Best Android TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best Android TVs you can buy in 2022.
Google might seem like a relative newcomer to the TV game, but it's actually had a TV software platform for well over a decade. Google TV launched in 2010, but was replaced in 2014 by Android TV. More recent TVs are now getting a modified Android TV user interface, which is also known as Google TV, though it's unrelated to Google's earlier effort of the same name.
Confused? We don't blame you.
Basically, Android TV is the operating system that comes preinstalled on TVs from the likes of Sony and Philips, and some of these run the new Google TV interface (as does the Google Chromecast with Google TV streaming device). And mighty fine it is, too, with multiple user profiles, the ability to connect to wireless speakers, improved storage management and improved speed.
But which Android TV / Google TV should you buy? Time to find out.
How to choose the best Android TV for you
Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
As with any TV, you need to consider two main factors before making a purchase: size and price. If you want the best experience possible, we would advise spending at the top end of your budget (leaving some over for a soundbar or surround sound system, of course) and getting the biggest TV that fits your space. It might seem extravagant, but an Android TV is not something you buy every year, and if you scrimp you'll regret it every time you settle down in front of it.
Next, which screen technology do you want? OLED is most popular for Android TVs, thanks to its perfect blacks, extraordinary contrast and exceptional viewing angles. But there's a new challenger in the form of QD-OLED, which aims to combine these benefits with greater brightness, at a price, of course. If you're on a budget, you'll be better served by an LCD model, as they tend to be cheaper.
We always recommend leaving some space in your budget for a dedicated sound system, be it a soundbar or full surround sound set-up. But if you can't stretch to either, or don't want to, make sure your Android TV of choice has decent sound built-in – some of the below are very capable in this area.
Gamer? Look out for TV features made specifically for you. 4K 120Hz will give you a clearer picture at a higher refresh rate, especially during fast-moving scenes, while VRR support means a smoother gameplay experience. ALLM, meanwhile, ensures that you automatically get the best visual experience from both games and movies / TV shows. Android TVs also come with the Google Stadia game streaming platform installed, so you can play top quality games without the need for a console (though you will need a gamepad of some sort).
The best Android TVs
Most of Sony's 2022 TVs use the Google TV operating system, and the A95K is the pick of the bunch. As Sony's first QD-OLED TV, it combines the perfect blacks of OLED with the extra brightness detail that comes with quantum dot technology. And Google TV just adds to the experience.
Google's OS puts increasingly intelligent personalised recommendations front and centre, making it very quick to find something to watch. Unfortunately, the vast majority of recommendations presented are from Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, with just a couple of Apple TV titles and a single My5 TV show thrown in. That Netflix is missing from the recommendation engine is clearly an issue, but it’s not one that’s exclusive to Google TV.
The A95K comes with Sony's Bravia CAM accessory, a camera that magnetically attaches to the rear of the set and peeks over the top of the screen. Though we question how useful it is.
That aside, the A95K is a superb TV. Its picture quality is balanced and natural, with the added brightness detail really adding to the experience. It sounds great too, thanks to its bespoke Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology, which effectively turns the screen into a giant speaker.
An LG G2 or C2 still has even more gaming features (most notably extra HDMI 2.1 sockets, a Dolby Vision game mode and an HGiG setting), but the A95K is still a very good gaming TV in its own right and for movies and TV shows it's currently unbeatable.
Read the full Sony XR-55A95K review
For reasons unknown, Sony didn’t launch a new 48-inch OLED TV last year. Instead, 2020’s A9 (A9S in the US) was tasked with holding the fort against increasingly large ranks of rivals for almost two years.
Thankfully, relief is finally at hand in the form of the Sony XR-48A90K – Sony’s flagship OLED for those who don’t have the space for its new A95K QD-OLED (above), which isn’t available below 55 inches.
Has the A90K been worth the wait? And does it deliver a true flagship performance? It’s a resounding yes to both questions.
The 48-inch Sony A90K OLED is a force to be reckoned with. It might not quite have the flawless gaming feature set of an LG OLED, but it’s close, and a very good gaming TV in its own right, particularly if you’re a PS5 player.
Where the A90K is almost flawless is in its picture quality. If you're a fan of Android TV and don't have the space for a bigger set, this is a no-brainer.
Read the full Sony XR-48A90K review
The Philips 48OLED806 is a 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award winner, and stands as one of the best 48-inch OLED TVs we've tested. And Android TV is a big part of that. It's not the purest implementation, as Philips has gone for a combination of Android TV 10 with Freeview Play and its own set of menus lobbed on top. But once you get used to it, it's very simple to use.
This Philips is also cheaper than a lot of OLED TVs at this size, helped in part by the fact it's a 2021 model.
Finding the best picture settings can take a bit of time, and the default picture presets are often less than ideal, but with a bit of tweaking the OLED806 can be made to look both very accurate and supremely sharp and punchy. It has Philips' Ambilight technology too, which extends the onscreen action to the wall around the TV in the form of coloured light. If you've never experienced it, it makes whatever you're watching much more immersive.
Gamers get two 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 sockets that support 4K@120Hz, VRR and ALLM, plus very low input lag. It doesn't sound as impressive as Sony's OLEDs further down this list, but it is still good on the audio front. The 65-inch model is great as well, if you have more space – and budget – to play with.
Read the full Philips 48OLED806 review
Read the full Philips 65OLED806 review
We've always been about bang-for-buck at What Hi-Fi?. We don't just recommend the best products, but the best value ones. Using that standard, 2021's Sony A80J is one of the best Android TVs going.
It's not as premium as the A90J below (or, of course, Sony's 2022 models above), but it does offer most of the same features – including Google TV – for much less money.
Picture quality isn't quite as bright and punchy as the A90J, but it still impresses. And its level of sharpness and detail are on a par with its flagship sibling, creating a winning combination of the spectacular with a class-leading level of authenticity.
Again, its Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology turns the screen into a giant speaker, though it's less powerful than on some Sony models. But as well as providing impressive heft and dynamic range, it ties the sound to the corresponding part of the picture, making for a more immersive and realistic performance.
In the UK, there is also a variant of the A80J called the A84J. This version has a microphone integrated into its bezel for completely hands-free voice-control (the A80J has only a remote-mounted mic), plus a feature called Rich Colour Enhancer, which adds a tiny bit of extra richness to colours. Otherwise, the sets are identical and equally brilliant.
Read the full Sony XR-55A80J review
If you like the look of the A80J above, but have a bit more budget, then the A90J is for you. The Android TV/Google TV user experience is identical on both TVs, so don't expect any differences there. But it's in the picture department that this set really shines.
When it launched in 2021, it took OLED picture performance to new, thrilling levels. But it did so without abandoning the authenticity for which Sony is renowned. It also sounds significantly better than most other TVs, thanks to its Acoustic Surface Audio+ (again, this works the same as on the A80J, but is more powerful here, offering 60W). The Google TV operating system means the user experience is better than that of any pre-2021 Sony TV, too, and the exclusive Bravia Core streaming service is a genuine value-added feature.
Does it justify its higher price over the A80J above? Probably not. But if you want one of the best Android TV experiences and don't mind paying a little extra for it, look no further.
Read the full Sony XR-55A90J review
Read the full Sony XR-65A90J review
Is this the ultimate TV? It could well be, and that's despite the fact it lacks the latest Google TV operating system, opting for an earlier version of Android TV instead.
Not that that's a huge impediment – this version does have a number of Google TV-like elements added that make navigation more enjoyable and get you watching much quicker than before. Recommendations are much improved, too, with a deeply stacked app library full of the usual suspects (Netflix, Apple TV, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, etc).
But the hardware is even more impressive. The Philips 65OLED986 takes last year’s Award-winning OLED806 and adds an extra picture processor, a brighter OLED panel, and a B&W speaker system consisting of Continuum-cone drivers and a Nautilus-tube tweeter.
The result is a sweet-sounding TV that, while not quite the hi-fi replacement it hopes to be, is one of the most musical we've ever tested. Add the best picture performance you can currently buy, and you can see why we used the phrase "ultimate TV".
Just a couple of things hold it back: the high price, and the floor-standing design, both of which will turn many people off. But if you're not among them, enjoy.
Read the full Philips 65OLED986 review
How we test Android TVs
Testing a TV is a long and complex process because a modern TV simply does so much. Not only does it need to handle a variety of content resolutions – standard-def, 1080p, 4K and sometimes 8K – and both standard dynamic range and high dynamic range (the latter in a number of formats), all of which need to be specifically tested, it also has a sound system with various advanced settings and a full smart platform. A TV is an all-in-one device in the best sense, but that also makes it a challenging review proposition.
As part of our testing process we manually check that every major app – from Netflix to All 4, Prime Video to Spotify – is not only present, but also outputting in the video and sound formats that it should. Just because there's a Disney+ app doesn't necessarily mean it's working in Dolby Vision and/or Dolby Atmos. In fact, in many recent cases it hasn't been.
We also connect both a PS5 and Xbox Series X in order to establish which advanced gaming features are and aren't supported, and on which of the TV's HDMI ports. Is 4K 120Hz supported? How about VRR? Is there a Dolby Vision game mode? Is there an HGiG preset for more accurate HDR tone mapping? We check all of these things, and measure input lag using a Leo Bodnar device.
We then test the TV's picture quality using a huge variety of content, from old DVDs to the latest 4K Blu-rays and plenty of streamed movies and TV shows in between. Every TV is tested against the best model at its price and size – we have a stockroom packed full of Award-winners for this very purpose.
We don't accept the out-of-the-box settings that a TV comes in either. While we intentionally don't go down the route of professional calibration (you shouldn't have to have your TV professionally calibrated in order to get the best out of it), we do spend hours adjusting settings using a mixture of test patterns and real-world content until we are sure we're getting the best out of a TV so that it has the best chance to shine.
While we almost always advise that a new TV is combined with a dedicated sound system such as a soundbar or AV amplifier, many people still prefer to stick with their flatscreen's built-in speakers, so we thoroughly test these too, using a wide variety of movie and music content and with great attention spent to the TV's many processing modes and individual settings.
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in Bath and Reading, where our team of expert reviewers do all of our testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency. What's more, all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer, again helping to ensure consistency and avoid any personal preference.
The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics.
From all of our reviews, we choose the best products to feature in our Best Buys. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended above, or on any other Best Buy page, you can be assured you are getting a What Hi-Fi? approved product.