OLED TVs have been around for a few years now and 2019 is the first time we have seen a brand launch an OLED TV under the price of Rs 1,00,000. Whether that TV is a game-changer for the market, we’ll know when we review it. Until then, we have Sony’s 2019 flagship, the A9G. The OLED TV is a sight to behold and brings with it an interesting feature set. However, is it one that deserves your attention?
Specifications at a glance
Panel Size: 55″ (also available in 65″)
Panel Type: OLED
Panel Resolution: 3840 x 2160 – 4K
Panel Refresh Rate: 120Hz
HDR 10 support: Yes
Dolby Vision Support: Yes
Weight (with stand): 22.3 kg
HDMI ports: 4
USB ports: 3
Built-in storage: 16 GB
Price: MRP Rs 2,99,900
Display and image quality
Let’s get into the most important thing first: display and image quality. The Sony A9G has an OLED panel with support for 4K resolution, along with HDR 10 and Dolby Vision support. It also has a ‘Netflix Mode’, which was first launched when Sony introduced the Master series of TVs. Like the Sony TVs we’ve tested in the past, the TV will bring Dolby Vision Bright and Dolby Vision Dark for HDR content. Since the panel on the TV is an OLED panel, there is no need to worry about viewing angles. OLED panels are quite reflective, so if you’re using the TV in a brightly lit room, this is something you may need to consider. We’ll walk through all of this in the sections below.
4K and HDR performance
The A9G has the same X1 Ultimate chip that powers it as the 2018 Sony OLED, the A9F. Frankly, it would take a keen eye to notice the difference between the two. So if you’re considering which of the two is for you, it won’t be based on the performance of the image processor, but on the features the TV offers. More on that later.
Coming to the footage, I was immersed in our test runs of Altered Carbon using the built-in Netflix app and the first frame. In season 1 episode 7 there is a fight sequence that switches between slow motion and fast action in a warehouse littered with dark corners and sunlight coming through the roof. The dynamic range and peak brightness in these situations make the content look immersive while preserving details. If you watch this series in a pitch dark room, the deep blacks, courtesy of the OLED panel, are a treat. Needless to say, every detail in every frame stands out vividly. When light enters the room, I recommend using the Dolby Vision Bright setting to make the highlights slightly brighter while preserving details.
Other HDR content, including Daredevil, Love Death + Robots, and more showed the same amount of detail in every scene they presented. The details in every frame of the content captured my attention. The only question in my head is how well does the LG C9 holds its own against this TV and we’ll comment on that when we get the C9 for review.
We have played a lot of FHD content from the TV such as Wonder Woman, Young Sheldon and more, and FHD content is presented beautifully as well. The scenes in Young Sheldon look clear and the facial features of the characters are visible with great detail. Even Wonder Woman, with its war-torn, rugged environments was a treat.
our trusted Xbox One X was our favorite console and we played the following games. Forza Horizon 4, Doom and Gears of War 4. Here’s the thing, Gears of War 4, a 4K HDR game, is a measure of the TV’s gaming performance. After playing Gears 5 (read our review here), which is also a 4K HDR game and a benchmark for HDR performance, we were eager to try it on this TV, but unfortunately the TV left our labs before we could.
In Doom, a game in 4K but SDR, the surface of Mars looked dusty orange as it should. Sometimes when Doom loads a new area you will see textures come in. The pop-in was so obvious in some sections that it’s a testament to the TV’s ability to display sharp detail up close.
Just like the X95G we tested before (read our review of the X95G here), the A9G also supports eARC and all ports are HDCP 2.3 compliant. So if you’re looking to invest in an eARC-compatible soundbar or home theater, this TV is just the thing for you. With eARC, consumers can get DTS-X and Dolby Atmos audio from the TV to compatible audio equipment.
Sony’s Acoustic Surface technology also makes an appearance here and is one of the better sounding TV speakers we’ve tested. Dialogue is clear, music is nice but the overall punch is lacking, especially during action movies or games. Of course, if you watch regular TV or TV shows, you should be fine with the speakers on the TV. They sound a lot better than what we’ve seen on TVs around the Rs 1,00,000 to Rs 1,50,000 price.
Sony has been working on Android TV OS since the dawn of smart TVs and the A9G runs on Android TV 8, exactly the same as the X95G. The overall experience is buttery smooth. There was never a moment, whether gaming on a console, streaming with the native apps or logging into the Play Store, that the UI was unresponsive. It works very smoothly. One of the best things about the Sony TV is that you can easily turn it on and off with your voice. Note that this only happens if you keep the TV in standby mode. But it’s really cool if you don’t know where you left the remote control and want to start using the TV. It’s a brilliant feature and one that others should implement.
There are some subtle changes to the UI, again, exactly the same we saw on the X95G. If you want to change sources, picture or audio settings, you don’t have to pull up the navigation bar on the right to hinder the viewing experience. For changes to basic settings such as picture mode, audio, source and more, there will be a small strip at the bottom of the screen that you can easily navigate through. You can add certain settings you want to change to this bar at the bottom to make it easier to change your most used settings.
We also get the upgraded remote with the A9G. It comes with a textured back that gives it a good grip. The buttons are well spaced and have a nice rubbery click. Gripping the remote in the middle gives you access to most functions within easy reach of your thumb. Unlike LG TV’s user interface, Sony’s TV remote still doesn’t have a mouse function and typing is still manual navigation on the on-screen keyboard, but you can use the Android TV app on your smartphone to make typing easier. Since passwords for apps like Netflix, Prime Videos, and more can be stored in your Google login, signing in to the TV once ensures all your streaming service apps are up and running without having to sign in again and again.
Build and design
Finally, let’s talk about the construction and design of the TV. The TV is slim with the bulge on the back with the connection options and the motherboard of the TV. The placement of the ports is pretty standard. They are all on the right side of the TV. On the back we have the antenna port, LAN port, optical audio port, three HDMI ports (one of which is eARC) and one USB port. On the right side we have one HDMI port, 2 USB ports, headphone port and the Video-In port. The great thing about this TV is the cable management that comes with it. The back has modular panels which are essentially plastic covers that can be pulled out and cables routed through them, out of the base stand to ensure you get a clean install. For those of you who want to set up a clean cable with your TV, this is definitely something you’ll love.
As for the bezels, the TV has really thin bezels that don’t interfere with the viewing experience. There is a small white LED on the bottom of the TV, but you can control its intensity in the TV UI. It is not a hindrance when watching TV.
If you decide to place the TV on a tabletop, be aware that there is no space between the base of the TV and the table to place a console or soundbar. The TV sits flat when placed on a tabletop. So this is something to keep in mind when installing the TV in your home entertainment center.
The Sony A9G is a flagship OLED TV to consider. There is little to say about the disadvantages of the TV. The only thing I can think of is that it will sit flat when kept on a tabletop, but you only think of that when placing the TV aesthetically. But here’s the question to answer, which Sony 2019 flagship, namely the X95G or the A9G, is for you? Well, if you’re watching TV in a well-lit room, go for the X95G, as the VA panel does a little better at handling reflections. But if you watch TV in a relatively dark room and are looking for a cinema experience, the A9G is the right choice.