Review: The Sony A9G OLED TV is a high-quality product, but with a sky-high price tag
Several phone manufacturers have ventured into the television space lately, with low-cost-but-high-specced TVs. Even Nokia is getting into it shortly.
While these brands are flooding the lower end of the market, traditional television manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and Sony continue to sell TV sets priced sometimes in excess of Rs 100,000 or even Rs 200,000.
The Sony A9G OLED TV is the latest entrant in this super-premium category. It is a tad cheaper than its predecessor A9F, and also offers a few upgrades.
Let us break down the components in this review:
Design and ports: a clever contraption
The Sony A9G is strikingly elegant. Compared to the A9F, it doesn’t lean backwards, and instead, sits almost flush with the table.
Its back panel, which consists of ports and connections, is covered with a removable check board. The 55-inch TV is incredibly thin and light, with an almost bezel-less edge-to-edge design. It weighs just 46.7 pounds, but still manages to look sturdy. Quite a winning combination!
Sony has done away with the downward speakers. Instead, it utilises the glass panel as a vibrational surface for the speakers. Along with the back panel, there is a second cover that is built into the TV stand. The entire design ethos is consistent and sophisticated - mostly unmatched in this price segment. Sony A9G demonstrates its trademark expertise in state-of-the-art designs.
On the left is input panel comprising a single HDMI port, two 3.5mm jacks - AV minijack and headphone socket - and two USB ports. On the back panel are three additional HDMI ports (including one for HDMI eARC connection for the external speakers), and another USB port. There’s also an ethernet port (in case you still use that), an optical digital-audio connection, and an RF connector.
All the ports in the back panel are downward-facing. The TV set also comes with a built-in Google Chromecast for streaming video content.
The ‘Ultimate’ performance
Sony’s A9G features the same OLED panel as its predecessor, but more importantly, it has the company’s X1 Ultimate Picture Processor and Pixel Contrast Booster technologies, which make a huge difference.
The picture quality is top notch. The OLED panel is finely tuned and along with the X1 Ultimate Picture Processor, it is the best 4K set offered by Sony. Barring LG’s OLED TVs, this is arguably the best performing OLED TV of 2019.
The A9G offers excellent colour reproduction. You can test this by streaming an episode of Planet Earth or National Geographic’s award-winning documentary Free Solo. The colours feel vibrant. In some cases, it might be a little oversaturated though. But, once you get used to it, there is no going back.
Upscaling of content is better than ever with the A9G even though it cannot upscale to true 4K quality. We’d recommend turning off the motion engine. Motion smoothing is a no-no while watching movies, but is worth keeping on for sports.
The A9G is powered by the Sony Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology. It uses a pair of 10-watt subwoofers and 20-watt actuators. The entire panel becomes a surface speaker, and the sound reflects off the subjects on screen.
The audio is crystal clear and deep. I went from Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and even watched a couple of scenes from Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan. The bass could be felt properly in The Dark Knight, while the dialogues were clear as sunlight in Lagaan.
User-friendly Android TV
One of the best features of the Sony A9G is its software. Running on Android TV, it supports some of the most popular OTT apps, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hotstar, Alt Balaji, and others.
Even if you’ve never used an Android TV before, it is easy to get used to the Sony A9G as there isn’t any bloatware on top of the UI. There is a built-in Google Assistant with the Chromecast in the TV. So, you can use voice commands to stream content.
The remote is larger than required, but every inch of space is utilised. Even with the smaller buttons, you almost never press a wrong button, thanks to the easy-to-read labels.
Despite being a fairly big remote, it is easy to grip and is slimmer than most remotes released in 2018.
Verdict: Great, but pricey
If you can justify spending Rs 2,69,900 on a TV, then it’s a no-brainer that you should get the Sony A9G OLED TV. It will comfortably last you a decade, and is better than most other products in this segment.
At this sky-high price, you tend to blame every little glitch that a device could pose. But, the A9G doesn’t offer too many such opportunities.
It merely extends Sony’s rich tradition of producing high quality TV sets.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of YourStory.)
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)