TEST: Best Smart TV in Test - Toppricer

TEST: Best Smart TV in Test

In this article, we have gathered 34 of the best Smart TVs you can find on the market right now. The Smart TVs listed here have been assessed on the basis of how well they have performed in 105117 reviews, where they, amongst other things, have been named "best in test".

We have selected the best ones, based on expert reviews, and assessed the price of each Smart TV. So if you're looking for the right Smart TV at the right price, then you can read all about the different Smart TVs here and find the exact one that meets your needs.

Written by: Anna
105117 Reviews
Approved by: Simon
34 Products
Last updated: Mar 21, 2022
58 hours Time spent

Toppricer featured products

Here you can see the products recommended by Toppricer, such as the product with the best price or our best in tests.

Our test of Smart TVs provides an overview

Information about what this article contains.

  • 1The best Smart TV on the market in 2022
  • 2All functions
  • 3Guide to what to consider before buying
  • 4Information about safety and complaints
  • 5Tips for maintaining a Smart TV
  • 6Pros and cons

Comparison and overview

Here you get an overview of all products that we have reviewed. Use the icons to compare or review the products.

Product name
Score
Price
SAMSUNG Electronics UN32M4500A 32-Inch 720p Smart LED TV (2017 Model)
4.6 / 5.0 (1751 reviews)
92
R 199.9
SAMSUNG UN50TU7000 50″ 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2020) with Deco Gear Soundbar Bundle
4.2 / 5.0 (167 reviews)
84
R 599
Caixun EC24Z2, 24 inch HD 720P LED TV with Built-in HDMI, USB, VGA, Earphone, Optical Ports(2021 Model)
4.1 / 5.0 (833 reviews)
82
R 119.99
4
RCA 32-inch Flat Screen 720p Roku Smart LED TV – RTR3261, 2021 Model
4.6 / 5.0 (157 reviews)
92
R 154.02
5
TCL 32-inch 3-Series 720p Roku Smart TV – 32S335, 2021 Model
4.6 / 5.0 (65397 reviews)
92
R 157
6
TCL 32-inch Class 3-Series HD LED Smart Android TV – 32S334, 2021 Model
4.6 / 5.0 (2392 reviews)
92
R 159.99
7
LG Electronics 24LJ4540 24-Inch 720p LED TV
4.5 / 5.0 (5620 reviews)
90
R 136.99
8
SAMSUNG 32-inch Class FRAME QLED LS03 Series – FHD Dual LED Quantum HDR Smart TV with Alexa Built-in (QN32LS03TBFXZA, 2020 Model)
4.5 / 5.0 (1355 reviews)
90
R 497.99
9
SAMSUNG M5 Series 24-Inch FHD 1080p Smart Monitor & Streaming TV
4.5 / 5.0 (1998 reviews)
90
R 183.99
10
LG Electronics 24LM530S-PU 24-Inch HD webOS 3.5 Smart TV
4.4 / 5.0 (1712 reviews)
88
R 156.99

The Best Smart TV in South Africa 

If you’re on the lookout for a new smart TV, then we are here to help! In this article, we have gathered the top 5 smart TVs in South Africa available on the market now. We have assessed them based on reviews, prices and recommendations. We hope to make the choice easy by answering common questions you might have before purchasing a smart TV whilst giving you a list of our best picks. 

What is a smart TV, and what does it do? 

We’re starting with the easiest question first. The word ‘smart’ has been floating around a lot more in recent years than it ever has before. Simply, a smart TV is a TV that connects to the internet and other home networks, like your mobile phone and your computer. Smart TVs are one of those purchases that should be bought from a well-known and well-regarded brand, as often cheaper TVs tend to buffer, lag, and the user interface is not often ‘friendly’. 

There are many features that your smart TV can have, but the most common things it can do are:

  • Connect wirelessly to your WiFi network so that you can watch what’s playing on your phone even if it’s locked. 
  • Automatically provide updates to ensure it’s running smoothly, and that the security is up-to-date. 
  • Use apps like Netflix, Hulu, Plex, Disney + and more, so that you can watch without purchasing a device like Roku, Apple TV, or a console or Blu-ray player. 
  • Use dedicated buttons on the remote to quickly open an app like Netflix. 
  • Stream media from your computer to your TV.

What sizes does the modern smart TV come in? 

Mostly the TVs range in size from 20 inches to over 75 inches, both in LCD and OLED screens.

Should I get an LCD or OLED screen, and what’s the difference?

LCD and OLED are the screen types of TVs, if the quality of the TV is good, then the difference is small, but they are differences you should know about. 

LCD TVs 

  • A liquid crystal display or LCD screen is a screen that needs a light source behind it. This will be either CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamp) or an LED (light-emitting diode) technology.
  • CCFL is an older, more outdated technology, and is getting replaced more and more by LEDs. LEDs can be a little more expensive, but they save power in the long run by having a low power usage. 
  • Do not be confused by the marketing ploy that some companies use, as LED is not a completely different technology to LCD. 

OLED TVs

  • Organic light-emitting diode or OLED TVs produce great colour and contrast much better than most LED competitors. 
  • They can be relatively pricey as they are a newer technology, but as time goes on, the prices will continue to drop. 
  • OLED TVs use LEDs as well, but unlike LCD TVs, OLEDs have millions of LEDs with a lighting component that’s integrated into the pixel. 
  • LG manufactures all panels for OLED TV’s, but several brands utilise them differently.

What screen resolution should I pick? 

Screen resolution can be overwhelming, and how do you know which is the best smart TV for you when there are so many options? A TV’s resolution is defined by the number of pixels on the screen, from top to bottom and side to side. For example, if you see a standard TV at the store, it is probably a 1920 x 1080 screen resolution, which means there are 1920 horizontal pixels and 1080 vertical pixels. The lower the pixels, the less crisp the image will be, in theory, but it’s not always the case. 

UHD and 4k TVs

Ultra-High Definition or UHD is also called 4k TVs, and have a resolution of 3840 x 2160 or 4 times the resolution of an HD television. It’s not necessary, but it has its benefits if you could use it. 

You could use a 4K tv if you:

  • Want a large television. If you want a screen that will be 55 inches or larger, a 4K television will be the most beneficial. Because the screen is so large, you will notice a drop in quality, but anything under 50 inches does not make much of a difference. 
  • Use or want a 4K UHD player and compatible discs.
  • Have a streaming service. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Shudder, or others have 4k content that will work well with a 4k tv. 
  • Own a gaming console or PC. Both the PS4 and Xbox One X support 4k HDR video on Blu-ray discs. If you own a higher-end PC, you can hook that up to your TV as well and stream on your TV instead of your monitor. 

Keep in mind 

Extra pixels in a resolution don’t always mean a better picture quality. Sometimes they can make the TV lag or buffer, as the picture processor can have a harder time delivering a smooth image. Picture quality is important, and we’ll talk about that more below.

Refresh Rate

A refresh rate can be important – this is the number of times per second that a TV draws a new image onto the screen. It’s often written out in hertz or Hz for short. The refresh rate helps reduce motion blur in screens; the higher the rate, the less blur there will be. In short, it makes for better picture quality. Most TVs have a refresh rate of 60 Hz, but higher-end models offer 120 Hz up to 240 Hz, which is currently the clearest with motion. 

HDMI connections 

If you’re a single person with a lot of devices, or a family with many consoles, you might want to take into consideration how many HDMI ports there are on the TV. If you have a soundbar, streaming box, Blu-ray player, and multiple consoles, you will need an HDMI port for each one if you want to avoid the hassle of unplugging and re-plugging each time they’re used. Think about how many devices you or your family owns, and how many HDMI ports would be the best fit for you.

What screen size should I buy? 

There is always a personal preference for what you like, but there are a few other things you need to keep in mind when thinking about screen size. 

  1. TV screen resolution or HD vs 4K.
  2. The size of your room.
  3. How close you like to sit to the screen.

Obviously, you are limited to the room you’ll put your TV in, but generally speaking, two meters from the screen will give you the best viewing experience. If you want to sit closer, you should go with a TV that has more pixels, but if you sit farther away, then you should be able to get away with a TV that has a smaller resolution. If you want a TV that is bigger than 100 inches, then the most suitable choice is a projector. 

How do I get the best picture quality?

When you go to the store, the TVs on display are usually tuned to the same channel. This gives you a chance to see the difference between televisions and an easy assessment of the picture quality while you’re out shopping. 

You should look for:

  • The viewing angle – when you move out of frame from the TV, certain models and makes can lose contrast and colours, degrading the picture. If you see this and it looks like too much, move on to another TV.
  • Picture mode settings – Smart TVs come with settings to change how the movie is shown and can change the picture quality noticeably. You can change it from dynamic, standard, normal, or vivid. 
  • Natural skin tones and colours like whites and blacks – If the scene on the TV switches to a cloudy day, a sheet, or a transition to a commercial, pay close attention. Look out for colour contamination like green hues or red hues that can’t be removed by changing the settings. 

Keep in mind:

Stores will often have their TVs on the best picture mode setting, brightest setting, and most saturated colour settings to catch your eye, so if you order it, it won’t look the same as it did in-store, but this can easily be adjusted. 

Adjust the settings

  • Don’t be afraid to go all out in the settings; all TVs have a reset settings function, so if you go too far, it can easily be set back to how it originally came. You’ll probably want, or need, to change the settings a few times before you get your most ideal picture. You can try some of these to help:
  • Adjust the brightness setting to try to get more detail on the screen without washing out the picture. 
  • Try raising or lowering the settings in small increments so you don’t go too far in one go and ruin the picture quality.
  • Turn on the backlight setting to see how it makes a difference.
  • Use contrast to bring out the subject more.
  • You can also adjust the colour and colour temperature settings. When certain shows have limited colour ranges, like ones with darker lighting or at night, it might not make much of a difference. 

Are plasma screens still an option? 

Unfortunately, if you had your heart set on a plasma screen TV, they are no longer being made. With other types of screens weighing less and being thinner, and also not having the problem of ‘burning’, plasma screens are obsolete. (Burning is when an image becomes permanently imprinted on the screen.)

What about a curved screen? 

It looks nice, but there is no science behind the manufacturers’ claims that a curved TV screen correlates to the shape of your eye.

What about the 3D TVs?
They are outdated and discontinued. They’re hard to come by, and hardly anything is made for these anymore. We suggest going with a normal HD picture.

How can I get the best sound quality without additional speakers or soundbars?

Speakers have improved in every smart device we use, from headphones, earbuds, soundbars and TVs, although your TV speakers will not sound as good as a home cinema system. Keep an ear out for some of these things the next time you’re out and about in store: 

Good Sound Indicators 

  • Crisp and clear dialogue 
  • Full sounding bass
  • Separation between the right and left speakers
  • Good dynamics between soft and loud sounds – for example, a whisper should not be as loud as a gunshot
  • Keep an ear out for crisp higher-pitched sounds like gunshots or screams
  • Good balance between sounds.

Bad Sound indicators 

  • Unbalanced sound, like a bass that is too loud
  • Tinny sounds or harsh sounds that sound like your TV is playing through your phone speakers
  • Distortion
  • Rumble – if your TV is shaking from your speakers, it’s something that can rarely be fixed in settings. 

Keep in mind

Don’t be afraid to play with the volume of the TV in the store if it’s available. Loud does not always mean better, but it can help you easily decipher rumble, or distortion, or hear a difference and depth in the speakers that you want.

What is Acoustic Surface Solution? 

It’s a fairly new feature only found on certain TVs; they say that it’s supposed to improve sound quality and presence with a technology called Acoustic Surface. Actuators are placed behind the TV panel and vibrate it to produce the sound. Actuators are the component that moves a speaker cone in a traditional speaker. To put it briefly, this makes the TV panel turn into a giant speaker. Different areas of the panel create different frequencies, and the case works together to send out additional vibrations. This claims to improve ambience and presence. 

Should I get a soundbar or a home cinema? 

This is entirely dependent on what experience you want to have. Soundbars are usually more cost-effective, whereas with a home cinema you might end up spending a pretty penny. Both are designed to make the watching experience better and produce a higher quality sound than your standard TV speakers. TVs come equipped with configurations for both like:

  • DTS – X – or otherwise known as Dolby Atmos. It is an object-based surround sound. This speaker choice is the best for presence, they are designed to make you feel like you are really in the movie, show, or scene in whatever you watch. 
  • 5.1 – stands for 5 speakers and one subwoofer; with more speakers you have a better sound quality and can feel more immersed in whatever you are watching. 
  • 2.1 – stands for stereo and a subwoofer. 
  • 2.0 stands for stereo surround sound or left and right channel. 

Soundbars look like bar-shaped cylinders or rectangles that house several speakers. They sit under your TV and usually directly in front of you. When you connect it to your TV, it will identify the audio type and automatically correct the configuration to your needs. They are typically more affordable and are better than any built-in TV speaker.

Home cinemas are the best for sound quality, but they come at a price. They can also take up a lot of space and require at least two speakers and an amplifier. Most modern amps support 7.1. They can also simulate full surround sound and aren’t as good as Atmos but are better than soundbars. They can be challenging to set up and take some tweaking, so keep that in mind if it’s something you are looking to purchase.

How much money will I spend on a smart TV?

Smart TVs can be a big purchase, and typically they can range between 9,000 rand all the way up to 100,000 rand depending on size, features, and resolution. But you will get a good life out of your TV, as they last from 6 to 8 years on average. 

What are the available features of a smart TV?

On top of streaming, apps, and the basic things smart TVs do, there are a couple extra features that could make your life a little easier, and make it a little more fun. 

Device connectivity 

It’s important to be able to connect all your devices easily and quickly to your TV. Because newer TVs use HDMI, you may need to buy converters in order to be able to view or play your older VHS players or consoles. Make sure you check your manual for what conversion you need.

Recording shows or movies

Many TVs now have no trouble recording shows, but they are usually limited to one channel. If you have multiple things you would like to record at the same time, look into a TV with multiple tuners. This allows you to watch a different channel whilst you record. 

Remote control 

Keep in mind that if you want your controller to be easy to use for children, grandparents, parents, or even yourself, take a look at the remote controller before purchasing. Whether it’s the ease of use for small children or big buttons for accessibility, the remote is a key feature to consider when shopping for a TV.

Wall mount or table top?

Placing a TV on top of a table or entertainment centre is easier than drilling holes into walls, but it can be less stable than a wall-mounted one. If keeping cords looking neat and tidy is important to you then a tabletop might be a better option. 

Built-in power surge protection 

This is a great way to keep your TV from experiencing any accidents or malfunctions. If there is a power surge, the TV can become damaged and might not be covered by a warranty. Some TVs come with built-in power surge protection, so you don’t have to spend extra money on a device, and can watch without worry.

Games

Some smart TVs come with games so that you can be entertained without having to spend money on consoles. It’s not a necessary option, but it can be a fun addition for grandkids or small children.

Motion and voice control

Some of the newer models come with built in motion control, or voice control features, which can help with accessibility. Simply swipe your hand to play a game, pause a movie, or change the channel, or use the mic button on your remote and state clearly what you’d like to search on Netflix or say what you want the TV to do.

When should I replace my TV?

If you are waiting to buy a new smart TV and are looking for a sign to upgrade, look out for the following pointers that can indicate that you’re ready for a new TV:

  1. Your electricity bill is on the higher side. If your bill has been creeping up in price, or jumping from one month to next, you can unplug your TV for a few weeks and see how it impacts your bill in the following months. If you have an LCD TV, it uses more power than the OLED TV on average.
  2. It’s not smart! If your TV can’t connect to your phone and you’re having to watch your favourite shows on your small-screened laptop or smart phone, then it’s time to make the switch.
  3. There are lines or burns on the TV. If your TV is on the decline and you see stripes of red, blue and green across the screen, then it’s probably time to call a repairman. The thing is, repairmen can often cost more than the value of the TV, so if you have no warranty, and some extra change laying around, it might be more cost-effective to invest in a new TV.
  4. Your TV takes forever to start. Make sure you check the batteries in the remote before throwing out the TV. But if your TV takes ages to come to life, it might be better to switch to a faster TV.
  5. You want a new TV! Sometimes you don’t need a reason; if your TV is quite old, or doesn’t have a feature you want, or isn’t quite big enough, you can kiss the old TV goodbye!

How to clean and maintain your Smart TV. 

We all want our products to last as long as possible, and upkeep and maintenance is an important part of owning any appliance. Whether you have an LCD or OLED, or are in the market for a new TV, apply these steps to give the best life you can to your TV:

  • Remove all stickers and plastic covers – I know a lot of us can be tempted to leave on plastic covers for protection, but they can do more harm than good. Plastic can cause the TV to overheat which can drastically affect the display panel in the long run. Better to leave the covers and plastic off so your TV can ‘breathe.’
  • Think about using a power stabiliser for an extra means of protection. 
  • Choose good quality cables – cables should be smooth, bend easily, and made of strong materials. It’s also important to make sure you are using a cable with at least an HDMI 1.2 for HD TVs, HDMI 2.0 for 4K and UHD televisions, and an HDMI 2.1 for 8k TVs, to play high-quality content. 
  • Avoid leaving things on pause for too long – OLED TVs can have some pixel burning and image retention, although this is not as bad as the plasma TVs of the past. LCD TVs are not free from it either, and leaving your show paused for hours can cause your picture quality to diminish. New TVs have screensavers or turn off automatically after a long time without use, so be sure to turn on those features if you have them. 
  • Protect the remote with a cover – unlike the TV you don’t have to worry about your remote overheating. If you have kids in the family, or are just clumsy, then a silicone cover is a great way to make sure your remote is protected when it is dropped. It’s also a good idea to pick up a spare remote in case your remote is discontinued or if it breaks for any reason. 

Cleaning your smart TV

If you’re used to cleaning an older tube TV, also known as the CRTVs, you had flexibility because the screen was glass. However, newer TVs have more delicate screens and are sensitive so need to be cleaned carefully to avoid scratches and other damage. For both LCD and OLED TVs you should clean with a soft dry cloth to avoid any damage to the screen. It’s recommended that you should clean your TV at least once a month, but if you have animals, or a full house, you might have to do it more often.

  • Start with a microfibre cloth that is soft and dry – paper towels and tissues can cause damage due to the fibres in the material. When using an anti-static microfiber cloth in a circular motion, you will remove most dust and debris. Be sure you’re not pressing too hard as it can break the screen. 
  • Wipe down the TV’s cabinet and vent to help remove the dust so that the heat can dissipate easier and evenly. If there are harder to remove stains you can dampen a cloth slightly with water to clean the screen. Don’t spray water directly onto the screen as it can shock the components or lead to component failure. 
  • Once you’re done, simply go over the TV with a dry cloth once again to remove any streaking or swirls left behind, and you’re good to go. 
  • Skip the chemicals. Specialist screen cleaners, or anything marketed to clean your TV, can and should be avoided. They can cause damage to the screen as they contain abrasives that will scratch the screen.
  • Don’t forget the remote! Remote controls can harbour germs and bacteria, dust, and oil and food build-up. It’s a good idea to wipe down your remote often, especially if you eat in front of the TV. 
  • Remove the batteries before you start the clean and turn the remote upside down so that the buttons are facing downward. Tap the remote gently against the palm of your hand to dislodge any debris that might be between the buttons or keys. Wipe down the remote with a cloth that has been sprayed with alcohol in water. The cloth should be damp, not wet. 
  • To get in between buttons you can use a cotton swab, and stubborn debris can be fished out with a toothpick. Then simply wipe down the remote with a dry cloth and put the batteries back in. 

How to clean your remote for Covid 19. 

Unfortunately, as new cases continue to rise, and new mutations are forming, we have to think about the sanitisation of our things to protect us. So, if someone in the family caught Covid-19, or you just want to take an extra precaution to be safe, you should look at how to sanitise your remote.

Sanitising your remote requires you to use more powerful cleaners than just your standard clean. If you’re the one cleaning, make sure to wear gloves and to use disposable cloths or paper towels. You can use things like bleach, alcohol, and disinfectants. Then clean the remote as normal, but do not wipe dry – instead, let the remote control air dry and once you’re done be sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Once the remote control is fully dried you can install the batteries and you and the remote are good to go!

Common mistakes to avoid when purchasing a smart TV 

Before buying a TV, it’s good to be aware of the common traps or mistakes people make so you know which ones to avoid. Here are six common mistakes people make when buying a TV:

  1. Going too small 

Purchasing a TV can seem like it might be bigger than it is when you imagine it on the wall. You might think a certain size will look nice until it’s too late and hung on the wall. A good tip is to put masking tape on the wall to represent the size of TV you want. This can give you a better image of how your TV will look on the wall. 

  1. Putting your TV in the wrong spot
    Like we talked about earlier, where you put your TV matters, and if it’s off centre it can affect picture quality. It’s also important to think about how much light the room gets, and where the sun shines in. And, if you have an idea of where you want your TV to go, check where your power sockets and WiFi connections are.
  2. Listening to a sales pitch 

Often sales workers aren’t the most well informed when it comes to electronics – they simply push the products that the managers tell them to. If they work on commission, you might be pushed into getting a more expensive model than you need, or one with more features with bonus packages, and all those extras add up. 

  1. Believing more expensive is always better

Finding the best fit for you is the most important factor, and spending a lot of money on features you won’t use doesn’t make the TV better. There are plenty of mid-tier TVs that pull their weight and look good while doing so. You can even end up paying more for features and winding up with worse image quality.

  1. Avoiding smart TVs 

Maybe when you bought your last TV, you decided to opt-out of getting a smart one. Perhaps they were too new, or too complicated, or too slow at the time. Unfortunately, most TVs are now smart TVs and if you want the latest features there is no other way around it. It will also increase the resale value when the time comes for you to get another TV.  

  1. Forgetting about sound 

TV speakers have got a lot better, but with smaller bezels and thinner TVs, there is less space for built in speakers. Keeping a soundbar or speaker system in your budget is important and enhances the viewing experience. 

How to recycle your old TV 

When you buy a new TV, you have the hassle of getting rid of your old one. Some rubbish collectors, cities, and even countries, call for you to recycle your TV in a safe way because it’s e-waste. 

What is e-waste? 

E-waste is any electronic item that is discarded after it’s reached the end of its lifecycle. This could be computers, printers, phones, appliances and TVs. E-waste is rising, and more than 40 million metric tonnes of e-waste are discarded every year, but because the average person doesn’t create much e-waste, drop-off points can be rare. But there are solutions! 

Cape Town has drop off facilities and there are many collection services, like Cape E-waste for example. You can look online to find your closest drop off facilities in your town, or google ‘collection services’ and schedule an appointment for your old TV to be collected. (Before you call make sure you have your electronics ready for recycling).

What to do before you recycle your TV
Make sure you have all your data backed up, and then save anything you need. Next, perform a factory reset on your TV to get rid of all your personal information. Be sure to remove any hidden plugged-in devices, and then your TV is ready for recycling.

FAQ

Find answers to the questions that usually arise when buying a Smart TV

How much money do smart TVs cost?

Smart TV’s cost anywhere between 9,000 and 100,000 rand, and they typically last up to 8 years.

How big are smart TVs?

They can be anywhere from 20 inches all the way up to 75 inches. 

How do you clean a smart TV?

Simply wipe down the TV with a small, dry microfibre cloth.

Sources

We use trusted sources to establish what is the best smart TV on the market. We use credible and reliable sources and we have listed them below.

Businessinsider.com

https://www.businessinsider.com/our-expertise-in-tech-insider-tech-product-reviews

Insider was an American company that is now international. It’s an online media company that publishes financial reviews, gives news updates, and handles trustworthy testing for new products. They base their tests on battery life, life expectancy, quality, benchmark tests, etc.

Expertreivews.co.uk 

https://www.expertreviews.co.uk/lg/1413662/lg-c1-review-2021

Expert Reviews was a print magazine first launched in the 1980s. It has 34 years of history behind it’s reviews and testing products. 

Which.co.uk

https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/televisions

Which? is England’s largest test magazine and is a not-for-profit organisation that protects consumers by informing and educating them about goods and services. They do a host of reviews and assessments. They also charge a monthly fee to set up an account for access to the site.

Also see

See more of our best in test articles

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Best in Test
SAMSUNG Electronics UN32M4500A 32-Inch 720p Smart LED TV (2017 Model) 92
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The score is calculated from 1 to 100 based on selected factors:

  • User reviews count for 70%.
  • The price counts for 15%.
  • Expert reviews count for 10%.
  • And selected specifications count towards 5%.