Sony A8F OLED TV Review

Updated May 04, 2018 at 11:58 am
Sony A8F OLED Picture
Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
8.8
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: LG B9 OLED
9.4
Movies
8.5
TV Shows
8.7
Sports
8.7
Video Games
9.2
HDR Movies
8.7
HDR Gaming
8.1
PC Monitor
This TV was replaced by the Sony A8G OLED
Type OLED
Sub-Type
WRGB
Resolution 4k

The Sony A8F is a 2018 4k OLED TV with excellent performance for a variety of different usages. It has excellent picture quality, with perfectly deep blacks that looks impressive in a dark room. Motion handling is excellent due to the instantaneous response time, but this lack of blur can make low frame rate content appear choppy. Like the Sony A1E and other OLED TVs, it isn't perfect as the brightness changes depending on screen content and there may be risk of burn-in with static content.

Our Verdict

8.8 Mixed Usage

Excellent TV for a variety of uses. The perfect blacks of the emissive display result in excellent dark room performance. In a bright room, the reflection handling is excellent. Motion handling is also excellent due to the instantaneous response time, which is great for sports or gaming. Unfortunately, the brightness of the screen changes depending on the content and there may be a risk of burn-in with static content.

See our Mixed Usage recommendations
9.4 Movies

Outstanding TV for watching movies. Picture quality is impressive when viewed in a dark room due to the perfect blacks and black uniformity. Gray uniformity is also great, and 24p movies can always be played at the correct cadence. It isn't perfect though, as some stutter may be noticeable with low frame rate content due to the instantaneous response time.

See our Movies recommendations
8.5 TV Shows

Great TV for shows in a bright room. Picture quality is impressive and image remains accurate when viewed at an angle. Reflection handling is also excellent for a bright room and the TV brightness is also good enough that it shouldn't be an issue for most rooms. Android TV also isn't as intuitive to use for casual watching as other platforms, and there may be a risk of burn-in with lots of static content.

See our TV Shows recommendations
8.7 Sports

Great TV for watching sports in a bright room. Picture quality is impressive and instantaneous response time means that only a short trail of persistence blur is visible behind fast motion. Image remains accurate from an angle, which is great for watching games with large groups of people. Unfortunately the screen brightness changes depending on the content, especially with large bright areas such as hockey.

See our Sports recommendations
8.7 Video Games

Excellent performance for gamers. Instantaneous response time means only a short trail of blur can be seen behind fast-moving objects, which can be cleared up with the black frame insertion feature. Input lag is good but is a bit higher for 1080p sources. Unfortunately, there may be a risk of burn-in with static content.

See our Video Games recommendations
9.2 HDR Movies

Excellent TV for watching HDR movies in a dark room. Picture quality is remarkable due to the perfect blacks. The Sony A8F can produce a good peak brightness in HDR and also has a wide color gamut to produce saturated colors. There are no cadence issues with 24p content but some stutter may be noticeable, especially with long panning shots due to the instantaneous response time.

See our HDR Movies recommendations
8.7 HDR Gaming

Superb TV for gaming in HDR. Input lag is low with 4k and HDR so the TV feels responsive. It has excellent picture quality due to the perfect blacks and can produce a good HDR brightness especially with small highlights. The Sony A8F can also produce saturated colors due to the excellent wide color gamut. Response time is instantaneous, so very little blur is seen behind fast-moving content.

See our HDR Gaming recommendations
8.1 PC Monitor

Great choice for a PC monitor. The TV feels responsive due to instantaneous response time and low input lag at 4k. The edges of the screen also remain accurate when viewed from close. It supports Chroma 4:4:4 for clear text across all backgrounds. Unfortunately, large white windows can't get very bright and there may be a risk of burn-in with static content.

See our PC Monitor recommendations
  • 8.8 Mixed Usage
  • 9.4 Movies
  • 8.5 TV Shows
  • 8.7 Sports
  • 8.7 Video Games
  • 9.2 HDR Movies
  • 8.7 HDR Gaming
  • 8.1 PC Monitor
Pros
  • Excellent dark room performance
  • Instantaneous response time
  • Accurate image even when viewed at an angle
Cons
  • May be a risk of permanent burn-in (see here)
  • 1080p input lag is mediocre
  1. Update 2/28/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3. Learn more about our versioned test bench system here.
  2. Update 6/12/2018: It turns out 1080p @ 120 Hz is possible, when the Xbox's connection type is changed from Auto-detect (Recommended) to HDMI, but unfortunately in this mode 4k and HDR aren't supported.
  3. Update 6/11/2018: Dolby Vision support has been added as of firmware (PKG6.5603.0175NAA); the scores have been updated. Also a note for Xbox One X and Xbox One S owners: 120 Hz from the Xbox will not work with this TV (and all 2018/2017 Sony's we've tested), because the TV requires a forced resolution for 120 Hz to be displayed.

Check Price

55" XBR55A8F
SEE PRICE
B&H
65" XBR65A8F
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B&H

Video

Test Results

Design
Design
Stand

The stand has a very small footprint and will fit on most tables. The stand adds very little height to the TV. There are two small rubber spacers (not shown) that add stability, but don't necessarily need to be on the table.

The design of the stand is significantly changed from the A1E. It takes up less space and the TV does not tilt as much.

Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 15.4" x 10.0"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x200

The back of the TV is very clean. There are plastic panels that cover all of the bolts and connections and provide cable management.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.35" (0.9 cm)

The borders are very thin on the Sony 55A8F. When watching TV from a few feet away, they are almost not noticeable.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.24" (5.7 cm)

The Sony A8F is thin but slightly thicker than the LG C8. The electronics are more spread out over the back of the TV and it is more uniform. The screen seems to be better supported by the frame than on the C8.

Design
Temperature
Maximum Temperature
95 °F (35 °C)
Average Temperature
81 °F (27 °C)

The Sony A8F is cool, only getting slightly warm to the touch on three spots on the back.

9.5
Design
Build Quality

Excellent build quality on the A8F. There are no obvious gaps or loose paneling. The top panel does have some flex to it, especially in the bottom corners, but this should not cause any issues.

Picture Quality
10
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
Inf : 1
Contrast with local dimming
N/A

Like all OLED TVs, the Sony A8F has an infinite contrast ratio. It performs exceptionally well in a dark room.

10
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
N/A

There is no need for local dimming on OLED TVs as there is no backlight. This video is provided for reference only.

7.1
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
270 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
368 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
369 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
368 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
273 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
164 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
273 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
277 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
277 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
237 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
163 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.038

Good peak brightness with SDR content. Screen brightness varies depending on the content on screen due to the TV's ABL. The LG C8 is slightly brighter in most scenes due to the less aggressive ABL. The A8F is a little bit brighter than the A1E, but it is not a significant difference.

ABL on the A8 can be disabled by setting 'Peak Brightness' to Off, in which case the TV's brightness is constant at ~110 cd/m² regardless of content. This could be useful if watching TV in a dark room and you don't want the screen brightness to fluctuate or for PC use.

Update 02/27/2018: Retested the brightness using a PC as the source, so we can automate testing; previously we were using a Samsung K8500 Blu-ray player as the source, but we found that it was sending a brighter signal than a PC (perhaps by sending 'brighter than white' stimuli). The A8F was retested with the PC as the source, and treated this signal differently, causing its measured brightness to be ~50 cd/m² less; however, we consider this to be more accurate to most sources. The test scores have been updated.

7.5
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
635 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
831 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
700 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
495 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
308 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
182 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
449 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
381 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
378 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
268 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
174 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.058

Good peak brightness with HDR content. While far from the 1000-4000 cd/m² HDR is mastered for, it is bright enough to enjoy HDR content in most rooms. The brightness does change depending on the content due to the TVs 'Automatic Brightness Limiter' (ABL).

8.5
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
1.745 %
50% DSE
0.123 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.665 %
5% DSE
0.112 %

Great gray uniformity on the Sony A8F. There is only slight dirty screen effect in the center, this is for the most part not noticeable when watching normal content or sports.

There are vertical bands visible with our 5% test screen. These bands will be noticeable in dark scenes in a dark room.

8.8
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
56 °
Color Shift
29 °
Brightness Loss
68 °
Black Level Raise
70 °
Gamma Shift
62 °

The viewing angle is very good. Black levels remain perfect regardless of viewing angle, which is great for use as a PC monitor. There is some shift in colors when viewed off angle, but it is identical to the LG C8.

10
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.293 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

The Sony XBR55A8F has perfect black uniformity, as the OLED panel is able to turn individual pixels off in black scenes. This is especially well suited to watching movies in a dark room.

9.5
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Glossy
Total Reflections
1.4 %
Indirect Reflections
0.2 %

Exceptional reflection handling on the A8F. Reflections are well defined but at a much lower intensity. The TV is well suited even for a bright room.

8.5
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
2.48
Color dE
1.41
Gamma
2.15
Color Temperature
6127 K
Picture Mode
Custom
Color Temp Setting
Expert 1
Gamma Setting
0

Out of the box color accuracy is very good. Gamma almost follows our target directly, with only a small spike at the high end. Color temperature is a little warm, but most people won't notice it. Even without any calibration, the A8F is accurate for most people.

9.4
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.22
Color dE
1.54
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6505 K
White Balance Calibration
10 point
Color Calibration
No
Auto-Calibration Function
No

It didn't take much to calibrate the A8F. With some minor settings changes the color accuracy is excellent. Gamma follows our curve precisely, and color temperature is nearly perfect.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

The A8F upscales 480p content like DVDs well. The image is not overly sharp and details stand out well.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content from a cable box is upscaled well with no obvious issues.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content from Blu-rays or from a game console are displayed nearly as well as native 4k.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

Native 4k content is displayed well with no issues.

8.6
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
97.59 %
DCI P3 uv
99.25 %
Rec 2020 xy
71.64 %
Rec 2020 uv
75.75 %

Excellent wide color gamut on the A8F, covering nearly the entire P3 color space, nearly identical to the C8.

The HDR EOTF in 'Expert 1' follows our PQ curve perfectly until it rolls off suddenly at the peak brightness of the TV. The Game and PC also follow our input stimulus perfectly, which is excellent.

6.8
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
76.7 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
42.1 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
59.8 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
32.7 %

Like all OLED TVs, the A8F is not able to produce bright saturated colors. This will be noticeable especially in bright outdoor scenes. The difference between the A8F and C8 are likely due to panel variance.

This is one area where the Samsung Q9FN and Q8FN really excel.

8.5
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.106 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.104 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.087 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.080 dE

Great gradient handling on the Sony XBR55A8F. There is some banding visible in dark greens and reds, but overall it looks good.

7.9
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.64 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.07 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.07 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.06 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.02 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.08 %

The TV shows some signs of image retention even after 10 minutes of recovery.

This test is only indicative of short term image retention and not the permanent burn-in that may occur with longer exposure to static images.

Note: There is some variation between panels, even of the same model. Some panels may be more or less prone to temporary image retention.

1.0
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Yes

Update 11/01/2019: Updated text to include our stance on burn-in.

Although we don't expect most people who watch varied content to have any issues, OLED TVs, such as the Sony A8F do have the possibility of experiencing burn in. There is a Pixel Shift option on the A8F that will shift the entire screen by a few pixels (this is not noticeable) to help reduce the risk of burn-in.

You can read more about our investigation into burn-in here.

Picture Quality
Pixels

With WRGB OLED TVs, all 4 subpixels are never on at the same time, so there are two photos.

Alternate pixel picture.

Motion
10
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
0.2 ms
100% Response Time
2.3 ms

Like all OLED TVs, the response time of the A8F is nearly instantaneous, resulting in almost no persistence blur. This is great when watching fast-paced content as there is almost no ghosting/movement trails. There is some very slight overshoot when transitioning from a black frame, but this shouldn't be noticeable.

The blur in the photo is due to persistence, not response time.

10
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
0 Hz

The Sony A8F is almost flicker-free, as are all OLED TVs since there is no backlight. There are small spikes approximately every 8 ms, this is not really visible as flicker though. This does result in some persistence blur, as can be seen in the response-time box photo.

8.7
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
No
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
60 Hz

Like last year's A1E, the Sony A8F has an optional BFI mode. When enabled, the TV will insert a black frame between each frame to help reduce stutter. With 120 Hz content, it drops every other frame, with 60 Hz content it cuts the frame hold time in two. If motion interpolation is enabled or with 120 Hz content, we do not recommend enabling BFI.

To enable BFI on the Sony A8F, set 'Motionflow' to 'Custom', and set 'Clearness' to 'High'.

10
Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

The A8F is able to interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120Hz. This feature introduces what is know as the 'Soap Opera Effect', but helps motion appear smoother.

To interpolate 60fps content, set 'Motionflow' to 'Custom', and increase the 'Smoothness' slider. For 30fps content, set 'Cinemotion' to 'Medium' or 'High'.

4.9
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
39.7 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
14.4 ms

Since the TV displays the full frame almost instantaneously, low frame rate content like 24fps movies stutters, especially in wide-panning shots. This can be reduced by enabling BFI or motion interpolation.

10
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
Yes

The Sony A8F displays 24p content without any judder, regardless of source.

To enable judder-free 24p playback from 60p or 60i sources like a cable box, 'Motionflow' has to be set to 'True Cinema', and 'CineMotion' as to be set to 'High'.

0
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
G-SYNC Compatible
No
4k VRR Maximum
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
N/A
1080p VRR Maximum
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
N/A
1440p VRR Maximum
N/A
1440p VRR Minimum
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors
N/A

The A8F does not support a variable refresh rate.

Inputs
7.9
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
47.4 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
110.1 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
31.1 ms
4k @ 60 Hz
30.8 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
30.8 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
30.8 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
93.5 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
93.4 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
21.0 ms
1440p @ 120 Hz
21.0 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1440p with VRR
N/A
4k with VRR
N/A
8k with VRR
N/A
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
No

The Sony A8F has good input lag with a 4k signal. 1080p input lag is a bit high but good enough for all but the most competitive gamers.

These results are identical to the A1E, which uses the same processor. The LG OLED TVs have much lower input lag and are a better choice for gamers.

9.6
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120 Hz
Yes (forced resolution required)
1440p @ 60 Hz
Yes (forced resolution required)
1440p @ 120 Hz
Yes (forced resolution required)
4k @ 60 Hz
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 120 Hz
No
8k @ 30 Hz or 24 Hz
No
8k @ 60 Hz
No

The Sony XBR55A8F supports all common input resolutions without any issues, including the ever more popular 1440p.

There are no issues with chroma 4:4:4 in any of the resolutions tested, including in 4k with HDR, which is great for use as a PC Monitor.

Update 06/11/2018: A note for Xbox One X and Xbox One S owners: 120 Hz from the Xbox will not work with this TV (and all 2018/2017 Sony's we've tested), because the TV requires a forced resolution for 120 Hz to be displayed.

Update 06/12/2018: It turns out 1080p @ 120 Hz is possible, when the Xbox's connection type is changed from Auto-detect (Recommended) to HDMI: (Xbox > Settings > Display & sound > Video fidelity & overscan > Display > Connection > HDMI). Unfortunately in this mode 4k, HDR, 50 Hz and 24 Hz aren't possible, so this mode is only recommended when the higher refresh rate of 120 Hz is more important to you than these other features.

Update 06/18/2018: Correction, 24 Hz and 50 Hz are in fact possible with the Xbox's connection type set to HDMI.

Inputs
Input Photos
Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI 4
USB 3
Digital Optical Audio Out 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Analog Audio Out RCA 0
Component In 0
Composite In 1 (adapter required, not incl.)
Tuner (Cable/Ant) 1
Ethernet 1
DisplayPort 0
IR In 1
SD/SDHC 0

Like the A1E, there is no component video input on the A8F. There is a composite input, but the adapter is not included in the box so something like this may be required.

Inputs
Inputs Specifications
HDR10
Yes
HDR10+
No
Dolby Vision
Yes
HLG
Yes
3D
No
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
Yes (HDMI 2,3)
HDMI 2.1
No
CEC Yes
HDCP 2.2 Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
USB 3.0
Yes (1)
Variable Analog Audio Out Yes
Wi-Fi Support Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

Wide support for most formats, including DTS passthrough which is not available on the 2018 Samsung TVs. Dolby Vision is not currently supported but it will be added later this year.

Update 06/11/2018: Dolby Vision support has been added as of firmware (PKG6.5603.0175NAA); the scores have been updated.

Inputs
Audio Passthrough
ARC
Yes (HDMI 3)
eARC support
No
Dolby Atmos via TrueHD via eARC
No
DTS:X via DTS-HD MA via eARC
No
5.1 Dolby Digital via ARC
Yes
5.1 DTS via ARC
Yes
5.1 Dolby Digital via Optical
Yes
5.1 DTS via Optical
Yes
Sound Quality
7.6
Sound Quality
Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
63.50 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
3.43 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80