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Best OLED TV 2021: 6 unmissable TVs from LG, Sony and more

Best OLED TV 2021
(Image credit: Sony)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best OLED TVs of 2021 are the titans of today’s TV tech. Each of these TVs boast the most vivid, true-to-life colors that most of us will ever have seen on a screen – at least one inside our homes. 

Thanks to the advanced OLED (organic LED) panel technology, the best OLED TVs offer brilliantly cinematic picture quality, with the likes of Sony, Panasonic and LG all making it the technology of choice for their premium television ranges. 

You're paying some of a price premium over traditional LED, and some QLED TVs out there are certainly offering some stiff competition, but the best OLED TVs have certainly taken a strong hold of the market.

What’s more, new sizing options are vastly expanding consumer choice when it comes to which of the best OLED TVs will suit you. While we saw the 48-inch OLED arrive in 2020, we know that even more compact 42-inch OLED TVs are coming this year, alongside a new super-sized 83-inch option that’ll be available for select sets.

In the guide below we’ve selected a range of the best OLED TVs that cover different price points and features. With each selected model we’ve explained why we picked it – and any flaws it may have. 

Keep in mind that this OLED TV guide will change as 2021 progresses, once we've had the chance to review incoming models like the Panasonic JZ2000, Sony A90J, or entry-level LG A Series OLED. We have a quick run-down of the OLED technology in the video below too.

Best OLED TVs of 2021: ranked

best OLED TV

(Image credit: LG)

1. Best OLED TV: LG C1 Series

New for 2021, the LG C1 OLED is the current king of TVs

Specifications
Screen size: 48-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 77-inch
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: webOS
HDR: HDR, HLG, Dolby Vision
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful 4K/HDR picture+Four HDMI 2.1 ports+WebOS is fantastic
Reasons to avoid
-Reflective glass surface-No HDR10+

If you only remember one TV from this list, make it the LG C1 OLED. This iterative update to the beloved LG CX may not reinvent the wheel, but it does continue its legacy of high-performing picture in an excellent all-round package.

One thing that is new is the a9 Gen 4 chipset, which adds in AI processing to between distinguish between objects and their backgrounds – something that's at the heart of a lot of advancements in today's TV market. This stellar OLED TV packs in four dedicated HDMI 2.1 ports (ideal fo next-gen gaming) and even comes with a new Game Optimiser menu that gives you the option to quickly adjust brightness, contrast and VRR on the fly. Phew!

The LG C1 isn’t flawless, as we did encounter issues around how the new a9 Gen 4 processor upscales faces, and how reflective the all-glass screen is during daylight hours, but the issues are few and far between.

There are, of course, higher resolution TVs out there right now like the LG Z1 OLED, which offers 8K resolution, and the new LG G1 Gallery Series that uses the coveted OLED evo panels that offer better brightness. However, we feel that the LG C1 OLED offers the best blend of price and performance and should be high up on your list for potential OLED TVs to buy in 2021 and beyond.

Read the full review: LG C1 OLED

best OLED TV

(Image credit: Pansonic)

2. Runner up: Panasonic HZ2000 (UK)

A true home cinema experience, and one of the best OLED TVs ever made

Specifications
Screen size: 55-inch, 65-inch
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: My Home Screen 5.0
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Reasons to buy
+Sensational OLED picture+Dolby Atmos sound system
Reasons to avoid
-No HDMI 2.1-Not sold in US

Putting this set at number two was a tough call, because the Panasonic HZ2000 is definitely in the running for the best OLED TV released in the past year. What a shame, then, that you can't find it in the US – though UK readers will be happy to know they can get the HZ2000 into their home.

Panasonic released a number of new OLEDs in the past year, including the HZ1000, HZ1500, and an entry-level HZ980 model – but its the HZ2000 that shows the TV brand at its best. It has a custom OLED panel that elevates the already-incredible picture to new heights, putting Panasonic's experience in the world of master monitors to brilliant use.

Pictures on the HZ2000 are never less than cinematic. Peak HDR highlights are delivered with brilliant restraint, adding depth and detail to shadows and night scenes, and gifting vibrancy to daylight and complex lighting.

Handling much of the heavy lifting is the brand’s HCX Pro Intelligent processor, first seen on last year’s GZ2000 flagship. It’s distinguished by an ability to deliver bright, saturated colours and huge contrast, even in brightly-lit scenes.

The sound won't let you down, either: with 140W Dolby Atmos speakers and upward-firing drivers – tuned by Technics – bringing you the closest you can get to the cinema in your own living room. Keep an eye out for 2021's JZ2000 model, though, which adds in side-firing speakers for an all-angles audio blast.

Prices start at £2,299 for the 55-inch model, and go up to £3,299 for the 65-inch – but if you can afford it, you won't be disappointed.

Read the full review: Panasonic HZ2000 4K OLED TV

best OLED TV

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Motion master: Sony A8/A8H OLED TV

Sony's new A8 is an outstanding OLED TV

Specifications
Screen size: 55-inch, 65-inch
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: Android TV
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Reasons to buy
+Good sound quality+Ultra-wide viewing angles
Reasons to avoid
-No HDR10+ support-Android TV can frustrate

Finally, the Sony A9G OLED got knocked off its perch. Sony's A8/A8H OLED TV takes everything we love about Sony's premium TVs and repackages it at a more reasonable price point.

You're getting premium OLED picture performance, with Sony’s top-line X1 Ultimate processor, Sony’s Pixel Contrast Booster (for more intense image highlights), and a new OLED version of the X-Motion Clarity feature Sony initially developed for its FALD LCD TVs. 

The impressive sound system, too, combines a two-subwoofer bass system with screen-shaking Acoustic Surface Audio tech, making for a real treat as a TV to watch movies and TV shows. If you can deal with the slightly low brightness, you'll get to experience some of the most refined pictures of any OLED TV to date.

In terms of price, the 55-inch model comes in at $1,899 / £1,799, while the larger 65-inch comes in at $2,799 / £2,799.

Keep an eye out for the incoming Sony A80J OLED, or the new A90J OLED flagship, to see if their new Cognitive XR processor can improve on this excellent model.

Read the full review: Sony A8H OLED TV

best OLED TV

(Image credit: Vizio)

4. Best value OLED TV: Vizio H1 OLED (US)

This often-on-sale OLED from Vizio is cheap, with some caveats

Specifications
Screen size: 55-inch, 65-inch
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: SmartCast
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Reasons to buy
+Stunning 4K HDR pictures+Cheaper than LG OLED
Reasons to avoid
-Not that bright-HDMI 2.1 ports don't work

The new Vizio OLED TV – officially called the H1 – is a cheaper alternative to the more premium screens that LG and Sony have been producing for the past few years. For folks who don’t want to spend a fortune, the Vizio OLED has most of the same key features and it offers largely similar performance as other OLEDs for hundreds of dollars less.

Of course, as an OLED screen, the Vizio OLED has both some big advantages (and a few flaws) worth pointing out up front. In the former category we have exceptional black levels and extremely thin chassis, the other benefits of OLED being the exceptional contrast and wider viewing angles that most folks can appreciate. The downside is that OLEDs in general aren’t as bright as their LED-LCD counterparts, and Vizio’s OLED in particular is dimmer than most.

Compounding the problems of the TV is Vizio’s SmartCast platform, which is missing a few key apps, while some HDMI issues prevent the TV from displaying any images from a PS5 (in our tests, at least) or showing off Xbox Series X games at anything higher than 60Hz. Upscaling isn't stellar, either, and in general this set fares far better with 4K HDR sources than grainy HD.

Some of these issues may be fixed in firmware updates, though, and the Vizio OLED is also often on sale, bringing its $1,399 price tag (for the 55-inch size) down as low as $899. For that price, it's still a set to be kept in mind.

Read more: Vizio OLED 4K TV review

best OLED TV

(Image credit: Philips)

5. Best feature: Philips OLED 805 (UK)

Gorgeous Ambilight colors with an OLED panel? Count us in

Specifications
Screen size: 55-inch, 65-inch
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: Android TV
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Reasons to buy
+Lovely design+Immersive Ambilight
Reasons to avoid
-No Freeview Play-Android TV issues

The Philips OLED 805 is a winning combination of excellent picture quality, powerful processing, and lovely build quality – but it's the Ambilight feature that's the real star of the show here.

Ambilight projects a cornucopia of colors around the edges of the television, and this 805 model can do so from three sides – not quite the four-sided Ambilight of the flagship OLED+935, but still plenty to create an immersive light show.

But the 805 OLED isn't just for show: thanks to Philips' beefy P5 Picture processor, its able to give real force to OLED images, with enhanced contrast and spectacular colors – even when upscaling from HD/SDR. Philips improves on last year's 804 model too with both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support, meaning you won't have to choose between a dynamic HDR format.

There isn't Apple TV app support, though – and the Android smart TV platform can feel unwieldy at times. The lack of Freeview Play, too, can be frustrating for UK viewers, without catch-up provision for the likes of ITV and BBC. Overall, though, it's a small price to pay for what's on offer.

Read the full review: Philips OLED 805

best OLED TV

(Image credit: LG)

A premium OLED TV that reaches for the light

Specifications
Screen size: 55-inch, 65-inch, 77-inch
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: webOS
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Reasons to buy
+Outstanding contrast+Impressively thin design
Reasons to avoid
-No stand included-Sound system struggles with bass

After something a bit more stylish? The LG G1 OLED is a knockout television that builds on the sleek design of last year's Gallery Series OLED and somehow makes it better.

The real hero here is LG's new OLED evo technology, which updates the panel structure to eke out even more brightness – without increasing blooming effects or, we're told, the chance of burn-in. The LG G1 looks to be a real revolution for the OLED TV maker, then, and certainly offers an upgrade over the cheaper LG C1 OLED – unlike last year, when the CX and GX models were worlds apart in price but effectively offered the same picture performance.

It's an expensive set, and the Dolby Atmos sound system isn't the best for bass – something that will effect all the other LG OLEDs in this guide. But the breathtakingly slim design makes it a real centerpiece television, with the contrast and color benefits of OLED pushed to new, lighting-enhanced heights. The new a9 Gen 4 AI processor is even more capable of smartly upscaling and processing onscreen objects, too, with motion processing in particular getting an upgrade.

Watch out though: the G1 is really designed to be wall-mounted, and it won't come with a TV stand or feet out of the box. You can buy a floorstanding Gallery Stand alongside, or find a third-party solution for placing on a counter, though.

Read more: LG G1 OLED TV review

Best OLED TV competitors: what else is out there?

OLED is, for many, the premium TV tech of the moment. Though once weighed down by inaccessible price points, a flurry of cheaper mid-range OLEDs and smaller panel sizes has helped bring OLED closer to the mass market.

However, it's not the only option out there. Samsung's competing QLED televisions outperform for brightness, while the introduction of Mini LED backlights has only improved light emission and overall contrast – the areas that OLED generally has the upper hand with, thanks to its per-pixel brightness control.

For those with truly cash to splash, you'll be choosing between a high-end OLED TV and Micro LED – a self-emissive panel technology that Samsung has leant into in recent times, but which has proved difficult to offer either affordably or at mainstream sizing (76-inch is the smallest we've seen so far, as of 2021). Samsung's plans to offer QD-OLED hybrids could spell trouble for tradition OLED manufacturing too – as could TCL's plans to manufacture its own inkjet OLED TV panels at a significant price reduction over traditional OLED production methods.

It's a more complicated picture than simply OLED, then, though for deep blacks and true-to-life color – at a size you can actually get into the average living room – OLED may still be the best choice