The 8 Best Dorm and Small Apartment TVs to Buy in 2017

Make your dorm or apartment the go-to spot for movie night

The first big difference between high school and college? Your back-to-school shopping list includes a TV. When it is comes to buying a TV for your dorm or off-campus apartment, bigger is not better. Aside from the fact most college students are working with a shoestring budget, big TVs take up a lot of space, and you're likely to be sitting just a few feet from the screen. To help with your TV search for your dorm or first apartment, we've rounded up the six best ones (including a projector) on the market that are guaranteed to make your place the go-to spot for movie parties. 

The 32-inch VIZIO D32h-D1 has the best design and smart technology in its class. And the built-in WiFi and streamlined UI makes it easier than ever to watch online streaming content from the comfort of your bunk bed.

Let’s start with what matters most: picture quality. The 720p resolution isn’t in line with the heavy hitters that retail for double the price, but it does give crisp a HD picture. The pixels really shine with a full-array LED backlight that gives light uniformity throughout.

The satisfying image is complemented by seamless smart technology. Besides WiFi, a revamped app interface makes it simple to access your favorite video and audio services right from your TV screen. So long as you have an account, you have access to Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, Hulu, Spotify and more.

The D32h-D1 has been designed to reflect the latest trends upmarket. In other words, it has a slim frame (28.8 x 7.9 x 19.1) with two V legs on the bottom. For those who want to save desk space, the TV can easily be mounted onto your dorm wall.

The LG Electronics 24LH4530 is cheaper than most textbooks and a whole lot more entertaining. In fact, it delivers 720p HD resolution picture on a 24” bright LED backlit screen. The image is powered by LG’s Triple XD Engine, which displays your movies and TV in enhanced color with great contrast.

The smaller screen is enhanced by a Wide Viewing Angle that gives friends anywhere in the room a perfect view of the action. The picture quality will not stun you if you are coming from a home with a 1080p or 4k TV, but it will get you through your late night Netflix binges at a very reasonable price. Likewise, the sound isn’t going to leave you speechless, but it should do, provided your roommate isn’t too loud. Finally, it has an HDMI port that lets you stream from your laptop.

If you plan on coming to campus with a desktop PC, consider investing in a quality monitor and skipping the TV altogether. This works particularly well for students who are going to be watching the majority of their content from streaming services like Amazon and Netflix rather than traditional cable providers. Those going the monitor route need to consider the Acer R240HY, which is the best value for a 1080p monitor on the market.

The 23.8-inch screen has a TrueHD max resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and comes in spellbinding 100 Million:1 contrast ratio. In-Plane Switching (IPS) shows colors in vibrant form from any angle. That means your friends watching from over on the bed get to see the high-quality imagery in the same vibrancy you do from your swivel chair.

The slim, frameless monitor and attractive bezel mimic the design of a flat-screen TV, making it even easier to skip a second screen. VGA, DVI and HDMI inputs make it easier than ever to get content from a computer or phone to the monitor. Just be warned that this monitor is not mountable, so it will need to sit on your desk.

TVs that measure 19 inches are becoming a thing of the past, but a few manufacturers are still making good, inexpensive units that work well in small spaces. The Sceptre E195BV-SHD is a bare-bones 720p HD TV with an LCD display and HDMI connectivity. It measures 19.8 x 14.8 x 4 inches and weighs 7.6 pounds, so it’s very portable and easily could find a home in whatever space you have open.

Reviewers on Amazon have noted that the Sceptre E195BV-SHD works great as a cheap non-primary TV, especially in places like a bedroom or a kitchen. Some people have even used it as a PC monitor and have said this TV works well for switching between game console, TV and PC usage.

The latest iteration of LG’s popular 32-inch LED TV line offers a professional quality picture at a seriously affordable price. The 720p (28.9” x 18.3” x 6.5”) screen has a fast refresh rate of 60hz, with a Triple XD Engine that provides vibrant contrast and clarity.

The slim profile and stylish stand give the LH500B an elegant look that will impress visitors lugging around older and bulkier TVs. The stand feet are 23” apart, which is small enough to angle on a desk. But if your dorm lets you, the TV can easily be mounted on to the wall. It also has 2 HDMI slots, so you can stream video from your laptop. Finally, the TV is designed in accordance with energy star certifications, which means it is up to 25 percent more energy efficient than competitors.

One downside is that the LG LH500B doesn’t have soundbar compatibility. This won’t affect most dorm dwellers, as external speakers are usually discouraged by RA’s, but steer clear of this choice if you have one.

TCL’s “Roku TV,” better known as the 32S3800 is a 32-inch, 720p (1,366 x 768) LED smart TV that offers excellent price-to-value. Streaming more than 3,000 channels, the addition of Roku TV adds a slew of offerings (some subscriptions required) such as Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu. The included Roku remote pulls double duty as both the full TV and Roku remote with its trademark purple cursor control. Signing into Roku requires a WiFi connection and sign-in, which is about as easy as the full TV setup. Unsurprisingly, you won’t find any 3D technology, but TCL claims the backlight scanning helps showcase higher performance than its rated 60Hz. One disappointment is the lack of fine-tuning for the picture quality (TCL elected to skip features such as color temperature to help make the price point lower). But the picture quality is completely fair; there’s nothing here that will win rave awards, but it’s more than good enough for the bedroom.

When you don’t have a lot of space to work with for your TV, getting a smart TV is often a good idea because it means you don’t have to find space for streaming media players or game consoles to bring Web content to your TV. The Sony KDL32W600D is a well-reviewed 32-inch smart TV that fits this role. It has a 720p direct-lit LED screen and has two HDMI inputs and two USB ports, ensuring good connectivity.

Now let’s talk about what makes the Sony KDL32W600D smart. The TV has built-in WiFi and downloadable apps so you can stream content from most major video services, including YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. You can also play media like movies and music directly from a USB stick by simply sticking into one of the two USB ports.

The vast majority of Amazon reviewers have been happy with this TV, especially when it comes to picture quality. The only thing reviewers found lacking was sound quality, so you might want to invest in a small sound bar if you have audio concerns.

Projectors have a reputation for being more appropriate in Dad’s home theater than in a dorm room. For many years their dim bulbs, bulky design, and complicated mess of wires made them a no-go for small spaces. Those days are gone. The XGIMI Z4 Aurora is at the forefront of a new generation of smart projectors that can blast a gigantic image from a small, wireless source. Best of all, a slew of connectivity options and a killer Android interface make it easy to access online content.

This Smart LED 700ANSI Lumens projector can turn your drab white dorm wall into a 300-inch screen. The WXGA (1200x800) screen also supports 1080P, 2K and 4K formats using color and image enhancement techniques to consistently produce a stunning picture. 3D fans will love a built-in dimension converter that transforms any 2D video to 3D. And the keystone correction lets you control the experience for a hassle-free set-up and image shuttering.

This is an all-in-one entertainment center, which means it comes with a built-in Harman Kardon sound system. The fact that the device can deliver such quality sound and picture in a slim box that weighs less than three pounds is a real feat and will be appreciated in the claustrophobic dorm room.

Got a friend who wants to cast Netflix or a YouTube video? No problem. Bluetooth, Airplay and Miracast functionality lets you synchronize videos to the screen (or wall) in seconds. The Android system also includes preprogrammed apps.


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