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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.