Sony XR-55A95L 4K Quantum Dot OLED TV review

Panel and processing upgrades mean Sony's latest Quantum Dot OLED TV is worthy of its top-flight status, says John Archer

As part of a strategy of trying to offer something for everyone, Sony has already given us traditional LED, Mini LED, and OLED flatscreens in its latest TV range. But, whether intentionally or not, the Japanese giant has saved its best till last in the shape of its Quantum Dot OLED sets. The 55A95L auditioned here sells for the rather princely sum of £2,499 – immediately establishing it as Sony's flagship 55in TV.

If you're not familiar with QD OLED, its two big stories are that it's self-emissive, meaning each pixel makes its own light and colour, and that it shines an organically created blue light through red and green layers of Quantum Dots to produce its colours, rather than shining a white light through RGB filters, in the traditional OLED manner.

Compared to last year's A95K, Sony's second-generation QD OLED TV uses an improved panel that claims to bring increased brightness, more colour volume, and reduced susceptibility to permanent image retention (screen burn). Sony has additionally introduced improvements to its Cognitive XR video processing system to deliver better 4K upscaling, a new QD OLED-specific contrast enhancer, and refinements to its highly effective Triluminos wide colour system.

These Cognitive Processor XR refinements sit alongside its core missions of making pictures look both more natural (by emulating how your vision perceives the real world) and more closely aligned with the look of Sony's professional mastering monitors.

Games master
As a high-end model, it shouldn't surprise that the A95L is pitched as a gamer's paradise. Key here, though, is that the TV carries new HDMI hardware and software that finally gives us a Sony model capable of handling modern gaming features (4K video at 120Hz, variable refresh rates, auto low latency mode switching, 4K/120 Dolby Vision support via an upcoming firmware update) – simultaneously, rather than you having to pick between them. There are also Sony's 'Perfect for PlayStation 5' features of auto HDR optimisation and auto game genre recognition, as well as an upgrade to Sony's game-specific onscreen display.

Smart features and the set's main interface are delivered by the Google TV platform. The rollout of this across a number of brands in the UK was hardly been smooth; at the time of review the 55A95L didn't support any of the 'big four' UK terrestrial catchup services (BBC iPlayer, ITVX, etc),but Sony says these have since been added by firmware.

Additionally, the 55A95L carries Sony's Bravia Core app, which offers much higher bit-rate streams (up to 80Mbps) than other VOD platforms. Buying a 55A95L entitles you to 10 premium (e.g. recently released) films for free, and two years of free back-catalogue access.


Use the TV's Bravia Cam accessory for video calling and gesture-control

The slender (at its outer edges, anyway) 55A95L is bundled with Sony's Bravia Cam accessory. As well as enabling video calling, this detachable camera means you can control the TV by gestures, and can monitor your viewing position and optimise picture/sound accordingly. The latter comes from the manufacturer's now-familiar Acoustic Surface technology; two actuators vibrate the screen, backed by two bass drivers.

Pole position
This combination proves potent enough to remind how effective Sony's Acoustic Surface designs can be. The actuators do a phenomenal job placing effects during the first, epic race sequence in Ready Player One [4K Blu-ray], so that they seem to be coming from exactly the right place. The sounds of specific cars in the melee sweep across the screen in tandem with the image, and the 55A95L's audio emanates forward with more directness and impact than most rival TV systems manage. There's also enough bass from the two subwoofers to add heft and scale to this famously huge Dolby Atmos sequence, while the shrieks and crunches in the mid and treble have both bite and body.

I experienced a slight audio sync issue when playing Dolby Atmos tracks, but you can correct for this if your sources let you add a few milliseconds of audio delay. Very deep and sustained bass tracks can overwhelm the subwoofers, too. But neither of these issues stop the 55A95L from sounding very much like a premium TV.


No speaker bar to be seen here – the A95L instead uses two screen actuators

Scene-stealer The true star of this TV's show, though, is its picture quality, which betters the efforts of its illustrious predecessor by more than I'd have thought possible.

To begin with, it's noticeably brighter, hitting a searing 2,093 nits in Vivid mode on a 2% white HDR window and 1,337 nits on a 10% window – increases of more than 30% over 2022's A95K TVs.

You can feel the impact of this in every Ready Player One scene, but particularly in the film's virtual world sequences which have a stylised, hyped-up look. And the impact of so many extra nits feels greater on the 55A95L than its measured improvement would suggest, because the self-emissive screen enables these ultra bright peaks to exist just a pixel away from the screen's deepest blacks – which are seriously, seriously deep.

There's no hint of greyness in parts of the picture that should look richly black during dark Ready Player One sequences, such as the first visit to Aech's virtual work shop. Nor is there any instability or noise in dark areas, revealing an outstanding level of control over the 'near black' image content that can cause problems for OLED screens.

Nothing seems forced about the 55A95L's stunning contrast range, either. So, for instance, small bright highlights against a dark backdrop don't look overly peaky, while even the very darkest corners of the picture avoid appearing hollow. This screen has an outstanding knack for elucidating even the faintest shadow details, but it never feels like it's revealing too much detail. Essentially, even the toughest low-light moments feel almost as precise, balanced, nuanced and, above all, immersive as they'd likely look in a professional mastering suite.

Full-blooded 4K
This controlled dynamism and light handling plays well into the 55A95L's colour performance. The slightly bleached tones in Ready Player One's real world, and more distinct tones of its virtual world, are both adeptly rendered as Sony's Triluminos 'MAX' system draws on the boosted talents of the QD OLED panel. There's a lovely mix of saturated, wide-ranging colours, and minutely subtle details.

The 4K Blu-ray imagery of Ready Player One also arrives with a superb sense of sharpness and clarity. Even though this model is only a 55-incher (the smallest of the bunch – 65in and 77in are other options), you're never in any doubt you're watching a full-blooded 4K image.

Until, that is, you switch to the film's 1080p Blu-ray and experience the 55A95L's effective upscaling processing, which has been refined to better differentiate between source noise and actual picture information. The results are phenomenal, leaving you with a denser, more detailed image that also looks entirely authentic.

Wrapping up the 55A95L's picture quality triumphs are its support for near-90-degree viewing angles, and the best/most cinematic collection of motion processing options – including user adjustable Smoothness and Clear settings – in town

. If pushed to find flaws in the 55A95L's pictures, I'll admit the Vivid setting is surprisingly overcooked by Sony's usually impeccable standards – really, this is one setting you'll mostly want to avoid. Also, its images aren't quite as bright as those of Samsung's S95C Quantum Dot OLED TV – especially with full-screen bright content, an area where it's also 'weaker' than the best premium LCD TVs.

Top-flight telly
From its general design and improved HDMI features down to the nitty-gritty of its picture performance, this Sony set is an instant hit. It's undoubtedly expensive by 55in TV standards, but it's impossible to imagine anyone who buys one being disappointed.

HCC Verdict: 5/5

Sony XR-55A95L
Price: £2,499

We say: The 55A95L carries a premium price, but home cinema fans will struggle to resist the improvements it delivers over its QD OLED predecessor. This is a very fine 4K flatscreen.


4K: Yes. 3,840 x 2,160 HDR: Yes. HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision TUNER: Freeview HD/satellite HD CONNECTIONS: 4 x HDMI; 2 x USB; optical digital audio output; hybrid centre speaker input; Ethernet 4K/120 PLAYBACK: Yes SOUND (CLAIMED): 60W (2 x 20W main actuators plus 2 x 10W bass delivered by Acoustic Surface tech) BRIGHTNESS (CLAIMED): N/A Contrast: N/A DIMENSIONS (OFF STAND): 1,224(w) x 707(h) x 34(d)mm WEIGHT (OFF STAND): 17.6kg

FEATURES:USB multimedia playback; Wi-Fi; Bluetooth (v5.2); Neural Quantum Processor 4K processing; QD OLED panel technology; Dolby Atmos sound; Object Tracking Sound; 144Hz gaming support; VRR incl. AMD FreeSync Premium Pro; HDMI eARC; wireless (but lossy) Dolby Atmos transmission; Q Symphony sound sharing with compatible Samsung soundbars; HDMI 2.1 on all inputs

Sony UK