Sony has been a major player in the TV world since the days of the Trinitron, WEGA and Bravia, even developing the world's first OLED model in 2007, and releasing the first Google-powered TV in 2010 – and it continues to push the boundaries with its new telly tech.
Sony has been consistently impressing us with its TVs this year, with everything from its traditional LCD models all the way up to our brief hands-on with the next-generation QD-OLED model all providing excellent picture quality.
It's a rare, yet very welcome instance to see a TV lineup that nails the pound-to-performance ratio throughout the lineup, meaning you won't have to sacrifice picture quality if you opt for a cheaper model. But there are still quite a few models to choose from, so which one should you pick?
Below you'll find the very best TVs from Sony's currently available range, so matter how much space you've got or how big your budget is, there's one here that'll suit your needs.
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The quick list
Best Sony TV overall
Combining the spectacular with cinematic subtlety, this is an all-rounder that’s hard to resist.
Best premium Sony TV
Sony's first QD-OLED might not be a game-changer, but it’s still one of the very best TVs you can buy right now.
Best small Sony TV
Sony’s first 42-inch OLED is every bit as good as you’d imagine, but it comes at a relatively high price.
Best mid-size Sony TV
It's not as bright as the best big OLEDs on the market, but this flagship 48-inch TV from Sony is still exceptionally good.
Best Sony TV overall
Compared with the QD-OLED and MLA OLED TVs that are now available, the A80L, which is a standard OLED TV (a WOLED to those in the know), seems a little unexciting on paper. In testing, though, it quickly revealed itself to be a TV of very rare talent.
The key to the A80L's success is the delicate, accomplished processing at its core. This processing gently enhances everything you watch but without the enhancement itself ever being noticeable. This enables the TV to be spectacularly dynamic, detailed, sharp and solid while also delivering subtle shading, natural colours and smooth motion.
Sound is very good by TV standards, too. The Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology involves a trio of actuators that vibrate the actual screen in order to make sound, while a pair of more traditional woofers add bass. The actuator system means sound literally comes from the picture, which is great for directness, but the A80L also sends sound out far to the left, right and above the set, creating a soundstage that's very large and atmospheric, and with impressive placement of effects.
Other than a slight loss of shadow detail with SDR content and less bass depth than some rivals, the A80L is a consummate performer. It is also worth noting that it has fewer HDMI 2.1 sockets than LG's OLED TVs have, but that will only be of concern to hardcore gamers.
If it's a Sony TV that you're after, this is the one we'd recommend to most people, though do bear in mind that the A95L is on the way, and that TV's second-generation QD-OLED technology could make it very special indeed.
Read the full Sony A80L review
Best premium Sony TV
While not the new dawn of TV technology that some may have been expecting, the 2022 Sony A95K does suggest that there are some improvements that QD-OLED offers over standard OLED, including increased detail and colour reproduction.
The design is minimalist and the folding stand can be positioned in front of the screen, meaning the TV can be mounted more or less flush against a wall. Sony's Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology, which in this case combines with two subwoofers, makes for very good sound by TV standards.
The snappy Google TV interface offers plenty of apps, including the Netflix app complete with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support. The A95K also gets access to Sony Bravia Core, the firm's high-quality streaming service.
Xbox Series X and high-end PC gamers will be better served by an LG C2 or G2, but for movies and TV shows at all resolutions, the Sony A95K is utterly exceptional. If you want the 'gold standard' of Sony TVs, this is it – at least until the A95L enters our test room.
Read the full Sony A95K review
Best small Sony TV
Buying a sub-50-inch TV used to mean losing out on the kind of top-end features that would adorn the bigger models, but Sony, LG and Samsung all now sell smaller versions of their flagship sets – and the 42-inch A90K doesn’t disappoint.
Despite its relatively small screen size you still get four HDMI ports, including two that support 4K/120Hz signals, so you can get the most out of a PS5 or Xbox Series X. The screen has actuators that mean it doubles as a speaker, so while the 42A90K sounds better than most TVs of this size, it could still do with some assistance, with an eARC socket for the addition of a soundbar or AVR. Dolby Atmos is also onboard.
It supports the usual Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG formats of HDR, although as with all Sony TVs HDR10+ is absent, but the Cognitive Processor XR delivers a stunningly solid and deep image for a TV this size. It’s not quite as bright or punchy as LG’s C3, and the price is steeper, but if you’re a Sony loyalist with limited space, the stylish XR-42A90K is the ideal way to fill it.
Best mid-size Sony TV
Design-wise, Sony has set out to keep the 48-inch A90K as compact as possible. The display itself is surrounded by a black bezel that’s just 8mm thick at the top and about 12mm on the sides and bottom. The low-profile stand is just 50cm wide and 23cm deep, making it easy to find furniture with the necessary surface area for the TV.
Picture quality is near-flawless. In that regard, this is undoubtedly one of the best 48-inch TVs we've tested. The Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology means the A90K sounds good by the standards of relatively small TVs, but we still recommend that you add a soundbar.
Hardcore gamers may rue the lack of HGiG mode, but the PS5-specific Auto HDR Tone Mapping does mean that gamers on Sony’s console will automatically get a fairly accurate picture performance.
All in all, the Sony XR-48A90K – Sony’s flagship OLED for those who don’t have the space for its new A95K QD-OLED – is a fantastic buy.
Read the full review Sony XR-48A90K review
Best mid-range Sony TV
TV tech is progressing with such speed that ‘standard’ OLED and QLED TVs are starting to fade into the background as the limelight becomes dominated by QD-OLED and MLA models. But before you go feeling sorry for those plucky OLEDs and QLEDs, spare a thought for their even less glamorous siblings, the standard LCD TVs. No organic materials, no Quantum Dots and no Mini LEDs; surely a ‘traditional’ LCD TV stands no chance?
Sony’s X90L says otherwise. Just as it squeezed seemingly every last drop of performance out of standard OLED technology for its A80L, Sony appears to have squeezed much of the remaining potential out of standard LCD for its mid-range X90L, the latest in a long line of very popular X90 models.
It may not be a glamorous TV, but thanks to Sony’s excellent care and attention, the X90L is a TV that is a genuine pleasure to watch and to live with. If your budget won’t stretch to an OLED (most obviously the A80L), this is a superb option that delivers consistently cinematic and cinematically consistent results. An excellent buy.
Read our full Sony X90L review
How to choose the best Sony TV for you
Sony's LCD TVs tend to be affordable options. Pricier OLED models can be unbelievably slim, and tend to offer deep blacks and superb viewing angles. Last year, Sony even launched a QD-OLED TV, with a new model coming in 2023.
You'll want 4K (Ultra HD) and HDR (High Dynamic Range) for a detailed picture. Sony's sets tend to support HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10+. The Japanese giant even offers 8K TVs, if you're ready to make the leap.
Sony sets tend to use the Android TV and Google TV operating systems, which support all the major streaming apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Apple TV+. The platform also brings voice controls.
If you want truly immersive best sound, we'd recommend adding a soundbar. That said, Sony makes some of the best-sounding TVs around (look for models with Acoustic Surface Audio).
How we test TVs
Testing any TV is a long and complex process because a modern TV simply does so much. Not only does it need to handle a variety of content resolutions – standard-def, 1080p, 4K and sometimes 8K – and both standard dynamic range and high dynamic range (the latter in a number of formats), all of which need to be specifically tested, it also has a sound system with various advanced settings and a full smart platform. A TV is an all-in-one device in the best sense, but that also makes it a challenging review proposition.
As part of our testing process we manually check that every major app – from Netflix to All 4, Prime Video to Spotify – is not only present, but also outputting in the video and sound formats that it should. Just because there's a Disney+ app doesn't necessarily mean it's working in Dolby Vision and/or Dolby Atmos. In fact, in many recent cases it hasn't been.
We also connect both a PS5 and Xbox Series X in order to establish which advanced gaming features are and aren't supported, and on which of the TV's HDMI ports. Is 4K 120Hz supported? How about VRR? Is there a Dolby Vision game mode? Is there an HGiG preset for more accurate HDR tone mapping? We check all of these things, and measure input lag using a Leo Bodnar device.
We then test the TV's picture quality using a huge variety of content, from old DVDs to the latest 4K Blu-rays and plenty of streamed movies and TV shows in between. Every TV is tested against the best model at its price and size – we have a stockroom packed full of Award-winners for this very purpose.
We don't accept the out-of-the-box settings that a TV comes in either. While we intentionally don't go down the route of professional calibration (you shouldn't have to have your TV professionally calibrated in order to get the best out of it), we do spend hours adjusting settings using a mixture of test patterns and real-world content until we are sure we're getting the most out of a TV so that it has the best chance to shine.
While we almost always advise that a new TV is combined with a dedicated sound system such as a soundbar or AV amplifier, many people still prefer to stick with their flatscreen's built-in speakers, so we thoroughly test these too, using a wide variety of movie and music content and with great attention spent to the TV's many processing modes and individual settings.
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in Bath and Reading, where our team of expert reviewers do all of our testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency. What's more, all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer, again helping to ensure consistency and avoid any personal preference.
The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics.
From all of our reviews, we choose the best products to feature in our Best Buys. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended here, or on any other Best Buy page, you can be assured you are getting a What Hi-Fi? approved product.