- Rich blacks, intense contrasts, sharp images
- HDR in three standards, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision
- USB recording with external hard drive
- High power consumption
The Sony Bravia XR-55A80K doesn’t have the excellent QD-Oled panel of the Sony A95K but instead uses an Oled panel from LG Display. This panel has the Oled Contrast Pro label, which generally delivers a higher peak brightness, similar to the Oled Evo panels from LG. The TV also features a perfect Sony Cognitive XR Processor. The Acoustic Surface audio system is still present, with its two vibration motors broadcasting sound through the OLED panel aided by two woofers. Finally, this TV uses the Google TV system – which is none other than Android TV with a specific interface – with its share of apps (Netflix 4K, YouTube, VLC, etc.), the Google Cast functionality and the Google voice assistant via the remote control’s built-in microphone. There is also compatibility with HomeKit and Apple AirPlay.
This Bravia A80K uses the same Oled panel as the LG 65C2. It is, therefore, the latest generation panel whose operation remains identical to the previous panels: each pixel is composed of four sub-pixels (green, red, blue and white). Since 2019, the white and red sub-pixels have significantly improved the panel’s maximum brightness while maintaining a colour temperature close to 6500 K. As always, with Oled technology, viewing angles are excellent here. We measured a loss of brightness of only 18% at 45° and no variation in black, which is absolute. In comparison, the best LCD TVs using an optical filter, such as the Sony 65XH9505 or the Samsung QE75Q950TS, show an average loss of brightness of 35-40% on the sides at 45°. In contrast, TVs with a QD-Oled panel, such as the Sony A95K or Samsung S95B, have the best viewing angles, with almost no loss at 45°.
As is often the case with the Japanese manufacturer, the factory calibration is impeccable. However, it is no longer the Cinema mode that offers the best rendering but the Expert mode. We measured the average delta E at only 2.5, a value below 3, below which the eye no longer perceives a difference between the colour displayed on the screen and the perfect colour. The colours displayed by this TV in Expert mode can be considered accurate to those sent by the source and consistent with the director’s vision. The gamma curve – which represents the accuracy of the greyscale distribution – is also perfectly reproduced. The average measured at 2.43 agrees with the reference (2.4). The curve is stable across the spectrum except for a peak in the very light greys. As is often the case with Sony televisions, the average temperature is closer to 7200 K than the 6500 K reference. As a result, the picture has a slight blue tinge. The most important thing is the stability of the curve over the entire spectrum, which is the case with this model, but we would like to see a setting that would allow us to get closer to 6500 K.
Oled technology allows for a contrast ratio that can be considered infinite since each pixel can be turned off independently. This means that the black can be total, regardless of the brightness of the white of the other pixels. Blacks are measured at less than 0.0049 cd/m² – our probe could not pick up a lower value. This contrast is still impressive, and you can enjoy all the nuances of the image, even in complete darkness, without any blooming effect.
The Bravia A80K is powered by Sony’s Cognitive XR Processor, which is as powerful as ever. Scaling is very smooth in Expert mode, which is the most faithful. With the X-Reality Creation Pro engine manually set to maximum, the TV does not hesitate to add details at the risk of showing artefacts. In some cases, the scaled version offers more detail than the native version. The MotionFlow motion compensation engine is finally up to par with the competition, and moving objects are perfectly sharp. Sony now claims to be doing as well as Philips, LG and Panasonic.
The Bravia XR-55A80K supports HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision. However, Sony is skipping the HDR10+ promoted by Samsung and Panasonic. It’s important to note that the HDMI ports are configured in 8 bits by default. To unblock them, go to Settings > TV viewing > External inputs > HDMI signal format > Enhanced format.
The HDR rendering is perfect, as with all Oled TVs from the manufacturer. With a signal at 10,000 cd/m², the reference EOTF curve is perfectly followed up to 65% luminance. After that, this model smoothes the curve to retain detail in bright scenes up to maximum capabilities. With an average delta E measured at 3, colours can be true to those sent from the source. On the other hand, the peak brightness limited to 650 cd/m² is disappointing, especially for an Oled TV using a new panel.
In comparison, the LG 65C2 exceeds 800 cd/m². The Japanese company is already one of the most conservative Oled TV manufacturers in terms of peak brightness, probably to limit the risk of marking, but the gap is widening with the competition, which now exceeds 800 cd/m², and even 1000 cd/m² on the most high-end models (LG 65G2, Panasonic HZ2000 and QD-Oled). Fortunately, the infinite contrast of the Oled panel allows for a dynamic image that enhances HDR content, primarily since the TV perfectly covers the colour spectrum of the DCI-P3 space, which is widely used in cinema.
The Sony A80K is a perfect gaming companion. We measured the display delay at just 16.8 ms in game mode, which is just over one frame delay at 60 Hz. That’s slightly more than LG and Samsung, which drop to less than 10ms, but it’s still an excellent value, which means that there’s no lag between the action on the controller and its impact on the screen. In terms of afterglow, Oled technology is still unrivalled on the market, with a sub-millisecond time.
Sony is one of the few manufacturers offering a perfectly calibrated game mode without manually changing the settings. The colours this TV displays can be considered faithful, whether in HDR (DE 3) or SDR (DE 2.8) game mode. The temperature is also within limits, and only the gamma is slightly low (2.1), probably to clear up dark areas.
In terms of connectivity, the Bravia A80K has two HDMI 2.1 inputs (HDMI 3 and 4) with VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) support – which helps to remove picture tearing and jerkiness -, 4K/120Hz and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) for automatic switching to game mode.
As is often the case with Sony, the design of the TV is very sober. This Bravia 55A80K has an impeccable finish. As with last year’s model, the feet can be adjusted in three positions: in the middle, outside (as in our photo) or upper position. In the latter position, the panel is raised by 5 cm to facilitate the placement of a sound bar.
The slim adjustable feet are straightforward and reinforce the premium aspect of the TV. The logo is discreetly displayed at the bottom left of the screen.
The Oled panel is no longer detached from the electronics, probably to reinforce the structure and avoid damaging the panel during installation. This means that this Oled TV does not have the thinness of its cousins on the top. The space requirement on the TV stand is always related to the depth of the legs, which in this case are 33 cm deep. This model is right on our reference TV stand (160 x 40 cm).
The rear of the TV is exceptionally well-designed, and the connections are hidden behind a cover. Unfortunately, there is no cable management system, nor even the tiny clips that are often very useful for routing cables near the feet, as on the Sony 65XH9505. The picture shows the 300 x 300 mm VESA-compatible mounting holes.
The connectivity consists of four HDMI inputs, including two HDMI 2.1 (HDMI 3 and 4), two USB ports, including one USB 3.0, an Ethernet port, an optical digital audio output, a composite input (yellow), a PCMCIA port (CI+ Common Interface), a rake antenna connector and a satellite connector. The device has a dual DVB-T/T2 (DTT), DVB-S/S2 (satellite) and DVB-C (cable) tuner. It also boasts 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wifi support and Bluetooth 4.0 for connection to a wireless audio device (headphones or speaker).
The Sony Bravia A80K runs the Google TV system – a rebranded version of Android TV – which retains all the Android TV apps and focuses on content. The Google system is smooth and responsive. The Chromecast and AirPlay 2 features allow you to display a video stream sent from a smartphone, tablet or computer. The manufacturer also retains the quick access settings bar that avoids going through the Android settings. Each set now has a description, which is always helpful for newcomers. Finally, this TV has a one-year subscription to Bravia Core, Sony’s Ultra HD Blu-ray quality VoD/SVoD service.
As with all Android TV sets, the first start-up takes longer. In this case, it takes 38 s. This start-up starts as soon as the TV is connected to the mains. The TV displays the Sony logo for 20-25 seconds, and then the Android logo appears. This is much longer than the start-up time of Samsung’s Tizen or LG’s WebOS, which takes less than 10 seconds. Fortunately, the TV wakes up in just 4 seconds and consumes less than 1W on standby.
The small remote control on this TV has a plastic finish that looks like aluminium. It loses the automatic key backlighting system found on higher-end models but retains the essential microphone for easier searching than typing on an on-screen keyboard. The buttons don’t make any noise, and the most used ones fall naturally under the thumb. The second remote control is the most basic but has the number pad and multimedia keys.
The Sony Bravia XR-55A80K features an Acoustic Surface Audio+ system consisting of three 10W vibration motors that vibrate the OLED panel – a suitable replacement for tweeters – and two 10W woofers placed behind the unit. This TV offers an exact audio rendering that has nothing to envy the most high-end models. The new audio calibration process using the remote control microphone works very well and adapts the sound to the TV’s position and the room’s viewer.
The Sony Bravia XR-55A80K is a perfect OLED TV. It delivers a perfectly calibrated picture – a trademark of the Japanese brand – and benefits from a quality audio system as well as little extras such as the three positions for the feet or the Bravia Core high-quality streaming system. However, we regret that the peak brightness is lower than the competition, and the power consumption is a bit high. The overall experience is still perfect for this TV set, which is suitable for movie and series fans and gamers.
Sony XR-55A80K – 55 Inch - BRAVIA XR™ - OLED – 4K Ultra HD – High Dynamic Range (HDR) – Smart TV (Google TV) - (2022 model) + 5 Year Manufacturer Warranty
|Current Price||£1,613.29||September 23, 2023|
|Highest Price||£1,804.66||August 4, 2023|
|Lowest Price||£1,099.00||April 30, 2023|
Last price changes
|£1,613.29||September 21, 2023|
|£1,618.13||September 20, 2023|
|£1,618.19||September 15, 2023|
|£1,624.75||September 10, 2023|
|£1,624.41||September 7, 2023|