Sony A90J OLED TV Review

Sony advances the art of OLED display technology with the A90J.

While the Sony A90J is not the cheapest OLED TV on the market, you get what you pay for.

  • Pros
    • Exquisite picture quality
    • Robust sound
    • Nice new OS
    • Some HDMI 2.1 support
  • Cons
    • No UK catch-up TV services
    • Not exactly cheap
    • Missing some key features

Sony hasn’t skimped on its new A90J 4K HDR OLED TV price, but this 55-inch model most certainly delivers on performance.

The picture quality is about as good as it gets from 4K screens at the moment, regardless of source.

The XR-55A90J excels in every significant department – motion control, contrast, edge definition, and detail levels, to name a few.

Additionally, for those times when you’re forced to watch non-4K content, it’s an extremely capable upscaler.

The Sony A90J OLED is also a few steps ahead in terms of audio quality. Utilizing the entire surface of the screen as a speaker is still novel and compelling.

When paired with two conventional bass drivers, the XR-55A90J sounds fuller, more direct, and, well, better than any other option without an off-board sound system.

Add in a slick new Google TV interface, the usual Sony build and finish, feet that pivot to accommodate a soundbar, an exclusive movie streaming service, and an authentically well-designed remote control – oblivious to the XR-55A90J’s mysterious lack of UK TV catch-up services – and the XR-55A90J looks like the complete package.

And complete packages are rarely inexpensive.

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Hisense U7QF QLED TV

Price and Release Date

Television Television set LG 4K resolution Sony

The Sony XR-A90J OLED TV series is now available.

It comes in 65-inch $3,799 (approximately ₱192,293) and 83-inch $7,999 (approximately ₱404,885) sizes, while the 55-inch model we’re reviewing costs $2,799 (approximately ₱141,676).

This is, without a doubt, a premium price when you consider that the LG C1, which we previously dubbed “the current king of TVs,” will cost you $1,799 (approximately ₱91,059) for the 55-inch model.

For the time being, only the 65-inch pricing is confirmed in Australia.

Design

Television Television set LG 4K resolution Sony

When viewed directly, the Sony A90J OLED delivers precisely what you want and expect from a high-end new television: minimal bezel intrusion and an abundance of the screen.

The Sony A90J is an intriguing case because it features adjustable feet in addition to being wall-mountable.

They can either leave the bottom of the screen flush with the surface it is standing on (which will need to be quite broad in this case, as the feet extend beyond the frame’s edges), or they can raise the screen high enough to accommodate a soundbar beneath it.

From the side, it’s business as usual for OLED displays – which means the Sony is an impressively thin 6mm deep, but only for a brief moment.

The rest of the time, it’s just over 4cm, as it needs to house its electronics, speaker drivers, and whatever else.

It’s hardly a bloater and will look great mounted on the wall – but keep in mind that both LG (with its ‘Gallery’ series of OLED TVs) and Samsung (with its equally new Neo QLED MiniLED alternative) will sell you a screen that sits much flusher against the wall.

The Sony is well-specified on the inside to justify its high price.

You certainly get your money’s worth in terms of inputs and outputs: four HDMI inputs (two of which support a good deal of HDMI 2.1 functionality), three USB ports, an Ethernet port, binding posts for two TV tuners, and even composite video inputs should satisfy even the most demanding user.

Naturally, there is also Wi-Fi connectivity.

  • 6mm deep at its slimmest point and 41mm at its thickest
  • Feet shift position to accommodate a soundbar
  • HDMI 2.1 (up to a point)

The two most capable HDMI inputs support 4K/120Hz, ALLM, and 48Gbps, and one of them also supports eARC. However, VRR is not supported at the moment.

Meanwhile, Sony’s PS5 games console does not support VRR, but the competing Xbox Series X console most certainly does.

Serious Xbox gamers are likely to gravitate toward LG’s OLED TV lineup, where complete HDMI 2.1 compatibility has been the norm for quite some time.

Sony is not alone among television manufacturers in refusing to offer every significant HDR standard.

However, the absence of HDR10+ here is less noticeable than the absence of Dolby Vision on some new Samsung televisions.

Sony’s new XR processor manages the image, combining the AI capabilities of the outgoing X1 processor with what Sony refers to as “cognitive intelligence.”

Thus, you get (at least in theory) machine-learning algorithms that improve image performance, as well as more in-depth scene analysis across multiple zones based on image contrast, color, detail, depth, and all other image components.

Naturally, the goal is to present the most realistic and convincing images possible.

On the audio front, Sony is sticking to its Acoustic Surface Audio+ configuration.

This technology, which two rear-firing low-frequency drivers back up, utilizes actuators to convert the entire surface of the screen into a speaker.

It’s an impressive setup – and Sony is invested in the concept.

The A90J’s rear panel includes speaker connections if you want to use your television as the center channel in a surround-sound setup.

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Smart TV

Television Television set LG 4K resolution Sony

Will anyone honestly be disappointed by Sony’s decision to abandon Android TV in favor of Google TV as its smart interface? Undoubtedly, Google TV’s implementation on the A90J provides a more responsive and logical experience – overall more friendly and valuable.

Along with the standard Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and Apple TV streaming apps (among others), Sony has integrated its Bravia Core movie streaming service into the Google TV interface.

It’s a genuinely helpful feature, with great content and the ability to stream in extremely high quality if your broadband is capable.

There’s even some IMAX Enhanced content included.

  • Google TV
  • ‘Bravia Core’ streaming service
  • No UK catch-up TV apps

It’s just a shame that selecting an IMAX Enhanced film does not automatically activate the IMAX Enhanced picture mode on the television.

While Sony’s setup menus are crystal clear, there should be no reason to delve into them for this reason.

Customers in the United Kingdom will be disappointed to discover that there is no sign of iPlayer, All4, ITV Hub, or any other catch-up television service.

Sony has promised a fix that will add them ‘later’ in 2021 – but we were disappointed when LG left these services out of its 2020 screens.

We’re disappointed to see the same here, even if only temporarily, given there’s no firm date or assurance it’ll happen soon after launch.

The Google TV interface, setup menus, and everything else are accessed via a redesigned remote control handset.

It’s comfortable in hand, devoid of unnecessary buttons, and even includes some (very welcome) backlighting to aid visibility.

Picture Quality

Television Television set LG 4K resolution Sony

It seems only proper to begin the test with some content from Sony’s Bravia Core streaming service – and while broadband speeds in this area are not always sufficient to ensure the highest-quality ‘Pure Stream,’ Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, with its IMAX Enhanced certification, looks nothing short of spectacular.

There is no aspect of photography where the A90J does not excel.

It’s exceptionally bright by OLED TV standards (LG achieved a similar feat with its ‘evo’ OLED panel – and as we all know, LG supplies raw OLED panels to any other TV brand that requests them).

The Sony A90J is astonishingly detailed in every situation. Its color palette is expansive, nuanced, and undeniably natural.

The A90J’s black tones are deep and lustrous in the traditional OLED manner, but they’re also densely detailed – when combined with the A90J’s crisp and equally clear white tones, contrasts are about as vast and convincing as you’ll see from an OLED screen.

  • Thoroughly enjoyable and convincing images
  • Outstanding motion-handling
  • Accomplished upscaling

Even the most harrowing scenes are handled impeccably.

Throughout the first third of this film, Christopher Plummer’s J. Paul Getty wears a classic hunting tweed, and the A90J maintains a firm grip on the tight, high-contrast pattern – even when it’s moving.

Indeed, Sony excels at handling virtually any type of on-screen motion.

Slow pans, fast movement, whatever – the Sony controls and describes it flawlessly, without shimmer, hesitation, ghosting, or any of the other vices that less capable televisions can fall victim to.

This is most noticeable when watching some Euro 2020 football on BBC One HD (but not on iPlayer’s 4K UHD streams), where the A90J naturally upscales the HD broadcast, maintaining smooth motion for the ball’s movement – even if it’s moving in the opposite direction of the camera’s panning.

Massive swaths of uniform color (or ‘the pitch,’ as it is sometimes referred to) pose no problems.

Despite Sony’s considerable upscaling, skin tones and textures appear natural and detailed.

If a more capable TV is available at this price point, we have yet to see it.

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LG C1 OLED TV

Audio Performance

  • Direct, quite dynamic sound
  • Worthwhile punch and impressive detail
  • The picture still deserve a soundbar though

This is not the first time we’ve expressed our admiration for Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+, and it’s unlikely to be the last.

It features one of the best-integrated sound systems available in television, making it about the most convincing, articulate, and believable-sounding tv available.

Much of this is because the entire screen is involved – this means that images and sounds are much more closely coupled than other systems.

In particular, the direct nature of the audio delivery contributes significantly to the presentation’s cinematic feel when it comes to dialogue.

By television audio system standards, the A90J is a particularly punchy and genuinely dynamic performer.

Because it can generate actual low-frequency impact, courtesy of the pair of rear-firing drivers, it isn’t easy to fluster even the most explosion-happy blockbuster.

However, the Sony A90J’s audio quality, while impressive by today’s standards, pales in comparison to its picture quality.

Thus, where we usually recommend that a halfway decent soundbar accompany a good television, the Sony A90J OLED is deserving of a truly excellent one.

Are you interested in purchasing the SONY A90J OLED?

Television Television set LG 4K resolution Sony

Buy it if…

You desire the maximum amount of performance that your money can buy
When it comes to picture and sound quality, Sony excels in every category.

You’re unsure whether you’ll purchase a soundbar
This Sony OLED TV can be positioned in various ways, allowing you to adapt your home cinema setup as you go.

You’ve never been a fan of Android TV in the first place
The switch to Google TV as Sony’s smart TV interface will likely satisfy the majority of people.

Don’t buy it if…

You appreciate a good deal
The Sony A90J OLED is several things, but not one of them is inexpensive.

You anticipate a super-slim chassis
This is not the first OLED television to overpromise and underdeliver in terms of profile – and there are sleeker options available.

You take pleasure in catching up on UK television broadcasts
The omission of iPlayer and the rest may be unforgivable, but it will only affect viewers in the United Kingdom.


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