Is the Sony Bravia XR A90K OLED worth it?

The Sony Bravia XR A90K is Sony’s smallest OLED in the Sony 2022 TV lineup and the recommended Sony OLED TV for gaming. But, it doesn’t come with a small price tag. So the real question is; are you paying a premium here or is this TV worth it?

Sony Bravia 48" A90K Hero Image

Sony Bravia XR-42A90K (42")


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Sony Bravia 48" A90K Hero Image

Sony Bravia XR-48A90K (48")


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A90K Pros ✅

Solid HDMI 2.1 features for gaming

Very realistic picture with great detail & texture

Impressive visual and acoustic performance for a smaller screen

A90K Cons ❌


Not as bright as bigger OLED screen sizes

Watch our full Sony A90K Review video here!


Sony A90K SHS Lifestyle Image Mountain Shot Sony Bravia A90K Premium Backlit Remote

The Sony A90K is a statement TV and the ‘One Slate’ design offers the high-end, sleek appearance we love with Sony TVs. A two-way stand offers added versatility to either keep the TV flush with the base or you can raise it up to accommodate a soundbar by screwing the supplied stands to the base.

This model offers premium build quality (as we’ve come to expect from Sony’s OLEDs) and the cable management system at the back retains a neat and tidy setup.

In the box we get a premium brushed aluminium backlit remote which is handy if you're watching TV at night or gaming in low light. This new design is a slimmed down version of the old Sony remote and does away with the number controls for simplicity. If you’re a fan of the numbers then don’t worry, Sony have supplied a standard numbered remote too.


In terms of connections at the back, we’ve got 4 HDMI ports, 2 of which are HDMI 2.0 and the other 2 are HDMI 2.1 which means you can get 48gbps, 4k/120Hz, VRR and ALLM. Now only one of these is HDMI eARC which you would want to use if connecting up a compatible soundbar. We’ve also got a few other useful connections back here too such as a digital optical output and USB ports. 

Key Tech Highlights

Sony’s Cognitive processor XR

Launched a few years back, Sony's Cognitive XR processor is now in phase 2 which means they’ve made a few tweaks. 

1. The picture feels closer to what the human eye can see, so it should work out what you would naturally be focussing on and provide more emphasis and attention. 2. Depth mapping provides an enhanced depth of field to the picture with better layers and shades of black & grey. 3. A broader colour curve boosts the mid range colours and helps reproduce textures that would be visible to us in the real world.

Temperature Distribution Mapping

This technology essentially protects the screen from image retention or “burn in” by monitoring the temperature and if a part of the screen is getting too warm then it will reduce the brightness slightly to protect the screen AND it allows the individual pixels to be as bright as they can be to offer the best performance possible.

Bravia Core

This is Sony’s own streaming service which gives you access to; Sony content, a higher streaming quality than the likes of Netflix and Disney and free credits to buy films.

Picture Quality

This A90K is a Master Series TV from Sony which means it’s been calibrated for an enhanced performance out of the box. The Google TV Interface offers an intuitive experience, access to a range of apps and other useful smart features.

This TV offers support for Dolby Vision and that’s when it's been at its best in testing - 4K Dolby Vision content - though HDR10 content also shines on this TV. On the whole, 4K content is very sharp and this TV does a good job of upscaling 1080p content too looking not too far off what we’ve been getting with 4K content. 

Sony A90K SHS Lifestyle Living Room Animal Background Sony A90K SHS Lifestyle Living Room Lightyear

So from our testing, I think there are 4 things this TV does really well in terms of picture quality:

✔️ Lifelike, natural images with great shading, patterns and realism.

✔️  It offers fantastic colour representation with vibrant colours and a broad range of hues.

✔️ The blacks are phenomenal. I guess it’s what we’ve come to expect from OLED TVs now but the detail in the darker areas and the pure blacks really adds to the immersion of movies.

✔️ Motion is controlled really well and we’ve been really happy with it when testing it out for sport, gaming and heavy action scenes.

One thing to be aware of is that this TV won't compete in terms of brightness with larger sized OLED's. Due to the smaller screen sizes, the pixel density is a higher in the Sony A90K with the OLEDs packed closer together. However, it is a step up from its 2020 A9 predecessor.

In a dark space, this TV performs exceptionally well but in a bright/ light room you do get some reflections impacting the visuals and it can be harder to pick out details in a darker scene. It will certainly be interesting to see how it compares with Sony’s flagship QD OLED TV, the Sony Bravia XR A95K which promises to be their brightest OLED yet.

Sound Quality

The Sony A90K features Acoustic Surface Audio+ which is Sony’s audio setup that uses actuators to essentially turn the screen into the speaker. This means that the sound can follow the action around the screen for better immersion and a more realistic sound performance. We’ve got 2 x 10W actuators in this TV and 1 x 5W subwoofer in the centre to provide the lower frequencies and boost the bass which offer a pretty immersive experience for a smaller screen. 

XR Surround technology virtually creates surround sound so you can get more of a 3D listening experience. We’ve found that this does help the sound expand wider than the screen though it doesn’t compare with separate speakers.

This TV is Dolby Atmos compatible and on the whole sound-wise, for a more compact TV, we think it does a decent job. We have been spoiled having heard many different soundbars and personally I think that, budget allowing, a separate soundbar will take the sound performance up a level. But it will come down to your budget, space and what you’re using this TV for.

How does the A90K perform for Gaming?

We’ve been testing gaming on the Sony A90K with the Sony PS5 which does allow for further features on this TV. On startup, the PS5 automatically recognizes individual BRAVIA XR TV models and selects the best HDR setting for your TV accordingly.

The Auto HDR Tone Mapping feature will ensure that the HDR settings will be optimised during your PS5 console’s initial setup. So even in high contrast scenes, you’ll see the crucial details and colours in the brightest and darkest parts of the screen. 

The A90K detects the content you're consuming and switches to Game Mode when gaming for minimised input lag and Standard Mode when watching movies for a more expressive picture.

With this TV, we get up to 120fps on compatible games with HDMI 2.1 and the refined colour reproduction and quality handling of dark scenes in gameplay, especially at 4K/120fps does look fantastic. We also get a response time of 0.1ms and for input lag we’re looking at 8.5ms on the Sony, both are similar to what we’ve seen on the LG C2.

Sadly Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S console users will not be able to make use of a Dolby Vision game mode, meaning that input lag is arguably too high when Dolby Vision is activated although, in the standard Game mode, the input lag is approximately 21ms, which again, is far from ideal but is more than low enough for most gamers. 

With the A90K, you don’t get the HGiG HDR gaming initiative and AMD freesync premium and Nvidia G-Sync VRR system that you get on LG. Despite PS5 users not needing HGiG because of the Auto HDR tone mapping feature this will no doubt frustrate any Xbox users out there. 

Sony A90K VS Sony A9

Sony decided not to launch a new 48” OLED in 2021 and instead continued on the 2020 48” A9. We’ve done some side-by-side comparisons with this TV as not only is it the predecessor to the A90K but it was also VERY popular with you guys and won What Hifi Product of the year and best 48-50” TV over £1000 in 2020.

First things first if you are just casually viewing, there isn’t a drastic difference. However when you look a bit closer and the more you watch these TVs, the more you pick up on quite a few details and enhancements that overall add to a better performance.

There is a notable step up in terms of brightness and contrast which helps bring out more clarity in the darker areas of a scene. Thanks to a better range of colours, you get a more natural and true to life picture with more attention in the details and textures. The A90K also offers an enhanced depth of field which helps draw your eye to the key areas of the scene.

For me, I do think you can see that the Sony A90K is a step up on the A9 in terms of overall brightness, details, colours and depth. But I also do think the A9 is still a great TV and if you can still get hold of one and get a good deal on it then I would definitely be tempted to make the most of that!


Our verdict?

So where do we see this TV being used? If you’re looking for a really good OLED but you’re limited to a smaller screen size then this will provide a fantastic performance visually and acoustically for a smaller living room or bedroom.

There are more affordable models in these sizes but you do get a premium performance from this TV. Anyone wanting to keep in the Sony ecosystem or combine a Sony console such as PS5 will be happy with this TV for gaming though Xbox users might find that gaming is enhanced more on something like the LG C2.

Is the A90K worth it? In context to the A9 then I would say yes. That was an award winning TV and this one is a step ahead and I’ve been impressed with the visual performance in testing. But really I need to put it head to head with the LG C2 to make my decision overall. 

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For more information about the Sony Bravia A90K TV or any other TV models, get in touch and one of our Tech Guides would be happy to help!

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