Sony A8G vs A9G Review (XBR55A8G vs XBR55A9G, XBR65A8G vs XBR65A9G)
Sony A8G and A9G are parts of Sony’s 2019 4K HDR OLED TV lineup. The Sony A9G is the replacement of 2018’s A9F while the A8G is the replacement of 2018’s A8F. In the market, the A9G comes in 3 screen sizes option including 55 Inches (XBR55A9G), 65 inches (XBR65A9G), and 77 inches (XBR77A9G). On the other hand, there are only 2 screen sizes available for A8G, which are 55 inches (ABR55A8G) and 65 inches (XBR65A8G). With the same screen sizes (ABR55A8G vs XBR55A9G, XBR65A8G vs XBR659G), the A9G is priced much more expensive than the A8G, even more than $500. And as we know, all OLED TVS have almost similar overall picture quality, so can be ascertained, the additional features and design becomes the main key of their differences. So, what are the differences between them so the A9G is priced much more expensive than the A8G?
Sony A8G vs A9G Key Specs
|Specs and Features||Sony A8G||Sony A9G|
|Sizes Available||55 Inches (XBR55A8G), 65 Inches (XBR65A8G)||55 inches (XBR55A9G), 65 Inches (XBR65A9G), 77 Inches (XBR77A9G)|
|Panel Technology||OLED Panel||OLED Panel|
|Dimming Technology||Pixel Dimming Level||Pixel Dimming Level|
|Image Processor||4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme||4K HDR Processor X1 Ultimate|
|HDR Support||HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision||HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision|
|Clarity Enhancement||4K X Reality Pro, Dual Database Processing||4K X Reality Pro, Dual Database Processing, Object-based Super Resolution|
|Contrast Enhancement||Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object-Based Remaster||Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object-Based Remaster, Pixel Contrast Booster|
|Color Enhancement||Live Color Technology, Precision Color Mapping, Super Bit Mapping HDR, TriLuminos Display||Live Color Technology, Precision Color Mapping, Super Bit Mapping HDR, TriLuminos Display|
|Motion Enhancement||MotionFlow XR||MotionFlow XR|
|Native Refresh Panel||120 Hz||120 Hz|
|VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) Supports||No||No|
|Smart TV Platform||Android 7.0 Nougat||Android 8.0 Oreo|
|Amazon Alexa Compatible||Yes||Yes|
|Apps Store||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Remote||Sony Voice Remote||Sony Voice Remote|
|Voice Navigation Support||Yes||Yes|
|Audio Channel||2.2 channel||2.2 channel|
|Sound Output||20 watts + 20 watts + 10 watts + 10 Watts||10 watts + 10 Watts + 10 Watts + 10 Watts|
|Speaker Type||Acoustic Surface Audio+||Acoustic Surface Audio|
|Speaker Configuration||Actuator X2, Subwoofer X2||Actuator X2, Subwoofer X2|
|Dolby Atmos Support||No||Yes|
|HDMI Supports||CEC, HDCP 2.2, HDCP 2.3, HDMI 2.0, ARC||CEC, HDCP 2.2, HDCP 2.3, HDMI 2.0, ARC, eARC|
|USB Ports||3 (USB 2,3: USB2.0, USB1:USB 3.0)||3 (USB 2,3: USB2.0, USB1:USB 3.0)|
|Price||See the price on Amazon||See the price on Amazon|
Technologies and Features of Sony A9G and A8G
The Sony A9G and A8G both have excellent design and build quality. They are both also extremely slim like all models of OLED TV. So if you want to move it, you must be extremely careful when taking it. But even so, from the side, with their body where their electronic parts are housed, the A9G looks thinner than A8G. From the front, the border of A9G is also a bit thinner than A8G. Meanwhile, the striking difference between them is on their stand that supports their main body. The Sony A8G have very simple stand with “U” shape in front. That is unique to the stand of A8G, its stand can be set to two different height positions. With maximum height position, the stand leaves a gap between the TV and table about 2.4 inches, allow you to place a small sound bar in front. Meanwhile, the A9G comes with a flat stand. But unlike the stand of A8G, its stand is not reversible and only leaves a small gap between the TV and table. So, if you want to place a small sound bar in front of the TV, some parts of the screen will be blocked. Nevertheless, even though their stands support the TV equally well, when the TVs is nudged, the A8G does more wobble than A9G.
Just like the predecessor A8F and A9F, both Sony still use LG’s OLED display for the A8G and A9G. Their panel use WRGB pixel structures where there is an additional white sub-pixel to standard RGB sub-pixel. As we know, OLED panel has self-lighting pixel. This means each pixel of OLED panel can switch on/off/dim individually that allows them emit its own light without affected by the condition of other pixel. When it is showing black, there is no sub-pixel that emits the light. This allows black produced is perfect. On the other hand, when showing a white, all of the sub-pixels switch on with maximum light. Nevertheless, since the OLED panel doesn’t have backlight, the white produced is not too bright. For this case, the white sub-pixel is required for boosting the white produced. That’s why the peak brightness of OLED TV is not as bright as the peak brightness of Premium LED TV.
On the other hand, since each of their pixels can switch on/off/dim individually, this allows the OLED panel has pixel dimming level. This is equal to a LED TV with Full Array Local Dimming where the number of dimming zones is same to the number of pixels. This means, if they have 4K resolution, this is equal to a LED TV that has dimming zones by 8 millions. And for this moment, there is impossible for LED TV. The pixel level dimming of both is very helpful to eliminate blooming. The result, when they are showing a highlight in a dark scene, there is no blooming noticeable around the bright object.
As we see on comparison table above, the Sony A8G is still powered by 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme we found on some 2018’s models like X900F, A8F, and others. On the other hand, the Sony A9G has been powered by the newer processor called AK HDR Processor X1 Ultimate. This new processor is claimed two time as powerful as the X1 Extreme. In addition the features offered by X1 Extreme like Object-Based Remaster, Dual Database processing, Super Bit Mapping HDR, and others, there are also new additional features offered by X1 Ultimate, which are Pixel Contrast Booster and Object-based Super Resolution. In re-mastering images, these processors may be both focused on the object, but the X1 Ultimate will analyze the object more detail than X1 Extreme. As example, when they are showing a fruit bowl, the X1 Extreme assume a fruit bowl as a single object for re-mastering, while the X1 Ultimate will assume the individual fruit within the bowl as a single object. The result, the X1 Ultimate can deliver better fine detail than X1 Extreme. In addition it offers huge improvement in fine details, the X1 Ultimate also offers some improvement in other aspects like Motion Handling, input Lags, Smart TV performance, and others.
Sony A8G and A9G both have native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. This allows them to interpolate the lower frame rate content up to 120 Hz. For improving their performance in handling motion, they both have a feature called Motion Flow XR. By combining their native refresh rate panel, frame insertion, flickering control and Image Blur Reduction, this feature is very effective to make motion looks clearer and crisper. But even so, unlike the premium model of LG’s TVs or Samsung’s TVs, both A8G and A9G don’t support VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) for gaming experience.
Both Sony A8G and A9G use Acoustic Surface technology. As we know, for generating sound, this technology utilizes the panel as a speaker membrane instead conventional speaker. There are two actuators behind the panel that vibrates the screen. The result, in addition this technology can deliver better sound quality than conventional speaker, this will give an impression as if voices are coming directly from the actor’s mouth rather than a speaker unit below the TV. For boosting the low frequency or bass, they both also have two built-in subwoofers. But even so, the difference between them, the A9G has higher sound output than the A8G. If the actuator of A9G has 20 watts of power output, each of the actuator of A8G only has 10 watts of power output.
Sony A9G and A8G both have 4 HDMI ports as their major connectivity. Their HDMI ports already support HDCP 2.2, HDCP 2.3, CEC, HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth, and ARC (HDMI 3). But a bit difference among them is the eARC support. A9G has support eARC while A8G doesn’t support. This allows the A9G can pass through Dolby Atmos via True HD signal DTS:X via DTS-HD MA signal via its HDMU eARC. On the other hand, due the HDMI ports of A8G doesn’t support eARC, it cannot pass though Dolby Atmos and DTS:X signal via its HDMI ports. Meanwhile, the video source that supported by them is same. They both support most of video sources including 4096 x 2160p (24, 60 Hz), 3840 x 2160p (24, 30, 60 Hz), 1080p (30, 60 Hz), 1080/24p, 1080i (60 Hz), 720p (30, 60 Hz), 720/24p, 480p, 480i. But even so, they both don’t support HFR (4K @120 Hz) and 8K resolution. In addition to HDMI ports, they also have the same number of USB ports, which are 3 ports, 1 port is USB 3.0 and 2 ports are USB 2.0. They both also have Tuner In, Composite IN (AV IN), Digital Audio Out (optical), Ethernet Port, and IR IN for IR Blaster. As their wireless connection, they both have built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Both Sony A9G and A8G run the same smart TV platform, which Android TV. But even so, the A9G runs newer version, which is Android 8.0 Oreo while the A8G runs the 7.0 Nougat. There is a bit difference on their user interface. Their interface is equally well organized and easy to navigate. But even so, the performance of Android 8.0 is faster and smoother than the 7.0 version. Nevertheless, the A8G is expected to receive the update to Android 8.0 soon. That is very interesting offered by Android TV is about the apps and features provided. In addition to it provides a lot of interesting and attractive apps and features, it has an app store called Google Play Store that provides tons of games, apps, contents, and others. What offered by Google Play Store are even a lot of more and more complete than app store from other platform. Additionally, they both also already support Google Voice Assistant and Amazon Alexa, AirPlay 2, Apple TV’s apps, HomeKit and others.
As their controller, Sony A8G and A9G come with different remote. The remote of A8G is similar to we found on last year model like A8F, A9F, X900F and others. Its remote is plastic with black tint and rubber buttons. On the other hand, the remote of Sony A9G comes with an upgrade over the A8G’s remote, just like we found on the most models of Sony’s 2019 lineup like Z9G, X950G, and others. Its remote is plastic but it is thinner and now has metallic tint. But even so, both of these remote has almost similar button layout, albeit the button placement of the remote of A9G actually is better than A8G. They both also have two dedicated button for Google Play and Netflix. Both of these remote also have built-in microphone and a button that gives you a direct access to Google Assistant that allows you to make a voice command. In general, although their remote has a difference in design, functionally, they are almost similar.
Sony A8G vs A9G Performance
Contrast and Black Level
As we have known, infinite contrast ratio and perfect black level become one of the main strengths of the amazing picture quality produced by OLED TVs including Sony A8G and A9G. Since the OLED panel has self-lighting pixel, this makes its panel doesn’t need backlight. When displaying black, their screen doesn’t even emit light at all. This makes black produced by Sony A9G and A8G is really perfect. Additionally, they both also have perfect black uniformity. And since black level is one of the main aspects of picture quality, this certainly makes the picture displayed on their screen looks amazing, particularly when displaying dark scene. The information in a dark scene can be revealed fairly well, makes shadow details looks very clear on their screen. And of course, it is perfect for HDR content that require very deep black in order to shadow details produced looks clear. And with its excellent performance in producing black, this makes them is as a perfect choice for those who often watch movies in a dark room.
SDR Peak Brightness
The Sony A8G and A9G also have similar peak brightness. Their peak brightness varies depending on content. The brightest peak brightness is hit on 2% window (2% of the screen is white, while the rest is black) where they hi t around 300 nits. But even so, on 100% window, their ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) is very aggressive to dim their peak brightness to around 150 nits. But overall, with real SDR Content, overall, peak brightness reached by them is less than 300 nits. For average-lit or dim room, their peak brightness is bright enough to make the picture produced is fairly bright. However, for very bright room, this might not be bright enough, so the picture displayed on their screen looks too dim. This means, with the peak brightness reached by them, both Sony A8G and A9G are less suitable when used in a very bright room. And in this case, for a very bright room, you can consider a TV that has much brighter peak brightness like Samsung Q80R.
Keep in mind, this condition is reached when their “Picture Mode” set to “Custom” with “Peak Luminance” set to “High”. When their “Picture Mode” is set to “Vivid”, they might be able to hit around 700 nits on 2% window, but on the other, this will reduce the accuracy of the image. Meanwhile, in different picture mode, the result might be different.
HDR Peak Brightness
While with SDR content, they have almost similar peak brightness, with HDR content, Sony A8G can hit a bit brighter peak brightness than A9G.Llike with SDR content, the peak brightness of the A8G is also depending on content and “Picture Mode”. The brightest peak brightness is reached on 2% window where they can hit around 750 nits for a short time and around 475 nits after stabilized. Meanwhile, with same % window, the A9G can only hit around 700 nits for a short time and 375 nits after stabilized. But even so, their ABL is equally very aggressive where their peak brightness will be lowered to less than 150 nits on 100% window. Meanwhile, with real HDR content, their peak brightness is not far different where they can hit around 600 nits. With peak brightness reached by them, they both can show small highlight in HDR fairly bright to really standout. And this actually is already met what’s recommended for OLED TVs. As we know, the minimum peak brightness recommended for OLED TVs in order to be able show HDR images fully is 550 nits. But even so, this is still far from the HDR level reached by LED TV like Z9F or Sony Q90R.
Keep in mind, this result is reached when the “Picture Mode” is set to “HDR Cinema” with “Brightness” is set to “Max”. Using different picture mode and different setting may result brighter peak brightness, but can reduce the accuracy of the picture. Overall, the Sony A8G may have a bit brighter peak brightness in HDR than A9G, but their difference is not too significant and this might be due to panel variance.
Both Sony A9G and A8G have a wide color gamut, similar to what delivered by LG OLED C9. Their color gamut can cover more than 96% of DCI P3 color space. This means it is great for HDR content that mastered in DCI P3 like HDR10 content. Meanwhile, in Rec.2020 color space, their color coverage is around 75%, wide enough to show HDR content mastered in Rec.2020 like Dolby Vision. But a bit unfortunate, their color volume is only mediocre. Contrary with color gamut, in this case, the Sony A9G has a bit better color volume than A8G. But even so, overall, since they both have perfect black level, they both can produce dark colors excellent. But on the other hand, they cannot produce very bright saturated colors. The use of white sub-pixel might be able to boost the peak brightness, but on the other hand, this will de-saturate the pure colors at high brightness level. But even so, in general, they both can show colors of HDR images fairly accurate, make the HDR images looks colorful on their screen.
Additionally, both Sony A8G and A9G have excellent color gradient. But even so, for this case, the color gradient of Sony A9G is better than A8G. Color gradient of A9G is even including the best ever. On the screen of A8G, there might be still some banding in all colors, while on the screen of A9G, banding is very minimal. This is likely due to the impact of the use of different image processor. As we know, A9G is powered by X1 Ultimate while A8G is powered by X1 Extreme. But even so, although color gradient of A8G is not as smooth as A9G, but it is still better than most TVs. And overall, even though color banding cannot be removed completely, but this should not be noticeable with most content.
Side Viewing Angle
As we know, side viewing angle becomes the one of the advantages of OLED TV than LED TV. On LED TV, there might be IPS panel which provide good side viewing angle. Even in 2019, some manufacture even start to use a certain optical layer to improve side viewing angle of VA panel like Samsung with Ultra Viewing Angle or Sony with “X Viewing Angle”. But all of them is still not as good as what offered by OLED TVs. As the comparison, if on LED TY, the black level will raise started at around 15 degrees, on their screen, black level can be maintained up to 70 degrees. Color and brightness can also be maintained at far wider angle than on the screen of LED TV. The result, when viewing angle, the picture displayed on their screen will still look accurate, far more consistent than LED TVs.
Both Sony A8G and A9G can do a great job in handling motion. Just like other models of OLED TV, they also both have almost instantaneous response time, far lower than the lowest reached by LED TVs. The result, motion looks extremely clear and smooth on their screen. There is almost no motion trail visible following fast moving object. But on the other hand, lacks of blur might cause stutter, particularly when they are playing low frame rate content like 24p movies. For minimizing this issue, you can enable the Black Frame Insertion or Motion Interpolation. Meanwhile, when they are playing higher frame content like sports or video games, the stutter will be less noticeable.
Since the OLED panel of Sony A9G and A8G doesn’t have backlight, they don’t use PWM system to dim their screen. This makes their screen is almost flicker-free. Nevertheless, lacks of flicker may cause persistence blur that bother some people. But as have mentioned, they both have an optional Black Frame Insertion that will flicker their screen at 60 Hz. By enabling this feature, this will reduce persistence blur and make motion looks crisper, particularly when they are playing 60 fps content like sports or video games. But on the other hand, this will cause flicker that might bother some people. A Black Frame Insertion can be enabled by setting “MotionFlow” to “Custom” and “Clearness” to “High”.
As we see on comparison table above, Sony A8G and A9G both have native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. This allows them can interpolate lower frame rate content to 120 Hz. But unfortunately, both of them don’t support Variable Refresh Rate like GSync, FreeSync, HDMI Forum, VRR, or other. As we know, the VRR allow you play a game with almost screen tearing-free.
Both Sony A9G and A8G can also a great job when playing 24p movies. Regardless the frame rate of the source, whether it is native 24p like Blu-Ray or DVD movies, 24p via 60i signal like movies from satellite TV, 24p via 60p signal like movies from streaming devices or 24p via streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Videos, YouTube, and other they are both able to show them with judder-free. And to remove the judder without motion interpolation, you just need set “Motion Flow” to “Custom”, “Smoothness” to “Min”, “CineMotion” to “Auto”, and “Clearness” to “Low”.
In PC and Game Mode, Sony A9G has better input lags than A8G. Regardless the resolution, whether it is 1080p, 1440p, 4K, 4K with HDR, or 4K @4:4:4, the input lags of A9G at 60 fps is lower than 30 ms that means it is great for gaming, even for fast paced games. However, at 120 fps, its input lags are depending on the resolution. With 1080p resolution, its input lag is lower than 20 ms that means it is great. But with 1440p, its input lags is too high, which is around 45 ms. Keep in mind, the A9G doesn’t support 4K @120 Hz content.
On the other hand, with 120 fps, the input lags of A8G are almost similar. Whether with 1080p and 1440p resolution, their input lags is around 20 ms. Just like A9G, the A8G doesn’t also support 4K @120Hz. But even so, with 60 fps content, its input lags are depending on the resolution. With 4K resolution, regardless it is native 4K, 4K with HDR, or 4K @4:4:4, its input lags is a bit higher than 30 ms. Although not as low as A9G, but its input lags with 4K resolution is still low enough for any games. As well as with 1440p resolution, its input lag is almost the same to 4K resolution. But unfortunately, with 1080p source, its input lag is far higher than A9G, which is around 50 ms. This might be still acceptable for casual game, but for fast paced games, its input lag might be too high. Can be ascertained, the Sony A9G is far more responsive than A8G when used for playing 1080p games, particularly which have frame rate by 60Hz.
|Performance||Sony A8G||Sony A9G|
As we have discussed a lot above, both Sony A8G and A9G have almost similar picture quality. Even though in certain aspects, the A8G is superior while on other certain aspect, the A8G is superior, but each of their superiority is not too significant. Their difference is even likely due to panel variance. Overall, they both have outstanding picture quality with perfect black, excellent color reproduction, excellent viewing angle and great motion handling. And just like we have mentioned, their difference is precisely on outside the aspects of picture quality such as design, input lags, HDMI’s ability, Smart TV performance, sound output, and others. Except sound output and design, their difference is more influenced by the different level of their image processor.
Meanwhile, in term of performance, they both are great TVs for any usage. Whether they are used for watching movies in a dark room, watching sports, watching TV Shows, playing games, watching movies in HDR, or smart TV performance, their performance is equally great. Special for A8G, it might be disappointing when used for playing 1080p games with frame rate by 60 Hz. But this doesn’t mean they both don’t have flaws. The major flaw of them is they both have a risk to permanent burn-in when showing content with a static image like games or TV broadcast’s logo. So, playing the same game for over long time should be avoided.
Which is a better choice between them? As we have mentioned above, with the same screen sizes, the A9G is priced hundreds dollar more expensive thanA8G. Meanwhile, the advantages that offered by A9G is on input lags, sound output, smart TV performance, and image processor, while in term of picture quality, their performance is almost similar. Now the decision comes back to you according to your preferences. If you have an extra budget, the Sony A9G might be better since it has a bit better performance in some aspects and has some ability the A8G doesn’t have like HDMI eARC support to pass through Dolby Atmos signal, or others. But even so, if you only care about the picture quality, the Sony A8G might be a better choice for you considering it is priced hundreds dollar cheaper.