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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 offer some of the most impressive picture quality around at the moment. 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 expensive to produce, though. Previously, this meant you didn't see OLED TVs under 55 inches, but 2020 saw a 48in set from LG hit the market and Sony also followed with its own 48in model.

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. Below, we've rounded up the best OLED TVs out of all the ones we've tested. And we'll be adding 2021 OLED TVs to this page as and when they pass through the What Hi-Fi? test rooms. Now, let the viewing commence!

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

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

1. Sony XBR-48A9S

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 x 107 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 48-inch 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 such as 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 produces 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 is 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 XBR-48A9S review

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

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

2. LG OLED48CX

The first 48-inch OLED of the 4K era – and it's an absolute stunner.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 48in (also available in 55in, 65in, 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): 62 x 107 x 4.7cm

Reasons to Buy

Flagship-level OLED performance
Dramatic but natural picture
Forward-looking feature set

Reasons to Avoid

Missing UK catch-up apps
Pricey for its size

It might have taken a while, but you can finally buy a 4K OLED TV that's smaller than 55in. You guessed it, the OLED48CX is a 48in TV, and brings flagship OLED picture quality to this screen size for the first time.

Picture quality is superb. The perfect blacks and near-perfect viewing angles combine with bright, punchy whites and vibrant but natural colours. LG's motion processing was a big step up in 2020 and its upscaling of 1080p and standard-def content is among the best in the business.

On top of all that you get certified HDMI 2.1 sockets that support next-gen features such as eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), HFR (High Frame Rate), ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), and all current formats of VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). All of these are useful if you're looking to upgrade to the PS5 or Xbox Series X sometime soon.

Prefer something bigger? We've also reviewed the 55in and 65in versions of the CX series, both of which are just as impressive as their smaller sibling.

Read the full LG OLED48CX review

Read the full LG OLED55CX review

Read the full LG OLED65CX review

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

(Image credit: LG / Bosch, Amazon Prime)

3. LG OLED65GX

Another year, another brilliant LG OLED TV from LG.

SPECIFICATIONS

Resolution: 3840x2160 | Operating system: webOS | HDR formats: Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR10, Advanced HDR by Technicolor | HDMI: 4 | USB: 3 | Optical: 1 | Dimensions (HWD): 83 x 145 x 2cm (w/o stand)

Reasons to Buy

Consistent, natural performance
Improved motion and dark detail
Lovely design

Reasons to Avoid

No feet or pedestal in the box

LG consistently delivers some of the best OLED TVs on the market and this GX model picks up from where the company left off in 2019. It manages to improve picture quality in a few key areas, with dark detail, colour richness and motion handling all getting a boost. The net effect is a beautifully realistic HDR and SDR picture, packed with detail. Sound from the down-firing speakers is surprisingly good too, its built-in Dolby Atmos decoding delivering a wide and expansive soundstage by TV standards.

The GX is an attractive set and one of the best OLED TVs for wall-mounting – there's no stand in the box, but there is a slim mount on which you can hang it. Inputs, which include four HDMI (2.1) sockets and a trio of USBs are all recessed on the back of the TV, so there's no external connection box. WebOS is LG's go-to operating system and the TV is a doddle to use. Streaming apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ are all onboard, too.

Read the full LG OLED65GX review

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

(Image credit: Sony / Absentia, Amazon Prime)

4. Sony XBR-55A8H

This 55in set is Sony's best OLED TV to date.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 55in (also available in 65in) | 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): 71 x 123 x 5.2cm

Reasons to Buy

Natural and authentic picture
Superb motion handling
Crisp, involving sound

Reasons to Avoid

High-contrast images lack punch
Lacking next-gen HDMI features

The Sony A8 is a real OLED all-rounder that combines a brilliant, natural picture with excellent audio.

HDR content (HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision are supported) is bright, punchy and vibrant, and very realistic. Blacks are deep and packed with detail. It's even a great upscaler when faced with Full HD and standard-definition video.

Sound quality is similarly impressive. The Sony uses two actuators, which actually (and imperceptibly) vibrate the whole screen, essentially turning the whole panel into a big, flat driver. It's clever and does a great job of tying audio and video together. It's a dynamic and punchy performer by OLED TV standards.

The HDMIs are lacking next-gen features such as VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), which might be of concern to gamers, particularly those planning to upgrade to a PS5 or Xbox Series X. But for everyone else, the A8 is an excellent all-rounder that demands consideration.

Read the full Sony XBR-55A8H review

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

(Image credit: LG)

5. LG OLED65C9

This attractive LG OLED TV produces a brilliant big-screen picture.

SPECIFICATIONS

Resolution: 3840x2160 | Operating system: webOS | HDR formats: Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR10, Advanced HDR by Technicolor | HDMI: 4 | USB: 3 | Optical: 1 | Dimensions (HWD): 83 x 145 x 4.7cm

Reasons to Buy

Lovely, subtle design
Rich but natural pictures
Strong sound

Reasons to Avoid

Can be beaten for motion
Convoluted menus

This 65in TV from LG's 2019 C9 range looks the part before you even turn it on, with such slim bezels you could mistake it for a floating set (especially when wall mounted). 

Turn it on, and the picture doesn't disappoint – black levels are suitably inky, while the image goes brilliantly bright, creating a stunning level of contrast. And while the speakers are pretty well hidden, they create great sound. 

A fantastic option for any film or OLED TV fan looking for a set bigger than 55-inch and another 2019 What Hi-Fi? Award-winner. Be quick, though, it won't be around much longer.

Read the full LG OLED65C9 review

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

(Image credit: Future / Jack Ryan, Amazon Prime)

6. LG OLED65B9

If you want excellent value for money, this OLED TV has to be up there.

SPECIFICATIONS

Resolution: 3840x2160 | Operating system: webOS | HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | HDMI: 4 | USB: 3 | Optical: 1 | Dimensions (HWD): 83 x 168 x 4.9cm

Reasons to Buy

Brilliant color and detail
Strong upscaling
Great price

Reasons to Avoid

Average dark/light production
Slightly muffled audio

This affordable OLED TV is getting on a bit, but it's still a great set for the money, especially while there's still some stock out there. It produces a natural, colourful picture with great contrast whether you're watching 4K or HD content. The C9 range is still our pick if your budget can stretch, but you won't be let down by this excellent OLED TV.

Read the full LG OLED65B9 review

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

7. Sony XBR-65A9G

A good-looking and impressive-sounding OLED TV, if a bit pricey.

SPECIFICATIONS

Resolution: 3840x2160 | Operating system: Android | HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | HDMI: 4 | USB: 3 | Optical: 1 | Dimensions (HWD): 84 x 145 x 4cm

Reasons to Buy

Stable, insightful, natural pictures
Impressive with SDR content
Excellent sound

Reasons to Avoid

HDR lacks wow factor
Tricky to tweak
Processing can be intrusive

The KD-65AG9 is an impressive OLED TV and one of the best in class. Picture and sound quality are both excellent, as is the TV's motion handling. It also boasts a fabulous upscaler for Full HD content. Where it falls down slightly is with native 4K HDR pictures. In our opinion, rivals such as the LG C9 and Samsung Q90 QLED boast superior processing and HDR handling. The Sony is also significantly more expensive than its close rivals, but if your budget can stretch...

Read the full Sony XBR-65A9G review

Read the full Sony XBR-55A9G review

MORE:

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  • 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
  • gel
    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