Picking the best smart TV can be tricky. You have to worry about picture quality, size, and sound quality, as well as what OS powers it. It’s relatively easy to tell if a screen looks good at a glance. But it’s considerably tougher to figure out whether a TV’s smart features are reliable and robust.
The OS that powers a smart TV will color your entire experience with it. Google TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku TV, webOS, and other platforms all have different features, interfaces, and capabilities. Most importantly, these all have different storefronts. Some of them contain apps that aren’t available on one or more of the others. As such, it’s vital to ensure that all the services you want are on a particular smart TV before buying.
But how do you go about choosing the right smart TV for you? There are several things you‘ll want to consider about smart TVs when beginning your search for a new set. What kinds of apps will you be using? What type of previously aforementioned OS do you want your TV to run on? And what kind of resolution are looking for? All of these things are important when it comes to pinning down the right TV.
Fortunately, our guide to the best smart TVs in 2022 has a wide selection covering all major operating systems. So, if you have your heart set on a particular interface, you can find a corresponding model below.
Best overall smart TV: LG C1 OLED TV
Pros: Beautiful image, magic remote, stable software.
Cons: OLED can get burn-in, not as bright as standard LEDs
For stunning picture quality at an affordable price, no TV beats the LG C1 OLED. OLED’s per-pixel lighting gives this TV the darkest blacks possible. They put LED displays to shame when it comes to contrast and viewing angle. We can’t overstate how much of a difference OLED makes in image quality. However, the LG C1 isn’t just a great looker. LG’s webOS platform is reliable and easy to use. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the tremendous amount of apps available to Google, Roku, and Amazon TVs. Still, all the major streaming services are available, as well as more niches ones.
LG’s magic remote also sets this TV apart from the others on this list. It works as a normal remote, but can be used like a Wii remote. It can move a cursor around the screen. This control method is quicker once you get used to it. It also makes for a less frustrating Smart TV experience.
The most significant downsides to the LG C1 are the same issues that plague all OLED TVs. It doesn’t have the max brightness that standard LED TVs can achieve. Burn-in is also a risk. Fortunately, the TV has enough safeguards in place that it’s relatively rare if users practice a modicum of caution.
Best budget smart TV: Hisense U6G Quantum ULED TV
Pros: Excellent value for the price, reliable general-purpose TV
Cons: Poor viewing angle, doesn’t excel at any one thing
The Hisense U6G is a surprisingly good TV for the price. It’s Hisense’s entry-level model in the ULED series. Still, it has great contrast, good blacks (for an LED TV), and solid color accuracy. It’s hard to call the U6G a budget TV because it doesn’t feel budget at all. It does everything well. Plus, its Android TV OS is dependable and reasonably easy to use, It’s also compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa. This is also one of the cheapest TVs that’s is Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos capable.
However, the U6G doesn’t excel at anything. It’s a workhorse sort of TV that doesn’t have a ton of frills. It also lacks HDMI 2.1. So, 4K at 60 frames-per-second is the max you’ll get out of it. Features like Variable Refresh Rate and 4K at 120 frames per second aren’t supported. Those features are almost exclusively used by consoles and PCs, though. Those uninterested in gaming likely won’t miss their absence. Additionally, like many TVs with regular LED panels, the U6G has viewing angle issues. Its VA panel is notorious for poor viewing angles. Those with wide rooms and scattered seating arrangements might want to look elsewhere.
Best Roku TV: TCL 6 Series/R648
Pros: Extremely affordable for an 8K TV, Roku interface is straightforward and user-friendly
Cons: Poor viewing angles, some banding and black crush
The TCL 6 Series/R648 is the brand’s first 8K Roku TV, and its overall performance is a mixed bag. It is more future-proof than the other sets on the list since it features an 8K display. It also supports HDMI 2.1 on two of its four HDMI inputs, which lets it support 4K at 120 FPS gaming, and 8K at 60 FPS content. However, there’s just not that much native 8K content available right now. That’s likely to change in the near future, but some savings can be had by picking up a 4K display with similar features.
Unfortunately, the screen itself isn’t very remarkable, aside from being an 8K display. It’s a VA-type panel, and viewing angle issues mean you need to be facing the TV head-on to get the best experience. It does feature Mini LED backlighting, but even having more dimming zones doesn’t eliminate the black crush and banding you get from standard LED screens. The remote also leaves something to be desired as it is very similar to one you’d get with a Roku streaming device. That’s great for those who are used to that and don’t want anything else, but for the price, I expected a more full-featured remote.
Best Amazon Fire TV: Amazon Fire TV Omni
Pros: Fire TV Interface is versatile and has many apps, great for those invested in the Amazon ecosystem
Cons: The TV itself is mediocre
The flagship Amazon Fire TV Omni shines brightly as Amazon’s recently introduced TV line. However, this entry-level 4K TV still has its flaws. The only thing that will put this above the competition for some buyers is the built-in Amazon Fire TV interface. It has decent contrast, but the complete lack of local dimming means picture quality will suffer no matter what content you play. The 65 and 75-inch models support Dolby Vision in addition to HDR. Still, there’s not much of a point since it doesn’t have the color gamut necessary for the “pop” you get with HDR format video.
Amazon Fire TV Omni models use VA panels, and as we discussed above, this makes for poor viewing angles. If you plan on using this TV as your daily driver, that can cause issues. You also might find it a problem if it’s in your living room. Unfortunately, the Fire TV interface isn’t available in many models. These are the best available for all their flaws. Most buyers would be better off just purchasing a Fire TV 4K and hooking it up to an LG C1. It’ll cost more, but the picture quality and overall experience are much better.
Best Google TV: Sony A90J
Pros: Excellent picture quality, Google TV is the most versatile TV OS available
Cons: No VRR
Fortunately, we get to end on a high note. The Sony A90J is an OLED TV that rivals LG’s C1 line in picture quality and performance. Buyers can expect the deep blacks, excellent contrast, and vivid colors that are a hallmark of OLEDs. Unfortunately, like the LG C1, the A90J has issues with low brightness and potential burn-in. However, the pros of OLEDs far outweigh the cons, and the A90J is one of the best TV sets you can buy.
The Google TV interface has recently moved to be more uniform across devices. So, if you’ve used it lately on a Chromecast, Nvidia Shield TV, or another TV, you’ll find it works much the same on the A90J. It isn’t as straightforward as using a Roku, but it does have the advantage of having access to the Google Play Store, which has a ton of apps. That includes even some niche services, like Crunchyroll or Funimation. Unfortunately, for gamers, the A90J might fall short of expectations. The TV doesn’t currently support Variable Rate Refresh, and only two of its four HDMI ports are HDMI 2.1 compatible. If gaming is your primary form of entertainment, you may want to look elsewhere.