|DESIGN||SPECIFICATIONS||PICTURE QUALITY||SOUND QUALITY||SMART FEATURES|
The Sony XBR55A1E Picture Quality has an impressive picture quality. The infinite contrast ratio and perfect black uniformity result in a superb dark room performance and with its high contrast, dark and bright scenes are displayed excellently. When set in a bright room, the performance is a bit less stellar, since the peak brightness is average at best even if it can deal pretty well with reflections.
The gray uniformity is also great and sports fans should be pleased since dirty screen effect won’t be a problem. HDR on this Sony TV is excellent – both for HDR movies or for HDR games.
Native Contrast : Inf : 1 . Contrast with local dimming : N/A. Like other OLED TVs, the Sony A1E has an infinite contrast ratio – when each pixel displays a 100% black color they are totally turned off and do not emit any light. The A1E is an excellent TV for watching movies in a totally dark room, producing deep dark scenes any light bleed normally associated with LED TVs.
On OLED TVs there is no need for a local dimming feature since it uses a different type of technology, where there is not backlight to light up the pixels. Here the pixels themselves emit light and are completely turned off when a true black color is displayed on the screen. The video is for reference only.
SDR Peak Brightness
Decent SDR peak brightness. Most SDR content like our real scene test is not shown very brightly, because the TV’s Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL) dims the TV when a scene with high average brightness is shown. However bright highlights in dark scenes are more bright, as shown by our 2% and 10% white window tests, because the average brightness in those scenes is low.
When compared with its OLED rival, the LG C7, the A1E is noticeably less bright. Both have very similar brightness in our 2%, 10% and 25% tests, but the C7 is brighter in our real scene and larger window tests, suggesting that the A1E’s ABL kicks in sooner than the C7’s.
The Gray uniformity of the Sony A1 is excellent. Looking at out 50% gray test picture, the picture looks pretty uniform which is great as the 50% gray is more representative of the normal TV content.
The 5% gray is also very good, but some faint vertical line are visible, but these are only visible in very dark rooms.
This is a very similar result when compared to the LG C7, but note that the gray uniformity is unit dependent and you may actually have a slightly better or worse gray uniformity, depending on your unit.
Wide viewing angle. Brightness only decreases a little at an angle, and the black level remains perfect; however colors do shift more significantly at an angle. Still this is a great TV for rooms with wide seating, as people sitting to the side of the TV will enjoy almost as good picture quality as people directly in front.
As with other OLED TVs reviewed before, the Sony A1 has a perfect black uniformity. This is because when the TV is displaying a perfectly black picture, the pixels are completely turned off and emit no light, which results in a black screen without any light bleed.
The A1E has a similar glossy finish to the LG C7 OLED. It works well to reduce the intensity of reflections and produces the same visible purple tint. This is common to most high-end TVs which are good at handling reflections.
This TV, like the rest of the Sony line of TVs, comes with a 2 point and 10 point color calibration feature. The 2 and 10 point calibration is easy to use and we were able to bring down the white balance dE to a negligible dE of 0.4. Even with a lacking CMS, the final accuracy after calibration is excellent.
Low quality content such as DVDs are upscaled well. Some minor haloing artifacts are present and edges do appear a bit jagged but the image remains clear.
Cable and other 720p content looks good once upscaled. Some minor artifacts can be seen but details are preserved and the image isn’t too soft.
1080p content such as Blu-rays look great. The image remains very clear.
Native 4k content looks great. No issues can be seen. Note that there are some moire artifacts caused by the camera which are not present on the screen.
Wide color gamut. The TV has excellent coverage of the DCI P3 gamut, and very good coverage of Rec 2020. It doesn’t have great tracking of our target points but its tracking is better than a lot of other TVs. Deep colors in HDR content will be well represented.
Decent color volume. The TV struggles to make bright colors bright enough, perhaps due to the OLED panel’s RGBW pixel structure; however OLED’s perfect blacks help it bring its wide Rec 2020 color gamut to very dark colors.
The Rec 2020 color volume is extremely similar to that of the C7, which has a similar panel.
The Sony A1E does an amazing job at displaying our gradient test image. As you can see, no gradations can be noticed and overall the picture looks very smooth without any real tone problems and this on all 3 color and grayscale.
The ‘Smooth gradation’ feature does an excellent job of smoothing 8-bit content by completely removing visible banding. We took some test pictures to show how effective is this feature by sending an 8-bit gradient image and turning on at each setting value the ‘Smooth gradation’ option.
Temporary Image Retention
The Sony OLED TV does present some image retention, like the LG C7 and other OLEDs we have tested. As you can see on our test picture taken right after the 10 minutes burn-in scene of our test clip, the Rtings logos are still clearly visible and stay visible even after 6 minutes of recovery. This test was performed with Sony’s ‘Pixel shift’ setting enabled.
Permanent Burn-In Risk
OLED panels such as the A1E do have the possibility of experiencing burn in.
Like other OLED TVs, the A1E has an RGBW pixel structure to increase the display brightness. This means not all of the sub-pixels are on at the same time.