After years of rumours, Apple’s first ARM-based M1-powered Mac devices have finally arrived.
While early reports indicated that Apple would start the two-year transition to its own proprietary silicon by releasing a refreshed version of the now-dead 12-inch MacBook, the tech giant has instead jumped in head-first with a wide range of new M1 Macs.
Apple, as expected, makes lofty claims about its first ARM-based system-on-a-chip (SoC). The chip itself is one of the first in the industry to be designed with 5-nanometer technology. Further, instead of individual chips for the CPU, GPU, security, I/O and memory, the M1 combines everything onto a single discrete SoC.
While this has several benefits, it primarily allows a Mac’s various components to communicate more effectively.
Though I’ve only spent a brief amount of time with all three new Macs, including the MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac mini, most of Apple’s claims regarding its new chip seem accurate (more on this later).
Apple says that its 8-core CPU features four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, offering an up to 3.5x increase in CPU performance. On the GPU side of the equation, the 7- or 8-core GPU (the entry-level MacBook Air features a 7-core GPU due to chip binning) amounts to up to 6x faster graphics performance across the board.
There’s also a 16-core Neural Engine capable of computing 11 trillion operations per second, and 16GB of RAM built directly into the M1 chip.
Make no mistake, what Apple has accomplished with the M1 chip feels, at least in some sense, like a generational leap forward for the Mac line in terms of raw power.
That said, the transition away from Intel’s chips isn’t entirely smooth.
Note: This story is a brief look at Apple’s M1 chip and new Mac devices. I’ll have full reviews of some of Apple’s M1-powered Mac computers in the coming months.
Rosetta II emulation and growing pains
For apps to truly take advantage of Apple’s new chip, they need to be entirely redesigned to run off the M1.
While the tech giant’s entire software suite, including Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Xcode, Create ML, FaceTime and more, have been optimized for the M1 chip, the majority of major third-party app developers still need to update their software. That said, there are some M1 versions of third-party apps already available, including DaVinci Resolve and Pixelmator Pro 2.0.
For many, however, the M1 version doesn’t exist or is still in the works. This includes Adobe’s entire Creative Cloud software suite, which I use daily to do my job. Lightroom support is coming soon, and Photoshop will arrive at some point in 2021. When the rest of the Adobe CC suite will transition to Apple’s M1 chip remains unclear.
The same can be said about nearly all the software I use on my MacBook Pro, including Microsoft’s Edge browser, GIF Brewery, Private Internet Access, Logitech Options and more. Google Chrome also doesn’t have an M1 version. As for Edge, it’s worth noting that Microsoft maintains a version of the browser compatible with ARM-based CPUs for Windows devices like the Surface Pro X, so it’s possible an M1 variant for Mac computers isn’t far off.
This Intel-based software is emulated through Apple’s new Rosetta 2 platform, an evolution of the Rosetta software the company used during the transition from PowerPC to Intel processors back in 2006.
While Rosetta 2 makes an admirable effort to emulate Intel Mac software, the experience isn’t perfect. Launching each app for the first time typically results in it taking twice as long to load, especially when it comes to Adobe’s CC apps like Photoshop and Lightroom. Once the apps are open, performance is roughly on par with my experience using the apps with the Intel i5 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) I typically use. However, I did encounter the occasional bout of lag when working with multiple RAW image files.
I’ve also experienced several issues with Logitech Options, the Mac software I use to connect the company’s M720 mouse and K850 keyboard via a USB unifying receiver. Likely because Logitech’s connection software is being emulated, both the keyboard and mouse experience lag when connected to Apple’s USB-C-to-USB-A adaptor and the third-party USB-C-to-A hub I’ve been using for several months. Bypassing the unifying receiver and connecting directly through Bluetooth seems to solve the problem, but I still encounter the occasional mouse pointer stutter.
Then there’s Microsoft’s Edge browser, which, unsurprisingly, is still designed for Intel Macs. I do most of my day-to-day job within Edge, including accessing web-based apps like Slack, WordPress, Gmail and more. Of course, I could switch to the M1 version of Safari, but it would be a lot of work to shift everything over to Apple’s browser. While Edge runs decently through Rosetta 2, it does feel slightly sluggish at times, especially when launching apps like Slack and Gmail.
It’s also worth noting that restoring a new M1 Mac from a Time Machine backup is both time-consuming and somewhat frustrating. Following the restoration, the M1 MacBook Pro locked up several times. In fact, some Adobe CC apps wouldn’t even open initially until I restarted the computer. I’d suggest doing a clean install if you’re moving from an Intel to an M1-based Mac.
To be fair, these issues will start to disappear as more app developers port their software over to Apple’s M1 chips. The issue is it’s unclear how long that’s going to take.
The first M1 Macs
All three devices, including the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac mini, all look identical to their Intel counterparts.
Apple will almost certainly subtly change the design of all three devices since the architecture of the M1 probably gives it the ability to reconfigure the look of the Air and MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet.
The Mac mini looks the same as its Intel-based counterpart, and so does the MacBook Air. The M1 MacBook Pro, on the other hand, replaces the entry-level Pro that only features two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports.
The fact that the new M1 MacBook Pro only features two USB-C ports is strange and disappointing. Apple claims that it opted for two ports simply because the new M1 Pro replaces the two-port Intel variant. While true, it’s also likely a limitation of Apple’s M1 processor to some extent, or possibly related to its license to use Intel’s Thunderbolt technology.
This forced me to reconfigure my work from home setup considerably. First, my USB-C-to-USB-A hub needed to be moved to the laptop’s left side along with the USB-C cable I used to connect to my 32-inch 4K BenQ EW3280U monitor. Further, when both of these devices are connected, I’m unable to use my USB-C SD card reader, forcing me to use a USB-A SD card reader with my hub.
There’s also a power issue with my USB hub where as soon as I plug the USB-C card reader in, it disables the Logitech Unifying receiver. I realize that these issues are specific to me, but other people will likely experience similar problems if they plan to make the jump from a four USB-C port MacBook Pro to a two USB-C port M1 MacBook Pro.
Since the MacBook Air also only features two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, I experienced the same issues with Apple’s lightweight laptop.
While minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things, in the era where many of us work from home, pain points like this are frustrating.
It’s also worth noting that all of Apple’s M1 devices can only be configured with 16GB of RAM, which seems to be a limitation of the M1’s architecture.
All M1 devices feature the same processor
The first thing to note about Apple’s first M1 Macs is that the MacBook Pro and the Mac mini are technically more powerful than the MacBook Air.
While all three new M1-powered Macs feature the same CPU and GPU and can theoretically run at identical speeds, the fact that the MacBook Pro and the Mac mini feature a fan, allows the computers to run at peak performance for longer. On the other hand, the MacBook Air doesn’t feature a fan and, as a result, features cooling that isn’t as efficient as Apple’s other two M1 launch computers.
Generally, modern CPUs run faster when they feature better cooling.
While I haven’t spent that much time with the new M1 Macs, this seems to be accurate based on the benchmarks (seen below) and my actual experience with the devices. For example, I connected the M1 13-inch MacBook Pro to my 4K monitor, opened Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC and edited several RAW images. On top of this, I played a 4K video from YouTube on my monitor and had several Edge windows running simultaneously.
While this would normally result in my 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) with an Intel Core i5 processor and 16GB of RAM lagging quite a bit, the new M1 MacBook Pro’s fans didn’t turn on for several minutes and I didn’t experience any slowdown. I experienced similar results with the new M1 Mac mini, which also features a physical fan.
When performing this same experiment with the M1 MacBook Air, the fans turned on almost immediately. While things did run more smoothly with the new Air when compared to its Intel counterpart, there were instances where I’d be stuck with a spinning beach ball for several seconds, especially with Adobe’s software.
It’s important to note that all of this software is being emulated through Rosetta II. It will be interesting to see how the real-world performance changes once the apps I most frequently use get dedicated M1 versions.
Though battery life seems improved across all three devices, it isn’t easy to definitively know if Apple’s claims are accurate given I’m emulating software via Rosetta 2. On paper, Apple says the MacBook Air with M1 can get 15 hours of web browsing and 18 hours of Apple TV app movie playback (it’s unlikely most Mac users will only be watching video through the Apple TV app). The MacBook Pro, which features a larger 58.2Wh battery compared to the MacBook Air’s 49.9Wh, can get up to 17 hours of web browsing and 20 hours of Apple TV movie playback.
Battery life does seem improved across the board and in some ways, reminiscent of the classic Macbook Air from several years ago, though more testing is definitely necessary. I can say that I wrote most of this feature and edited photos for it with the M1 MacBook Air, and the battery still had 30 percent left after starting from nearly a full charge and working from roughly 11 noon to 6pm. This is very impressive and well beyond what the Intel MacBook Air is capable of.
One major question that still remains surrounding Apple’s new M1 Macs is when the tech giant plans to introduce GPUs that aren’t integrated into the M1 chip. Though it’s still unclear, the tech giant likely plans to do this with the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 when it inevitably appears likely in early 2021.
M1 benchmarks are impressive
Though benchmarks don’t always tell the full story when it comes to devices, and this is especially apparent with Apple’s new M1 Macs given nearly all apps are still emulated, they still show off what a true generational leap the M1 is when it comes to the future of Apple’s Mac line.
Across the board, the single-core and multi-core performance of the M1 is well beyond what I expected.
The MacBook Air with M1 hits 1,671 for single-core and 7,148 for multi-core performance. This, shockingly, makes it more powerful than the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019) with an Intel Core i9-9980HK processor in terms of multi-core performance, which comes in at 6,880.
Regarding single-core performance, the MacBook Air with an M1 chip comes in at 1,588, which is well above the Intel Core i5-1038NG7 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) (1,147), the laptop I use every day.
Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 hits 1,611 for its single-core score and 7,408 for its multi-core score.
In terms of multi-core performance, this is higher than the 6,880 the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019) with an Intel Core i9-9980HK is capable of achieving and even surpasses the 27-inch iMac with an Intel Core i9-9900K processor (8,273).
This makes the laptop substantially more powerful than the Intel Core i5-1038NG7 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) I use as my daily driver (1,147) and even the 27-inch iMac (2020) (1,248), in terms of single-core performance.
Finally, Apple’s M1 Mac mini hits 1.750 for single-core and 7,564 for its multi-core score. This puts it just below the 27-inch iMac (2019) with an Intel Core i9-9900k processor, which hits 8,273 for multi-core, but above the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019) with an Intel Core i9-9980HK processor (7,989). It’s also way above the Mac mini (2018) with an Intel Core i7-8700B processor (5,495).
Similar to every other M1 device, this puts the Mac mini above the 27-inch iMac (2020)’s 1,248 single-core score and leagues ahead of the Mac mini (2018) with an Intel Core i7-8700B processor (1,102).
Should you buy an M1 Mac now?
The answer to this question is somewhat difficult. While the performance of Apple’s new M1 Mac line is undeniably impressive, Rosetta 2 emulation still needs work. This means that those who live in a world where they only use Apple’s own apps and services — and a lot of people do — the transition will be fine, and they’ll really appreciate the additional hardware power and battery life the M1 offers. For everyone else, it’s likely worth waiting until more third-party developers release M1 optimized apps.
In my particular case, Adobe’s CC suite is the missing link with the new M1 Macs. We know that Adobe’s most popular apps will likely get dedicated M1 versions, but it’s unknown when that will happen. MobileSyrup reached out to Adobe for more information regarding Creative Cloud’s release on M1 Macs and did not receive a response from the company.
Further, Microsoft releasing an M1 optimized version of its Edge browser would also help convince me to switch to an M1 Mac since moving between browsers is often a little tedious. Yes, I could switch to Safari, but I also work on Android and Windows devices, so this would ruin my ability to jump between platforms.
It’s also still unclear if Apple’s Universal App strategy that allows iOS and iPadOS apps to run on M1 Macs natively will pay off because they’re not yet widely available. While it will be great to see the macOS app ecosystem expand significantly, every touchscreen-based app likely won’t translate that well to mouse/trackpad input. That said, the introduction of mouse/trackpad compatibility on iPadOS will hopefully help make iPad apps translate better to macOS.
With all that said, it’s clear the M1 is the future of Apple’s Mac line — unfortunately, as expected, there’s just going to be growing pains for the next few months.
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 starts at $1699 for the 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage iteration. Apple is still selling Intel-based versions of the MacBook Pro. The 8GB, 256GB of storage MacBook Air with M1 starts at $1,299. The M1 version of the Air replaces the Intel variant. Finally, The base-level M1 Mac mini now starts at $899 and ranges up to $2,149 if you add the 2TB hard drive and 16GB of RAM add-ons. Apple is still selling the 6-core Intel-based Mac mini for $1,399 CAD.
How Sneaker Culture Predicted PS5 and Xbox Series X Scalpers – IGN – IGN
“All major retailers and Sony, [they] had so many bugs and issues where the PS5 would get taken out of my cart,” Ace, a Twitter user who shared their experience buying a PlayStation 5 to IGN. So, after failing to secure a PS5 through the usual digital stores and even directly from Sony, Ace did what anyone does after missing a sale, and started shopping the gray market.Ace ended up paying $900 for a PS5 on Craigslist – and they weren’t the only ones going to such extreme measures.
The PS5 and Xbox Series X are this season’s hottest items, and their popularity is wildly driving up prices among unofficial retailers. It’s a trend we’ve seen in another industry, on a far more regular basis — the second-hand market reacts similarly when there’s a limited sneaker release from brands like Nike or Air Jordan.
It’s an apt comparison, says Professor Jemayne Lavar King, an Assistant Professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University and author of Sole Food: Digestible Sneaker Culture. Professor King says the way customers are responding to the hard-to-find PlayStation 5 — creating a surge in demand and prices in second-hand retailers — is part of a consumerist trend that’s been building up over the years in no small part because of the rise of sneaker culture.
“The same individuals who would pay $500 for a pair of Nike Dunks, or maybe a pair of Air Jordans, or whatever shoe that happens to be in demand at the moment — these are the same individuals who are also playing the latest consoles,” says Professor King. He says that the same consumer culture for sneakers has conditioned buyers into paying more for something that they can potentially get cheaper down the line if they wait.
21st Century Customers
The first signs of trouble began when the PS5 suddenly became available for pre-order at different retailers, despite Sony promising that the pre-order date wouldn’t be a surprise. Notifications that PS5s were sold out quickly followed.
Even the Xbox Series X, which announced its pre-order date weeks in advance, faced similar shortages. It seemed that anyone who couldn’t get a pre-order was suddenly facing the reality that they might not be able to procure a new system, even by the end of this year.
In the void of any official retail listings, scalpers have moved in, selling PS5s for sometimes triple the retail cost on sites like eBay and Craigslist.
“We know there’s going to be an abundance of PlayStation 5s around the holiday season. But entrepreneurs are capitalizing on the pacemaking culture, the pick-me culture, the ‘I have and you don’t’ culture. It’s the same marketing,” Professor King explains. He likens it succinctly by saying the second-hand console market is “the same offense in a different sport” to the sneaker market.
Even the official retailers are imitating the marketing strategies pioneered by streetwear fashion. Sony announced it would open up a limited number of PS5 orders directly to its most loyal PlayStation customers, and other retailers have created digital queues for the next batch of PS5 or Xbox Series X sales, with a precise date and time for when the sale goes live.
This is otherwise known as a “drop,” a term that began simply by referring to a product release, but became synonymous with the streetwear industry thanks to brands like Supreme, whose product drops have led many zealous fans to camp outside stores for days to score items emblazoned with the red Supreme logo.
The digitization of the drop is already well underway with sneaker brands. Nike’s SNKRS app features a calendar of upcoming releases that customers can sign up to be notified of when they go up for sale. Valued customers are allowed early pre-order privileges, not unlike how Sony sent unique invites to PS5 pre-orders for loyal PlayStation players.
Confirmed PlayStation 5 Games
Supply and Demand
Earlier in the year, analysts wondered if the new consoles would be delayed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic but Sony and Microsoft repeatedly assured customers that these systems would be available in time for the holidays.
What the two manufacturers cautioned — repeatedly, in fact — is that there could be shortages. That there might not be enough consoles in 2020 for everyone.
But a PS5 and Xbox Series X aren’t like limited sneaker drops. Some shoes, once they’re sold out, no longer go into production, driving up their collector resale value. PS5s and Xbox Series X are consumer goods and will be in production for years.
And yet the language from console manufacturers has broadly been to shine a light on shortages: Microsoft CFO Tim Stuart says that Xbox Series X and S demand is huge and thinks “we’ll continue to see supply shortages as we head into the post-holiday quarter, so Microsoft’s Q3, calendar Q1 [the period ending March 31, 2021].”
Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan said in a recent interview that, “Everything is sold. Absolutely everything is sold. I’ve spent much of the last year trying to be sure that we can generate enough demand for the product. And now in terms of my executive bandwidth I’m spending a lot more time on trying to increase supply to meet that demand.”
When even the heads of the companies making them are telling us that they don’t have enough consoles to go around, it’s probably no wonder that every deal chaser on social media is blasting links to digital stores that may have a drop of PS5 or Xbox Series X stock. I myself acquired a PS5 pre-order, not from any traditional retail channel, but through a sneaker deals Twitter account.
Professor King doesn’t see those company announcements as an apology — he sees a tactic: “That particular strategy is to build — and it happens in everything — you want to build anticipation. And there’s a false pretense. You know — I know that these units are going to be readily available, but to make money in advance you create the illusion that there are not going to be that many of them. You just don’t acknowledge the fact that we’re going to have more pretty soon.”
Creating a narrative of scarcity has been good business for sneakers, and it may well be good business for console makers as well. There certainly appears to be an enhanced fervor to acquire a new console driven in part by their scarcity.
Confirmed Xbox Series X Games
That scarcity is exacerbated by factors outside of Sony and Microsoft’s control. While there could be elements of marketing engineering at work, driving up hype and in turn demand, we’ve also seen scalpers utilizing tools like bots to pick scan retail sites and buy up PS5 and Xbox Series X stock before customers can get a chance to order one at retail price.
Shopping bots have been around for years now, and are used to purchase all different kinds of items online, such as concert tickets. But they’ve become particularly aggressive when it comes to sneakers and streetwear. Bird Bot, a retail bot used to buy up Nintendo Switch stock, was originally developed by a sneakerhead who learned how to program bots trying to purchase sneakers.
Reports have emerged that one Europe-based reseller group purchased nearly 3,500 PS5 consoles through bots, ensuring in some cases that resellers are the only place some customers can acquire the sought-after console.
Making matters worse is how the Bots Act of 2016 only outlaws the use of bots when purchasing digital tickets. Bots for shoes and popular holiday gifts are still technically legal, though they are against individual stores’ terms of service.
What has emerged is a perfect storm where the video game console market and the trends of 21st-century consumerism collide. Whereas in the past the barrier to acquiring a new console or shoe may have been strictly financial, i.e. not having the funds to purchase the desired item; it’s no longer enough to just have the money. Customers are expected to be first, whether they’re competing against digital bots, or other customers who have more available time to queue up in line — physical or digital — for the same item.
While Covid-19 may have had a unique impact on availability — something we won’t fully understand until concrete sales and production figures is released — it’s also not unfair to say that some of these conditions have been created by retailers who want to drive up demand. The console marketing cycle effectively began in 2019, pre-COVID, and anticipation for the PS5 and Xbox Series X has been building ever since.
Stoked by a chaotic pre-order experience, official company communication that stock remains rare, and bots that remain legally dubious, we have a situation where hype and rarity are funneling customers to an unfair gray market that has had plenty of experience charging desperate customers a premium.
While writing this article, I scoured retailers like eBay to find the going price of a PS5 on the second-hand market. While there are listings that go as high as $2,000, searching through sold listings reveals customers typically purchase second-hand PS5s at around $950 but can go as high as $1,200. This is a staggering price compared to the suggested $499 retail price for the PS5.
But Professor King says these rates of increase are typical in the sneaker market. “How much is a sneaker worth? A sneaker is worth however much someone is willing to pay for it. How much is a console worth? Well, a console is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it, and typically someone is willing to pay retail plus half of what it costs.”
At the time of writing this story, one retailer on eBay is selling a PS5 disc version for $1,699.99. eBay’s website says this seller has already sold 33 units, and a notification below the listing says in bright bold red, “Almost gone.”
Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN.
Samsung Galaxy A12 and Galaxy A02s announced: 6.5" screens and 5,000 mAh batteries – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com
We’ve been hearing about the Galaxy A12 and Galaxy A02s for some time now and today Samsung made both smartphones official as the first members of its Galaxy A (2021) lineup.
Samsung Galaxy A12
The Galaxy A12 succeeds the Galaxy A11 introduced back in March and brings upgrades to the camera and battery departments.
The Galaxy A11 packed a 4,000 mAh battery, whereas the Galaxy A12 ships with a 5,000 mAh cell, both charging at 15W.
The A11 featured a triple camera setup on the back comprising a 13MP primary, 5MP ultrawide, and 2MP depth sensor units. The A12, on the other hand, retains the ultrawide and depth sensors, swaps the 13MP camera with a 48MP module, and gets a 2MP macro unit. These are arranged in a square formation.
The Galaxy A12 packs a slightly larger 6.5″ HD+ Infinity-V display that has a notch for the 8MP selfie camera, which remains unchanged from the A11.
Under the hood, the Galaxy A12 has an octa-core processor consisting of CPU cores clocked at 2.3GHz and 1.8GHz. Samsung doesn’t say what chipset it used, but looking at the configuration it appears the smartphone is powered by the Helio P35 SoC.
Samsung also doesn’t reveal what version of Android the Galaxy A12 boots to. The smartphone comes with 3GB, 4GB, or 6GB RAM on board and has three storage options – 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. You also get a microSD card slot for storage expansion by up to 1TB.
The Galaxy A12 features a side-mounted fingerprint reader, comes with the Samsung Knox security platform, and is offered in Black, Blue, White and Red colors.
The Galaxy A12 will be available from January 2021. The 64GB variant is priced at €179, and for €20 more, you can get double storage.
Samsung Galaxy A02s
The Galaxy A02s follows up the Galaxy A01 announced last December. It is built around a 6.5″ HD+ Infinity-V display and is powered by an octa-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz, which could be a part of the Snapdragon 450.
The smartphone comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage onboard, and it also has a microSD card slot, which allows storage expansion by up to 1TB.
For photography, you get a total of four cameras – a 5MP shooter inside the notch and a 13MP primary camera on the back joined by 2MP macro and 2MP depth units.
Fueling the entire package is a 5,000 mAh battery with 15W charging, which is a significant upgrade over the A01’s 3,000 mAh cell.
The Galaxy A02s has Black and White color options and will go on sale from February 2021 for €150.
The best TV for 2020: LG, Samsung, Sony, TCL, Vizio and more compared – CNET
If you’re looking for the best TV to buy right now, it’s probably been a long time since you bought your last one. You may be new to all of the current TV jargon: TVs for , since the days of and . My focus is on finding the best picture quality for the money, whether you’re looking for a top-of-the-line OLED TV or something a little less flashy., , , , , and . I’ve reviewed
The list below represents the best TVs I’ve reviewed in CNET’s test lab (for 2020, ), where I compare their picture quality, smart TV, design and features side by side to see which ones are most worth buying. I look at things like contrast ratio, local dimming, viewing angle and uniformity, gaming input lag and refresh rate, as well as how well the television supports streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus. Here are my recommendations, with the following notes to keep in mind:
- Unless noted otherwise, all of the prices you’ll see are for 65-inch models.
- Looking for a specific screen size? Check out: 32-inch TVs, 43-inch TVs, 55-inch TVs, 65-inch TVs and 75-inch TVs.
- The end of the year, starting around and , is usually the best time to get a good deal.
- If you’re worried that next year’s TV will have some great feature you’ll miss out on if you buy a TV now, relax. TVs are generally a mature technology and our advice is that if you need a new TV now, .
- This list is updated periodically.
No TV I’ve ever tested offers this much picture quality for this little cash. The 2020 TCL 6-Series has even better image quality than its predecessor, thanks to mini-LED tech and well-implemented full-array local dimming that helps it run circles around just about any other TV at this price. It’s also a solid choice for gamers with a new THX mode that combines low input lag and high contrast. As if that’s not enough, the Roku TV operating system is our hands-down favorite.
Sizes: 55-, 65-, 75-inch.
What’s that you say? You just want the best TV, money no object? Here you go. In my side-by-side tests, the 2020 LG CX is the best TV I’ve ever reviewed, with world-beating contrast, perfect off-angle viewing and excellent uniformity. If you can afford it, this is the TV to get.
Sizes: 48-, 55-, 65-, 77-inch.
Aside from the TCL 6-Series above, this is the runner-up for best TV for the money. The TCL has a better picture and better smart HDTV system so it’s a superior TV overall, but it’s also a couple hundred dollars more expensive. If you can’t afford the 6-Series, this Vizio is a very good runner-up.
Sizes: 50-, 55-, 65-inch.
If you value Sony’s brand X900H is an excellent choice, with image quality on par with the TCL 6-Series and a price that’s not that much more expensive. And its suite of connections is actually better than the TCL’s. In winter 2020 it will get full 4K/120Hz HDMI input capability to maximize the potential of the new Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, and right now it’s the cheapest TV that works with ATSC 3.0 antenna broadcasts.
Sizes: 55-, 65-, 75-, 85-inch.
Roku is our favorite platform for a live TV streaming service like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, and it’s even better baked into the TV. This TCL 4-Series can’t beat any of the models above on image quality — its 4K resolution and HDR compatibility don’t do anything to help the picture — but it’s perfectly fine for most people, especially at this price.
Sizes: 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, 75-inch. (The price shown below is for the 43-inch size.)
TCL’s 8-Series also features mini-LED and the result is superb contrast, brightness and high dynamic range that beats the less expensive 6-Series in my side-by-side comparison. The overall image quality doesn’t quite hit OLED levels, but it comes pretty close and costs a lot less, especially in the 75-inch size.
Sizes: 65-, 75-inch.
Samsung sells more TVs than anyone and our favorite for 2020 is the Q80T series. Its sleek design stands out compared to the other TVs on this list — although the ultra-thin LG CX OLED is even sleeker — and it also offers excellent image quality, next-gen gaming connectivity and a great smart TV system. The TVs above are superior values but if you want a Samsung anyway, this is a great choice.
For sizes smaller than 55 inches, and for people who value smarts over image quality, these non-4K Roku TVs make the most sense. The picture is “good enough” and the built-in smarts are superb — just enough to watch the final season of “The Office” or “Friends” content. And the price is perfect for a kids’ room or secondary room where you don’t need a massive screen.
Sizes: 28-, 32-, 40-, 43-, 49-inch. (The price shown below is for the 40-inch size.)
Other stuff to know about buying a new TV
I’m pretty sure you’d be happy with any one of the TVs above, but a new set can be a big investment, so maybe you’re looking for a bit more information. Here’s a quick and dirty list.
- In my opinion, bigger is better. Big TVs are cheaper than ever, and your money is best spent on large screen sizes rather than a slight upgrade in image quality.
- If you don’t like the built-in smart TV system, you can always add a media streamer. They’re cheap and easy to use, and receive updates more frequently than most smart TVs. See our picks of the best media streamers.
- The sound quality of most built-in speakers is terrible, so it’s worthwhile to pair your new set with a sound bar or other speaker system. Good ones start at around $100. See the best soundbars.
Looking for even more info?
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