Despite the ongoing pandemic, 2021 saw the launch of some of the most interesting TVs we’ve seen to date. Mini LED TVs launched in India gave OLEDs a run for their money and OLED TVs saw some improvement in performance over their predecessors. We saw the launch of TVs with processors that “think like humans do” and we have more brands than ever launching QLED TVs in India, giving consumers more choice. Some of the defining trends in the television industry include refinement to TV UIs that bring content before the streaming service, better performance from far-field mics and an improvement to the smart capabilities of TVs. HDR performance of TVs also saw a boost with features like IMAX Enhanced and Dolby Vision IQ making an appearance on high-end TVs while budget TVs have started offering an acceptable HDR experience. Features like HDMI 2.1 which were reserved for the uber premium space started trickling down to the budget space, but we are yet to see a budget TV offer native 4K 120Hz support. Speaking of HDMI 2.1, more and more high-end TVs are offering the feature in the premium space making them enticing options for next-gen console gamers.
If you are looking for the crème de la crème TV money can buy, then you need not look beyond what we have here today!
The difference between the winner, the LG G1 and the runner up, the Sony A80J was literally one point in our Digit Zero1 testing. The LG G1 brings with it fantastic performance over the board, be it with HDR content or SDR content. It also comes with Dolby Vision IQ to enhance your HDR experience based on the lighting in the room. In our tests, the LG G1 recorded higher peak brightness than the Sony A80J, which helped it gain the upper hand. On the LG G1, we recorded a peak brightness slightly below 900 nits. It has all four HDMI 2.1 ports, bringing with it VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) along with being G-Sync and FreeSync compatibility, making it the ideal choice for PC and console gamers. The overall gaming performance of the TV using a PS5 and Xbox Series X was sublime. Under the hood, the TV has LG’s α9 Gen 4 processor with AI picture processing and upscaling. It also has a Filmmaker Mode that showcases content the way it was intended by the content creator. The OLED TV supports 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos. The picture presets automatically change based on the content being played. The TV itself is extremely slim, sitting flush with the wall, making it look like a picture frame. It has a 4.2 speaker setup with 60W of sound output along with support for Dolby Atmos. While the channel separation from the speakers can get a little weak, the speakers are loud and offer room-filling sound. LG’s UI has seen a redesign in 2021 and now offers a full-screen experience-enhancing on top of what was already a very good UI. The remote control has also been redesigned with better ergonomics. In addition to far-field mics, you also get access to both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant from the comfort of the remote control.
The Sony A80J is the perfect TV for cinephiles! The BRAVIA XR processor under the hood makes the content look natural and true to the source and other enhancements such as XR OLED Contrast, XR Colour, XR 4K Upscaling, XR Clarity and more ensure you get the best picture possible for whatever content you are consuming. This TV is ideal for those that have a large catalogue of old school DVDs. Not only can it make 4K HDR content look sublime, but it also makes good old Standard Definition content look stunning. It loses out to the G1 in the peak brightness test and the gaming performance test. Despite this, the A80J is no slouch, touching peak brightness slightly below 800 nits. For HDR content the TV looks picture-perfect be it HDR 10 content or even Dolby Vision. The TV only has two of the four HDMI ports that support HDMI 2.1 and while it does support 4K at 120Hz, the TV is yet to receive an update to get VRR support as of our testing the TV for the Digit Zero1 Awards. Audio performance is where this TV shines. The Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology not only helps with good channel separation but also clarity in dialogue. You get very good channel separation from the TV as the two Actuators vibrate the screen to create sound giving the audio more accurate positioning on the display. The Sony A80J runs on the new Google TV UI and comes with far-field mics for hands-free controls
If there is one TV that works extremely well in a well-lit room and a dark room, it is the Samsung QN90A QLED TV. The TV can achieve peak brightness closer to 2000 nits, making it perfect for those of you that consume content in the day and can't control the natural lighting in the room. The TV can produce content extremely well with punchy colours. For those of you that don't like to tinker around with picture presets, you will be happy to know that the Intelligent Mode on the TV works extremely well and changes the picture preset to suit the content being played. The Intelligent mode may make the content look a little too vivid at times and may not appeal to those that prefer a more colour accurate experience, but for the average viewer at home, it gets the job done very well. The sound output from the TV is very good too. The TV lacks channel separation, but the overall output of sound is loud and clear enough that you won't need to invest in a soundbar. The TV supports HDR 10 and 10+ but does not support Dolby Vision. It runs on the company’s own Tizen UI which is fairly easy to navigate. The TV has only one HDMI 2.1 port for 4K 120Hz gaming of the four ports with a second port supporting eARC.
With a legacy of 20 years, the Digit Zero1 Awards is recognized as the industry’s only performance-based awards. Digit rewards brands for putting in years of research in developing and introducing performance-driven products for their audience. All products are made to pass through a rigorous and scientific test process and compete with competitor brands in the same category. The Winner in each category is announced on the basis of their total score, post complete performance analysis done across an average of 56 tests, conducted for every category, across key performance parameters. The test process for the Zero1 Awards does not consider scores for features, price or design. The aim is to identify the very best products that money can buy, celebrate the innovations that push the industry forward, and reward the products that dare to disrupt the market.