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Sony Bravia OLED A9F review: A top-notch TV, if you can afford it

The 'Master series' is priced at Rs 429,900 (55-inch) and Rs 579,900 (65-inch) and is giving a tough competition to two other electronic giants in the world, Samsung and LG

Aparna Banerjea  |  New Delhi 

Sony Bravia OLED A9F series
Sony Bravia OLED A9F series. Photo: Official website

Japanese electronic giants vouched for an out-of-the-world viewing experience with their new Bravia OLED series launch. The company's tall claims remained quite positive while I reviewed the new Bravia series. The colour, contrast and clarity of picture in the 55-inch variant are stunning, especially when viewed in the default 4K resolution. However, a 1080p- or 720p-quality does not disappoint or pixelate either. But there is one catch - the exorbitant selling price, especially when compared to other manufacturers in the television world.

The 'Master series' is priced at Rs 429,900 (55-inch) and Rs 579,900 (65-inch), which is way more than its contemporaries, Samsung and LG. For instance, LG's C8 costs around Rs 275,000.

Business Standard got a 55-inch A8F OLED TV for review. Let's have a look at the key parameters of the device:

Sony Bravia OLED A9F series, television

Bravia OLED A9F series

Design:

The A9F is an upgrade of the A8F series, but the performance and software differ. The A9F is a visual delight because of its sleek design and incredibly slim sides. (It is slimmer than most smartphones). Sony has trimmed the bezels and slimmed down the TV further than the A8F, giving a stunning design to the front screen. The bezels are so thin that the screen covers the entire border. This enhances your attention to focus solely on the picture you are watching. The only screen space that is not covered is the minimalistic LED light indicator that lets you know that the TV is switched on.

The TV's vertical screen will work for most living rooms. It can be either mounted on a wall or kept on a table. The disappointment is that the stand extends way too much to support the TV and therefore needs more space for the A9F to keep on a table. The A8F had a more flat stand and didn't take as much back space as the former one.

So where does the sound come from such a slim design? The Master series comes with Acoustic Surface technology, which emits great sound directly from the screen. There are no visible speakers on the TV, but it does come with bass port built into the set’s rear.

One of the features of the audio system that stands out is the clarity of sound. The bass and the treble are so clear, you might not even need a home theatre to support its sound. At maximum volume, you can literally feel vibrations in the room and the base is really impressive, especially to feel any Pink Floyd song. The audio is also much enhanced than the A8F.

Software:

Similar to the A8F, the A9F OLED TV also supports HDR, with compatibility for the HDR10 standard. The TV supports a 60Hz refresh rate on all resolutions including 4K, and that features Sony’s 4K HDR X1 Extreme image processor, which excellent.

The new A8F runs on the Android TV version 7.0 with Sony’s exclusive user interface. Naturally a smart TV, the Android version is a bit off-putting as there are bouts of lags in the Android software, occasional incapability of registering commands and certain unnecessary bugs that slow down the device during long hours of usage. Even switching on the TV can take as long as booting up a computer.

Coming to the remote, the handset is both refreshing and dissatisfactory. First of all, the remote is surprisingly ordinary looking regardless of the fact that it is loaded with features. Apart from a general keypad, the remote comes with dedicated keys for easy access to apps. The Netflix and Google Play keys stand out distinctly on the remote and that is definitely a plus point.

It also comes with IR blaster voice recognition, which will make your search over the television way easier. You can just search for a particular item over the device's internet connection, be it Youtube, Netflix or simply the searching on the internet browser, through voice command on the remote itself. The Google Assistant is built-in and can perform restricted tasks like turning up the volume, changing the sing-over voice commands.

Apart from this, the TV comes with built-in Chromecast and Miracast support, for easier sharing of content across your smartphones.

Performance:

Perhaps the most outstanding feature of the new A9F TV is its colour clarity. The videos are filled with depth and the 4K experience on this 55-inch screen is almost breathtaking. This excellent picture quality is for a combination of the OLED panel and Sony’s X1 Ultimate Picture Processor. The contrast and brightness are vibrant and very soothing to the eye.

Moreover, there seems to be no compromise with the picture quality or pixels even in a 720p resolution video, thanks to the powerful processor. This TV is definitely a boon for gamers who like such extreme precision while playing. No doubt, PlayStation fanatics would love the set with the gaming experience coupled with chilling sound quality.

Overall, in the A9F, the colours are clean, black levels are superior, and the picture is almost as close as it can get to real life, especially when watching 4K content and it is definitely one of the few best in the market today.

Verdict:

Sony's Master Series is quite the perfect smart television with little room to complain. Go for this TV without thinking twice if you can afford to buy it. As they say, quality comes with a price.

First Published: Wed, December 12 2018. 21:11 IST
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