Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV: Specs
Model Number: 65A8H
Screen size: 65 inches
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
HDR: Dolby Vision HDR, HGL, HDR10
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Ports: 4 HDMI, 3 USB, 1 ethernet
Audio: 2 Channel x 10-Watt, 2 Channel x 5-Watt
Smart TV software: Android TV
Size: 57 x 33 x 2 inches
Weight: 48 pounds
Sony’s reputation for manufacturing fantastic OLED sets has been undermined by an important factor: price. But with the Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV’s surprisingly competitive entry cost and convenient size options, it’s one of the most all-around appealing OLEDs yet, and the arguable star of the Sony 2020 TVs.
Editor’s Note: Since our initial review in June of 2020, the Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV has dropped in price, and we’ve updated the review to reflect this. The rating and overall recommendations of our review remain unchanged.
The Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV sits a tier below the brand’s “Master Series” sets, but benefits from the key features from last year’s Sony Master Series A9G OLED TV like the X1 Ultimate Picture Processor, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support, Pixel Contrast Booster, Acoustic Surface Audio and the latest version of Android’s smart TV platform. It also gained X Motion Clarity, which creates a natural motion effect without suffering from the brightness loss caused by black frame insertion.
But Sony isn’t the only manufacturer that’s upped its OLED game this year — This Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV review explains why, despite the LG CX OLED TV leading our rankings among best TVs, this Sony set is the ultimate choice for home theater enthusiasts.
Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV: Price and availability
We reviewed the 65-inch model of the Sony Bravia A8H, which costs $2,499 (down from the $2,799 price offered at the time of this review). The OLED TV is available in one smaller, 55-inch size for $1,899.99.
The limited size models could turn off those with larger spaces, but in our experience most people should be able to accommodate 55-inch or 65-inch sets. To help you decide which version makes sense for you, we created a ‘What size TV should you buy?’ guide.
No matter which you choose, you should expect to see similar performance in the 55-inch variant compared to our 65-inch test model. Both sizes offer the same collection of features, from a bountiful port array to Sony’s X1 Ultimate Picture Processor.
Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV: Design
Sony is sticking to its minimalist aesthetic for the A8H with a sleek-yet-boxy design that pairs a slim OLED panel with a center-seated, squared-off compartment for the TV’s internal components. The outcome is very attractive, and the metallic chassis framing the set only adds to the allure.
A discrete Sony logo sits on the external bottom bezel of the 57 x 33 x 2-inch set, while the in-panel bezels are about one inch thick.
Unlike the flat stand of the A9G, the Sony Bravia A8H sports a pair of adjustable, cable-concealing feet that let it sit near-flush to a table or lift up a few inches. It can’t be raised quite high enough for large soundbars (we concurrently worked on our Sonos Arc review while testing the set) but some of the smaller choices on our list of the best soundbars could squeeze between the feet. Sony’s new G700 soundbar would pair nicely, too.
Consider mounting the A8H to the wall with the Sony SU-WL855 or a 300 x 300-millimeter VESA mount if you’re looking to design a fuller home theater, but the feet feel sturdy enough if you prefer to keep it grounded.
Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV: Ports
The port array is located behind the left side of the panel, with a headphone output, composite video input, 2 USB Type A ports and 1 HDMI port facing out for easy access.
There is a third USB port and 3 HDMI ports facing the wall, including one with HDMI ARC/eARC support. You’ll also find an ethernet port and RS-232 input for connecting certain AV peripherals on the back of the panel.
For those who want a Sony TV with HDMI 2.1 for an optimum gaming experience, you might want to look at the Sony X950H 4K LED TV instead, or the LG CX OLED if you demand OLED for your gaming TV. Both support the newer HDMI 2.1 standard, while all of the HDMI ports on the A8H are 2.0a.
Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV: Performance
For anecdotal testing we spent the most time viewing in standard picture mode as it seemed to offer the most accurate color, although the TV also offers an Auto picture mode that automatically selects a setting based on the content. Vivid punches up the picture’s vibrance and contrast, while Cinema mode adds a subtle yellow filter.
There’s also an optional light sensor that will optimize the set’s brightness according to ambient light, although it’s not available for HDR content and we didn’t notice obvious adjustments when watching cable.
We did notice this Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV’s inky blacks while watching “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” though. From the cavernous depths of space to the dark and tangled tresses of Adam Driver’s signature mane, black looked truly black even when challenged in high-contrast images. As he waded through eerie Exegol, Kylo Ren’s crossguard lightsaber flickered with an intentional red halo; and, upon discovering Emperor Palpatine, a haunting strobe effect flashed the screen between dark and intense bright. Many sets struggle when challenged with such speedy transitions, especially while maintaining cinematic contrast.
Similarly, as Rey took off on her Jedi-approved obstacle course, she appeared to glide through the Ajan Kloss jungle without sacrificing the drapery details of her caped getup. Overall, we found the set’s X Motion Clarity capabilities delivered a clear picture as advertised, thanks to the individually controlled pixels that are precisely used to minimize blur and maintain brightness.
But not all material comes in 4K like the Star Wars disc we used for testing, so we swapped it out for the standard Blu-ray one to see how it upscales regular HD content. Though some of the depth dissolved, we didn’t see any artifacts, graininess or other signs of an inferior picture.
We switched over to Planet Earth for the remainder of performance testing, vindicating the set of common concerns like banding and discoloration when viewing off-center. The cloudless sky of the Antarctic maintained a seamless ombre, while the brightness of the blue-tinted icecap held up from several viewing angles.
Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV: Test results
The A8H looked great in anecdotal testing, but sometimes TV manufacturers calibrate their displays in a way that makes the picture less true-to-life. For example, a set may boost the brightness or color saturation of a movie scene to make images pop more, even if that’s not what the content’s director intended. That’s why we run a series of lab tests — and in this case, the A8H both is, and isn’t, as accurate as we thought.
When we tested the Sony Bravia A8H with our X-Rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer and SpectraCal CalMAN Ultimate calibration software, the display was able to reproduce 108.94% of the Rec 709 color space. While this is excellent compared to premium LCD TVs, it’s worse than the Sony Master Series A9G (127.96%) and its most immediate rival, the LG CX OLED (134.57%).
This means you’ll find a broader selection of colors on the Sony A9G or LG CX, though that’s not to say you’ll be disappointed by the A8H, especially because it excels with color accuracy. In fact, it’s among the most accurate TVs we’ve tested. Accuracy is measured using a Delta-E rating, which is the deviation between how color is supposed to look and what actually shows up on screen. A smaller score is better (0 is perfect), and the A8H OLED earned an impressive 1.54.
That’s better than we’ve seen on other top performers, like the Sony A9G (2.7), the 2019 LG C9 OLED (1.88) and, yes, better than the newer LG CX (1.95). The only similarly-premium set to do better than the Sony Bravia A8H is the 2019 Samsung Q90 QLED (1.51).
Finally, while Sony claims that the A8H OLED isn’t meant for gaming (and the lack of HDMI 2.1 will hamper it when the new consoles come out this fall), it does offer decent gaming performance. We measured a lag time of 18 milliseconds, which is respectively responsive. But the LG CX’s lag time is just 13.1 milliseconds, making it the better OLED for gaming.
Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV: Audio
Acoustic Surface Audio has arrived for the Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV. With less powerful speakers it’s a slight step down from the Acoustic Surface Audio+ we liked in our Master Series A9G OLED review, but we experienced similarly premium sound. A pair of 10-watt actuators and a pair of 5-watt subwoofers behind the glass turn the entire OLED panel into the vibrational surface of a speaker.
The benefit to this stereo system is sound that seems to stem from where the subjects appear on screen. As ships zoomed from the left side of the screen towards the right and down towards a planet in The Rise of Skywalker, their buzzes and hums followed with precision.
Thanks to a combination of Acoustic Surface Audio and Voice Zoom, speech came out clear and favored. In fact, Planet Earth’s narrator sounded ethereal.
When listening to music at full volume, there’s a bit of vibrational distortion and vocals lose their clarity. But its max audio output is house-shakingly loud, so there’s really no need to turn the sound up that high.
Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV: Smart functions
Though Android TV is found on many midrange and budget sets, it proves it’s worthy of a higher caliber. On the Sony Bravia A8H, the ultra-responsive UI is a breeze to navigate, with Android TV’s rows showing a steady mix of your favorite content and recommendations for what to watch next. There’s also a customizable input menu and quick settings menu for making minor adjustments with limited visual interruption.
Chromecast comes built in and worked smoothly when we tried casting our Chrome browser to access a recorded Zoom workout class, but you might not find you need it much thanks to the +5,000 apps available to download through the Google Play store. Whether you want to enjoy your new HBO Max or Disney Plus subscription, watch free shows with Pluto or hop on the cable-cutting wagon with Sling, you should find nearly every service you like on the A8H.
As an Android TV-powered set, the A8H leans on Google Assistant for voice controls and smart home integration. When we signed in to our Google account, the set automatically showed up among our smart speakers and smart lights in the Google Home app. Though we could alter privacy settings and parental controls from the app, there’s also the option to make such adjustments right on the set.
The Sony Bravia A8H OLED lets you take advantage of the best Google Assistant commands and the best Google Home commands, so you can press your remote’s wake button to ask for the weather, change the channel or control your smart home devices. This proved helpful when we wanted to dim the Philip Hue lights in our home for movie night without getting up from our comfy nook on the couch.
And if you’re not keen on Google, the set is also compatible with Amazon Alexa (via Google Play app) and Apple HomeKit systems. iPhone, iPad and Mac users can also use AirPlay instead of Chromecast — an option we’d like to see more manufacturers offer.
Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV: Remote
The Sony Bravia A8H OLED remote is practically a clone of the 2019’s A9H one, which we found to be a spectacular improvement over the controller included with the company’s older sets. This one is long and slender, with soft matte buttons and dedicated launchers for Netflix and the Google Play library.
While a useful microphone status light opposite the power button that lets you know if Google Assistant is active, we wish the entire remote came backlit. Given the well-spaced and intuitive button layout, we didn’t find it particularly difficult to find what we were looking for in the dark, but it would still be nice to have visual assistance.
Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV: Verdict
The Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV delivers on everything you could look for in an OLED: Pure blacks, smooth motion and a sleek body to match. The fluidity of Android TV and thorough smart home compatibility are so complete that it feels like an afterthought, as though we should expect nothing less from a premium set.
If you want a practically-perfect OLED TV with premium picture and sound, we’re confident the Sony Bravia A8H is worth the cost. As for whether it’s the best OLED overall this year, some specific features and test results reveal it falls short of the slightly-cheaper LG CX OLED. But for those who care about watching movies at home through the perspective of the director’s chair, this is the ultimate premium option on the market.