The Best Smart TVs of 2021 For Any Budget

best smart TV

Almost every new TV you can buy these days comes loaded with smart features. A smart TV is just like any other TV, but it gives you access to thousands of free and paid movies, TV shows, and much more. Some smart TVs even allow you to use voice commands to pause the movie you’re watching, find a new show, or even control your other smart home devices. Here is our list of the best 4K smart TVs, including budget and high-end models for gaming, watching movies, and more.

If you’re having trouble picking the right smart TV, make sure to check out our quiz below. By answering a few simple questions, you can find the perfect smart TV for you and your home theater. You can take the quiz by clicking the big green button below: 

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To help you compare prices, all the smart TVs in this list are 65-inch models. However, you can also find all the following models in different sizes to suit your needs.

TCL 5 Series S535: Best Budget Smart TV

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(Image Source: Walmart)

The new TCL Class 5 Series is one of the best budget smart TVs because it comes with the easy-to-use Roku interface built-in. It works with Alexa and Google, but you’ll have to manually connect it to your smart assistant before you can use voice commands to control your TV.

This budget smart TV offers excellent picture quality for its price. With its “full-array local dimming” feature, the screen is divided into 80 different zones, each of which can be individually dimmed to make the dark parts of the screen look even darker. Plus, this QLED TV supports Dolby Vision HDR (high dynamic range), which analyzes each frame and enhances the details in the shadows and highlights.

If you want to know more about what HDR is and what it does, check out our previous guide here.

The biggest complaints with this 2020 smart TV have to do with the fact that it does not get very bright, and it doesn’t handle reflections very well. Also, since it only has a refresh rate of 60 Hz, it is not the best smart TV for gaming or watching sports or action movies.

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Hisense U8G: Best Budget TV for Gaming

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(Image Source: Amazon)

When Hisense first announced its 2021 smart TV lineup, the company called the U8G “the TV that’s great for everything.” With its 360 local dimming zones, this 4K TV delivers great contrast for movies. It also displays vivid colors that are accurate out of the box, and it gets bright enough to put in any room.

This 4K TV supports every HDR format, so you’ll always get the best picture quality, no matter what content you’re watching. And it gets brighter than TVs that are twice as expensive, even when you’re not watching HDR content.

When it comes to gaming, the U8G has two HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K gaming at 120 frames per second, so you can get the most out of the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5. It also has an incredibly low input lag, fast response time, and FreeSync technology. This technology provides a variable refresh rate (VRR), which makes motion look smooth by adjusting the refresh rate of your display to match the frame rate of your game.

Read More: What is a Good Refresh Rate for a TV?

However, one of the biggest complaints about this smart TV is that it doesn’t handle motion from movies and older 24p TV shows as good as more expensive models. But, this smart TV does come with a recently-updated Android TV interface that is faster, smoother, and smarter than the previous version. You can also save a few dollars by getting the Hisense U6G, which is basically the same TV without the gaming features.

TCL R648 – Best Budget 8K TV for Early Adopters

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(Image Source: Amazon)

If you’re the kind of person that likes to be the first in line to use new technologies, the TCL R648 is one of the best TVs with next-generation 8K resolution at a reasonable price. With 33 million pixels, this 8K TV can display four times as much detail as a 4K TV, giving you better picture quality.

While there isn’t much content that’s currently filmed in 8K, this smart TV will upscale low-resolution content, so almost any movies and shows will look better with this smart TV. The TCL R648 has 240 local dimming zones, giving it one of the best contrast ratios of any 8K TV. And, since it uses mini-LED technology, the screen is also brighter and more evenly lit.

Unlike most smart TVs on this list, the TCL R648 is outfitted with decent-sounding speakers and even a big subwoofer on the back. While you might still want to get a soundbar to enhance your audio experience, you don’t need to with this TV.

For gaming, this smart TV supports VRR, it has a THX Certified Game Mode, and it comes with two HDMI 2.1 ports that are separate from the eARC port. And, like the previous TCL TV, the R648 also comes with the Roku interface, and it works with Alexa, Google, and Apple HomeKit smart homes.

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Samsung QN90A: Best Smart LED TV

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(Image Source: Amazon)

While it is expensive, the Samsung QN90A uses mini-LED technology and 576 local dimming zones to display blacks that are nearly indistinguishable from high-end OLED TVs. But it’s also one of the brightest TVs you can get, and the screen has very effective anti-reflection technology, so you can also watch TV in the brightest room in your home.

Samsung claims that the QN90A can display “100% Color Volume.” While that may or may not be true, the colors are vivid and totally accurate out of the box, so you won’t have to fiddle with the settings to get the picture to look right.

Read More: The best TV picture settings for every major brand

When it comes to gaming, the QN90A has an incredibly low input lag of around 5 milliseconds, so you won’t experience any delays when gaming, even at peak settings. Plus, it supports FreeSync, and while it is not officially advertised, it is also G-SYNC compatible.

This smart TV uses Samsung’s Tizen interface, and it works with Google and Alexa. The only downside to this smart TV, other than the price, is the fact that it doesn’t support Dolby Vision HDR at 120 Hz. That means you won’t be able to get the best picture quality with some content.

LG C1: Best Smart OLED TV

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(Image Source: Amazon)

If you’re looking for a TV to build a home theater around, the LG C1 OLED has everything you need. This 4K TV has more than 8 million self-lighting “organic light-emitting diode” (OLED) pixels. Unlike LED TVs, which use backlights to shine through filters, OLED TVs can turn each pixel on and off individually. This gives you the deepest, darkest blacks and a nearly perfect contrast ratio.

Read More: LED vs QLED vs OLED: What’s the difference?

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(Image Source: LG)

The C1 also features LG’s Motion Pro, which reduces stuttering when watching sports or playing games. When it comes to gaming, the LG C1 has response times as low as one millisecond, so you won’t miss a beat while playing with friends online. It is also officially compatible with both FreeSync and G-Sync, which will help reduce screen tearing on any next-gen console.

This smart TV uses the newest version of LG’s webOS interface, and it works with Alexa, Google, and Apple HomeKit. It also has Dolby Vision IQ, which detects how bright or dark the room is and adjusts the picture quality to suit your viewing conditions.

However, like any OLED TV, the LG C1 can “burn” images into the screen if you leave the TV on for too long. That means you might see a ghostly background of an image if you pause your TV or fall asleep with a single image displayed overnight. Also, this TV doesn’t get nearly as bright as other models, and it does not have the best color accuracy out of the box.  

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