Sony Bravia XR A80J Review

When Sony releases a TV, it’s usually an immediate contender for the best in whatever price segment it sits in. The A80J is a high-end OLED display that is the best suited to Sony’s OLED range in terms of price and competes next to the LG C1 as one of the The best 4K TVs for gaming. And while LG comes at a slightly lower price tag, the A80J makes several strong arguments that it should be considered the best option along with.

Since the actual quality of the OLED panel will be significantly different, after all, Sony is competing instead on its software and design. But does that equal an extra $200 when you’ve already spent more than $2,000?

Sony Bravia XR A80J

Sony A80J – Design & Build

Like most modern OLED TVs, the actual Sony screen is surprisingly thin. The edges were almost invisible, and Sony created a stand that sits on the A80J just above my media console. Sony chose this design philosophy to focus on the screen itself and make other parts of the TV fade into the background.

Watching the A80J, I can attest that while I love creating some situations on competitors’ screens – like the dramatic punch found in the Vizio OLED – forcing my eyes to just enjoy what’s on display without any distractions makes sense. The suites can look great, but that’s not the reason to buy a TV.

The downside to this philosophy is that the feet of the A80J are so close to the platform it is sitting on that there is no room to include any kind of cable management. Since the screen is so low you probably won’t notice the cables unless you purposely look for them, but they are there and can be seen. If I’m going to invite other display manufacturers to not take up cable management, I have to stick with Sony to the same standard.

Of course, if you plan to mount the TV on the wall, none of that matters and the A80J will melt into your wall, blending in almost seamlessly.

The A80J is loaded with connectivity options. Digitally, it supports WiFi, Apple Airplay 2, Bluetooth and Chromecast. Physically providing a composite video input, a digital audio input, and an Ethernet port. It also has four HDMI ports total, two of which are the latest 2.1 standard and one of them is for eARC (which is the port I used to connect my HDMI audio device). There are also two USB ports.

The HDMI 2.1 ports support up to 120Hz in 4K HDR and are Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) compatible, but there’s a catch: Like all Sony monitors right now, VRR is only for an unspecified “future” firmware update and isn’t currently possible. If you plan to play with PlayStation 5, this is not a big deal as PS5 does not support VRR yet. But if you use an Xbox, it definitely should be taken into account.

Sony A80J – Remote control

Moving on to the remote, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: it’s huge. It’s obnoxiously large and a lot of it is eaten with buttons you’ll likely never touch. Unlike Vizio, Samsung or TCL, Sony continues to create remote controls that give buyers the ability to control just about everything, so they have a button to do just about anything. The company still includes the number pad, for example, and there’s a giant empty space at the bottom that’s likely to be included as a grip that expands the height of the console even further.

It’s easily twice the size of any other remote I’ve kept since the last Sony remote I used. Still, she has a lot of options about it, which some people might appreciate. me? I wish it was a quarter of it.

Sony A80J – Software and User Interface

Sony A80J is powered by Google TV and it works perfectly. For years I hated using Google’s previous operating system – Android TV – on any screen, but the Sony processor plus the updated Google TV is a fast experience that shows no lag and is a great experience overall.

Google TV works on the A80J as it does on any other TV. There is a large selection of applications that you can install at setup or later at any time. Every app I could ask for is available and they all work flawlessly.

Sony A80J – Picture Quality

The Sony A80J uses an OLED display, which means that each pixel on the TV can be controlled individually and even completely turned off. This means that black can be true black, which makes for stunning image quality when contrasted with any lit pixels.

Rich blacks and beautiful colors display beautifully on this screen, and support for various HDR formats including Dolby Vision means streaming content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Sony’s Bravia Core looks amazing. Bravia Core, which has a good selection of movies but is rather limited, is a movie streaming service from Sony that offers a bitrate of 80Mbps, which is much higher than any of the other streaming platforms. If your internet can handle this kind of data transfer, the image quality with Bravia Core is great and close to that of Blu-Ray.

All OLED screens this size are theoretically capable of the same quality, but Sony is upping its ante with some of the best – if not the best – image processing available on the market.

When watching low bandwidth content from streaming providers like Disney+, banding can sometimes be seen and artifacts “blocked” in scenes. For example, during the desert scenes from the first season of mandalorian, A bright sky can appear to have streaks as there isn’t enough data to create a smooth transition between those gradient colors.

That is, if you’re not watching on Sony. The A80J software can interpret and smooth the lower quality data stream, removing those gradients, making the sky clear and smooth.

It makes most streams sound better, but it’s not a cure-all for everyone. Older shows in particular still struggle with pixel blocking all together. For example, when broadcasting Buffy the Vampire Slayer Produced in the ’90s, no amount of software was able to smooth out some of those scenes where there isn’t enough data to get a clean picture, even for the A80J.

The only hit on this screen is a problem with all OLED screens: brightness. In general, the TV is significantly less bright than LCD style TVs such as the Hisense U7G or Mini LED TVs such as the TCL 6-Series. Sure, the A80J is able to hit some very bright peaks, but it’s rare to see them – the brighter an object on the screen, the more likely it will be permanently burnt.

Speaking of which, a lot of people who get scared when faced with an OLED purchase come from this burning fear, but most regular consumers won’t have to worry about it. I’ve used OLED screens as my daily driver for years now and haven’t had any issues. Only if you plan to play a video game with a fixed and unchanging HUD display or have a news network with a tape that is always showing for eight to 10 hours a day for months will the problem start to appear. In normal use cases, the software in the TV carefully monitors the condition of the screen to make sure that none of the pixels are overworked and burned.

Sony A80J – Gaming Performance

With HDMI 2.1 and extremely fast response time for OLED displays combined with Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) that kicks in when set to Game Mode, the Sony A80J is a gaming dream. HDR gaming looks especially great, as playing some games that can run in 4K HDR at 120fps results in a first-class viewing experience for consoles on a modern TV.

In terms of performance, I had absolutely no problems playing a bunch of games on PS5: Apex Legends, Destiny 2, A Plague Tale: Innocenche is rain danger 2 Everything looked and played great. The majority of these games can’t get past 60fps in 4K, but the visual experience shines through nonetheless. Plague tale In particular it looks great.

Fate 2 It’s a really great experience. The PvE parts of the game look really cool and really allow you to sit back and enjoy the work that the developers have put into the atmosphere of the game. In PvP activities, it runs at 120fps for a smooth competitive experience.

One hit at the moment is that, as mentioned, the A80J does not currently support VRR and Sony has given no indication of when it might happen, although it promises that a future firmware update will bring it to all compatible TVs. This is undoubtedly frustrating, especially for Xbox owners or even PC gamers who have considered using this TV as a monitor.

The last thing to note about OLEDs is that when something is black on the screen – like a cave or a hole – it is black. While this kind of contrast seems exceptional for movies and TV, it’s less important for games, especially competition. While you can set the contrast to be less black and choose not to use HDR, there’s still something to keep in mind. Combined with the mid-tier brightness of this TV, it can be a challenge at times, especially when gaming during the day or in a brightly lit room. It is possible to completely miss an opponent hiding in a dark corner Apex Legends Because the TV can’t come out of black and gray very easily. For one-person adventures, this is less important.

Sony A80J – Sound Quality

The sound quality of this TV is better than many other thin screens on the market, but I wouldn’t recommend it for those who like the sound quality. Sound feels like it’s coming to you straight from the screen – because: Sony uses technology that plays sound through the screen itself. With some Sony speaker systems, the display can be used as the center channel in a multi-speaker system.

But alone, the audio coming out of the A80J really lacks the low end, which makes much of the sound hollow and without depth. So while yes, it’s better than you might find in a lot of other competitive options, I still don’t think it’s something you can count on. Get a speaker or better yet, a real sound system. A great screen like this deserves that kind of high quality sound.

Sony A80J – Competition

Those in the market for the A80J will no doubt be looking at the LG C1 and Vizio OLED H1. Sony likely wins against both in pure picture quality when viewing low-bitrate content due to its superior processing, and the Google TV app is more intuitive than LG’s webOS and less risky than the overall Vizio experience, although at its core Smartcast is still pretty great . But people who mainly use these TVs for gaming may not care about these benefits, and I don’t blame them. If you run your entire entertainment system outside of your PlayStation, for example, the performance gap between these TVs is closing. I can’t speak better about Sony’s image quality than I already have, but it’s up to you to decide whether what Sony does better than the competition is worth the slightly higher price tag the A80J is asking of you.

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