Update: We now have a full review of the Sony XR-A95K and (spoiler alert) it's a truly amazing TV.
Sony is the first TV manufacturer to introduce a QD-OLED (Quantum Dot OLED) TV. The Master Series Bravia A95K is the flagship of Sony's 2022 TV lineup and pushes the limits when it comes to outright picture quality.
We had a first contact and it left us speechless.
Based on an early demo of the set (a pre-production model, it's worth noting), held at Sony's Weybridge, UK headquarters, we can confirm that it offers a higher level of brightness and color volume than standard OLED panels. .
The screen also includes an upgraded version of the brand's Cognitive Processor XR, tuned to harness the potential of QD OLED panels, and a revised version of Sony's Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology.
So does it live up to the hype? So far, that is absolutely the case.
- Sony A95K QD-OLED TV in Crutchfield for €2,498 (opens in a new tab)
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Price and Availability
Sony has yet to officially confirm the price of the A95K. But overall, the display, which will come in 55-inch and 65-inch screen sizes, is expected to launch at around €3,000/€3,000 and €4,000/€4,000, respectively.
Dear? Sure, but we'd expect a big premium on QD-OLED flat screens, especially since the technology is new and production yields are bound to be relatively low.
Availability-wise, it's reasonable to expect an April-June release, but due to shipping delays, it may not be available in some territories until later in the year.
(Image credit: Steve May)
Design and features
The A95K definitely has good designer looks. The panel is reminiscent of Sony's original A1 OLED, which had a similarly angled monolithic design; this proved a bit divisive with buyers at the time. There's no visible frame holding the glass, and just a slim bezel surrounding the image. The screen is almost flush with the ground. Look around the rear and you'll see that the counterweight bracket does all the work.
There is a 3 degree tilt on this model, indicating that it should be placed in a low AV cabinet for the best viewing angle. There is another installation option, where the bracket can be reversed, making it visible from the front. The idea here is that you can move everything closer to a wall if you need to.
All inputs and outputs are hidden behind covers at the rear, ensuring a sleek appearance from every angle. Significantly, only two of the display's HDMI inputs are capable of supporting high-frame-rate 4K/120fps gaming.
The set comes with a new premium slim aluminum backlit remote control. When you pick it up, the keys light up. It's a nice magic wand, with dedicated keys for streaming services.
Also in the box is Sony's new Bravia camera, which attaches magnetically to the top of the screen and offers advanced video camera functionality.
To summarize: the QD-OLED panel technology lives up to the hype: the Sony A95K is bright for an OLED and boasts enormous color vibrancy.
For our comparison, a 95-inch A65K was placed next to a 90 OLED A2021J, which is no slouch in the picture. A venerable Sony BVM-X300 professional mastering monitor served as a visual reference for the content.
Although QD-OLED is an evolution of the familiar family of OLED displays, it should be noted that they have quite a different structure: the white sub-pixel, which is used in the OLED panels popularized by LG Display, is not required to add brightness but limit the theoretical depth of possible colors.
Instead, a quantum dot filter allows the QD-OLED panel to combine high brightness with expanded color volume. In short, the Sony A95K can deliver sensationally deep, vivid reds and glorious greens.
To amplify the new panel in our demo, a variety of test images were used, including live-action footage from Cruella (mainly to show color fidelity) and Monster Hunter (to reveal game-level performance). . Running on its custom picture preset, the A95K proved to be a nearly identical match to the professional mastering monitor in all tests.
That said, though, while the A95K clearly outperformed last year's non-QD OLED model, the differences were subtle, as required by the cinema preset.
Coincidentally, the day before I had looked at LG's incoming G2 OLED, which featured LG Display's latest OLED panel with heat dissipation technology, and that model had similar advantages over its 2021 friends and relatives. Would it be Sony QD-OLED? and LG G2 so far apart in their respective cinema modes? We didn't have them next to each other, but I guess not.
(Image credit: Steve May)
Where QD-OLED really started to take off was when Sony effectively let it go, running it in Standard and Vivid modes; these proved to be a marriage made in AV heaven. Custom demo images from a country wedding looked stunning.
In Standard mode, the A95K's images really started to pop, not so much in terms of specular HDR highlights, but in terms of overall average image level. The A95K has a clear advantage over regular OLED TVs in this regard, and positions QD-OLED as a viable bright bedroom/living room alternative to the best LED models.
Also, Vivid has further improved the red and green performance of the screen. It looked flashy but fantastic.
The problem, of course, is that not many people will choose to watch content (live action) in Vivid mode. And if you're a true home cinema enthusiast, I bet your natural inclination will be to watch the set's Netflix and Custom Calibrated Cinema modes, and here the panel's potential is largely left untapped.
This is an area where the jury is still out, as our demo session with the set did not include an opportunity to put it through its paces. But I'm optimistic, it will sound good.
Sony rates the Acoustic Surface Audio Plus sound system in the A95K at 2.2, compared to 3.2 in the cheaper A80K. The brand claims that this deficit is largely due to the changes in the actuators used, necessary for the QD OLED panel; apparently the new panel structure makes a difference in its implementation.
On the plus side, Sony says the A95K's actuators are slightly larger and more powerful than the A80K's units. Let's take this literally.
The set also features a center speaker mode, which allows the TV's audio system to function as a center speaker in a multi-channel audio system.
In many ways, Sony's QD-OLED A95K is ahead of the game. When it comes to picture quality, it has the headroom to elevate performance beyond the mastering standard and offers a level of visual durability that we've never seen before. Unleashed, it's surprisingly good.
But is it really worth the premium price over more conventional displays, especially if 4K streaming services are the default content? In truth, we won't know the answer to that question, at least not until we get some of the best of 2022 on our test bed. Real-world display differences may be less obvious than you think.
What we can confirm though is that the Master Series A95K looks to be a standout TV and one of the early favorites for the screen of the year.
- Looking for something before? Check out our guide to the best TVs available right now
Sony A95K QD-OLED TV: Price comparison
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