- Infinite contrast thanks to Oled technology
- High-performance motion compensation engine
- Audio system
- HDMI 2.1 compatibility
- Maximum brightness peak lags
- Oled and QD-Oled displays
- Remote control not backlit
- Only two inputs are HDMI 2.1 compatible
The Japanese manufacturer’s most affordable OLED model, the Bravia XR-65A80L, is packed with Sony technologies such as the XR Cognitive processor, the Acoustic Surface audio system, the Bravia Core high-quality streaming application and microphones built directly into the television for hands-free control.
The Sony Bravia XR-65A80L features an Oled EX panel from LG Display with no special cooling system. Branded Oled Contrast Pro by Sony, this panel typically displays a slightly higher peak brightness than that found on entry-level models. The excellent Sony Cognitive XR Processor is still in place, as is the Acoustic Surface audio system with its two vibration motors that diffuse sound through the OLED panel, aided by two woofers. Sony is still relying on Google TV – which is none other than Android TV with a specific interface – with its batch of apps (Netflix 4K, YouTube, VLC, etc.) and features like Google Cast and the Google voice assistant that can be used hands-free via two microphones built into the TV. The set is also HomeKit and Apple AirPlay 2 compatible.
The Bravia XR-65A80L retails for around £2,300. It is also available in a 55-inch version (approx. 140 cm) under the reference XR-55A80L for £1,700, a 77-inch version (Sony XR-77A80L, approx. 196 cm) for £4,000 and an 83-inch version (Sony XR-83A80L, approx. 211 cm) for £5,000.
This Bravia A80L uses the same OLED panel as the LG 65C2. It is an Oled EX panel, which works in the same way as its predecessors: each pixel is made up of four sub-pixels (green, red, blue and white). Since 2019, the white and red sub-pixels have been larger to improve the panel’s maximum brightness while maintaining a colour temperature close to 6,500 K. As always, with Oled technology, the viewing angles here are excellent. We measured a loss of brightness of just 20% at 45°, with no variation in black, which is, therefore, absolute. Only televisions equipped with a QD-Oled panel, such as the Sony A95K or Samsung S95B, offer the best viewing angles, with virtually no loss of brightness at 45°.
This is now commonplace at Sony: out-of-the-box calibration is excellent. In Expert mode, we measured the average delta E at just 2.6, a value below 3, the limit below which the eye no longer perceives any difference between the colour displayed on the screen and the ideal colour. The colours displayed by this television in Expert mode can be considered faithful to those sent by the source and in line with the director’s vision. The gamma curve – representing the accuracy of the distribution of grey levels – is very well reproduced. The average measured at 2.33 is fairly close to the reference value (2.4). As is often the case with Sony televisions, the average temperature is closer to 7200 K than the 6500 K reference value. As a result, the picture tends very slightly towards blue. The most important thing is the stability of the curve over the whole spectrum, which is the case with this model, but we would like to see a setting that gets closer to 6500 K.
Oled technology allows us to obtain a contrast ratio that can be considered infinite since each pixel can switch off completely independently. The black can therefore be total, whatever the brightness of the white of the other pixels. Blacks are measured at less than 0.0049 cd/m² – our probe was unable to detect a lower value. This contrast is as impressive as ever, and you can enjoy every nuance of the image, even in complete darkness, without any blooming effect (the halo around light objects on a dark background).
Like its predecessor, the Bravia A80L features Sony’s Cognitive XR Processor, which is as powerful as ever. Scaling is very smooth in Expert mode, the most faithful mode. With the X-Reality Creation Pro engine manually set to maximum, the television does not hesitate to add detail at the risk of causing artefacts to appear. In some cases, the scaled version displays more detail than the native version. For its part, the MotionFlow motion compensation engine is finally up to scratch with the competition, and moving objects are perfectly sharp. Sony can now pride itself on doing as well as Philips, LG and Panasonic.
The Bravia XR-65A80L is compatible with HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision. Sony is still opting out of the HDR10+ promoted by Samsung and Panasonic. It’s worth noting that the HDMI ports are configured in 8-bit by default. To unblock them, go to Settings > TV viewing > External inputs > HDMI signal format > Enhanced format.
HDR rendering is perfect, as with all the manufacturer’s Oled TVs. With a 10,000 cd/m² signal, the reference EOTF curve is perfectly followed up to 65% luminance. After that, this model smoothes the curve to retain detail in very bright scenes up to maximum capacity. With an average delta E measured at 3.1, colours can almost be considered faithful to those sent by the source. Peak brightness reaches 745 cd/m², a little better than the 650 cd/m² of last year’s model but is still far from what the best TVs offer this year.
In comparison, the Sony A95K and Samsung S95B QD-Oled TVs come close to 1000 cd/m². The LG 65G3, with its Oled Meta panel equipped with micro-lenses, does even better, with peak brightness close to 1,500 cd/m². Fortunately, the infinite contrast of the Oled panel delivers a highly dynamic picture that brings out the best in HDR content, especially as the TV perfectly covers the colour spectrum of the DCI-P3 space, widely used in cinema.
The Sony A80L is a perfect companion for video games. We measured the display delay at just 16.7 ms in game mode or just over one frame of delay at 60 Hz. That’s slightly more than LG and Samsung, which drop to less than 10 ms, but it’s still an excellent value, eliminating any lag between the action on the controller and its repercussion on the screen. In terms of afterglow, OLED technology is still unrivalled on the market, with a time of less than one millisecond.
Sony is one of the few manufacturers offering a perfectly calibrated game mode without manually changing the settings. The colours displayed by this TV can be considered faithful, whether in HDR (DE 3.1) or SDR (DE 2.8) gaming mode. The temperature is also within limits, and only the gamma is slightly low (2.1), probably to clarify dark areas.
Among the HDMI sockets, two are 2.1 standards (HDMI sockets 3 and 4) and compatible with VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) – which eliminates image tearing and jerkiness -, 4K/120 Hz and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) for automatic switching to game mode.
The Sony Bravia XR-65A80L features an Acoustic Surface Audio+ system comprising three 10W vibration motors that vibrate the OLED screen – a useful replacement for tweeters – and two 10W woofers behind the unit. The audio reproduction is exact and has nothing to envy the most high-end models. The new audio calibration process using the remote control microphone works very well, adapting the sound to the position of the TV and the viewer in the room.
The Sony Bravia XR-65A80L is an outstanding all-around television. It’s just as suitable for film buffs as for TV series fans, not forgetting video games. While it’s not the best TV on the market, it offers a delightful overall experience, thanks to its precise audio system, two remote controls, two-position stands and built-in microphones for hands-free control. A great value!
Sony BRAVIA XR | XR-65A80L | OLED | 4K HDR | Google TV | ECO PACK | BRAVIA CORE | Perfect for PlayStation5 | Metal Flush Surface Design
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