While both Sony and Samsung names unquestionably stand for superb quality and maintain an outstanding reputation in the industry, your overall experience can vary depending on which brand you opt for. From panel technology to image processors and sound quality, there are distinct differences in which technologies the two brands focus on.
Taking this into account, we’ve created this comprehensive Sony vs Samsung TV comparison article to help you choose one over the other based on your individual preferences and requirements.
Sony vs Samsung TV – Quick Comparison
The Sony Group Corporation is a Japanese conglomerate founded in 1946. It operates as one of the largest manufacturers of consumer and professional electronic products. When it comes to the TV market, Sony is the third-largest television manufacturer in the world by annual sales figures. More impressively, this company is the world’s biggest name in the premium TV market, particularly for $2,500+ TV sets.
Samsung’s reputation stretches slightly further to the pre-WWII period, as it was founded in 1938 in South Korea. Today, Samsung is the largest conglomerate in South Korea and the 8th highest-valued brand in the world. It has been the leading LCD TV manufacturer for over a decade and a half.
Features Face to Face
One of the principal differences between these two brands boils down to panel technology. In this context, Sony TVs employ OLED (organic LED) technology, while Samsung TVs use QLED (quantum-dot LED) technology.
Samsung’s QLED technology enables their TVs to get extremely bright and produce high-impact images. Conversely, Sony’s OLED panels are generally dimmer but achieve a much more natural color contrast. These differences shouldn’t take away the fact that both are highly impressive premium panel technologies, and you can’t go wrong regardless of which you choose.
Most modern Sony processors come with the manufacturer’s in-house X1 processor. The company advertises it as “The best TV processor in action” and with powerful processing capabilities, they’re not far from the truth. The X1 processor analyzes content in real-time to faithfully enhance colors and deliver the best possible picture quality.
On the other hand, Samsung TVs use the Neo Quantum Processor. This processor offers very similar capabilities to the X1 and especially excels in the manufacturer’s high-end 4K and 8K TV sets. The Neo Quantum Processor uses advanced AI upscaling to deliver beautiful images.
Both manufacturers deliver excellent motion technology in most of their models. However, Sony TVs have a noticeable edge across the board in this category. They offer near-instantaneous response times that Samsung TVs simply can’t match. The motion looks very smooth on all Sony TVs, and there are minimal motion artifacts.
Most Sony and Samsung models deliver full pixel transition within ten milliseconds. That said, some high-end Sony TVs like the A90J OLED and the A80J OLED can fully transition from one color to another in just three milliseconds.
As two of the top three largest television manufacturers in the world, Sony and Samsung offer a diverse lineup of models varying in picture quality. Considering this, we need to compare the two brands across half a dozen key picture quality classifications. Let’s go over each category one by one:
Contrast Ratio / Black Level
Samsung TVs offer an outstanding native contrast ratio and can produce deep and rich blacks. They’re able to further improve this with local dimming settings enabled.
Nevertheless, Samsung TVs still fall behind Sony sets in this category, as Sony’s OLED panels can produce a near-infinite contrast ratio. This allows these TVs to deliver inky blanks when you’re watching content in a dark or dim environment.
Although local dimming features can differ from model to model, you can go by a simple rule of thumb when picking a Sony or Samsung TV. Sony TVs come without a backlight and, therefore, without a local dimming feature. This is because their near-infinite contrast enables them to turn each pixel on and off individually. This ability means that Sony TVs are better performers in this category.
As for Samsung TVs, you can expect most models to include a full-array backlight with local dimming features. This setup dramatically improves the native contrast ratio and makes blacks appear deeper when you’re watching in the dark. Some Samsung TVs struggle with blooming issues around bright objects and subtitles.
Regardless of which price range you compare these two brands, Samsung TVs will perform better in this category than Sony models. To get a better feel of exactly how much Samsung outperforms Sony in this category, we’ve drafted a comparison table featuring two similarly-priced models, the Sony X950H and the Samsung Q90T:
|Peak Brightness Measure
|SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
|Around 600 cd/m²
|SDR Peak 2% Window
|Around 880 cd/m²
|Around 1150 cd/m²
|SDR Sustained 100% Window
|Around 530 cd/m²
|HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
|Less than 1000 cd/m²
|HDR Peak 2% Window
|Around 1170 cd/m²
|HDR Sustained 100% Window
|Around 630 cd/m²
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Sony and Samsung TVs offer equally great color volumes and color gamuts. Most models from these two manufacturers have impressive coverage of the DCI P3 color space and at least solid coverage of the wider Rec 2020 color space. Like most LED TVs from other manufacturers, Sony and Samsung can’t produce very bright blues but excellently display dark and saturated colors.
OLED TV panels generally support better viewing angles than their QLED counterparts in the same price range. That said, it’s difficult to give either TV brand an edge in this category, primarily because performance can fluctuate considerably depending on the specific model. You can get models with viewing angles ranging from very good to below average, but none of the Sony or Samsung TV sets offer exceptional viewing angles.
Both manufacturers have made an effort to develop an in-house technology that improves viewing angles. In Sony’s case, this comes in the form of an “X-Wide Angle” layer. For Samsung, this is the “Ultra Viewing Angle” layer. Both improve viewing angles by spreading the light uniformly across the display surface to minimize brightness loss and gamma shifts.
Reflections / Anti-glare
Even though Sony uses OLED panel technology and Samsung uses QLED panels, most TVs from both brands have equally exceptional reflection handling properties. This is because most Sony and Samsung TVs come with a glossy screen finish, which is the preferred coating for handling ambient light. While specific reflection percentages vary from model to model, most TV sets will reflect around 1.5% or less of total light in all directions.
Audio quality has often played second fiddle to picture quality, although this has slowly changed recently. Sony and Samsung are undoubtedly at the forefront of this trend with their Acoustic Surface Audio and Object Tracking Sound technologies. However, comparing these two technologies, it’s hard to give either an edge, as both are very innovative and change the way the TV panels emit sound.
Looking at the more budget-friendly Sony and Samsung TV sets, it’s even more challenging to make a distinction. Generally speaking, both brands deliver sets with solid sound quality and bass power, so they are equally good in this category.
Smart TV (Operating System)
All modern Samsung TVs that have a Smart TV feature utilize the proprietary Tizen OS. By comparison, Sony TVs use the generic Google TV or Android TV smart operating system you can find in most TV brands that don’t create their own Smart TV software. Here’s a detailed table illustrating the key OS features of both brands:
|Google TV / Android TV
|Ease of Use
To get the best value for your money, you need to ensure that the connectivity properties are on par with the picture quality and audio quality as the two most essential traits. As Sony and Samsung are among the most innovative TV manufacturers on the market, we can always count on them to deliver strong connectivity features.
With this in mind, we’ll compare the two brands through three main connectivity categories that can significantly impact the overall user experience. These include input specifications, voice assistants, and supported wireless technologies.
The availability of TV inputs can vary significantly between two models from the same brand, let alone two separate brands. Because of this, comparing the two brands holistically wouldn’t produce reliable results.
So, to better understand what kind of input specifications you can expect for your money, we’ll compare two specific models in a similar price range. We’ll use two high-end TV sets in this particular comparison, the Sony A90J and the Samsung QN90A. Here’s how they compare in terms of input specifications:
|4 HDMI 2.0 Ports
|4 HDMI 2.0 Ports
|3 USB 2.0 Ports
|2 USB 2.0 Ports
|Digital Optical Audio Out
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|Check Price on Amazon
Moreover, in a comprehensive comparison of Sony vs Samsung models, it’s important to mention that both brands excel at delivering very low input lag for most of their TV sets. Of course, this can differ depending on the specific model, but both manufacturers generally offer above-average input lag for all supported resolutions.
Depending on which Sony or Samsung model you decide to purchase, you can expect convenient voice assistant features that enable more streamlined and enjoyable use. In this regard, Sony Smart TVs often come with a remote with a dedicated button for Google Assistant. This is a very capable voice assistant that allows you to open up apps, switch between connection ports or look up content, among many other things.
Most Samsung TVs come with the manufacturer’s recognizable small remote with a built-in microphone for voice control through Bixby. This voice assistant enables you to use your voice to open apps, control media content, change the volume and channel, and give other basic commands.
Moreover, Sony and Samsung TVs can gather and analyze all information from all other devices connected to your TV and recommend personalized content. Additionally, both brands also allow you to set up voice control features through Amazon Alexa.
Both Sony and Samsung TVs come with the same wireless technology. In this regard, Wi-Fi support is a must on all Smart TV models, with standard 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz support. Medium range and higher-end sets from both brands offer Bluetooth support.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies are pretty much identical across all TV brands. So, this aspect shouldn’t play a significant factor when you’re choosing between a Sony and Samsung model.
In addition to the general features, both brands have some standout features worth keeping in mind. The most notable standout feature Sony TVs have over their Samsung counterparts is the availability of the Dolby Vision mastered content format. Samsung TVs do not support Dolby Vision due to additional licensing fees and manufacturing costs. That said, they do come with HDR10+, a similarly enhanced version of HDR10.
On Samsung’s part, the most significant standout characteristics pertain to gaming features. Samsung TVs often include FreeSync and G-SYNC implementations, so owners of Radeon and NVIDIA graphics cards can enjoy a better variable refresh rate range. Even the more expensive Sony models rarely come with VRR support, while the majority of modern Samsung Smart TVs offer this feature.
Although Samsung TVs are among the most expensive ones on the market, they are the more budget-friendly choice in this Sony vs Samsung comparison. This is primarily because Samsung TVs come with the company’s proprietary QLED technology and use a less expensive audio system.
All of these factors enable Samsung to often offer models at lower prices than Sony TV sets. That said, if you’re not bound by your budget, Sony TVs are well worth the price and offer excellent value for money.
As you’ve probably noted from the detailed comparisons in this Sony vs Samsung TV article, neither TV significantly outperforms the other one across all categories. Because of this, it’s very challenging to say which is the better brand of the two. Instead, it’s better to observe it in the context of which brand is more suitable for what specific purpose.
From this perspective, Sony TVs are the preferable option if you’re looking for strong picture upscaling abilities and impeccable motion technology. They also often have better sound quality than Samsung models, especially when it comes to high-end models.
In contrast, most Samsung TVs offer VRR, G-SYNC, and FreeSync compatibility, making them a much more favorable choice for gamers. Additionally, many Samsung TVs come with the “Ultra Viewing Angle” layer, which helps improve off-center viewing. Hopefully, taking these factors into consideration helps you pick the more fitting brand based on your needs and preferences.