCL R617

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches: test

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    7.9
    Mixed Usage
    What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
    Score components:
    8.0
    Movies
    What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
    Score components:
    7.6
    TV Shows
    What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
    Score components:
    7.5
    Sports
    What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
    8.6
    Video Games
    What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
    8.1
    HDR Movies
    What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
    Score components:
    8.4
    HDR Gaming
    What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
    8.1
    PC Monitor
    What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
    Score components:
    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 55" 65"

    If the Sony X900F is too expensive, the best budget smart TV we’ve tested is the TCL 6 Series R617. The R617 does not have the excellent reflection handling of the X900F and it does not have as fast a response time.

    On the upside, the TCL R617 is a TV that runs the Roku TV smart platform which is very intuitive and easy to use. The R617 has a very good picture quality due to its good local dimming and excellent native contrast that help it produce deep blacks. It can reach very high brightness both in SDR and HDR. Colors are great and highlights pop. The R617 also has a very good motion handling and an excellent low input lag that will please most gamers and is better than most expensive models like the Sony X850F.

    Overall the TCL 6 Series R617 is a TV that can handle well almost any usage you throw at it.

    See our review

  7. Cheaper Alternative: TCL S405

    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k
    Sizes : 43" 49" 55" 65"

    If you find the TCL R617 expensive but still want a smart TV that is cheaper and performs well, get the TCL S Series 4k 2017 S405. If you can not find it, get the similar TCL 5 Series S517. The S405 cannot get as bright nor does it have local dimming or motion interpolation features so the picture quality and the motion handling are not as good as the TCL R617. However, the S405 runs the same Roku TV smart platform and has a very low input lag that makes the TV very responsive to gaming and its picture quality is decent with great contrast and deep blacks.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Vizio P Series Quantum. A great TV but with an unintuitive and slow smart platform. See our review
  • Samsung Q8FN. Great TV, not as good as the Samsung Q9FN. See our review
  • Sony Z9D. Great TV but a lot more expensive than the Sony X900F. See our review
  • Sony A1E. Excellent TV, but worse smart platform than the LG B8. See our review
  • Sony A8F. Great TV, but the LG B8 has a better smart platform. See our review
  • Sony X900E. Good mid-range TV, almost as good as the Sony X900F, but hard to find. See our review
  • LG C8. Just as good as the B8, with a higher price and not much more to offer. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best TVs currently available with smart features. They are adapted to be valid for most people, in each price range. Rating is based on our review, factoring in price and feedback from our visitors. 

What is a Smart TV?

In their most basic form, a smart TV is a television that is connected to the internet and provides web-related features. It can be a web browser, but their appeal usually comes from their ability to use online services such as Netflix, Youtube, and Spotify. If you've ever used something like an Apple TV, a Roku or a Chromecast, then you are already quite familiar with their capabilities as they are quite similar.

Unfortunately though, while they offer the same features, they tend to be a bit slower and less stable. This has become less of an issue in recent years, but most TVs still don't quite match the speed and reliability of something like a Roku set-top box.

Not only does almost every TV include smart features today, most of them are pretty good. LG's WebOS and TCL's Roku definitely stand out for their quality, but most shoppers should be pleased by the features of any of them. If you're shopping for a TV, don't fret too much on their smart features since little of your time is going to be spent using them. Instead,  focus on the picture quality or other features that complement your usage. You'll get much closer to finding your perfect TV that way.

 

Discussions

Log In

Register

Subscribe to emails:

Create Discussion

Preview Back to editor Format guide

The editor uses special characters (aka. markdown).

To post formatted content follow these rules:

What you typeWhat it will look like
*italic text*italic text
**bold text**bold text
[link](http://rtings.com)link
> quoted text
quoted text
# header

header

- item 1
- item 2
- item 3
  • item 1
  • item 2
  • item 3

* Quotes and lists must be followed by a blank line