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Sony vs Samsung (Which Is the Better TV Brand?)

Sony and Samsung TVs have fantastic reputations. Generally seen as trustworthy, reliable, and offering good value for the money – both brands deliver.

But if you’re in the market for a new TV, you’ll need to pick just one…

Which TV is Better: Samsung or Sony?

There is very little difference in quality between Sony and Samsung. Samsung has a slight edge when it comes to audio, color volume, and bright-space performance. On the other hand, Sony uses OLED screen tech, which offers incredible color accuracy. Sony also uses the more popular Android Smart TV OS.

Sony TVs: Pros and Cons

Since its founding in 1946, Sony has built a reputation for stylish and affordable TVs, famous for their longevity and quality.

They are currently the third-largest TV producer on the market. They are also particularly renowned for their ultra-high-end TV offerings.

Pros of Sony TVs

Sony uses OLED screen panel technology in its TV sets. While they don’t quite have LG’s reputation for these panels, they still deliver excellent quality.

OLED is known to provide the strongest color accuracy currently on the market. 

They also stand out when it comes to viewing angles. Because of the OLED technology, they are great when viewed from almost any angle.

Cons of Sony TVs

Sony’s OLED screens deliver a solid 800 nits. While it’s still a great performer, they lag in brightness compared to Samsung’s QLED settings.

Its OLED screens are supplied by LG rather than developed in-house, so innovations tend to be slightly slower to roll out, with LG favoring its own ranges first.

Sony TVs are also typically more expensive than Samsung ones, which have cornered the low- and mid-range markets and have targeted a ‘casual’ viewing audience.

Samsung TVs: The Pros and Cons

Samsung is a South Korean brand founded in 1938. They are the largest TV manufacturer in the world with a global market share that sits around 1/5th of all TVs.

Their mid-tier and low-end ranges are less neglected than some manufacturers.

Pros of Samsung TVs

Samsung uses QLED screens in all of its TV products. These are known for delivering some of the highest brightness on the market, averaging 1,000-2,000 nits. This makes them ideal for very bright spaces.

While the color accuracy on QLED lags behind OLED screens, it’s far better at color volume. So if you’d rather have a popping color, this is the best choice.

They’re well known for providing outstanding quality through their low-tier and mid-range TV sets at a reasonable price. Sony can’t compete with them when it comes to price.

Cons of Samsung TVs

Because Samsung uses the QLED format, not OLED, the viewing angles are slightly subpar. It also offers less contrast and blackness as it uses the older backlight system.

Samsung’s QLED technology is a proprietary innovation. While it delivers in the color department, it still uses an overall backlight, so it can’t quite compete with OLED. Some Samsung TVs have color-blooming issues.

Sony vs Samsung – In Depth

Now that you have a better idea of the strengths and weaknesses of Sony and Samsung TVs, let’s take a more in-depth look at some specific TV features from both brands.

Smart OS

Samsung uses Tizen OS for its Smart TVs. It’s a clean interface that’s easy to navigate. It comes packaged with the Samsung Bixby voice assistant, too. You can, however, adapt it to use Alexa or Google Assistant. 

Bixby is not the best and can be shaky on search performance. It used to be limited to compatible apps, although it now accepts most major streamers.

On the other hand, Sony uses the widespread Android Smart TV OS. It’s a little more crowded than Samsung but also compatible with a broader range of apps. It currently lacks only Apple TV+.  

It bolsters Android’s lacking catch-up TV offerings with its overlay, YouView, which will help you better use this feature.

They will be migrating to the Google TV OS in the near future. And Sony’s Android OS is immediately accessible to anyone with a Google account or an existing Android smartphone, which can be significant.

As an Android OS, Sony uses Google Assistant for voice integration. Some later TVs, starting at mid-tier points, also allow for features from Alexa. This lets you use your Smart TV to control other aspects of a smart home, such as the famous Ring doorbell cameras.

HDR Formats

HDR is typically a feature for high-tier TVs, but it’s worth considering if you’re looking to spend on the latest technology.

HDR helps interpret the TV’s data, enhancing it for darker or brighter environments and better on-screen textures.

Sony has a slight edge over Samsung in the HDR arena. However, neither brand (yet) has HDR auto-detection, meaning you have to set these items yourself.

Samsung uses its HDR10+ technology, which operates at 10 bits and 4,000 nits. Sony uses the better regarded Dolby Vision, which operates at 12 bits and 10,000 nits. Dolby Vision is the stellar performer here.

Additionally, not all channels recognize HDR settings. Dolby Vision is currently supported by more popular streaming apps than HDR10+, so you might want to consider what content you regularly consume before making your final decision.

Currently, HDR10+ is supported for Amazon Prime Video, but not Netflix or Apple TV+. All are compatible with Dolby Vision.

The User Interface for both brands is relatively intuitive, so setup is easy. Both brands offer low input lag and typically offer USB and HDMI ports. They both offer Wi-Fi support on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, and higher-end models use Bluetooth, including Bluetooth remotes.

Innovation

Sony and Samsung put a lot of energy into their new brand developments, and both brands are proactive, rather than reactive, with new technologies.

Sony is currently responsible for the first actual QD-OLED screen panel on the market.

Meanwhile, Samsung is introducing their Neo QLEDs and working on micro-LED technology to improve the viewing experience.

Samsung is also trying to get their QD-QLED screens to the market.

Both are working with the latest 8k technology.

Panel Technology

We are going back to the OLED vs. QLED panel technology issue. QLED is rarely found outside of Samsung ranges and uses quantum-dot technology to boost some aspects of its color performance.

Because OLED screens work via the individual pixels instead of an overall backlight, this gives them exceptional color accuracy and contrast.

You find true black colors, too, as they turn off the pixel to achieve it. It’s a very precise color setup that’s tough to beat if accuracy and natural colors are your goals.

This makes Sony the best choice for darker rooms or where color accuracy matters, while Samsung is better in bright spaces or where you prefer vivid color.

If you game on your TV, Sony’s OLED technology has a noted motion technology advantage over Samsung’s QLED.

While both are fast and responsive, OLED averages a 0.2-millisecond response, compared to 3.5 milliseconds on QLED. Samsung, however, offers G-synch and Free Sync for use with NVIDIA and RADEON graphics cards.

Both brands offer excellent glare protection. They use a glossy screen coating and typically reflect under 1.5% in a standard room.

Sound Technology

While both brands deliver a stable output superior to most other TV brands, Samsung takes the lead on sound technology with its ability to handle moderate bass and offer better sound separation for a more realistic experience.

Samsung uses Object Tracking Sound, or OTS, to add directional movement to their sound. It’s a software-based sound solution using drivers to deliver impact.

Sony uses its Acoustic Surface Audio technology in most of its sets. This sends a vibration through the panels, a feature that doesn’t work as well in reality as it does on paper. Sounds can be a little imprecise, although only true audiophiles will notice. 

Processors

Sony uses its in-house X1 processor in most TV sets. It’s a powerful processor deserving of its lofty claim of being ‘the best TV processor in action.’ It adapts in real-time, creating faithful color enhancement and excellent picture quality.

Samsung uses the Neo Quantum Processor. It competes very favorably with the X1 and is particularly spectacular in Samsung’s top-tier 4K and 8K sets. It makes use of AI upscaling to render images faithfully.

Durability and Lifespan

In design terms, Sony is a standout here. They’ve invested a lot in sleek, elegant designs, where Samsung can look pretty average.

However, this means Sony leans toward wafer-thin designs, which are not practical for every home in terms of robustness.

OLED screens can get ‘burn-in’ if they display a single image for a long time- think logos from menus, for example.

While it doesn’t occur in modern TVs with the frequency it once did, it still can be a factor that reduces the longevity of Sony’s panels.

Customer Service and Component Quality of Samsung and Sony TVs

Both Sony and Samsung have a reputation for excellent customer service. They typically provide 1-year warranties on their sets, although some high-end offerings might carry 3-years. 

Both brands are dedicated to delivering superior customer experience, so you’re likely to be satisfied with a TV from either brand.

Most TVs from either range will last at least five years and an average of seven years overall.

Conclusion

Both Sony and Samsung are great TV brands. You will likely want to choose between them based on nuances that matter to you, such as sound quality, gaming offerings, or specific HDR-compatible streaming.

Samsung:

  • Offers QLED screens with significant color volume
  • Performs fantastically in bright spaces but lacks color accuracy and viewing angle
  • The Tizen OS is clean and straightforward to use but compatible with fewer apps
  • Bixby voice assistant lags behind others, and it can be harder to use in an integrated smart home
  • Support for Google Assistant and Alexa is available
  • Typically kinder on price, especially in mid- and low-tiers

Sony:

  • Offers OLED screens that can almost compete with LG
  • Excellent color accuracy but performs best out of bright sunlight
  • Fantastic viewing angles
  • The Android OS on their Smart TVs is a little more cluttered but performs with the most extensive app range
  • Google Assistant and Alexa integration make a potent voice assistant combination
  • The audio does lack a little

Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with either, but what features you value the most will determine which way to go.