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Sony A9F TV review: The almost perfect OLED TV

TechGadgetsSony A9F TV review: The almost perfect OLED TV
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Detailed Review of Sony A9F TV

At CES 2018, Sony showed off the A8F OLED TV, which was launched in India earlier this year. The TV brought with it a new design but was essentially a repackaged A1 for 2018. You can read our review of the Sony A8F Here, The highlight of Sony’s CES 2018 appearance was the new x1 ultimate Chip that will replace scene-based rendering with object-based rendering, making HDR content look even more desirable. Sadly, there was no consumer TV showcasing the power of the X1 Ultimate chip. Fast forward a few months and Sony has announced their tv master series – A9F and Z9D. The A9F is an OLED TV and is available in India while the Z9D is an LED TV and Sony has not launched it in India.

The A9F we have for review today is the 55-inch variant. Is the X1 Ultimate the right step for Sony’s flagship OLED TV?

Key Specifications at a Glance

Panel Size: 55-inch (also available in 65-inch)
Panel Type: OLED
Panel Resolution: 3840 x 2160 – 4K
Panel Refresh Rate: 60Hz (for 4K content)
HDR 10 Support: Yes
Dolby Vision Support: Yes
Weight (with stand): 30 kg (35.6 kg for 65 inch)
HDMI Port: 4
USB Port: 3
Bluetooth: Yes, 4.2
Wi-Fi: Yes
Ethernet: yes
Speaker: Acoustic Surface (Actuator + Subwoofer)
Built-in Storage: 16GB
Price: Rs 429,900 for 55-inch and Rs 579,900 for 65-inch

create and design

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find sony A 1 and the A9F side by side and you wouldn’t be able to tell one from the other. Sony has brought back the picture frame design of the A1. The TV tilts back about 5-degrees and stands like a picture frame. The tilt is barely noticeable, and the TV is designed to be the centerpiece of your home entertainment system. The TV can be wall mounted, but the design of the stand and placement of the ports are such that you would want to keep it on the table.

TV leans back a bit but it doesn’t hamper the viewing experience

When placed on a table, you’ll only see the screen. There’s a small white LED below the display that lights up when the TV is on and if you find it distracting, you can turn it off from the settings. The bezels around the display are quite thin.

The only downside is unlike traditional stands, there’s no space between the bottom of the table and the screen. This means that if you place the soundbar in front of the TV, it will obstruct your viewing experience. If you are someone who keeps all your gadgets like Blu-ray players, gaming consoles etc. under the TV, then you need to reconsider its placement.

Coming to the connectivity options, they are all neatly placed and hidden behind the cover on the stand of the TV. On the right side of the kickstand you have a USB port while on the left you have an HDMI port. Everything else is hidden behind the casing. On the back you have power in, center speaker (we’ll talk about this in a bit), antenna in, ethernet port, video in, IR blaster port, optical out, 3 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, and headphone out. , The ports are very neatly placed and the cable management ensures that all your cords are neatly organized.



All connectivity is hidden behind the back panel

Overall, the build quality of the TV is top notch. The panel is slim but the picture frame-like design means it will take up more space on the table. Personally, I’d prefer if Sony went with the A8’s design instead of the A1’s for the A9F, but the design they’ve chosen has more to do with the new acoustic surface. We’ll talk about this in the audio segment of the review.

Display Panel and Picture Quality

The panel on the A9F is the same as it was on the A8F, with improvements coming thanks to the new chip under the hood. The A9F differentiates itself from the A8F with picture settings and picture performance. Now, the A8F was powered by the X1 Extreme chipset and the new A9F is powered by the X1 Ultimate chip. The X1 Ultimate is said to be twice as powerful as the X1 Extreme and also brings better picture processing with object-based HDR rendering. This means that every tiny object is detected, and the colour, contrast and sharpness are adjusted for each object. So, in the past, if there was a bunch of grapes on the screen, the bunch was treated as one object to render. Now, with the X1 Ultimate, each individual grape is a separate object that will be rendered. In theory this sounds like a great optimization for an HDR implementation. Although there are really, really small caveats that we’ll get to in the HDR section.



The beauty of an OLED TV is its ability to produce infinite contrast ratio, true blacks and deep colors and the Sony A9F has it all. The TV can natively output Dolby Vision content via the built in Netflix app. If you have a Blu-ray player and Dolby Vision supported content on it, you can really make the most of this TV. However, there is one problem that I encountered. Some sequences, especially the dark ones, like the Daredevil Season 2 Episode 3 stair fight sequence looked a little darker than I expected. I tried toggling between Dolby Vision Dark Mode, Dolby Vision Bright Mode, and Vivid Mode to see which worked best, and they all had some fault. This is the only sequence where I encountered this problem, so it’s safe to say it’s limited to some material taking place in pitch darkness. I couldn’t find it anywhere else. Having said that any content you have in HDR10 looks great with its contrast, colors and details. Watching content from Prime Video, Netflix and more was an absolute treat in 4K.


netflix mode

The TV also has a Netflix mode, but it didn’t start automatically for me when playing Netflix. I had to manually go into picture settings and switch it to Netflix mode. I watched content from Daredevil, Star Trek Discover, and some more switching between Dolby Vision and Netflix mode, and to be honest, I was hard-pressed to find much of a difference. I’m sure having consumed more content from Lost in Space, Haunting on Hill House and more I’ll find some differences, but the content looks good enough anyway that you won’t bother.


1080p content

I played Blade Runner 2049, Spider-Man Homecoming, and Wonder Woman from the Prime Video app, and everyone who tested video on the A9F said the picture looked 4K. Even though these titles max out at 1080p on the Prime Video app, it’s commendable how beautiful 1080p content looks on the panel. Sure, there are times when 1080p and 720p videos from YouTube don’t look as good, but this is an exception. Whether you watch SD content, content from your set top box or any 1080p content, you will get a great experience.

There is one thing you should know before getting into gaming. All the 4 HDMI ports on the TV support HDCP 2.3 full bandwidth which is great. I highly recommend that you go into Settings and enable them to be 4K HDR devices that you will connect to the TV such as your Apple TV 4K, PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, etc.



We played our standard test games using the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X on the TV. These games range from Battlefield 1 to Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, God of War, Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3 and more. Honestly, it’s as good, if not better, than what we’ve seen on the A8F and the LG C8, which we tested earlier this year. Games like Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War look great with Spider-Man for PS4. Gaming on this TV is like staring into a window of graphically heavy content at your disposal and it’s worth experiencing.


Speaking of sound, the Sony A9F improves on the acoustic surface we saw with the A1 and A8F. Instead of 2 actuators, the TV now comes with 3 actuators and instead of 1 subwoofer at the back, the TV comes with 2 to enhance the sound experience from the TV. We really enjoyed the audio performance of the A8F and the same can be said of the A9F. We can tell how much the sound has improved only when we have the two TVs side by side. But what we can say is that the soundtracks of some movies and games sound great on this TV as the speakers on this TV are meant for TV and not home theatre. Blade Runner 2049 is a good example of this. The opening minutes of the film are filled with subtle cyberpunkish music mixed with silence and of course Ryan Gosling’s hover car. Other movies be it Wonder Woman Spider-Man Homecoming, shows on Netflix and even everyday TV watching sounds great, especially when you compare it to other TV speakers in the flagship range.


subwoofer behind tv

One feature that is quite impressive and unique to the A9F is the ability to use the TV as the center channel of your home theater. At the back, you’ll see the option to connect the TV as a center channel with your amplifier. This essentially eliminates the need for you to have a center speaker below the display and since the actuators work to represent the dialogue from the respective position on the screen, the setup works quite well.


remote controlled

The A9F’s remote is the same as it was on the A8F and there aren’t really any changes here. As much as I complain about it being too traditional compared to what LG offers with its Magic Remote, the Sony remote is functional and gets the job done. On the remote, you have a shortcut to Netflix, not any other streaming service. If you look at how LG and Samsung have made their motion enabled remotes, minimalistic, stylish and convenient to use, Sony’s remote looks outdated.



Welcome to Android TV 8, how we’ve missed you! The UI on the A9F is Android 8 and is different from what we’ve seen on the A8F. To start with, it’s smoother, faster and more responsive. It no longer takes a while to press the action button to go to picture and sound settings. The UI is clean with the top panel being customizable with the apps you want. Everything else is lined up, from hot picks to trending videos to Netflix recommendations and more.


Voice search works very well. You can say things like “play Daredevil on Netflix” and it will open the Netflix app with Daredevil in front of you. Sadly, you can’t say things like “play season 3 episode of Daredevil on Netflix”. It will not recognize. From opening apps to preparing content, other than typing in your password, you have no reason to use the remote to navigate. It works great. Source selection and settings are at the top right of the UI.


ground level

The Sony A9F is a great TV for those looking for an immersive content consumption experience. The new processor brings with it advancements in HDR processing, the TV can upscale HD content quite well, comes with ample connectivity options which includes the option to use the TV speakers as the center channel in your home theatre. The UI is fluid and the native streaming apps mean you don’t need to resort to external devices. The TV is also great for 4K gaming. The only downside is that some Dolby Vision content looks a bit dark and the TV is insanely expensive. But if you want pure performance, you can’t go wrong with this TV. If you are looking for an alternative option at a lower price, then you can consider the LG C8 OLED TV. The C8’s picture quality is great but it lags behind the A9F with audio quality. You can read our review of the C8 Here, It’s much cheaper and the OLED performance between the two is almost on par.

key specs

  • Screen Size (inch) Screen Size (inch)


  • display type display type


  • smart TV smart TV


  • screen resolution screen resolution

    3840 x 2160

Sameer Mitha

About Me: Sameer Mitha lives for gaming and technology is his driving force. When he is not busy playing with gadgets or video games, he is into the world of fantasy novels.
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