It’s never a good idea to buy a Smart TV based solely on specs, cosmetics, or some well-written ad copy. A Smart TV’s on-screen user interface (UI) may be simple or complex, beautiful or ugly, heavenly or hellish, but there’s really no way to tell without giving it a thorough test drive. Some important things to take note of are: how long it takes for the Smart TV to turn on; how much time it takes for apps to load; and how quickly the Smart TV is able to switch between apps. If any of these steps seem to take a long time in the middle of a busy showroom, it’s going to feel like you’re living in slow-motion when you’re using the Smart TV in a quiet family room.
Spend time checking out the features and functions of the remote control, as well. Does it feel comfortable in your hand? Are the buttons backlit? (Don’t underestimate how important this is, especially if you watch movies in a darkened room.) If you’re going to use it as a universal remote control, how intuitive is it to use when switching between devices? Does it need to be connected to a charger every couple of days? (If so, are you okay with this?) Some Smart TVs have free Android or iOS apps that turn your smartphone/tablet into a remote control. Definitely try out the app, but don’t dismiss the value of the handheld remote. For day-to-day activities, many people find that it’s quicker and simpler to use the original remote control than a virtual one on a smartphone.
If the Smart TV has voice or gesture control, give those features a good workout to determine how consistently they perform and how easy they are to use. Does the TV recognize that you’re giving it a command? If it does, is it able to figure out which command? And how long does it take for the Smart TV to respond to a voice command? Does it often say things like, “I’m sorry, but I can’t take any commands right now. Please try again later.”?
You might drive your salesperson crazy doing all of this, but that’s okay. It’s going to be your Smart TV, not his or hers. EH