In this article, we’re going to take a look at three reasonably priced TVs from the big three manufacturers and see who comes out on top. We’ve got the Sony XBR49X800E, the Samsung UN49NU8000, and the LG 49SK8000. All three of these sets can be found under $800, but because of different promotions, prices can fluctuate a little bit. So to start things off, we’ll take a look around the outsides. They’re all thin bezel and they all honestly look great mounted on the wall so it’s kind of a wash there. But for those that are going to put these on a piece of furniture, you’ll want to take the pedestals into consideration.
Between the three of them, I think the LG’s looks the nicest, however, just like the Samsung’s, it has a single mounting location on the back of the set, which can kind of cause it to move a little bit if it gets bumped. The Sony’s mounts two spots and it holds the TV more firmly in place, so from a looks perspective, I like the LG the best, but for stability purposes, the Sony is the way to go.
Now, if you move to the back of the sets, you’ll see all the inputs. They each have 4 HDMIs but the Sony has three USBs where the Samsung and LG only have two. They each have Ethernet, antenna, and rs-232c inputs, but the Sony and LG are the only TVs with component and composite inputs. Samsung doesn’t. I know it’s not really that important since most everything hooks up with an HDMI cable now, but for someone who has older analog components they still want to use, it’s something to keep in mind. All three also have optical audio outputs as well but only the Sony has an analog audio hookup, so for connections, Sony’s going to offer the most between the three of these.
Now, let’s talk about the picture. This was really the hardest category for me to choose within. They’re all fairly saturated right out of the box so I definitely recommend going through the picture settings and either finding a preset that works or just really getting into it and mess around with all the different layers that they give you control over. With some tweaking, we were able to get all of them pretty close to one another.
For this article, we’ve got them all on the cinema mode, but once we had them dialed in when we were calibrating them, I actually thought the Sony’s looked the most natural. Samsung and LG weren’t far behind, but to me, the Sony just seemed like it offered the best picture with the least amount of work necessary. Motion on all three was decent, too, but my favorite of the three for that was the Samsung and then Sony and LG were following closely behind.
The operating system is going to be another thing you’ll want to factor into your decision. As homes get smarter, it’s becoming more and more important to have a central hub for all your smart stuff and the TV is, I think, the best place for all that since it’s going to offer a nice big screen to see your connected devices and it’s easy to access things while you’re sitting watching a show. Now, my favorite operating system far and away amongst these three sets is the LG. WebOS, for me, is the easiest to navigate, the smoothest operating, and the remote integrates, I think, the best with the TV.
Samsung would be my second choice of the three, followed by Sony, but the LG magic remote just has great voice recognition, as does the Sony, I just like the design of the LG much better. The Samsung voice recognition is good, too, but when used in conjunction with Bixby, you have to say exactly what you want to do. The LG and Sony, since they run on Google, seem to do a better job of understanding the meaning of what you’re asking. I will give Bixby credit, though, as it’s better at handling interior operations as they deal directly with the TV, but I don’t use those enough to really benefit.
Now, lastly is the sound quality. Now, with all three of these, a soundbar is almost a requirement, but if you’re going to pick just one to use without any supplemental sound, my choice amongst these three, again, is going to be LG. But sound is extremely subjective so my choice of LG is based on the videos I’ve watched. I was able to hear the vocals a little more clearly than on the other two and it seemed to have a little bit more bass, but again, I don’t put a whole lot of weight into this category because the TVs really are meant to use with a soundbar or surround system now.
So if I had to pick one of these to get, my choice would be the LG. It’s got the best operating system, best looking pedestal, although it is a little bit wobbly, the picture isn’t far behind the Sony, and the sound, even though it’s not a huge factor, was the best to me. Not only that, but it’s typically listed for a lower price than the other two. All three are great sets that deserve consideration, but for the total package, I’m choosing the LG.