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Sony A8F 55-inch OLED Smart TV review: Ultra-slim device with great acoustic sound

There is support for Dolby Pulse which enables high quality audio output.

, ET Bureau|
Aug 09, 2018, 03.11 PM IST
Sony A8F 55-inch OLED SMart TV
Sony A8F 55-inch OLED SMart TV

Rs 3,29,000

Rating: ****

Specifications: 55-inch OLED panel, 3840 x 2160 pixels, HDR 10 support, 4K HDR X1 Extreme processor, 4 x HDMI inputs, 3 x USB ports, composite, optical audio, IR blaster, 3.5mm audio out, Ethernet, Acoustic Surface (Actuator + Subwoofer) audio, WiFi ac, Bluetooth, Chromecast built-in, DTS Digital surround, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse, 16GB storage, Android TV OS

Pros: Gorgeous OLED display with perfect black levels, slim bezels, loud audio with clarity and bass, Android OS, preloaded Netflix and Amazon Video apps with 4K support, great upscaling capability

Cons: TV takes time to start from cold boot, an ugly remote for a beautiful TV, competitor’s OLED TVs are cheaper

Sony’s first OLED TV launched last year (Bravia A1) and we absolutely loved the 4 side slim bezels, floating panel design and the superb performance. However, it did have a few flaws which Sony is addressing with a new OLED TV range called A8F.

Like the A1, this has the ‘One Slate’ design. The big change is that the A8F is even slimmer compared to its predecessor. There’s also a change in the stand design — while the A1 had a non-removable stand, the A8F has a standard tabletop stand that can be removed while wall mounting. Another thing we love is the attention to detail from Sony with respect to cable management — there are covers to hide all the cables. This gives the TV a clean look even when viewed from the back. The sleek bezels around the screen look fantastic and the only thing visible in front is the indicator LED (which can be switched off if it distracts you).

This OLED panel can easily stand neck and neck with the ones from LG. It delivers perfect blacks and vivid colours thanks to the 8 million+ self-illuminating pixels. Sony has loaded up various display technologies to deliver unmatched viewing experience. Some of them include Live Colour technology, precision colour mapping, super bit mapping 4K HDR, and Triluminos technology. Marketing jargon aside, it all works together to ensure pixel-perfect colours with amazing contrast. In addition, Sony’s X1 Extreme processor removes noise and offers the best upscaling capabilities we have seen on an OLED TV so far. Even SD content from a DTH box was upscaled to remove artifacts.

For audio, the A8F uses the same acoustic surface technology as the Sony A1. There are two actuators behind the screen that vibrate it, converting it into one giant speaker. There is also a sub-woofer for added bass. It’s a wonder how they’ve done it because getting good sound from ultra slim TVs seems near impossible. There is also support for Dolby Pulse which enables high quality audio output even with low bit-rate broadcast audio from set-top boxes — great for SD quality content.

Sony has stuck to the stock Google Android TV OS on this new OLED TV instead of a custom or proprietary system. The interface is clean and you get access to multiple apps via the Google Play Store. Sony preloads YouTube, Netflix, Google Play and Amazon Prime Video out of the box. What’s more, all these apps come with 4K playback capability — a feature you do not get on a TV unless its running official Android TV. While the interface works smoothly the one hiccup is the startup time. It takes almost a minute to start the TV from a cold boot and this can end up frustrating you if you power it off frequently.

Since the Sony A8F is so beautiful, it is more heartbreaking to see it paired with an ugly, large remote filled with buttons. Sony needs to take cue from the remote design of TVs like Samsung’s QLED or the Mi TV remote. For its price, the Sony A8F is a fantastic offering as far as OLED TVs are concerned. We loved the design, performance and innovative features. However, competition is never far behind and OLED TV prices are dropping. LG has recently launched OLED TVs with built-in AI. Their 55-inch smart OLED TV with 4k HDR is significantly less at Rs 2,64,990. It may not have the striking design or Acoustic Surface tech, but the price difference makes it something to consider if you’re in the market for futuristic display technology.

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