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Who said a TV can’t have it all? The Sony A80J is a 4K OLED TV that packs all the features required to enhance every aspect of your TV viewing – and they all work harmoniously to achieve their goals. The 65-inch XR65A80J we’re reviewing is the mid-range model in the company’s 2021 Bravia XR OLED lineup, and while it doesn’t pack the brighter XR Contrast Pro found on the high-end Master Series A90J, it’s still powered by the same super-smart Cognitive Processor XR chip.
Up its sleeve, this 4K OLED TV boasts HDR, a 120Hz maximum refresh rate (along with Variable Refresh Rate, VRR), an ATSC 3.0 tuner, the sweltering new Google TV entertainment hub, that supports seamless connectivity options with other devices, and troves of Google apps and services, and several proprietary Sony smart technologies designed to make everything you see and hear more immersive at any given moment.
In addition to the above-mentioned Sony-specific picture and sound enhancement technologies, the Sony A80J has support for Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and IMAX Enhanced, alongside two HDMI 2.1 inputs with lots of integrated capabilities for next-gen gaming.
That said, the XR65A80J isn’t a cheap panel and its features are overkill for people who just want a nice-looking and great-sounding TV for their living room. But the Bravia XR A80J punches above that making it completely worth every buck you spend – and is hands down one of the best TVs you can buy.
Sony XR65A80J Specs
|Screen size||65 inches|
|HDR||HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision|
|Refresh rate||120 Hz|
|Ports||4 HDMI; 3 USB|
|Audio||10 watts x 3=|
|Smart TV software||Google TV|
|Size||57.1 x 33 x 2.1 inches [w/o stand]|
|Weight||49.2 pounds [w/o stand]|
Price and Availability
- COGNITIVE PROCESSOR XR – Revolutionary TV processing technology that understands how...
- XR TRILUMINOS PRO - Rediscover everything you watch with billions of accurate colors and...
- XR OLED CONTRAST – Feel the beauty of OLED contrast with pure blacks and lifelike...
For our Sony A80J review, we assessed the 65-inch model, the XR65A80J. Since the other two available models, the 55-inch XR55A80J and the 77-inch XR77A80J, share the same core features and technologies, we expected the viewing experience and performance of all three iterations to be similar, and our recommendations for the 65-inch XR65A80J may as well apply to the other sets.
Design, Connection and Controls
With the Sony A80J, the company keeps tabs on its tradition of designing smart-looking TVs. This mid-range beauty sports a flush metal bezel that’s barely visible and a minimalist matte black finish on the edges and rear panel. The 65in A80J measures 57.13 x 13 x 33 inches and weighs 51.8 pounds, and overall build quality is super impressive.
The A80J offers three-way setup options, which is a great idea that provides you with multiple installation choices. You can go for a wide setting, a narrow setting for narrow stands, or raised setting that gives you clearance to add a soundbar under the screen. Alternatively, you can wall-mount it via a 300×300 VESA bracket.
Connectivity is good, with four HDMI inputs, three of which are down-firing and one facing the sides. One of the downward-facing inputs supports eARC, and all HDMI inputs support 4K/60Hz, HDCP 2.3, and high dynamic range in the format of HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10+.
As ever with all of Sony’s 2021 OLEDs, including flagship models, only two of the HDMI inputs support 4K/120Hz and ALLM (auto low latency mode). Also, since these inputs support eARC, it means anyone with the XBOX Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles will not be able to enjoy the benefits of both simultaneously, you’ll have to use one at a time.
For physical connections, there are the aerial, satellite, and Ethernet ports for wired connections, as well as an optical digital output, AV inputs, a headphone socket, and three USB-A ports. Wireless connectivity comes in way of built-in Wi-Fi (802.11ac), Bluetooth 4.2, Chromecast, and AirPlay 2.
The included remote is the all-familiar Sony zapper, it looks cool, with curved corners and a brushed metal effect. The wand is comfortable to hold and is easy to use with one hand. The buttons are well laid out, with decent navigation and playback controls, along with dedicated access buttons for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and YouTube.
Google TV and Smart features
Google TV is a big step up from Android TV, with a more intuitive interface that’s remarkably cleaner, more useful, and better at displaying the content you’ll want to watch. This new interface is designed for TVs from the ground up, rather than just remodeling the Android operating system for smart devices. The result is a platform that’s fluid to use and more responsive in operation.
The homepage loads up content in a way that’s completely in sync with the dedicated easy access key features and apps, while focusing on the items you want to watch, providing lots of opportunities to customize the layout. All the main streaming apps are present and well arranged, including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube, and other catch-up services.
Notably, the platform includes voice search, which makes finding your favorite content even easier, and there’s built-in Google Assistant. We reviewed the Amazon Fire TV Omni that features built-in Alexa search, but it doesn’t match the Assistant here, that turns the A90J into a fully functioning smart assistant, and it supports Chromecast too. However, if you prefer Alexa, it works here too, you can pair it up with your Amazon Echo Dot, too; and for Apple fans, there’s Airplay 2 and support for HomeKit.
Image Quality and HDR Performance
The Sony A80J builds on the company’s imaging prowess by combining the strengths of OLED with its new Cognitive Processor XR that in Sony’s own words “emulates how the human eye actually sees the real world.” Thta2’s a really big promise, but Sony knows a thing or two about picture quality, and the new processor lives up to that promise.
As designed, the A80J is packed with excellent picture and color uniformity and no signs of banding, dirty screen effect, or color tinting anywhere on the panel. Issues with reflection and color-shifting are handled well, and the panel’s wide viewing angles ensure that everyone enjoys optimal image, no matter where they’re sitting.
For some reason, Sony decided not to include Filmmaker Mode, which is surprising since it’s the only TV maker that owns a movie studio. Instead, you have a Custom picture mode that does the job nicely with an average Delta E of less than one reflecting impressive accuracy across the color spectrum in SDR (the closer to zero a Delta E score is, the more accurately the colours are reproduced). There’s some slight excess of blue in the grayscale, but that’s easily corrected using the calibration controls.
The Sony A80J has impressive contrast and delivers effective upscaling and processing. Watching a film like Interstellar brings to the fore the deep blacks and impressive shadow details, with the white spaceships really popping against the dark background. Also, the processing does a fantastic job of drawing out every pixel to deliver exceptional sharpness.
Motion handling is always Sony’s strong point, and they don’t disappoint on the A80J, offering processing that keeps the action flowing smoothly while retaining the all-important cinematic feeling. There’s some obvious judder, blurring, and some unwanted artifacts, but at the same time, the processing doesn’t suffer from the awful soap opera effect.
Elsewhere, the Sony A80J delivers impressive HDR performance. While this panel doesn’t have the brighter panel found on the flagship A90J, it’s still capable of delivering just under 700cd/m2 on a 10% window, and 130cd/m2 on a full-field pattern. It covers 99% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and does so with decent accuracy, reaching an average Delta E score of 2.2. It’s also able to take advantage of the OLED’s built-in strengths to deliver deep blacks, enhanced shadow detail, and precise pixel levels when rendering spectacular highlights.
All Sony TVs don’t have a separate picture mode when watching HDR10 or HLG, with the TV staying in the same mode but changing certain settings. Not a bad thing at all, and the tone mapping in Custom mode is excellent, tracking the ST.2084 curve for HDR precisely.
Gaming and Audio Performance
Used for gaming, the Sony A80J is good but not great. For starters, there’s the issue we mentioned previously of having only two inputs that support 4K/120Hz and ALLM, and there’s the tendency to dim the image when a HUD has been onscreen for a while. This is obviously to avoid issues with image retention or screen burn but can be annoying if you’re into marathon gaming sessions.
Otherwise, the A80J’s gaming credentials are decent, with a 16ms input lag time in-game mode with a 60Hz signal. This Sony also supports 4K/120Hz gaming, and under these circumstances, the input lag drops to a very respectable 9ms.
Overall, gameplay is slick and responsive, the motion handling is excellent, and the images are impressively detailed. Games like Call of Duty on the PS5 are displayed with punchy HDR, spectacularly bright highlighted, saturated colors, and deep blacks.
Sony employs Acoustic Surface Audio+ tech that cleverly turns the screen into a speaker by using a pair of rear actuators to literally vibrate the panel and produce sound. The vibration is imperceptible to the human eye, but the audio comes through the screen. The addition of two front-facing bass drivers does a good job in boosting the low-end performance and combined with 30W of built-in power3, the result is a surprising sweet sonic performance.
Sony A80J Review: Verdict
The Sony A80J is a sweltering mid-range that punches above its price, delivering impressive pictures, great sound, and a robust set of features. The addition of Google TV platform makes it even smarter, resulting in an immersive viewing experience with a responsive and intuitive interface, customizable layouts, and all the benefits of a mainstream 4K OLED TV.
The remote is effective and there’s a decent selection of connections, although including only two HDMI 2.1 inputs feel a little stingy on Sony’s part. But that slight complaint aside, the TV’s gaming performance is impressive and the input lag low.
All variants in the Sony A80J series have superb picture quality with both SDR and HDR thanks to the panels’ accurate colors, deep blacks, and impressively bright highlights. Let’s not forget the top-notch picture processing, excellent motion handling, and spot-on mapping with HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. There’s no HDR10+, but the A80J is hard to fault otherwise.
It even sounds sweet, and audiophiles will love Sony’s Acoustic Surface tech, so if you’re looking for a top-drawer midrange badass Bravia XR 4K OLED TV, look no further.
Is Sony A80J worth it?
As OLED TVs have gradually been notching downward in price, even reaching the point where you can get some killer models for well under $2,000, it has become practically challenging to make a case for whether spending just a little more on something higher-end is worth it.
But in the case of the Sony A80J, its splendid feature set and excellent performance backed by the Google TV platform make it worth every dollar you invest here. The killer sound output and abundant, finely tuned technologies and Google TV with all the associated tie-ins make for a tantalizing TV. It’s our newest Editors’ Choice for midrange 4K OLED TVs.
The Sony A80J is an excellent mid-range 4K OLED TV that offers superb image accuracy for movie viewing in dim surroundings with excellent sound quality and the ever-impressive Google TV smart platform.
- Excellent HDR10 and Dolby Vision
- Cognitive Processor XR image quality
- Outstanding SDR image accuracy after calibration
- Only two HDMI 2.1 inputs
- Not as accurate out of the box (No Filmmaker Mode)
Last update on 2023-09-27 at 20:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API