The 7 Best Sony TVs to Buy in 2018

We've got the scoop on the brand's best tubes

“The One and Only,” “It’s a Sony,” and “Color Like No Other.” These have been just a few of Sony’s marketing slogans throughout the years and attest to the fact that Sony is truly one of the most reputable and pervasive TV manufacturers in the world. When you buy a Sony TV, you can expect thoughtful design and best-in-class picture quality. So what separates one Sony TV from the next? No matter if you’re on a budget, feeling spendy or need something for your small dorm room, we’ve found the Sony TV for you.

Best Overall: Sony XBR55A1E 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart BRAVIA OLED TV

Sure, it’s our pick for Best Overall Sony TV, but if we could give it more awards, we’d call it the best for sound, design and OLED technology as well. OLED TVs use organic light emitting diodes to produce unparalleled picture quality and accurate color. And while LG actually produces the OLED panels in the 55-inch A1E, Sony adds some special touches that make it worth the price. For starters, its native 120Hz refresh rate bettered by Motionflow XR results in smooth action scenes sans blur.

Its design is also a refreshing departure from the traditional legs or pedestal stand of most TVs: It mounts a kickstand on the back, which means the TV rests directly on your table and when viewed from the front, looks very minimal. (Also on the back, it has four HDMI, two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 inputs.)

That might leave you wondering where the speakers are, and rightfully so. It turns out, the speakers are actually incorporated into the screen using a technology Sony calls Acoustic Surface. The centralized speaker design yields dialogue that actually sounds like it's coming out of the actors’ mouths, though it’s a very subtle detail that most viewers won’t notice.

As with all other Sony’s on this list, the A1E runs Google’s smart TV system, which gives you access to apps that support 4K such as Amazon, Netflix, Google Play Movies, plus many more.

Best Splurge: Sony XBR75X940E 75-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Sony’s flagship TV has a design that will be much more familiar to Sony fans: The LED 4K X940E sits on a silver central stand that, despite its small footprint, will fit comfortably on most tabletops. The borders are an average 0.55" but at 2.56”, it’s fairly thick compared to other TVs. Still, that’s pretty unnoticeable for a 75-inch TV.

Where the X940E really shines is in picture quality. It has a 120Hz refresh rate and boasts a high contrast ratio of 4941:1, which means it displays dark scenes exceptionally well. With exceptional local dimming, the contrast ratio jumps to 11634:1, which is one of the best you’ll find on the market. And because the screen can get very bright, it also valiantly fights glare in sunny rooms. It has a relatively long response time, meaning it might not be your best pick for watching sports or playing video games, but movie buffs won’t notice any lag.

Best Picture Quality: Sony XBR55X900E 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Until the Sony X900E, TVs with Full Array LED (also known as Full Array Local Dimming, or FALD) had mainly been limited to larger screen sizes. FALD uses LEDs instead of the older cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs), ultimately yielding amazing contrast, better picture quality with 4K HDR and consuming less energy than LCD solutions. But it also means the TVs are thicker and more expensive, which is a turn-off for consumers. Fortunately, Sony has managed to bring the technology to life in the X900E, which ranges in sizes from a small 49-incher all the way up to a 75-incher. The set also has 120Hz native refresh rate plus Motionflow XR, perfecting the viewing experience.

So while the picture quality of the X900E is worth it alone, the design is also striking. It has a thin, black bezel and a central support stand that many prefer to separate legs. It has one HDMI input on the back and three on the side, but all of them are 4K HDCP 2.2 compliant. Reviewers on Amazon aren’t big fans of the remote that ships with it, due to a rubbery feel and barely raised buttons that lack feedback, but it has voice capabilities so if you use it accordingly, you won’t have to deal with the hardware much.

Best for Dorm Rooms: Sony XBR43X800E 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

For freshmen moving into a new dorm, the 43-inch Sony X800E makes a great small 4K TV option that doesn’t skimp on the important features. It has decent picture quality for an LED TV, boasts solid sound quality and has wide viewing angles, so friends can gather around for movie marathons. Perhaps our favorite quality is its fast response time, which means little to no noticeable blur during fast-moving action scenes. It has a 60Hz native refresh rate, plus Motionflow XR and has low input lag, so it makes an ideal TV for gaming and watching sports. (Just make sure your homework is done first.) On the downside, it has a low contrast ratio, which means blacks are not as deep as we’d hope and can thus be harder to view in dark rooms.

Best Budget, Small: Sony KD55X720E 55-Inch 4k Ultra HD Smart LED TV

If you’re pinching pennies but still want a TV that will leave you with a memorable viewing experience, the entry-level X720E is worth a look. Design-wise, it’s what we’ve come to expect from Sony, with a central stand that has a small footprint. It comes in 43-inch, 49-inch and 55-inch models, but the 43- and 49-inchers have external power bricks that may make them hard to mount on a wall, depending on your desired setup.

At this price point, you’ll have to live with a low contrast ratio and poor black uniformity, which makes viewing difficult in dark settings. On the other hand, the TV has wide viewing angles and does get very bright to fight glare well, so it’ll hold up in sunny settings. The minimal HDR peak brightness, lack of local dimming and lack of wide color gamut are yet more drawbacks, but it is still perfectly suitable for watching TV or playing video games.

Best Budget, Large: Sony KD60X690E 60-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Looking for a bigger model, but still on a budget? The Sony X690E comes in 60-inch and 70-inch screen sizes. It’s an all-around solid 4K LED TV touting nice picture quality, 60Hz native refresh rate plus Motionflow XR, smooth motion handling and low input lag. That makes it equally apt to handle movies, TV shows, action-packed sports and video games.

It measures 3.39 inches thick, which makes it a bit clunky for wall mounting and slightly awkward to wide viewing angles, but considering its plastic parts, has a hearty build quality nonetheless. It performs superbly in dark settings, thanks to its high contrast ratio and black uniformity, and has good enough sound to match.

Best Value: Sony XBR-75X940D 75" 4K HDR Ultra HDTV Smart TV

If you’re hunting for value, consider buying this X940D certified refurbished TV. It’s refurbished by the manufacturer, so it shows little to no signs of wear and still comes with all the original accessories. And to pay sub $2,000 for any 75-inch TV of this quality is really a bargain. It will appeal primarily to viewers who want the performance of an OLED but can’t afford it.

Overall, the X940D delivers fantastic picture quality, thanks to full array dimming and boosting with X-tended Dynamic Range PRO. You’ll get great brightness, accurate colors with the TRILUMINOS display, as well as deep blacks. With Google’s Android TV, you’ll have access to the Amazon Video app, which comes packed with 4K and HDR content. Not to mention, all certified refurbished products come with a 90-day supplier warranty, so you really have nothing to lose.

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