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Best Sony TV: The top Sony televisions for every budget and need

Upgrade your home entertainment experience with our pick of the best Sony TVs

After a few years struggling to find a way to take on the might of Samsung and LG, Sony has got its televisual groove back and you’re now spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting the best Sony TV for your needs.

The Japanese manufacturer’s recent success is thanks to two simple but effective policies. First, it has embraced all of the different TV technologies available to try to ensure it’s always got something to please everyone. Second, it’s worked hard to improve the quality of each individual entry into its TV range so it’s not just the flagship models that are really, really good.

While its interest in every TV technology out there shows an admirably open-minded attitude, it can make figuring out which Sony TV suits you best a pretty complicated business. Will a regular OLED TV at the right price be enough for your needs, or do you need to step up to the new breed of high-brightness OLED panels? Or perhaps it’s worth really pushing the boat out for Sony’s all-new Quantum Dot OLED technology?

Alternatively, maybe one of Sony’s LED sets will be a better fit for you. And if so, will a budget model get the job done, or do you need to step up to a bright, high-performance model with direct lighting and local dimming, or even one of Sony’s new flagship 8K mini LED models?

To help you narrow things down, we’ve combed through Sony’s massive current TV range to pick out our five favourite models to suit a range of different budgets and needs.

READ NEXT: Our favourite 4K OLED, LCD, and QLED TVs

Best Sony TV: At a glance

How to choose the best Sony TV for you

The first thing to do is to draw up a list of your specific needs. Sony’s TV range is so extensive that having a clear idea of what you’re looking for will make selecting from our recommendations a whole lot easier.

Before we outline the key things to consider while drawing up your list of requirements, it’s worth noting that some of Sony’s more affordable LCD TVs – in ranges below the X90K LCD level – use in-plane switching (IPS) panels rather than vertical alignment (VA) ones. There are inherent advantages to each: IPS panels typically have wider viewing angles, while VA panels deliver superior contrast and black uniformity.

How much should you spend?

The starting point for any TV buying decision will usually be how much you can afford to spend without causing you financial headaches elsewhere. Settling on a sensible sum upfront will likely reduce the number of Sony TVs you need to wade through to find your perfect set. For example, if you only have a budget of £1,000, you can rule out all of Sony’s 2022 OLED and Mini LED lineup.

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What kind of content do you watch?

Think about what you spend most of your time watching – or, perhaps, the sort of content you most enjoy watching. Are you a film fan fond of closing the curtains and dimming the lights for proper movie nights? Do you spend most of the time watching regular TV broadcasts, or are you an avid streamer who’s subscribed to premium services such as Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix? Are you a big video game fan? Or maybe a sports fanatic?

Figuring this out should play a key part in picking the Sony TV technology that’s likely going to suit your viewing habits best. In fact, if money’s not particularly tight, you could prioritise satisfying your viewing habits over budgetary considerations.

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What connections do you need?

As with all TV manufacturers, Sony offers different levels of connectivity at different levels of its TV range. So, when picking the right TV for you, you need to be sure that a potential model offers all the connections you need for all your sources. HDMIs are particularly important, both in terms of how many of them you need, and the “grade” of video they can support.

Most TVs now offer at least three, but you will likely need to look towards Sony’s mid-range and high-end TVs if you need four. If you own a PS5 or Xbox Series X and want to make the most of their next-gen capabilities, you’ll want a Sony TV housing HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K resolution at 120Hz and variable refresh rate.

Most of Sony’s mid-range and high-end TVs now do support such gaming features over at least one of their HDMI ports. However, if you have an Xbox Series X, PS5 and/or a PC running the latest high-end Nvidia or AMD graphics cards, you’ll ideally want as many high-bandwidth HDMI ports as you have cutting-edge gaming sources. At the time of writing, though, no Sony TVs offer more than two HDMIs with full gaming bandwidth support.

How bright is your room?

If you’re a home cinema fan who likes nothing more than drawing the curtains and dimming the lights for serious film nights, you should probably look at one of Sony’s contrast-rich A90J OLED or A95K QD OLED TVs.

If you more often find yourself watching TV in a fairly bright setting, however, you might want to turn your sights towards one of Sony’s LED TVs, as they typically offer higher levels of brightness and colour volume. And if your TV is likely to be used in a quite extreme mixture of dark and bright conditions, you could push the boat out on one of Sony’s debut Z9K or X95K mini LED models.

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How we test the best Sony TVs

Our TV testing methodology combines specific picture performance tests undertaken using an X-Rite colorimeter and Portrait Displays’ Calman colour calibration software with a significant amount of daily viewing.

The Calman software allows us to measure key metrics including peak brightness, colour gamut coverage and greyscale and colour accuracy while using the TV for extended periods in “normal” circumstances enabling us to assess how it functions more generally.

We spend a great deal of time watching content of different types, including TV shows, films, news and sport, across various platforms such as terrestrial channels, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and more. We test out whichever HDR formats a particular TV supports and evaluate its ability to stream content via Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast where relevant.

Audio performance is assessed alongside picture performance, and again, we seek to put a TV through its paces by exposing it to as varied a selection of content as possible. This means watching films with Atmos soundtracks on Netflix, streaming playlists from apps like Spotify and enjoying more basic Dolby audio on over-the-air channels like BBC One.

In addition to the key areas of picture and audio performance, we thoroughly test a TV’s operating system and smart functionality. Since different Sony TVs use different operating systems, our approach will change slightly from model to model, but we primarily assess ease of use, responsiveness and choice of streaming services and apps. Voice controls via AI helpers such as Google Assistant are tested by giving them an increasingly complex set of commands and queries to execute and seeing how they fare.

The gaming credentials of a Sony TV are evaluated using a next-generation console connected via a certified HDMI 2.1 cable. We typically use a PlayStation 5 as many of Sony’s TVs have specific gaming settings that are only available on its flagship console, though we may use an Xbox Series X for testing, too.

The best Sony TVs to buy in 2023

1. Sony A95K: The best Sony TV for picture quality

Price when reviewed: From £1,999 (55in) | Check price at Amazon

Sony’s willingness to embrace all types of TV tech has seen it become one of the first brands to launch TVs using new Quantum Dot OLED technology. This tries to combine the contrast precision of OLED technology with the brightness and colour potential of Quantum Dot LCD TVs – and it really works.

Colour tones look richer and more vibrant, and there’s more punch to HDR images. Black levels are immaculate, local contrast handling is beyond magnificent, brightness with both small highlights and full-screen HDR content is gorgeous by OLED standards, and colours are like nothing we’ve seen before.

Given that we’re talking about improvements beyond Sony’s already outstanding “regular” OLED TVs, you can appreciate just how good the A95K’s pictures are. And while its pictures are its biggest draw, the A95K delivers seriously impressive sound, too. Sony’s Acoustic Surface+ technology turns the screen into a remarkably full-blooded and direct sound system, while dedicated bass speakers provide impressive amounts of cinematic rumble.

Key specs – Screen sizes: 55in and 65in; Panel type: QD OLED; HDR format support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision; Connectivity: 2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0, 2 x USB-A, digital optical audio output, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, RF tuner port

2. Sony A90J: The best Sony TV for home cinema

Price when reviewed: £3,999 (83in) | Check price at Currys

The A90J is available in 55in, 65in and 83in screen sizes, but we’re specifically recommending the largest model here. The reasons for it being our choice for recreating a cinematic experience at home are threefold.

First, it uses OLED technology to deliver the sort of black levels, contrast and colour that are so important in recapturing the full joys of any well-mastered film. Second, its sound draws on the same Acoustic Surface+ technology as the A95K, whereby the screen itself produces most of the TV’s sound, pushing a rich, expansive mid-range directly into your room while a roster of four subwoofers on the TV’s rear pump out movie-friendly levels of bass you just don’t get with the vast majority of other TVs.

The biggest (literally) appeal of the A90J for film fans, though, is that whopping 83in screen size. It’s the biggest OLED TV Sony has ever made, which instantly goes a long way to recreating your local Odeon at home. Only without having to put up with the noise of complete strangers munching popcorn all the way through the movie.

Key specs – Screen sizes: 55in, 65in and 83in; Panel type: OLED; HDR format support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision; Connectivity: 2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0, 3 x USB-A, digital optical audio output, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, RF tuner port

3. Sony A80L: Best mid-range Sony TV

Price when reviewed: From £1,599 (55in) | Check price at Amazon

Best Sony TV - Sony A80L

The latest update to Sony’s entry-level OLED combines a clever design with a stylish finish while delivering impressive performance levels along with impactful features like Sony’s Acoustic Surface audio.

The TV’s feet are ingeniously designed to provide three installation options, allowing you to accommodate a soundbar underneath the screen or position the telly on cabinets of just about any width. Google TV proves a smart choice of operating system, offering a wide range of choices where streaming services and apps are concerned and enabling the use of hands-free Google Assistant.

While the A80L could do with being a bit brighter, its limitations in that department don’t hamper its ability to deliver engaging images too severely. If you’re after a great mid-range Sony OLED for films, TV shows and gaming, the A80L is our pick of the bunch.

Read our Sony A80L review

Key specs – Screen sizes: 55in, 65in, 77in and 83in; Panel type: OLED; HDR format support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision; Connectivity: 2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0, 3 x USB-A, optical audio output, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, RF tuner port

4. Sony Z9K: Best Sony TV for cutting-edge tech

Price when reviewed: From £7,499 (75in) | Check price at John Lewis

As with most cutting-edge TVs, the Z9K deals in big numbers. For starters, it carries an 8K resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 pixels. While there aren’t many (any, really) native 8K sources around to unlock the full power of all those pixels, the Z9K’s 8K-optimised Cognitive XR processor upscales 4K sources so well that the screen still delivers the phenomenal purity, depth of field and window-like smoothness that only 8K can provide on screens this big.

The Z9K also carries way more LEDs than most LCD TVs thanks to Mini LED technology. This reduces the size of each backlight “dot” so that far more of them can be fitted into the screen, joining forces with an advanced local dimming system to deliver a combination of brightness and contrast we haven’t seen on a Sony LCD TV before. Sony won’t reveal the exact numbers of LEDs and dimming zones in play, but it’s a lot.

The Z9K rounds out its epic numbers game by building far more speakers around its frame than most TVs to deliver a powerful, directional sound stage that places effects with outstanding precision.

Key specs – Screen sizes: 75in and 85in; Panel type: Mini LED with local dimming; HDR format support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision; Connectivity: 2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0, 3 x USB-A, optical audio output, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, RF tuner port

5. Sony X95K: Best Sony TV for bright rooms

Price when reviewed: £3,499 (85in) | Check price at Marks Electrical

While the Z9K is actually Sony’s brightest TV, its price will put it beyond the reach of most homes. Fortunately, Sony has a much more affordable option for people who want a TV that’s still able to punch out spectacular picture quality in the sort of bright living room settings many households spend most of their time in.

Like the Z9K, the X95K sees Sony embracing new Mini LED technology, and again this is backed up by an advanced local dimming system. The density of the Mini LEDs together with the way the local dimming allows Sony to drive bright parts of the picture harder without having to worry so much about “polluting” dark areas with unwanted light really does help the X95K get ferocious – in a good way – impact from HDR sources.

This combines with Sony’s Triluminos system to deliver a phenomenal range of colours, and the brightness doesn’t compromise black levels anywhere near as much as we’ve seen it do on Sony’s previous non-Mini LED LCD TVs. An audio system that incorporates dedicated bass drivers and speakers built right around the TV’s frame delivers a crisp, detailed and dynamic soundstage that ensures the X95K’s spectacular pictures aren’t its only attraction.

Key specs – Screen sizes: 75in and 85in; Panel type: Mini LED with local dimming; HDR format support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision; Connectivity: 2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0, 3 x USB-A, optical audio output, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, RF tuner port

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