Readers’ Choice 2021: TVs and Computer Monitors

Throughout the pandemic, many of us have spent less time commuting to work or going out for fun. This translated into spending more time camping in front of our computers and televisions. In this month’s PCMag Readers’ Choice Award survey, we asked you to rate your satisfaction with the big screens you’ve been staring at in your home.

If you are in the market, you may find that the product you were planning to buy is not available due to supply chain issues, so it is very important that you familiarize yourself with other brands. Read on to find out what PCMag readers recommend.

TVs 2021

In last year’s PCMag Readers’ Choice Award survey on televisions, overall satisfaction ratings, which we consider the most important measure of satisfaction, were incredibly close. Survey participants are asked to rate their satisfaction on a scale from zero (very dissatisfied) to ten (very satisfied). That year, five brands finished within 0.1 of each other. TCL, LG and Sony took the first place with ratings of 8.8, while Samsung and Insignia came right behind them with 8.7.

In 2021, the same five brands had the best overall satisfaction ratings, but there is a differentiation. SonySony won the Readers’ Choice Award this year, with an overall satisfaction rate of 9.1. It’s the first TV brand to rank 9.0 or better overall in our surveys since 2014, which is an impressive achievement. 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 has a rating of 9.0 for Likelihood to Recommend it, another key measure of satisfaction. It also received the highest scores for satisfaction with its image (9.3), HDR (9.2) and technical support (8.1). (It’s not unusual for the tech support rate to be lower than for feature-based measures; using tech support at all means people aren’t entirely happy.)

Although Sony’s results are admired, it has areas for improvement. The company ranked lowest for cost satisfaction (8.3), a full point behind TCL and Insignia (9.3). That might be to be expected given that Sony is generally considered a premium brand, but it also ranks at the bottom of the rankings for satisfaction with setup (8.6) and smart TV capabilities (8.3).

TCL, one of last year’s Readers’ Choice Award winners, topped our survey on several metrics as well. In addition to the previously mentioned satisfaction with the cost rating, TCL was 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 the 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 attention because while respondents tended to be satisfied with their TVs, they weren’t particularly likely to recommend this brand, giving the company the potential to recommend the 8.0 rating, which is tied to Toshiba for worst in our survey.

Sony also won a Readers’ Choice Award in the 4K TV category. This is the third year in a row, as well as the fourth time in the past five years, that Sony has won 4K TVs. (4K TVs account for about two-thirds of rated TVs.) When specifically asked to rate 4K TV capabilities, Sony scored 9.3, the highest score among all brands. Again, it also scored the best in terms of image satisfaction (9.4), HDR (9.2), and reliability (9.2, Samsung-related). Sony has the highest audio satisfaction rating (8.2). This question is asked only to respondents who use the TV’s built-in speakers, rather than listening through the speakers or their home audio system. Only 39% of respondents listen live through their 4K TVs.

For more, read The Best TVs of 2021.

Computer monitors 2021

Having satisfaction ratings of 9.0 or better in our survey is a true sign of excellence. In the computer monitor category, four brands have overall satisfaction ratings in nine, something we rarely see. who are they, AsusAsus took the top spot at 9.1, and the company took home its second consecutive Readers’ Choice Award. Samsung, last year’s winner, has an overall satisfaction rating of 9.0, as do Dell and LG. ViewSonic, winner of the 2019 Readers’ Choice Award, was just behind it at 8.9.

In general, satisfaction ratings for computer monitors are very high. It seems hard to go wrong, no matter which brand you choose, assuming you’re choosing the right type of screen for your needs. No brand rated less than 8.5 in Which Satisfaction scale in our survey. However, Asus, winner of the Readers’ Choice Award, stands out for having the highest rating for Likelihood of Recommendation (9.1) and Satisfaction with Screen Image (9.2).

Dell also gets very good reviews. It has ratings of 9.0 or better on every scale except for cost satisfaction (8.7) and technical support (8.5), both still very good. Dell has the highest ratings for satisfaction with reliability (9.4), setup (9.3), ease of use (9.2), and a net promoter score of 71 (out of 100) being slightly better than the Asus 68.

Dell also received the highest overall satisfaction rating (9.2) for its Ultra HD monitors. About a third of respondents (35%) told us they use Ultra HD monitors, which are useful for a variety of tasks from gaming to video editing and business productivity.

With screens getting larger and wider, some people find it easier to work with if the screen is curved. However, only 17% of respondents use curved screens. Dell has the highest overall satisfaction rating (9.4) in this category.

For more information, read The Best Computer Monitors of 2021.

full results

Clear PCMag Readers Choice for Televisions and computer monitors was in the field from October 25, 2021, to me November 14, 2021. For more information on how our surveys are conducted, read the survey methodology.


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