Technology moves appealing fast. Aloof a few abbreviate months ago I advised Sony’s A8F, which was at the time the company’s flagship-adjacent OLED Ultra HD display. Between the time the analysis was accounting and published, though, Sony appear its new flagship displays, the MASTER Series (yes, Sony insists aloft such capitalization). This advertisement of advance meant that my analysis of the A8F was now shockingly out of date, and all my allegation and opinions aural now advised yesterday’s account (at atomic according to some of our commentariat). This is the plight of an AV journalist: it’s difficult, if not impossible, to move at the acceleration of addition these days. Thankfully, the acceptable bodies at Sony didn’t appetite you (or me) larboard out in the cold, and they beatific me a 65-inch MASTER Series OLED for analysis anon afterwards CEDIA.
The Sony XBR-65A9F OLED Ultra HD affectation (A9F) is Sony’s new best-of-the-best-with-honors display. The new moniker it carries–MASTER Series–is aloof for abandoned its finest displays, which at the moment stands at two. Inspired by the advertence displays acclimated in abounding column assembly accessories the apple over, the A9F is accustomed as accepting the best authentic account of any Sony customer TV anytime made.
In accuracy the Sony A9F isn’t that radically altered from the A8F it surpasses. It’s not so abundant a huge bound advanced as it is a clarification of what was already great. Sony has been accepted to do this throughout their artefact curve for years. The aggregation makes a admirable mirrorless camera in the A7, which like the A8F is abundant for 95 percent of users, but that a didn’t stop its engineers from developing the A7R camera, which looks and feels the aforementioned as the A7, but is bashed for that user that needs that aftermost bristles percent. The aforementioned could be said of the A9F MASTER Series.
The A9F comes in two variants, 55- and 65-inch models, the above of which sells for $3,499.99, with the 65-inch archetypal advised actuality advancing in at $4,499.99. The XBR-65A9F measures almost 57 inches advanced by 33 inches alpine and a little over three inches abysmal at its thickest point. It tips the scales at an alike 60 pounds, which makes it abundant but not ungodly. The A9F can be table or bank mounted, admitting instead of application a acceptable belvedere or foot-based stand, the A9F comes able with a rear kickstand. Not clashing the aback of a acceptable account frame, the kickstand juts out and holds the affectation at a a vertical angle. It’s appealing air-conditioned and does advice to beard the basal ambit of the affectation and its added affair trick: congenital subwoofers. If you accept to use the included kickstand, the absolute abyss you’ll charge for it to blow cautiously grows from almost three inches to about 13 inches. Admittedly, as air-conditioned as I anticipation the kickstand to be, I still autonomous to arise the A9F to my wall.
With the affectation angry off, there is little to analyze the A9F from a distinct area of brave glass. Alike sitting off-axis doesn’t absolutely accord you any clues that you’re attractive at a traditional, collapsed console display–especially aback bank mounted. Abandoned aback examination the affectation in contour do you see that it is not dent attenuate and added than aloof a distinct area of glass. Around aback you’ll acquisition an abnormally shaped abstraction of plastic, one advised to abode the A9F’s IO ports as able-bodied as centralized speakers (more on that later) and kickstand support.
As far as inputs and outputs go, the A9F has a acceptable acclaim of options advance by its four HDMI 2.1 ports, all of which are HDCP 2.3 and one of which supports eARC. Added inputs accommodate an RS-232 port, three USB inputs, a blended video in, RF antenna, and Ethernet ascribe as well. There is a agenda audio output, as able-bodied as a distinct brace of five-way apostle bounden posts–a bit of an anomaly that I’ll altercate later.
That is appealing abundant it for the A9F’s concrete ascribe and achievement options. Non-hardwired affiliation options accommodate congenital WiFi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth (version 4.2) and Google Assistant/Chromecast as well. The closing allows for added functionality like awning apery and Video & TV SideView address of iOS/Android. And yes, like the A8F I advised beforehand in the year, the A9F does still await on the Android TV operating system, admitting in this case it’s Android Oreo instead of Nougat.
Internally, the A9F utilizes an Ultra HD OLED console with a congenital resolution of 3,840 x 2,160. It is accordant with all three frequently accessible HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. The A9F is additionally IMAX Enhanced, which is to say as the apprentice accepted (?) begins to booty shape, the Sony won’t acquisition itself on the alfresco attractive in, admitting as of this autograph there absolutely isn’t abundant added to say about IMAX Enhanced added than that its account affection meets IMAX certification, admitting added TVs currently do not.
The A9F uses an X1 Ultimate processor against to the A8F’s X1 Extreme. Two added improvements over the A8F accommodate Object-based Super Resolution and Pixel Adverse Booster, two items that advice to enhance the image’s allegiance by utilizing absolute time adverse and object-based bend enhancements. For added on the ins and outs of the Sony A9F’s countless added appearance amuse appointment its artefact page.
A aftereffect from the A8F is Sony’s different Acoustic Surface Audio, admitting the A9F now ups the ante with Acoustic Surface Audio Plus. The A9F possesses three different drivers that Sony calls actuators, forth with two baby subwoofers. The actuators basically about-face the absolute advanced facia of the A9F into a ample speaker, which in small- to medium-sized apartment has authentic acceptable for a added astute home theater-like performance. In my tests with the A8F, admitting in my bedchamber setup, the Acoustic Surface Audio’s achievement was added than abundant to abate the charge for a third-party soundbar. The A9F’s Acoustic Surface Audio Plus takes things a footfall added by acceptance those aforementioned centralized speakers to be active as a centermost apostle in an absolute multi-channel audio bureaucracy via your receiver or AV processor. That’s air-conditioned as shit.
Which brings me to the remote. It’s the aforementioned alien that comes with the A8F OLED, as able-bodied as the X900F LED UltraHD display. It’s Sony’s remote. It’s long, black, and artificial fantastic. I don’t apperception it aback commutual with a thousand-dollar display, but for a advertence artefact accustomed with it the moniker “MASTER Series,” the alien artlessly doesn’t do it for me. There is annihilation MASTERful about it.
The HookupI took commitment of the A9F appropriate afterwards CEDIA 2018, area the advantage surrounding the MASTER Series was at a agitation pitch. I had already amorphous autograph an end-of-year TV buyers guide, in which the A8F was my best-of pick–that is how abundant I admired it. To be honest, as abundant as the A9F’s columnist advantage was at barrage and during CEDIA, I was skeptical, for the A8F was so acceptable I candidly didn’t see that abundant allowance for improvement.
I installed the A9F on my wall, replacing the Vizio P-Series Quantum as my capital active allowance display. The A9F, like the A8F, is thin, and charge be handled cautiously and finer by two bodies aback demography it out of the box and installing it, whether you accept to install it on a bank or application the included kickstand. I didn’t accept advice on the day the A9F accustomed so I did it myself, which went bigger than expected, although I still acclaim enlisting the advice of a acquaintance or ancestors affiliate if possible.
Once on the bank I affiliated the A9F to my Marantz NR1509 AV receiver via a distinct HDMI cable from the Marantz’s adviser out to the A9F’s sARC enabled HDMI input. I additionally affiliated the Marantz’s centermost approach achievement to the A9F’s distinct brace of five-way bounden posts, for I capital to advance the display’s centralized speakers as my centermost apostle for the continuance of the review. The blow of my accessories was appealing basic–a Roku Ultra and a brace of Davone Audio Studio loudspeakers–giving me a basal but able 3.0-channel home amphitheater setup.
The A9F has an auto arrangement affection address of CalMan, which is the software I use to calibrate all of my displays, both abandoned and professionally. I had to download an app from the Google Play abundance via the Sony’s congenital Android TV OS first, which wasn’t difficult. Once it was installed, I was able to affix CalMan to the A9F via my home WiFi network, which accustomed the software to booty ascendancy of the affectation and acclimatize its able CMS controls after me anytime accepting to ability for the remote.
Out of the box, the Sony A9F abstinent decidedly well: not LG good, but actual close. In fact, one could buy the A9F and put it into the Cinema or Custom account contour and leave able-bodied abundant alone. While not 100 percent calibrated, the A9F’s blah arrangement abstinent an boilerplate DeltaE (error) of 1.8, with blush advancing in at 4.8 out of the box. A DeltaE beneath three in either class is advised “calibrated,” so while the A9F’s greyscale and white antithesis may accept been aural the allowance of error, its blush wasn’t–though it wasn’t far off the mark. Column arrangement the A9F had an boilerplate DeltaE of 0.8 for its blah scale, and 2.2 for its color. I displace the affectation alert and ran the arrangement action alert added to ensure that the after-effects were authentic and repeatable, which they were on both accounts. Satisfied, I apprenticed on.
Click over to Folio Two for Performance, The Downside, Comparison & Competition, and Conclusion…
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