Sony A90J 4K OLED TV Review – HDR at its Finest

Sony A90J OLED TV

Bravia XR Master Series 120Hz Smart Google TV

Review Summary

Product Name: XBR-A90J

Product Description: OLED Self-illuminating display | Cognitive Processor XR | XR Picture | XR Contrast | XR OLED Contrast Pro | XR Triluminos Pro | XR 4K Upscaling | XR Motion Clarity | HDMI 2.1 4K/120fps | Acoustic Surface Audio+ | Google TV smart platform

Brand: Sony

  • Sony XR-65A90J
5

See full review below

Model year: 2021

Screen size reviewed: 65”

Bottom line: The A90J is Sony’s best OLED TV to date. Its overall picture quality is absolutely stunning, especially in HDR mode. Its new processor and increased peak brightness contribute to this TV’s outstanding and class-leading performance. However, its expensive price tag is a major drawback in my opinion. Nevertheless, if you can afford one of these displays, you will have the pleasure of enjoying one of the best TVs currently available.

Dimensions:

With stand: (W x H x D) 59.13″ x 32.83″ x 12.48″

Without stand: (W x H x D) 56.85″ x 32.80″ x 1.62″

Weight:

With stand: 54.2 lbs.

Without stand: 49.6 lbs.

Warranty: One year parts and labor

Pros

  • Bright OLED panel
  • Superb HDR performance
  • Outstanding contrast and black levels
  • Great shadow detail, No or minimal black crush
  • Extremely accurate color processing
  • Very good wide-angle viewing performance
  • Backlit remote

Cons

  • No VRR
  • Very expensive and overpriced when compared to other high-end OLED TVs from LG

Intro

Sony’s latest OLED TV, the A90J (which replaces the excellent 2019 A9G is now available. And ever since the release of the A90J, the buzz on the streets has been tremendous. I recently had the opportunity to evaluate the 65” model of this TV and I was definitely impressed with its visual presentation.  So, in this review, I will give you a rundown of my viewing experience as well as additional info I gathered from other internet sources. But first I will highlight many of its features.

Design and Features

The A90J is available in 55”, 65” and 83” models. The design is typical of what you would find on an OLED TV, which showcases a very sleek and slim profile for the top section, whereas the remainder of the panel extends outward to house the TV’s electronic components. The front of the panel has very thin borders surrounding the screen giving the TV an aesthetically pleasing appearance.

The TV is equipped with a two-position stand design that allows for a flush (surface mount) or elevated position above a tabletop surface which will allow for a soundbar to be placed beneath the TV. However, the use of a soundbar may not be necessary with the A90J thanks to its excellent performing audio system which uses Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology that places actuators (speakers) directly behind the screen which allows for superior sounding audio when compared to your typical flat panel design. And for the record, I was very impressed with A90J’s audio quality.

The build quality of the A90J is good and appears to be of very solid construction, although primarily made of plastic. Furthermore, at this price point, this TV should have a bit more design appeal appearance-wise such as silver metal accents, etc, but that’s just my opinion. On a more positive note, I should mention the TV stand provides very good stability for the panel.

Sony A90J Side view

Side View

Feature highlights:

  • Sony’s new Cognitive Processor XR is designed to replicate the ways humans see and hear. The Cognitive Processor XR is powered by cognitive intelligence that divides the screen into numerous zones and detects where the “focal point” is in the picture. Key functions of the XR processor include:
  • XR OLED Contrast PRO increases brightness and enhances color contrast in high-luminance scenes | Object-based XR Super Resolution identifies up to hundreds of on-screen objects and enhances their resolution individually for exceptional picture accuracy and detail | Object-based XR HDR remaster improves color and contrast for SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) content | XR 4K Upscaling intelligently recreates lost textures and detail in lower-res content
  • IMAX Enhanced certification for improved performance with IMAX Enhanced 4K/HDR content
  • XR Triluminos Pro display technology for a wider, more natural color palette
  • XR Motion Clarity for sharp, smooth motion even during fast action
  • High Dynamic Range extends picture contrast and brightness when viewing HDR content. The A90J is compatible with Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG HDR formatsSony A90J Remote
  • NextGen TV ATSC 3.0 tuner can receive over-the-air 4K broadcasts
  • New Google TV smart TV platform
  • New backlit remote with voice control and quick access buttons for YouTube, Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video. The remote has a  built-in mic to access Google Assistant. The TV is also compatible with other Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa devices. The remote also has new, motion-activated backlighting.

Connectivity

  • 4 HDMI inputs (two 2.0b, two 2.1) all inputs are HDCP 2.3 compatible
  • HDMI 3 input supports enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)
  • HDMI 3 and HDMI 4 inputs support 4K/120Hz and will support Variable Refresh Rate* (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
  • Note: *VRR is not active out of the box. Won’t be available until later this year VIA a firmware update
  • 1 composite video input (3.5mm A/V minijack)
  • RF input for antenna/cable signals
  • 1 Optical digital output
  • 1 analog 3.5mm stereo minijack headphone output
  • 1 Ethernet input
  • 3 USB inputs
  • 1 pair of speaker binding post terminals for connecting to an A/V receiver when using the TV’s center speaker mode
Sony A90J rear ports

Rear Ports

Sony A90J rear panel

Rear Panel

Performance

The A90J certainly delivers on performance with top-notch picture quality. The usual OLED performance characteristics were on display in abundance on the A90J, starting with awesome contrast and black levels in addition to a very stunning color palette.

In addition to the A90J’s new Cognitive Processor XR, it was also marketed by Sony as having a substantial increase in panel brightness where OLED panels are concerned. And after viewing the A90J I can substantiate Sony’s claim.

Furthermore, during my evaluation, I was able to compare the A90J to the A9G where I was easily able to discern a noticeably brighter panel in favor of the A90J. This increased brightness output allowed for more highlight detail and clarity in both bright and dark content on this display. For example, in a particular scene I was watching, there were several objects in a room and I noticed a bookshelf had much better illumination which allowed me to see the books more clearly with increased detail when compared to the A9G.

In dark outdoor scenes that contained lots of lighting coming from buildings had more punch and spectral brightness highlights that allowed for better detail and clarity. Shadow detail was also very good in dark scenes with objects appearing with much better highlight detail and transparency when compared to the A9G. Another welcomed picture enhancement thanks in part to Sony’s new picture processing and increased panel brightness was the lack of black crush, which OLED TVs are known for, which allowed for objects in very dark scenes to remain visible which otherwise were not visible on the A9G.

During my research, I found evidence of Sony’s panel brightness claim and discovered short duration peak brightness output claims of up to 1300 nits in the vivid mode on a 10% white field window. Other findings revealed 760+ peak brightness output with HDR content in the” Custom” picture mode setting. This is great performance for an OLED TV and even outclasses many low-cost and mid-tier LED TVs.

The color presentation on the A90J was nothing short of amazing! Colors were vibrant and well saturated with exceptional accuracy. This performance added to the realism and life-like picture quality of the A90J.

I’m not big on gaming, but my research has found the A90J to be a very good TV for gaming. Its two HDMI 2.1 ports allow for advanced gaming features found on the Sony PS5 and X Box Series X. However, at launch, the A90J’s VRR capability is not functioning and will be enabled via a firmware update later this year. Input lag: approx. 17.0 ms @ 60Hz 1080p and 16.0 ms @ 60Hz 4K in game mode.

Motion handling – Watching motion-based content on this TV delivered good results. I didn’t detect any motion artifacts with the fast action images I viewed. On the other hand, I did find info online from a reviewer who claimed the A90J displayed judder and choppy motion. That said, just be aware you may experience motion artifacts depending on the content you are viewing. I have provided a link to this info here. As a suggestion, if you are experiencing motion artifacts, you can always tweak the motion setting to achieve better results.

SDR content on the A90J had very good results delivering sharp and detailed picture images in addition to exceptional color accuracy with the overall results producing a very natural and life-like picture image.

HDR content revealed the best capabilities of what the A90J could do visually. I was very impressed with what I saw and I’m willing to go out on a limb and state the Sony A90J delivered the best HDR picture quality I have seen to date. The TV delivered spectacular highlights, amazing clarity and detail, and awesome transparency and image depth. I was very impressed.

Note: I use the “Custom” picture mode setting to achieve the most accurate picture quality out of the box.

Conclusion

Sony’s A90J is indeed a very impressive 4K OLED TV and it will certainly be one of the best TVs, if not the best, for 2021. It’s that good in my opinion. Sony’s new Cognitive Processor XR chip certainly plays a major role in regards to its stunning picture quality in addition to its higher peak brightness. If you can or are willing to drop $2,999.00 for the 55” model or $3,999.00 for the 65” model, then I highly recommend the A90J.

Sony A90J room view

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