The 3 Best Sony TVs of 2021 Reviews and Smart Features

Updated
Best Sony TVs

We've tested more than 10 Sony TVs under the latest test bench. Sony TVs are generally a pretty safe bet. 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 budget models aren't the most competitive TVs, but their high-end and especially their mid-range options are among the best, albeit usually at a price premium.

Updates

Best Sony Smart TVs


  1. Best OLED Sony 4k TV

    8.8
    Mixed Usage
    9.4
    Movies
    8.2
    TV Shows
    8.6
    Sports
    9.1
    Video Games
    8.9
    HDR Movies
    8.9
    HDR Gaming
    8.5
    PC Monitor
    Type OLED
    Sub-Type
    WRGB
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 55" 65" 83"

    The best Sony 4k TV with an OLED panel 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. It delivers exceptional picture quality as it can turn off individual pixels, resulting in perfect blacks. This means that there's no blooming around bright objects in dark scenes. Since each pixel emits light in all directions, it has wide viewing angles, which is great if you have a large seating area because the image remains accurate when viewing from the side. 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, OLEDs have the risk of permanent burn-in, and this one isn't an exception. Although we don't expect this to be an issue for those who watch varied content, it can be problematic if you leave it on the news all day or want to use it as a PC monitor. That said, Sony has included a few settings to help reduce this issue, like 'Pixel Shift' and 'Panel Refresh' options. This TV also lacks any gaming features like variable refresh rate (VRR) support, but that's supposed to come in a future firmware update. Still, it has low input lag and a near-instant response time for gaming. The A90J's peak brightness is just okay in SDR, but if you want to use it in a room with a few lights, it has fantastic reflection handling, so glare shouldn't be much of an issue. All things considered, this is one of the best Sony TVs we've tested.

    See our review

  2. Best LED Sony 4k TV

    8.1
    Mixed Usage
    8.6
    Movies
    7.7
    TV Shows
    7.5
    Sports
    8.4
    Video Games
    8.3
    HDR Movies
    8.3
    HDR Gaming
    7.8
    PC Monitor
    Type LED
    Sub-Type
    VA
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 50" 55" 65" 75"

    If you're worried about the burn-in risk associated with OLEDs, then the best Sony TV we've tested in the LED category is the Sony X90J. You won't have to worry about damaging the screen if you're going to use it as a PC monitor or want to leave it on your favorite news channel all day because LED TVs appear to be immune to burn-in. They also get brighter than OLEDs, and this TV is no exception, so combined with its decent reflection handling, visibility shouldn't be an issue in most well-lit rooms. It has a VA panel with a high native contrast ratio, and its great full-array local dimming feature helps it display deep blacks. HDR content looks great thanks to its good color gamut and good HDR brightness, enough to make highlights pop.

    Even though it has two HDMI 2.1 inputs, it has yet to support any VRR technology, which should come in a future firmware update according to Sony. Still, if you want to use it for 4k gaming, it can support up to 120Hz from either the PS5 or Xbox Series X, has low input lag, and the response time is quick for a responsive gaming experience. Like most Sony TVs, it has fantastic out-of-the-box color accuracy, so it's unlikely you'll need to get it calibrated to enjoy it to the fullest. It comes with Google TV pre-installed, but it doesn't have a backlit remote like on the Sony A90J OLED. Overall, if you're in search of an LED TV, this is one of the best Sony TVs.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Sony 4k TV

    6.9
    Mixed Usage
    6.8
    Movies
    7.3
    TV Shows
    7.0
    Sports
    7.1
    Video Games
    6.6
    HDR Movies
    7.1
    HDR Gaming
    6.8
    PC Monitor
    Type LED
    Sub-Type
    VA
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 55" 65" 75"

    Although Sony tends to stay away from making budget-friendly models, the Sony X750H is the best Sony TV available for a budget-friendly price that we've tested. Even at that, it costs more than some other budget TVs, like from TCL and Hisense, and doesn't perform as well. Still, this is a simple 4k TV that most people should enjoy. It has a VA panel that provides remarkable black uniformity, so blacks appear as they should when viewed in the dark. It displays a wide color gamut for HDR content, but it doesn't get bright enough in that mode to truly bring out highlights. It's limited to a 60Hz panel, but casual gamers should appreciate its fairly quick response time and low input lag.

    Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles, which is expected from a VA panel. If you have a wide seating arrangement, it may be better to spend a bit more money and get the Sony X80J, which has an IPS panel and wide viewing angles. Also, the X750H doesn't perform best in well-lit rooms because it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare, and the reflection handling is just decent. It lacks many features like local dimming and the ability to display chroma 4:4:4, but it can still upscale lower-resolution content well. Still, if you're looking for a simple TV for watching shows or sports, it comes with Android TV, so if you're on a budget, you should consider it.

    See our review

Compared to other brands


  • Motion handling. Sony, as a TV company, is a pioneer of motion features, and it shows. They usually have the best motion interpolation, and most of their TVs have an image flicker feature to enhance motion clarity.
  • Great upscaling. Sony TVs, even the cheaper models, do better than average when it comes to upscaling lower-resolution content.
  • Great color accuracy. Most Sony TVs we've tested have great out-of-the-box color accuracy. You likely won't need to get your Sony TV calibrated to enjoy the best viewing experience.
  • Lacking on gaming features. While Samsung and LG are industry leaders in gaming features like VRR support, Sony TVs generally lack any sort of VRR support. Sony has said they will release as part of a firmware update in 2021, but we'll see.
  • High price. Sony TVs will most often be priced above their competition in their category.

Sony vs Samsung

Samsung TVs have a picture quality comparable to Sony TVs, and in general, they're pretty competitive with each other. A big difference between the two is that Samsung has better gaming features, but if you don't need that, either brand should be a good choice.

Sony vs LG

Sony and LG each make OLED and LED TVs. LG is the dominant brand for OLEDs because they have more gaming features and generally cost less. However, Sony's LED models are far better than LG because they get brighter, have better uniformity, and usually a 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 "Bravia" branded models are a pretty safe bet. Their Google TV smart platform offers a ton of apps to download. You might pay a slight premium over competing models, but you'll usually end up with a good TV.

Lineup

Sony's lineup of TVs isn't the widest. Their focus is mainly on mid-range and high-end models. They do offer some budget TVs, but they haven't been very good. Their product naming is also 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, there's one final letter to indicate the year. So for example, the Sony X80J is an entry-level LED model from 2021.

  • *J = 2021
  • *H = 2020
  • *G = 2019

Sony Smart Features

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'll be able to ask your speaker to play content directly on the TV.

Interface

Sony Smart Interface

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.

Ad-free

Sony Ads

While Android TV occasionally didn't have any ads and there was a way to disable them, Google TV really 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.

Apps & Features

As expected, Google TV offers access to the Google Play Store, which offers a massive selection of apps available to download, even more so than competing brands. You shouldn't have any issues finding your favorite streaming apps.

Voice Controls

One area where the Google TV really excels is with 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 to 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.

Remote

Sony Smart TV Remote

The remote included with Sony is very similar to what used to be found with non-smart TVs. It features a full number pad, 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.

Recent Updates

  1. Jun 22, 2021: Replaced the Sony X950H with the newer Sony X90J; updated text for clarity.

  2. Apr 26, 2021: Replaced the Sony A8H with the Sony A90J; updated the smart features section according to the new Google TV.

  3. Feb 25, 2021: Updated text for clarity and accuracy.

Conclusion

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.

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