Throughout the pandemic, many of us spent less time commuting to work or going out for pleasure. That translated into more time camped out in front of our PCs and TVs. In this month’s PCMag Readers’ Choice Award survey, we asked you to rate your satisfaction with the big screens that you’ve been staring at in your homes.
If you’re in the market, you might find that the one you were planning to buy isn’t available because of supply chain issues, so it’s extra important that you familiarize yourself with other brands. Read on to find out which ones PCMag readers recommend.
In last year’s PCMag Readers’ Choice Award survey on televisions, the overall satisfaction ratings, which we consider to be the most important satisfaction measure, were incredibly close. Our survey respondents are asked to rate satisfaction on a scale from zero (extremely dissatisfied) to ten (extremely satisfied). That year, five brands finished within 0.1 of one another. TCL, LG, and Sony finished at the top with ratings of 8.8, while Samsung and Insignia were right behind at 8.7.
In 2021, the same five brands had the best overall satisfaction ratings, but there’s differentiation. Sony wins our Readers’ Choice Award this year, earning an overall satisfaction rating of 9.1. It’s the first television brand to be rated 9.0 or better overall in our surveys since 2014, an impressive feat. LG and Samsung had the same ratings as last year, 8.8 and 8.7, respectively, while low-cost providers Insignia and TCL dropped to 8.5.
Sony received a rating of 9.0 for likelihood to recommend, another key measure of satisfaction. It also earned top marks for satisfaction with its picture (9.3), HDR (9.2), and tech support (8.1). (It’s not unusual for technical support to rate lower than feature-based measures; using tech support at all means people aren’t entirely happy.)
As impressive as Sony’s scores are, it has areas for improvement. The company rated lowest for satisfaction with cost (8.3), a full point behind TCL and Insignia (9.3). That might be expected given that Sony is generally considered a premium brand, but it also rated toward the bottom for satisfaction with setup (8.6) and smart TV capabilities (8.3).
TCL, one of our Readers’ Choice Award winners last year, topped our survey on several measures as well. In addition to the previously mentioned satisfaction with cost rating, TCL rated best for satisfaction with setup (9.3), ease of use (9.0), and smart TV capabilities (8.8). Note that smart capabilities are one aspect of a TV that you can easily and affordably upgrade by purchasing a streaming media device such as a Roku or Apple TV. Insignia’s ratings caught our eye because while respondents tended to be satisfied with their TVs, they were not especially likely to recommend that brand, giving the company a likelihood to recommend rating of 8.0, tied with Toshiba for worst in our survey.
Sony also wins our Readers’ Choice Award in the 4K television category. This is the third straight year, plus the fourth time in the last five years, that Sony won for its 4K TVs. (4K TVs represent about two-thirds of the TVs rated.) When specifically asked to rate the TV’s 4K capabilities, Sony scored a 9.3, the highest mark among all brands. Once again it also scored best for satisfaction with its picture (9.4), HDR (9.2), and reliability (9.2, tied with Samsung). Sony had the highest rating for satisfaction with sound (8.2). This question is only asked of respondents who use the TV’s built-in speakers, as opposed to listening through a soundbar or home audio system. Only 39% of respondents listen directly through their 4K TVs.
For more, read The Best TVs of 2021.
Computer Monitors 2021
Receiving satisfaction ratings of 9.0 or better in our survey is a true mark of excellence. In the computer monitor category, four brands had overall satisfaction ratings in the nines, something we seldom see. Of them, Asus came out on top at 9.1, earning the company its second Readers’ Choice Award in a row. Last year’s co-winner, Samsung, rated 9.0 on overall satisfaction, as did Dell and LG. 2019’s Readers’ Choice Award winner, ViewSonic, was right behind at 8.9.
In general, satisfaction ratings on computer monitors are very high. It seems that it’s hard to go wrong, regardless of which brand you choose, assuming you pick the right type of monitor for your needs. No brand rated below 8.5 on any satisfaction measure in our survey. However, our Readers’ Choice Award winner, Asus, further distinguished itself by having the highest rating for likelihood to recommend (9.1) and satisfaction with the monitor’s picture (9.2).
Recommended by Our Editors
Dell also earned very impressive ratings. It received ratings of 9.0 or better on every measure except satisfaction with cost (8.7) and tech support (8.5), both of which were still very good. Dell had the top ratings for satisfaction with reliability (9.4), setup (9.3), ease of use (9.2), and its Net Promoter Score of 71 (out of 100) was slightly better than Asus’s 68.
Dell also had the highest overall satisfaction rating (9.2) for its ultrawide monitors. About a third of our respondents (35%) told us they use ultrawide monitors, which are useful for a wide variety of tasks from gaming to video editing and business productivity.
As monitors get bigger and wider, some people find they’re easier to work with if the display is curved. Yet only 17% of respondents use curved displays. Dell had the highest overall satisfaction rating (9.4) in this category.
For more, read The Best Computer Monitors of 2021.
The PCMag Readers’ Choice survey for TVs and Computer Monitors was in the field from October 25, 2021, to November 14, 2021. For more information on how our surveys are conducted, read the survey methodology.
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