Which smart TV brand is better?

Samsung is well known for its wide range of electronics, and its 4K TVs are among its most popular products. In fact, many Samsung TVs are on the cutting edge of display technology, with features such as quantum dot filtration and now OLED panels delivering great performance.

In contrast, Vizio has largely been a more value-oriented electronics manufacturer for most of its existence. While this remains true today, Vizio smart TVs do boast some powerful technologies that make for a great viewing experience.

If you’re willing to make a relatively large investment, a Samsung smart TV offers arguably the most high-end experience possible. But if you want something effective, good-looking and reasonably priced, don’t sleep on Vizio. The middle and upper end of its 4K TV lineup are excellent purchases for many users.

Samsung smart TVs

Samsung has been a leader in smart TVs for as long as these internet-connected devices have been mainstream, and for good reason. For example, it pioneered the use of quantum dot filtration to the point where the Samsung name for the technology, QLED, is now seen across the industry. Samsung was also one of the first manufacturers to incorporate advanced gaming features, including variable refresh rate technology, into its midrange TVs.

When researching Samsung TVs, you’re liable to run across reviews for older models full of concerns about quality control. In the past, Samsung TVs were somewhat notorious for shipping with dead pixels or unacceptable levels of light bleed in dark scenes. But for the last few generations, these issues have all but disappeared, with the most recent Samsung TVs getting high praise across the board.

Samsung smart TV pros

  • All advanced HDMI 2.1 features available: This latest high-definition connection standard includes 120-hertz refresh rates, auto low latency mode, HDMI Forum variable refresh rates and enhanced audio return channel technology.
  • Cutting-edge display technology: Samsung’s most recent flagship model is the first TV to combine an OLED panel with QLED quantum dot filtration.
  • Remarkable HDR10 and HDR10+ performance: Many Samsung TVs boast premium local dimming, wide color gamuts and high peak brightness. Few brands have such consistently high visual performance.
  • Great for gaming: Samsung TVs have a low input lag that’s perfect for fast-paced games such as first-person shooters.

Samsung smart TV cons

  • No Dolby Vision support: This is especially unfortunate since there’s currently more content mastered in Dolby Vision HDR than in HDR10+, the competing high dynamic range standard.
  • Relatively high prices: You will have to spend a considerable amount for a top-of-the-line Samsung TV.

Best Samsung smart TVs

Samsung QN95B

Samsung QN95B

This is the first TV to sport an OLED panel equipped with quantum dot filtration, giving it the best black levels and color coverage of nearly anything. If you can afford it, this is one of the best TVs money can buy. Sold by Amazon

Samsung QN85B

Samsung QN85B

This is one of the extremely rare high-end TVs made with IPS panel technology, which offers more edge-to-edge consistency and a much wider viewing angle than more common VA panels. This makes it the best TV anywhere for watching sports with a group of friends. Sold by Amazon

Samsung QN90B

Samsung QN90B

If you’re looking for an all-around great viewing experience without spending an absolute fortune, this is the one to consider. Its excellent local dimming and remarkably wide color gamut make it great for movies, TV shows and gaming. Sold by Amazon

Samsung Q70A

Samsung Q70A

While it’s closer to the entry level than the high end, it’s still outfitted with the powerful hardware and advanced features Samsung TVs are known for. Sold by Amazon

Vizio smart TVs

It doesn’t make a ton of TVs, but Vizio does a good job with models it offers. With that in mind, even its top-of-the-line models don’t quite compete with the flagship 4K TVs from other brands. However, they come at significantly lower prices. Especially once you get into the midrange and entry-level models, Vizio TVs boast some of the best values of all.

Vizio smart TV pros

  • Great value for the money: Few brands offer such good image quality and modern features at such low prices.
  • Easy to find the right model for you: Some manufacturers offer a dozen or more TVs, and it’s hard to tell them apart. Vizio’s lineup is simple, easy to navigate, and has something for everyone.
  • Power HDR support: Its midrange and high-end options support both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, giving them a clear advantage over all Samsung TVs.

Vizio smart TV cons

  • Less-than-perfect gaming experience: While it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker, most Vizio TVs have a below-average pixel response time. This results in minor smearing or ghosting during some fast-moving scenes.
  • Upscaling engine isn’t perfect: Vizio TVs don’t do the best job of translating standard definition content to the full 4K resolution. Samsung TVs are consistently better in this regard.

Best Vizio smart TVs

Vizio H1 OLED

Vizio H1 OLED

As one of the first non-LG OLED TVs available in the U.S., it delivers perfect black levels and a wide color gamut in addition to an easy-to-use smart TV interface. It also supports Dolby Vision and 120-hertz variable refresh rates. Sold by Amazon

Vizio P-Series

Vizio P-Series

You can avoid getting suckered into paying high prices for a bigger brand name with this premium option from Vizio. Available in 65 and 75 inches, it supports Dolby Vision, high refresh rates and Alexa voice control, all at a surprisingly reasonable price. Sold by Amazon

Vizio M-Series

Vizio M-Series

Don’t let the price fool you, because Vizio’s M-Series delivers just about the most bang for your buck of any entry-level TV. It’s one of the most affordable options with local dimming and support for the major HDR protocols. Sold by Amazon

Vizio V-Series

Vizio V-Series

If you’re looking for a basic TV that looks good and works well for all types of content, the V-Series is worth a look. It doesn’t exactly excel at anything in particular, and it lacks most advanced features, but it is affordable and reliable. Sold by Amazon

Should you get a Samsung or Vizio smart TV?

If you want the absolute best in display quality and don’t mind spending a lot, Samsung TVs boast nearly unrivaled image quality. However, Vizio smart TVs have comparable image quality to many Samsungs and, unlike them, support Dolby Vision HDR. Most people will be happier saving a little by purchasing a Vizio TV. For that matter, most people will hardly even be able to tell a difference in image quality between the top models from each brand. 

Bottom line: In most cases, Vizio TVs’ significantly better value makes them a better choice.

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

 

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