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

Sony is one of the early players to enter the QD-OLED TV segment. The novelties are there, but they are still insufficient in this first generation, to turn their backs on OLEDs.

In 2022, the television market receives one more evolution: the QD OLED. This technology is presented as an advancement of OLED technology, which very quickly reached its glass ceiling (very, very high, it must be admitted). Behind we do not find LG, but Samsung, which has long turned its back on OLEDs to maximize the potential of LCDs. With the QD-OLED, the Korean company wants above all to address the biggest shortcoming of OLEDs: lack of brightness.

Paradoxically, Samsung let Sony formalize the marketing of a first QD-OLED television: the model A95K, available in two sizes (55 and 65 inches). We expect a pure revolution in our living room, given the ambitions behind the technology. What is it really?

One foot (very wide), two possibilities

watch out for inflation

New technology obliges, the price of the A95K is very high: count €3,000 for the 55-inch version, when the LG C2 of an equivalent size launches below €2,000.

Sony has known how to make beautiful TVs since the dawn of time. And since the A95K is the new flagship of the multinational, the small chainrings have been put on the big ones. As for the finishes, there is absolutely nothing to say, except to salute the quality of the materials, the delicacy of the frame and the many covers on the back to hide the connectors and cables. The A95K isn’t the slimmest of OLED TVs, but it’s obviously stylish. Anyway, what matters is the image.

On the other hand, you have to deal with the foot, which can be very restrictive depending on your furniture. Ballasted (and also very heavy), it is the full width of the TV, which requires a piece of furniture at least as wide. The foot can be screwed in two positions: it can protrude from behind or from the front, as desired. In any case, the screen is slightly tilted back, like so many other Sony TVs. The result is a monolithic look that gives the impression that the lampshade is placed directly on the piece of furniture. is special

Another flaw of this design: forgetting the association with a soundbar placed in front, would hide the bottom of the TV. We also see a way for Sony to highlight Acoustic Surface technology (which vibrates the slab for, admittedly, more consistent sound reproduction).

Sony puts two remote controls in the packaging: a classic one and a much more modern one (with fewer keys). It is the second that we prefer, simply because it offers a very practical backlight (it is activated when you pick up the controller).

The two remote controls supplied with the Sony A95K TV // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

The most beautiful OLED image

When the QD-OLED innovation was introduced, we were promised a brightness never seen before for an OLED panel: 1,500 nits, that is, a power worthy of the best LCDs and a figure capable of erasing the biggest flaw in technology (which at exceed 1000 nits). Reality does not live up to this fantasy. Yes, the picture delivered by the A95K is brighter than conventional OLED competitors (including the lg c2, this year’s reference). But there is no abyss with this first generation either. At a minimum, it’s not enough to bury the OLED. According to measurements by Sylvain Pichot, television specialist for frandroidthe A95K approaches 1,000 nits in usable modes, which still leaves plenty of room for Sony to hit the intended 1,500 nits.

The purest representation

Beyond these technical considerations that may disappoint purists, you shouldn’t sulk your pleasure. Of course, the A95K isn’t the brightest TV on the market. But it offers the purest reproduction, especially in terms of color reproduction, which is even more extensive. This quality is due to the way a QD-OLED television is assembled, which replaces the RGB (red, green, blue) filters of conventional OLED panels with nanoparticles responsible for producing colors from blue light. This evolution not only makes it possible to offer a more varied palette, but also a fairer one. Bright reds, very white whites, greens that do not turn fluorescent… The visual spectacle is there, supported by blacks of abysmal depth.

To properly test the TV, we devoured a tennis match (Wimbledonvia beIN Sports), played video games (xbox series x) and saw the movie Unexplored (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 the scaling that interests us in this sports program. It’s amazingly accurate. The algorithms used by Sony, articulated around artificial intelligence, make it possible to produce an image with a good model, without necessarily exaggerating (without overcutting). The result is striking depth, with that feeling of being next to the players.

As a bonus, the fluidity is there: the motion compensation engine is among the most efficient and, above all, natural, on the market. Thanks to it, the tennis ball moves from one side of the court to the other without looking like a cluster of pixels. And since we were talking about the restitution of the whites, the players’ shirts stand out with incomparable brilliance, especially against the green of the grass.

Uncharted in 4K HDR

Unexplored It is far from being the movie of the year, much less the adaptation of the century. It’s quite a sight in 4K HDR though. With this video game blockbuster, the A95K really delivers its full potential. First is the prodigious amount of detail and perfect flat tones. Above all, there is the way light sources shine brightly (flames in dark environments, lamps indoors, etc.). There, we fully feel the slight gain in brightness, which allows contrasts to be further supported, by accentuating light elements compared to dark areas. We challenge you to find an image closer to perfection. We also launch blade runner 2049with the same observation: the neon atmosphere of the sticky streets of Los Angeles captivates.

Tati Gabrielle in Uncharted. // Source: Sony/Playstation/Columbia

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

The Video Game (Xbox Series X)

The A95K is obviously a PlayStation 5 certified TV (a label that doesn’t really mean much). It has two HDMI 2.1 ports (why not 4 like on LG models?), supports all gaming features (VRR, auto latency mode, 4K 120fps). Be warned, you’ll oddly have to choose between VRR or Dolby Vision when connecting an Xbox Series X (tip: prefer VRR, which improves fluidity).

An exhibition game, as it is. force horizon 5, you’ll obviously be relying on the A95K’s immense qualities to impress (again, the gain in brightness is good). For his part, the extravagant cup head, festival of details and colors, it looks even more like a cartoon. And there’s nothing to worry about latency, measured below 20 ms.

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

Sony QD-OLED A95K TV // Source: Sony

Google TV to serve you

Sony televisions sank google tv for several months, and this change has been beneficial to the overall ergonomics. Introduced in the latest version of Chromecast, Google TV has replaced Android TV to offer a cleaner and simpler ecosystem. We find a system of more or less relevant recommendations based on your content consumption. In terms of applications, the Play Store has everything: MyCanal, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+… Exclusive to Sony, the Bravia Core platform is a real plus for users, provided they have a good Internet connection (115 Mb / s for optimal quality).

The parameters, accessible from a menu that appears at the bottom, would still benefit from a clearer display. Sony tends to spread out into tabs and sub-tabs in the service of somewhat obscure features.

The two remote controls supplied with the Sony A95K TV
The camera supplied with the Sony A95K TV // 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 is not very useful. But future updates will add cool features, like automatically dimming brightness if no one is detected, or gesture controls.

The verdict

Those who were expecting a revolution with QD-OLED may be left a bit dissatisfied. For this first generation, Sony offers an almost flawless TV. However, the promised gain in brightness compared to conventional OLED models is far from amazing. Power tickles at 1000 nits, but remains below LCD competitors who have made it a (real) strength.
After this minor disappointment, this A95K is none other than Sony’s flagship for 2022, with the most beautiful OLED image available to date, a sober, premium design, and advanced features inherited from Google TV. LG’s C2, simple OLED, maintains our preference for a price issue: today, QD-OLED imposes an inflation of more than €1,000, which is not justified by the few improvements observed in visual performance (colors, brightness, HDR…).

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