Sony’s A90J OLED TV is an expensive option that delivers the best picture of any TV we’ve tested. It’s been our luxury pick since it hit the market in spring of 2021, and still offers an excellent picture in a striking design with solid sound and a Google TV smart interface.
So, what makes this TV worth a starting price of $2,798? Whip out the popcorn, take a seat on the couch and we’ll give you the lowdown.
The who, what and how
Who this is for: Sony’s A90J offers stunning picture quality in a strikingly thin design — all for an ultra-premium price. For the cost, you’ll get a terrific OLED panel, solid sound and plenty of smarts.
What you need to know: The A90J is an OLED TV. And though this technology has historically struggled to impress with overall brightness, Sony flips the switch with this improved panel, delivering more vibrant colors. It’s the best picture we’ve tested and still looks great in a room with natural light. In addition, a built-in Google TV smart interface lets you easily stream from the main services, though like most flat TVs, the internal speakers offer decidedly average sound.
How this compares: The Sony A90J trumps any TV we’ve previously tested in terms of picture quality, ensuring any content you watch (720p, 1080p or 4K) looks dynamite. Here you’ll find hyper-accurate colors, fine-tuned details and an immersive picture. Of course, at this price, it’s not for everyone. Those who don’t need the absolute best picture will be better suited with the TCL 6-Series. Smarts-wise, the Google TV interface is on par with others on the market and allows you to ask for content through the Google Assistant, much like the latest Chromecast. And although the speakers are about as good as you can get in a thin panel, we suggest considering a stand-alone soundbar.
Shining brighter than the rest
As an OLED TV, the Sony A90J emits and creates an image through individual pixels, which are not only responsible for visuals but also for the brightness in any given scene. Additionally, it can turn off individual pixels to make darker scenes look exceptionally dark.
Unlike QLED or LED technologies, which allow LED lights to filter through a backlit panel to create an image, OLEDs typically offer more accurate colors — and have taken top spots in homes, apartments or spaces where lighting could be controlled.
In our extended testing, we were impressed that the Sony A90J’s updated OLED panel was able to increase brightness with a built-in heatsink. This allows, and compensates for, more heat by combating higher temperatures, subsequently creating brighter colors, improved vibrancy and one of the most immersive pictures we’ve seen.
Take the opening scene of Loki on Disney+, where the main character is tossed into a bright desert environment. His green and black ensemble is a contrast point — along with Tom Hiddleston’s black hair. The A90J handles this exceptionally well by keeping a focus on the details, like the glowing blue cube (aka the Tessaract), vividly enveloped by sand.
You can get the Sony’s A90J in three sizes; the lowest price tag of $2,798 scores you 55 inches, the smallest of the bunch. $3,799 will upgrade you to 65 inches, and if you’re ready to plunk down $5,999.99, you can nab the massive 83-inch behemoth.
If you’re an action fan or a gamer, any size A90J will enhance faves like car chases, lightsaber battles in “Star Wars,” and almost anything on the latest gaming consoles (PS5 or Xbox Series X), with support for the higher frame rate of 120Hz refresh rate and Variable Refresh Rate. When we tested out Sony PS5’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, we were thrilled with the realistically rendered environments and lack of latency.
Underscored’s standard TV test — watching “Avengers: Endgame,” yes it’s a tough life — was a good challenge for the Sony A90J. Overall, it was brighter than other OLEDs we’ve tested, like the Sony A8H, yet still delivered an accurate reproduction of colors. The climactic battle was lifelike and immersive, with fast reproduction and excellent ambience.
For the price, it’s no surprise that the A90J supports a bevy of standards like Dolby Vision, HDR and HDR+. You also have several modes to pick from, like Vivid or Director, both of which keep the brightness level higher. Sony’s A90J will also upscale your content to a near-4K resolution. That means 720p and 1080p movies or TV shows will look sharper and better reflect colors. The upscaling happens in real time, along with tweaks for standards thanks to Sony’s Bravia XR Cognitive processor, using a layer of AI (artificial intelligence) to adjust the area it thinks you’ll see first.
A striking design with two stands
Along with great visuals, Sony built a striking design that stretches the image to the very edges of the frame. This results in super-thin black bezels and even more gorgeous screen to look at. The included stand is also adjustable, letting you either rest the TV directly on top of any table, cabinet or home entertainment build, or sit it above a soundbar.
Setup was simple. The stand was easily secured, allowing us to then connect power and other devices with the four HDMI ports (with eARC support) — which is plenty of room for connectivity. As for sound, Sony uses a set of actuators that move and vibrate, resulting in a well-balanced mix that can fill a smaller room. Ultimately, if you’re willing to spend the money on such a stunning picture, we’d suggest pairing it with a soundbar for comparable sound.
Lastly, you get a large, basic remote, though it doesn’t have the impressive solar panel array and a rechargeable battery like Samsung’s newest TV remotes.
A trio of smarts
Sony’s agnostic approach to smart home ecosystems is still available with the A90J, as well the rest of the company’s 2021 line of TVs. You can add the A90J to your Apple home through HomeKit, connect it with Alexa or use the Google Assistant, which is baked into the Google TV interface.
But the biggest change in software comes with the addition of the Google TV platform, which first premiered on the stand-alone streamer, the Chromecast with Google TV. Its grid-like options may not be as straightforward or intuitive as Roku, but it does offer access to all the major streaming players. Plus, we like that you can use the remote’s embedded microphone to simply ask the Google Assistant for content as well as personal recommendations. Just a long-press on a button — like the Apple TV’s Siri Remote — allows you to make a voice request.
Additionally, YouTube TV is built right into Google TV and subscribers have access to a dedicated tab at the top. Content from popular streaming services like Disney+, Netflix, Peacock, HBO Max, Apple TV+ and Hulu started up quickly and all of this was easy to navigate with the included remote.
You can cast content from your phone, tablet or laptop through the Google Cast standard and those with Apple devices can use AirPlay 2 to stream.
The Sony A90J is our pick for a luxury TV, offering the best picture currently available. It’s a high price to pay, but we think it’s worth it for all the advantages of an OLED panel paired with highly detailed, immersive visuals.
Along with this high-end picture, Sony packs in support for nearly any smart-home assistant you choose, all while including a well-reviewed Google TV interface and respectable audio. Those who want an admirable picture for less should check out our highly-rated TCL 6-Series.