New Delhi: The Indian TV market has been going through a change recently. With brands like Motorola, Xiaomi and OnePlus trying to use their brand value built via smartphones in the TV space, existing leaders like Samsung, Sony and LG have their work cut out. Their market share may not be hurt right away, but if the smartphone market is any indicator, they must keep things fresh.
However, looking at the Sony KD-55A9G, there isn't much that Sony has to worry about. Sony’s OLED televisions have always been amongst our favourites and the A9G takes that trend forward. In fact, it’s arguably one of the best televisions you can buy in India today, as long as the ₹2,69,990 price tag fits your budget.
The TV has Sony’s X1 Ultimate Picture Processor and Pixel Contrast Booster technologies, which frankly sounds like specs that won’t matter to you. However, seeing Sony’s television in action -- they really do. It’s one of the few TVs on the market where the upscaling engine actually makes a difference.
High quality content looks great with bright and punchy colours and sharper picture. The real expertise though is when you watch old school content like Friends or even Sarabhai vs Sarabhai. The TV doesn’t successfully upscale these to 4K, but you will see a visible difference in colour balance and contrast on this TV.
That’s important because old school content that’s not been remastered usually looks poor when upscaling engines work on them. On Sony’s TV, the resolution is still visibly low, but the colours make a huge difference to the overall picture quality.
On the other hand, if you’re watching new content like Justice League (even streaming on Netflix), the experience is significantly above an affordable premium TV from Xiaomi, Panasonic and others. Samsung’s televisions also have this quality, but the colour balance on Sony’s TVs will impress those looking for a natural colour tone.
That said, it’s worth noting that neither Sony nor Samsung produces a perfectly natural colour balance. However, common user picture preferences are usually biased towards slightly oversaturated colours, which is what the company has accomplished. Essentially, Sony’s claim that this TV is closer to professional grade monitors is true.
The high contrast and punchy colours sometimes look quite unnatural to be honest, but that’s what TV and movie makers are going for. Truth is, once you get used to this kind of picture, everything else will disappoint you. And barring the really high end TVs from Sony, Samsung and LG, there’s really nothing that comes close.
As a side note, we would recommend turning off the motion engine, but the choice really would depend on the user. Motion smoothening sometimes looks quite unnatural, but works when you’re watching sports or other high speed content.
The A9G runs on Android TV and it supports Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video and a bunch of other apps. Since Sony doesn’t layer a UI over this, you’ll find this easy to use as long as you’ve used an Android TV.
Sony’s remote is more like traditional remotes, lacking gesture or touch sensitivity. Having said that, the traditional approach might actually make sense, because it allows the user to reach different settings and work with other legacy equipment easily, as compared to some newer remotes that companies like Xiaomi etc. use.
Google doesn’t allow as much customisation in AndroidTV as it does in the smartphone version of Android, so Sony’s approach can’t be questioned yet.
Last but not the least, Sony’s TV is also amongst the best in terms of audio. It uses the company’s Acoustic Surface Technology, in which the screen resonates to produce 2.2 channel audio. It’s good for medium to large-sized rooms and even achieves good audio separation.
For instance, while watching Justice League, the song “Everybody Knows" in the opening actually sounds like it’s coming from behind the TV. You will even hear some bass in dialogues, which is practically unheard of from slim televisions. Essentially, there’s no need for a separate audio system to pair with this TV.
It’s actually really difficult to fault the A9G for anything except its price. And considering the fact that high-end OLEDs in India do cost around this price, that’s a business decision we can’t question. If your budget fits the two plus lakh region, the Sony OLED A9G is the TV we’d recommend. And if it doesn’t, there’s no way you’re even considering this anyway.
In fact, if you’re spending in the lakhs, we’d say Sony’s TV is the best buy in terms of value as well. While it may not give you future-facing, but currently useless, features like 8K resolution, it also doesn’t make any compromises that will have you questioning your choice.