At R55,000, the 65in option offers a wonderful viewing experience thanks to a handful of exceptional features. Sure, you will find those features on other, less expensive OLED panels out there – but Sony’s packing a few highlights here: great build quality, a sleek operating system, a 120Hz refresh rate, and optimisation for the PlayStation 5.
Sony’s slate of black slabs made their way back into South Africa fairly recently. Locals now have more than a handful of choices when buying a new TV. Even more recently, the company launched its new Bravia XR sets in the country. From that lot, we got to admire the Bravia XR A80J for an extended period.
And that’s because we couldn’t take our eyes off it. Our 65in A80J handled everything we could throw at it with exceptional ease at the hardware, software and AI wizardry levels. Let’s get into some of the specifics.
Window to anywhere
If you’re after the buzzwords that accompany higher-specced TVs, then you’re in luck. This one comes with a fully-specced OLED panel, caps at 120Hz, offers 4K playback and includes Dolby Vision Atmos.
The paper-thin display sits atop two aluminium feet that can be installed in three different ways. There’s a ‘standard’ position and a ‘narrow’ option designed for smaller tables or stands. There’s also a ‘soundbar’ setup that lifts the panel slightly higher — we appreciated this more than we expected to. Setup is extremely easy thanks to these versatile feet that just slide into the back of the TV. Attach a few cables, and you’re ready to power on.
Sony’s TV interface is surprisingly responsive, offering an Android TV-based operating system with a sleek Bravia skin. Navigation is intuitive, and logging into your Google account quickly syncs all of your streaming services with the unit.
Once set up, you can throw just about anything you want up on the screen. Our favourites were: 4K films/content and 4K anime. Playing God of War and Horizon: Forbidden West via the PlayStation 5 console was more or less a religious experience. But we’re sure that Sony knew that when they designed this thing.
The Sony A80J is an OLED, which means each pixel can be controlled individually, including being turned off. That’s why you get those deep black hues on these – the pixels are actually turned off, instead of emitting any light. It makes for beautifully bright colours, and striking contrast, no matter what you’re consuming.
Here you also get support for various HDR formats, including Dolby Vision. That means content streamed from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Sony’s own Bravia Core looks spectacular. We highly recommend checking out Amazon Prime Video’s Wheel of Time series. Yes, you can watch it on Sony’s new Bravia too.
OLED displays all offer a somewhat similar experience, but Sony ups the ante with improved processing capacity. When watching lower bitrate content from streaming services, banding may pop up – and Sony’s newly developed processing and software wizardry smooths out lower bitrate content to offer a better experience overall.
You can’t always win, however. And the A80J, like most OLED panels, suffers from lower brightness than LCD or mini-LED counterparts. We found it best to view in a darker environment. But it’s absolutely not a deal-breaker – especially for anyone who mainly consumes content at night or a darkened room.
We found the OLED performed exceptionally well when handling the extravagant colours in Demon Slayer’s Entertainment District arc. Don’t be surprised if we only buy an OLED TV just to watch post-2021 anime.
Another obvious standout feature is the A80J’s capacity to handle gaming. It seamlessly connects with the PlayStation 5 via HDMI 2.1, while also offering a feature letting you control the PlayStation 5 with the TV’s remote.
We managed to play a few next-gen games, including the brilliantly upscaled God of War from 2018 and recently released Horizon: Forbidden West. Videogames are getting mighty pretty, and you get to make use of those next-gen upgrades here, like a 120Hz refresh rate at 4K with HDR tone mapping. The results are… mind-blowing? Yeah, we think mind-blowing works in this context.
Sony Bravia XR A80J verdict
It’s wonderful seeing Sony’s Bravia panels stocked in South African retailers once again. The likes of the Bravia XR A80J (and its siblings) offer a helluva lot of brilliant tech packed into a handsome TV set. At R55,000, the 65in option offers a wonderful viewing experience thanks to a handful of exceptional features. Sure, you will find those features on other, less expensive OLED panels out there – but Sony’s packing a few highlights here: great build quality, a sleek operating system, a 120Hz refresh rate, and optimisation for the PlayStation 5. You could probably ask for more, but you won’t get it in a package this attractive.