Sony A8 4K OLED TV review: An audio-visual sliver of heaven

Quick verdictSony has addressed brilliantly some of the brightness and black level consistency issues that have held its previous OLED models back. Gamers may rue a few missing next-gen features, but for TV and movie fans the A8 is an audio-visual sliver of heaven.
Read full verdict

For

  • Pictures are beautifully refined and cinematic
  • Sounds great
  • Good value all things considered
Against

  • Not the brightest TV around
  • Doesn’t support 4K/120Hz or variable refresh
  • No HDR10+ HDR format

Because of its X1 processors and interesting Acoustic Surface sound – where the genuine screen creates the TV’s sound – Sony’s OLED TVs have consistently been acceptable.

By tending to past splendor, cost, working framework, and dark level niggles, in any case, Sony’s first new OLED of 2020, the A8, takes things to an unheard of level.

Plan

4x HDMI inputs

3x USB ports

LAN and Wi-Fi

Concentrated from the side or back, the 65A8 seemingly looks somewhat dated. Not least on the grounds that a section running down a wide wrap of its backside stands out farther than most TVs do nowadays.

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Luckily, however, this thick region is just recognizable from a truly outrageous review edge – or in the degree to which the screen stands out from the divider, if it’s mounted in that way.

From a typical seating position, be that as it may, the especially strong look and feel of the metal-cut edge around the screen really makes a flawlessly sheer, moderate look – as though the screen’s been cut out of cleaned dark stone.

In its standard work area construct, the screen sits so low on the gave silver work area feet that they’re scarcely perceptible, improving the moderate impression. Particularly as the feet convey worked in channels for cleaning endlessly stray cabling.

The feet can likewise be appended so that they lift the screen several inches. This methodology gives enough leeway to put a soundbar under the screen without it clouding the base piece of the image.

Network sees first look precisely as it should. Or, in other words there are four HDMI attachments, three USB ports, and the typical Bluetooth and Wi-Fi organize support. The HDMIs bolster the eARC highlight, as well, implying that the TV can pass lossless Dolby Atmos sound over HDMI to a soundbar or AV collector.

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The HDMIs don’t bolster any of the enormous gaming-related highlights expected to get alluring with the appearance of the PS5, Xbox Series X and cutting edge PCs. In particular help for variable revive rates (VRR), 4K/120Hz playback, and Automatic Low Latency Mode (ALLM) exchanging.

The A8 OLED models are accessible from certain retailers in an A85 plan variety, which replaces the two-position feet with more premium looking yet fixed feet, and replaces the A8’s standard voice controller with a marginally posher form.

Picture Features

HDR Support: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG

Handling motor: X1 Ultimate

In spite of being Sony’s entrance level OLED TV for 2020, the A8 arrangement get the brand’s present best in class X1 Ultimate processor. This, maybe obviously, hasn’t changed generously from past variants. Given a portion of the brilliant outcomes it’s created previously, however, Sony may well contend that if something ain’t broke, it needn’t bother with fixing.

X1 Ultimate carries with it a large group of key picture highlights. Upscaling, for example, profits by sub-4K sources being looked at against an enormous double database of various picture sources to guarantee that the TV applies the best outcomes. Not at all like the less incredible X1 Extreme processor, the upscaling conveyed by X1 Ultimate additionally separates the picture into various items and components, to give a more shrewd and locally viable upscaling impact.

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A comparably confined article based methodology is taken to the A8’s HDR Remaster framework. Sony figures this believers standard powerful range sources to high unique range (HDR) so well that on the greater part of the TV’s image presets it’s made the element difficult to kill.

Likewise showing up through X1 Ultimate is a Super Bitmapping framework for expelling potential striping commotion from HDR shading mixes. The genuine scope of hues the A8 can create, in the interim, will profit by Sony’s long-running Triluminos framework, sponsored up by X1 Ultimate’s Precision Color Mapping support.

Ostensibly the absolute most huge preparing highlight of the Sony A8, however, is its Pixel Contrast Booster. This uses a blend of picture examination and pixel-level force the executives to attempt to boost the OLED board’s differentiation go. Along these lines, at its generally fundamental, more profound dark pixels and more brilliant white pixels can exist one next to the other. Essentially, however, the framework likewise works over the entire shading range, growing the feeling of shading volume and the complexity based force of all pieces of some random picture.

For what reason is this element especially significant for the A8? Since the screen isn’t naturally splendid. The most noteworthy estimation it accomplished utilizing a test screen highlighting was around 640 nits. That is altogether lower than the 750-800 nits other OLED TVs commonly oversee. So the expected capacity of the Pixel Contrast Booster to get unquestionably the most extreme effect out of the Sony A8’s accessible splendor is basic.

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The greatest advancement to Sony’s image preparing for 2020 is another alternative for taking care of movement. Sony has since a long time ago held the movement high ground with its superb Motionflow handling, yet now it’s additional X-Motion Clarity to the blend. Accessible under another Clearness choice, X-Motion Clarity is a minor departure from the dark edge addition innovation once in a while utilized on LCD TVs to make a more true to life feel to 24p substance.

Brilliant Features

Brilliant framework: Android TV

Incorporated YouView

Sony’s long-running dependence on Android TV for the greater part of its keen TV highlights hasn’t ordinarily offered it numerous courtesies. Android has, previously, been carriage, unhelpfully sorted out, and drowsy. Joyfully, however, the most recent Android Pie 9.0 form carried on the A8 fixes probably a portion of these issues.

First off, Android TV currently runs smoothly, and doesn’t cause any drowsiness in the TV’s standard change menus. You can likewise redo its design more than you used to have the option to, and Sony has figured out how to improve the manner in which Android’s settings coordinate with the TV’s different settings.

Android TV’s interface despite everything looks a little old fashioned versus many adversary brilliant TVs – particularly in the manner its homescreen assumes control over the entire picture. It despite everything smashed out two or multiple times during our testing, as well, and keeping in mind that it’s stuffed with several applications (that a great many people won’t need), it misses a couple of that numerous clients would hope to see – most eminently Apple TV.

Sony has, however, added the connecting with YouView stage to get round Android TV’s absence of help for a portion of the UK’s most well known get up to speed TV applications.

Picture Quality

Sony OLED TVs have consistently exceeded expectations with the better things in AV life. The image handling – particularly the X1 Ultimate framework sent in the A8 – is consistently fantastic at uncovering unobtrusive subtleties, creating nuanced hues, upscaling sub-4K sources to 4K and, particularly, making movement look spotless, sharp and characteristic. So it’s nothing unexpected to discover these qualities present and right on the A8.

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Indeed, movement looks far better than ever, with the new Clearness choice – but just when utilized on its least force level – demonstrating an invite expansion to what exactly was at that point a magnificent and mindful assortment of movement preparing settings.

An all the more amazing yet significant improvement accompanies the dynamism of the A8’s photos. Either on account of refinements to the pinnacle brilliance the Pixel Contrast Booster wrings out of the OLED board’s self-emissive pixels, or in light of enhancements to the board’s capacity to convey profound, quiet dark levels all the more reliably, pictures look discernibly punchier and more extravagant than they have on past Sony OLED ages.

To such an extent that regardless of the screen not estimating as brilliant as certain adversaries, it still regularly takes a gander in any event as extreme as some other OLED with shots containing a blend of light and dull substance.

Considerably more shockingly, the A8 likewise doesn’t look fundamentally more blunt than quantifiably more splendid adversary OLED TVs when demonstrating extremely brilliant HDR pictures, for example, sunshine outsides. Bluntness with such symbolism has recently been the primary zone of shortcoming with Sony OLEDs, however here, apparently due to a blend of improved board refinement and the way Sony maps HDR substance to the A8’s intrinsic splendor confinements, full-screen brilliance some of the time really feels higher than that of many opponent OLED TVs. Notwithstanding what the deliberate brilliance figures may state.

There is, definitely, a compromise for this great full-screen brilliance. To be specific that occasionally the most brilliant pieces of HDR pictures can look a little over-uncovered and faded of detail. For most of the time, however, the compromise choices Sony has caused for HDR to feel completely fit to the A8’s capacities.

The A8’s Dolby Vision bolster helps dynamism a touch more with Dolby Vision-encoded content, as well. So it may have been fascinating to check whether comparable enhancements could have been conveyed with HDR10+ content as well, had Sony selected to help it. In spite of the fact that there’s no denying that the X1 Ultimate processor does a generally excellent activity of getting the best out of industry standard HDR10 and HLG sources where Dolby Vision isn’t accessib

The A8 is also outstanding with standard dynamic range sources. The HDR Remaster feature works brilliantly, gently massaging colours into looking more vibrant, and subtly enhancing the image’s range of light without the results looking in any way unbalanced or strained. Purists can turn it off if they really want to by choosing any preset other than Vivid, Standard or Cinema. And while this inevitably results in a flatter picture, it still looks gorgeously refined and authentic.

Gamers may, as discussed earlier, be deterred from buying a A8 by its lack of support for multiple next-gen gaming features. The set does, though, take just 18ms to produce pictures when running in its Game picture mode. This isn’t quite the lowest such figure a TV has produced in 2020, but only the most hardcore gamers will have a problem with it.

Add to all the A8’s picture quality thrills OLED’s support of pretty much any viewing angle without the picture losing contrast and colour and you’ve got a TV that combines Sony’s usual refinement and naturalism with new levels of punch and dynamism to truly gorgeous effect.

Sound

The Acoustic Surface technology Sony has used for its past few OLED generations has always been good. So it’s not surprise to find the A8 producing an open, clean and direct sound, filling the room with a startlingly immersive and dynamic soundstage.

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The set also does a great job of making specific sound effects – especially vocals – appear to come from the exact place on the screen where they’re supposed to be coming from.

The A8 builds on previous entry-level OLED Acoustic Surface systems in the bass department too. A couple of newly designed woofers built into the screen’s rear do a good job of underpinning the set’s expansive mid-range with some welcome extra bass extension – without succumbing to distortions, even under extreme pressure. This new bass accolade can occasionally reduce the clarity of subtle sound effects at the bottom end of the mid-range. But this doesn’t stop the A8 from being one of the best sounding TVs around.

Verdict

With the A8, Sony has addressed brilliantly some of the brightness and black level consistency issues that have held its previous OLED models back.

The A8 further extends Sony’s reputation for class-leading motion performance, too, adding another level of refinement to what was already some of the most nuanced and natural pictures in the OLED world.

Gamers may rue a few missing next-gen features, but for TV and movie fans the A8 is an audio-visual sliver of heaven.