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Best OLED TV 2021: the best budget and premium OLED TVs

Best OLED TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best OLED TVs you can buy in 2021.

The best OLED TVs are arguably the best best TVs you can buy right now. When they first hit the market, only those with exceptionally deep pockets could really entertain the thought of an OLED. Thankfully, prices have slowly come down and you'll find some excellent OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) TVs below that don't cost the earth.

So what is OLED? It's basically the next step on from LCD. Unlike LCD TVs, OLED flatscreen TVs don't need a backlight. This means they can be ultra-thin, and because each pixel can be isolated and switched off individually, they tend to deliver some of the best black levels in the TV business.

OLED is also a more efficient and eco-friendly technology than LCD. They are more expensive to produce, though. Previously, this meant you didn't see OLED TVs under 55 inches, but 2020 saw a 48-inch set from LG hit the market and Sony followed with its own 48-inch model, and more have arrived in 2021.

If you're wondering how OLED compares to Samsung's rival QLED technology, check out our OLED vs QLED comparison.

The very best OLED televisions combine 4K and HDR technology to devastating effect, so you'll find support for HDR10+ and/or Dolby Vision plus HDR10 and HLG as standard. We've rounded up the best OLED TVs out of all the ones we've tested below, including discounted models from 2020, and brand new sets from 2021.

Best TVs: Philips 48OLED806

(Image credit: Philips/Prey, Netflix)

1. Philips 48OLED806

Simply the best picture around at this most convenient of sizes

Specifications
Screen size: 48in (also available in 55in, 65in, 77in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Operating system: Android TV 10
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 62 x 107 x 6.8cm
Reasons to buy
+Sharp and punchy but natural+Full apps and HDMI 2.1 features+Dolby Vision and HDR10+
Reasons to avoid
-Sound can be bettered-Tricky to adjust for the best picture

In a world of ever larger TVs, the 48-inch OLED remains a beacon of hope for those with more modest needs. The Philips 48OLED806 is one of the second generation of such televisions, which promise genuine flagship performance at a more manageable screen size – something that’s impossible to find on the LCD side of the market.

You might have a smaller living space, or want a great gaming TV, a screen for the bedroom or perhaps the 48-inch option is a compromise with your less AV-enthusiastic housemate. Whatever the situation, the 48-inch OLED is an excellent choice, and the Philips 48OLED806 is the best 48-inch OLED you can currently buy.

It takes more effort than most to find the best picture settings, and the default picture presets offered for each signal type are often less than ideal (Dolby Vision signals don't activate a proper Dolby Vision mode, for example), but with a bit of tweaking the OLED806 can be made to look both very accurate and supremely sharp and punchy. The performance is further enhanced by the beautiful Ambilight technology, which extends the onscreen action to the wall around the TV in the form of coloured light.

Best TVs: Sony XR-55A80J

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony XR-55A80J

Sony’s step-down OLED might just be the TV of the year

Specifications
Screen size: 55in (also available in 65in, 83in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: Google TV
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 71 x 123 x 5.3cm
Reasons to buy
+Super-sharp and detailed+Punchy and vibrant but natural+Superb motion handling
Reasons to avoid
-Incomplete HDMI 2.1 feature set-Missing UK catch-up apps

We rate products on a performance-per-pound basis. That’s always been the What Hi-Fi? way. We’re not looking simply for the absolute best product in each category, as that would invariably involve recommending one of the most expensive products in each category; we’re looking for the best bang for your buck. The product that best balances performance, features and price.

That isn’t to say that we’re averse to recommending a premium product when it justifies its high price, and that’s why we were delighted to bestow the full five stars upon Sony’s A90J flagship OLED when we reviewed it a little earlier in the year. Simply put, it’s the best TV we’ve seen so far this year, and we suspect that might well still be the case when we’re all singing Auld Lang Syne on 31st December.

It's not be the best performance-per-pound TV of 2021, though, because this A80J beats it on that metric. This step-down model in Sony’s new OLED range certainly isn’t quite as good as its flagship sibling but, by offering most of what makes the A90J great at a much more competitive price, it’s turned out to be one of the very best TVs of 2021.

Best OLED TV: Sony XR-55A90J

(Image credit: Future / Leonardo, Amazon Prime)

3. Sony XR-55A90J

It's very expensive, but if you want the best, the A90J is it

Specifications
Screen size: 55in (also available in 65in, 83in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: Google TV
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 71 x 122 x 4.1cm
Reasons to buy
+Outstanding picture quality+Superb motion handling+Impressive sound
Reasons to avoid
-No VRR (yet), buggy 4K@120Hz-Missing UK catch-up apps-Expensive

While Sony’s OLEDs are highly regarded, it’s typically hard to justify buying one over a rival LG. Historically, the Sony has a more authentic picture and better sound but is also a step behind on features and usability – and at least a level or two more expensive.

But what if Sony could produce a TV with most of those previously missing features, a more satisfying user experience, and a unique high-quality movie streaming app, all while raising the picture and sound quality to even greater heights? That's exactly what the company's done with the A90J.

In performance terms, the Sony A90J is an absolute stunner. It takes OLED picture performance to new, thrilling levels while maintaining the authenticity for which Sony is justifiably renowned. It also sounds significantly better than all of the other TVs you might be considering. The new Google TV operating system means the user experience is better than that of any pre-2021 Sony TV, too, and the exclusive Bravia Core streaming service is a genuine value-added feature.

Hardcore gamers might want to take a wait-and-see approach, though, as the set doesn't yet support VRR (an update has been promised but not dated) and we found the 4K@120Hz support a little buggy. However, if movies and TV shows are your priority and you have a big budget, we haven’t tested a better television than the Sony A90J.

Do check out the A80J at the top of this before handing over your money, though, as it offers much of (but not all) the A90J's excellence at a significantly lower price.

We've tested the A90J in its 55-inch and 65-inch sizes. It's also available as an 83-inch model, which we've not yet reviewed. You'll see the latest, lowest prices available for each version below.

Read the full Sony XR-55A90J review

Read the full Sony XR-65A90J review

Best OLED TV: LG OLED65C1

(Image credit: Future / Them, Amazon Prime)

4. LG OLED65C1

The C1 isn’t much of a step-up from the CX, but it didn’t need to be – this is a superb TV at a competitive price

Specifications
Screen size: 65in (also available in 48in, 55in, 77in, 83in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: webOS 6.0
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 83 x 145 x 4.7cm
Reasons to buy
+Superb all-round picture quality+Near-flawless feature set+Better remote and menu system
Reasons to avoid
-Marginal gains on last year’s CX-Unengaging audio

LG’s C-series model has been the go-to pick of its OLED range for several years. It has always been the most affordable model with the company’s best panel and picture processing wizardry. Spending more would get you a fancier design and potentially better sound, but the picture would be no different.

That’s not the case in 2021. LG has introduced a new, brighter and sharper ‘OLED Evo’ panel, and the C1 doesn’t have it.

With so much of the focus on the upgraded G1, it’s perhaps predictable that the C1 isn’t much of an improvement on its predecessor, but there wasn’t much that needed improving. The picture performance and feature set were already exemplary, and LG has slightly improved the former with its new Cinematic Movement motion processing and enhanced de-contouring feature (which reduces banding), and slightly improved the latter with a better menu system and a more complete app selection (all UK catch-up apps are present).

The G1's picture is undeniably better in terms of brightness, sharpness and detail, but we're not talking huge margins and most people will struggle to justify the extra £500 ($500), particularly when the niche design and weaker sound are taken into account.

Ultimately, in performance-per-pound terms, the C1 is the better buy. In fact, it's one of the most recommendable TVs available right now.

We've now tested the C1 in its 65-inch and 48-inch sizes, and both are brilliant. It's also available as a 55-inch, 77-inch and 83-inch model. We've not yet reviewed these versions but you'll see the latest, lowest prices on all versions below.

Read the full LG OLED65C1 review

Read the full LG OLED48C1 review

Best TVs: Panasonic TX-55JZ1500B

(Image credit: Panasonic / Nine Perfect Strangers, Amazon Prime)

5. Panasonic TX-55JZ1500B

Panasonic’s flagship picture is now untethered from its flagship sound

Specifications
Screen size: 55in (also available in 48in, 65in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: My Home Screen 6.0
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 71 x 123 x 6.9cm
Reasons to buy
+Beautifully rich but natural picture+Excellent detail and definition+Weighty sound
Reasons to avoid
-Occasional lack of sonic clarity-Missing some big apps-Expensive

Panasonic has embraced the OLED era in a wholehearted, star-crossed lovers-style, producing some of the best TVs of the last few years. But, for the last couple of those, the company’s flagship picture has been tethered to its flagship sound.

Whether you rate that flagship sound or not (we did in 2019 but didn’t in 2020), the fact remains that in buying Panasonic’s best picture, you’re also forced into paying for something that you might not use because you’ve already got (or are getting) a dedicated sound system.

For 2021, though, Panasonic has changed tack so that its best picture is no longer exclusive to this year’s 2000-series models but is also a feature of the 1500-series, seen here in 55-inch, TX-55JZ1500B guise.

The result is an excellent TV that makes Panasonic’s top picture performance more affordable than ever before. Its rich but natural colours are a particular highlight, and it's brilliantly detailed and sharp, with excellent motion handling to boot.

It’s still an expensive set, though, and the Sony A90J and A80J (both above), which are a good deal pricier and cheaper respectively, should both also be considered before you settle on the JZ1500B. We can well imagine that plenty of people will still choose the Panasonic’s beautifully vibrant performance even after seeing the very best that Sony has to offer.

We tested the JZ1500B in its 55-inch size. It's also available as a 48-inch and 65-inch model. We've not yet reviewed those versions but you'll see the latest, lowest prices for them below.

Read the full Panasonic TX-55JZ1500B review

Best TV: LG OLED65G1

(Image credit: Future / Coming To America 2, Amazon Prime)

6. LG OLED65G1

LG’s new 'OLED Evo' TV is a stunner

Specifications
Screen size: 65in (also available in 55in, 77in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: webOS 6.0
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 83 x 145 x 2cm
Reasons to buy
+Brighter, punchier and sharper+Beautiful when wall-mounted+Improved remote and app offering
Reasons to avoid
-No feet or stand in the box-Sound lacks excitement

For the last few years, the C-class model has been the sensible choice of each new LG OLED range. Until now, it has been the most affordable model with the latest panel and picture processing tech: go further up the range and you might get better sound and a fancier design, but you won’t get a better visual performance.

For 2021, though, LG has introduced a new ‘OLED Evo’ panel that promises increased brightness and sharpness, and to get the Evo panel you have to step up to the G1. That’s slightly disappointing because you also end up paying extra for a rather niche design (the G1 is designed to be wall-mounted, to the extent that there's no stand or feet in the box) that you may not want.

Still, if the design works for you and you don't mind forking out the extra £500, the G1 is undoubtedly the best OLED that LG has ever produced. It takes the picture performance of last year’s GX and CX and improves upon it in almost every way, particularly in terms of brightness, sharpness and detail. That makes it a seriously stunning picture performer. It's also packed with apps and next-gen HDMI features, including 4K@120Hz on all four sockets.

Sound is less strong, but if you were always planning to combine your new TV with a separate sound system and the design works for you (and you've got deep pockets), the G1 should be seriously considered.

We tested the G1 in its 65-inch size. It's also available as a 55-inch and 77-inch model. We've not yet reviewed these versions but you'll see the latest, lowest prices below.

Read the full LG OLED65G1 review

Best OLED TV: Sony KD-48A9

(Image credit: Sony / The Boys, Amazon Prime)

7. Sony KD-48A9

Sony’s first 48-inch 4K OLED TV is extraordinarily good.

Specifications
Screen size: 48in
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: Android TV 9
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 62.4 x 106.9 x 5.8cm
Reasons to buy
+Striking picture+Bold sound+Solid app selection
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Lacks next-gen HDMI features

Time was that getting an OLED TV under 55in was impossible, but then LG launched the world's first commercially available 48in OLED set. And now Sony has one of its own. It's a petite-looking OLED TV with tiny bezels and low pedestal stand. The enclosure bolted onto the back houses the speakers, processing hardware and connections.

Disappointingly, it lacks some next-gen HDMI features like 4K@120Hz (HFR)VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM – basically automatic switching to the TV's game mode when appropriate). Which is bad news for gamers looking to hook up a PS5 or Xbox Series X.

But that's really the only fault we can find with this TV. Sony's X1 Ultimate processor produxes stunning images, there's plenty of dark detail on show, and you have access to virtually every streaming app you could hope for. Motion control sensational, and in terms of sharpness and detail, you won't find a better TV at this size. If you can stump up the funds, you will not be disappointed.

Read the full Sony KD-48A9 review

Best OLED TV: Philips 55OLED805

(Image credit: Philips / Alex Rider, Amazon Prime)

8. Philips 55OLED805

This Philips was one of the best OLED TVs we saw in 2020.

Specifications
Screen size: 55in (also available in 65in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Operating system: Android TV 9
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: ARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 71 x 123 x 5.8cm
Reasons to buy
+Crisp and detailed picture+Strong sound+Ambilight
Reasons to avoid
-Highlights could be brighter-Not the best choice for gamers

The 55OLED805 is a Philips OLED as it should be; genuinely excellent. If you’re prepared to forego the odd next-gen feature, it's the best performance-per-pound OLED you can currently buy.

It produces stunningly crisp and detailed pictures from all sources, delivers far more accomplished audio than most rivals, adds awesome Ambilight (which extends the onscreen action onto the wall around the TV in the form of coloured light) to the mix, and has a lower price tag than its LG, Sony, Panasonic and Samsung equivalents.

Gamers may be put off by the lack of next-gen HDMI features such as VRR and 4K@120HZ (HDMI eARC is missing too), but for everyone else, the 55OLED805 represents an excellent purchase.

If you're in the market for a bigger TV, there's also a 65-inch version available (the 65OLED805) and it's just as good.

Read the full Philips 55OLED805 review

Read the full Philips 65OLED805 review

Best OLED TV: LG OLED55CX

(Image credit: LG / Paatal Lok, Amazon Prime)

9. LG OLED55CX

This core model from LG’s 2020 OLED TV range is a hugely capable all-rounder.

Specifications
Screen size: 55in (also available in 48in, 65in and 77in)
Type: OLED
Backlight: not applicable
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Operating system: webOS
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 71 x 123 x 4.7cm
Reasons to buy
+Picture is exciting but natural+Improved motion and dark detail+More future-proofed than most
Reasons to avoid
-Missing UK catch-up apps

We've already covered the new 48-inch version of the CX above, but it's worth remembering that the 55-inch and 65-inch models are also still available and the bigger you go, the better value you get.

The picture performance is just as excellent on these bigger sets, and simply more cinematic to boot, and of course the next-gen HDMI feature set and smart platform is the same, too. What's more, the bigger sets sounds a little bigger and fuller, too, thanks to the bigger chassis, although it's worth bearing in mind that the CX isn't the best-sounding TV in its class and that you're well advised to also budget for a soundbar.

All told, this is a superb all-rounder in whichever size you buy it.

Read the full LG OLED55CX review

Read the full LG OLED65CX review

Best OLED TV: Philips 65OLED935

(Image credit: Future / Modern Love, Amazon Prime)

10. Philips 65OLED935

A convenient OLED TV with integrated soundbar solution.

Specifications
Resolution: 3840x2160
Operating system: Android TV9
HDR formats: HDR10, HDR 10+, HLG, Dolby Vision
HDMI: 4
USB: 2
Optical: 1
Dimensions (HWD): 93x145x30cm
Reasons to buy
+Tidy and appealing build+Punchy HDR and SDR pictures+Fabulous 4K detail
Reasons to avoid
-UI a little dated-Mediocre motion processing-Sonically short on dynamics

The Philips 65OLED935 offers brilliant OLED picture quality, plus the added convenience of a built-in Dolby Atmos soundbar from Bowers & Wilkins. On paper, it's a solid combination and in practice, there's a lot to like about the pairing.

There's support for all major flavours of HDR and the Philips produces a suitably punchy picture, packed full of detail and boasting lusciously deep blacks. The soundbar spits out soundtracks with precision, depth and height although it could sound a bit more dynamic and dialogue a tad more expressive.

HDMI sockets total four in number, although HDMI features are thin on the ground, though: there's no support for 4K@120Hz (also known as HFR), VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) or eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), although standard ARC and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) do feature.

The soundbar houses no fewer than ten separate drivers including up-firing height speakers to help you get that full Dolby Atmos effect. It even showcases B&W's tweeter-on-top design.

Philips uses Android OS to drive this set and it works well enough - there's a solid app offering too, which includes Disney+, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

All-in-all, the 65OLED935 is an elegant soution for those looking for convenience and who don't mind paying a premium for it.

Read the full review: Philips 65OLED935

MORE:

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Only the ultimate flatscreens make the best 4K TVs 2021 list

Tom Parsons

Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. He began his career as What Hi-Fi?'s Staff Writer and is now the TV and AV Editor. In between, he worked as Reviews Editor and then Deputy Editor at Stuff, and over the years has had his work featured in publications such as T3, The Telegraph and Louder. He's also appeared on BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and Sky Swipe. In his spare time Tom is a runner and gamer.

  • yholmes
    Hi, I’ve read several of your reviews (extremely helpful thank you) and I’m looking for some expert advice. Out of these three options which would you choose: Panasonic TX-55HZ1000 (£1899), Panasonic TX-55GZ2000B (£1499 clearance price), LG OLED55CX (£1599). The TX-55GZ2000B I found in a local shop seems to be a bargain price but I’m wondering if I should go for a 2020 model. Thank you.
    Reply
  • yholmes said:
    Hi, I’ve read several of your reviews (extremely helpful thank you) and I’m looking for some expert advice. Out of these three options which would you choose: Panasonic TX-55HZ1000 (£1899), Panasonic TX-55GZ2000B (£1499 clearance price), LG OLED55CX (£1599). The TX-55GZ2000B I found in a local shop seems to be a bargain price but I’m wondering if I should go for a 2020 model. Thank you.
    I would go for the GZ2000 if you can get it at that price brand new. It won’t have HDMI 2.1 though if you are a gamer I would go for the LG OLED.
    Reply
  • yholmes
    Thank you so much for your quick reply! I’m not a gamer but my partner likes to play every now and then so I will look into the LG OLED a bit more. I’ll make sure check whether the Panasonic is brand new at the shop as well. Thanks again!
    Reply
  • Mr. C Nation
    It should be by default an impossibility for any TV to get 5 stars if it does not include all major content provision, such as catch-up.

    TVs are simply devices to watch content. They have no other purpose and they have no intrinsic merit in themselves.

    You wouldn't award a can 5 stars just because it was made of gold with a platinum ring-pull if it did not contain any beans!
    Reply