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Sony A80J vs A8H Review (XR-55A80J vs XBR-55A8H, XR-65A80J vs XBR-65A8H

by on June 5, 2021
 



Sony A80J vs A8H Review

The Sony A80J is the one of two models of OLED TVS that released by Sony in 2021. It is the step-down model of the Sony A9J, the top model of Sony’2 2021 4K OLED TV. Meanwhile, the Sony A8H is the predecessor of the A8H in 2020. As we have known, all models of OLED TVS including the A80J and A8H have an incredible picture quality. The strong point that offered is on their infinite contrast ratio, nearly perfect black uniformity, near instant pixel response time, and also wide viewing angle coverage. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean OLED TV is superior to the LED TV at all aspects. As we have known, there is not yet OLED TVs that can hits above 1000 nits of peak brightness, making they cannot show highlight as intended by content creator. Additionally, OLED TV is also not suitable for a very bright room due their limited peak brightness. Additionally, the other major shortcoming is that they have a risk to permanent burn in, especially when they show static image for a long time.

Why we discuss in above globally, not specific to the Sony A80J and A8H? This because is that all OLED panel of OLED TVs which available in the market are made by one companion, which is LG. So, what are affected by the panel performance like contrast, pixel response time, viewing angle coverage, etc, delivered by each is not much different. The difference is more due to the panel variance. This means, among a premium OLED TV or entry-level OLED TV, the picture produced by them is not much different. Their difference is usually more focused on design and features.

Come back to the Sony A8H and A80J, they both have good picture quality overall. They both are slightly more affordable to the A9J, the top models of the Sony’s 2021 OLED TV lineup. But even so, they come with almost the same picture quality and features than the step-up model. In addition to what influenced by their panel, both of them also have great performance on what influenced by their image processor like input lags, BFI mode, VRR, etc. In general, as long as you don’t watch them in a very bright room, both of them are impressive TVs for mixed usage, whether for watching movies, TV Shows, Sports, HDR Content, or playing games.

In the market, the Sony A8H is only available in 2 screen sizes variant only, which is 55 inches (XBR-55A8H) and 65 inches (XBR-65A8H). Meanwhile, in addition 55 inches (XR-55A80J) and 65 inches (XR-65A80J), the Sony A80J is also available in 77 inches (XR-77A80J). Although the A80J is the replacement of the A8H, with the same screen size (XBR-55A8H vs XR-55A80J, XBR-65A8H vs XR-65A80J), they have similar price.  But even so, it also depends on the merchant and the passage of the time, their price may change at any time. So, as the replacement of the A8H, what new features and advantages are offered the Sony A80J over its predecessor?

Check the Latest Price
Sony A80J Sony A8H
55 Inches XR-55A80J on Amazon XBR-55A8H on Amazon
65 Inches XR-65A80J on Amazon XBR-65A8H on Amazon
77 inches XR-77A80J on Amazon

Sony A80J vs A8H Side by Side Comparison

Sony A8H vs A80J Specification

Specs and Features Sony A80J Sony A8H
Sizes Available 55 Inches (XR55A80J), 65 inches (XR65A80J), 77 inches (XR77A80J) 55 inches (XBR55A8H), 65 Inches (XBR65A8H)
Panel Technology OLED Panel OLED Panel
Dimming Technology Pixel Dimming Level Pixel Dimming Level
Pixel Structure WRGB WRGB
Image Processor Cognitive XR Processor 4K HDR Processor X1 Ultimate
HDR Support HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Clarity Enhancement Dual Database Processing, XR 4K Up-scaling, XR Super Resolution 4K X Reality Pro, Dual Database Processing, Object-based Super Resolution
Contrast Enhancement Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Pixel Contrast Booster, OLED XR Contrast, XR HDR Remaster Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object-Based Remaster, Pixel Contrast Booster
Color Enhancement Live Color Technology, XR Up-scaling, XR TriLuminos Pro Live Color Technology, Precision Color Mapping, Super Bit Mapping HDR, TriLuminos Display
Motion Enhancement XR Motion Clarity, Auto Mode MotionFlow XR, Auto Mode
Native Refresh Rate Panel 120 Hz 120 Hz
VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) Supports No No
Smart TV Platform Android TV Ver.10 Android 9.0 Pie
Google Assistant Yes Yes
Amazon Alexa Compatible Yes Yes
Apple AirPlay? Apple HomeKit Yes N/a
Remote Sony Voice Remote 2021 Sony Voice Remote 2020
Voice Navigation Support Yes Yes
Audio Channel 2.1 channel 2.2 channel
Sound Output 10 watts + 10 Watts + 10 Watts 20 watts + 20 watts + 5 watts + 5 Watts
Speaker Type Acoustic Surface Audio+ Acoustic Surface Audio +
Speaker Configuration Actuator X2, Subwoofer X2 Actuator X2, Subwoofer X2
Dolby Atmos Support Yes Yes
HDMI Ports 4 4
HDMI Supports CEC, HDCP 2.2, HDCP 2.3, HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth, HDMI 2.1 Class Bandwidth, ARC, eARC, CEC, HDCP 2.2, HDCP 2.3, HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth, HDMI 2.1 Class Bandwidth, ARC, eARC,
USB Ports 3 (2 USB2.0, 1 USB 3.) 3 (2 USB2.0, 1 USB 3.)

Contrast Ratio

Like all models of OLED TVs, both of the Sony A8H and A80J has infinite contrast ratio. Thanks to individual self-lit pixel, they can turn the pixels off/on or dim individually. Meanwhile, when showing black, pixels in black area are turned off completely while pixels in bright area are still turned on. So, there is no light emitted from black area at all. The result, black produced is nearly perfect, which is great for a pitch dark room. Additionally, nearly perfect black also makes dark colors can be shown fairly accurate, making dark scene looks very accurate on their screen.

Winner: Draw

Local Dimming

OLED TV Pixel Dimming

Since OLED TVs including the Sony A8H and A80J doesn’t have backlight, they don’t have local dimming feature. But keep in mind, OLED panel has individual self-lit pixel where each of them can individually switch on/off or dim without affected by the light condition of the pixels surround. This makes them have pixel dimming level. It is equal to full array local dimming on LED TV with the number of dimming zones are equal to the number of pixels. So, its performance is nearly perfect. When displaying small bright in a dark scene, it can be shown excellently without blooming, which is great for subtitles.

Winner: Draw

SDR Peak Brightness

SDR peak brightness of the Sony A8H and A80J have on par with other OLED TVs. This means, if there is a difference, their difference is not too significant and this might be more caused by panel variance. And they have decent SDR peak brightness overall. With real content, both of them hit peak brightness at around 300 nits. With white test window, on 2%, 10%, and 25% white window test, their peak brightness is relatively consistent where the A80H hits around 430 nits for very short time and slightly drop to around 415 nits for longer time. On the other hand, for a short time, the A80J can get around 480 nits and a bit drop to around 450 nits for longer time. On 50% and 100% white window, their peak brightness is dropped significantly by their ABL (Auto Brightness Limiter) where peak brightness of the A80J drop to around 300 nits and 160 nits while the peak brightness of the A80H drops to around 310 nits and 180 nits.

This means, their peak brightness is only bright enough to overcome in moderate-lit or darker room. However, in a very bright, image displayed on their screen might be distracted by the glare. Fortunately, they both have fantastic reflection handling, so you will not get in issue with reflection, even if you set them directly opposite a window or light source. In general, the A8H can get brighter in real scene but the A80J can get brighter in white test window.

Winner: A80J

HDR Peak Brightness

They both can get brighter HDR peak brightness than their SDR peak brightness. Both of the Sony A80J and A8H have decent HDR peak brightness. In real scene, the A8G can get a bit brighter than the successor where it hit around 650 nits while the A80J get around 600 nits. However, with white window test, the A80J actually can get a bit brighter than the predecessor, particularly in small white window. Unlike their SDR peak brightness where their peak brightness is relatively consistent at small white windows, their HDR contents have a lot of variations across different content. Both of them get their brightest peak brightness on 2% white window where for a short time, the A80J hits around 860 nits while the A8H hits around 825 nits. However, for longer time, their peak brightness will drop to around 750 nits. Nevertheless, their peak brightness will dim more and more with larger areas of brightness. On 10%, and 25% white window, for a short time, the A80J get around 725 nits, 490 nits while the A8H hits around 690 nits and 465 nits. But in longer time, their peak brightness will drop to around 670 nits and 475 nits for the A80J and around 660 nits and 465 for the A8H. On 50% and 100% white window their peak brightness is relatively consistent for a long time where they both hit around 290 nits and 150 nits.

This means, their peak brightness might be still able to make highlight pop and good enough to deliver good HDR experience in moderate-lit or darker room. But even so, since their HDR peak brightness is still below 1000 nits, they both cannot be still able to show true cinematic HDR experience, especially in bringing out highlight in HDR.

Winner: A80J

Color Gamut and Color Volume

Wide color gamut

The image is only an illustration

The Sony A8H and A80J have fantastic color gamut. In DCI P3 uv and xy color space that is commonly used by most of HDR, The Sony A80J can cover around 98% and 99% of color space while the A8H cover around 97% of color space on both. And since their color coverage in DCI P3 is nearly perfect, this makes them can show HDR images that mastered in DCI P3 like HDR10 very accurately. While in DCI P3, A80J is a bit better, in Rec.2020, the A8H is a bit better. In Rec.2020 xy and uv color space, the A80J can cover around 71% and 74% of color space while the A8H cover around 73% and 77% of color space. Although not perfect, but at least, they both are still able to show HDR images mastered in Rec.2020 like Dolby Vision with very accurate colors. But even so, although they can deliver great color gamut, their color volume is only decent. They might be able to show deep, dark colors fairly well due its infinite contrast ratio. But they have a bit trouble in producing very bright color due to their limited HDR peak brightness. Additionally, the use of white sub-pixel on their panel might make them can produce pure white, but on the other hand, this will de-saturate very bright colors, making them cannot produce saturated bright color well.

Winner: A80H

Color Gradient

One of the major advantages of the Sony’s TV including A8H and A80J than TVs from other companies is about their color gradient. This is more influenced by the performance of the images processor than their panel. And they both have fantastic color gradient overall and better than most TVs. In Reds and Greens, there might be a little bit banding but this should not be noticeable in real content. But even so, if you still feel bothered with banding, you can enable “Smooth Gradation” to remove most it. But keep in mind, enabling this feature may help improve their color gradient, but on the other hand this can cause the image lose some fine details in certain scenes. Meanwhile, compare among them, the A8H has slight better color gradient than the A80J, especially in blues.

Winner: A8H

Uniformity

The combination of infinite contrast ratio and pixel dimming level makes they have nearly-perfect black uniformity. When showing full-black scene with white cross line at the center, the screen looks black with excellent uniformity and white cross line can be shown without blooming. IN addition have nearly perfect black uniformity, their gray uniformity is also equally excellent. When showing full-gray screen, the screen looks very uniform with almost no dirty screen effect. And the darker screen, the better their uniformity. This is certainly great for content with large area of uniform color like a football or hockey field.

Winner: Draw

Side Viewing Angle

Side viewing angle coverage also becomes one of the major advantages of OLED TV than LED TV. They are able to maintain their black level from degradation up to around 70 degrees off center and front. Additionally, they can also maintain their brightness level up to around 65 degrees. Color might shift at much narrower angle, which is around 30 degrees, but color will start to look washed-out at around 50 degrees. This means, although you move off center, the picture displayed on their screen still looks accurate. This is great for you who have wide seating arrangement for watching TVs.

Winner: Draw

Motion handling

The near instantaneous pixel response time also becomes the major advantages of the OLED TVS than the LED TVs. Their pixel response time is around 2ms, much lower than the fastest LED TVs.  The result, there is almost no blur trail following fast motion object when they are playing fast moving images. Blur that might be visible is caused by persistence, not their response time. On the other hand, the near instantaneous pixel response time cause low frame rate content like 24p movies appear to stutter. This is caused the frame is held for longer time. But even so, this can be solved by interpolating them to 60 Hz or to 120 Hz.

As we have discussed, OLED panel doesn’t have backlight, so they don’t use PWM dimming system to dim their backlight. But even so, they can still emulate PWM of LED TVs by turning their pixel on or off. The result, there is slight dip in brightness that caused by their 120 Hz refresh rate. But it is hard to notice for most people. Meanwhile, to improve their motion appearance by matching the frame rate of content and flicker frequency of the TV, especially for 60 Hz and 120 Hz content, both of them have optional BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode. And their BFI mode work well at both 60 Hz and 120 Hz. This means, for 120 fps content, you just need to enable its 120 BFI mode by setting “MotionFLow” to “Custom” and setting “Clearness” to “1” or “2”, while for 60 fps content, you just need set “Clearness” to “3”.

As we see on comparison table above, the Sony A8H and A80J have native 120 Hz refresh rate panel, allowing them can support native 120 fps content or interpolate low frame rate content to 120 Hz. In its advertising, Sony A80J actually also already supports VRR technology, but for this time it doesn’t support yet. Expected, with a firmware update, they can support VRR technology that can improve their gaming experience.

Winner: Draw

Input

Just like most premium TVs, both of them also have 4 HDMI ports as their major connectivity. All of their HDMI ports support most formats like HDMI 2.0 full bandwidth, HDCP 2.3, CEC, and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode). A bit improvements brought by the A80J over their predecessor is that 2 of their HDMI ports also already support HDM 2.1 while the A8H doesn’t have HDMI 2.1. But even so, their HDMI 2.1 only has 40 Gbps of bandwidth instead of 48 Gbps required for HDMI 2.1 Full bandwidth.  Nevertheless, it is still wide enough for HFR content like 4K @120Hz that has bandwidth beyond HDMI 2.0. Both of them also have 1 HDMI ARC that also support eARC, allowing them can pass high quality audio format like Dolby Atmos via True HD or DTS:X via HD-MA. That is not only that, their HDMI ports also support most of resolutions including, which is great. But even so, they don’t support 1440p at 120 Hz and the support of 1440p at 60 Hz requires forced resolution. Special for the A8H, since it doesn’t have HDMI 2.1, it doesn’t support 4K @ 120 Hz.

Both of them are also equipped with 3 USB ports where 2 ports are USB 2.0 and 1 port is USB 3.0. Since their USB ports support USB drive playback, even in HDR, this allows you to watch your favorites contents or movies you have save in your USB drive. Both of them also have 1 Digital Audio Out (optical), 1 Analog Audio Out (Mini Jack), 1 tuner In, and 1 Ethernet port. They both actually also have 1 AV in but you need adapter to connect your other device to it via AV In. For wireless connectivity, they are equipped with built-in Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 ac.

Although not as low as most of Samsung TVs, they both also have low input lags in Game Mode and their input lags is almost similar. With 60 fps contents, the input lags of the A8H is around 18 ms at the resolution supported and the input lags of the A80J is slight lower, which is around 17 ms. Meanwhile in 120 fps content, they have lower input lag. The A8H has around 11 ms at 1080p while the A80J has around 9 ms at 1080p and 4K resolution. Although not the lowest, but their input lags is low enough to make them very responsive for any games.

Winner: A80J

Smart TV Platform

There is a bit differences on the smart TV platform ran by them. The Sony A8H runs Android 9.0 as their smart TV platform while the A80J runs Google TV 10. Google TV is the rebranding of Android TV that more specifically designed for TVs. The interface of the Google TV is a bit more streamlined than Android TVs but overall, these platforms can run smoothly. Meanwhile, since they both are based on the same platform, they both also have excellent selection of apps. In addition there are many preinstalled apps provided, there are also tons of apps provided by Google Play Store you can download directly from your Sony TV. There are most of streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon prime, etc, Live TVs, Games, Web Browser, and many more. They both also support some casts apps like built-in Chrome Cast and Apple Airplay. And to give you voice navigation experience, they both have built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. And also, they also have a lot of other apps.

AS their controller, the Sony A80J comes with Sony Voice Remote 2021 while the Sony A8H comes with Sony Voice Remote 2020. Their remote has similar shape and size, but the newer model has a bit brighter color than the older model. The other difference is that the newer model has 2 more shortcut button. If in last year model, it has two shortcut buttons for Google Play and Netflix, the newer model has 4 shortcuts buttons for YouTube, Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon prime Video. Just like other smart remote, they both also have built-in navigation for voice command you can use to adjust Volume, Change Channel, search within apps, etc. Additionally, they also can act as universal remote, allowing you to control other device connected on your TV with these remote.

Winner: Draw

Sound Performance

Just like most other Sony’s OLED TV, both of them use Acoustic Surface technology. To produce sound, it utilize their screen that driven by two actuator instead of standard speaker. But even so, since they both have built-in subwoofer, it still uses conventional woofer for it. Meanwhile, for improving your listening experience, they both have some advanced features like Voice Zoom, Advanced Auto Volume, etc. The support of eARC also allows them to play high quality audio format.

Meanwhile, coming with acoustic surface, both of them have good sound performance. At max volume, the A8H may get a bit louder, which is around 94 SPL dB while the A80J get around 93dB SPL, but their sound fairly loud overall. This makes them good for large room or noisy environment. And the good points, there is only a little bit compression most that should not hard to notice. Although not as low as dedicated sub-woofer, but they both also have good low-frequency extension, making them can produce a lot of bass. But even so, they both are not still able to produce rumble or thump. The good point is that they have good digital room correction that allows them to adjust the frequency response based on the room’s acoustic. Overall, their sound profile is well-balanced, allowing them can produce clean dialogue.

While their frequency response is almost similar, the Sony A80J has better distortion performance than the A8H. In the sound produced by the A80J, at low to moderate volume, there is not much distortion. Nevertheless, at max volume, distortion increases significantly. Fortunately, it is hard to hear, so this should not be a problem. On the other hand, in the sound produced by the A8H, there is more distortion at moderate or near max volume. But just the A8H, this also should be hard to notice.

Winner: A80J

Image Processor

As a newer model, the Sony A80J is powered by new Sony’s image processor called Cognitive XR 4K processor instead of X1 ultimate found on the A8H. There is not much improvement offered by the newer processor over the older processor in image processing. Nevertheless, the new processor is more focused on the improvement on AI Algorithm just like Sony saying that it utilizes a “completely new processing method designed to replicate the ways humans see and hear”, detecting a so-called “focal point” in the TV’s picture to focus processing around the more important parts of the image. “While conventional Artificial Intelligence (AI) can only detect and analyze picture elements like color, contrast and detail individually, the new processor can cross-analyze an array of elements at once, just as our brains do,” Sony says.

Check the Latest Price
Sony A80J Sony A8H
55 Inches XR-55A80J on Amazon XBR-55A8H on Amazon
65 Inches XR-65A80J on Amazon XBR-65A8H on Amazon
77 inches XR-77A80J on Amazon

Sony A80J vs A8H Performance

For Watching Movies

Like all OLED TVS, both of the Sony A80J and A8H are fantastic TVs for watching movies in a dark room. Combination of infinite native contrast ratio, nearly perfect black uniformity, and pixel level dimming allows them can display dark scene with details still preserved well and without crushed black. They both also have impressive color gamut, makes colors of movies can be shown fairly accurate.  That is not only that, their great performance in handling 24p judder also allows you to watch movies with judder-free, no matter the sources. Fast moving images also can be shown smoothly due their near-instantaneous response time and good performance of their Black Frame Insertion technology. Meanwhile, if you have collection of old movies which have low resolution, their 4K Up-scaling engine also can do a good job in up-scaling lower resolution to 4K. So you can enjoy them in 4K resolution with fine details are still preserved well. However, their near instantaneous response time might make motion looks very smooth, but on the other hand, this can cause movies appear stutter.  Nevertheless, this can be solved by enabling their motion interpolation or BFI mode.

Winner: Draw

TV Shows

As long as you don’t use them to watch TV shows in very bright room, they also have excellent performance. Combination of their good SDR peak brightness and impressive reflection handling allow you to watch TV Shows in most light conditions without disuse in glare and reflection. And if you often watch TV shows with your family, their wide viewing angle coverage allow all of you to watch TV with similar picture quality, even if some of you watch from the side. And their well-balanced sound profile of their speaker makes dialogue in podcast or TVs shows can be heard cleanly, even if the room is noisy. Meanwhile, if you watch TV shows from cable box which usually have lower resolution, you can still enjoy them in 4K smoothly. In general, their performance when used for watching TV shows is equally great. Meanwhile, the advantage of each other in certain aspects like color gamut, peak brightness, etc might be due to panel variance.

Winner: Draw

Sports

When used for watching sports, their performance is also equally great. In addition they have good picture quality and wide viewing angle coverage, just like for TVS shows, they both also have excellent reflection handling, allowing you to watch sports without distracted by reflection, even if you set your TV directly opposite a window or light source. Unfortunately, their SDR peak brightness is limited. So when you use them in a very bright room, you may get issue with glare. So, use them in a very bright should be avoided. Meanwhile, their excellent motion handling and the support of both 120 HZ and 60 Hz BFI mode makes fast sports like Moto GP or Formula One can be shown smoothly on their screen. That is not only that, they both have good gray uniformity, so you can watch sport that have large field like football without much dirty screen effect.

Winner: Draw

Video Games

When used for playing games, they both also have good performance. They have good picture quality, wide viewing angle, and excellent motion handling, which are good for gaming in picture quality side. Additionally, although not the best, they are also responsive for any games due their low input lags in game mode. But unfortunately, Sony has advertises that A8G supports VRR, but at this time, they both don’t support technology and any games features that can improve their gaming experience. Meanwhile, the advantage of the A80J is that it has two HDMI 2.1 ports that make it support high quality games supported by the modern games console. On other hand, none of the HDMI ports of the A8H supports HDMI 2.1, so it cannot play HFR games like 4K @ 120 Hz. Meanwhile, their major shortcoming is that they are susceptible to permanent burn in especially when showing a static for a long time, And since every games has static images to show statistic of games, play the same game for a long time should be avoided.

Winner: A80J

HDR Performance

Both of the Sony A80J and A8H has great HDR performance, particularly in showing shadow details of HDR images. Their infinite contrast ratio, pixel dimming level and nearly perfect black uniformity allows them can deliver great shadow details of HDR images with details are preserved well and minimal crushed black. Additionally, in a dark scene, color of images in a dark scene can also be shown fairly accurate. That is not only that, they both also have fantastic color gamut and good color volume, so you can enjoy colorful HDR experience in their screen. Nevertheless, since they have limited HDR peak brightness and their pixel structure makes them cannot show saturated bright colors, color of bright images might not look less accurate. The other strong point is about their fantastic color gradient, allowing you to watch 10 bit HDR images smoothly without a lot of banding. Their HDR peak brightness is actually also great for OLED TVs. They are still able to bring out highlights in HDR in dark to moderate lit room. But even so, since their HDR peak brightness is still below 1000 nits, they are not able to present true cinematic HDR experience.

Winner: Draw

Conclusion

As we have discussed a lot above, overall, the Sony A8G and A8H have almost similar performance. There is not much improvement offered by the newer model in picture quality, even in certain aspects, it is precisely worse than the predecessor. Nevertheless, this can be also caused by panel variance, so in picture quality section, their performance can be said same. Meanwhile, the advantages brought by A80J over the A8H is precisely more on features like the support of HDMI 2.1, VRR technology (with a firmware update in future), new smart TV platform, better AI algorithm, etc.

But even so, overall, both of them are fantastic TBs for any usage. No matter you use them for playing games, watching movies in a dark room, watching sports, TV Shows, or HDR content, their performance is above average. Nevertheless, their limited peak brightness in SDR and HDR makes them are not suitable for a very bright room. So, which is a better choice among them? You need to know, although the A8H has been replaced by the A80J, but it is still available in some merchants. Meanwhile, with the same screen, although the Sony A80J is a newer model but it is sold with the same price to the predecessor, albeit their price of course can still change at any time. Considering picture quality, performance, and their price, the A80J is certainly better choice than the Sony A8H.  Nevertheless, the decision certainly comes back to according to your needs.

Check the Latest Price
Sony A80J Sony A8H
55 Inches XR-55A80J on Amazon XBR-55A8H on Amazon
65 Inches XR-65A80J on Amazon XBR-65A8H on Amazon
77 inches XR-77A80J on Amazon

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