Sony has recently launched the XR-42A90K, a 42-inch OLED TV that boasts impressive picture quality and gaming performance. This model marks Sony's entry into the smaller screen size market, catering to customers who prefer a more compact television. The XR-42A90K features a depth of 57mm, making it thicker than other OLED models and less suitable for wall-mounting. However, it comes with a sturdy pedestal stand that can be extended to accommodate a soundbar.
One of the standout features of the XR-42A90K is its use of Sony's Cognitive Processor XR, which enhances the picture quality of native 4K content and upscales 1080p content using AI technology. This processor ensures vibrant colors without being overblown or aggressive, while also delivering excellent detail and black tones. The TV supports various HDR standards, including HLG, HDR10, and Dolby Vision HDR, resulting in vivid and natural colors.|
When it comes to gaming performance, the XR-42A90K delivers vibrant colors and smooth motion, enhancing the gaming experience on a PlayStation 5 (PS5). It has respectable response times and does not suffer from performance issues. However, it lacks HGiG support for Xbox Series X users and does not have a Dolby Vision game mode.
One area where the XR-42A90K falls short is its brightness. OLED TVs have always struggled with brightness compared to other display technologies, and this issue is more prominent on smaller screens. As a result, the TV's lighting appears subdued, and bright white areas lack the desired "pop." This affects the overall contrast performance of the TV.
In terms of sound quality, the XR-42A90K utilizes an actuator-based audio system that delivers direct and detailed sound through the screen. It also includes a small woofer for low-frequency sounds. While the midrange projection is good and dialogue is clear, the TV lacks low-end presence and punch. At higher volumes, there is some edginess in the top end.
Overall, the Sony XR-42A90K is an impressive OLED TV in a smaller screen size, offering customers high-quality picture and gaming experiences. However, its high price tag and limitations in brightness and sound quality may make it less appealing compared to other 42-inch alternatives on the market.
A closer look at the hardware details
|Screen Size||42 inches|
|Stand||Sturdy pedestal with extension for soundbar|
|Processor||Cognitive Processor XR|
|Picture Quality||Color fidelity, naturalistic images, excellent detail and black tones|
|HDR Support||HLG, HDR10, Dolby Vision HDR|
|Connectivity Options||Four HDMI ports (two are HDMI 2.0 with 48Gbps), USB ports, Ethernet input, digital optical output, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, Chromecast Built-In, Apple AirPlay and HomeKit|
|Smart Interface||Google TV|
|Remote Control||Two remote control handsets provided by Sony|
|Voice Control||Google Assistant|
|Gaming Performance||Vibrant colors, smooth motion, respectable response times|
|Gaming Support||PlayStation 5 (PS5)|
|Dolby Vision Game Mode||No|
|Brightness||Lacks brightness, subdued lighting, lacks "pop" in bright white areas|
|Sound Quality||Actuator-based audio system, direct and detailed sound, small woofer for low-frequency sounds, good midrange projection, clear dialogue, lacks low-end presence and punch, some edginess in top end at higher volumes|
|Overall Impression||Impressive OLED performance, high-quality picture and gaming experiences, but may be less appealing due to high price, lack of brightness, and sound quality shortcomings|
A quick shortlist of the main features for Sony XR-42A90K
The most important key feature of the Sony XR-42A90K is its impressive OLED performance in a smaller screen size.
- Vivid and natural colors: The TV supports HDR standards such as HLG, HDR10, and Dolby Vision HDR, delivering vibrant and natural colors for an immersive viewing experience.
- Enhanced picture quality: The Cognitive Processor XR enhances the picture quality of native 4K content and upscales 1080p content using AI technology, resulting in excellent detail and black tones.
- Smooth gaming experience: The XR-42A90K offers vibrant colors and smooth motion, enhancing the gaming experience on a PlayStation 5 (PS5) with respectable response times and no performance issues.
- Wide range of connectivity options: The TV offers a wide range of connectivity options including HDMI ports, USB ports, Ethernet input, digital optical output, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, Chromecast Built-In, and Apple AirPlay and HomeKit, allowing for easy connection to various devices.
- Smart interface and voice control: The TV runs on Google TV as its smart interface, providing a wide range of apps and easy navigation. It can be controlled using two remote control handsets provided by Sony and also supports voice control via Google Assistant.
Limitations to keep in mind for this model
The main downside of purchasing the Sony XR-42A90K TV is its high price tag. While it offers impressive OLED performance and gaming experiences, the cost may make it less appealing compared to other 42-inch alternatives on the market.
Other potential downsides include:
Lack of brightness: OLED TVs have always struggled with brightness compared to other display technologies, and this issue is more prominent on smaller screens. As a result, the XR-42A90K's lighting appears subdued, and bright white areas lack "pop." This affects the TV's overall contrast performance.
Sound quality limitations: The XR-42A90K utilizes an actuator-based audio system that delivers direct and detailed sound through the screen. However, it lacks low-end presence and punch, and there is some edginess in the top end at higher volumes. This may not provide the immersive audio experience that some users desire.
Thicker design: The TV has a depth of 57mm, which is thicker than other OLED models. This makes it less suitable for wall-mounting, which may be a drawback for those looking to save space or achieve a sleeker aesthetic.
Lack of HGiG support and Dolby Vision game mode: While the XR-42A90K offers vibrant colors and smooth motion for gaming on a PlayStation 5 (PS5), it lacks HGiG support for Xbox Series X users and does not have a Dolby Vision game mode. This may be a drawback for gamers who prioritize these features.
Limited screen size options: The XR-42A90K is the first OLED TV from Sony that caters to customers who prefer smaller screen sizes. While this may be a benefit for some, it limits the options for those who prefer larger screens.
Buy or pass? Our verdict on Sony XR-42A90K
The Sony XR-42A90K offers impressive picture quality and gaming performance, making it a good choice for those who prioritize these features. However, its high price tag and lack of brightness compared to competitors may deter some buyers. The TV's smaller screen size and thicker depth may also limit its placement options. While the XR-42A90K has a wide range of connectivity options and a user-friendly interface, its sound quality could be improved, with a lack of low-end presence and some edginess at higher volumes. Ultimately, potential buyers should consider their priorities and budget before deciding if this TV is the right fit for them.