Screen size: 65 inches
Model: Sony XR-65A95L
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Ports: 2 HDMI 2.1, 2 HDMI 2.0, 2 USB
Smart TV Software: Google TV
Size (without stand): 56.9x32.8x1.4 inches
Weight (without stand): 51.6 pounds
The Bravia XR A95L is Sony’s flagship TV, a fully tricked-out QD-OLED unit that serves as both the top-tier offering in Sony’s Master Series and the most advanced set the company produces. As such, it sells for a high price: $3,499 for the 65-inch model. But do you get your money’s worth?
In a word: yes.
With stunning picture and sound quality, a raft of innovative and interesting features, and a few killer extras, the A95L easily deserves to play among the most stalwart of the industry’s power players—and it dominates them in more than a few categories.
If not for its color reproduction and brightness levels, which fall just short of what you’ll see from the best sets by LG and Samsung, this would be a slam-dunk choice for anyone looking to buy a high-end TV — and even these issues won’t be deal-breakers for everyone. Even so, if you have the money, there is no question that the A95L is one of the very best OLED TVs you can buy and one of the best TVs overall.
Sony Bravia XR A95L review: Pricing and availability
The A95L is available in three sizes at the following prices:
- Sony XR-55A95L (55-inch): $2,799.99
- Sony XR-65A95L (65-inch): $3,499.99
- Sony XR-77A95L (77-inch): $4,999.99
Although we reviewed the 65-inch version of the A95L, all three have nearly identical hardware and utilize the same picture technologies, we expect performance among the three to be comparable. There is only one substantive difference between the sizes, which we’ll talk about in the next section, and it doesn’t affect performance at all.
Sony Bravia XR A95L review: Design
Like most modern OLED-based TVs, the A95L is notable for both its general size (56.9 x 32.8 x 1.4 inches) and its svelte profile: only about 0.25 inch at its thinnest point. The combination of these qualities and the set’s weight—51.6 pounds—means you will need some help moving and setting it up. An even thinner black metal bezel (about one-sixteenth inch) surrounds the screen on the top, left, and right, and there’s a wider one on the bottom (just shy of two-thirds inch at its widest) to showcase Sony’s logo in the lower left and the IR emitter dead center.
If you don’t want to mount the A95L on the wall using the integrated 300x300mm VESA holes on the back panel, which sports a handsomely designed field of squares and snap off panels for hiding the ports (see the next section), you have the option of installing the included stand. Each of the two feet screws into a corner on the set’s back.
For the 55- and 65-inch TVs, there are two possible installation positions: one where the bottom of the screen nearly touches the supporting surface, and another where it’s elevated about 3.2 inches to accommodate a soundbar. The 77-inch A95L adds a third stand position that lets you mount the feet centrally instead of on the corners, which due to the TV’s speaker hardware is not possible on the smaller models.
Sony Bravia XR A95L review: Ports
The power cable extends out the right side of the TV. All of the other ports are on the left. These include a coaxial cable connector, IR and RS-232C jacks, an Ethernet port, a jack that doubles as a digital audio out and an S-Center speaker in, the far-field microphone switch, a Power button, two USB ports, two center speaker in leads, and, of course, HDMI ports.
There are four of these, of which only two (the third and fourth, the former of which is also equipped with eARC) support the HDMI 2.1 standard for taking advantage of higher-bandwidth features such as 4K at 120Hz, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and Auto Low-Latency Mode (ALLM). Though any number of these ports is good—and a necessity for getting the most out of your gaming—both LG and Samsung max out the ports on their higher-end TVs, leaving Sony’s two looking a little paltry. Even if there aren’t a ton of devices that can take advantage of HDMI 2.1, it would still be nice to have more options.
Sony Bravia XR A95L review: Performance
By themselves, QD-OLED TVs already combine two of the best worlds of current display technology: quantum dots for vibrant colors and expanded brightness and OLED for perfect blacks and the infinite contrast they allow. In addition, Sony’s Cognitive Processor XR enables and executes a variety of other features that the company claims further enhances picture quality. Based on my time spent with the A95L, I must declare those an unqualified success.
The A95L’s picture isn’t merely good, it’s sumptuous with every type of content, every time. It’s difficult to know what to say without it sounding like mindless rhapsodizing, but that’s what this TV reduces you to. Instead, let’s just run down the list. The lush interplay of black-on-black scenes (as in The Batman), where every picture element is fully and instantly recognizable? Check. Piercing, dark silhouettes framed against brighter, bolder backdrops, like those in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, with each looking utterly natural (in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune)? Check.
Spectrum-shattering animated scenes dependent on just a few critical hues, where each minute change packs maximum dramatic impact? Dazzling explosions of thousands of different colors at once, all collaborating in perfect harmony, that are so richly realized that they delight you without overwhelming? Traditional films that blend skin tones and Earth tones against either grayscale cityscapes or verdant natural scenery, and look so real you can be forgiven for thinking the screen has become a window? In Avatar: The Way of Water, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and both Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part Two, respectively: check, check, and check again.
No matter how electrifyingly cinematic or mundane what you want to watch, the A95L triumphs with it, and does so at every imaginable viewing angle and with all major forms of HDR (HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision) except HDR10+.
Sony Bravia XR A95L review: Lab test results
We always complement our qualitative evaluation of TVs with technical tests, which we conducted with an X-Rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a SpectraCal VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and Portrait Displays’ Calman TV calibration software. These revealed that the A95L’s Delta-E (which represents the difference between a color at its source and as displayed on the screen) is higher than those of its close competitors, the LG G3 and Samsung S95C, meaning its colors are slightly less accurate. As much as I think you’re unlikely to notice the difference in real-world watching (for reasons we’ll get to shortly), it’s there.
The Sony A95L had more-than-complete coverage of not just the Rec. 709 (SDR) color gamut (which we’d expect from any OLED) and thoroughly nailed the UHDA-P3 (HDR) color gamut. That’s neck and neck with last generation’s A95K for the highest sub-100% value we’ve seen. The A95L’s coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 color gamut, but its result there was its own kind of spectacular—89.41%, just three hundredths of a point behind the A95K.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Sony Bravia XR A95L||LG OLED evo G3||Samsung S95C||Sony Bravia XR A95K|
|SDR Brightness (10%, in nits)||112||326||249||297|
|Delta-E (lower is better)||2.856||1.8611||1.4542||3.3223|
|Rec. 709 Gamut Coverage||99.9763||99.7631||98.7273||110.8434|
|HDR Brightness (10%, in nits)||1215||1361||1369||994|
|UHDA-P3 Gamut Coverage||99.95||96.73||99.09||99.95|
|Rec. 2020 Gamut Coverage||89.41||72.49||74.47||89.44|
|Input Lag (ms)||16.1||12.9/9.2||9.2||16.1|
Brightness is another matter. With HDR material, the A95L’s brightness is about 11% lower than what we saw from the LG G3 and Samsung S95C: about 1,215 nits on 10% of the screen, which is what we typically measure. Other modes do, however, get into the same 1,300-nit range as those sets, so the A95L has the capability. But with SDR, the brightness absolutely craters. On the surface, this is far from desirable — but we learned there’s a reason for it.
We typically evaluate TVs in either Filmmaker Mode, an industry-standard collection of settings designed to closely mimic the theater experience with a picture that looks almost calibrated out of the box, or the closest equivalent the TV offers. The A95L’s most accurate mode is what Sony calls Professional: It’s similar to Filmmaker but designed to match the characteristics of the BVM-HX310 Professional Master Monitor, a piece of Hollywood-level hardware intended to provide flawless color fidelity and full-screen HDR brightness — and that retails for prices starting around $25,000.
In other words, Sony intends the A95L to be dimmer overall in Professional mode, which explains both our HDR and SDR results (the latter being 112 nits, the lowest we’ve seen from any major TV in the last two years). This isn’t exclusively bad: It balances the picture differently, compensating somewhat for the lower color accuracy, and you always have the option of activating the built-in environmental adjustment features or switching to, say, Standard or Cinema modes, which we measured as much brighter (273 and 315 nits, respectively) but have less accurate and oversaturated SDR colors. It’s just one thing you’ll want to take into account if you’re thinking of buying the A95L.
Sony Bravia XR A95L review: Audio
In recent years, we’ve held up higher-end Sony models as examples of what TV audio can be at its best. These use a technology called Acoustic Surface Audio+ to transform the screen itself into a speaker and make the sound appear to be emanating from exactly that part of the picture. The A95L, which also uses this technology, sounds every bit as good as its predecessors.
Whether on heavily throbbing bass tracks (like The Knife’s “Silent Shout”) or more treble-focused extravaganzas, like the soprano test track I use that crests to a high B-flat, the A95L brings unprecedented clarity to TV audio. If this set may not get as loud as others (it was a noticeable comedown from the brick-splitting Hisense UX), it still gets room-fillingly loud and with a crystalline quality far beyond what you get with any other standard TV audio technology, whether you’re enjoying music tracks or watching a movie with an intensely layered soundtrack. This technology, as well as support for Dolby Atmos, means this is one of the exceedingly rare cases where listening to the TV is just about as good as watching it — high praise indeed when a picture looks as good as the A95L’s does.
That said, you can augment the A95L with an external speaker, such as one of our best soundbars (and Sony makes a number of them scaled to different price points). But unless you’re outfitting a literal home theater, you won’t feel shortchanged by how this TV sounds.
Sony Bravia XR A95L review: Gaming
Perhaps the biggest performance letdown of the A95L is its input lag. With our Leo Bodnar 4K Input Lag tester, we measured 16.1ms. That’s below our basic 20ms threshold, so acceptable, but well above what we’ve seen from competing sets from LG and Samsung (which easily get below 10ms). This isn’t uncommon with Sony TVs, but it’s still an unfortunate hiccup on a TV that otherwise gets so many details so right.
That said, games look predictably wonderful on the A95L (we were blown away by both Starfield and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla), and there’s no shortage of gaming tools. In addition to 4K120Hz, VRR and ALLM (all conferred through the two HDMI 2.1 ports), hooking up a PS5 lets you activate two Perfect for PlayStation 5 features: Auto Genre Picture Mode, which automatically changes picture modes to maximize game performance and visual quality, and Auto HDR Tone Mapping, for automatically optimizing the PS5’s HDR settings.
When the TV is in Game mode, you can press the remote’s Menu button to view a game bar that provides you with technical information about the picture and gives you a new array of gaming capabilities. As of this writing in early November 2023, these include Dolby Vision Game, VRR, motion blur reduction, black equalizer and crosshair (which puts one in the center of the screen to help you aim).
Two other potentially compelling features are planned for future firmware updates. One is an A95L exclusive: MultiView, so you can play games on one side of the screen while watching video content (with some limitations) on the other. The second lets you shrink down your gaming window so you can view it more the way you would a computer monitor. We’re looking forward to trying these features once they’re available.
Sony Bravia XR A95L review: Smart features
Google TV remains one of the finest smart TV interfaces on the market. Integrating the power of Google Search with a TV was a no-brainer, and it could hardly be implemented better. It has the capability to draw on your searches and preferences from other devices such as your phone and computer, and thus surface interesting things you might find elsewhere. As a result, Google TV’s recommendations are uncommonly good — almost invariably stuff I would want to sit down gorge on.
There’s an ultraclean interface, too, with a top navigation bar that lets you instantly access live TV, a sprawling app collection, your “library” (of content drawn from elsewhere and everywhere on the Web), and, perhaps self-indulgently, a catalog of Sony’s own branded programming. Otherwise, on the main For You page, you can easily page through a carousel of new options, top picks for you, your app collection, things you’re in the middle of viewing, and a number of other curated lists of things you might want to see—all of which are relevant in a way that’s almost unheard of for TV recommendations.
Unlikely as it is that you’ll ever run out of things to watch this way, an integrated ATSC 3.0 tuner will let you view over-the-air 4K broadcasts and you can stream using Chromecast or Apple AirPlay. And in addition to using Google Assistant with either the remote’s microphone or the TV’s far-field microphone, other smart home compatibility includes Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit.
Sony doesn’t stop there, of course. It begins by adding in Bravia Core, which is its own proprietary streaming service providing high-bitrate versions of its own licensed movies and TV shows. Some are free, and some you have to purchase, and the A95L includes credits to buy 10, which is a nice addition if you like what’s available. During our review period, major recent films included Spider-Man: Across the Spider and Gran Turismo, but these were exceptions rather than the rule. Bravia Core isn’t exactly loaded with a ton of major, scintillating titles. It’s whipped cream on top of an ice cream sundae, but not a major attractor in its own right.
The same could be said of the Bravia Cam. This device costs $199.99 if you want to buy it separately for use with other Sony TVs, but it comes bundled with the A95L. As its name suggests, it’s a camera that connects to a port on the top rear of the TV and adds tons of functionality to the TV-watching experience. There’s video conferencing. But it’s also the focal point for Sony’s environmental adjustment features: The Bravia cam analyzes your specific viewing environment — not just the amount of light, but how many people are in the room and where they’re sitting — to tweak the picture and sound in real time so everyone is experiencing the TV at its best.
Luckily, these features are easy to turn on and off in the menus, and it’s still not the same as a full calibration for your unique viewing location and preferences, but it’s a nice option that handles this idea better than most other TVs you can buy. The Bravia Cam also adds things like a proximity sensor, so your kids can be warned if they get too close to the screen, and, most intriguing, gesture controls so you can perform basic TV functions just by moving your hands in front of the camera. (There is a built-in training system for you to get the hang of this.)
My feelings about the Bravia Cam remain more or less the same as when I first used it with the A95K: It’s fun but trivial, and the gesture controls still need polishing to become real game-changers. Still, all this shows where TV is likely to be going, and it’s fun to be at the forefront of it.
Sony Bravia XR A95L: Remote
Though Sony has greatly streamlined its remote over the last generation, turning out a smaller and sleeker version that’s a better match for its TVs, the Premium Remote included with the A95L is a step even beyond that. Unlike its standard, basic black model, this one features a cool, brushed-metal top panel and full backlighting that makes every button perfectly visible in any lighting conditions.
The two big additions to this version of the remote are two shortcut buttons: one for YouTube (a welcome return) and one for the anime-focused streaming service Crunchyroll, which join the other shortcuts for Bravia Core, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.
Other than that, this is a fairly normal remote with a tidy (but not too tidy) collection of well-organized buttons, including one for quickly connecting with Google Assistant. I’m still less than convinced that there need to be three buttons to raise menus: one with a wrench for opening the quick settings, one (labeled with Menu) that opens a context-sensitive list of options, and a Gear button for changing all the TV’s settings. You’ll get used to this in time, but it can be a little confusing at first.
Sony Bravia XR A95L: Verdict
There’s no way around it: The Sony Bravia A95L is a great TV with a superlative picture and top-notch sound, mated with the outstanding Google TV interface and a cornucopia of other exciting, useful options. Few other TVs give you quite as much, packaged as well, as the A95L.
That said, it’s not hard to nitpick. The approach to brightness in Professional mode won’t be to everyone’s taste. The colors could be more accurate. Having only two HDMI 2.1 ports is a little stingy. And input lag is on the high side.
But the A95L’s impressive treatment of HDR color and its seemingly bottomless well of handy features and extras ensure that it belongs alongside the LG G3 and the Samsung S95C as the top TVs of this generation. Whether it should be your first choice depends on what you want from a TV, and what you may be willing to give up to get it. Overall, the Sony A95L is a real winner and worthy of your attention if you’re shopping for a premium OLED TV.