Sony KD-48A9 OLED 4K TV Review Page 2

OLED's pixel-level light control is spectacularly unlocked by the X1 Ultimate processor and Pixel Contrast Booster tech. Alita... isn't actually a very extreme 4K Blu-ray in brightness terms, but so excellent is the 48A9's light management that the film's dark world feels dynamic and alive.

This TV brings out outstanding amounts of subtle shadow detail in the film's dark corners and backdrops. What's more, it does this while keeping a near perfect lid on the sort of 'near black noise' OLED TVs are susceptible to. This helps Robert Rodriguez's digital photography enjoy an almost supernatural clarity and immediacy.

Alita...'s gorgeously rich colourscape is immaculately rendered, too. Sony's Triluminos system yields fantastic amounts of tonal subtlety with a precision that adds real weight and value to every last pixel of colour information. The result is an image of unusual three-dimensionality and realism – even when you're watching a mostly CGI film such as Alita.... What's more, the finesse of the 48A9's colours, its excellent motion handling and the purity of its light and noise management ensure that it still delivers a definitively 4K experience despite the relatively small screen size. With the 48A9 also exemplifying OLED's wide viewing angle talent, the only serious negative picture point – aside from its lack of advanced gaming features – is that it's not as bright as other brands of OLED screen. It only hits around 665 nits in Standard mode on a 10 per cent white HDR window, and this drops to below 600 nits for its Cinema mode. LG's OLED48CX is punchier, as is Philips' (slightly more expensive) 48OLED935.


But I'd argue that the prowess of Sony's processing means you seldom feel this lack of measurable brightness in normal viewing conditions – especially in relatively dark rooms.

There's also a little colour striping with HDR content, despite Sony's Super Bitmapping system being designed to combat this, and while the 48A9's Dolby Vision support is welcome, the 'profile' Sony uses on most of its 2020 TVs doesn't yield quite as much dynamism as the profile used by other brands.

Letting me finish on the high the 48A9 deserves, however, is its audio. Impressively, this entry-sized set still gets Sony's Acoustic Surface technology, where the screen itself is vibrated to produce sound. As with this technology on Sony's bigger OLEDs, the result is a sound performance that projects well, filling your room with a refreshingly dynamic, detailed and open sound. Attractive proposition

While the 48A9 is officially part of Sony's 2020 range, it's set to continue to sell for the foreseeable future – no replacement for it has yet been announced. Sony has, though, reduced its price from £1,800 at launch to £1,400, so that while LG's OLED48CX remains the better option for gamers, the 48A9 is now an even more attractive proposition for spatially challenged AV fans.

HCC Verdict

Sony KD-48A9

Price: £1,400

We say: While the lack of cutting-edge gaming features is disappointing on a flagship 48in TV, the Sony KD-48A9’s movie performance is absolutely mesmerising.

Overall: 4.5/5


4K: Yes. 3,840 x 2160 HDR: Yes. HDR10; HLG; Dolby Vision TUNER: Yes. Freeview HD CONNECTIONS: 4 x HDMI inputs; 3 x USB; Ethernet port; digital optical audio output; headphone port 4K/120 PLAYBACK: No SOUND (CLAIMED): 2 x 10W + 5W BRIGHTNESS (CLAIMED): N/A CONTRAST RATIO (CLAIMED): N/A DIMENSIONS (OFF STAND): 1,069(w) x 624(h) x 58(d)mm WEIGHT (OFF STAND): 13.9kg

FEATURES: USB multimedia playback; Wi-Fi; Bluetooth; X1 Ultimate processing engine with Pixel Contrast Booster; Android TV smart system; YouView catchup TV; Acoustic Surface audio system; Triluminos colour; X-Motion Clarity system; IMAX Enhanced; Netflix Calibrated Mode