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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, 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.

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

Best Sony TVs

(Image credit: Future / Leonardo, Amazon Prime)

1. Sony XR-55A90J

The best TV you can buy right now, Sony or otherwise

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. 

The new Google TV operating system means the user experience is better than that of any pre-2021 Sony TV, gaming features are top-notch and the exclusive Bravia Core streaming service is a genuine value-added feature.

All in all, the X90J is simply the best TV you can buy right now. If you happen to be in the market for a Sony TV, so much the better.

Read the full Sony XR-55A90J review

Read the full Sony XR-65A90J review

Best Sony TVs

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony XR-55A80J

Most of what makes the A90J great, at a far more affordable price.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 55in (also available in 65in, 77in) | 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

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

The A80J what we'd called a 'step-down flagship'. It's is less immediately striking than the A90J above, but it's a lot more affordable and could just be the TV of the year.

In many ways it's almost as good as the awesome A90J. For general sharpness and detail, the A80J more or less matches the flagship A90J, and that puts it head and shoulders above most rivals in those regards. Every shot is magnificently crisp.

Sony’s OLEDs use Acoustic Surface Audio for sound, which involves tech that vibrate the whole screen rather than traditional speaker drivers. The A80J’s system has half as much power (a total of 30W rather than 60W) as the A90J.

Netflix content is, of course, available through the A80J, and is presented – along with Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV – in 4K, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, where the content allows. Disney+ is still missing Dolby Atmos support, as it is on other Google/Android TVs. (UK buyers should also note that BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4 are still missing).

Still, while the A80J might not be quite as punchy as its flagship sibling, in many other ways it’s just as capable. The fact that this crisp, detailed and dynamic performer is available for around £1000/$1000 less than the A90J is remarkable. A seriously smart buy.v

Read our full Sony XR-55A80J review

Best Sony TVs 2021

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

3. 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 2020 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 is one the best Sony TV you can buy.

Read the full Sony KD-48A9 review

Best Sony TVs 2021

(Image credit: Sony / Hunters, Amazon Prime)

4. 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 2021

(Image credit: Sony / Hanna, Amazon Prime)

5. 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: Sony)

6. 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)

7. 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)

8. 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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