Sony Bravia XR A80K OLED 55 Review: A bit of Sony shine on an OLED; Can he get better?

The Sony Bravia XR A80K OLED delivers the OLED viewing experience with Sony’s masterful tuning and a great TV to back it up. Here is our full review.

OLED TVs have become a massive trend and with the arrival of Xiaomi on the scene with its OLED Vision TV, it has become more difficult for big players like Samsung and Sony to up their game. Sony recently announced its series of Bravia XR A80K OLED TVs for the Indian market and with this Sony wants to focus on the optimal picture quality. Given that the latest Sony Led-backlit TV we reviewed left us quite impressed, experiencing a Sony OLED TV left me full of anticipation and excitement. And boy did he deliver!

When Sony says it wants to focus on picture quality, you know your wallets are going to bear the brunt of it. In the case of the Sony Bravia XR A80K OLED, this weight is quite high. I had the 55 inch variant of the TV which Sony charges a huge amount of rupees. 1,99,990 for. It hits the luxury TV segment, but spending over two weeks with the OLED A80K justified that exorbitant price.

Design

OLED TVs, by their very nature, carry that “unique slate” look and the Sony Bravia XR A80K OLED does it well. Wall-mounted, the A80K looks sleek, and its stealthy design elements help it blend in nicely with home décor, no matter what type of furniture and set-up you have. The bezel-less design has been executed with the utmost craftsmanship. The ports are easily accessible from the sides although the far-field microphone button is hard to find. You get your usual collection of I/O ports, but the ones that are unique are the two HDMI 2.1 ports that support 120fps. Hey players!

For those who prefer table mounting, you get the table stands in the package. I had mounted it on the wall for a better viewing experience. The remote control, unfortunately, is very basic. It has all the necessary buttons for smart functions and quick access to apps, but the layout is very cluttered. On the plus side, it’s easier to use and I’m happy to see the shortcut key to the settings overlay menu as well as the YouTube app.

Viewing experience

As its name suggests, the Sony Bravia XR A80K OLED has an OLED panel. OLED is emissive, which means that each individual pixel generates its own light. This means the TV has far greater control over every pixel and it helps it control the lighting the way it wants. So in a film like The Interstellar, the scenes depicting space are rendered brilliantly – the astronaut suit and the spaceship are done in the brightest whites while the space around it is truly pitch black. ! Black pitch! In a dark room, you live the experience of a cinema; except for the fact that even movie theaters can’t do black people as well.

But the Sony Bravia XR A80K OLED isn’t just about getting deep blacks. This is a 4K TV that supports HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG picture formats. On top of that there’s Sony’s XR processor and a bunch of Sony enhancements, all of which aim to make the picture pop with its color rendition.

The A80K has something called the XR OLED Contrast Pro which simply boosts the brightness and contrast in the brighter regions of the screen and dims the darker regions, all to increase the contrast. The XR Cognitive Processor claims to enhance the elements you usually focus on in the scene, then enhance them accordingly for a better experience. It all works very subtly but the end result is just wonderful.

To show just how optimized the TV panel is, Sony has pre-loaded the A80K with Bravia Core – an application that hosts some of the most popular movie titles that would work perfectly with the TV. I watched Spider-Man: No Way Home and the experience was superior to that of the theater. The clarity on Peter Parker’s face as he jumped was amazing, and the colors were simply breathtaking to watch.

I also watched a lot of Hollywood blockbusters as well as Marvel web series on OTT apps, and the experience was just amazing. Dolby Vision content looks alive while HDR10 rated content is rendered just as good. Even ordinary videos and movies look good – that’s the advantage of an OLED TV.

I was also impressed with the upscaling performance of 1080p content. The TV managed to keep pixel loss very low, although some loss of sharpness was observed. For 720p content, the TV does a decent job, but the lack of pixels makes the 55-inch canvas difficult to fill with more detail.

The A80K also supports up to 120 frames per second, making supported content smooth. However, the motion blur might not be pleasant for many – the soap opera effect is visible on slow moving subjects. Unless you have a very keen eye like us, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to a game console that could take advantage of this 120fps feature. If you have one, you can best enjoy games on these consoles.

Finally, the ambient light sensor helps control the brightness of the panel in low light conditions, as well as in bright sunlight conditions in a room.

Audio performance

The Sony Bravia XR A80K OLED is more than just an OLED panel. Sony uses something called Acoustic Surface Audio+, which replaces conventional speakers for a set of three actuators. These actuators vibrate together to make the display generate the sound. To improve quality, there are two additional actuators around the edges to amplify high frequency sounds and enable clear dialogue. Then there are two subwoofers to enhance low end thump or bass.

Sound too fancy? All you need to know is that it sounds exactly like a regular TV speaker setup. The sound seems to be coming from the direction of the TV and in content where surround sound engineering is used, the sound seems to be coming from your surroundings. You still need a soundbar for an authentic surround sound experience, but the TV audio setup is good enough for me to disconnect my soundbar. In Dolby Atmos-supported content, performance is excellent as expected.

Smart Features

As is standard with newer Sony TVs, the Bravia XR A80K uses the Google TV platform. The Google TV interface needs no introduction to smart TV aficionados – it’s a new design direction for Android TV models that’s prettier on the eyes. Sony has left the basic interface design untouched and only lets you have the settings overlay menu, which then opens up to the standard Google TV settings interface.

What does all of this mean for the regular viewer? Your TV home screen continues to display suggested content ideas to watch from various OTT apps installed on the device. If you have the subscription, a single click will take you to the specific movie or web show. The Bravia Core is a separate app that opens to the specially curated movie library optimized specifically for the TV. Google TV’s interface performance is fast and smooth, and I didn’t observe any jitter or lag in the animations.

The presence of Google TV also means you have access to Chromecast, Google Assistant and Google Play Store. There’s also support for Apple AirPlay 2, which means you can use your iPhone to stream content to the TV. Boot times are fast for the TV.

Verdict

OLED TVs will be the darlings of television enthusiasts and the Sony Bravia XR A80K OLED justifies this hype around OLED TV technology. While the OLED panel itself is excellent, it’s all the enhancements to the XR brand image that make the viewing experience unparalleled. If you’re used to doing those weekend movie binges late at night in a darkened room, the Sony Bravia XR A80K OLED is one of the best ways to do it on a budget of Rs. 2,000,000 .

That’s not all. Acoustic Surface Audio+ provides a great audio experience that feels natural to hear, and it eliminates the need for a soundbar. The bass performance is also good. The Google TV interface only adds to the experience and I love Sony for including the Bravia Core service to give viewers a chance to fully enjoy the TV.

If you have a budget of Rs. 2 lakhs and you are ready to upgrade to OLED but in a 55-inch flavor, I highly recommend the Sony Bravia XR A80K OLED.

Product Name

Sony Bravia XR A80K OLED

Advantages

  • Large OLED display
  • XR improvements are stellar
  • Excellent audio performance
  • Superb design

Comments are closed.