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Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV review (hands on)

The Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV’s beautiful 4K picture, impressive motion smoothing and abundant smart home compatibility make it a competitive sell, even for an Android TV of its price

Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV review
(Image: © Sony)

Our Verdict

The Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV’s beautiful 4K picture, impressive motion smoothing and abundant smart home compatibility make it a competitive sell, even for an Android TV of its price.

For

  • Thin, sleek chassis
  • Excellent blacks
  • X Motion Clarity make a difference
  • Competitive price by OLED standards
  • Highly customizable UI
  • Google Assistant built in, plus Alexa and HomeKit support
  • Mic status light on the remote

Against

  • Only two size options
  • Ambient light sensor feels limited
  • Remote isn’t backlit
  • No HDMI 2.1
Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV: Specs

Price: $2,799.99
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

The Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV sits a tier below the brand’s “Master” 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 is vying against our LG CX OLED TV review for our top ranking among best TVs. We haven’t conducted our typical lab testing to back up our anecdotal experience, but based on our preliminary LG CX OLED vs. Sony A8H OLED face-off it’s possible the results of those performance tests could crown a champion.

Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV: Price and availability

We reviewed the 65-inch model of the Sony Bravia A8H, which costs $2,799.99 and is available for order as of this writing. 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 accomodate 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. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

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.

Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV review

(Image credit: Sony)

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.

Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV review

(Image credit: Sony)

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.

Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV review

(Image credit: Sony)

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 a better gaming experience, you’d want to look at the Sony X950H 4K LED TV instead. All of the HDMI ports on the A8H are 2.0a.

Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV: Performance

Sony Bravia A8H OLED TV claims to benefit from natural and precise color reproduction, as well as Pixel Contrast Booster technology that enhances bright areas without desaturating the picture. Brightness is a common disadvantage for non-HDR sets, especially in natural-lit settings, so we’ll need to test those claims in our labs to see how they hold up.

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. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

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: 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.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

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: Android TV and smart home compatibility

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.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

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.

(Image credit: Sony)

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. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

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

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, we’ll still need to get it into our lab to compare with the slightly-cheaper LG CX 9 and review competing options from Philips and Vizio.