Product review: Sony KD-48A9 TV

If the monstrous size of OLED screens put you off in the past, the Sony KD-48A9 is here to rescue you. Sony’s Master series OLED TV is now available in a 48 inch. And it might just be the best we’ve ever seen in its size.

Although LG released their small OLED, the CX, first (we guessed they would, seeing as they own the screen technology and manufacture the panels themselves) we were delighted we didn’t have too long to wait before getting our hands on the A9. We unboxed it for our shop floor display and were instantly drawn in by Sony’s consistently elegant design. The bezel on this TV is almost invisible. And with a beautifully compact central stand, its minimal design will really look the part even when switched off.

Continuing the reputation of 2019’s hugely successful AG9, the KD-48A9 contains Sony’s X1 Ultimate processor, which harnesses a host of features that continue to amaze us, including X-Reality PRO for upscaling, Object-based HDR remaster for colour & contrast, and X-Motion Clarity for video processing.

If nerdy gobbledegook isn’t your thing, that last paragraph probably wasn’t too insightful. So, we watched the final episode from season 2 of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy and found some of the more challenging action scenes to test the motion processor. We discovered it could handle the most demanding sections with ease – in conjunction with the Dolby Vision Bright picture setting, the A9 really brings detail out from the darker scenes too. And to test the upscaling, we compared it with the 1080p version of the same clip, and in many scenes struggled to tell the difference between the two.

”Sony’s first 48-inch OLED is extraordinarily good.” ’What Hi-Fi?’ 2020 Product of the Year.

When compared side-by-side to the competition’s OLED screens, the Sony KD-48A9’s sound blew us away, even holding its own against some of our standalone soundbars. The screen continues the use of Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio, passing the sound through the screen itself, eradicating the risk of lip-sync delays often found with other models. We tested the audio with the first episode of The Boys on Prime Video. Dynamic scenes are effortless, dialogue is clear, and the music envelops you. It’s also one of the loudest OLEDs we’ve ever heard! And there’s no compromise to the quality. Bass is still tight, controlled and undistorted, even at the highest volume – so if your neighbours complain they can’t sleep during your next late-night box-set binge, you’ve been warned!

While certain manufacturers have dropped the ball with a couple of key streaming services this year, the A9 comes fully equipped with a compliment of smart features. The household apps are all included: Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, Google Play, iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 and My5, as well as further services you can download through the Google Play Store.

Now, although this is a terrific TV, it would remiss of us to ignore a couple of points to be aware of when considering your next TV purchase. Ahead of the release of Sony’s PS5, we were a little surprised to find the A9 didn’t come fully prepared. A lack of support for the new HDMI 2.1 standard means it will not include the HFR (High Frame Rate) nor VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) features, so the gamers out there may be disappointed that it’s not as up-to-scratch as others out there.

Whilst the minimal design is easy on the eyes, the screen only sits 5mm above the surface it sits on, so anyone hoping to put a soundbar in front will have a hard time finding one that won’t obstruct the image on screen (at the time of writing, no such soundbar exists!)

However the reviews can’t be ignored. The A9 recently snatched What Hifi?’s award for Best 48-50” TV over £1000, as well as the prestigious accolade of taking the best spot in our shop. (Here at the Bristol store, we moved around a few screens to have this one set up right beside the counter – that’s how much we love it!).

Click to find out more about the Sony KD-48A9 TV is out now. Contact your local Richer Sounds store to find out more.

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Author: Max, Bristol store