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23 Jun 2021

Has LG, Samsung or Sony made the best high-end TV of 2021?

Three top of the range TVs from three giant brands should all be good, but only one can be best

TV brands release dozens of models each year. Some are massive, some are cheap, some are small and some are expensive. While we're excited to see how every TV does in our lab, there's something so tantalising about a top of the range set.

Laden with features, with meticulously tuned speakers, expertly calibrated displays and sleek designs; these TVs represent the best of what each manufacturer is capable.

In 2021 these TVs are:

  • LG OLED55G16LA
  • Samsung QE55QN95A
  • Sony XR-55A90J

Top five TVs for 2021 - see our favourite sets released this year and some excellent value models still available from 2020.

LG OLED55G16LA, Samsung QE55QN95A and Sony XR-55A90J compared

Although these TVs are available in a range of sizes, we've chosen the 55-inch models to compare prices.

LG OLED55G16LASamsung QE55QN95ASony XR-55A90J
Screen typeOLED evoNeo QLEDOLED
HDR formats supportedHDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, Dolby Vision IQHDR10, HLG, HDR10+HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Screen refresh rate120Hz120Hz120Hz
Sound processingAI Sound ProObject Tracking Sound+Acoustic Surface Audio+
HDMI inputsFour (including HDMI eARC)Four (including HDMI eARC)Four (including HDMI eARC)

The changes to the basic OLED and QLED panel technology found in the LG and Samsung means there's a bigger difference than unusual between these high-end sets.

So lets see what makes these models special.

Viewing angle TV test sowing heat map of the scree

What makes the LG OLED55G16LA stand out?


LG OLED evo panel

LG has been making OLEDs for years, but in 2021 they evolved. Well, evolved might be a stretch, but with LG calling its new range OLED evo, it's certainly hinting at it.

The display is fundamentally the same. Each pixel creates its own light, so there's no backlight, but OLED evo displays are brighter than traditional OLED ones. LG says it's sharper, too.

Learn more about OLED TV and see our favourite models - what is OLED TV and the best OLED TVs to buy.

Gallery design

It's designed to be wall mounted, so much so that it doesn't even come with a table stand (one is available separately). It can display various works of art while you're not watching it to help it blend into your room.

LG hasn't gone quite as far as Samsung does with its Frame range, which has - you guessed it - a frame around the screen. So it's not quite as inconspicuous, but it's a good looking TV nevertheless.

Read our LG OLED55G16LA review to see if OLED evo makes a big difference to the picture.

What makes the Samsung QE55QN95A stand out?

Samsung QE55QN95A 4K QLED TV

Samsung Neo QLED panel

LG isn't the only brand making changes to established panel technology, but Samsung's is more dramatic. QLED TVs have quantum dots to create more vibrant colours, but still have backlights like LCD TVs.

The bulbs in backlights mean it can be harder for backlit TVs to control contrast and what areas of the screen are lit, which is why Samsung has shrunk the size of the LEDs in the backlight. Neo QLED TVs have more of them as a result. This should improve the contrast and get it closer to what an OLED can manage.

Find out more about QLED - see what is QLED and the best QLED TVs to buy.

Hidden wires

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that cables are bad. They're ugly, they somehow get tangled despite remaining motionless for years and you're probably going to have several sticking out the back of your TV.

Not out the back of the QN95 you won't. It has one, thin, transparent cable that connects to a separate connections box, which is where the HDMI and USB ports are. You can tuck this box, and anything connected to it, easily out of sight.

Can Neo QLED panels compete with OLEDs for contrast? Read our Samsung QE55QN95A review to find out.

What makes the Sony XR-55A90J stand out?

Sony XR-55A90J 4K OLED TV

Sony XR puts in the work

It's at the heart of everything on Sony's flagship OLED - from colour and clarity to sound and upscaling. It's the cognitive intelligence in the XR processor that really shows ambition, though.

Sony says it understands how people think and view things (bit creepy) and it tunes the picture accordingly. Surely a TV that understands how humans view things should have the most lifelike picture, right?

Bravia Core

You don't just get a TV with the A90J, you're getting a new streaming service, too. You get 10 credits to rent new films for free and access to all the other content for 24 months.

We weren't exactly clamoring for another streaming service to add to the ever-expanding list, but free is free.

Does all this XR make the A90J Xtra good? Our Sony XR-55A90J review has the answer.