Sony TVs for 2021


2021 has been a year with a lot of firsts for TV manufacturers as they try to push current and new technologies for the crown of the best image quality. Sony is one of the big three and while they do not offer as extensive a lineup as Samsung and LG do, they have managed to turn more than a few heads and for good reason. So today in our Sony TVs for 2021 guide we will look deeper into what the Japanese manufacturer has in store for us this year.

Sony TVs for 2021 (Consumer Guide)

2021 saw Sony using for the first time the new brighter OLED panel in their flagship A90J but this is not the only new tech for 2021. Sony has been late in the HDMI 2.1 race but finally they decided to fully embrace it with many of their offerings using the latest ports but not without a few problems we will mention below.

And while the major focus is on the performance of the new panel that is equipped in the A90J Sony has also focused a major part of their marketing campaign on their new Cognitive Processor XR which from the looks of it brings major processing capabilities to the table.

One more major change this year is the adoption of Google TV in all of Sony’s releases and while fundamentally this is still Android TV, the extra layer of the Google TV UI give more emphasis on streaming and in general many prefer it to the slightly more cumbersome Android TV interface.

One thing that is missing this year from Sony is the new mini LED backlight system and it seems that they will continue to use the usual FALD and Edge LED backlights for the time being.

XR Master Series

For 2021 there are two models that make up their premium XR Master Series and these are considered the cream of the crop of what Sony has to offer today. And with the entire lineup consisting of a single 8K resolution unit as you can guess this is where this set, the Sony Z9J, belongs to. The other couldn’t be anything else other than their top OLED, the A90J.

Both of them bring the absolute best of what Sony has to offer with the Cognitive Processor XR taking center role while the Z9J uses the traditional FALD backlight system and the A90J the new brighter OLED panel. Both of them feature advanced sound systems, they have HDMI 2.1, come with the new Google TV and support both Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision.

The Z9J will come with X-Wide Angle and X-Anti Reflection technologies on the panel while on the software level we find Chromecast, Google Assistant, the new Bravia Core streaming service from Sony, Netflix Calibrated Mode in the Netflix app, Calman Ready for picture calibration while both of them are IMAX Enhanced certified.

Sony TVs for 2021 (Consumer Guide)

XR series

The XR series is their middle-tier category and here we find a single 4K OLED along with three 4K LED LCD TVs. For the A80J OLED the difference we find is that it is using the less bright, normal OLED panel that we have seen all the previous years but other than that there is not much difference between the two. It still uses the new Cognitive Processor XR, supports Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, uses the advanced Acoustic Surface Audio+ sound system and comes with the Google TV smart system.

Other features include the new Bravia Core streaming service, it’s IMAX Enhanced certified which also means DTS playback and pass-through and obviously comes with a couple of HDMI 2.1 for good measure.

On the LED LCD front there are a couple of TVs that goes the FALD way and with the same Cognitive Processor XR while only the X85J uses the less advanced Edge LED system and the less capable X1 processor. At least all of them support Google TV, Dolby Vision and HDMI 2.1 if gaming is an important thing for you.

UHD and budget friendly

Last but not least there are a couple of TVs that are for the most cost sensitive and this is the X80J which is the most affordable 4K TV Sony has on offer this year and the W800 which is curiously a 720p TV which is not common to see in 2021 anymore.

The X80J has been stripped of many advanced features found in the higher tier releases but at least it still supports Dolby Vision along with the new Google TV platform.

Sony TVs for 2021 (Consumer Guide)

New tech for 2021

Let’s now see what new features and technologies Sony brought to the table this year. We find some interesting additions both on a hardware level but also software based and it shows that while Sony is not keen on offering a huge selection of new TVs the ones that came out really push the envelope in their respective categories.

New brighter OLED panel

Up until now the only company that had managed to offer higher brightness in the OLED TVs was Panasonic. It seems this is going to change in 2021 as both LG with their G1 Evo and Sony with their A90J will up the competition in the premium segment.

The new A90J is able to push its OLED panel more in order to produce more brightness but by doing so it produces more heat meaning that some extra measures needed to be taken in order to dissipate the high temperature and keep the panel safe from damage. So a special heat sink was developed and this is what makes this unit so special.

We will be looking at the A90J in our pending review but as things are right now the A90J is a serious contender for being one of the best OLEDs you can go for this year. 

Sony TVs for 2021 (Consumer Guide)

Cognitive Processor XR

But while the improvements in the OLED panel is not something that is unique to Sony, the Japanese manufacturer has a lot to say about their proprietary CPU that handles most processing in the top and middle-tier units. Sony describes the Cognitive Processor XR as a new way of processing each image on screen.

According to Sony the Cognitive Processor XR divides the screen into hundreds of zones and recognizes individual objects in these zones better than ever before. What’s more, they can cross-analyze around a few hundred thousand different elements that make up a picture in a second, the same way that our brains work.

HDMI 2.1 and gaming features

HDMI 2.1 is not an entirely new thing for Sony. Last year Sony tested the waters with one 8K TV and one 4K TV using the latest ports, the Z8H and the X900H. So 2021 seems to be the year that Sony finally goes all in as all units in the XR Master Series and XR Series will feature 2 HDMI 2.1 ports.

If there is one area where Sony has dropped the ball is in some of the new gaming features that HDMI 2.1 brings with it as out of the box VRR is not supported and Sony has promised to bring this in a future firmware update.

Sony TVs for 2021 (Consumer Guide)

Google TV and Bravia Core

Sony TVs were always backing Google’s OS and while Android had a few rough starting years in the last few releases it has become a very stable smart TV platform but still remains behind Samsung’s Tizen and LG’s webOS. And while in 2021 all Sony TVs will get updated to the latest Android 10 it seems that Sony takes an extra step and introduces Google TV which is basically an extra layer on top of the Android TV we have known so far and offer a different UI experience that is mostly targeted to streaming and a more personal experience.

All the support that was available in the previous Android TV platforms continue with Google TV so you still get all your Netflix, HBO Max, Apple TV and the likes.

Closing

With the absence of mini LED tech on the Sony camp all eyes turned into the new improved OLED panel that came with the A90J and not without reason. As of this moment this is considered the most bright OLEDs on offer but this comes at a hefty price and remains to be seen if their marketing will work.

Sony TVs for 2021 (Consumer Guide)

As for everything else we cannot say we are surprised by what was released. The cognitive processor XR seems impressive both in numbers and in performance but we get a very nice boost in silicone performance every single year so we cannot say it took us by surprise. HDMI 2.1 may be relatively new to Sony but not for the other major players and specifically LG that has been at it for the last couple of years.

All in all it seems that Sony will have another solid year into their hands and although there are a few bumps like the promised HDMI 2.1 features in a future firmware update they made a lot of effort to present us with a lineup that looks to go a step further from what we got in 2020.

As always to keep things as simple as possible we have added comparison tables at the beginning and end of this guide in order to have a way of comparing between the most significant features of each new TV directly.

Before closing this part we should mention that you can check our dedicated TV reviews section for more reviews and articles which we will update as we manage to get our hands on these new releases. Also don’t lose the chance to subscribe to our Newsletter and gain exclusive privileges. So without further delay let’s analyze each model separately.


Sony TVs 2021


XR Master Series

Sony Z9J (8K LED LCD TV)

Sony Z9J - Sony TVs for 2021 consumer guide

Type : Flat

Sony is very careful with promoting 8K too much and this is very evident as the Z9J is the only 8K TV being made by them in 2021. And since Sony hasn’t decided to use the new mini LED backlight means that all their LED LCD offerings have to rely on the good old fashioned FALD systems for their backlight.

Being part of the Master series the Z9J comes with all the top tech from Sony as expected and as such we get the new Cognitive XR Processor, support for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, comes with a couple of HDMI 2.1 ports and features the new Google TV along with Sony’s new Bravia Core streaming service. In terms of audio we get Sony’s Acoustic Multi-Audio system while the TV is also IMAX Enhanced certified.

Unfortunately when it comes to sizes the Z9J is only available in 75″ and 85″ so these will certainly not come cheap for those interested.

Specifications
  • 8K resolution (7,680 x 4,320)
  • LED LCD display technology
  • FALD Backlight system
  • 100/120Hz frequency
  • Cognitive Processor XR
  • HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision support
  • Acoustic Multi-Audio
  • Google TV, Bravia Core, IMAX Enhanced
  • 2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0
  • ARC / eARC, VRR (needs firmware update), ALLM, HFR
  • WiFi5, Bluetooth

Sony A90J (4K OLED TV)

Sony A90J - Sony TVs for 2021 consumer guide

Type : Flat

The A90J is the other Master Series model and this one uses OLED technology instead. But Sony went a step further as the improved OLED panel being used in this one allows the A90J to go brighter than any other OLED in the previous years and it’s a technology first introduced by Panasonic a couple of years ago.

As for everything else we get all the same features we saw in the Z9J with the same Cognitive Processor XR, a 100/120Hz panel frequency for better motion, support for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, comes with two HDMI 2.1 ports with all their game centric features and uses Google TV with Bravia Core and IMAX Enhanced certification.

The A90J features a slightly different audio system as we get Sony’s better Acoustic Surface Audio+. As with all other TVs VRR is a feature that has been promised with a future firmware update but to be honest you shouldn’t hold your breath on this one.

The A90J will come in 55″ and 65″ as per usual but for the first time we will also be able to get an 83″ version for those who love to go big.

You can read our review of the Sony A90J HERE.

Specifications
  • 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160)
  • OLED display technology
  • 100/120Hz frequency
  • Cognitive Processor XR
  • HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision support
  • Acoustic Surface Audio+
  • Google TV, Bravia Core, IMAX Enhanced
  • 2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0
  • ARC / eARC, VRR (needs firmware update), ALLM, HFR
  • WiFi5, Bluetooth

XR Series

Sony A80J (4K OLED TV)

Sony A80J - Sony TVs for 2021 consumer guide

Type : Flat

The A80J is the second OLED being offered by Sony and the only major difference between this and its bigger brother is that this one uses the normal OLED panel instead of the brighter one so it’s more in line with what we have seen from OLED technology the last few years.

Everything else is exactly the same as in the A90J so if you are not willing to pay the premium price of that one, the A80J seems to be an excellent alternative. It will also come in 55″ and 65″ sizes but for this one Sony added a 77″ size also in order to cover the gap from the A90J.

For more information you can read our full analysis in our dedicated Sony A80J review.

Specifications
  • 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160)
  • OLED display technology
  • 100/120Hz frequency
  • Cognitive Processor XR
  • HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision support
  • Acoustic Surface Audio+
  • Google TV, Bravia Core, IMAX Enhanced
  • 2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0
  • ARC / eARC, VRR (needs firmware update), ALLM, HFR
  • WiFi5, Bluetooth

Sony X95J (4K LED LCD TV)

Sony X95J - Sony TVs for 2021 consumer guide

Type : Flat

We are entering LED LCD territory here and the X95J is the most advanced 4K LED LCD in Sony’s arsenal. The TV features all the bells and whistles we saw in the Z9J with the only downgrade being obviously the resolution. Everything else is exactly the same with a 100/120Hz FALD panel being used although we don’t know if the dimming zone numbers are the same or not.

The Cognitive Processor XR is again taking processing duties, it supports Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision and comes with a couple of HDMI 2.1 ports with all its new features except from VRR which is supposed to come at some point in the future. For audio we get the Acoustic Multi-Audio system while Google TV is used with full app support including Bravia Core. IMAX Enhanced certification is also present which means that we also get DTS support and pass-through.

This model will come in three sizes ranging from 65″ up to 85″.

Specifications
  • 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160)
  • LED LCD display technology
  • 100/120Hz frequency
  • FALD Backlight system
  • Cognitive Processor XR
  • HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision support
  • Acoustic Multi-Audio
  • Google TV, Bravia Core, IMAX Enhanced
  • 2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0
  • ARC / eARC, VRR (needs firmware update), ALLM, HFR
  • WiFi5, Bluetooth

Sony X90J (4K LED LCD TV)

Sony X90J - Sony TVs for 2021 consumer guide

Type : Flat

At first look the X90J doesn’t seem all that different from the X95J other than its design. And to be honest in terms of specs the two of them have little differences indeed. The only thing we cannot confirm at the moment is if the two of them are using the same number of dimming zones or not. Other than that the only real difference is that the X90J is loosing the X-Wide Angle and X-Anti Reflection technologies that can help with viewing angles and reflections in bright rooms.

As we get into more affordable price ranges the number of sizes offered increases and so the X90J comes in 50″, 55″, 65″ and 75″. Keep in mind that there is also an X91J in 85″ but looking at the specs it seems different from the others as that size is using the X1 processor instead.

You can read more of this TV in our Sony X90J review.

Specifications
  • 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160)
  • LED LCD display technology
  • 100/120Hz frequency
  • FALD Backlight system
  • Cognitive Processor XR
  • HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision support
  • Acoustic Multi-Audio
  • Google TV, Bravia Core, IMAX Enhanced
  • 2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0
  • ARC / eARC, VRR (needs firmware update), ALLM, HFR
  • WiFi5, Bluetooth

Sony X85J (4K LED LCD TV)

Sony X85J - Sony TVs for 2021 consumer guide

Type : Flat

The X95J and X90J may not have many differences between them but with the X85J we get many major downgrades. First of all the FALD system is dropped for the more affordable Direct LED one. Also this is the first TV that looses Sony’s advanced Cognitive XR processor and uses the good old X1 processor instead. Audio is also downgraded as we get a simple X-Balanced audio system while certain features have been completely removed like Bravia Core and IMAX Enhanced support.

At least we still get Google TV with its smart TV functionality and this is the most affordable Sony TV you can get that still has HDMI 2.1 ports with all its gaming features. The X85J comes in plenty of sizes ranging from 43″ all the way up to 85″.

Click on the Sony X85J review link for our full analysis.

Specifications
  • 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160)
  • LED LCD display technology
  • 100/120Hz frequency
  • Direct LED Backlight system
  • X1 Processor
  • HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision support
  • X-Balanced audio system
  • Google TV
  • 2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0
  • ARC / eARC, VRR (needs firmware update), ALLM, HFR
  • WiFi5, Bluetooth

UHD and the rest

Sony X80J (4K LED LCD TV)

Sony X80J - Sony TVs for 2021 consumer guide

Type : Flat

Next comes the X80J and this is the most affordable 4K TV Sony has on offer for 2021. The X80J comes with a few distinct differences compared to the X85J and the most notable ones are the use of a 50/60Hz frequency panel with a Direct LED backlight system, we loose HDMI 2.1 completely and obviously all the new gaming features this brought.

At least the TV still gets eARC functionality along with Dolby Vision and Google TV. You can find this model in five different sizes from 43″ to 75″.

You can read our full analysis of this unit in our Sony X80J Review.

Specifications
  • 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160)
  • LED LCD display technology
  • 50/60 Hz frequency
  • Direct LED Backlight system
  • X1 Processor
  • HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision support
  • X-Balanced audio system
  • Google TV
  • 4 x HDMI 2.0
  • ARC / eARC
  • WiFi5, Bluetooth

Sony W800 (HD LED LCD TV)

Sony W800 - Sony TVs for 2021 consumer guide

Type : Flat

The Sony W800 is a bit of an odd one. In a time where 4K TVs are the norm seeing a low cost HD TV with 720p resolution is not something usual. Sony plans to sell this one in selected markets and is considered a dirty cheap solution for those looking for a TV to just do the job without any major requirements.

And looking from the specs we get the absolute basics with an Edge LED backlight system and 50/60Hz panel frequency while Bravia Engine is used for processing. Dolby Vision is dropped but there is still HDR10 and HLG support. We also loose Google TV and we have to settle with the core Android TV experience instead. There are three HDMI 2.0 ports available while there is only ARC support here.

The TV will come in a single size at 32″.

Specifications
  • HD resolution (720p)
  • LED LCD display technology
  • 50/60 Hz frequency
  • Edge LED Backlight system
  • Bravia Engine
  • HDR10 and HLG support
  • 2.0 channels audio system
  • Android TV
  • 3 x HDMI 2.0
  • ARC
  • WiFi4, Bluetooth

Sony TVs 2021


Sony TVs for 2021 (Consumer Guide)

4 thoughts on “Sony TVs for 2021”

  1. I was looking for a low cost TV for my bedroom and since I am not asking for much the X80J seems like a good choice. Does it support streaming services? I am using a couple of them when relaxing in bed and it would be nice to have them built-in as my old TV right now uses an external streamer for that.

    Reply
    • Hello Nina. Yes, the X80J comes with Google TV and all supported streaming apps so no worries there. You can check out our full review on the X80J we did recently.

      Reply
  2. I was always a Sony fan but last year I was a bit hesitant to go for a new one. I like the A90J but the promised VRR is bugging me. This should be a feature working from the start. Is there any news when Sony plans to roll out the update for the HDMI 2.1 features?

    Reply
    • Hello Michael. As I wrote in the article Sony had promised even from last year an update for some of their 2020 TVs and we are still waiting. My suggestion is always to choose a TV with the features that are supported out of the box. Because when something is promised you never know when this will arrive and it can be a long time in the waiting.

      Reply

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