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Sony A95L (XR-55A95L) review: Exceptional picture quality at a premium price

Our Rating :
£2,499.00 from
Price when reviewed : £2499
inc VAT

Sony’s latest QD-OLED TV offers exceptional imaging but is a lot more expensive than the competition


  • Superb SDR and HDR images
  • Impressive picture processing
  • Excellent sound quality


  • Only two HDMI 2.1 inputs
  • No HDR10+ support
  • Pricey compared to the competition

The Sony A95L is the flagship 4K TV in the Japanese manufacturer’s 2023 range and uses the same second-generation QD-OLED panel found on Samsung’s S95C

It promises higher peak brightness than the A95K (2022), has an improved screen filter for reducing reflections, and adds a 77in option to the 55in and 65in screen sizes its predecessor was available in. 

In most other respects, it’s business as usual, with the Google TV OS, solid next-gen gaming support and an effective Acoustic Surface Audio+ sound system giving the A95L plenty of tools with which to take on its competitors. 

There’s no HDR10+ support, however, and only two of its four HDMI ports are of the 2.1 specification. But the biggest thing holding the A95L back is the price: it’s considerably more expensive than similarly specified rivals. 

Sony A95L OLED: Key specifications

Screen sizes available:55in XR-55A95L
65in XR-65A95L
77in XR-77A95L
Panel type:OLED
Resolution:4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160)
Refresh rate: 120Hz
HDR formats:HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Audio enhancements:Acoustic Surface Audio+, Dolby Atmos
HDMI inputs: HDMI 2.1 x 2; HDMI 2.0b x 2
Tuners:Terrestrial, Cable, Satellite
Gaming features:4K at 120Hz, VRR, ALLM, Game Mode
Wireless connectivity:Wi-Fi (802.11ac), Bluetooth 4.2, Chromecast, AirPlay 2
Smart platform:Google TV
Freeview Play compatibility:No
Smart assistants:Google Assistant built-in; works with Alexa

Sony A95L OLED review: What you need to know

The Sony A95L is a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) HDR smart TV that uses Quantum Dot OLED (QD-OLED) panel technology. It forms part of the Bravia XR Master Series of OLED TVs and is available in three screen sizes: 55in, 65in and 77in. Sony provided the 55in XR-55A95L for this review.

The new QD-OLED panel still employs blue OLED to self-illuminate each pixel, with quantum dot layers used to generate the red and green sub-pixels, but has been improved to not just deliver an incredibly wide colour gamut, but also boost peak brightness by up to 40%. 

The picture processing is powered by Sony’s Cognitive XR processor, and the A95L runs the latest iteration of the Google TV operating system. Along with a host of imaging features, there’s also support for HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10+.

This OLED TV boasts Sony’s usual elegant styling, with feet that can be attached in two different positions, along with Acoustic Surface Audio+, which uses the entire screen as a speaker, and support for Dolby Atmos. There’s also a Bravia Cam included for picture and sound optimisation.


Sony A95L OLED review: Price and competition

The 55in Sony A95L reviewed here currently retails for £2,499, the 65in version will set you back £3,499 while the 77in model is priced at a hefty £5,499.

This is significantly more expensive than the competing Samsung S95C, which uses the same Samsung-made QD-OLED panel and offers a host of cutting-edge features of its own. In addition, the styling is eye-catching thanks to Samsung’s proprietary One Connect box, and there are four HDMI 2.1 inputs. The S95C has enjoyed some big price reductions recently, with the 55in model costing £1,378, the 65in version retailing for £1,897, and the 77in screen size priced at a surprisingly reasonable £3,599.

Other alternatives include the LG G3 OLED, which uses a more traditional WRGB panel combined with a Micro Lens Array (MLA) to boost the peak brightness to levels that match the A95L and S95C. It has a sleek design primarily aimed at wall mounting, Dolby Vision support and runs the excellent webOS smart platform. The G3 comes in four screen sizes, with the 55in retailing for £1,699, the 65in costing £1,859, the 77in priced at £3,799 and the 83in option setting you back £5,499.

Another MLA OLED worth considering is the Panasonic MZ2000. Its in-built sound system and image accuracy are second to none and next-gen gaming provision is decent despite it only having a pair of HDMI 2.1 ports. The 55in model is currently priced at £1,999, with the 65in and 77in options costing £2,999 and £3,799, respectively. 

Sony A95L OLED review: Design, connections and control

The Sony A95L catches the eye with its elegant styling and contemporary design. Like last year’s A95K, you’re confronted with nothing more than a screen fitted flush to a very narrow metal bezel. The build quality remains excellent, and the matte black rear uses a grid pattern to add some texture and hide the removable panels that allow for clutter-free cable management.

The 55in A95L measures 1,224 x 34 x 707mm (WDH) and weighs in at 17.6kg without the feet attached. Here the A95L improves on last year’s flagship by using a pair of aluminium feet that can be attached at either end or towards the middle, with the option to raise the screen higher to allow for a soundbar. You can also wall mount using a 300 x 300 VESA bracket.

In a change from last year, the connections are located towards the left-hand side as you face the screen, with all of them pointing sideways. There are four HDMI inputs, one of which supports eARC, and all of which support 4K/60Hz, HDCP 2.3 and high dynamic range in the shape of HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision (but sadly not HDR10+). As is typical for Sony, only two of the HDMI inputs support 4K/120Hz, VRR (variable refresh rate) and ALLM (auto low latency mode). 

In terms of other physical connections, there are aerial and satellite ports with dual tuners, an Ethernet port for a wired connection, an optical digital output, AV inputs, a headphone jack and three USB ports. Wireless connectivity is covered by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast and AirPlay 2.

Sony includes a basic remote and a more stylish controller with curved corners, a brushed metal effect and a backlight. The latter is comfortable to hold, easy to use and has buttons that are sensibly laid out. These include navigation and playback controls and direct access buttons for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube, Crunchyroll and Bravia Core.

The A95L bundles the Bravia Cam as standard, and aside from video calls, the camera tracks where you are in the room and adjusts the brightness and sound balance based on your seating position. There’s also an alert mode if your kids get too close to the screen, and even the option for hand gesture control, but the camera’s inclusion does add to the TV’s already toppy price tag.

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Sony A95L OLED review: Smart TV platform

The Sony A95L runs Google TV as its smart system, and while it’s a well-designed interface, I found it slightly sluggish in operation. Sony’s menu system remains similar to past generations but has had a cosmetic upgrade. The homepage serves up features and apps for easier access, makes recommendations, and allows for layout customisation, though it also runs a bit slowly. 

All the main video streaming apps are present and correct, including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+ and YouTube. There’s no Freeview Play support and the UK TV catch-up services were all missing at launch but these were added via a firmware update late last year. 

The platform includes voice search, which makes finding your favourite content easier, and there’s Google Assistant built-in. This turns the A95L into a fully-functioning smart assistant, plus there’s support for Chromecast. It also supports Alexa, so there’s a degree of hands-free voice control whichever smart assistant you choose. Finally, there’s Apple’s AirPlay 2 and support for HomeKit.

Sony A95L OLED review: Image quality

The Sony A95L defaults to the Standard picture mode, which has excessive blue in the greyscale and over-saturated colours. There’s no Filmmaker mode, but the Professional picture mode delivers improved accuracy, with a DeltaE (error) of 1.47 for colours and 2.3 for the grayscale, though the latter still has a bit too much blue at the brighter end of the scale.

Despite these measurements already being below the visible threshold of three, the accuracy can be improved using the calibration controls, producing errors well below one. The combination of an accurate image and the purer colours offered by the use of quantum dot filters ensures SDR images look amazing, with the deep blacks and fine shadow delineation expected from OLED.

The QD-OLED panel provided to Sony by Samsung Display has an upgraded screen filter that is better at eliminating reflections and rejecting ambient light in the room than its predecessor. It does so without raising the black floor and significantly improves the A95L’s overall contrast performance compared to the A95K.

While Sony might not manufacture the QD-OLED panel, it does provide proprietary picture processing, an area where the brand is particularly strong. The Cognitive XR processor does an amazing job of upscaling lower-resolution content, bringing out fine detail without introducing unwanted artefacts and simultaneously reducing compression artefacts and mosquito noise.

Motion handling is another area where Sony is a class leader, and the A95L displays impressive motion even without engaging any extra processing, with images that appear free of judder or other artefacts. This year adds settings for Smoothness Film and Smoothness Camera, allowing you to customise the frame interpolation processing when you’re watching films or sports.

Sony A95L OLED review: HDR performance

Since the Sony A95L uses the latest QD-OLED panel, it benefits from improved overall brightness with the luminance measurements hitting 1,400cd/m2 on a 10% window, and 277cd/m2 on a full-field pattern. This matches the Samsung S95C and means that HDR content graded at 1,000 nits can be displayed with little tone mapping required.

However, when tone mapping is necessary, the A95L is equally impressive and, regardless of whether HDR content is graded at 1,000, 4,000 or 10,000 nits, the PQ EOTF is followed precisely, ensuring the creative intent is retained. In terms of high dynamic range formats, the A95L supports HDR10, HLG (Hybrid-Log Gamma) and Dolby Vision, with only the less common HDR10+ format missing.

Using the Professional picture mode, the greyscale is rendered with impressive accuracy, as are all the colours, with each one hitting its DCI-P3 saturation targets within the BT.2020 container. The use of quantum dots and Sony’s Triluminos technology delivers impressive gamut coverage, with the A95L measuring 100% of DCI-P3 and an incredible 88% of BT.2020.

This expansive colour coverage and exceptional accuracy enable the A95L to deliver impressively saturated images combined with nuanced detail. The Flash bursts with comic book primaries, while a film like Inside Out, which deliberately pushes its colour space beyond DCI-P3 in certain scenes, enjoys a vibrant purity that most other displays simply lack a wide enough colour gamut to match.

The same goes for dynamic range, where the ability to deliver specular highlights at 1,400 nits with pixel precision ensures that the flares in the night sky in 1917 pop, and the desert vistas of Oppenheimer are rendered with exceptional clarity and depth. An LCD might have a higher overall brightness, but can’t compete with the A95L’s pure blacks and pixel-level control.

To test the Sony A95L we used Portrait Displays Calman colour calibration software.

Sony A95L OLED review: Gaming

The Sony A95L is an excellent gaming TV, aside from only having two HDMI inputs that support 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM, one of which also pulls double duties as the eARC port. 

This won’t be a major issue unless you want to run multiple consoles simultaneously, however, and gamers are rewarded with punchy and detailed images that benefit from Sony’s top-notch motion handling.

The A95L is one of several 2023 Sony TVs to benefit from a handy new Game Menu that provides quick and easy access to game-related information and specific settings. Among these are options for black equalisation, motion blur reduction and the ability to customise your crosshair. 

In game mode, the A95L delivered an input lag of 16ms with a 60Hz signal and 8ms at 120Hz. While this isn’t as low as a lot of the competition, gameplay proved wonderfully responsive no matter what I was playing and even the most demanding gamer will be delighted with the dazzlingly smooth movement. 

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Sony A95L OLED review: Sound quality

The Sony A95L uses the brand’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology, which turns the entire screen into a speaker by employing actuators at the rear to imperceptibly vibrate it, thus generating sound. The lower frequencies are extended by a pair of bass drivers, and there’s sufficient power to deliver an expansive sonic presence that can reach unsociable volumes without distorting.

Acoustic Surface Audio+ ensures intelligible dialogue that’s focused on the screen, while the overall sound quality is clean and detailed, with a well-defined mid-range and clear treble. The bass drivers do a great job of generating low-frequency energy, while the XR processor also plays its part, delineating the music from the sound effects and placing the latter around the screen.

The inclusion of eARC allows the A95L to pass lossless audio, including the DTS format, which is important for anyone hoping to enjoy the full benefits of IMAX Enhanced streaming. There is also onboard decoding for Dolby Atmos soundtracks and an auto-calibration feature that optimises the sound quality based on the sonic qualities of your viewing environment.

Since the Atmos decoding uses psychoacoustic processing to create a sense of dimensionality, you can’t expect full immersion, but Acoustic Surface Audio allows you to use the A95L as the centre speaker in a multi-channel system or, if you own a supporting Sony soundbar, you can also reinforce the centre channel performance using the TV’s speakers.

Sony A95L OLED review: Verdict

The Sony A95L is an undeniably great OLED TV that has an elegant design, fantastic build quality and performs exceptionally well. Image accuracy is fantastic, the motion handling peerless and the picture processing second to none. It sounds good too, thanks to Sony’s clever Acoustic Surface Audio tech. 

It’s less impressive when it comes to the slightly sluggish Google TV OS, however, and the fact that only two of the four HDMI inputs support 4K/120Hz and VRR. But the biggest issue is the price, which puts the A95L at a disadvantage to equally capable OLED TVs from Samsung and LG.

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