This is arguably the most significant advancement in OLED TV technology since LG launched the first 55-inch OLED TV around ten years ago. QD-OLED, which is (in general) intended to combine the best qualities of both OLED and QLED, has finally arrived in the form of Sony A95K.
Due to its perfect blacks, pixel-level contrast control, near-perfect viewing angles, super-thin designs, and increasingly competitive pricing, OLED has become the premium TV technology of choice, and QD-OLED is expected to overcome its main limitation that is brightness. If you expect the Sony A95K to be significantly brighter than the current OLED standard, you may be slightly disappointed. In fact, the first QD-OLED TV isn’t a huge leap in quality over the best standard OLED TVs on the market right now. It is, however, superior, making it a truly exceptional television.
At launch, the 55-inch A95K we’re reviewing (XR-55A95K to give it its full title) was priced at £2699 / $3000. The price has dropped slightly since launch, and the TV will be available for £2199 / $2500 in December 2022, but it is still significantly more expensive than Samsung’s 55-inch S95B (£1399 / $1450), with which it shares a panel. As it happens, Samsung’s Display division is currently the sole manufacturer of QD-OLED TV panels, just as LG Display manufactures all panels used in standard OLED TVs.
Sony created the A95K to be as simple as possible. With the stand in its default position behind the TV, the only thing visible from the front is the screen, which is surrounded on three sides by a 7-8mm bezel and at the bottom by a thicker lip that houses elements such as the IR receiver and far-field microphones as well as displaying a very subtle Sony logo. The set has a slight lean backwards in this position, which should compensate for it standing lower on your furniture than a TV with a more typical stand would.
Alternatively, the stand can be placed in front of the screen, allowing the TV to be placed flush against a wall. To our eyes, that is the more visually appealing of the two positioning options, but which will work best for you will depend on your room and furniture. Of course, wall mounting is also an option, with the stand completely detachable. The A95K is slightly thinner than the LG C2 (4.5cm) but significantly thicker than the G2 (2.5cm).
An unusual rectangular notch is located near the top of the back panel. This is for the Bravia CAM camera, that also comes with the Sony A95K (and the Z9K 8K MiniLED TV) as well as magnetically attaches to the screen at this point, peeking over the top edge.
While the Bravia CAM initially only supported video chat, it now includes the promised Ambient Optimisation Pro (that also adjusts picture and sound based on the position you’re in the room), Proximity Alert (which prevents children from standing or sitting too close to the TV), Gesture Control, and Auto Power Saving Mode (which detects when you leave the room and dims the screen). Some of these features may be useful to some people.
The Google TV operating system is used by Sony for the majority of its latest TVs, including the A95K. Overall, this is a very good platform that is very quick to use and puts increasingly intelligent personalised suggestions front and centre, making it very quick to find something new to watch or to return to. Unfortunately, the vast majority of recommendations are still from Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, with only a few Apple TV titles and a single My5 TV show thrown in for good measure.
In terms of gaming, the A95K is very similar to Sony’s 2021 OLEDs, with one key exception: VRR works right out of the box. Furthermore, two 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 ports support 4K 120Hz gaming from the PS5, Xbox Series X, and the most recent PC graphics cards. Unfortunately, one of those HDMI 2.1 ports also supports eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), so if you require that for a soundbar or AV receiver, you’ll only have one HDMI 2.1 input available.
Dolby Vision Dark, one of the A95 two K’s Dolby Vision picture presets, is best ignored as it’s simply too dark, even in a pitch black room, with too much detail lost to shadows. Dolby Vision Bright, on the other hand, is superbly judged, with deep, detailed blacks and plenty of contrasting pop. What may surprise you is that the A95K is no brighter overall than the LG G2. In fact, LG’s top OLED Evo model appears brighter in many scenes.
The detail and colour contained within the brightest highlights are where this new QD-OLED excels. The A95K emits a lovely, subtle orange warmth that fades towards the centre of a sunset but never completely disappears, whereas the G2 is white in the brightest areas. The A95K is also an excellent performer with HD content.
Sony utilises the same Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology (which uses actuators that vibrate the entire screen to make sound) that is found in all of the company’s OLEDs for the A95 Sound, K’s albeit with larger actuators that are specifically optimised for the new QD-OLED panel. These two actuators collaborate with two subwoofers to provide additional bass.
The delivery is also well-detailed and clear. And, as is customary with Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio TVs, the sound is inextricably linked to the onscreen action (it is, after all, literally emanating from the screen) in a way that standard TVs simply cannot match. That’s not to say the sound is narrow or constrained; it extends well to the sides and even above the TV screen, though not in a way which could be described as virtual surround or Atmos.
While not the new dawn of TV technology that some may have predicted, the Sony A95K does suggest that QD-OLED offers some advantages over standard OLED, most notably increased detail as well as colour reproduction in the brightest parts of the image. Samsung’s S95B is more of an entire demonstration of QD-OLED capabilities, and its exceptional punch and vibrancy will be difficult to ignore for some. However, Sony’s careful, authenticity-led method means the A95K is more balanced and natural.