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Sony A80K review: A great-value mid-range OLED

Our Rating :
£1,299.00 from
Price when reviewed : £1299
inc VAT

The Sony A80K OLED eschews QD for WRGB to deliver excellent 4K performance at an affordable price


  • Accurate SDR and HDR images
  • Impressive picture processing
  • Ingenious multi-position stand


  • Limited brightness

Sony’s adoption of QD OLED may have captured all the headlines last year, but for those unable or unwilling to pay the required premium, the Sony A80K makes for an affordable alternative.

It uses the more traditional WRGB panel but retains Sony’s picture accuracy and processing know-how to deliver excellent SDR and HDR images. The stylish design and ingenious three-way multi-position stand catch the eye, while Google TV remains a slick and comprehensive smart system. The gaming features are extensive, the sound is good thanks to Acoustic Surface tech, and while there’s no HDR10+ support and only two HDMI 2.1 inputs, this 4K HDR TV is cracking value.

Sony A80K OLED review: Key specifications

Screen sizes available:55in XR-55A80K
65in XR-65A80K
77in XR-77A80K
Panel type:OLED
Resolution:4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160)
Refresh rate:120Hz
HDR formats:HDR, HLG, Dolby Vision
Audio enhancement:Dolby Atmos, Acoustic Surface Audio+
HDMI inputs:2 x HDMI 2.1, 2 x HDMI 2.0b
Freeview Play compatibility:No
Tuners:Terrestrial, cable, satellite
Gaming features:4K at 120Hz, ALLM, VRR, Game Mode
Wireless connectivity:802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, AirPlay 2, Chromecast
Smart assistants:Google Assistant
Smart platform:Google TV built-in, works with Alexa

Sony A80K OLED review: What you need to know

The Sony A80K is a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) HDR smart TV that uses a standard WRGB OLED panel. It forms part of Sony’s 2022 Bravia XR range and comes in three screen sizes: 55in, 65in and 77in. Sony provided the 55in XR-55A80K for this review.

The picture is powered by Sony’s Cognitive XR processor, and it runs the latest iteration of the Google TV operating system. Along with a host of processing features, there’s also support for HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10+.

The design is stylish, with a stand that can be used in three different positions. There’s also Acoustic Surface Audio+, which uses the entire screen as a speaker, and support for Dolby Atmos, along with plenty of next-gen gaming features.

Sony rather confusingly offers this particular TV with two different model numbers: the A80K and the A84K. The two are largely the same but the retailer-exclusive A84K adds a metallic remote with a built-in microphone and Rich Colour Enhancer.

Sony A80K OLED review: Price and competition

Whether you choose the Sony A80K or A84K the pricing appears to be the same, with the 55in model reviewed here available for £1,299. If you prefer a bigger screen, retailers are asking £1,699 for the 65in model, and a surprisingly reasonable £2,999 for the huge 77in version.

LG is the obvious competitor, and the 55in model of its feature-packed mid-range C2 OLED is even cheaper at £1,169. if you fancy enjoying the benefits of QD OLED, the 55in Samsung S95B is an absolute steal at £1,249.

If you prefer LCDs, Samsung also offers an extensive range of 4K Neo QLED TVs with Mini LED backlights. The mid-range 4K model is the QN90B, the 55in version of which can be picked up for the very tempting price of only £969.

It’s important to note that all of the above options (and the A80K) are 2022 models and updated 2023 versions are available at a considerably higher price.

Sony A80K OLED review: Design, connections and control

The Sony A80K might be a mid-range model but it retains all of the brand’s design flair, with an elegant and minimalist chassis finished with a metal bezel and black trim. The build quality is excellent for the price, and the matte black rear uses a grid pattern to add some texture, while removable panels allow for clutter-free cable management.

The panel is supported by an ingenious pair of feet that offer three installation choices: close together for narrower surfaces; further apart for wider surfaces; and with the panel raised higher to accommodate soundbars without blocking the screen. Of course, you can also wall-mount the TV using a standard 300×300 VESA bracket.

The connectivity is generally good, with four HDMI inputs, three of which face downwards and one of which faces sideways. One of the downward-facing inputs supports eARC, and all the HDMI inputs support 4K/60Hz, HDCP 2.3 and high dynamic range in the shape of HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision (but not HDR10+).

As with all Sony TVs, even the flagship models, only two of the HDMI inputs support 4K/120Hz, VRR (variable refresh rate) and ALLM (auto low latency mode). Since one of these inputs also supports eARC that means anyone with a soundbar plus the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will find themselves unable to connect both consoles simultaneously.

In terms of other physical connections, there are aerial and satellite connectors with dual tuners, an Ethernet port for a wired connection, an optical digital output, AV inputs, a headphone socket and three USB ports. Wireless connectivity is covered by built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, Chromecast and AirPlay 2.

If you buy the A80K, it comes with the Sony smart remote, which is comfortable to hold, easy to use and has sensibly laid-out buttons. These include navigation and playback controls, along with direct access buttons for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and YouTube.

The A84K zapper is basically the same but has a premium finish and a backlight. It also has the “Finder Function”, allowing you to locate your remote by pressing a button on the TV or simply asking Google Assistant, which then causes it to ring and flash.

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Sony A80K OLED review: Smart TV platform

The Sony A80K uses Google TV as its smart platform, and the system is well designed and responsive in operation. The interface uses a home page that focuses on the things you want to watch, making recommendations and providing plenty of opportunities to customise the layout. All the main video streaming apps are on offer, including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, YouTube, Google Play and TV catch-up services via YouView.

There’s Google Assistant built in, turning the A80K into a fully functioning smart assistant, plus there’s support for Chromecast. It also supports Alexa if you prefer, and if you buy the A84K there’s even a degree of hands-free voice control, thanks to a microphone built into the remote. For Apple fans, there’s AirPlay 2 and support for HomeKit, while Sony also offers its Bravia Core streaming service, and the TV works with the optional Bravia Cam.

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Sony A80K OLED review: Image quality

The Sony A80K defaults to the Eco picture mode, and while more energy efficient, it has an excess of blue in the greyscale and over-saturated colours. While Sony doesn’t offer a Filmmaker mode, the Custom mode is just as good, with colours that have an average error of only 0.71, a greyscale that hits 0.9 and a gamma of 2.37. This is a reference level of accuracy.

It just goes to show that despite using the more traditional WRGB OLED panel, the A80K can deliver seriously good performance levels with SDR content, and while the A84K might include Sony’s Rich Colour Enhancer, it’s hard to see how the picture could be any better. Add in the deep blacks and excellent shadow delineation and you’ve got an awesome 4K TV.

If there’s one area where Sony is particularly strong it’s picture processing, and the Cognitive XR processor does a remarkable job of upscaling lower-resolution content, bringing out all the fine details without introducing unwanted artefacts. The picture processing is equally impressive, reducing compression artefacts such as banding, macro blocking or mosquito noise.

In more general terms, the panel uniformity is good with no evidence of banding, while the self-emissive nature of OLED allows for exceptionally wide viewing angles. When watching Star Trek: Picard, the space scenes benefit from the superior contrast, while the colours of the Star Fleet uniforms have plenty of pop, and the various ships appear remarkably detailed.

Motion handling is equally impressive, and another area in which Sony is a class leader. Even without any processing being engaged, the A80K displays excellent motion, with images that appear free of judder or other artefacts. True Cinema improves the motion for movies without any soap opera effect, while frame interpolation is useful when watching fast-paced sports action.

Sony A80K OLED review: HDR performance

The Sony A80K might lack the extra pop of the A95K with its QD OLED panel, but even for a WRGB model, it’s not the brightest. The peak luminance hits around 600cd/m² on a 10% window, and 134cd/m² on a full-field pattern. Thankfully, the tone mapping is excellent, tracking the PQ target precisely and ensuring image fidelity despite the inherent luminance limitations.

Regardless of whether an HDR grade uses 1,000, 4,000 or 10,000 nits, the creative intent is retained, and in terms of high dynamic range, the Sony supports HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, with only the less common HDR10+ missing. The benefits of Dolby Vision’s dynamic metadata certainly pay dividends in enabling the A80K to produce some excellent HDR imagery.

The use of Sony’s XR Triluminos Pro technology allows the A80K to cover 100% of the wider DCI-P3 colour space, while the super-wide BT.2020 coverage hits a decent 77%. Crucially, the coverage of the various saturation points of DCI-P3 within BT.2020 is also very accurate, aside from some minor under-saturation in red, producing nicely rendered colours with HDR content.

The Cognitive XR processor doesn’t just handle upscaling, image processing and the Triluminos tech, it also offers a host of features designed to get the most from HDR. This includes XR HDR Remaster to detect objects and punch up the delivery, as well as XR OLED Contrast Pro to help get the most out of those inky blacks, without losing detail in the shadows and highlights.

The limited peak brightness is probably the result of panel variations, but thankfully OLED’s deep blacks and excellent shadow detail ensure plenty of dynamic range, and with overall luminance the A80K remains strong, delivering the sun-blistered deserts of Mad Max: Fury Road with skill, and expertly rendering the deliberately stylised colour scheme with depth and nuance.

To test the Sony A80K we used Portrait Displays Calman colour calibration software.

Sony A80K OLED review: Gaming

The Sony A80K is generally a great TV for gaming, aside from being limited to only two HDMI inputs that support 4K/120Hz with VRR and ALLM. This shouldn’t be a major issue unless you own multiple next-gen consoles, and gamers are rewarded with detailed, colourful and punchy images that benefit from Sony’s superior motion handling to deliver very smooth gameplay.

Unlike other brands, Sony doesn’t offer a game hub, but the game mode delivers an input lag of 17ms with a 60Hz signal, dropping to 9ms at the higher frame rate of 120Hz. The gameplay is responsive, so regardless of your preference, you’ll be rewarded with an enjoyable experience. As with all OLED TVs, be careful of static images such as heads-up displays causing image retention.

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Sony A80K OLED review: Sound quality

The Sony A80K includes the brand’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ tech, which uses the entire screen as a speaker by imperceptibly vibrating it with rear actuators to generate sound. A pair of rear bass drivers help boost the low-frequency effects, and there’s sufficient power in the amplifiers to create an expansive soundstage that goes unsociably loud without distorting.

The overall sound quality is excellent, with clear dialogue, a detailed mid-range and some nice width. The bass drivers are surprisingly good at generating a low-end presence, and the Cognitive XR processor also plays its part by differentiating between dialogue, music and sound effects, allowing for 3D surround upscaling, and Voice Zoom 2 for enhanced speech clarity.

The inclusion of eARC allows the A80K to passthrough lossless audio, including DTS, while the audio from the built-in apps can also be sent to a soundbar or AV receiver using ARC. The A80K is also ready for 360 Spatial Sound, and there’s onboard decoding of Dolby Atmos soundtracks, while an auto-calibration feature optimises the sound quality based on your specific room.

The Atmos decoding uses psychoacoustic processing to create audio with greater dimensionality, but the amount of real immersion is limited. However, the A80K can be used as the centre channel in a multi-channel speaker system, and if you own a supporting Sony soundbar, you can partner it with the TV and its Acoustic Surface to reinforce the soundbar’s centre channel performance.

Sony A80K OLED review: Verdict

The Sony A80K/A84K is an excellent mid-range 4K OLED TV, delivering great pictures, expansive sound and a decent set of features. The design is smart, the Google TV smarter, and the choice of video streaming apps is comprehensive. The remote is effective and connectivity is good, even if there are only two HDMI 2.1 inputs, while the low input lag results in very responsive gaming.

The image quality is impressive thanks to natural colours, deep blacks, excellent motion handling and first-class picture processing. It could be brighter, and there’s no HDR10+ support, but the HDR tone mapping is very accurate. There are cheaper options available, but few will better this cracking all-rounder when it comes to overall performance.

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