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Netflix-recommended TVs rated in Which? expert tests

Netflix has revealed which TVs it recommends for the best viewing experience, but our test results show that some don’t belong. Making up the list are some of the latest releases from LG, Samsung and Sony, all of which are big-name brands that we’re regularly putting to the test in our lab. Below, we run through some key features of the recommended models.

Best Buy televisions[1] – pin-sharp picture and superb sound

Which TVs does Netflix recommend?

Pretty much every smart TV works with Netflix, and by opting for one of the models suggested, you could end up paying over the odds if all you’re after is a budget TV that can run the app. Some of the most expensive models mentioned will set you back over ?2,000. So, what did the TVs need to do to make it onto the list?

Each model supports TV Instant On, where apps load up right away even if you’ve just turned the TV on. They also have a remote with a dedicated Netflix button, along with easy access to the app from the main menu. For more on TV apps and services, see our What is smart TV?[2] guide.

Do our lab tests agree?

After comparing our own test scores (above) with Netflix’s list of recommended TVs, we found that 11 (39%) of the models mentioned aren’t good enough for Best Buy status.

The average test score of the TVs making up the list is around 70%, but you can do even better with the help of our expert reviews. That means you’ll spot TVs that have access to the latest smart-TV features, and offer great picture quality and stunning sound to match. At the far right of our table is a Netflix-recommended TV that scored just 56% earlier in the year.

We labelled it a ‘big disappointment’ in our full review after dealing with poor sound and a fiddly set-up process. Keep scrolling for a closer look at some of the TVs Netflix recommends.

Samsung – 2017 4K UHD and QLED TVs

From the brand’s popular 7-series is the Samsung UE49KS7000 (below). It has a 49-inch display, a Freeview HD tuner and a Freesat-licenced satellite HD tuner.

It comes pre-installed with smart-TV features, so once it’s paired to a wi-fi network you can use popular TV apps like BBC iPlayer and Netflix. Assuming you’ve plugged in a USB storage device, you can use this TV to pause and record live TV.

Does this TV deserve a spot in your living room? To see what our experts thought of this TV, head over to our Samsung UE49KS7000 review[3]. Part of Samsung’s 9 Series, the UE55KS9000 could be on your radar if you’re looking for a larger TV to fill your home.

It has a 55-inch curved screen and also supports 4K and 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range) content. That means it can play the latest Netflix originals like House of Cards and Narcos in the highest-possible quality. To see if this TV is worth its ?900 price tag, you’ll have to read our Samsung UE55KS9000 review[4].

Sony – 2017 Sony Android TVs

If you’ve got the money to spend, Netflix says the Sony KD55XE9005BU (below) is worth considering.

It’s a 55-inch Sony 4K ultra-HD TV that runs on the Android smart-TV platform. That means plenty of smart-TV apps come pre-installed, and there’s also a Freeview HD tuner tucked inside. Those features come at a hefty price, though, with this model currently on offer for around ?1,300.

For more on this TV, see our Sony KD55XE9005BU review[5]. Looking for something smaller?

The Sony KD43XE8004BU is around ?450 cheaper at ?850. It has a 43-inch display and supports HDR content, so the screen serves up brighter whites and darker shadows for a more detailed picture. Popular streaming apps including BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub can be found within the YouView menu, and you can record live TV by plugging in a USB device.

Four HDMI ports on the back of the TV mean you’ll have no trouble plugging in games consoles, streaming sticks and set-top boxes. See how this TV performed in our test lab with our Sony KD43XE8004BU review[6].

LG – 2017 4K UHD TVs

At less than ?600, the 49-inch LG 49UJ630V (below) manages to offer a 4K Ultra-HD screen for a reasonable price. It runs on LG’s own webOS smart-TV platform, which comes with Freeview Play built in.

If you’ve got a wireless Bluetooth sound bar, you can give the audio a boost and connect that wirelessly. To see if our experts recommend this TV for Netflix binging, see our LG 49UJ630V review[7].

For more on the latest TVs to pass through our test lab, head over to our TV reviews[8] page.

There, we put TVs from the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic and Philips through their paces.

Our guide to the top 5 TVs for 2017[9] uncovers the highest-scoring models of the year, and buyers on a budget should head over to our guide to the best cheap TVs[10] on the market.

References

  1. ^ Best Buy televisions (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ What is smart TV? (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Samsung UE49KS7000 review (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Samsung UE55KS9000 review (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Sony KD55XE9005BU review (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ Sony KD43XE8004BU review (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ LG 49UJ630V review (www.which.co.uk)
  8. ^ TV reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  9. ^ top 5 TVs for 2017 (www.which.co.uk)
  10. ^ the best cheap TVs (www.which.co.uk)

Will the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 come with smart wireless headphones?

Reports that Samsung is planning to release a new pair of smart headphones have been circulating online. Last week we brought you a roundup of what to expect from Samsung’s newest smartphone[1], the Galaxy Note 8, due to launch later this month. The large device will be designed to go hand in hand with a new virtual assistant, named Bixby.

Bixby is Samsung’s answer to Apple’s Siri: a friendly voice-activated helper that can perform various tasks. When Apple launched the iPhone 7 last year it also introduced the Airpod headphones, specifically designed to interact with Siri while you’re on the go. Now the latest rumours point to Samsung doing much the same thing with the Galaxy Note 8 launch and releasing its own pair of companion headphones.

Best Buy headphones[2] – models to give you great sound from your phone

What kind of headphones will they be?

According to reports from Korea, they’ll be wireless Bluetooth, in-ear headphones. They will also include a way to activate the Bixby voice assistant without getting your phone out of your pocket. In these respects they seem like they will be very similar to Apple’s Airpods, but there are a couple of possible key differences.

Samsung’s Bixby-ready headphones are rumoured to feature active noise cancelling – something the Airpods do not. This would allow you to completely block out the outside world – handy on flights or in other noisy situations. Also rumoured is the possibility of fitness-tracking features.

Apple has already got people talking this summer by filing patents relating to health-monitoring headphones. Crucially, Samsung has form in this department – last year it released the Gear IconX[3] headphones (pictured below). These feature a heart-rate monitor and on-board processing power, allowing you to track your workout in real time and get voice updates on your progress.

They feature touch controls too, so it seems likely that the Gear IconX will form the design basis for Samsung’s Bixby headphones. This would suggest that they could be relatively discreet in-ear headphones, as opposed to the seemingly Storm-Trooper-inspired Airpods that dangle from the ears conspicuously.

What’s the competition?

Apple Airpods

The aforementioned Airpods are designed to work seamlessly with the iPhone 7, so die-hard Android users should probably skip to the Bose pair below.

After initially announcing them at the iPhone 7 launch in September 2016, Apple took its sweet time with getting them onto shelves. Some glowing initial reports from owners suggested they may have been worth the wait, but it takes more than a bit of hype to impress the experts at our test lab. Find out what we thought in our full Airpods review[4].

Bose Soundsport Pulse

These wireless in-ear headphones (connected to each other by a wire) may lack the active noise cancelling that’s rumoured to feature with the new Samsung pair, but they do have built-in fitness tracking.

A heart-rate monitor inside the earbud will beam data from your exercise session straight to your smartphone. Bose is a big name in audio but these headphones are quite expensive considering you don’t get the full complement of voice-assistant features you do with other pairs. Does the sound quality make them worth it though?

Find out in our full Bose Soundsport Pulse review[5].

Beats Powerbeats 3

These headphones (also connected to each other by a wire) are something of a halfway house between normal wireless headphones and the Apple Airpods. Beats is owned by Apple, and that has allowed it to incorporate some Apple-specific features, such as fast charging via a Lightning cable, and the ability to activate Siri by pressing a button on the neckband. But you don’t necessarily need an iPhone to appreciate this pair.

An impressive battery life of 12 hours puts them ahead of most in-ear wireless models and they’re also water resistant so you won’t need to worry about taking them out in the rain.

Are they the perfect everyday pair?

Find out by reading our full Beats Powerbeats 3 review[6].

References

  1. ^ what to expect from Samsung’s newest smartphone (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Best Buy headphones (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Gear IconX (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Airpods review (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Bose Soundsport Pulse review (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ Beats Powerbeats 3 review (www.which.co.uk)

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is coming – here’s what we know so far

It’s fair to say the Galaxy Note 7 had a tumultuous life. It wasn’t long after its release in September 2016 that users reported the phone setting alight and the accompanying images were damning. The clear safety issues led to Samsung recalling the Note 7 on 10 October.

10 months on, Samsung is back to winning ways. The storming success of the Galaxy S8[1] led to record-breaking profits for the South Korean juggernaut in the first quarter of 2017 – £12 billion if you’re curious. Now comes Samsung’s biggest challenge, launching a successor to the ill-fated Note 7, and convincing people that it’s reliable and safe.

We’ll be bringing you all the news and rumours about the Note 8 in the lead up to our live blog covering the event on 23 August, so be sure to bookmark this page to keep up to date with Samsung’s latest phone. Best Buy smartphones[2] – take a look at the best mobiles we’ve tested.

When is it launching?

Samsung sent out an invite to an event on 23 August with a not-so-subtle reference to a large screen phone with a stylus which left us in no doubt as to what phone we’d be seeing. The timeline fits with the Note 7’s release too.

If Samsung intends to keep to the same schedule then the Note 8 should hit stores in September, making an August reveal even more likely.

What do we know about the phone so far?

All signs point to the Samsung’s new phablet being one of its biggest yet.

6.3-inches is the rumoured size, which would make the Note 8’s screen more than half an inch bigger than the Note 7 with its 5.7-inch screen. It sounds like a handful, but leaked images of the Note 8 show that Samsung might be working the same bezel magic that it did on the Galaxy S8.

Despite being unusually tall, the S8 doesn’t feel too difficult to manage because the bezels are practically nonexistent. Samsung’s flagship is actually slightly bigger than the Note 7, but the shape and design mean it’s easier to operate one-handed.

What about specs?

Samsung leaked what could be the Note 8 on Twitter, when advertising its Exynos processor. Credit: @SamsungExynos

The narrow bezel ‘Infinity Display’ isn’t the only feature that the Note 8 will borrow from the S8.

Bixby, Samsung’s not yet released in the UK, smart assistant will be on the Note 8… eventually. Bixby has only just arrived on US S8s and there’s still no word on when UK users will be able to chat with it. It’s possible that the Note 8’s release date will coincide with the release of Bixby in the UK.

Like the S8, the Note 8 will have a dedicated Bixby button on the side of the device. The Note 8’s internal specs will be similar, too. It will use the latest Snapdragon 835 processor, but is getting more Ram.

It’s rumoured to have a whopping 6GB of Ram, two GB more than the S8 and Note 7. Leaked images show that the Note 8 will still have a stylus and, for the first time, dual rear cameras. There’s no word on the quality or megapixel count of the new cameras, but if it’s anything like the LG G6[3] then one will be a wide angle lens while the other will have a wider aperture and be better for portrait-style images.

How much will it cost?

There’s no price yet, but there’s no chance of the Note 8 being cheap.

In the past, the Note series has cost significantly more than the already expensive flagship S-series.

Since the S8 cost an eye-watering ?689 at launch, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Note 8 sets you back upwards of ?900.

Best get saving before the likely September release.

References

  1. ^ Galaxy S8 (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Best Buy smartphones (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ LG G6 (www.which.co.uk)