We've tested more than 10 Sony TVs under the latest test bench. Sony TVs are generally a pretty 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 build quality also tends to be better than average. Their high-end and mid-range models compete well with other brands, although at a price premium, but sadly, they don't offer many budget-friendly options.
The best Sony 4k TV for watching movies that we've tested is the Sony A90J OLED. It's the premium 4k OLED from their 2021 lineup, sitting above the Sony A80J OLED. Like all OLED displays, it has a near-infinite contrast ratio without the need for a local dimming feature, resulting in deep, uniform blacks with no noticeable blooming around bright objects in dark scenes. They also have an incredibly wide viewing angle, making them a great choice for a wide seating arrangement because the image remains accurate from the sides. Like most Sony TVs we've tested, it has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, and it doesn't have any issues upscaling lower-resolution content.
Sadly, like most older Sony TVs, it's a bit limited for gamers, as it doesn't support FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR). However, it supports HDMI Forum VRR and is G-SYNC compatible after a firmware update. It also has higher input lag than other TVs, but it's still fine if you're a casual gamer, and it has a quick response time. Its peak brightness is only okay in SDR, but its brightness in HDR is better than most OLEDs, so it delivers an exceptional HDR experience. Like all OLEDs, there's a slight risk of permanent burn-in, but this isn't an issue if you watch varied content. Overall, this is the best Sony OLED TV we've tested.
The Sony X95J is the best TV for watching TV shows that we've tested from Sony. It's their top LED model in the 2021 lineup, so it has a bunch of features and impressive overall performance, especially if you want to watch TV shows in well-lit rooms. LED TVs like this one are better for bright room viewing than OLEDs because they get much brighter, and you won't have to worry about damaging the TV with long-term exposure to the same static elements. Combined with its excellent reflection handling and amazing SDR peak brightness, visibility won't be an issue in a well-lit room. It also uses Sony's proprietary 'X-Wide Angle' technology to help provide a wide viewing angle, so it's a decent choice for watching shows with the entire family in a wide seating area.
Sadly, it has some uniformity issues that are noticeable while watching TV. It has dirty screen effect in the center, the edges are a bit darker than the rest, and you can see these issues when watching shows with large areas of bright colors, or even the news and sports. On the plus side, it doesn't have any issues upscaling lower-resolution content, like from cable boxes and DVDs. Also, like most Sony TVs, it has impressive out-of-the-box accuracy, meaning the image looks life-like. All in all, it's the best option for watching TV shows.
The best Sony gaming TV we've tested is the Sony X90J. It's a bit like the Sony X95J in terms of features and performance, but it's better for dark rooms because it doesn't have wide viewing angle technology, allowing it to display deeper blacks. It's an impressive gaming TV with two inputs that support HDMI 2.1 bandwidth, both of which support 4k games at up to 120 fps from the PS5 and Xbox Series X. After a firmware update it has Auto Low Latency Mode support, so you can play a game with low input lag without switches any settings. It still has an Auto Picture Mode that works with the PS5 and PS4, so it switches into Game Mode when you play a game from those consoles.
Unfortunately, even if it has VRR support after a firmware update, you can't enable the local dimming feature with VRR enabled. Its input lag is a bit higher than some other TVs, but it's still good enough for gaming. It doesn't display a wide color gamut for HDR content according to our testing standards because it has limited Rec. 2020 color space coverage. However, it's still good, and it delivers a great HDR gaming experience, thanks to its very good HDR peak brightness. Besides these issues, if you need something for gaming, it's a good choice.
If you prefer something to use as a PC monitor, check out the Sony X80J. It's their entry-level model in the 2021 lineup, and although it's too expensive to be considered a budget model, it still offers great performance as a PC monitor. Its IPS-like panel provides a wide viewing angle, so the image remains accurate no matter where you sit. It displays proper chroma 4:4:4 with 4k and 1080p signals at 60Hz, which is important for reading clear text. It also has low input lag for a responsive desktop experience.
Unfortunately, it might be best to avoid using it in a well-lit room because its reflection handling and SDR peak brightness are just decent, meaning glare is an issue in really bright rooms. Despite displaying a wide color gamut, it's not a good choice for watching HDR content because it has low HDR brightness and contrast ratio, making blacks look gray. However, this shouldn't be an issue if you're using it as a PC monitor, and the gray uniformity is good. It's available in many sizes, including a small 43 inch model, but keep in mind the 50 inch variant has a VA panel, so it performs differently than the 55 inch model we tested. If you want something small and don't need wide viewing angles, the Sony X85J has HDMI 2.1 inputs. Overall, the X80J is a good choice as a PC monitor.
Samsung TVs have a picture quality comparable to Sony TVs, and in general, they're pretty competitive with each other. 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 generally 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 of the high-end LED and OLED models are a safe bet. Their Google TV smart platform offers a ton of apps to download with an easy-to-use interface. You might pay a slight premium over competing models, but you'll usually end up with a good TV.
Sony announced most of their 2022 lineup at CES in early January 2022. It's an impressive lineup, with multiple high-end models that take advantage of the latest technology, including their first QD-OLED TV, the Sony A95K, and their first two Mini LED TVs: the 8k Sony Z9K and the 4k Sony X95K. All their mid to high-end models use the same processor, the new Cognitive Processor XR, but the entry-level Sony X80K uses the older X1 Processor and is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate and HDMI 2.0 bandwidth. According to Sony, all models except the X85K will launch with gaming functionality, including variable refresh rate support, 4k @ 120Hz gaming, and HDMI 2.1 bandwidth on at least two of the HDMI inputs. Sony has also refreshed the remote on their high-end models, including a "Find Remote" feature that works through the TV's built-in voice assistant.
Sony uses the same naming convention as they've had in the past few years. Their OLEDs start with A, the premium 8k starts with Z, while the other 4k LEDs start with X. The suffix at the end of each model code is K in 2022.
Sony doesn't release as many TVs as most of their competition, and some flagship models tend to stay on the market for longer. They mainly focus on mid-range to high-end TVs, with very few budget models. Their product naming is easy to understand. 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, and 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 who already have Google or Android-based devices should already 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, and often it will be the first thing you'll see with a large banner in front. You can opt out of suggested content, but that just means you'll see untargeted ads instead.
As expected, Google TV offers access to the Google Play Store, which offers a massive selection of apps to download, even more so than competing brands. You shouldn'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 it's often much faster than using the remote. You can also use it to change certain settings, like asking it to switch inputs or increase the brightness.
The remote included with Sony is very similar to what used to be found with non-smart TVs. It features a full Numpad, as well as a directional pad and player controls. Nowadays, several remotes omit the number pad and even the player controls entirely and instead use on-screen controls, so it's a nice touch if you like this stuff.
It has quick access to Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video, and it features a microphone that lets you use the excellent Google voice search. The remote with the 2021 Google TVs is nearly the same as the Android TV remotes from past years. Most of the included remotes are black, but the A90J has a silver backlit remote.
Apr 11, 2022: Verified picks for availability and updated text for clarity.
Feb 10, 2022: Added the 2022 lineup information and refreshed the text throughout.
Dec 13, 2021: Restructured article to reflect user needs; renamed the Sony A90J to 'Best For Movies' and the X95J to 'Best For TV Shows'; added the Sony X90J as 'Best For Gaming' with the Sony X91J as a larger alternative.
Oct 18, 2021: Replaced the Sony X90J with the Sony X95J because it's better overall; removed the Sony X750H as 'Best Budget' because it's hard to find for a low cost, and added the Sony X80J as 'Best For PC'.
Aug 19, 2021: Updated text for clarity.
While they tend not to be the cheapest available, Sony produces great TVs. They'll generally be quite versatile, which helps to make them suitable for most people. The smart features can take a bit of 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 rare are the people that will find themselves disappointed by purchasing one of their TVs.