With the Bravia KD-65AF9, Sony brings the first user-friendly Android TV with outclass picture, sound & design.
Finally! Three and a half years after the release of the first Android TVs, the Sony Bravia AF9 offers a user-friendly version of the Google operating system. The voice control is a nice addition, but can be switched off. There is hardly anything to complain about the image quality of the color and high-contrast OLED screen, the sound is above average despite invisible speakers and the minimalist design sets standards.
Tadaaa! There it stands, the new Sony – a television with aha effect. New and aha? This is not obvious at first glance: The Sony Bravia AF9 follows clearly the design tradition of the legendary Sony Bravia A1 from 2017. The TV set is only a deep black, slightly tilted back glass. There are no speakers, no device feet, even the Sony logo hides dark gray on the lower left on the black front. The aha effect comes only after switching on. But then several times.
Sony AF9: There is now order on the screen!
For two and a half years, Sony TVs are running on the Android operating system. Too sluggish, many crashes, illogical operation – Android for TV initially seemed not a good idea, large app selection or not. There were other smart TV portals customer-friendly. In too many places desperate owners with the remote control in hand on a user interface, which was obviously optimized for small touch screens, and poorly integrated TV functions in the colorful app world. Again and again rearranged Apps resulted in a chaos and unsolicited recommendations seemed to thinking users a bit overbearing. This concludes: The Bravia AF9 is the first television with the all-new Android 8.0, nicknamed Oreo.
Sony Bravia AF9: Android 8 performs a lot better
The top features of the Sony AF9
Another innovation on the Sony Bravia AF9 concerns the voice control: Previous Android TVs from Sony had a microphone along with the PTT button in the remote control, are now also microphones in the TV set. These are not active at the factory – when the microphone button on the remote control is first used, Android displays the activation option. If the user agrees, a hands-free “OK, Google” will enable speech recognition. Without this activation phrase, the microphones in the TV are not connected to the Google servers, at least no secret data transfers were noticed in the test. However, the microphones require – like smart speakers with language assistants – a certain confidence that Google & Co. are not secretly listening. The voice control of Google is far from perfect, but is one of the better in TVs. For example, it launches media libraries, Netflix series, and YouTube channels. However, many apps are ignored for searches, such as Amazon Prime Video. Good and in comparison to the competition not self-evident: users choose television programs optionally by naming their names, so that no-one remembers the program place of DMAX, for example, or laboriously has to zap it.
Sony Bravia AF9: The TV controls the smarthome
If other compatible products are linked to the Google Home app in the house, such as networked lights, you can control them via the TV via voice. Entries in the Google Calendar of the linked account and much more is also possible. Do you use language assistant Alexa from Amazon instead of Google Assistant? No problem, but the control via Alexa is limited: First, this does not work on the TV microphones, but an Alexa speaker must be present and the TV in the Alexa app linked; second, only basic functions such as program change and volume are possible. This is enough to make the TV next door freehand louder during kitchen work. You should not expect more.
Bravia AF9: That’s what the Sony TV sounds like
The AF9 comes with an OLED screen. It is very thin and makes the minimalist design possible. The invisible speakers are not as often in the bottom of the screen, because it is on the sideboard. Instead, Sony again uses the screen itself as a loudspeaker: Special loudspeaker drives on the back of the screen transform the entire OLED display into invisible but audible vibrations; the thicker and more complex structure of LCD screens does not allow the trick. Particularly brilliant and finely resolved heights does not allow this speaker technology, but the sound of the Sony AF9 is pure and clean, the speech intelligibility very good. The sound comes perfectly from the middle of the picture – as in the cinema, where the speakers for the front channels are behind the sound-permeable screen. Clever: If you let the sound go on a home cinema system, the television sets on request as a center center speaker. You connect the TV to the AV receiver via two connection terminals.
Impeccable picture quality
In terms of image quality, the OLED screen does not really burn anything: Nearly perfect natural colors and a gigantic maximum contrast are among the advantages of the technology anyway. Ultra HD resolution is also set in this class, so the picture produces four times as many and four times as small pixels as Full HD TVs. Pleasing: The outstanding sharpness is maintained in movements. Compared to the competition, Sony tickles slightly less maximum brightness from the OLED panel, as usual produced by LG. Whether the Sony just under 600 candelas per square meter or about 750 as the LG OLED E8 and the Panasonic FZW804, hardly makes a visible difference. More importantly, the Sony has enough reserves for a brilliant image impression even in daylight. That’s how HDR films shine. In addition to the standard HDR standards for Blu-ray movies, streams and TV shows (HDR10 and HLG), the Sony dominates the Dolby Vision process, which ticks out more contrast. The screen size of 164 centimeters (65 inches) is a bit steep? No problem, Sony offers with the Sony KD-55AF9 a technically identical model with 140 centimeters large screen (55 inches).