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    Table of Contents
  1. Intro
  2. Design
    1. Stand
    2. Back
    3. Borders
    4. Thickness
    5. Temperature
    6. Build Quality
  3. Picture Quality
    1. Contrast
    2. Local Dimming
    3. SDR Peak Brightness
    4. HDR Peak Brightness
    5. Gray Uniformity
    6. Viewing Angle
    7. Black Uniformity
    8. Gradient
    9. Pre Calibration
    10. Post Calibration
    11. 480p Input
    12. 720p Input
    13. 1080p Input
    14. 4k Input
    15. Color Gamut
    16. Color Volume
    17. Image Retention
    18. Reflections
    19. 3D
    20. Pixels
  4. Motion
    1. Motion Blur
    2. Image Flicker
    3. 24p Playback
    4. Motion Interpolation
  5. Inputs
    1. Input Lag
    2. Supported Resolutions
    3. Side Inputs
    4. Rear Inputs
    5. Total Inputs
    6. Inputs Specifications
  6. Sound Quality
    1. Frequency Response
    2. Distortion
  7. Smart Features
    1. Interface
    2. Ads
    3. Apps and Features
    4. Remote
    5. Remote App
    6. TV Controls
    7. In The Box
    8. Misc
  8. Sizes and Variants
  9. Compared
  10. Conclusion
  11. Q&A
Reviewed on May 05, 2017 , Ian Cumming, Eric Bousquet, Mehdi Azzabi

Sony A1E OLED
TV REVIEW

Usage Ratings
Version 1.1
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Test Benches:

  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2015
  • 0.9: Winter 2014
  • 0.8: Winter 2013
Recommended if under (USD)
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What it is: Maximum price to be a better value than its competitors.
How to use it: This product is the best choice in its range if you can find it below this price.
Automatically calculated every hour based on the scores and prices of all other products we've tested.
Value for price
beaten by
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What it is: Product with the best value in this price range
Other best choice in a cheaper price range
Other best choice in a pricier price range
Automatically updated every hour based on the scores and prices of all other products we've tested.
Mixed Usage
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What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
8.7 $1,860 LG
C7
Movies
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What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
9.4 $1,800 LG
C7
TV Shows
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What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
8.3 $1,350 LG
C7
Sports
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What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
Score components:
8.8 best none
Video Games
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What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
8.6 $870 LG
C7
HDR Movies
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What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
8.9 $1,800 LG
C7
HDR Gaming
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What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
8.5 $1,800 LG
C7
PC Monitor
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What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
8.1 $1,800 LG
C7
Type : OLED
Resolution : 4k
Refresh Rate : 120 Hz

The Sony A1E OLED TV is an excellent smart 4k TV that offers exceptional picture quality thanks to its perfectly deep and uniform blacks. It can produce a wide range of colors, which combined with its smooth gradients makes HDR content look great. Its motion capabilities are also excellent since no trails follow moving objects and flicker can be used to enhance clarity. Unfortunately, input lag is a bit high with a 1080p input, and the easel stand always sits on an incline.

Pros
  • Perfect blacks
  • Exceptional motion performance
  • Striking design
Cons
  • Input lag could be better
  • Screen is at an incline

Test Results
Design 9.5
Picture Quality 8.6
Motion 9.6
Inputs 8.2
Sound Quality 7.6
Smart Features 7.8
Update 9/20/2017: Tested 1080p @ 120 Hz input lag using our new input lag tool.
Update 9/12/2017: The Remote App box has been updated, replacing Google's app with Sony's better one.
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
Update 7/19/2017: Updated with newest firmware (PKG6.2648.0065NAA). The input lag and 24p playback have been retested and are unchanged.

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9.5

Design

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Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony A1E Design Picture
Curved : No

The A1E looks impressive from the front due to the lack of a visible stand and minimalistic appearance. Unfortunately the TV does lean back at a fairly significant angle, but this isn't too noticeable after a while. All of the inputs and the controls are located on the stand of the TV, and so can be difficult to access depending on the TV placement. 

Stand
Sony A1E Stand Picture

The rear of the TV extends outwards and forms the stand. It supports the TV very well (the screen itself makes up the front part of the stand) but does require a larger table than many TVs of the same size.

Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 13.0" x 48.4"

Back
Sony A1E Back Picture
Wall Mount : Vesa 400x200

The TV looks good from the back, with a fabric covered grill over the stand and built in speakers. This can be removed to reveal the inputs and wall mount. Unfortunately the body of the TV picks up lots of fingerprints on the reflective finish and the inputs are very difficult to access if the TV is against a wall.

Borders
Sony A1E Borders Picture
Borders : 0.39" (1 cm)

The borders of the A1 are thin and look good.

Thickness
Sony A1E Thickness Picture
Max Thickness : 2.64" (6.7 cm)

Although the stand extend quite far out the back, it folds in when mounting the TV. When folded in it will stick out a bit from the wall, but not too much. It also sits back at an angle when stood up, but it doesn't take long to get used to. If wall mounted then this isn't an issue.

Temperature
Sony A1E Temperature picture
Maximum Temperature
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What it is: The peak temperature found on the TV.
When it matters: If the TV is placed in an enclosed space.
Good value: <35°C
Noticeable difference: 5°C
:
36 °C
Average Temperature
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What it is: The average temperature measured on the TV.
When it matters: If the TV is placed in an enclosed space.
Good value: <35°C
Noticeable difference: 5°C
:
30 °C

The A1E is a fairly cool TV, never getting more than a little warm to the touch. The thickest part of the TV is in the center, which is also the warmest part of the TV. There is also a lot of heat along the bottom edge, which may contain some panel circuitry producing heat.

9.0 Build Quality
Sony A1E Build quality picture

The build quality of the A1E is great, and everything feels very premium. The TV can be a bit difficult to carry though, as the screen tends to flex if the stand isn't well supported.

8.6

Picture Quality

The Sony A1E OLED TV 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 wide viewing angle of the A1 makes it a perfect fit for those with a wide living room since the picture quality remains good even for those sitting far off center. 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. With the high contrast, the wide color gamut and the high peak brightness, HDR content really stands out when compared with SDR content.

10 Contrast
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What it is: Brightness difference between white and black. This is the main component of picture quality.
When it matters: Always, but especially when watching dark scenes.
Score components:
Sony A1E Checkerboard Picture
Native Contrast
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What it is: Ratio of the white brightness divided by the blacks measured on our checkerboard test pattern with a white target of 100 cd/m².
When it matters: Dark scenes in a dark room.
Good value: > 3,000
Noticeable difference: 500
:
Inf : 1
Contrast with local dimming
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What it is: Ratio of the white brightness divided by the blacks measured on our checkerboard test pattern with local dimming turned on (maximum) with a white target of 100 cd/m².
When it matters: Dark scenes in a dark room.
Good value: > 3,000
Noticeable difference: 500
:
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.

10 Local Dimming
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What it is: The lights behind the LCD layer adapt to the picture displayed, improving the contrast ratio.
When it matters: Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Local Dimming
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What it is: Whether it has a feature that controls the LEDs behind the LCD layer, to match the picture and darkens the dark portion of it.
When it matters: On LED TVs only. Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
:
No
Backlight
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What it is: Configuration of the lights of the backlight.
When it matters: Effectiveness of the local dimming.
Good value: Full-array/direct lighting is better for local dimming. As for the uniformity of the screen, it depends on the implementation. Some edge-lit TVs have more uniform blacks than some full-array TVs.
:
N/A

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.

7.2 SDR Peak Brightness
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What it is: How bright the screen can get. Measured with local dimming and with SDR content.
When it matters: Bright living rooms; bright objects; SDR content.
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
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What it is: The maximum luminosity the TV can obtain while playing a movie or while watching a TV show. Our Real Scene was selected to represent a more regular movie condition. All measurements are made with the TV set to be as bright as possible, but with a 6500k white. Measured with local dimming on, max backlight and with an SDR signal. Scene: here.
When it matters: When watching movies and TV shows in SDR.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
282 cd/m2
SDR Peak 2% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 2% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: Bright highlights, present on screen for a short time
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
388 cd/m2
SDR Peak 10% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 10% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: Bright objects, present on screen for a short time
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
389 cd/m2
SDR Peak 25% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 25% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
392 cd/m2
SDR Peak 50% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 50% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
230 cd/m2
SDR Peak 100% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 100% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
130 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 2% Window
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What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 2% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: Bright highlights, persistent during a scene.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
370 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 10% Window
Show Help
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 10% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: Bright objects, persistent during a scene.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
377 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 25% Window
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What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 25% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
380 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 50% Window
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What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 50% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
227 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 100% Window
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What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 100% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over SDR signal.
When it matters: When watching in a bright room.
Good value: > 300 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 30 cd/m²
:
129 cd/m2
SDR ABL
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What it is: The standard deviation of the SDR sustained brightness, after linearizing for noticeable differences in luminosity
When it matters: Content with large bright areas, such as for PC or video game use, and sports such as hockey
Good value: <0.07
Noticeable difference: 0.01
:
0.073

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.

A plot of our brightness tests over time is shown here.

7.3 HDR Peak Brightness
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What it is: How bright the screen can get. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright living rooms; bright objects; HDR content.
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
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What it is: The maximum luminosity the TV can obtain while playing a movie or while watching a TV show. This scene was selected to represent a more realistic movie condition. All measurement are made with the TV set to be as bright as possible, but with a 6500k white. Measured with local dimming, max backlight and over HDR signal. Scene: here.
When it matters: When watching movies or watching TV show in HDR.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
600 cd/m2
HDR Peak 2% Window
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What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 2% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright highlights, present on screen for a short time; especially for HDR content.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
699 cd/m2
HDR Peak 10% Window
Show Help
What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 10% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright objects, present on screen for a short time; especially for HDR content.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
681 cd/m2
HDR Peak 25% Window
Show Help
What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 25% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms; bright objects in HDR video.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
435 cd/m2
HDR Peak 50% Window
Show Help
What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 50% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
240 cd/m2
HDR Peak 100% Window
Show Help
What it is: The maximum luminosity, even if only maintained for a short time, of a white square covering 100% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
146 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 2% Window
Show Help
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 2% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright highlights, persistent throughout a scene; especially for HDR content.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
653 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 10% Window
Show Help
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 10% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright objects, persistent throughout a scene; especially for HDR content.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
649 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 25% Window
Show Help
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 25% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms; bright objects in HDR video.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
429 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 50% Window
Show Help
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 50% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
237 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 100% Window
Show Help
What it is: The lowest maximum luminosity (usually after it has stabilized) of a white square covering 100% of the screen, with the TV set to be as bright as possible. Measured with local dimming and over HDR signal (if supported).
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Good value: > 550 cd/m²
Noticeable difference: 80 cd/m²
:
145 cd/m2
HDR ABL
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What it is: The standard deviation of the HDR sustained brightness, after linearizing for noticeable differences in luminosity
When it matters: HDR content with large bright areas, such as HDR gaming
Good value: <0.07
Noticeable difference: 0.01
:
0.097

Decent HDR peak brightness. The highlight in our real scene test gets very bright, so the brightness in most HDR scenes will be shown accurately. However highlights in extremely bright scenes will be less bright than they should be, as shown by how dim our 50% and 100% white window tests are displayed. This is due to the TV's Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL), which dims the TV when the average brightness of a scene is very high. A plot of our brightness tests over time is shown here. Overall the peak brightness is a bit less than the LG C7 in all tests, partly because the ABL is slightly more aggressive on the A1E.

The A1E is a bit brighter in the Vivid picture mode with the Neutral color temperature, as shown in this plot. Our normal testing is done in the Cinema Pro picture mode using our recommended settings (found here), because the Cinema Pro mode has the most accurate color reproduction for HDR.

When the 'X-tended Dynamic Range' option is disabled the TV's ABL is also disabled, so it remains at a very dim 130 cd/m2 no matter the content displayed, as shown in this plot.

8.6 Gray Uniformity
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What it is: Evenness of colors onscreen (not just gray).
When it matters: Solid colors. Sports, panning shots.
Score components:
Sony A1E 50% Uniformity Picture
50% Std. Dev.
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What it is: Average squared difference of pixels when displaying a mid 50% gray.
When it matters: Solid colors. Sports, panning shots.
Good value: < 2.5%
Noticeable difference: 1%
:
0.879 %
50% DSE
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What it is: High-frequency variance of uniformity. Dark spots on the screen.
When it matters: Solid colors. Sports, panning shots.
Good value: < 0.165%
Noticeable difference: 0.025%
:
0.138 %
Sony A1E 5% Uniformity Picture
5% Std. Dev.
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What it is: Average squared difference of pixels when displaying a mid 5% gray.
When it matters: Dark scenes.
Good value: < 1.15%
Noticeable difference: 1%
:
0.655 %
5% DSE
Show Help
What it is: High-frequency variance of uniformity. Dark spots on the screen.
When it matters: Dark scenes.
Good value: < 0.116%
:
0.099 %

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.

8.1 Viewing Angle
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What it is: Color accuracy when viewed from the side.
When it matters: Large living rooms with multiple viewing positions.
Score components:
LCD Type
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What it is: Type of LCD technology used by the TV.
When it matters: Different technologies have different viewing angle properties.
Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle.
:
N/A
Sony A1E Color Shift Picture
Color Shift
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What it is: Angle where the colors noticeable shift compared to when viewed from directly in front of the TV. 0 ° means directly facing the TV. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: Large living rooms with multiple viewing positions.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
29 °
Sony A1E Brightness Picture
Brightness
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What it is: Angle where the brightness drops to 50% of the brightness directly in front of the TV. 0 ° means directly facing the TV. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: Large living rooms with multiple viewing positions.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
75 °
Sony A1E Black Level Picture
Black Level
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What it is: Angle where the black level drops to 50% of the black level directly in front of the TV. 0 ° means directly facing the TV. Measurements are up to a maximum of 75 °.
When it matters: Large living rooms with multiple viewing positions.
Good value: > 50°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
75 °

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.

10 Black Uniformity
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What it is: Evenness of blacks.
When it matters: Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
Score components:
Sony A1E Native Black Uniformity Picture
Native Std. Dev.
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What it is: Average of the squared difference of the blacks.
When it matters: Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
Good value: < 1%
Noticeable difference: 1%, but keep in mind that it varies a lot by unit, even of the same model; yours likely will not end up exactly like ours.
:
0.349 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
Show Help
What it is: Average of the squared difference of the blacks with Local Dimming enabled
When it matters: Dark scenes viewed in a dark room.
Good value: < 1%
Noticeable difference: 1%, but keep in mind that it varies a lot by unit, even of the same model; yours likely will not end up exactly like ours.
:
N/A

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.

9.0 Gradient
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What it is: How finely levels of color can be displayed.
When it matters: Details in shadows, sky and skin tones. Matters more for HDR content.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony A1E Gradient Picture
Color Depth
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What it is: Number of bits per pixel to represent a specific color. Note: we consider 8-bit with dithering to be equivalent to 10-bit, as long as the 10-bit gradient looks smooth.
When it matters: HDR content like UHD Blu-ray players. Won't matter for cable TV, regular Blu-ray movies, video game consoles or content displayed from a Windows PC. Those are limited to 8-bit color.
Good value: 10-bit.
Noticeable difference: 1 bit.
:
10 Bit

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.

Note that this test was performed with the 'Smooth gradation' feature off to really showcase the native performance of this panel displaying our test gradient image.

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. You can see how it looks set to Off, Low, Medium, or High.

8.0 Pre Calibration
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What it is: TV's color accuracy before a full calibration. Only the picture mode, color temperature, and backlight level were changed.
When it matters: All video on an uncalibrated TV. This represents most people's use cases.
Score components:
Sony A1E Pre Calibration Picture Sony A1E Pre Gamma Curve Picture Sony A1E Pre Color Picture
White Balance dE
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What it is: Average inaccuracy of shades of gray.
When it matters: Overall color temperature of all video.
Good value: < 3
Noticeable difference: 1
:
3.02
Color dE
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What it is: Average inaccuracy of colors.
When it matters: All colors.
Good value: < 3
Noticeable difference: 1
:
1.95
Gamma
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What it is: Brightness of shades of gray.
When it matters: Shadows.
Good value: Between 2.1 and 2.3 (our target is 2.2)
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.2

The Sony A1E as a great accuracy out of the box and could be used as is by most people without a calibration. Looking at the white balance, we can see that the picture is a bit warm since it is missing a bit of blue, but even with this the dE is only of 3 which is very good for most people. The gamma is tracking very close to our desired goal of 2.2 and the colorspace is also very precise with only the blues and cyans being a bit more off than the other colors.

9.3 Post Calibration
Show Help
What it is: TV's color accuracy after a full calibration with a spectrophotometer.
When it matters: All video on a TV that has been professionally calibrated. This isn't that useful, because most TVs can achieve a pretty good calibration if you spend enough time on them.
Score components:
Sony A1E Post Calibration Picture Sony A1E Post Gamma Curve Picture Sony A1E Post Color Picture
White Balance dE
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What it is: Average inaccuracy of shades of gray.
When it matters: Overall color temperature of all videos.
Good value: < 3
Noticeable difference: 1
:
0.4
Color dE
Show Help
What it is: Average inaccuracy of colors.
When it matters: All colors.
Good value: < 3
Noticeable difference: 1
:
1.57
Gamma
Show Help
What it is: Brightness of shades of gray.
When it matters: Shadows.
Good value: Between 2.1 and 2.3 (our target is 2.2)
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.21

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. The correction to the white balance flattens the gamma curve, even though the 30% and 40% were still a bit off as visible in the above picture. The Color dE was brought down to 1.57 from 1.95 but could not be corrected further, since this TV is lacking a proper color management system, as all other Sony TVs. Even with a lacking CMS, the final accuracy after calibration is excellent.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0 480p Input
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What it is: Quality of a 480p input.
When it matters: Standard definition TV, DVDs.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony A1E 480p Picture

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.

8.0 720p Input
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What it is: Quality of a 720p input.
When it matters: HD channels, some streaming videos.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony A1E 720p Picture

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.

9.0 1080p Input
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What it is: Quality of a 1080p input.
When it matters: Blu-rays, streaming video, video files, video games.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony A1E 1080p Picture

1080p content such as Blu-rays look great. The image remains very clear.

10 4k Input
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What it is: Quality of a 4k UHD input.
When it matters: Streaming video, UHD Blu-rays, some PCs.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony A1E 4k Picture

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.

8.5 Color Gamut
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What it is: How many colors the TV can display.
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos and UHD Blu-rays.
Score components:
Wide Color Gamut
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What it is: Whether the TV has an option to enable wide color gamuts.
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos and UHD Blu-rays.
:
Yes
Sony A1E Color Gamut DCI-P3 Picture
DCI P3 xy
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What it is: Coverage of the DCI P3 colorspace on CIE 1931 xy.
When it matters: DCI P3 content. Includes HDR, UHD Blu-rays.
Good value: > 90%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
96.36 %
DCI P3 uv
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What it is: Coverage of the DCI P3 colorspace on CIE 1976 u' v'.
When it matters: DCI P3 content. Includes HDR, UHD Blu-rays.
Good value: > 90%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
96.91 %
Sony A1E Color Gamut Rec.2020 Picture
Rec 2020 xy
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What it is: Coverage of the Rec.2020 colorspace on CIE 1931 xy.
When it matters: Rec.2020 content. Includes HDR, UHD Blu-rays.
Good value: > 90%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
70.78 %
Rec 2020 uv
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What it is: Coverage of the Rec.2020 colorspace on CIE 1976 u' v'.
When it matters: Rec.2020 content. Includes HDR, UHD Blu-rays.
Good value: > 90%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
74.03 %

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.

7.1 Color Volume
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What it is: How many colors a TV can display at different luminosity levels.
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos, UHD Blu-rays and HDR games.
Sony A1E P3 Color Volume ITP Picture
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
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What it is: How much of the DCI-P3 colorspace a TV can display at different luminosity levels
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos, UHD Blu-rays and HDR games.
Good value: 80%
Noticeable difference: 5%
:
78.0 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
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What it is: How much of the DCI-P3 colorspace a TV can display at different luminosity levels when compared to an ideal 10,000 nit TV
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos, UHD Blu-rays and HDR games.
:
40.8 %
Sony A1E 2020 Color Volume ITP Picture
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
Show Help
What it is: How much of the Rec. 2020 colorspace a TV can display at different luminosity levels
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos, UHD Blu-rays and HDR games.
Good value: 80 %
Noticeable difference: 5 %
:
63.3 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
Show Help
What it is: How much of the Rec 2020 colorspace a TV can display at different luminosity levels when compared to an ideal 10,000 nit TV
When it matters: HDR content. Includes some streaming videos, UHD Blu-rays and HDR games.
:
32.9 %

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; however the DCI P3 color volume is worse than the C7's because the A1E's P3 color gamut narrows at low brightnesses, unlike its Rec 2020 gamut.

3.7 Image Retention
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What it is: How much a static image is retained on a TV screen after a certain amount of time.
When it matters: When watching TV show, playing video games or when using your TV as a PC monitor.
Sony A1E Image Retention Picture
IR after 0 min recovery
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What it is: Image retention measured right after the static image exposure, without recovery time.
When it matters: When changing channels while watching TV, right after changing the type of content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie) or changing input.
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0.74 %
IR after 2 min recovery
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What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 2 minutes.
When it matters: When changing channels while watching TV, right after changing the type of content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie) or changing input.
Good value: 0 is perfect
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0.12 %
IR after 4 min recovery
Show Help
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 4 minutes.
When it matters: When changing channels while watching TV, right after changing the type of content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie) or changing input.
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0.07 %
IR after 6 min recovery
Show Help
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 6 minutes.
When it matters: When changing channels while watching TV, right after changing the type of content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie) or changing input.
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0.02 %
IR after 8 min recovery
Show Help
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 8 minutes.
When it matters: When changing channels while watching TV, right after changing the type of content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie) or changing input.
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0.0 %
IR after 10 min recovery
Show Help
What it is: Image retention measured after a recovery time of 10 minutes.
When it matters: When changing channels while watching TV, right after changing the type of content (i.e. stopping playing video game to watch a movie) or changing input.
Good value: 0 is perfect.
Noticeable difference: 0.015%
:
0 %

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.

9.0 Reflections
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What it is: How much light is reflected by the TV.
When it matters: Bright rooms.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony A1E Reflections Picture Sony A1E Bright Room Picture
Reflection
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What it is: Ratio of ambient light reflected by the TV.
When it matters: Ambient light in the room.
Good value: < 1%
Noticeable difference: 0.5%
:
0.4 %
Screen Finish
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What it is: Type of coating on the screen.
When it matters: Bright objects in the direct reflection path (for example, opposite the TV).
Good value: Glossy is good for ambient light, but not for direct reflections.
:
Glossy

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.

0 3D
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What it is: Optional 3D video capability on TV.
When it matters: 3D movies and videos.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
3D
Show Help
What it is: If it can display a picture in 3D.
When it matters: 3D movies & videos.
:
No
3D Type
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What it is: The 3D technology used by the TV.
When it matters: 3D movies & videos.
Good value: Active have better resolution, but flickers. Passive is more comfortable, but loses half the vertical resolution.
:
No
2D to 3D
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What it is: Feature that converts 2D content to 3D.
When it matters: If you want to watch 2D content in 3D. Note that the quality is not as good as that of native 3D.
:
No

The Sony A1E does not have a 3D capability, like most of the 2017 line of TVs.

Pixels
Sony A1E Pixels Picture

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.

9.6

Motion

The motion handling of the A1 is superb. The almost-perfect response time results in almost no visible blur. This can be improved even further using the 'MotionFlow' option to flicker the light output, clearing up persistence blur. Fans of motion interpolation can also interpolate content up to 120 fps, producing a strong soap opera effect. Unfortunately movies played from some sources such as cable experience some minor judder, but this isn't noticeable to most people.

10 Motion Blur
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What it is: Amount of blur on fast movement.
When it matters: Sports, video games.
Score components:
Sony A1E Motion Blur Picture Sony A1E Response Time Chart
80% Response Time
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What it is: How quickly pixels can reach 80% of a full transition from one color to another.
When it matters: Fast movement.
Good value: < 8 ms
Noticeable difference: 4 ms
:
0.3 ms
100% Response Time
Show Help
What it is: How quickly pixels can fully transition from one color to another.
When it matters: Fast movement.
Good value: < 20 ms
Noticeable difference: 10 ms
:
0.7 ms

The response time of the A1E is almost instantaneous, resulting in only a very short trail of persistence blur following fast moving objects. This is a similar result to other OLEDs such as the LG C7, but if you don't mind flicker then the A1 can improve this with flicker. Unfortunately this fast response time means that low frame rate content appears to stutter due to the lack of motion blur smoothing between frames. If you don't mind the soap opera effect, this can be improved using the motion interpolation features.

10 Image Flicker
Show Help
What it is: Luminosity pattern when displaying images
When it matters: Sports, video games, when TV is used as a PC monitor
Score components:
Sony A1E Backlight Picture
PWM Dimming Frequency
Show Help
What it is: Flickering pattern at different luminosities.
When it matters: For people sensitive to flickering.
Good value: N/A or high frequencies (> 300 Hz). Frequencies that are multiples of 60Hz are better.
:
0 Hz
BFI
Show Help
What it is: Option to turn screen black between frames
When it matters: Reduces eye tracking blur in sports or video games
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
Sony A1E BFI Picture Sony A1E BFI Frequency Picture
BFI Frequency
Show Help
What it is: Lowest possible frequency of flickering pattern
When it matters: Reduces eye tracking blur in sports or video games
Good value: 60 Hz
:
60 Hz
BFI In Game Mode
Show Help
What it is: Option to insert black frames when in the best settings for gaming
When it matters: Reducing eye tracking blur for video games
Good value: Yes
:
Yes

Like most OLEDs, the A1 doesn't flicker the image in order to dim. Unlike the LG OLEDs we have tested, it is possible to add flicker which works well to clear up persistence blur with fast motion. To do so, set 'MotionFlow' to 'Custom' and 'Clearness' to 'High'. Unlike most Sony TVs the 'Clearness' option is either On ('High') or Off ('Low').

Update 05/08/2017: After further testing, it appears that BFI isn't functioning properly when showing 120 Hz content, including content interpolated to 120 Hz by motion interpolation. The TV instead replaces every second frame with a black one, effectively turning it into a 60hz refresh rate.

7.1 24p Playback
Show Help
What it is: Whether 24p content can play without any judder.
When it matters: Only 24p content (mostly just movies).
Judder-free 24p
Show Help
What it is: Judder-free movies over 24p signal.
When it matters: Blu-ray and DVD movies; 24 hz PC signal.
:
Yes
Judder-free 24p via 60p
Show Help
What it is: Judder-free movies over 60p signal.
When it matters: Movies from streaming devices (Apple TV, Fire TV, etc.); 60 hz PC signal.
:
No
Judder-free 24p via 60i
Show Help
What it is: Judder-free movies over 60i signal.
When it matters: Movies from cable/satellite boxes.
:
No

The Sony A1 OLED TV can display 24p movies over 24p sources like DVDs and Blu-rays without judder. Unfortunately, 24p movies playing via 60p or 60i sources like cable or satellite boxes do present an occasional judder, even with 'Motionflow' set to 'True Cinema' and 'CineMotion' set to 'High'. On top of that, some motion interpolation artifacts can be seen, something that is usually not present with these settings on Sony TVs.

This is similar to what we have noticed on the Z9D and X930E and since most Sony TVs in the past didn't suffer from judder while playing 24p content over 60p/60i sources, we think there may be a bug with the software. As with the X930E and Z9D, we will update this review if it gets fixed in a future firmware update.

Update 07/18/2017: The TV has been tested with the newest firmware update (PKG6.2648.0065NAA). The 24p playback remains the same.

10 Motion Interpolation
Show Help
What it is: Also known as 'Soap Opera Effect'. It is an optional feature that increases the frame rate of the video, smoothing movement.
When it matters: If you like the look of smoothed video. Not everyone does.
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Show Help
What it is: Whether the TV can take a 30 fps input and heighten the frame rate to at least 60 fps.
When it matters: 30 fps or lower videos. Includes movies, TV shows, some video games.
:
Yes
Sony A1E Motion Interpolation (30 fps) Picture
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Show Help
What it is: Whether the TV can take a 60 fps input and heighten the frame rate to at least 100 fps.
When it matters: 60 fps videos. Includes some video games, some sports channels.
:
Yes
Sony A1E Motion Interpolation (60 fps) Picture

The A1 has a 120Hz panel which can interpolate lower frame rate content (adding the soap opera effect). To do so, set 'MotionFlow' to 'Custom' and increase the 'Smoothness' slider. For 30 fps content it is also necessary to set 'CineMotion' to 'Medium' or 'High'. There are significantly less artifacts than the C7 which has a buggy interpolation feature.

8.2

Inputs

Show Help
Score components:

The A1E supports all the common input signals, and should be able to play nearly any content. It has low input lag with a 4k signal, which should please most gamers; however it has a bit higher input lag with a 1080p signal, which may disappoint more competitive gamers.

7.8 Input Lag
Show Help
What it is: Delay between input and onscreen reaction.
When it matters: Video games; when TV is used as PC monitor.
4k @ 60Hz
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV when displaying 4k @ 60Hz.
When it matters: Video games and also when TV is used as PC monitor.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
30.8 ms
1080p @ 60Hz
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV with a 1080p @ 60Hz input.
When it matters: Video games and also when TV is used as PC monitor.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
47.4 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV when displaying 4k @ 60Hz with HDR.
When it matters: HDR Video games.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
30.7 ms
1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on the TV when displaying 1080p @ 60Hz with HDR.
When it matters: HDR video games from a console outputting a 1080p signal.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
47.2 ms
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on the TV when displaying 4k @ 60Hz in a fully featured picture mode.
When it matters: For playing video games while retaining access to all features of the TV.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
93.4 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on the TV when displaying 1080p @ 60Hz in a fully featured picture mode.
When it matters: For playing video games while retaining access to all features of the TV.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
110.0 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV when displaying 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4.
When it matters: PC Monitor
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
30.7 ms
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV when displaying 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
When it matters: PC monitor.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
47.4 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV when displaying 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 with HDR enabled at 8 bit
When it matters: PC Monitor with an HDR capable graphic card
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
30.7 ms
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + HDR
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV when displaying 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 with HDR
When it matters: PC monitor with an HDR capable graphics card
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
47.2 ms
4k With Interpolation
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag for 4k content when the motion interpolation feature is turned on.
When it matters: When you want to play video games with the Soap Opera Effect enabled.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
85.6 ms
1080p With Interpolation
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag for 1080p content when the motion interpolation feature is turned on.
When it matters: When you want to play video games with the Soap Opera Effect enabled.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
102.2 ms
1080p @ 120 Hz
Show Help
What it is: Lowest input lag possible on TV with a 1080p @ 120Hz input.
When it matters: When the TV is used as PC monitor.
Good value: < 40 ms
Noticeable difference: 15 ms
:
21.4 ms

The A1E has good input lag with a 4k signal, which should please most gamers; but it has a bit higher input lag with a 1080p signal, which may disappoint more competitive gamers. Both the Game and Graphics picture modes have the same input lag, and both support 4:4:4 color. All the Game mode input lag measurements are very similar to the X930E and Z9D but ~5 ms higher, even though all three use the same x1 Extreme processing engine.

Update 05/23/2017: The TV has been retested after the update to Android TV 7.0 Nougat, and the input lag is unchanged.

Update 07/18/2017: The TV has been tested with the newest firmware update (PKG6.2648.0065NAA). The input lag remains the same.

Update 09/20/2017: Tested 1080p @ 120 Hz input lag using our new input lag tool. It is much faster than the 1080p @ 60 Hz input lag, likely due to the TV bypassing some processing when it detects such an unusual signal.

10 Supported Resolutions
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What it is: Different resolutions supported by TV.
When it matters: PC monitor usage.
Score components:
  • 20% 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
  • 20% 1080p @ 120Hz
  • 20% 4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
  • 20% 4k @ 60Hz
  • 20% 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Show Help
What it is: Crisp text on 1060p @ 60 hz signal.
When it matters: PC productivity and 60 fps gaming.
:
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
Show Help
What it is: 120 fps 1080p signal supported.
When it matters: PC gaming.
:
Yes
4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
Show Help
What it is: Crisp text on 4k @ 30 hz signal.
When it matters: PC productivity and gaming.
:
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
Show Help
What it is: 60 fps 4k signal supported.
When it matters: PC productivity and gaming.
:
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Show Help
What it is: Crisp text on 4k @ 60 hz signal.
When it matters: Productivity and 60 fps gaming in 4k.
:
Yes

All the common input resolutions are supported. Only the Game and Graphics picture modes can properly show 4:4:4 color. 4K @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 color are only supported on HDMI inputs 2 and 3, and only when 'HDMI Enhanced Format' is enabled.

When using the TV as a PC monitor 1080p @ 60 Hz is listed as the default resolution. 1080p @ 120 Hz is shown properly without artifacts and without the jagged upscaling seen on the X900E, but it isn't listed as a possible resolution so it must be added as a custom resolution.

Update 05/08/2017: BFI does not work with a 120hz input.

Side Inputs
Rear Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI : 4
USB : 3
Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm : 1
Analog Audio Out RCA : 0
Component In : 0
Composite In : 1
Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
Ethernet : 1
DisplayPort : 0
IR In : 1
SD/SDHC : 0

There is no input for component video on the A1. Unfortunately no adapter is included in the box for the composite input (Video In), so an adapter such as this may be required.

Inputs Specifications
HDR10
Show Help
What it is: Standard HDR format.
When it matters: Most common format. All UHD Blu-ray discs are required to have it.
:
Yes
Dolby Vision
Show Help
What it is: Better format, due to its dynamic nature.
When it matters: Currently, only available via streaming.
:
No
5.1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
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What it is: TV can receive and pass Dolby Digital 5.1 signal to receiver via HDMI ARC.
When it matters: 5.1 audio on DVDs and Blu-rays.
:
Yes
5.1 Passthrough ARC DTS
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What it is: TV can receive and pass DTS 5.1 signal to receiver via HDMI ARC.
When it matters: 5.1 audio on DVDs and Blu-rays.
:
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
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What it is: TV can receive and pass Dolby Digital signal to receiver via digital optical.
When it matters: 5.1 audio on DVDs and Blu-rays.
:
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical DTS
Show Help
What it is: TV can receive and pass DTS signal to receiver via digital optical.
When it matters: 5.1 audio on DVDs and Blu-rays.
:
Yes
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwith : Yes (HDMI 2,3)
ARC : Yes (HDMI 3)
USB 3 : Yes (1)
HDCP 2.2 : Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
CEC : Yes
MHL : No
Variable Analog Audio Out : Yes

Dolby Vision will be enabled in a future update.

7.6

Sound Quality

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What it is: How well and accurately the audio is reproduced.
When it matters: When a good and accurate sound reproduction is needed.
Score components:

The A1E's sound is much better than the average TV, but it has issues when listened close to max volume. Unlike most TVs, the sound is well directed, which is also a plus.

7.7 Frequency Response
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What it is: How accurately the sound level of each frequency is being produced.
When it matters: For a balanced and neutral sound.
Sony A1E Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
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What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Movies, Gaming. Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: < 60Hz
Noticeable difference: 10Hz
:
67.27 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
Show Help
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard deviation) in frequency response measured at 70dB SPL, as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: Shows the TV's frequency response at quiet listening levels
Good value: < 4 dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5 dB
:
2.65 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
Show Help
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard deviation) in frequency response measured at 80dB SPL, as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: Shows the TV's frequency response at moderate listening levels
Good value: < 4 dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5 dB
:
2.78 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
Show Help
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard deviation) in frequency response measured with the TV at maximum volume, as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: Shows the TV's frequency response at under maximum load
Good value: < 4 dB
Noticeable difference: 2 dB
:
4.85 dB
Max
Show Help
What it is: Maximum volume reached by the TV at their optimum viewing distance (size dependent)
When it matters: For listening to loud audio.
Good value: > 88 dB
Noticeable difference: 2 dB
:
92.7 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
Show Help
What it is: The amount of difference between the TVs frequency response performance at 70dB SPL and Max dB SPL. Too much compression will result in pumping in the sound.
When it matters: When an accurate and free-of-pumping performance is required at higher volumes
Good value: < 3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
4.48 dB

Good frequency response. The response is quite flat throughout, with some minor overemphasis on the midrange. It gets quite loud, and bass extension is quite good. As common with Sony TVs though, compression and aliasing are present at maximum volume.

7.2 Distortion
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What it is: Deformation of an output signal compared to its input, usually clipping, harmonic distortion, or inter-modulation distortion caused by non-linear behavior of the sound system.
When it matters: When a clean, pure and transparent reproduction is desired.
Score components:
Sony A1E Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 80dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: < 0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.100
:
0.031
Weighted THD @ Max
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at the TV's maximum SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: < 0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.100
:
9.459
IMD @ 80
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What it is: The average amount of inter-modulation distortion produced by the TV under maximum load. The percentage shown here is the average result of 3 separate test signals/standards: SMPTE, DIN, & CCIF
When it matters: When a clean and free of aliasing reproduction is desired
Good value: < 5%
Noticeable difference: 2
:
0.28 %
IMD @ Max
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What it is: The average amount of inter-modulation distortion produced by the TV under maximum load. The percentage shown here is the average result of 3 separate test signals/standards: SMPTE, DIN, & CCIF
When it matters: When a clean and free of aliasing reproduction is desired
Good value: < 5%
Noticeable difference: 2
:
6.58 %

While distortions levels are overall low, THD steeply rises to distracting levels at higher volumes. This isn't too big of a deal unless you plan to use your TV's speakers for a party.

7.8

Smart Features

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Score components:
  • 42% Interface
  • 2% Ads
  • 37% Apps and Features
  • 16% Remote
  • 3% Remote App
Sony A1E Smart TV Picture
Smart OS : Android TV
Version : 6.0

The A1E runs Android TV, which is a bit more difficult to navigate than other smart platforms but also has access to the Google Play Store, which has more apps than many other platforms. The 'Action Menu' button on the remote helps to relieve the navigation problem by providing a quick list of common settings so the user doesn't have to navigate to the main settings app. The remote also has a microphone for voice search so content can be brought up directly, again without needing to navigate the interface.

7.0 Interface
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What it is: The usability, features and performance of the main interface of the TV, not including the interfaces of the apps themselves.
When it matters: Anytime when using the TV, but especially when changing settings and using apps.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Ease of Use
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What it is: How easy the interface is to navigate, affected by the organization of its layout, placing frequently accessed elements in areas that are faster to access, etc.
When it matters: When using the smart features.
:
Average
Smoothness
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What it is: How smooth the interface is to navigate, affected by lag and frame drops.
When it matters: When using the smart features.
:
Not Smooth
Time Taken to Select YouTube
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What it is: How long it takes to select YouTube for launch, starting from HDMI 1 input, when YouTube is placed first on the list of apps or added as a shortcut. This does not include app launch time, and does not use a fixed YouTube button on a remote. This serves as an indication of the time needed to select any app.
When it matters: When launching any app.
:
4 s
Time Taken to Change Backlight
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What it is: The time it takes to navigate to the 'Backlight' setting ('Brightness' on Sony TVs). This serves as an indication of how long it takes to navigate to basic TV settings.
When it matters: When changing TV settings.
:
7 s
Advanced Options
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What it is: Whether advanced options and settings are available, such as color calibration.
When it matters: When customizing the TV and using the smart features.
:
Many

10 Ads
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What it is: Whether or not ads can be found on the TV's smart platform.
When it matters: When using the smart features.
Score components:
Ads
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What it is: Whether the TV's main interface has ads. This does take into account ads in third-party apps.
When it matters: When using the smart features.
:
No
Opt-out
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What it is: Whether you can opt out of the ad services or not. A TV only passes this test if it allows you to remove them completely, not only disable the personalized advertising.
When it matters: When using the smart features.
:
N/A
Suggested Content in Home
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What it is: Whether suggested content appears in the TV's home menu or main menu. Suggested content can include recommended movies, TV shows, YouTube videos etc.
:
Yes
Opt-out of Suggested Content
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What it is: Whether the suggested content feed in the home menu can be removed or hidden
:
Yes

There are no ads in the TV's main interface, though third party apps can still have ads. There is an option to opt out of personalized advertising for these ads.

The first row of the home screen is filled with suggested content. It is possible to disable all sources of suggested content until all that remains is a line saying "No recommendations available at this time". However after the TV is restarted some previously unlisted suggested content sources may appear, so the process of disabling sources must be repeated multiple times.

9.0 Apps and Features
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What it is: The usability, features and performance of apps and other smart features.
When it matters: Only when using smart features such as apps, casting and USB playback.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony A1E Apps Picture
App Selection
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What it is: The number and variety of apps available to download for the smart platform.
When it matters: When downloading new apps.
:
Very Many
App Smoothness
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What it is: How smooth it feels to navigate the interfaces of apps, affected by lag and frame drops.
When it matters: When using apps.
:
Average
Cast Capable
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What it is: Whether apps on a phone or tablet can cast content to the TV.
:
Yes
USB Drive Playback
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What it is: Whether the TV can play content from a drive connected to one of the TV's USB ports.
:
Yes
USB Drive HDR Playback
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What it is: Whether HDR files played from a USB drive can be displayed properly.
:
Yes
HDR in Netflix
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What it is: Whether HDR content on Netflix can be played back in HDR using the native Netflix app.
:
Yes
HDR in Amazon Video
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What it is: Whether HDR content on Amazon Video can be played in HDR using the native Amazon Video app.
:
Yes
HDR in YouTube
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What it is: Whether HDR content on YouTube can be played in HDR using the native YouTube app.
:
No

Most of the popular apps come preinstalled, such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Video. Many more apps can be downloaded from the included Google Play Store.

7.0 Remote
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What it is: The usability and features of the TV's physical remote.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony A1E Remote Picture
Size
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What it is: How big the remote is
:
Large
Voice Control
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What it is: The capabilities of the TV's voice control feature
:
Search, Some Other Features
CEC Menu Control
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What it is: Whether the remote can act as a universal remote for HDMI CEC enabled devices. This was tested on our Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Blu-ray player, and may not be valid for other CEC devices as implementations vary by manufacturer.
:
Yes
Other Smart Features
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What it is: Whether the remote has any other smart features, such as a pointer, universal remote support for non HDMI CEC devices, etc.
:
No

The remote is rather large with a dizzying array of buttons. Fortunately most commonly used buttons are clustered around the central navigation pad so they are within easy reach, except the input and power buttons which are at the top. Also at the top is the microphone button for voice search, which uses the microphone built into the remote.

The remote is nearly identical to those of the X930E and X930D, though it has a metal back while theirs have a plastic back.

7.0 Remote App
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What it is: The features of the official phone and tablet app for the TV.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony A1E Remote App Picture
Acts as the Remote
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What it is: Whether the remote app can emulate all the buttons of the physical remote.
:
Yes
Launches Apps and Inputs
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What it is: Whether the remote app can launch the TV's apps and change between its inputs.
:
Both
Inputs Text in YouTube
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What it is: Whether the remote app can enter text for YouTube searches.
:
Yes
Inputs Text in Netflix
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What it is: Whether the remote app can enter text for Netflix searches.
:
No
Streams Device Files
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What it is: Whether the remote app can stream files from the phone or tablet to the TV, files such as pictures, music and video.
:
No
Controls TV Settings
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What it is: Whether the app can change all or some of the settings on the TV, such as the backlight.
:
No
Voice Control
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What it is: Whether the remote can send voice commands to the TV.
:
Yes

Update 09/12/2017: Sony has a remote app called 'Video & TV SideView' that's better than Google's Android TV app in most ways. The data fields and score have been updated to reflect the Sony app.

TV Controls
Sony A1E Controls Picture

There are three physical buttons on the TV. The center button changes between functions like power, input, channel and volume, while the (+) and (-) buttons increment the function. These buttons are located on the TV's rear leg, which makes them fairly difficult to reach from the front.

In The Box
Sony A1E In The Box Picture

  • Manual
  • Batteries
  • Remote
  • IR Blaster
  • Power cord latch
  • Wall mount brackets

Misc
Power Consumption : 92 W
Power Consumption (Max) : 147 W
Firmware : PKG6.0828.0005NAA

Differences between Sizes and Variants

We tested the 55" (XBR55A1E). For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 65" (XBR65A1E) and 77" (XBR77A1E).

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Sony XBR-55A1E doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review. Note that some tests such as the gray uniformity may vary between individual units.

Size US Model Alternative Name EU Model
55" XBR55A1E XBR-55A1E KD-55A1
65" XBR65A1E XBR-65A1E KD-65A1
77" XBR77A1E XBR-77A1E KD-77A1

Compared to other TVs

Sony A1E Group Shot Picture
Top left: LG C7 (OLED55C7P). Bottom left: Sony X930E (XBR55X930E). Middle: Sony A1E (XBR55A1E). Top right: Sony Z9D (XBR65Z9D). Bottom right: Samsung Q7F (QN55Q7F).  Unlike our other photographs, this picture wasn't taken under a controlled environment, so do not draw conclusions from it.

The Sony A1E is an excellent OLED TV with some of the best picture quality available, but it faces some competition in its price range from both LED and OLED TVs.

LG C7
55" 65"

The C7 is LG's entry-level OLED TV. It is very similar to the A1E overall, and it offers picture quality that is virtually identical. It's also capable of displaying highlights slightly brighter for HDR, and lower input lag for gaming. On the other hand, the Sony A1E has smoother gradients and flickering motion feature. If you don't mind 24p judder over 60p and a slightly higher input lag, then the A1E may be a better choice, otherwise, go with whichever is cheaper.

Sony X930E
55" 65"

The X930E is a lower-end Sony 4k LED TV. It doesn't have the same picture quality found in an OLED, but it's still one of the best TVs we've reviewed. It is much brighter than the A1E, making it an excellent choice for HDR. The A1E is a better TV overall, but it is significantly more expensive.

Sony Z9D
100" 65" 75"

The Z9D is the top of the line 4k LCD TV from Sony. It features the best local dimming feature we've seen, and it gets exceptionally bright. Unfortunately, it has a few slow response time transitions producing motion blur, and the overall performance isn't any better than the A1E. Since it isn't any cheaper, the A1E is a better pick.

Samsung Q7F
55" 65" 75"

The Q7F is part of Samsung's QLED line of 4k LCD TVs. It's a nice smart TV that produces outstanding colors, but it isn't great value overall. Picture quality is good, but the local-dimming feature isn't useful and it doesn't get particularly bright. Even if it's more expensive, the A1E is a better TV.

Conclusion
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

8.7Mixed Usage
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What it is General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
Score components:
Superb TV overall. The Sony A1E OLED TV will please just about everyone with its picture quality and features.
9.4Movies
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What it is Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
Score components:
Terrific TV for movies. Blacks are as pure as can be thanks to OLED's ability to shut off individual pixels. This leads to a picture with depth that is unmatched by LED TVs.
8.3TV Shows
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What it is TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
Score components:
The Sony A1E is great for watching TV shows. It handles reflections very well and upscaling of lower resolution content is as good as it gets. It could be a bit brighter though.
8.8Sports
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What it is Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
Score components:
Very good TV for watching sports. The A1E has excellent motion and a very uniform screen. Games can be enjoyed from every angle as well.
8.6Video Games
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What it is Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
The A1E is a great TV for video games. Input lag is low with a 4k input, and motion is excellent. Combined with the great picture quality, it makes for an immersive experience. Motion can also be enhanced by using the flickering feature.
8.9HDR Movies
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What it is HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
Superb HDR performance. The A1E can reproduce a wide gamut of colors, and HDR movies are displayed with smooth gradients. It can get highlights bright enough to get a nice effect as well.
8.5HDR Gaming
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What it is HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
Remarkable HDR gaming capabilities. Input lag is not affected by an HDR input, and the picture quality and wide color gamut makes HDR games look great.
8.1PC Monitor
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What it is PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
Excellent PC monitor. Text is crisp, mouse movements feel responsive and moving content and pages do not leave trails. The A1E also supports a 1080p 120hz input which is great.
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Questions & Answers

8 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
10
Thanks for this review. Has been one of my "waits" since I heard that sony was going to finally do oled. If I remember correctly, this set is the first in recent history to use the screen as a sound source. The screen is actually the speaker. If so, wouldnt it be prudent to spend a little more time on such a new tech? Is the screen able to define right and left sound? Does it sound like stereo? Can the screen be used as a center channel if it were to be connected to a 5.1(etc) system? Did this production version drop the "sound from screen" in favor of regular speakers? Since this is something new, I dont believe that most of us would mind if you spent a bit more time explaining this new tech in favor of accuracy instead of the normal format. Thanks. The remainder of the review was as always - on point and informational.
The most of the frequency range does in fact come from the screen itself, but the TV also has a larger than average woofer on the back of the stand for lower frequencies. This results in a much better bass extension than usual. The overall sound is also pretty good, and straight firing orientation does give somewhat of a stereo image, but it isn't a fair replacement to a true center channel speaker. The TV only allows it to select between the audio system and itself, so they unfortunately cannot be mixed together.
5
Hi again. I was just wondering how would compare this Tv to the 2016 LG OLED TVs like the B6 and E6, since they are much cheaper. Thanks again for all the help and this really is the best review site.
Unlike the E6 (but not the B6), the A1E lacks 3D support. Otherwise, they are very similar TVs that perform very similarly. The A1E has features such as flicker (black frame insertion) to enhance motion clarity as well as 120hz support, as well as better handling of gradients. This, in our eyes, isn't really worth the $2000 difference with the B6.
2
The input lag on hdmi 1-4 on my vizio p series feels about the same as hdmi 5 when I use 1080p 120hz input. 60hz signals have more input lag on those ports. So I'm wondering: Is the input lag on the Sony A1E lower when 1080p content is sent at 120hz vs 60hz?
The input seems subjectively better in 120hz, but part of this is also the perception of responsiveness that the higher refresh rate enhances. We unfortunately cannot test for this using currently available equipment.
2
Does BFI on high in Game Mode add any lag?
After testing, we noted an 8 ms increase in input lag when the BFI is turned on.
1
Can you post 5% 2% and 10% gray slides? I want to check for vignetting and banding.

Here is some pictures from the A1E at different grayscale percentages. All picture were taken with the same camera, set at F4, 1/4 sec. and ISO-200. Photos are best viewed in a dark environment.

2%

5%

10%

0
You mentioned that HDR ABL is disabled with XDR off. Does disabling XDR also disable ABL for SDR content? If so, what is the maximum SDR light output without ABL?
The maximum brightness without ABL is about 130 nits.
0
How much dimmer does the A1E’s brightness become when Image Flicker is utilized?
On our checkerboard pattern in HDR at maximum brightness, the A1E is about 20% dimmer when the image flicker is in use, from 220 cd/m² down to 174 cd/m².
0
When watching movies that are supposed to be very dark, like Star Trek Beyond, I like having a TV a little brighter so I can make out details in the shadows. The Sony guy at Best Buy said this TV was way brighter than the Q7 which your review also said didn't get as bright as last year's KS8000. The Samsung guy said the April 20th firmware update fixed the brightness issues, and they do indeed look bright in store. When I asked him about your review he said all you looked at was the contrast ratio after the update and didn't bother looking at peak brightness again? I want to upgrade to a 75" but I'm just not sure which one to drop my money on.
We just retested the Q7F with the latest firmware and the brightness only changed slightly, by ~40 cd/m2 depending on the test, which isn't much. The A1E will be brighter than the Q7F when watching most content, and much brighter when watching HDR, but what's more important for very dark scenes is the true blacks of the A1E OLED, which will make dark scenes appear as dark as intended. About the shadow detail, the best way to improve dark details is to lower the TV's gamma, which will make everything brighter except true black and white. On Sony and Samsung TVs you lower the TV's gamma by raising the gamma setting, which is counter intuitive.
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