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Best smart TV 2022: top-rated budget and premium 4K TVs to buy this year

Here’s everything you need to know to find the best smart TV for you.

TV shopping top tips
Published: Friday, 21st January 2022 at 1:40 pm

A television is one of those high-value items that nearly everybody will invest in at some point in their lives. That’s why the smart TV market is fiercely competitive, and one where new models appear at high speed and technology improves at a dizzying pace.

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It’s also a market that can be hugely intimidating for buyers. It can be hard to know where to start with such a huge range in prices and a truckload of indecipherable numbers, acronyms, marketing spiel, and other jargon to contend with. And it’s easy to go wrong – and if there’s one thing you don’t want, it’s to end up with the wrong TV, a high-cost product that should last you for years on end.

We’ve put together this comprehensive buying guide to stop that from happening. Along with our recommendations for the best smart TVs to buy, picked out from our tried and tested models, we’ll also take you through everything you need to know about picking out the perfect smart TV. So if you want to binge your favourite boxsets in the full televisual glory they deserve, but your 10-year-old telly just isn’t cutting the mustard, fear not – we’ve got you covered.

Once you've found the TV that's right for you, head over to our best TV shows guide for a full list of the series you should be watching this year.

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Best smart TV to buy in 2022 at a glance

How to choose a smart TV: top tips before you start shopping

Here’s a checklist of things to do before you start shopping for a smart TV:

  • Work out a budget. You can spend anywhere between £124 and £20,000 on a new TV, and it’s a good idea to filter your search by price when looking through retailers and Google Shopping. Don’t worry if you’re not yet sure how much to set aside: we’ll go into how much you should spend on a new smart TV later in this article.
  • Know your optimum screen size. It’s crucial you pick a smart TV with a screen size that’s appropriate for your viewing space. Too small, and you’ll have to invest in some binoculars; too big, and the picture quality will be sub-par. We’ll go into screen sizes in the next section.
  • List any must-have features. Whether it’s an OLED screen, an in-built voice assistant or even a soundbar giveaway, it’s always good to put together a wishlist of features. It will make your decision-making far easier.

Which size TV should I buy?

What size TV to buy?

You might want the biggest television you can get your hands on, but it’s important to know which screen size works best for your viewing space.

There may well be some leeway between sizes, depending on how rearrangeable your furniture is – the golden formulae to remember are that your viewing distance should be 1.5 times the screen size with standard HD televisions and 1-1.5 times the screen size for 4K televisions. Need to figure it out in reverse? Check out the screen size calculator in our what size TV should I buy article. We also have an article on how to measure a TV screen.

Choosing the best smart TV for your needs

There are a number of key criteria that everybody should consider before they buy their next smart TV. Here they are:

  • Do you like to switch the lights off when you watch TV, or do you watch it with an overhead light on, or chiefly during the daytime? It may sway your decision, especially if you’re choosing between a QLED and NanoCell TV.
  • If you have any smart devices set up around your home, you may want to consider looking out for a TV with an in-built voice assistant like Alexa, Google Assistant or Samsung’s Bixby. Via your smart TV, you can potentially do anything from dimming the lights to adjusting your thermostat.
  • Gaming fan? If you plan to connect your console to your television, it’s worth looking at the refresh rates in the specs of any TVs you’re looking at. The refresh rate simply means how many times the image changes per second: look out for sets with 120HZ or high.

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TV resolutions

How much should I spend on a TV?

Budget

If you want to buy a good-quality television but want to keep your spending to a sensible minimum, £500 is a good figure to keep in mind. This will guarantee you a perfectly respectable television that’s 4K in quality and has an in-built streaming platform that will set you up with access to all the typical services. Entry-level 4Ks are growing ever cheaper, but you’ll likely be spending a minimum of £300.

Certainly, if you’re looking for a small TV – 40-inch or lower – then you can easily keep your spending below £500. But the good news for budget spenders is that a modest spend doesn’t hinder you that much in terms of screen size: you’ll find smaller 32-inch sets for as little as £150, while at the other end, you can pick up older-generation 65-inch sets for as little as £450.

Mid-range

Spend between £500 and £1,000, and you’ll start to find 55-inch TVs from industry leaders like Samsung and LG. It’s also at this price point you’ll start to find smart TVs that incorporate a few extra features. Most notable are the QLED and NanoCell tech that you’ll find in Samsung and LG TVs, respectively – these TVs will offer you a picture quality that’s richer, more vibrant and better in contrast. Don't miss our LG or Samsung TV explainer if you’re in two minds about which brand to pick.

You’ll also start to find smart TVs that have a built-in voice assistant, and one that you can potentially sync to other smart devices in your house.

High-spend

If you’re happy to spend upward of £1,000 – and admittedly, there’s still a dizzying range of prices – then you’ll find yourself in the OLED range, which is a good place to be: it will get you what’s the best picture quality, and will be for the next few years.

It’s in the high-spend category that we start to see prices vary much more sharply between sizes: while 55-inch OLEDs start at around £1,200, be prepared to spend £1,500 to £2,500 on 65-inch sets and as much as £4,500 on 75-inch or 77-inch sets.

Scroll down to the bottom of this article for a round-up of televisions of differing sizes for each of these categories.

Which TV brand is best?

According to a Kantar Media UK survey, in 2019, an estimated 15.8 million people used Samsung TV sets, 11 million used LG sets, 7.4 million used Panasonic sets and 7.2 million used Sony sets.

We can recommend all these brands as market leaders. You’ll also find reliable sets from Philips, TCL and Hisense. There’s much debate about which brand earns the top spot, but we can assure you that any smart TV you buy from these manufacturers will get you a television of assured quality and reliability. (That said, it’s always worth knowing a retailer’s returns policy before you make your purchase.)

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Where to buy a smart TV in the UK?

The biggest retailers that stock smart TVs are Amazon, Currys PC World, John Lewis, Very, AO and Appliances Direct. Both Currys and John Lewis offer price-match promises, so if you see a television that’s cheaper elsewhere, hold them to it!

Amazon often stocks TVs at the lowest prices, but those prices fluctuate incredibly quickly and can sometimes be listed with outdated RRPs. Use the online tool CamelCamelCamel to check an item’s price history on Amazon to give you a better sense of the deal you’re getting.

Other features to consider when buying a new TV

Other features to consider when buying a new TV

It’s always worth thinking about your TV-viewing habits before you make a decision on purchasing a smart TV. Here are a few examples:

  • Do you like switching the light off before sitting down to watch TV? Or, by contrast, do you typically watch television during daylight hours? It’s in the gloom that QLED and OLED televisions really perform well, but they sometimes struggle under bright light conditions.
  • Are you a gamer? If there’s usually a console parked under your TV, you might want to seek out a television with a high refresh rate that stops your gameplay from juddering – look for sets marked as 120HZ or higher.
  • Are you a film buff who’s sorely missing the cinema? You’re probably thinking about a TV with high-quality visuals, but it’s also wise to set aside some of your budget for a soundbar. You’ll often find that retailers sell TVs and soundbars together in bundle deals.
  • Have you considered putting your TV on the wall? It can make all the difference to the quality of your viewing, and TV wall brackets are inexpensive. Don’t miss our how to wall mount a TV explainer to find out more.

Best smart TV to buy in 2022

Philips OLED+936

Best 4K smart TV

Philips 936 review

Pros:

  • Superb 4K picture performance
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support
  • Dolby Atmos sound

Cons:

  • Imposing design
  • Not all HDMI inputs support 4K 120fps gaming
  • Expensive

Key features:

  • Four-sided Ambilight
  • Bowers & Wilkins Dolby Atmos sound system
  • Advanced AI picture processing
  • HDMI v2.1 connectivity

When it comes to picture and sound, the Philips OLED+936 is one of the best 4K TVs currently available. Featuring the Philips Ambilight system, the smart TV has a ring of LEDs on the back of the screen that project coloured light onto the wall behind to create atmosphere as you watch TV. Despite its premium price tag, it’s hard to fault this Philips TV.

Read the full Philips OLED+936 TV review.

Buy Philips OLED+936 TV for £2,299 at Currys

Philips OLED805

Best smart TV for design

Philips OLED 805 TV review

Pros:

  • Excellent picture performance
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support
  • Ambilight lounge lighting

Cons:

  • No 4K 120fps HDMI support
  • Poor input lag

Key features:

  • Three-sided Ambilight
  • Dolby Vision, HDR10+ support
  • Android TV smart platform
  • Freeview Play
  • Works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa

The Philips OLED805 is a high-end 4K OLED TV with advanced picture processing, an Android smart platform and the brand’s signature Ambilight lounge lighting system. The smart TV is ultra-thin and comes with a vibrant picture that is sharp. The new Pure Cinema mode maintains clarity but still keeps the picture looking cinematic – no easy feat.

Read the full Philips OLED805 TV review.

Buy Philips OLED805 TV for £2,199 at Amazon

Samsung QN95A (QE55QN95)

Best smart TV for cinematic sound

Samsung QN95a Neo QLED TV review

Pros:

  • Mini LED backlight for better HDR
  • Stylish super slim design
  • Advanced OTS+ sound system
  • 4K 120fps High Frame Rate support

Cons:

  • One Connect Box won’t suit everyone
  • No Dolby Vision support
  • Premium price point

Key features:

  • Mini LED Neo QLED screen
  • One Connect Box
  • Tizen smart platform
  • Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa support
  • HDMI v2.1 connectivity

The Samsung QN95A is at the top of the brand’s Neo QLED TV range. The audio is particularly punchy thanks to eight speakers, including two high up on the rear, that create a lot of on-screen movement. The QLED TV looks great even in a brightly-lit room and works with Google Assistant, Alexa and Samsung’s own Bixby.

Read the full Samsung QN95A TV review.

Buy Samsung QN95A TV for £1,799 at Currys

Panasonic JZ980 (TX-48JZ980B)

Best smart TV for picture quality

Panasonic smart TV

Pros

  • Auto AI picture mode
  • Universal HDR format support
  • Good streaming and Catch-Up TV options

Cons

  • A bit pricey for the screen size
  • Only two HDMI inputs support High Frame Rate gaming

Key features:

  • HCX Pro AI Processor
  • My Home Screen smart platform
  • Dolby Vision IQ
  • Freeview Play

It is in the picture quality where this TV excels. The OLED smart TV delivers a picture with deep blacks, superb contrast and rich, vibrant colours.

Yes, it is a little more expensive than the same size competitive models but our TV expert thinks it's worth it. Reviewer Steve May writes: "There are rival OLED flat-screens from the likes of LG and Philips which sell for less, but they can’t match this Panasonic offering when it comes to HDR format support, which is class-leading.

Read the full Panasonic JZ980 (TX-48JZ980B) TV review.

Buy Panasonic JZ980 smart TV for £1,099 at AO

TCL RP620K (55RP620K)

Best TV for streaming

TCL Roku TV review

Pros:

  • Excellent Roku smart platform
  • Freeview Play
  • Stonking value
  • Low input lag

Cons:

  • HDR not the brightest
  • 1080p upscaling could be better
  • Audio performance is average

Key features:

  • Built-in Roku smart platform
  • Freeview Play
  • Dolby Vision

The TCL RP620K TV is a mid-range 4K HDR TV that offers brilliant value for money. The Roku smart platform is easy to navigate, and apps available include Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, AppleTV+, NOW, and BT Sport. Despite the rather affordable price, the picture quality is crisp. This makes the TCL RP620K a great option if you’re looking for a big smart TV on a limited budget.

Read the full TCL RP620K TV review.

Buy TCL RP620K TV for £379 at Currys

Samsung Q70A (QE55Q70A)

Best mid-range TV

Samsung Q70A smart tv review

Pros:

  • AirSlim design
  • Object Tracking Sound LITE

Cons:

  • Only one HDMI supports High Frame rate 4K 120fps
  • No Dolby Vision support

Key features:

  • QLED Edge-lit panel
  • Tizen smart platform
  • HDMI v2.1 connectivity

Despite its more palatable price tag, the Samsung Q70A still boasts most of the features found in the brand’s more expensive QLED 4K TV range. It has a great picture brightness, good contrast and a vibrant display, with the usual range of picture modes, including Standard, Dynamic, Natural and Movie.

Read the full Samsung Q70A TV review.

Buy Samsung Q70A TV for £899 at Very

Toshiba 32WK3C63DB

Best small TV

Toshiba TV review

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Freeview Play catch-up
  • Toshiba Smart Centre
  • Bluetooth music streaming

Cons:

  • Only 720p resolution
  • No Disney+ app

Key features:

  • Freeview Play
  • Amazon Alexa compatible
  • Bluetooth built-in

A brilliant, affordable small TV. The Toshiba WK3 TV is a great addition to any spare room or kitchen. It’s HD Ready and supports a good number of apps, including Netflix, Prime Video, Britbox, YouTube, Twitch, BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub. The design isn’t flashy, but the picture quality is decent for what it promises.

Read the full Toshiba WK3 TV review.

Buy Toshiba WK3 TV for £189 at Very

LG G1 (OLED65G1)

Best smart TV for mounting

LG G1 OLED

Pros:

  • Top-notch 4K picture quality
  • Interiors friendly design
  • Cutting-edge panel
  • 4K 120fps High Frame Rate support

Cons:

  • You’ll probably need to wall-mount a soundbar
  • A bit on the pricey side

Key features:

  • High brightness EVO panel
  • Gallery design
  • 4K HDR with Dolby Vision IQ
  • Web OS smart platform
  • Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa support
  • HDMI v2.1 connectivity

The ‘G’ in the LG G1 stands for ‘gallery’ as this TV is designed to be mounted on the wall. This won’t suit everyone, but we awarded it four out of five stars because it delivered a vibrant and cinematic picture quality, ultra-sleek design, and smart TV features, including Google Assistant or Alexa support.

Read the full LG G1 TV review.

Buy LG G1 TV for £2,299 at Currys

LG C1 (OLED65C1)

Best gaming TV

LG C1 65-inch TV

Pros:

  • Excellent 4K picture quality
  • Plenty of streaming app options
  • Game Optimizer mode
  • 4K 120fps High Frame Rate support

Cons:

  • Average onboard audio
  • No HDR10+ support
  • Smart Platform could do with customisation options

Key features:

  • 4K HDR with Dolby Vision IQ
  • Web OS smart platform
  • Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa support
  • HDMI v2.1 connectivity

This premium 4K TV is packed with features. It can display high frame rate games at 4K 120fps from a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X console, works with Google Assistant or Alexa, and has a super slim OLED display. We recommend adding a soundbar for the full cinematic experience.

Read the full LG C1 TV review.

Buy LG C1 TV for £1,799 at Very

Sony X90J (XR-65X90J)

Best value for money TV

Sony Bravia X90J TV review

Pros:

  • Outstanding picture performance
  • Dolby Vision HDR
  • Dolby Atmos sound

Cons:

  • Poor Catch-up TV support
  • No HDR10+
  • Not all HDMI inputs cope with 4K 120fps gaming

Key features:

  • Cognitive Processor XR processor
  • HDMI v2.1 connectivity
  • Google TV
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

For less than £1,000, the 55-inch Sony Bravia X90J ticks a lot of boxes. The 4K LED TV works with Alexa and Google Assistant, picture quality with superb detail and colour depth, plus next-gen games console support for the PlayStation 5. It’s a solid choice for anyone after a powerful TV that won’t break the bank.

Read the full Sony X90J TV review.

Buy Sony X90J TV for £899 at Currys

TV buying jargon glossary

When shopping for TVs, we’re confronted with lots of acronyms and jargon. Here’s a glossary of terms, what they mean, and more importantly, whether they’re worth paying attention to.

4K

Ultra HD – or 4K as it’s better known – has now become the default quality in televisions. It’s known as 4K because of the 3840 x 2160 pixels of definition that are offered – a huge step up from the 1920 x 1080 pixels of standard HD. Since nearly all televisions that are being manufactured now are 4K in quality – and are growing ever cheaper – you’ll definitely want a TV that’s 4K-ready. Take a look at our what is a 4K TV article for deep dive into what you can expect from a 4K television.

8K

The image resolution of 4K television might have sounded impressive, but they can’t compare to the staggering 7,680 x 4,320 pixels offered by 8K TVs. While many 8K televisions are already on the market, they’re still far too expensive for the average buyer. Not only that, 8K resolution only really pays off in super-size televisions like 75-inch or 85-inch sets. Our advice is to pass over 8K televisions for now – they’ll likely grow much more affordable in the next few years.

Smart TV

This is a phrase that you’ll see on pretty much every TV set on the market now. Indeed, in a RadioTimes.com poll we recently conducted with over 500 readers, we discovered that 47% of them already own a smart TV.

A smart television is simply one you can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi and use for both app streaming and internet browsing. Read our what is a smart TV guide to find out more about how smart platforms differ, and which brands make the best smart televisions. To find out more about Google’s latest smart platform (something you’re likely to see on increasing numbers of sets), read our What is Google TV article.

If you’re not currently in the market for a new television, you can add a smart device to your TV in the form of a streaming stick. The most popular brands are from Amazon and Roku, and our experts have tested several of them, including the Roku StreambarRoku Express 4KAmazon Fire TV Cube and Now TV Smart Stick. These have differing capabilities and picture quality, but they’ll also set up your non-smart TV for streaming.

If you’re thinking of buying one, the best place to start is by reading our best streaming device article.

LCD

You’ve probably heard this acronym before since it’s been around for a while: it stands for Liquid Crystal Display. With the exception of OLED sets, all televisions still use LCD screens, which are illuminated by a rear backlight.

LED

The backlight we mention above is the LED or Light Emitting Diode. It’s this that shines through the LCD screen in order to provide you with your image, and they’re an integral part of all but the most advanced televisions. Sometimes TVs are marked as LED TVs, which really means they are still LCD TVs. Don’t worry if this is confusing, it’s not particularly important.

HD

This stands for High Definition TV - aka the next big thing of yesteryear. That’s not to disparage the 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution of HD televisions: the majority of UK households have these in their living rooms. But given that 4K is now so eminently affordable, we don’t suggest you buy an HD television now. You’ll also see HD Ready marked on older sets, which is a slightly lower resolution - to learn more about the differences, read our HD Ready vs Full HD TVs article.

HDR

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, which is a kind of additional format that relates to 4K. There are many different formats out there, including HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR10+, and Advanced HDR by Technicolor, and there’s much debate over which is best. Different televisions support different HDR formats, as do streaming services – for example, Netflix delivers its 4K content in Dolby Vision. But since they’re all completely compatible, our honest advice is not to get too hung up on HDR.

OLED

This is a term that you should definitely pay attention when you’re shopping for a smart TV and one that probably explains the hefty prices you’ll encounter. OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TVs currently enjoy top-tier status on the market, offering a rich, vibrant, high-contrast picture quality that’s discernibly superior to your run-of-the-mill 4K. Go for it, if you can afford it, and read our what is an OLED TV explainer if you’re curious.

And if you fancy taking a look at a recently released, cutting-edge OLED television, you can read our guide to the Sony Bravia XR A90J.

QLED

QLED is Samsung’s homegrown, more affordable alternative to OLED. It makes use of traditional LCD/LED technology but introduces a layer of ‘quantum dots’ to further optimise the picture. Samsung has wisely positioned this as the stepping stone between typical 4K and OLED. We dive into the details in our what is QLED TV explainer.

If you’re seeking out a TV that delivers an extra-high picture standard, but you want to keep your spending below £1,000, you should definitely consider Samsung’s QLED smart TV range.

NanoCell

Similar to QLED is NanoCell, a type of image tech developed by rival Korean brand LG. As we go into it our what is a NanoCell TV explainer, this technology optimises the quality of 4K television by introducing a layer of ‘nanoparticles’ that improve the colour range and blacks of whatever you’re watching. Again, it sits in the middle-ground between standard 4K sets and the elite OLEDs and is definitely worth considering. While models from the latest lines can cost around the £1,000 mark, you’ll find older sets for not much over £500.

Neo QLED

Samsung’s Neo QLED TV sets mark the next evolutionary phase in QLED tech, with the Mini LED lights being replaced by even smaller lights. These create a wider number of ‘zones’ across the TV screen, all of which can be little at different levels, which contributes to a sharper, more vibrant quality of image. To find out more, you can head to our Samsung QLED vs Samsung Neo QLED explainer.

Take a look at our Samsung Q70A TV review to see what a Samsung QLED smart TV offers.

Dolby Atmos

This is something you’ll see showcased across a number of high-end smart TVs from the likes of LG and Samsung. It’s essentially a surround-sound audio technology that was first introduced to cinemas nearly a decade ago. Streaming services like Netflix offer some titles with Dolby Atmos compatibility, but it all depends on whether it’s supported by your television.

If you’re someone who values high-quality audio with their television, one assured way is to invest in a soundbar, which can be used alongside (or more literally, directly under) the TV’s built-in speakers. Our experts have put a number of soundbars to the test, including the TLC TS6100, the Roku Streambar, the Sony HT–G700 and the Sonos Arc, which supports Dolby Atmos.

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Want to know more about Sky's new TV? Head over to our What is Sky Glass explainer. Or, finish your TV setup with one of our best indoor TV aerials, or take a look at our top Disney Plus offers this month. 

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