With both Sony and Samsung offering OLED TV models, you may be wondering how they stack up. As a friend recently in the market for a new OLED TV, I‘ve done tons of research to identify the key differences between these two top brands.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll compare Sony vs Samsung OLED televisions across 6 major factors:
- OLED panel types
- Available screen sizes
- Design and build quality
- HDR format support
- Smart TV operating systems
- Gaming performance
I‘ll also summarize the unique pros and cons of each brand and provide my verdict on which provides the best value. Let‘s dive in!
OLED (organic light emitting diode) TVs are considered the gold standard display technology today. Their self-emitting pixels produce perfect blacks, vibrant images, and excellent viewing angles.
Both Sony and Samsung offer high-performing OLED televisions. But they take different approaches when it comes to panel types, screen sizes, formats, operating systems and more.
In most categories, Sony offers greater choice while Samsung focuses on performance and value. For example, Sony has OLED TVs ranging from 42" up to 83", while Samsung sticks to 55" and 65". Samsung uses their proprietary QD-OLED panels exclusively for better brightness and color.
Overall, Samsung QD-OLED TVs edge out Sony in pure display quality metrics. But Sony‘s flexibility and gaming-centric features make them a better fit depending on your priorities.
Now let‘s take a deeper look at how Sony and Samsung OLED TVs compare across 6 key factors:
OLED Panel Types
The panel technology behind an OLED TV significantly impacts picture quality. Sony relies on traditional WOLED panels but also offers QD-OLED in its A95K model. Samsung uses QD-OLED panels exclusively.
WOLED (white OLED) was the original OLED tech, combining a white OLED substrate with color filters to create RGB pixels. WOLED televisions like Sony‘s A80K and A90K series excel at contrast thanks to perfect pixel-level dimming. But they max out at around 800 nits peak brightness.
QD-OLED takes image quality a leap further by integrating a quantum dot layer. Quantum dots act as a semiconductor nanocrystal color-conversion layer. This allows QD-OLED televisions to achieve up to 1000 nits peak brightness for punchier HDR.
Based on lab test measurements, Samsung‘s QD-OLED TVs match or exceed Sony‘s newest WOLED TVs in color volume, contrast, viewing angles, motion clarity and overall image accuracy. The quantum dot layer gives them better vibrancy and luminosity.
According to display expert Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies, Samsung‘s QD-OLED implementation "significantly outperforms" traditional WOLED panels. Reviewers universally agree that QD-OLED is a serious upgrade over WOLED.
For the pinnacle of OLED image quality right now, Samsung QD-OLED is the technology to beat. WOLED TVs still look amazing, but QD-OLED takes things up a notch.
|Specs||Samsung QD-OLED||Sony A95K QD-OLED||Sony A90K WOLED|
|Peak Brightness||1000 nits||850 nits||800 nits|
|Color Volume||107% DCI-P3||99% DCI-P3||95% DCI-P3|
|Black Level||0.000 nits||0.000 nits||0.000 nits|
Screen Size Options
One area where Sony has a definite advantage is screen size diversity. Their 2022 OLED TV lineup includes:
- 42-inch, 48-inch (A80K)
- 55-inch, 65-inch (A80K, A90K)
- 77-inch, 83-inch (A80K)
Samsung‘s S95B OLED TV is currently limited to just two sizes:
If you want a compact OLED under 50 inches or an extra-large OLED over 70 inches, Sony is your only option. Their wide range suits small rooms or giant family rooms. Samsung may expand their OLED line, but right now Sony provides way more flexibility.
Design and Build Quality
Premium OLED TVs should offer a design as stunning as their picture quality. Both Sony and Samsung deliver stylish, well-built OLED TV models.
Their flagship OLED TVs are impressively slim – just a fraction over 1.5 inches deep. Bezels are trimmed down to be virtually unnoticeable when viewing content. The panel thickness enables exciting new form factors too, like LG‘s rollable OLED TV.
Build quality is rock-solid thanks to metal stands and high-end materials on both brands. Assembly and component quality lives up to their flagship TV status.
In terms of aesthetics, Samsung‘s "AirSlim" OLED TV has an especially light, minimalist style. Sony‘s monolithic slab look is a bit more imposing. Stand designs range from utilitarian metal feet up to swiveling stands.
If wall-mounting, Samsung TVs offer "No Gap Wall Mount" for a super flush fit. But Sony‘s flush mount is similarly seamless. Overall, build quality and design is excellent across the board, catering to various interior design tastes.
|Specs||Samsung 65" S95B||Sony 65" A95K|
|Depth (w/o stand)||1.61"||1.69"|
|Stand design||Central, angular||Wide feet|
|Weight (w/o stand)||44.9 lbs||44.3 lbs|
HDR Format Support
To enjoy 4K movies and shows with enhanced contrast and color, OLED TVs must support high dynamic range content. When it comes to HDR format support, there are some key differences between Sony vs Samsung.
Sony OLED TVs are compatible with:
- Dolby Vision
Samsung OLED TVs work with:
The main difference comes down to Dolby Vision vs HDR10+. Sony TVs support Dolby Vision while Samsung supports HDR10+ instead. Both formats use dynamic metadata for scene-by-scene adjustments to picture settings.
Dolby Vision is more widely adopted by movie studios and streaming services. Disney+, Netflix, Apple TV+ and Vudu rely on Dolby Vision for their HDR content.
HDR10+ is championed by Samsung and finds support on Prime Video, YouTube, Rakuten and other services. All HDR televisions support baseline HDR10 as well.
There are outstanding OLED TVs from LG that cover both major HDR formats. But between Sony vs Samsung, picking up Dolby Vision or HDR10+ support comes down to which streaming services and devices you use most. Both are high quality HDR formats that offer significant improvements over standard HDR10.
Smart TV Operating System
A smart TV platform turns your television into a connected entertainment hub. Sony based their smart TV software on Google‘s Android TV OS, now called Google TV. Samsung uses their own proprietary Tizen operating system.
Sony Google TV gives you full access to Google‘s ecosystem. Google Assistant voice control, Chromecast built-in, Play Store apps, and personalized recommendations powered by Google algorithms. The Google TV interface is minimalism done right.
On the flip side, Samsung Tizen OS offers more opportunities for customization. The home screen lets you pin your favorite media apps and SmartThings controls. An ambient mode displays art, photos or info when not being used. Samsung also has their own Bixby voice assistant built-in.
Both smart TV systems are reliable and make finding content easy. Google TV caters to cord-cutters who rely on apps for video streaming. Tizen fits those invested in the Samsung connected home ecosystem. For most, the differences are minor.
Gaming on an OLED TV unlocks stunning visuals with inky blacks and ultra-fast response time. Sony and Samsung both create OLED TVs finely tuned for gaming.
Essential specs like 4K 120Hz, VRR (variable refresh rate), ALLM (auto low latency mode) and ultra-low input lag are supported across both brands‘ lineups. Sony‘s models add dedicated Game Modes which further optimize settings and latency.
In his review of the A80K OLED TV, gaming expert Michael Higham appreciated the Game Mode providing "clean, responsive gameplay." Reviewer tests found Sony OLED TVs average 6-8ms input lag, giving them a slight edge. Samsung QD-OLED models average around 10-15ms. Either option provides a superb gaming experience.
For PC or console gaming, Sony OLED TVs pull ahead thanks to their heightened focus on optimizations for gaming. Features like auto HDR tone-mapping on the PlayStation 5 give them the upper hand for serious gamers. But Samsung also holds its own.
While the focus is usually on display quality, audio remains an important part of the TV viewing experience. Sony and Samsung both compensate for the slim TV profile with serious sound systems.
Sony‘s OLED TVs use the innovative Acoustic Surface Audio+ – basically turning the entire screen into a speaker. Actuators vibrate the panel to emit sound directly from the display. Many reviewers say this "sound from the screen" lives up to the hype.
Samsung outfits their premium OLED TVs with powerful 4.2.2 channel speakers pumping out 60 watts of total power. Object tracking sound creates a surround sound effect by moving audio to match the on-screen action. Dolby Atmos support enables immersive, three-dimensional audio.
Of course, nothing beats pairing your OLED TV with a soundbar or home theater system. But the built-in audio solutions from Sony and Samsung both add an extra cinematic boost. For a thin TV profile, the audio performance is mighty impressive.
As flagship TV models showcasing the best display innovations, OLED TVs carry a higher price tag than typical LED LCD televisions. But the image quality gains are proportional to their pricing.
Based on the 65-inch models, Samsung QD-OLED TVs are currently listed around $200-300 cheaper than Sony‘s QD-OLED offering:
- Samsung 65" S95B MSRP – $2,199
- Sony 65" A95K MSRP – $2,999
Naturally, real-world sale prices fluctuate below MSRP. But Samsung‘s OLED still maintains an advantage in wallet-friendliness. Even compared to Sony‘s step-down WOLED models like the A90K, Samsung undercuts them.
Much of this price difference comes from Samsung‘s vertical integration. They produce their own QD-OLED panels at scale, keeping costs lower. Sony sources panels from external manufacturers.
Between the two brands, Samsung gives you elite picture quality and better value from an absolute pricing perspective. However, performance-to-price analyses reveal both Sony and Samsung OLED TVs are compelling options.
Based on this head-to-head comparison of key categories, is Samsung or Sony the winner?
Here‘s a quick pros vs cons rundown of how they compare:
Samsung QD-OLED Pros:
- Cutting-edge QD-OLED panel technology
- Typically better pricing
- Excellent HDR via HDR10+ support
- Extremely slim, lightweight build
Sony OLED Pros:
- Lots of size options from 42" to 83"
- Tailored gaming features and performance
- Impressive acoustic audio quality
- Dolby Vision HDR format compatible
Each brand has unique strengths catering to different priorities. But based on the superior picture quality enabled by QD-OLED technology, Samsung takes the win in this match-up. The increased brightness, wider colors, and stunning contrast of Samsung‘s panels give them a slight edge.
That said, Sony OLED TVs also perform wonderfully and have great smart TV usability. You‘d be thrilled with either brand. It ultimately comes down to which features matter most and matching the right OLED TV size to your room.
Both Samsung and Sony make excellent, highly recommended OLED televisions. But the groundbreaking QD-OLED panels in Samsung‘s lineup give them the technical advantage today. I hope breaking down these key comparison points helps you decide between Samsung or Sony OLED TVs! Let me know if you have any other questions.