As home tech continues to improve and get smarter, we can happily sit back and let it do more of the leg work for us. And smart TVs are no exception.
If you currently own a standard digital TV, chances are you have all sorts of set-top boxes, endless wires, and constantly having to adjust settings to fit your viewing purposes. All you really want is to have everything in one place at the touch of a button. Well, the good news is that smart TVs have the intelligence to do all that – and more!
So if you’re wondering whether a smart TV is for you, then here it is. This guide will show you why a smart TV is better, what freedom it can bring you, and more importantly, which are the best smart TVs of 2020 money can buy.
What Should I Look For When Buying a Smart TV?
While most of today’s smart TVs have similar features, some will be more suited to your needs. So whether you enjoy streaming, Blu-rays, or gaming, there’s a few things you’ll need to look out for…
Just like your smartphone, you can get a lot of similar apps on your smart TV. Many come pre-installed, which can bloat it out, but there’s the option to add your favorites too, like streaming services and social media.
One of the great benefits of a smart TV is its ability to behave like a computer. So if you want to browse the internet on a bigger and better screen from your couch, then it’s a really useful feature to have.
Because a smart TV is like a computer, it has a built-in processor to carry out key functions. You want a TV that delivers a smooth frame rate and loads fast, so a good processor is essential.
Without it, you may be subject to long loading times on apps, poor sound and image quality for streaming, and painfully slow functioning all-round. So it pays to get the best.
Casting allows you to connect other smart devices to your TV like your phone, allowing you to wirelessly stream content. This is another fancy feature that means you can seamlessly transmit pictures, music, and videos instantly from your phone to the TV for all to enjoy.
Bluetooth is not a feature of all smart TVs, but it’s definitely one that you want. It means you can wirelessly connect other devices such as speakers and headphones. Great if you want to create surround sound, or watch TV without disturbing others. You can read more here on The Best TVs with Bluetooth in 2020.
Smart TVs are getting better all the time and now allow you to put your own personal touch on it. This might include things like customizing your home screen, or recommendations of what to watch next. It may not be necessary, but it helps make it your own and thus more user-friendly to use.
Because your TV will connect to the internet, there’s always the possibility of your personal data getting out there. Good smart TVs should only collect the essential stuff that will enhance performance, and will have data encryption to protect any of your sensitive data such as wi-fi logins.
How does the TV sound? When streaming your favorite shows, you want something that has decent sound quality. Obviously, you can also buy a home theater system, but should you not want to spend money on that, good built-in speakers are important.
In an age where we are mindful of how much energy we consume, new televisions have various features to save you energy. For example, some will automatically adjust their brightness. Others will turn off when not in use. Look for a TV with an Energy Star rating, as this can save you money as you’re streaming your favorite shows at home.
Warranty and Customer Service
Buy a TV from a brand that will stand by their devices. Should your TV have problems, you want to buy a television from a brand that will offer excellent customer care and allow you to repair or replace your TV should you have issues before the warranty’s normal expiration date.
Does the TV come bundled with other devices or accessories? Some TVs may include a wall stand so you don’t need a cabinet. Others will come with a soundbar for a home theater experience. With a bundle, you may pay less for the accessories overall than if you decide to buy them separately.
Finally, look for a TV that will fit your budget. New televisions come in all ranges of prices. You can get a decent quality TV for cheap, but if you want something huge and sharper, you may need a higher budget for that. Most people will settle somewhere in the middle and get a new TV for their home that falls in the mid-range.
The Best Smart TVs of 2020
Now we’ll look at the best smart TVs of 2020 from some of the big-name brands. These are the ones that are the best in the business and give you more for your money.
We’ve selected a range that includes different sizes, resolutions, prices, and features, but all of them are among the very best in smart TVs. They’re also the best reviewed TVs out there, to help you determine which is the best for you.
3840 x 2160 pixels | 60 Hz Dimensions: 49.8″ x 30.7″ x 5.9″ | Weight: 25.1 pounds
Samsung have brought us some of the best smart TVs in recent years, and this one is top of our list.
The design is sleek with a super-thin frame, allowing it to seamlessly mount on your wall. Build quality is great and is high on the energy-efficient scale.
It comes with HDR technology which brings out more details and high contrast in dark images. High colour impact makes them really stand out against shadows bringing clarity and realism all round.
The smart hub gives you access to all of the best streaming apps and internet, which is very easy to use with the press of a button.
While the picture quality is excellent, like most ultra-thin TVs, it lacks that impact surround sound. But given that it’s a great price, you can always add a soundbar to boost the audio.
Overall, a really great value-for-money smart TV that is easy to set up and use for all of your viewing needs.
3840×2160 pixels | 50Hz | Dimensions: 10.6 x 57.6 x 36 inches | Weight: 21.3 pounds
This smart TV from LG also brings you a fantastic picture with its 4K HDR technology. The detail and definition in the colours really make the images pop out of the screen and into your living room. As with most, its appearance looks far better mounted on a wall.
The LG TV includes ThingQ, which uses artificial intelligence to make viewing and browsing much easier than with a regular remote. And it’s also Bluetooth enabled so you can hook up all of your home smart devices, including Alexa and Google Home.
The sound is pretty decent as TVs go, but again it would benefit from external speakers or a soundbar. But switching on its ultra-surround mode makes the sound fantastic.
Overall, the design looks nice, and spec is great. When paired with smart devices, it can really make for an excellent bit of tech for your home.
3840 x 2160 pixels | 100Hz Dimensions: 28 x 48 x 12 inches | Weight: 41 pounds
As you can tell from the specifications, this smart TV really packs a punch on power. Its OLED technology produces a color contrast and perfect blacks for viewing in the dark.
It also has wide viewing angles of 178 degrees and handles glare and reflections really well. A refresh rate of 100Hz makes for a smooth picture and almost instant response time. It runs on the Android platform which is very familiar and easy to use when downloading the latest apps. The main downside to it being OLED is that if you’re a gamer, you may get a little lag or screen burn. Other than that, it’s another great choice in the latest smart TVs.
3840 x 2160 pixels | 60 Hz Dimensions: 1120 x 651 x 62 mm | Weight: 14 kg
A really nice, lightweight TV offering Dolby Vision and HDR10+. It has all the usual connections, including USB, HDMI, digital optical audio, AV, and ethernet outputs. It also includes wireless and Bluetooth capabilities and comes with Google Home and Alexa integrated.
You can customize the main menu to how you want it and it supports a wide range of video formats for playback.
Picture quality and clarity is very good with its HCX image processor, which allows for local dimming too. It has a wide range of picture settings for a smooth image for movies and video games. It is Dolby Atmos audio capable, so sound is also very good, but could do with a soundbar boost for more impact. Overall, it makes for a superb TV for movies and everyday use.
This is one of the best low-cost smart 4K TVs you can get. It has enhanced color and depth, allowing you to watch and game in fantastic image quality. It also comes with Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range + HDR10, adding spectacular colors, contrast, and brightness for every scene.
Its motion rate technology reduces lag and generates smooth motion, even in fast-paced scenes.
The DTS Studio Sound is also very impressive, creating an immersive, crisp surround sound to your viewing experience.
It’s got an easy-to-use home screen and menus, and is compatible with smart home devices, including the built-in Roku app. So if you can’t find the remote, you can use voice commands instead.
Is There Much Difference Between a Standard TV and a Smart One?
If all you’re after is a simple flat screen TV that’s fine. But most of the biggest TV brands are now solely focusing on future technology that’s smart. That’s because it’s not only what people prefer, but it gives you so much more packed into the unit.
With improved image and sound technology, smart device pairing, and integrated apps, why wouldn’t you get one? One of the main differences would be that because they perform in a similar way to computers, they can be moments of lag and loading. So opt for the best specs to avoid that.
Verdict: Your Best Smart TVs
So, there you have it. Five of the best smart TVs of 2020. Here’s one last recap if you’re still not sure which is best for you.
First, we had the Samsung 50″ Class TU8000. This TV is one of the highest performers. Delivering many of the features you’re after in a nice, user-friendly way, and at a great price too.
Next there’s the LG 50UM7300AUE. It’s one of the more intelligent models, with HDR and artificial intelligence technology that seamlessly integrates with your smart home devices.
Third, the Sony XBR-55A8H. One of the faster, more powerful TVs that brings you excellent picture quality and frame rate, with the widest viewing angles for some top-notch telly.
Forth is the Panasonic TX-50GX800B. Another good all-rounder that has all the smart features of the others, making it a smart and stylish bit of kit for all viewing preferences.
Last up, we have the Hisense R6090G. A fabulous TV for a lower budget. Easy to use and has excellent picture and sound quality that’s better than some high-end TVs out there.
Hopefully that gives you all the information you need for when you come to buy your next smart TV. If you weren’t considering going smart before, this may just sway you.
When it comes down to it, you want something that’s easy to use and delivers the best viewing experience possible. And if it’s going to be smart, those features need to be worth it, and they need to be reliable for years to come.
This selection of recommendations should give you a much better idea of what you’re after, and whichever you choose, it’ll be a smart TV you can really get on with. Good luck!