The 5 Best Smart TVs For Streaming - Summer 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best Smart TVs
322 Televisions Tested
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New 4k TVs come equipped with a smart platform. Some manufacturers choose to use proprietary platforms, where others choose to integrate options like Google TV, Android, or Roku. No matter the case, the selection of apps is great, and most common apps are available on almost all platforms. Choosing the best smart TV is based on your needs and personal preferences for which smart OS you enjoy using the most.

We've tested more than 70 TVs on our latest test bench, and below are our recommendations for the best smart TVs you can buy. Also, check out our picks for the best Roku TVs, the best TVs, and the best 4k TVs.


  1. Best OLED Smart TV For Streaming: LG C1 OLED

    8.8
    Mixed Usage
    9.3
    Movies
    8.2
    TV Shows
    8.7
    Sports
    9.2
    Video Games
    8.6
    HDR Movies
    9.0
    HDR Gaming
    8.9
    PC Monitor
    Type OLED
    Sub-Type
    WRGB
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 48" 55" 65" 77" 83"

    The LG C1 OLED is the best smart TV with an OLED panel that we've tested. It replaces the LG CX OLED and has much of the same excellent overall performance. LG updated their webOS system in 2021, and you get a full smart hub to access all your apps instead of the banner at the bottom found in previous versions.

    The OLED panel helps deliver exceptional picture quality because it can turn individual pixels on and off. It has a near-infinite contrast ratio and perfect black uniformity, making it a fantastic choice for watching movies in dark rooms. It removes 24p judder from any source, including native apps, which helps with the appearance of motion while watching movies. If you watch HDR movies, it supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10+. It displays a wide color gamut and delivers an excellent HDR experience due to its high contrast, but it doesn't get extremely bright, so some highlights may not pop as they should.

    Unfortunately, OLEDs have the risk of permanent burn-in. It could be problematic if you tend to watch the same content with static elements, like if you leave it on your favorite news channel all day, but we don't expect this to be an issue for people who watch varied content. If you're not worried about this risk, then this is the best smart TV with an OLED screen that we've tested.

    See our review

  2. Best LED Smart TV For Streaming: Samsung QN90A QLED

    8.6
    Mixed Usage
    8.5
    Movies
    8.6
    TV Shows
    8.5
    Sports
    8.8
    Video Games
    8.6
    HDR Movies
    8.8
    HDR Gaming
    8.8
    PC Monitor
    Type LED
    Sub-Type
    VA
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 50" 55" 65" 75" 85"

    The best TV for streaming with an LED panel is the Samsung QN90A QLED. The main advantage of LEDs over their OLED competitors is that they don't have the risk of permanent burn-in, so you can leave it on your favorite channel all day and not have to worry about damaging the screen. This is an amazing TV overall; whether you're catching up on your favorite shows during the day or watching movies at night, it looks great in any setting.

    The wide viewing angles, outstanding peak brightness, and superb reflection handling of this TV make it a great choice for a bright living room with a wide seating arrangement. It has excellent contrast, an amazing local dimming feature, and high peak brightness, so the latest HDR content looks amazing, especially in a dark room.

    As far as smart features go, this TV doesn't disappoint. The interface is fast and easy to use, with a simple layout that hasn't changed much over the last few years. It has a huge selection of streaming apps, so you're sure to find your streaming service of choice. The remote is sleek but functional, and it's better for the environment now, with a solar panel on the back that recharges the batteries. It also has a huge selection of extra features for gamers, including support for FreeSync variable refresh rate technology (VRR). All in all, it's the best smart TV in the LED category.

    See our review

  3. Cheaper Alternative: Hisense U8G

    Type LED
    Sub-Type
    VA
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 55" 65"

    If you find the Samsung QN90A QLED a bit too expensive, then check out the Hisense U8G instead. It isn't quite as versatile, but it's still a great TV for watching TV shows or sports in a bright room or for watching movies in the dark. It still has a high native contrast ratio with great local dimming, and it gets bright. It runs the latest version of Android TV, and the built-in Google Play store has a massive selection of streaming apps, so you're sure to find an app for your streaming service of choice. On the other hand, the Hisense has narrow viewing angles, so it's not the best choice if you have a wide seating arrangement or like to watch TV with a large group of friends.

    Overall, the Samsung is a more versatile choice due to the wider viewing angles, but if you want to save some money, the Hisense is also a great TV for almost any usage.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Smart TV For Streaming: Hisense U6G

    8.1
    Mixed Usage
    8.3
    Movies
    8.0
    TV Shows
    8.0
    Sports
    8.3
    Video Games
    8.1
    HDR Movies
    8.2
    HDR Gaming
    8.0
    PC Monitor
    Type LED
    Sub-Type
    VA
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 50" 55" 65" 75"

    The Hisense U6G is the best smart TV in the budget category that we've tested. It's great overall, and despite its low cost, it provides very good picture quality for nearly almost every type of content. Like the Hisense U6G, it comes with Android TV, and even though Hisense's remote is one of the few left with a dedicated Numpad, it's great, and you get shortcut buttons to popular streaming services. The built-in mic offers voice control for Google Assistant and Alexa.

    In terms of picture quality, the U6G is great for both dark and well-lit environments. It has a VA panel with a high native contrast ratio, and the full-array local dimming feature does a decent job at improving black uniformity in dark scenes. It gets bright enough to fight glare in a bright room and has good reflection handling. Even though it doesn't have any advanced features like VRR or a 120Hz panel, gamers should still appreciate its quick response time and low input lag for a responsive gaming experience.

    Unfortunately, Android TV can take some time to get used to and may not be as easy to use as other platforms. Also, while it displays a wide color gamut for HDR content, its HDR brightness is just okay, so some highlights may not pop how the creator intended. If these issues don't bother you, it's one of the best TVs for streaming that we've tested.

    See our review

  5. Roku Alternative: TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED

    Type LED
    Sub-Type
    VA
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 50" 55" 65" 75"

    If you're a fan of the easy-to-use Roku TV, then look into the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED. It doesn't get as bright as the Hisense U6G, but its smart interface is great, and even though its remote doesn't have voice control, you can still get voice control through the mobile app. Since the 5 Series doesn't get very bright and its reflection handling is just okay, it performs best in dark environments. Like the Hisense, it has an outstanding native contrast ratio, good black uniformity, and a decent local dimming feature. Sadly, even though it displays a very wide color gamut for HDR content, it doesn't get bright enough to make highlights pop.

    If you're in the market for the best smart TV in the budget category, you can't go wrong with the Hisense, but if you prefer something with Roku TV, then check out the TCL.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020: The Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020 is a great overall TV and delivers a better HDR experience than the Hisense U8G. Its SmartCast platform has a limited number of apps available. See our review
  • Sony A80J OLED: The Sony A80J OLED is similar to the LG C1 in terms of picture quality, but it doesn't have as many gaming features. See our review
  • LG CX OLED: The LG CX is an older version of the LG C1, so it may be harder to find. Get whichever you can find for cheaper. See our review
  • Samsung QN85A QLED: The Samsung QN85A is a great TV with wide viewing angles, but the Samsung QN90A QLED is a much better choice for most people. See our review
  • TCL 6 Series/R635 2020 QLED: The TCL 6 Series/R635 2020 gets much brighter than the TCL 5 Series, but it may cost too much if you're on a budget. See our review
  • LG NANO90 2021: The LG NANO90 2021 has great smart features and wide viewing angles, but it doesn't get as bright as the Samsung QN90A and doesn't perform as well in a dark room. See our review
  • Vizio OLED 2020: The Vizio OLED 2020 is cheaper than the LG C1 for the same picture quality. However, its smart features aren't as good. See our review
  • Vizio M7 Series Quantum 2020: The Vizio M7 Series Quantum 2020 is a good budget TV with more gaming features than the Hisense and TCL, but its smart platform isn't as good. See our review
  • Sony X90J: The Sony X90J is a great LED that costs less than the Samsung QN90A, but it lacks any gaming features and doesn't get as bright. See our review
  • LG G1 OLED: The LG G1 is a slightly brighter alternative to the LG C1, but considering their cost and how they each deliver similar picture quality, it's worth getting the C1 instead. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jul 16, 2021: Replaced the Hisense H8G with the newer U6G; added the Sony A80J, LG NANO90 2021, Sony X90J, and LG G1 OLED to Notable Mentions.

  2. Jun 17, 2021: Replaced the Sony X90J with the Samsung QN90A QLED, and replaced the Samsung Q80A with the Hisense U8G as a cheaper alternative. Removed the Hisense H9G, as the U8G is a better choice.

  3. May 18, 2021: Replaced the LG C1 with the LG CX; removed the Sony X950H as an alternative to the Hisense H9G and added the Sony X90J as 'Best LED'; replaced the Samsung Q80T with the Samsung Q80A; updated Notable Mentions based on market availability.

  4. Apr 21, 2021: Updated text for clarity; added the Sony A90J, Samsung QN90A, and Samsung Q70A to Notable Mentions.

  5. Mar 26, 2021: Verified picks for accuracy; added the Vizio M7 Series Quantum to Notable Mentions.

What Is A Smart TV?

A smart TV is a television connected to the internet that provides web-related features. It can be a web browser, but its appeal usually comes from its ability to use online services like 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're similar.

While they offer the same features, they tend to be a bit slower and less stable. It's 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, but most of them are pretty good. LG's WebOS and TCL's Roku stand out for their quality, but most shoppers should be pleased by the features of any of them. Don't fret too much about features if you're shopping for a TV since little of your time will 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.

All Reviews

Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best TVs for streaming 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.

If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of smart TVs. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.

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