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Samsung Q60B vs Sony X80K: Which affordable TV is best?

These popular TVs prioritize value above all else.

The 55-inch Samsung Q60B displaying 4K content in a living room setting Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

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Affordable TVs have never been better. There’s also never been more of them. The Samsung Q60B and the Sony X80K are two of the most popular mid-range TVs this year—they look similar, they offer a lot of the same features, and they cost about the same.

Both of these TVs prioritize value above all else, but only one of them is a better, safer pick for most shoppers. And, as professional evaluators with years of experience, we’re well-positioned to steer you in the better, safer direction.

Buy the Samsung Q60B at Amazon

Buy the Sony X80K at Amazon

Price

The Samsung Q60B displaying 4K/HDR content in a living room setting
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Samsung Q60B comes in a wide variety of sizes.

Having been released this year, both of these TVs aren’t yet being marked down as significantly as last year’s models. Nevertheless, these mid-range TVs represent some of the most affordable options of the year from their respective brands, and they’re both available in a wide array of sizes.

Samsung Q60B:

  • 43-inch (Samsung QN43Q60BAFXZA), MSRP $549.99
  • 50-inch (Samsung QN50Q60BAFXZA), MSRP $649.99
  • 55-inch (Samsung QN55Q60BAFXZA), MSRP $749.99
  • 60-inch (Samsung QN60Q60BAFXZA), MSRP $899.99
  • 65-inch (Samsung QN65Q60BAFXZA), MSRP $999.99
  • 70-inch (Samsung QN70Q60BAFXZA), MSRP $1,199.99
  • 75-inch (Samsung QN75Q60BAFXZA), MSRP $1,399.99
  • 85-inch (Samsung QN85Q60BAFXZA), MSRP $1,999.99

The Q60B is available in eight total sizes ranging from 43 inches all the way up to 85 inches. Just about every popular TV size is accounted for in the Q60B series. There’s even a 60-inch model—an endangered species in the television kingdom.

Let’s take a look at how the X80K stacks up.

A television screen showing an image of trees in a living room.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

The Sony X80K—seen here—comes in two fewer sizes than the Samsung Q60B.

Sony X80K:

  • 43-inch (Sony KD-43X80K), MSRP $549.99
  • 50-inch (Sony KD-50X80K), MSRP $649.99
  • 55-inch (Sony KD-55X80K), MSRP $699.99
  • 65-inch (Sony KD-65X80K), MSRP $849.99
  • 75-inch (Sony KD-75X80K), MSRP $1,199.99
  • 85-inch (Sony KD-85X80K), MSRP $1,799.99

The X80K is available in six total size options, all of which are represented in the Samsung Q60B lineup. Unlike the Q60B, Sony’s X80K does not come in a 60-inch model, nor is it available in the 70-inch variety.

The Q60B and the X80K are priced the same until you reach the 55-inch size bracket, at which point they begin to diverge. The 55-, 65-, 75-, and 85-inch versions of the Q60B currently cost $50 to $200 more than their X80K counterparts.

Plenty of folks will appreciate the 60- and 70-inch size options represented in the Q60B series, while others will appreciate the lower cost of the X80K. This one’s a draw.

Our pick: Draw

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Design

A close-up of the Samsung Q60B's feet
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Q60B's feet slot into the panel without the use of a screwdriver.

The Q60B’s panel is uniformly narrow with slim, L-shaped feet that don’t call attention to themselves. An optional cable management system alongside the back of the feet can be used if you prefer to cut down on clutter.

The X80K also has a pair of feet to prop itself up, but they’re angular in shape and lift the panel a bit higher off its surface. Like the Q60B, there are clips on the back of the feet for basic cable management.

Close up of a television screen display in a living room.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

The Sony X80K—seen here—features a similar design to the Q60B, but its panel is considerably thicker.

The X80K’s panel is significantly chunkier than the Q60B, though it feels sturdier to the touch than Samsung’s model. Both TVs are remarkably easy to set up and place on a media console, as their feet lock into their respective panels without the need for tools. Unfortunately, neither offers multiple stand configurations, so if you’re shopping for a 65-inch model or above, be sure that your table or media console can accommodate their wide-set feet.

Between the two, the Q60B is the more-attractive design. Its panel is much thinner than the X80K, and its flat, L-shaped feet are easier on the eyes than the X80K’s boomerang-shaped feet.

Our pick: Samsung Q60B

Features and smart platform

The Samsung Q60B displaying its smart platform's home screen in a living room setting
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Samsung Q60B—seen here—comes with the Tizen smart platform built right in.

Before we dive into what separates these two TVs from a features and software perspective, let’s take a look at all of the features they share:

The Samsung Q60B displaying 4K/HDR content in a living room setting
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Q60B supports HDR10 and HDR10+, but not Dolby Vision.

Like all Samsung TVs, the Q60B does not support Dolby Vision, a popular, proprietary version of HDR. The X80K, however, does support the format. Dolby Vision titles can be streamed on platforms like Netflix and Apple TV, and Blu-rays are often mastered for Dolby Vision, too. Given the performance limitations of the X80K, Dolby Vision titles won’t look as good as they would on a higher-end TV with Dolby Vision compatibility, but film enthusiasts will appreciate its inclusion.

The Q60B does not support Dolby Vision.

Neither TV supports 4K gaming at 120Hz, nor do they offer Variable Refresh Rate. Serious gamers will have to look elsewhere (and likely spend up) for these highly sought-after gaming features.

A television screen with a Settings menu on display.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

Google TV on the X80X is faster and easier to navigate than Tizen on the Q60B.

The biggest difference between these TVs lies with their software. The Q60B comes with the newest version of Samsung’s Tizen operating system, while the X80K runs Google TV. While both offer a bevy of apps and customizability options, we found Google TV to be the easier platform to navigate, mostly due to its speed and the simplicity of its user interface.

The Q60B offers a new service called Samsung Gaming Hub. New to Samsung smart TVs, Gaming Hub lets users play a vast library of gaming titles across various cloud gaming services, including Nvidia GeForce Now, Google Stadia, and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Think of cloud gaming (or cloud streaming) as Netflix for video games; each service has its own library of titles to choose from, and because they’re accessed remotely, no console is required. All that is needed is a subscription to whichever cloud gaming service you want to play.

The X80K offers a better overall experience.

Gaming Hub is certainly a nice feature to have in your back pocket, but it’s worth noting that, when we tested cloud gaming on a Samsung smart TV, the experience left quite a bit to be desired. Even with a wired internet connection, the service seemed less than ideal for competitive gaming due to latency issues. There’s always the possibility that cloud streaming via Gaming Hub improves over time, of course. For now, it’s more of a novelty.

If you see yourself relying on your TV’s smart platform as a dedicated streaming companion, the X80K offers a better overall experience. That, together with Sony’s Dolby Vision support, makes the X80K the clear winner.

Our pick: Sony X80K

Performance

Close up of a television screen with tree landscape on display.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

The Sony X80K struggles during dark-room viewing on account of its shallow black levels.

Both of these mid-range TVs feature similar display hardware: an LED display with quantum dot color enhancement. The X80K uses a basic direct-LED backlight while the Q60B uses Samsung’s Dual LED display technology, which reportedly uses both “warm” and “cool” LEDs to enhance color and contrast.

What does this mean for you? Well, because neither TV features local dimming functionality, both offer middle-of-the-road contrast compared to higher-end TVs with better display tech. However, according to our lab tests, the Q60B is able to get much darker during low-light scenes; the X80K’s black levels aren’t nearly as deep as the Q60B’s, which makes the X80K a less viable option for dark-room viewing.

The Samsung Q60B displaying 4K/HDR content in a living room setting
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Q60B's black levels are consistently deep, and despite the TV's lack of local dimming, it's able to limit light bloom when bright elements clash with dark backdrops.

The Samsung Q60B is also a better choice for bright-room viewing. While both TVs feature average peak brightness in both SDR and HDR, the Q60B offers a brighter full-field image in both modes. If your living room receives a fair share of ambient light, the Q60B will hold up a little better.

The Samsung Q60B displaying 4K/HDR content in a living room setting
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Q60B gets bright enough in SDR for casual, daytime viewing. If you watch a good amount of TV in a sunny room, it'll serve you well.

But contrast isn’t the be-all, end-all performance metric. In my time with the Sony X80K, I was seriously impressed by how good HDR content looked on a TV with its hardware limitations. The X80K might deliver a slightly dimmer picture with more subdued specular highlights, but Sony’s image processing is phenomenal, and it elevates the X80K’s performance considerably. The X80K also delivers richer, more-accurate color than the Q60B with both of the TVs in their most accurate picture modes.

Still, the Q60B’s superior contrast makes it the better choice for dark-room viewing—if you want to dim the lights, make some popcorn, and watch a new release at home, the Q60B is the better pick. Additionally, its entire picture gets brighter on average, making it a more viable option for casual viewing during the day. I appreciate how much Sony’s image processing elevates the X80K’s performance, but the Q60B is more versatile. And, for most folks shopping in this price bracket, versatility is key.

Our pick: Samsung Q60B

And the winner is…

The Samsung Q60B is a better choice for most people, as its well-rounded picture holds up better in both bright and dark settings. At times, the X80K’s picture looks incredibly impressive for a TV in this price range, but Sony’s fantastic processing can’t quite make up for the fact that its shallow black levels negatively impact dark scenes to a substantial degree.

However, these two TVs are close enough in performance that I would recommend the X80K to anyone who sees themselves leaning on their TV’s smart platform for all of their streaming needs. Sony’s Google TV integration (as well as the X80K’s menu software) is leagues better than Samsung’s this year.

Both of these TVs deliver a satisfactory experience for the price, but the Q60B is more of a jack of all trades. In the world of mid-range TVs, that sort of balance goes a long way.

Buy the Samsung Q60B at Amazon

Buy the Sony X80K at Amazon


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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.