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

In 2022 the television market welcomes a further evolution: QD-OLED. This technology comes as a breakthrough in OLED technology, which has very quickly reached its glass ceiling (very, very high, it must be admitted). Behind it is not LG, but Samsung, which has long since turned its back on OLEDs to maximize the potential of LCDs. With the QD-OLED, the Korean company wants to address above all the biggest flaw of OLEDs: the lack of brightness.

Paradoxically, Samsung let Sony formalize the marketing of a first QD-OLED TV: the A95K model, 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 actually?

One foot (very wide), two possibilities

Beware of inflation

The new technology obliges, the price of the A95K is very high: they count 3,000 euros for the 55-inch version, when the LG C2 of equivalent size is launched below the 2,000 euros threshold.

Sony has been able to make beautiful televisions since the dawn of time. And since the A95K is the new flagship of the multinational, the small plates have been inserted into the large ones. In terms of finishes there is absolutely nothing to say, if not to say goodbye to the quality of the materials, the fineness of the frame and the numerous covers on the back to hide the connectors and cables. The A95K isn’t the thinnest of OLED TVs, but it’s obviously stylish. However, what matters is the image.

On the other hand, you have to contend with the foot, which can be very restrictive depending on your furniture. Weighted down (and also very heavy), is the full width of the TV, requiring at least as wide a cabinet. The foot can be screwed in two positions: it can protrude from the rear or front, as desired. In both cases, the screen is slightly tilted back, like so many other Sony TVs. The result is a monolithic appearance that gives the impression that the screen is placed directly on the piece of furniture. It’s particular.

Another flaw of this design: forget the association with a soundbar placed in front, it would hide the lower part of the TV. We also see a way for Sony to bring out the Acoustic Surface technology (which vibrates the plate for a more consistent sonic rendering, it is true).

Sony packs two remote controls: one classic and one much more modern (with fewer buttons). It is the latter that we prefer, simply because it offers a very practical backlight (it activates when you take the remote control).

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

The most beautiful OLED picture

When the QD-OLED innovation was presented, we were promised a brightness never seen before for an OLED panel: 1,500 nits, which is a power worthy of the best LCDs and a figure to erase the biggest flaw in the technology (which to overcome the 1000 nits). Reality does not live up to this fantasy. Yes, the image offered by the A95K is brighter than conventional OLED competitors (including the LG C2, this year’s benchmark). But there is not even a chasm with this first generation. At the very least, it’s not enough to bury the OLED. According to measurements by Sylvain Pichot, Frandroid’s TV specialist, the A95K approaches 1,000 nits in usable modes, which still leaves Sony plenty of room to maneuver to hit the 1,500 nits target.

The purest yield

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

To properly test the TV, we devoured a tennis match (Wimbledon, via beIN Sports), played video games (Xbox Series X), and watched 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 upscaling that interests us with this sports program. It is incredibly accurate. The algorithms used by Sony, articulated around an artificial intelligence, allow to produce an image with a beautiful model, without necessarily overdoing it (no overcutting). The result is impressive depth, with this impression of being alongside the players.

As a bonus, the smoothness is there: the motion compensation engine is among the most efficient – and most importantly, natural – on the market. Thanks to him, the tennis ball moves from one side of the court to the other without looking like a cluster of pixels. And since there was talk of the restitution of whites, the players’ shirts stand out with unparalleled brilliance, especially compared to the green of the grass.

Unexplored in 4K HDR

Unexplored it’s far from being the movie of the year, let alone the adaptation of the century. However, it is quite a show in 4K HDR. With this video game blockbuster, the A95K expresses its full potential. First of all, there is the prodigious amount of detail and the perfect spot colors. There is above all the way in which light sources shine brightly (flames in dark environments, lamps indoors, etc.). There you can fully feel the slight gain in brightness, which allows you to support the contrasts even more, accentuating the light elements compared to the dark areas. We challenge you to find an image closest to perfection. We have also launched 2049 runner bladewith the same observation: the neon atmosphere of the sticky streets of Los Angeles fascinates.

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

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

The video game (Xbox Series X)

The A95K is obviously a PlayStation 5 certified TV (a badge that doesn’t mean much). It has two HDMI 2.1 ports (why not 4 like on LG models?), Compatible with all gaming features (VRR, automatic latency mode, 4K at 120 fps). Be careful, strangely you will have to choose between VRR or Dolby Vision when connecting an Xbox Series X (tip: go for VRR, which improves fluidity).

A showcase game, as it is Strength Horizon 5, will obviously rely on the immense qualities of the A95K to impress (again, brightness gain is good). For its part, the flamboyant Cuphead, a festival of details and colors, looks even more like a cartoon. And there’s nothing 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 detected, as is the case with Samsung and LG.

Sony QD-OLED A95K TV // Source: Sony

Google TV to serve you

Sony TVs have switched to Google TV for several months, and the change has been good for overall usability. Introduced on the latest version of Chromecast, Google TV has replaced Android TV to offer a clearer and simpler ecosystem. We find a system of more or less relevant recommendations depending on its content consumption. In terms of applications, on the Play Store there is everything: MyCanal, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney + … Exclusively Sony, the Bravia Core platform is a real plus for users, as long as they have a good internet connection ( 115 Mb / s for optimal quality).

The parameters, accessible from a menu that appears below, would still benefit from a clearer display. Sony tends to disperse on cards and sub-cards in the service of somewhat obscure functionality.

The two remotes that come with the Sony A95K TV
The camera that came with the Sony A95K TV // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

There is also a camera in the box that can be placed on top of the A95K. What is needed ? It’s not very useful at the moment. But future updates will add interesting features, such as the brightness that automatically decreases if no one is detected or gesture controls.

The verdict

Those who expected a revolution with the QD-OLED might be a little dissatisfied. For this first generation, Sony offers an almost flawless TV. However, the promised brightness gain over conventional OLED models is far from astounding. The power tickles the 1,000 nits, but remains below the LCD competitors who have made it a (real) selling point.
After this slight disappointment, this A95K is nothing less than Sony’s flagship for the year 2022, with the most beautiful OLED image available to date, an understated premium design and advanced features inherited from GoogleTV. The LG C2, a simple OLED, maintains our preference for a question of price: today QD-OLED imposes an inflation of over € 1,000, which is not justified by the few improvements observed in the visual rendering (colors, brightness, HDR … ).

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