Combining Quantum Dots and OLED – this TV rocks!

10/10

Summary

Sony XR65A95K TV Panel REVIEW

Sony’s picture perfect marriage between OLED and Quantum Dots gets PAT PILCHER all worked up in a lather.

$6098

When Sony launches a TV it’s big news. When they launch QD-OLED, which takes everything great with OLED and adds Quantum Dot technology (for more accurate colour), we at Witchdoctor start humping the leg of the nearest couch with anticipation. (Woof!)

There are good reasons for getting excited. Because of its ability to deliver inky deep blacks and pure whites, OLED has long been the TV technology of choice. Quantum Dot technologies have been a popular LCD choice because they can deliver super-vivid, bright and accurate colours. Marrying both makes a metric shit-tonne of sense. So to say we were hyped when Sony’s 65-inch A95K arrived is a vast understatement.

 

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The XR65A95K (we’ll call it the A95K) sports a sparse, minimalistic, yet pleasing design. Its stand runs the entire display length and can be installed so it sits in front of the TV or juts out behind it. With the stand behind the TV, there’s little to distract from the screen, which is bounded by a near-invisible 7mm bezel. While the stand feels super solid, it did mean that I couldn’t sit my Sonos PlayBase under the TV.

On top of the A95K’s back panel sits a small notch where the bundled Bravia CAM attaches. Not only does it support video calling from your telly, but it can sense the lighting to automatically tweak video and audio, based on where you are sitting. It also offers Gesture Control, so you become the remote. It can also dim the screen if it detects no one in the room. As the batteries in the bundled remote hadn’t been replaced by the previous reviewer and were almost flat, gesture control came in very handy and was soon second nature. That said, the bundled remote isn’t too shabby at all. Sony has put a lot of effort into simplifying it, shrinking it and reducing the button count to just 25.

The A95K uses Google TV. I’m a big Google TV fan, as there’s a huge ecosystem of apps available, including Kodi, arguably one of the best media players available for use on a TV. I also like that Google TV learns your viewing habits and gives you personalised recommendations for content on whichever streaming platforms you subscribe to.

As you’d expect, you’re well-catered for with streaming platforms. The Netflix app is preinstalled (with Dolby Vision and Atmos support). Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video as well as Apple TV are there too. A built-in digital tuner also means Freeview is supported. A curious addition is the Bravia Core service, which streams many big Hollywood movies, and Bravia owners get 10 credits (to get them hooked on the service).

If you’re the proud owner of a PS5 or Xbox series X (or, dare I say it) a PC, you’ll like what the A95K offers. Variable refresh rate (VRR) is baked right in, as are two 48Gbps HDMI 2.1, both of which support 4K 120Hz gaming. If you want to use eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), you’ll have to sacrifice one HDMI 2.1 port for a soundbar/home theatre receiver. Auto Low Latency Mode switches on when it detects you’re gaming, so gameplay is silky smooth. Using a PS5, you also get Auto Genre Picture Mode. This means your PS5 detects the TV it’s connected to and uses the best HDR tone map.

The video on the A95K was, as you’d expect from Sony, excellent. This is due to both the QD-OLED panel and Sony’s video processing. The Cognitive Processor XR wrung a tonne of detail out of the QD-OLED panel. With it, a ‘Depth Map’ feature can identify, differentiate, and enhance foreground from background objects to increase image depth. Watching Andor was an eye-opener, as was watching War Of The Worlds (using a VPN) on the Aussie TV channel SBS.

That said, there were some issues. For some reason, the A95K I was sent had a demo mode enabled, launching at random intervals and switching everything to Vivid mode. Once I navigated through its many menus, I disabled the Demo and got on with testing. What struck me with the A95K’s video was how much detail and colour was present, even in brighter images. Even though things were crisp and vivid, they always looked natural (at least until the Demo mode kicked in and switched on Vivid mode). The on-screen motion was also silky smooth, which will be a boon for sports fans and lovers of action movies.

On the acoustic front, the A95K acquitted itself well. This is largely due to Sony using two actuators that vibrate the screen to make it a largeish speaker. Add to this two subwoofers, and you get a bottom-end oomph that shouldn’t exist with such a thin TV. Where a lot of OLED TVs struggle with dialogue and audio detail, Sony’s Acoustic Surface delivered a pleasing natural sound. Should you, however, want to hook the A95K up to an external amp/sound bar, there is an optical output and, as mentioned earlier, eARC HDMI ports (that said, finding a soundbar to play nice with the A95K’s stand may be a challenge). A clever feature is connecting the TV as your centre speaker. As nifty as this sounds, audiophiles might find that its sonic signature differs too much from their existing home theatre speakers. Either way, the A95K stands head and shoulders above most other OLED TVs when it comes to Audio, with only Panasonic’s LZ2000 (see our review here) able to generate audio of similar quality.

The A95K delivers in spades. QD-OLED offers solid video improvements over QLED and OLED by marrying the best of both technologies and employing some clever video processing. This results in glorious detail and colours that look natural and have plenty of depth. Add to this solid audio, great gaming capabilities and a widely-supported smart TV OS, and there’s plenty to like.

sony.co.nz

 

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