We've bought and tested more than 65 Sony TVs. The best Sony TVs are generally a safe bet when looking for the best TV for your needs. They tend to have great picture quality, a few extra features, and good color accuracy. Their high-end and mid-range models compete well with other brands, although at a price premium. Sadly, they don't offer many budget-friendly options.
The best Sony TV we've tested is the Sony A95K OLED. This impressive TV delivers incredible picture quality in any viewing environment thanks to its QD-OLED panel technology. Dark scenes look incredible, with perfect contrast and no distracting blooming around bright highlights in dark scenes. Colors are vibrant and lifelike, and the TV can display an incredibly wide range of colors. Thanks to Sony's excellent processing capabilities, the TV delivers an image that closely matches the content creator's intent, with nearly perfect PQ-EOTF tracking and fantastic gradient processing. This a fantastic choice for cinephiles who care about image fidelity.
It also has impressive gaming features, including HDMI 2.1 bandwidth for 4k @ 120Hz gaming. It's part of Sony's 'Perfect for PS5' lineup, which offers a few unique features that help ensure you get the best experience possible when gaming on PS5, like Auto HDR Tone Mapping and Auto Genre Picture Mode. It supports a wide range of formats, including Dolby Vision HDR, and it supports eARC audio passthrough and all common audio formats, so you can spend more time enjoying your favorite movies and less time playing with settings and worrying about format support. We'll soon have this TV's successor, the Sony A95L OLED, in our labs, so stay tuned to see how the newer model compares to its predecessor.
The best upper mid-range Sony TV we've tested is the Sony X93L/X93CL. Unlike the Sony A95K OLED, which uses a QD-OLED panel to deliver perfect blacks, this TV uses a Mini LED full array backlight to reduce the backlight intensity on a zone-by-zone basis. It results in much brighter highlights than the QD-OLED, but there's more blooming around bright objects and subtitles. This means the TV is better suited for a bright room, and the higher-end Sony QD-OLED is the better choice for a dark room.
Like all Sony TVs, the X93L runs the Google TV smart interface, which is fast and easy to use. It has a great selection of streaming apps, and the built-in Google Play Store makes it easy to find others. It also has a few great gaming features, similar to the A95K, and it's also part of Sony's 'Perfect for PS5' lineup, with support for 4k @ 120Hz gaming and advanced features like Auto HDR Tone Mapping and Auto Genre Picture Mode. It also supports the same advanced video and audio formats as its more expensive sibling, so it's an amazing choice for a home theater TV. We have this TV's sibling, the Sony X95L, in our labs, so we'll soon know how both TVs compare. Note that in North America, the X95L is only available in an 85-inch model size, so if you're looking for a smaller TV, you'll need to get the X93L or 2022's Sony X95K, which is marginally worse than the X93L but sold for a similar price.
If you want something cheaper but don't want to sacrifice picture quality much, the best Sony TV we've tested in the mid-range category is the Sony X90L/X90CL. It's a great TV overall with great picture quality. It has an excellent contrast ratio and decent black uniformity, but unlike the Sony X93L/X93CL, it doesn't have a Mini LED backlight, so there's a bit more blooming around bright objects with local dimming.
It has worse reflection handling and a slightly narrower viewing angle than the X93L, so it's not as well-suited for a wide seating arrangement. It has excellent peak brightness, so despite its worse reflection handling, it's still a great choice for a bright living room. It has the same great gaming features and advanced video and audio format support as the more expensive Sony TVs, and it runs the same great Google TV interface with a great selection of streaming apps. Its predecessor, the Sony X90K, is being sold for a similar price but is a worse TV overall, so go for the newer model.
While Sony doesn't offer truly budget TVs like other brands, and you can find cheaper TVs elsewhere, they have a few cheaper models, like the Sony X80K. It's the entry-level TV in their 2022 lineup, so you can save some money if you're willing to give up on the gaming and other higher-end features of more expensive panels, like local dimming. However, its picture quality isn't nearly as good as the Sony X90L/X90CL, especially in dark rooms, as it has a different panel type with a lower native contrast ratio that results in blacks that look gray. Instead, it has a wide viewing angle, making the image remain accurate from the sides, which is ideal for wide seating arrangements.
Since this TV doesn't look good in dark rooms, it's best to use it in a well-lit environment because it has decent peak brightness and reflection handling, meaning it performs well with a few lights around. Like most Sony displays, the out-of-the-box accuracy is excellent, and it comes with the same great Google TV interface, making it easy to stream your favorite content, and you won't have to use an external streaming device. If you want a better Sony TV than the X80K but aren't willing to step up to the mid-range, look up the Sony X85K. It's a bit more expensive, but it has better image quality and more gaming features. It does have a narrower viewing angle and slightly worse reflection handling than the X80K.
Samsung TVs have comparable picture quality to Sony TVs, and in general, they're pretty competitive. A big difference is that Samsung has better gaming performance, but if you don't need that, either brand is a good choice.
Sony and LG each make OLED and LED TVs. LG is the dominant OLED brand for OLEDs because they have better gaming performance and cost less. However, Sony's LED models are far better than LG's because they get brighter, have better uniformity, and usually have better contrast.
As a rule of thumb, it's pretty hard to go wrong when buying a Sony TV, especially if you don't need it for competitive gaming. Their more entry-level offerings aren't great, but any high-end LED and OLED models are a safe bet. Their Google TV smart platform offers many apps to download with an easy-to-use interface. You might pay a slight premium over competing models, but you'll usually have a good TV.
Sony skipped CES in 2023, instead choosing to announce their 2023 lineup at an event on March 1st, 2023. There are no surprises this year, as they keep the lineup largely the same as in 2022, with a few new features and updated processors. Most of their new TVs feature new gaming features, including a new Game Menu. Sony is keeping the same XR Cognitive Processor from the 2022 models, but they've added a new XR Clear Image feature advertised to improve upscaling quality.
Their product naming is easy to understand, and the 2022 lineup follows the same naming convention as in past years. If the model starts with A, it's an OLED; if it's X, it's an LED, and their Z Series is 8k. Next comes the model number; the higher the number, the better. Lastly, the suffix letter indicates the year. So, for example, the Sony X800H is an entry-level LED model from 2020, while the A90J is a high-end OLED model from 2021.
Since 2021, all their TVs share the same model number worldwide, making it easy to identify models if you're shopping from a different region. That's not to say they're completely identical, though, as there are some slight regional differences, and not all models are available worldwide.
Sony has traditionally used Android TV as its smart operating system, and as of 2021, they've started to use Google TV instead. It's pretty much the same as Android, with a redesigned look and a few extra features. Those with Google or Android-based devices will know how to navigate the interface, while there might be a small learning curve for others. The great thing about Sony TVs is that they have Google Chromecast built-in, so you don't have to buy an external device to cast compatible content from your phone or tablet. If you already have other Google devices, like Google Nest speakers, they'll easily connect with the TV, and you can ask your speaker to play content directly on the TV.
The interface is clean and pretty simple to navigate. It's divided into multiple rows, and each row presents content from different apps. These rows can be customized to your liking or even disabled completely. The interface isn't very fancy, which makes it much easier to navigate.
While Android TV occasionally didn't have any ads and there was a way to disable them, Google TV pushes ads, and there's no way to disable them. You'll see suggested content directly on the home page; often, it'll be the first thing you'll see with a large banner in front. You can opt out of suggested content, which means you'll see untargeted ads instead.
As expected, Google TV offers access to the Google Play Store, which has a massive selection of apps to download, even more so than competing brands. You won't have any issues finding your favorite streaming apps.
One area where Google TV excels is voice search, which gives you access to Google Assistant. Press the Google Assistant button on the remote and say what you're looking for, and Google TV will deliver suggestions from the Play Store, YouTube, and relevant results from downloaded apps. It's a convenient way to navigate content quickly and often faster than the remote. You can also use it to change certain settings, like asking it to switch inputs or increase the brightness.
Sony released a redesigned remote in 2022. Unlike their past models, it doesn't have a Numpad and instead has a '123' button that brings up a virtual Numpad on the screen. However, it still has the same quick-access buttons to popular streaming services and a button to quickly bring up Google Assistant. While most models ship with this remote, certain models are available from some retailers with a higher-end version with backlighting.
Aug 24, 2023: Replaced the Sony X95K with the Sony X93L/X93CL as the 'Best Upper Mid-Range Sony TV', replaced the Sony X90K with the Sony X90L/X90CL as the 'Best Mid-Range Sony TV', and refreshed the text for accuracy and consistency.
While they tend not to be the cheapest, Sony produces great TVs. They'll generally be quite versatile, which helps to make them suitable for most people. The smart features can take some time to learn for some people, but the overall package offered by their TVs is still better than average. At this point, it's fairly safe to say that their overall reputation holds, and people who will find themselves disappointed by purchasing one of their TVs are rare.