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The best Google TVs of 2021

How to update Sony TV software
(Image credit: Google)

When you're shopping for a new TV, the software that makes a smart TV smart is pretty important, and some of the best TVs we've tested and reviewed are powered by Google. The best Google TVs – and we'll include the best Android TV smart TVs in that category – give you a wealth of apps and services, some of the best smart home features you can get, and frequently is found on some of the best performing TVs you can get.

With the recent change from Android TV to Google TV, Google-powered smart TVs have gotten a significant upgrade. With improved navigation, better content discovery and recommendations, and the ability to add shows to watch lists and control the TV from your phone, Google TV makes an already good smart TV platform great. We love Android TV already, but Google TV is simply better.

Of the dozens of TVs we review each year, only a handful run Google TV or Android TV, but they consistently find a home on our lists of the best TVs thanks to great usability and features. Here are the best Google TVs we've reviewed.

Google TV Black Friday deals

Black Friday deals are already here, bringing the best TV prices of the year. With major discounts from retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart, you can score many of the best Google TV and Android models on this list for a bargain. Be sure to check out our Black Friday TV deals page for all the latest sales to make sure you get a great TV in time for the holiday season. 

What are the best Google TVs?

Hands down the best Google TV we've ever viewed is the Sony Bravia XR A80J OLED, a premium TV that delivers impeccable picture quality, gorgeous sound, and the latest and greatest version of Google's smart TV software. It's a little on the pricey side, but if you want the best, it's well worth the added expense.

For the same smart TV experience at a lower price, we love the TCL 5-Series Google TV (S546), which weds TCL's excellent value QLED TV with a truly premium smart TV platform, making it one of the best 4K smart TVs you can get for under $1,000.

The best Google TVs you can buy

Sony Bravia XR A80J OLED review: The TV of the future is here

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony Bravia XR A80J OLED

An excellent OLED with next-gen tech

Available Screen Sizes: 55, 65, 77 inches
Screen Type: OLED
Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
HDMI ports: 4 (2 HDMI 2.1, 2 HDMI 2.0)
Size: 57.1 x 33 x 2.1 inches
Weight: 49.2 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Outstanding picture, audio quality+Lots of dynamic and smart features that really work+Powerful Google TV interface
Reasons to avoid
-Dynamic adjustments needed for best picture-Not all HDMI ports support HDMI 2.1-Bravia Core streaming service doesn’t dazzle

If you want impeccable quality and next-gen capabilities, we love the Sony Bravia XR A80J. This 4K OLED showcases Google TV, the best upgrade to smart TV software we've seen in a long time. But it's absolutely packed with other futuristic technologies, too: HDR, a 120 Hz refresh rate, ATSC 3.0 tuner, Google TV, Sony's own Bravia Core streaming service, Acoustic Surface Audio technology… the list goes on. Sure, not everyone will need everything here, but it's nice to have the option.

Just as importantly, it also excels at the basics — contrast is superb, colors are rich and varied, viewing angles are impressive and it handles upscaling well. Sound is also excellent, thanks to Sony's impressive Acoustic Audio+ technology, which produces sound directly from the display. Against that, the XR A80J requires a little more tweaking in order to look its best; it's fine out of the box, but to really reach its full potential, you'll want to play around with various modes. It's not the cheapest, but as an all-round package the A80J is a great choice.

Read our full Sony Bravia XR A80J review.

TCL 5-Series Google TV (S546)Editor's Choice

(Image credit: TCL)

2. TCL 5-Series Google TV (S546)

A killer QLED value with Google TV

Available Screen Sizes: 5, 55, 65, 75 inches
Screen Type: QLED
Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
HDMI ports: 3 HDMI (1 eARC)
Size: 57 x 32.7 x 3 inches
Weight: 70.1 pounds
Reasons to buy
+QLED display with local dimming for excellent HDR performance+Great color quality and smooth motion+Google TV is a serious upgrade from Roku+Affordably priced
Reasons to avoid
-Limited viewing angles-Audio is good, but not great

The TCL 5-Series Google TV (S546) wowed us with its combination of smart TV features, solid performance and great  value for your dollar. Building on the foundation of the already-good 5-Series, the move to Google TV gives the affordable 4K smart TV a more premium smart TV platform, one that offers personalized and customizable suggestions, a huge assortment of smart features, and deep Google Assistant integration that makes it a viable center for the entire home of connected gadgets.

But it also offers a step up in other aspects of the TV. From color quality to lag times, the 5-Series Google TV is a more polished version of the 5-Series TV, delivering an excellent QLED 4K display, a slick remote control, and a surprisingly wide array of gaming features for a 60Hz TV. For a smart TV that sells for under $1,000 for most size options, it's easily one of the best TVs on the market.

Read our full TCL 5-Series Google TV (S546) review. 

Hisense U8G Android TV (65U8G) review

(Image credit: Hisense)

3. Hisense U8G Android TV

A great QLED Android TV

Available Screen Sizes: 55, 65 inches
Screen Type: LCD with Quantum dot
Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
HDMI ports: 4 (2 HDMI 2.1, 2 HDMI 2.0)
Size: 57.1 x 33.1 x 4.1 inches
Weight: 53.4 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Very bright+Excellent sharpness, color and contrast+Low lag time
Reasons to avoid
-Overactive motion smoothing-Mediocre viewing angles

The Hisense U8G Android TV is our favorite Hisense model, and one of the best Android TVs around. With a quantum dot color and integrated Chromecast and Google Assistant, it's a full-featured smart TV that offers great quality for a reasonable price. With support for both Dolby Vision and HDR10, it also offers solid HDR format support, along with Dolby Atmos sound. It has built-in voice control with room-listening microphones, effectively letting you use the TV as a smart speaker, and offering the sort of smart home integration and control that would normally cost much more.

In our review, we were especially impressed by the U8G's brightness, which combines with the better-than-average HDR support for great performance that brings out highlights and shadows. With few complaints and lots of great perks, the Hisense U8G Android TV is easily our new favorite Hisense model.

Read our full Hisense U8G Android TV (65U8G) review

Sony Bravia X800H review

(Image credit: Sony)

4. Sony Bravia X800H

A solid, affordable Android TV

Available Screen Sizes: 43, 49, 55, 65, 75, 85 inches
Screen Type: LCD
Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
HDMI ports: 4 HDMI (1 ARC)
Size: 38.3 x 22.5 x 2.3 inches
Weight: 20.7 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Bright and sharp picture+Wide viewing angles+Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
Reasons to avoid
-Clunky remote-Average color accuracy

For a great Android TV that's sold in most sizes for under a grand, we love the Sony Bravia X800H. It may not have QLED or the latest features seen on newer models, but the 2020 Sony can be had for ultra-affordable prices, even up to 65 inches. Boasting Android TV and all of the attendant features, like integrated Google Assistant and Chromecast, wide app selection, built-in content recommendations and plenty of customization options, it's a solid smart TV at any size or price.

Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound deliver very good performance, and the set produced strong brightness and color quality for being a standard LCD model. Really, our only big problem with the X800H is that the remote is a little clunky. But if you want a quality smart TV for a reasonable price, the Sony Bravia X800H is a solid choice.

Read our full Sony Bravia X800H review.

Hisense U7G 4K ULED Android Smart TV 65U7G review

(Image credit: Hisense)

5. Hisense U7G Android TV

A killer gaming TV with Android

Available Screen Sizes: 55, 65, 75 inches
Screen type: QLED
Refresh rate: 120Hz
HDMI ports: 4 (1 ARC, 1 HDMI 2.1)
Size: 57.0 x 33.1 x 3.5 inches
Weight: 43 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Bright+Good color and sharpness+Low lag time
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of detail in dark scenes-Overactive motion smoothing

The Hisense U7G Android TV is being marketed as a TV built for gaming, and the specs make it easy to see why: The Quantum Dot display boasts good color and sharp images, the panel's 120Hz refresh rate will handle the most demanding game console output, and a pair of HDMI 2.1 ports offer the best connectivity you can get for high-frame rate gaming. Easy app sharing with Chromecast is just icing on the cake.

And any TV that's good for gamers will usually do pretty well at everything else. Handling both Dolby Vision and HDR10 Plus formats, it's got some of the best HDR support available, and Dolby Atmos sound means it has the audio to match. It impressed us in our testing, and it's more affordable than you'd expect given the feature set. Gamer or not, the Hisense U7G Android TV is a solid 4K smart TV.

Read our full Hisense U7G Android TV review.

TCL 4-Series Android TV (S434)

(Image credit: TCL)

6. TCL 4-Series Android TV (S434)

An Android TV with TCL quality

Available Screen Sizes: 43, 50, 55, 65, 75 inches
Screen Type: LCD
Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
HDMI ports: 3 HDMI
Size: 44.3 x 28.1 x 3.1 inches
Weight: 22 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Ultra-affordable price+Great color quality+Solid gaming performance
Reasons to avoid
-Missing premium HDR support-Basic LCD display

The TCL 4-Series is also available with Android TV, Google's smart TV platform that competes directly with Roku. But the best part is that the hardware for the two 4-Series models is identical, so all of the performance and capability that we loved on the Roku-equipped model stays true for the TCL 4-Series Android TV (S434). 

Which means that the excellent color quality, solid (if basic) HDR support and gaming-ready capabilities are exactly what they are on the S435. But this model gives you an option other than Roku, with Android TV providing a huge selection of apps through the Google Play store, integrated Google Chromecast and Google Assistant for easy content search and voice control. And Android TV has a great interface to go with the many features. The only thing you won't get with the TCL 4-Series Android TV is the option for an 85-inch screen.

Read our full TCL 4-Series Roku TV (S435) review.

What is Google TV?

If you looked at the above list and noticed that some are Google TVs and others are Android TVs, you probably asked yourself the very reasonable question: what's the difference between Google TV and Android TV?

Both are based on Google's Android software, the same operating system found on smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices. For several years the TV-centric version of Android was simply known as Android TV. Ever since Android 8.0 was introduced in 2019, we've considered Android a top player in the smart TV space.

Starting in late 2021 with the rollout of Android TV 11, Google has renamed the operating system as Google TV. Going forward the Android TV name will be dropped, and all Google-powered smart TVs will be Google TV in the coming years.

But the differences go beyond the name. Google TV is a significant update from the previous version of Android, with a new interface, better live TV integration and discovery, a mobile remote, and personal accounts, including watchlists and kids accounts with parental controls baked in.

Get a more detailed look at the improvements that come with Google TV in our article Google TV vs. Android TV: What's the difference?

How to pick the best Google TV or Android TV for you

If you've already settled on a Google TV or Android TV model, then you've narrowed down your TV shopping considerably. But there are still several important elements to consider when finding the right TV for you. Here are the most important details to think about.

Size: You won't have to compromise on screen size, either. Or recommendations above include great options at 55, 65 and even 75-inch sizes, so your budget doesn't have to prevent you from getting a TV that's just as big as you want. Find the screen size that works best for you in our article What size TV should you buy?

HDR: For the best picture, we recommend getting a set that offers high dynamic range (HDR) support. HDR10 is the base standard, while Dolby Vision is a higher-caliber format, and we recommend opting for Dolby Vision support when you have the choice.

Pay attention to ports: We recommend getting a TV with 4 HDMI ports whenever possible. And even though they do cost more, we prefer TVs that have HDMI 2.1 connections. They offer better gaming features and will keep your TV up to date for much longer.

From smart functions to port selection, we offer plenty of advice in our TV buying guide, which explains the ins and outs of features like HDR, different types of display, and even extended warranties. And if you still have questions about smart TV features and capabilities, check out Smart TVs: Everything you need to know.

How we test Google TVs and Android TVs

Every TV review, whether it has Google TV, Android, or any other smart TV software, is put through a standardized set of benchmark tests to measure the key elements of TV performance. Our lab tests measure several elements of picture quality, such as color accuracy, color gamut, brightness and contrast.

In addition to lab testing, every TV is also evaluated by the reviewer with extensive hands-on use. We'll watch movie clips, play test footage, and hook up one of the latest game consoles to see how well the TV performs in real world use.

These objective test results and personal evaluations combine in our reviews to give readers as accurate a description as possible of how well a TV performs. How does it look, sound and function? From the design of the remote to the smart functions and port selection, we look at every piece of the TV puzzle to help you know whether a TV is right for you.

If you've narrowed down your TV shopping by brand, price range or screen size, check out our picks for the best TVs in each.

Best TVs | Best 4K TVs | Best smart TVs for streaming | Best TVs for gaming

The best TVs under $1000 | The best TVs under $500

Best TV brands | Best Samsung TVs | Best TCL TVs | Best LG TVs | Best Roku TVs | Best OLED TVs | Best QLED TVs | Best 8K TVs | Best HDMI 2.1 TV | Best TVs with ATSC 3.0 | Best TVs with Chromecast

The smallest smart TVs | Best 43-inch TVs | Best 50-inch TVs | Best 55-inch TVs | Best 65-inch TVs | Best 70-inch TVs | Best 75-inch TVs | Best 85-inch TVs 

And don't forget to watch out for the latest TV reviews.

Brian Westover
Brian Westover is an Editor at Tom's Guide, covering everything from TVs to the latest PCs. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.