The Sony A9G Bravia is currently the best OLED TV from Sony. It’s European model name is Sony AG9. Thanks to the organic LEDs, the UHD TV has perfect blacks, unsurpassable contrast and very good brightness. It is available in 55, 65 and 77 inches. Are there any disadvantages with this premium model? We have all the info.
Quality and design of the Sony A9G
The craftsmanship and quality of the Sony A9G are extremely high, as you would expect from the flagship OLED of the Sony MASTER Series. The predecessor is the Sony A9F, which differs a lot from the A9G.
The A9G is, as usual for OLED TVs, very thin. It stands on a narrow stand which cannot be adjusted in height. The screen floats on the stand just a few millimetres above the ground. This means that a soundbar cannot be placed directly in front of the screen without covering part of the screen.
An alternative would be to wall mount it, which leaves almost no space between the TV and the wall thanks to the design of the screen. This works much better than with the predecessor A9F. For cable management, a cable holder is included, which perfectly conceals the technology in the back of the device. Alternatively, the cables can also be hidden in the stand. The connections can be reached from the side. Unfortunately, there is no One Connect Box, as with the competition from Samsung.
Picture quality of the Sony A9G
Thanks to the 10 Bit OLED panel, the A9G displays perfect black. All OLED TVs deliver this performance because individual pixels simply switch off when not in use. This means that they do not have to display black, but are simply off. The adjacent pixel can shine with 100% luminosity, which results in a theoretical contrast of ∞:1. Thanks to Sony’s expertise in picture processing, the image is extremely impressive overall and currently comes closest to reference monitors.
As far as brightness is concerned, the A9G is a top performer. It doesn’t get any brighter than competing devices for normal video, but it delivers up to 800 Nits for HDR material! This is brighter than some QLED TVs from Samsung. Together with a wide color gamut and very good color space coverage, this delivers an impressive result with HDR10 or Dolby Vision. Sony even offers IMAX enhanced, a special home cinema format inspired by IMAX cinemas. As with all OLEDs, the viewing angle is also extremely wide. There is hardly any loss of color or brightness when looking from an angle.
The A9G automatically performs a protective feature for large bright scenes. This is called Automatic Brightness Limiter, or ABL. It’s intent is to reduce the risk of burn-in.
Motion handling on the Sony A9G is fantastic. Fast moving content can be played back without delay and motion blur thanks to the minimum response time of only 0.2 ms (!). The downer is that slow pans can result in Stutter. To prevent this, the TV has the built-in Black Frame Insertion Feature (BFI) or Motion Interpolation. The former, however, leads to Judder at 24 and 60 fps content.
Burn-in risk with OLED TVs
The well-known burn-in risk is probably the most prominent reason why some interested parties prefer to keep their hands off OLED televisions and opt for LCD technology. But this concern is completely unjustified. There is still a residual risk that very bright and static content may burn in. Static content can be news bars or station logos, for example.
However, such an incident occurs extremely rarely. If you watch the news at maximum brightness 24 hours a day, you expose your OLED TV to a certain risk. However, innovative technologies such as Pixel Shift or automatic dimming of certain content virtually eliminate the residual risk of burn-in completely.
Gaming with a Sony OLED TV
For occasional gaming, the Sony A9G is definitely suitable due to good motion handling and an input lag of about 19 ms at 1080p @ 120 Hz. The Playstation 4 Pro or an Xbox One X / S are fun here – no question about it. But if you like to play fast-reacting games, you might want to consider competing devices. The A9G lacks some features that the Samsung Q90R or LG C9 can do better.
Compatibility to HDMI 2.1 for faster transfer rates, VRR through FreeSync as well as Auto Low Latency Mode to reduce the latency between input and output device is not available here. If you absolutely need this for gaming, you are better off by checking the competing devices mentioned above. Especially with the release of Playstation 5 and Xbox Scarlett all these technologies will play an important role.
Sony A9G integrates into 5.1 sound system
First of all: The sound of the Sony A9G will suffice for the afternoon program or everyday series streaming. But if you buy the 4K UHD TV for home cinema, you’ll soon notice that there’s still some room for improvement. A corresponding soundbar can help here. The television supports HDMI eARC for this purpose, to enable compatibility with object-based sound formats such as Dolby Atmos (Dolby True HD Codec) or DTS:X (DTS-HD Codec).
Anyone who plans to put a soundbar into operation should remember at this point that wall mounting is mandatory. Otherwise, the sound bar will cover the lower part of the screen.
Sony Acoustic Surface Audio+
Sony, however, does not provide for the use of a soundbar. If you follow the manufacturer’s recommendation, you use the TV as the center speaker. The loudspeakers for this are located above and below the OLEDs themselves. Behind the TV itself there are two actuators that gently vibrate in line with effects to create immersion. An AV receiver is needed for such a purpose. The sound system is then supplemented by satellite speakers on both sides – your new hi-fi system with an integrated 4K OLED TV is ready.
Very good Smart TV features
The Smart OS of Sony A9G runs on Android 8.0 Oreo. The user interface is extremely fast and easy to use. As with some competing devices, there is also advertising. The remote control corresponds to that of the Sony X950G and makes the A9G very easy to use. All important apps are pre-installed. If that’s not enough, the Google Play Store offers a huge range of additional apps – from games to media libraries.
Voice control is possible via the remote control via Google Assistant. Amazon Alexa and Apple AirPlay 2 are not available (yet).
Variants from the Sony A9G
The Sony A8G belongs to the same lineup, but is a bit inferior to the A9G. In terms of picture quality the two devices are extremely similar, but in terms of technical equipment the A9G is a few steps ahead. Optically only the stand of both devices is fundamentally different.
Both TVs use the same OLED panel, but the A9G has a more advanced picture processor, which sets the picture quality apart from the A8G. The input lag of A9G is considerably lower. In addition, all four HDMI inputs support the 2.0 standard in contrast to A8G: Here only two inputs support the standard. In addition, only HDMI ARC is supported, which unfortunately eliminates the possibility of playing object-based sound formats.
The cheaper OLED TV also comes with a more basic remote which doesn’t look as premium. But the A8G does feature the new OS based on Android 8 that runs very smoothly. The improved Smart Processor also contributes to this.
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