Sony A95K TV review: Is QD-OLED the expected slap?

Sony was one of the first players to enter the QD-OLED TV segment. There are improvements, but still not enough in the first generation, to turn your back on OLED.

In 2022, the television market welcomes another evolution: QD-OLED. This technology presents itself as an advancement in OLED technology, which very quickly reaches its glass ceiling (very, very high, it has to be accepted). In hindsight, we don’t see LG, but Samsung, which has long turned its back on OLED to maximize the potential of the LCD. With QD-OLED, the Korean company wants above all to address the biggest flaw of OLED: the lack of light.

Paradoxically, Samsung has allowed Sony to formally market a first QD-OLED television: the A95K model, which will be available in two sizes (55 and 65 inches). We expect a pure revolution in our sin, because of the ambitions behind the technology. What is it really?

One foot (very wide), two possibilities

Beware of inflation

New technology is mandatory, the price of the A95K is very high: count 3,000 € for the 55-inch version, if the LG C2 of an equivalent size is launched under the 2,000 € mark.

Sony has known how to make beautiful televisions since the dawn of time. And because the A95K is the multinational’s new flagship, small dishes are put on the big ones. In terms of finish, there is absolutely nothing to say, other than to salute the quality of the materials, the finesse of the frame and the many back covers to hide the connectors and cables. The A95K isn’t the thinnest of OLED TVs, but it’s clearly elegant. However, what matters is the image.

On the other hand, you have to face the foot, which can be very tight depending on your furniture. Weighed down (and also very heavy), it’s the full width of the TV, requiring a piece of furniture even in width. The foot can be screwed in two positions: it protrudes behind or in front, as desired. In either case, the screen is tilted slightly backwards – like many other Sony TVs. The result is a monolithic look that gives the impression that the screen is placed directly on the furniture. Specifically.

Another flaw of this design: forget the association with a sound bar placed on the front, it will hide the bottom of the television. We also saw a way for Sony to promote Acoustic Surface technology (which shakes the slab for a sound rendering, it’s true, more consistent).

Sony has put two remote controls in the package: a classic and a more modern (with small keys). This is the second one we like, as it offers a practical backlight (it activates when you take the remote control).

Two remote controls provided by the Sony A95K television // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

The most beautiful OLED image

When the QD-OLED innovation was introduced, we were promised a brightness never before seen for an OLED panel: 1,500 nits, i.e. a power worthy of the best LCDs and a number which is likely to eliminate the largest technological defect (exceeding 1000). nits). Reality is less fulfilling of this fantasy. Yes, the image offered by the A95K is brighter than its usual OLED competitors (including the LG C2, this year’s benchmark). But there is no gap even in this first generation. At the very least, burying OLED is not enough. According to measurements by Sylvain Pichot, Frandroid’s TV specialist, the A95K is approaching 1,000 nits in available modes, still leaving Sony plenty of room for maneuvering to reach the target of 1,500 nits.

The purest translation

Beyond these technical considerations that can disappoint purists, you don’t have to wear your joy. Granted, the A95K isn’t the brightest TV on the market. But it offers the purest interpretation, especially in terms of color reproduction, which is much broader. It owes this quality to the way in which a QD-OLED television is assembled, replacing the RGB (red, green, blue) filters of conventional OLED panels with nanoparticles responsible for producing colors from in blue light. This evolution not only makes it possible to offer a much more diverse palette, but also a fair one. Bright reds, white whites, greens that don’t turn fluorescent… The visual scene is there, supported by blacks that are much deeper.

To get a proper TV test, we swallowed a game of tennis (Wimbledon, via beIN Sports), played video games (Xbox Series X) and watched a movie. Not known (in 4K HDR, with the Bravia Core platform promising quality worthy of UHD Blu-ray).

Sony QD-OLED A95K TV // Source: Sony

The Wimbledon game

BeIN Sports does not broadcast Wimbledon in 4K, it is the quality of development that intrigues us in this sports program. This is mind-bogglingly accurate. The algorithms used by Sony, expressed around an artificial intelligence, make it possible to create an image with a beautiful model, without having to overdo it (no over -cutting). The result is an incredible depth, with this impression of being with the players.

As a bonus, fluidity is there: the motion compensation engine is one of the most efficient – and, most of all, natural – on the market. Thanks to him, the tennis ball moves from one side of the court to the other unlike a bunch of pixels. And since we’re talking about the return of whites, the players ’jerseys stand out with an unparalleled brightness, especially compared to the green on the grass.

Not seen in 4K HDR

Not known far from being the film of the year, especially the adaptation of the century. However, it is a 4K HDR scene. With this video game blockbuster, the A95K truly gives it its full potential. First there is a lot of detail and perfectly flat tints. Above all, there is a way in which light sources shine brightly (lights in dark surroundings, interior lamps, etc.). There, we fully feel the slight increase in light, which makes it possible to support the differences though, by emphasizing the light elements compared to the dark areas. We challenge you to find a picture that is closer to perfection. We also launched blade runner 2049with a similar observation: the neon atmosphere on the sticky streets of Los Angeles is captivating.

Uncle Gabrielle of Uncharted. // Source: Sony/Playstation/Columbia

Note that the A95K is compatible with the Dolby Vision format (widespread on SVOD platforms such as Disney+ and Netflix), but not HDR10+ (still supported by… Samsung, panel supplier).

The video game (Xbox Series X)

The A95K is clearly a TV certified for the PlayStation 5 (a badge that doesn’t really matter). It has two HDMI 2.1 ports (why not 4 like LG models?), Compatible with all gaming features (VRR, auto latency mode, 4K at 120 fps). Be careful, it’s weird that you have to choose between VRR or Dolby Vision when you’re plugging in an Xbox Series X (advice: in favor of VRR, which improves fluidity).

A showcase game, as well Forza Horizon 5, apparently relying on a lot of the A95K’s qualities to impress (again, the light gain is good). For his part, the flamboyant Cuphead, festival of details and colors, more like a cartoon. And no need to worry about latency, measured under 20ms.

The A95K lacks only one thing to be a more complete gaming TV: a dedicated interface when a console is found, as is the case with Samsung and LG.

Sony QD-OLED A95K TV // Source: Sony

Google TV to serve you

Sony TVs moved to Google TV in a few months, and the change is good for general use. Introduced in the latest version of Chromecast, Google TV has replaced Android TV to offer a clearer and simpler ecosystem. We have found a system that has more or less relevant recommendations depending on its internal consumption. In terms of applications, everything is available in the Play Store: MyCanal, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+… Exclusive to Sony, the Bravia Core platform is a real addition for users, as long as they have a good connection to internet. (115 Mb/ s for best quality).

The parameters, which can be accessed from a menu found below, will still benefit from the display more clearly. Sony is likely to scatter the tabs and sub-tabs of the service in relatively obscure features.

Two remote controls are provided by the Sony A95K TV
The camera provided by the Sony A95K television // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

In the box, there is also a camera that can be placed on top of the A95K. What is it for? At the moment, it’s not very useful. But future updates will add interesting features, such as the light that automatically dims when there is no detection or motion control.

The judge

Those expecting a revolution in QD-OLED may not be satisfied. For this first generation, Sony offers an almost flawless television. However, the promised light gain compared to conventional OLED models is far from surprising. The power taps to 1,000 nits, but stays low on LCD competitors making it a (real) powerhouse.
After this slight disappointment, this A95K specimen is no more or less than Sony’s flagship for 2022, with the most beautiful OLED image available to date, a good and premium design, and advanced features inherited from GoogleTV. LG’s C2, simply OLED, continues our preference for a price question: today, QD-OLED imposes inflation of more than € 1,000, which is unreasonable for some of the improvements seen in visual rendering. (colors, light, HDR…).

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