Sony Bravia XR A90J 4K HDR OLED

“The A90J affords one of the best image and sound high quality in a TV immediately.”

Brightest OLED TV

Distinctive HDR efficiency

Excellent black ranges

Gorgeous element

Since CES 2021, rumors have swirled across the Sony A90J OLED TV. Guarantees of a giant increase in brightness and a daring new image processor have had TV geeks like me salivating.  The $four,000 query? Is the hype round this TV — a few of which I’m accountable for — true? We’re about to seek out out.

On this evaluate I’m going to debate what makes the A90J OLED TV so premium, reveal simply how vivid it actually will get and why you could or could NOT need all of that brightness on faucet, analyze image high quality, and I’ll dip into gaming options a bit of as nicely, all to find out simply how nice this TV actually is, and whether or not it’s price saving your pennies — or Benjamins, actually — so you should purchase it.

Spoiler alert: This TV is great.

Leap to: Out of the field | Person expertise | Sound high quality | About that brightness | Image settings/Image high quality | Gaming | My take

Out of the field

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The second you crack the field, it’s instantly obvious the A90J is a premium, luxurious product — you can too inform that by that $four,000 worth. The excellent news is the A90J completely seems and feels the a part of an ultra-premium TV. From its bezel-free borders to its ultra-slim type, proper all the way down to the included brushed-metal distant management, you get a way that you simply’ve gotten what you paid for with this TV. I skilled zero letdowns within the unboxing course of.

One of many issues I like most about this TV’s design is its convertible stand. You’ve acquired three choices for leg placement. One permits the TV to sit down up a number of inches above your media stand, leaving simply the correct amount of room for a soundbar, which can assist conceal any unruly cables left as a consequence of a disappointing cable administration system. The second possibility inverts the ft so the TV sits flush towards your media cupboard, leaving no perceivable hole — the identical ultra-slick look present in final 12 months’s Z8H 8K OLED TV. The third possibility locations the legs towards the center of the TV, permitting a a lot narrower footprint for smaller media stands.

Riley Younger/Digital Developments

Riley Younger/Digital Developments

Riley Younger/Digital Developments

Riley Younger/Digital Developments

For these wall-mounting, anticipate a really clear look with only a slight bump out from the wall. Even with that bump, the TV’s impossibly skinny OLED panel continues to attract oohs and aahs.

Person expertise

Establishing the A90J is a snap, particularly you probably have a Google account and the Google House app — all due to the not too long ago launched Google TV platform, first seen within the new Chromecast with Google TV.

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I loved Google TV when it first got here out, however it has grown on me for the reason that new Chromecast grew to become my go-to streaming gadget in my bed room. Its implementation because the good TV platform in Sony’s televisions has cemented my fandom. Not solely did the A90J carry out its preliminary setup roughly by itself, however since I’ve enter consumer names and passwords for the streaming apps I take advantage of by way of Google TV earlier than, it wasn’t essential to undergo that tedious course of once more — Google TV remembered most of them and immediately signed me in with the clicking of a ‘sure’ button. I do know that is most likely extra of a ache level for a reviewer comparable to myself, however I nonetheless like it.

Backside line, the TV is a pleasure to make use of.

Outdoors of setup ease, Google TV is doing an more and more good job of mixing content material that I commonly watch with more and more related advised content material that, by some means, doesn’t really feel like an advert. Google TV makes selecting up the place you left off on a film or present extraordinarily straightforward, and is mostly a really acquainted, approachable interface, even for those who’ve by no means used it earlier than. And naturally, Chromecast is built-in together with all the ability of The Google Assistant for search, TV management, and basic data.

Backside line, the TV is a pleasure to make use of. Even the settings menu is crammed with explanations for what every button and slider will do when adjusted.

Sound high quality

Sound high quality will not be one thing I often dwell on in these opinions however, candy mercy, this TV sounds unbelievable.

For those who weren’t already conscious, Sony locations transducers on the again aspect of the OLED panel which convert the display screen right into a speaker. This manner, sounds come straight from the display screen itself, and this method does an unimaginable job of pinpointing sounds to the on-screen supply. For instance, if there’s somebody on the proper hand of the display screen talking, you hear them talking from the place their face seems — as if the actor’s voice is definitely coming from their on-screen mouth.

Riley Younger/Digital Developments

Bass response on the A90J has been improved since Sony first began utilizing this sort of audio answer, implementing a further bass driver and a labyrinth of bass ports on the again of the TV. I like listening to a TV sound this massive. No, it’s not the identical as having a devoted sub, however you can be astonished at how deep and loud the A90J can sound could be when referred to as to be.

I can’t consider one other TV that sounds this good.

Additionally, Sony has pulled some acoustic trickery to boost the sound area vertically, so it appears sound comes from past the borders of the TV. As well as, digital encompass results, which I often strongly dislike, sound very convincing coming from the A90J. I can’t consider one other TV that sounds this good, frankly.

If, nevertheless, a extra elaborate multispeaker encompass system is what you like, you should use the TV as your middle speaker. Many of us — together with different reviewers, it appears — assume that the pair of speaker terminals on the again of the TV are for powering a middle channel speaker. This isn’t the case. The TV is designed to just accept a sign from an A/V receiver, down-convert the sign to speaker stage, then amplify it by way of its personal audio system, successfully changing a middle channel speaker. And it really works fantastically nicely.

About that brightness

I’m about to get into image high quality, however first, I need to discuss two of the explanations this TV is meant to be such a giant deal this 12 months. One is its brightness potential — probably the brightest OLED TV made to this point. The opposite is its processing, which is at all times one thing we discuss with Sony’s TV’s as a result of processing makes an enormous distinction in image high quality, and Sony’s has traditionally been one of the best.

On the processing entrance, Sony has gone from Excessive to Final and has now darted in a brand new course. This 12 months’s new hotness is what Sony calls its Cognitive Processor XR. The title is a little bit of a mouthful, however what it means is that Sony — by its personal description — has designed the image processor to function much like the way in which our brains assume and the way we understand issues.

Riley Younger/Digital Developments

Riley Younger/Digital Developments

Riley Younger/Digital Developments

Sony says the processor is so superior that it may well take each factor of image high quality and cross-reference all of it on the similar time, simply as our brains do. And the result’s meant to be a particularly lifelike image. One among its benefits, as an example, is that the XR processor can acknowledge that it wants to boost element within the fur of an animal, however not essentially the element of the blurred out grasslands and bushes within the background. I do know that seems like loads, and I’m positive there may be greater than a tablespoon of selling play in there, however Sony has traditionally delivered on their claims for superior processing, and I can inform you proper now, they’re certainly delivering with the brand new XR processor.

As for the A90J’s newly discovered brightness increase: You’ll have heard that LG additionally has a brand new OLED TV that may get brighter than ever earlier than, and you could assume that as a result of Sony will get its OLED panels from LG Show, that they might be taking part in the identical recreation to reign king of brightness. BUT, they aren’t.

Riley Younger/Digital Developments

Sony’s method is totally different in that whereas it seems to be utilizing an analogous new OLED panel from LG Show — although I haven’t but confirmed — it has additionally developed a brand new heat-sink expertise that enables the panel to be pushed tougher and barely longer, with out doing harm to the pixels or carrying them out prematurely. Consequently, the TV has been rumored to have the ability to hit 1300 nits in Vivid mode — that’s slightly below twice as vivid as earlier Sony OLEDs. I’ll discuss whether or not that form of brightness is lifelike and even fascinating in a second, however first, let me discuss image settings and a few measurements I took whereas evaluating the TV.

Image settings/Image high quality

If you would like the brightest the A90J’s brightest image whereas additionally sustaining some accuracy (adherence to image requirements that Hollywood makes use of — that’s, keep away from the Customary or Vivid image modes — the play is to make use of the TVs Customized mode. As soon as Customized is chosen, you need to flip the ambient gentle sensor off, a setting that’s conveniently listed close to the brightness settings. Notice that turning the sensor off retains different options that regulate the brightness tone curve primarily based in your room lighting. Additionally underneath the brightness setting, I’d counsel turning peak brightness to excessive. It will brighten up the image in each SDR and HDR modes.

With these settings, I acquired 370 nits peak in SDR. I measured the extra customary 150 nits with the height brightness setting at low. Colour accuracy on this mode after I diminished the quantity of blue going into white was insanely spot-on, with solely probably the most excessive pink going over the brink for perceptible inaccuracy and even then, solely barely so. I’m severely impressed.

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For HDR, no additional changes to image settings had been essential. I checked peak brightness and it held regular at about 760 nits (nearer to 800 nits when adjusting for gentle meter accuracy), which is excellent for a customized or cinema mode like this.

Colour was very correct when the height brightness wasn’t set to excessive. Slight inaccuracies crept in when the height brightness was pushed up, which is to be anticipated. However once more, barely perceivable. We’re holding the TV to the very best requirements and it will get nearer than nearly something I’ve seen, save a reference monitor like Sony’s personal BVM X300, which is a ridiculously costly true RGB OLED mastering monitor that Hollywood makes use of when mastering films.

After I went into Vivid mode, I didn’t should make any changes to get 1,250 nits (nearer to 1,300, adjusting for gentle meter inaccuracy), although that quantity tumbled to 950 or so as soon as the A90J’s auto-brightness limiter kicked in, which is an efficient factor for holding these pixels from overheating unnecessarily.

Riley Younger/Digital Developments

So, there you may have it: Affirmation that certainly this TV can get exceedingly vivid for those who ask it to, little question. And a transparent indication Sony is taking a unique method from LG.

However how does this highly effective brightness translate to actual TV viewing? Do you want that a lot brightness on an OLED TV? I say sure, however with some caveats.

The whole lot I’ve ever cherished about OLED TV image high quality, elevated.

I might by no means watch a TV in Vivid mode. It seems harsh and synthetic. For those who wanted to go to Vivid whereas internet hosting a giant sports activities occasion and also you had been watching with daylight streaming into your house, shining straight on the TV, then sure, that form of brightness turns out to be useful. However for normal viewing, the Customized or Cinema mode with peak brightness turned up is extra than simply fulfilling, it’s dazzling. That additional little bit of brightness, utilized in the proper locations, and in the proper methods, elevates your entire image, however has an particularly useful influence on HDR highlights.

The A90J is all the pieces I’ve ever cherished about OLED TV image high quality, elevated. The accuracy, element, and richness this TV affords are intense. I completely like it. Although I freely admit I’ve been a Sony fan for a while, this TV is objectively next-level good. Greatest image high quality I’ve ever seen. That’s it. I do know there are numerous superior TVs that will likely be coming by way of, however this TV is now the benchmark, and it’s going to be exhausting to beat.

Gaming

Now, let’s discuss gaming. This TV does have two HDMI 2.1 ports with the potential to assist 4K 120Hz, Variable Refresh Charge (VRR) Auto low-latency mode (ALLM) amongst many different fascinating options. Sadly, a type of ports occurs to be the TV’s eARC port, so for those who wished to hook up multiple HDMI 2.1 gadget — say each the Xbox Collection X and the PlayStation 5 — then you should ditch eARC functionality. It isn’t potential to attach the consoles on to the TV and run one cable to a soundbar or receiver.

Riley Younger/Digital Developments

Riley Younger/Digital Developments

Riley Younger/Digital Developments

If, nevertheless, you’re going to run the consoles by way of an HDMI 2.1-friendly A/V receiver that passes 4K 120Hz indicators, then you could be high quality. I simply know most of the receivers accessible this 12 months have struggled with that a bit of.

In any other case, so far as I’ve been capable of decide, nearly all the pieces appears to be working at launch besides VRR —  that’s one other story. It might be some time earlier than we see a firmware replace from Sony that allows VRR on 2021 and choose 2020 TVs.

Outdoors of that, all of the A90J’s image high quality awesomeness firmly applies to video games — they appear unimaginable. This TV isn’t as gaming-centric because the LG G1, however that’s a dialogue for a versus article that’s forthcoming. Watch this area.

My take

Frankly, the A90J is a murals and a feat of engineering. I completely like it. The problem is its worth, however, luckily, costs go down in time. Value apart, the A90J is likely one of the best TVs you should purchase in 2021, and maybe past.

Is there a greater various?

When it comes to image high quality and sound high quality, no. The LG G1 OLED evo will get extraordinarily shut, although, and has the benefit of superior gaming options and a a lot lower cost at launch.

How lengthy will it final?

The Sony A90J is a remarkably superior, well-built tv. It ought to final far into the longer term.

Guarantee

Sony affords a one-year elements and labor guarantee on its TVs when bought from a certified retailer. Extra data could be discovered at Sony’s Handbook and Guarantee web page.

Must you purchase it?

Sure. It might be costly, however the A90J affords one of the best image and sound high quality you may get in a TV immediately.

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