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Best Sony TVs 2021: budget, premium and smart

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

Sony makes some of the best TVs around. While we would always advise brand agnosticism, it's natural to want to stick with what you know – so if you're happy with your current Sony TV, you came to the right place. We've rounded up the best Sony TVs available right now between 49- and 65-inches, drawing on our extensive library of reviews.

Sony has it all, including 4K models that use both LCD and more modern OLED panel technology. The Japanese giant even offers 8K sets, if you're ready to make the leap. All of the below TVs also offer HDR support. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and is a way of showing the differences between light and dark parts of the picture, meaning a more detailed image. Sony's sets support various HDR formats, including HLG, HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10+.

Sony TVs tend to use Google's Android TV operating system, which supports all the major streaming apps including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+ and Google Play Movies & TV. There's also voice controls, so you should be able to say, "Ok Google, find action movies" to search across your favourite apps.

So without further ado, let's see the best Sony's TVs the market has to offer.

Best Sony TVs 2021

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

1. Sony KD-48A9

Sony’s first 48-inch 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

It's official: 48 is the new 55. Time was that you couldn't get an OLED TV under 55in, but then LG launched the world's first commercially available 48in OLED set. Others including Panasonic, Philips and Sony quickly followed.

This  petite TV boasts tiny bezels and a low profile pedestal stand. It does have a rather large enclosure bolted onto the back (to house the speakers, processing hardware and connections), but you'll only notice if you look at the set side-on.

Sony's X1 Ultimate processor makes images suitably stunning; there's plenty of dark detail on show, and it serves up pretty much every streaming app you could hope for. Motion control is still industry-leading, and in terms of sharpness and detail, there's never been a better TV at this size. 

The only slight disappointment is the lack of some next-gen HDMI features such as 4K@120Hz (HFR)VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and Auto Low Latency Mode. That's bad news for gamers looking to hook up a PS5 or Xbox Series X, but it shouldn't a dealbreaker.

Pound for pound, this if the very best Sony TV you can buy. If you can stump up the funds, you will not be disappointed.

Read the full Sony KD-48A9 review

Best Sony TVs 2021

(Image credit: Sony / Hunters, Amazon Prime)

2. Sony KD-65XH9005

One of the best performance-per-pound Sony TVs you can buy in 2021.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 65in | Type: LCD | Backlight: Full array | 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): 83.3 x 145 x 7cm

Reasons to Buy

Superb HDR
Colours pop
Excellent motion processing

Reasons to Avoid

Lightweight sound
Could be more PS5-ready

The 65XH9005 is one of the TVs that Sony is selling as "ready for PS5". That means it offers 4K@120Hz (often referred to as HFR), VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode). Put simply, it's a great TV for those who want to max out their PS5 gaming experience.

But whether you make use of the gaming features or not, this is an awesome TV. There are plenty of connections for hooking up partner kit, and you won't be wanting for onboard tech: this is a full-array LED-backlit TV with local dimming, and supports the HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR standards, and Dolby Atmos for sound. It’s also Netflix Calibrated and IMAX Enhanced.

And the picture quality? Excellent. Sony’s X-Motion Clarity motion processing technology is reliably superb, making fast-moving pictures like games, sports and action films as smooth as butter. There are plenty of options to fiddle with, but just leave it on auto and you'll still be treated to a great experience visually. It's got good sound, too. A little lightweight compared to some, but it's clear, precise and well projected. An ideal option for both gamers and non-gamers alike.

Read the full Sony KD-65XH9005 review

Best Sony TVs

(Image credit: Sony / Absentia, Amazon Prime)

3. Sony KD-55A8

This OLED is one of the best Sony TVs we've tested recently.

SPECIFICATIONS

Resolution: 4K | Screen type: OLED | Operating system: Android TV | HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | HDMI: 4 | USB: 3 | Optical: 1 | Dimensions: 122.7 x 71.2 x 5.2 cm (w/out stand)

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 A8 is the best Sony OLED TV yet and is up there with the best any rival currently has to offer. The Sony KD-55A8 combines a 2020 LG OLED panel with Sony’s 2020 picture and sound smarts, and does so to excellent effect, making it one of the best Sony TV we've seen. 

It's as thin as you'd expect from a cutting-edge OLED TV, though it's worth noting that the feet are positioned at the edge of the screen, so you'll need a large stand to accommodate it. You may not need a soundbar, though, as Sony uses actuators that vibrate the screen imperceptibly, essentially turning the display into a big, flat speaker. The A8 combines two of these actuators with two subwoofers.

You've got the usual array of connections, streaming apps and tech features, including support for various HDR picture formats including HDR10 and Dolby Vision. But the real excitement comes when you take in this TV's picture and audio. The A8 majors on realism and authenticity, delivering detail and subtlety, without sacrificing punch or colours. Fast motion is handled confidently, too. Throw in great sound by flatscreen TV standards and you have a clear class-leader and one of Sony's best-ever TVs.

Read the full Sony KD-55A8 review

Best Sony TVs 2021

(Image credit: Sony / Hanna, Amazon Prime)

4. Sony KD-49XH9505

A brilliant Sony TV that sets the benchmark for all 49in sets.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen type: LCD with direct LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | Operating system: Google Android TV 9 | HDR support: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG | HDMI inputs: 4 | USB inputs: 3 | Optical output: 1 | Dimensions (HWD, with stand): 109.3 x 69.9 x 26.1cm

Reasons to Buy

Punchy, rich picture performance
Vastly improved sound
Snappy user experience

Reasons to Avoid

Same design as last year
Some backlight bloom

Successor to the 49XG9005 below, Sony's KD-49XH9505 manages to squeeze in a heck of a lot of TV tech for a TV of this size. It's an attractive set from the front, with a slim brushed-metal bezel although make sure its wide feet can be accommodated on your TV stand. It gets the same remote as Sony's more premium sets, which works particularly well, thanks to the fact it works over Bluetooth. The Android TV interface is quick to respond while Sony's made its on-screen menus cleaner and simpler to use. 

Inside, you get one of Sony's best picture processing chip, the X1 Ultimate, which promises better definition and an enhanced version of Object Based HDR Remaster, which promises better contrast. And it all adds up to an extremely punchy and vibrant picture, with loads of detail and excellent motion handling, which is a traditional Sony strength. Sound quality is also impressive by flatscreen standards. The set uses its own room calibration to help present you with a weighty and dynamic sound.

What we have here is a brilliant Sony all-rounder, capable of giving more expensive rivals a real run for their money. Definitely one for your list.

Read the full review: Sony KD-49XH9505

Best Sony TVs 2021

(Image credit: Future / Amazon)

5. Sony KD-49XG9005

A great Sony TV for when space is at a premium.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen type: LCD with edge LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | Operating system: Google Android TV | HDR support: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG | HDMI inputs: 4 | USB inputs: 3 | Optical output: 1 | Dimensions (HWD, with stand): 109.3 x 69.9 x 27.4cm

Reasons to Buy

Crisp and punchy picture
Excellent motion
Solid sound

Reasons to Avoid

Blacks could be deeper

TV manufacturers might be keen to push 55in and 65in sets, but not everyone's got the space for such big screens. If you fall into this camp and have your heart set on a Sony TV, then we'd suggest starting your search with the KD-49XG9005. This 49in 4K HDR set is an absolute belter, capable of delivering a crisp punchy picture, full of detail and colour. It sounds good too, delivering a surprisingly open and atmospheric soundstage.

Read the full review: Sony KD-49XG9005

Read the full review: Sony KD-65XG9505

Best Sony TVs 2021

6. Sony KD-65XF9005

Impressive features and excellent picture quality give this Sony TV serious appeal.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen type: LCD with direct LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | Operating system: Google Android TV | HDR support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision (via later update) | HDMI inputs: 4 | USB inputs: 3 | Optical output: 1 | Dimensions (HWD, with stand): 89.8x144.7x29.7cm

Reasons to Buy

Fantastic detail
Stunning but natural colours
Clear sound

Reasons to Avoid

Minor backlight blooming
Bass-light audio
Can be beaten for viewing angles

This 65in telly might be a little long in the tooth (it's a 2018 model), but it combines high-end features with a much more reasonable price point to devastating effect. Colours are bright and vibrant while the skin tones remain calm and natural - a rare balancing act. Colours are punchy and bright, while the set also packs in an impressive amount of detail. Motion processing is - typically for Sony - on point. Upscaling standard dynamic range content to HDR is another in a long list of highlights. Overall, fantastic value that has to be seen to be believed.

Read the full review: Sony KD-65XF9005

Best Sony TVs 2021

(Image credit: Sony)

7. Sony KD-75ZH8

Sony’s most affordable 8K TV yet delivers bags of detail and great sound.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen type: LCD w/ direct LED backlight | Resolution: 8K | Operating system: Android TV 9.0 | HDR support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | HDMI inputs: 4 | USB inputs: 3 | Optical output: 1 | Dimensions (HWD, with stand): 122.6x191.3x43.2cm

Reasons to Buy

Bright and punchy picture
Superb colours and motion
Impressive sound

Reasons to Avoid

Blooming around bright highlights
Plays even less 8K than rivals
Missing some HDMI features

You'll need deep pockets and a spacious abode to accommodate Sony's new 75-inch 8K TV, but once installed, the ZH8 doesn't disappoint. This set does a lot of things seriously well, and delivers a supremely authentic picture performance. Sound is exceptional, too (you can even use the ZH8 as the centre speaker of a surround sound package).

As you'd expect for the best part of £5000, the ZH8 boasts one of Sony’s most powerful processors, plus high-end image-enhancing technology such as Object Based Super Resolution. The result is that 8K content is so crisp, dynamic and lifelike that you feel you could step right into each scene.

Problem is, there's almost no 8K content available at the moment. And while this forward-thinking Sony set does a decent job of upscaling 4K content, the likes of the Samsung QE75Q950TS do it better. 

Still, if you want the best Sony TV that delivers a stunningly-natural 4K picture and has the ability to display 8K resolution, the cutting-edge ZH8 is a superb buy at this price.

Read the full review: Sony KD-75ZH8

Best Sony TVs 2021

(Image credit: Future / Greenland, Amazon Prime)

8. Sony KD-75ZF9

A massive 4K Sony TV with suitably top-of-the-range performance.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen type: LCD with direct LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | Operating system: Google Android TV | HDR support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | HDMI inputs: 4 | USB inputs: 3 | Optical output: 1 | Dimensions (HWD, with stand): 103.9x167.6x39.9cm

Reasons to Buy

Natural, realistic images
Good upscaling
Excellent selection of apps

Reasons to Avoid

Lacks brightness and black depth
Uneven backlighting

Sony's 2018 Master Series TV is designed to produce a picture closer to the director’s intention than any commercially available television has done before. This is Sony's LCD entrant to the range, though it has direct LED backlighting onboard to help deliver deeper blacks. It's a stunning TV, though 4K picture quality is a little softer than the very best. If you're upscaling from HD to HDR, you're in for a treat, thanks to the impressively sharp and detailed picture. Throw in ultra-realistic colours and Sony's excellent motion processing, and you've got quite a TV on your hands. 

Sony's 2021 A90J and Z9J Master Series models offer better technology, but you can still this model up online, and at a big discount. Worth considering given the price drop.

Read the full review: Sony KD-75ZF9

Best Sony TVs 2021

(Image credit: Sony)

9. Sony KD-65AG9

A talented Sony TV, especially where sound quality is concerned.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen type: OLED | Resolution: 4K | Operating system: Google Android TV | HDR support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | HDMI inputs: 4 | USB inputs: 3 | Optical output: 1 | Dimensions (HWD, with stand): 71.4x122.6x25.5cm

Reasons to Buy

Detailed, natural image
Impressive SDR performance
Excellent sound

Reasons to Avoid

HDR lacks sparkle
Tricky to tweak
Processing too prominent

Another set from Sony's high-end Master Series, the 65in AG9 is a gorgeous OLED TV, perched on a pedestal stand with thin black bezels making the chassis melt away in darkened rooms. It's blessed with the usual smattering of HDMI (4) and USB (3) inputs and, like the vast majority of Sony sets, it runs on Google's Android TV platform. All your key smart services are catered for, including Netflix and Amazon Video with HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR all supported.

It takes a bit of time getting the Sony to look its best, but once settled, you're treated to a balanced picture, full of detail and crisp three-dimensionality. Motion processing is arguably best-in-class too. Some rival sets boast a brighter and punchier image, though, and the Sony isn't the last word in detail.

On the plus side, this model (and the 55in version) sounds brilliant for a flatscreen TV, with a wide soundstage and a sense of focus and precision that you don't normally get from such slender sets. There's impressive weight but also enough space for dialogue to breathe.

Read the full review: Sony KD-65AG9

Read the full review: Sony KD-55AG9

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