The Sony A8G OLED is an excellent 4k TV. Like all OLED TVs, it delivers outstanding dark room performance, thanks its ability to produce perfect blacks and perfect black uniformity. It also has a nearly-instantaneous response time, delivering crystal-clear motion with almost no noticeable blur behind fast-moving objects. This lack of blur can bother some people, though, as it results in stutter when watching movies or other low frame rate content. Unfortunately, like all OLEDs, there is a possibility of burn-in with static content, and the brightness of the screen changes depending on the content, also known as ABL, which may bother some people.
The Sony A8G is a 2019 model OLED TV, and is the direct replacement of last year's A8F. The A8G is Sony's cheapest OLED TV, and is a little bit less feature-packed than the more expensive A9G. The main competitors to the A8G are the LG B9, LG C9, and LG E9. The main LED competitors to the A8G are the Sony Z9F, the Samsung Q90R, and the Samsung Q80R; although all of these are much brighter, they don't perform as well in dark rooms.
The A8G has an excellent design. The overall design language is very simple and minimalist, and is very similar to the A9G and A8F. The stand is simple, but it can be set to two different height positions, depending on the orientation of the stand, which is great if you want to place a small soundbar in front. The stand supports the TV extremely well, but it does wobble a bit when nudged. The TV appears to be extremely well-built, and there shouldn't be any issues with it.
Update 07/18/2019: We modified the text below to include a picture of the alternate stand position.
Update 06/21/2019: We have clarified our text below regarding the stand position.
The stand is very simple, but supports the TV extremely well. Unique to the A8G, the stand can be reversed, as shown above, which leaves a gap of about 2.4" below the TV. With the stand reversed, with the 'U' shape in front, there is no gap between the TV and the stand.
Footprint of the 55" stand: 25.8" x 11.5".
The borders of the A8G are extremely thin, and not at all distracting.
Like all OLEDs, this TV is extremely thin, so extreme care should be taken when moving it.
The A8G has outstanding build quality. The stand supports the TV well, and only wobbles a bit. The design is very similar to the A9G, but a little less polished.
The Sony A8G OLED delivers outstanding picture quality. OLED TVs like this one can turn off individual pixels, allowing for deep inky blacks and perfect black uniformity without the need of a local dimming feature, which is great for dark room viewing. Like all OLEDs, the A8G has an outstanding color gamut, wide viewing angles, and excellent gray uniformity, perfect for sports fans.
Unfortunately, the A8G also has a few flaws, and like all OLEDs, there are some issues that some people might consider to be deal-breakers. Although it has decent overall peak brightness, the brightness of the screen can vary with different content. There is also the possibility of permanent burn-in or temporary image retention, although we don't expect these to be an issue for most people.
The A8G is an OLED TV, and as such can turn off individual pixels, so it essentially has an infinite contrast ratio.
The TV does not have a local dimming feature, as there is no backlight. As an OLED TV, it can turn off, or dim, individual pixels. This is great for dark room viewing, as it results in no noticeable blooming around bright objects in dark scenes. This is also great if you watch content with subtitles, as they are displayed perfectly, with no blooming around them.
The TV has decent SDR peak brightness, very similar to the A9G and A8F. It's bright enough for most rooms, but in very bright rooms it might not be bright enough, in which case LED TVs like the Samsung Q80R might be a better choice, as they are much brighter.
Unfortunately, like all OLED TVs, the brightness can vary with different content, which may be distracting.
We measured the peak brightness after calibration, using the 'Custom' Picture Mode, with Peak Luminance set to 'High', and Color Temperature set to 'Expert 1'.
If accuracy isn't as important to you, the A8G is able to reach a peak brightness of 700 cd/m² with the 'Vivid' Picture Mode, as measured with the 2% window.
Decent HDR peak brightness. Small highlights can get bright enough to really stick out, which is great, but the TV dims considerably when displaying large bright areas. This change in brightness, also known as ABL, may be distracting with some content.
We measured the peak brightness before calibration, using the 'Cinema' Picture Mode, with Peak Luminance set to 'High', and Color Temperature set to 'Expert 2'.
If accuracy isn't as important to you, the A8G is able to reach a peak brightness of 840 cd/m² with the 'Vivid' Picture Mode, as measured with the 2% window.
The A8G OLED has excellent gray uniformity. There is almost no noticeable dirty screen effect, great for sports fans. In near-black scenes, the uniformity is slightly better, but like all OLED TVs we've tested, there are some very faint horizontal and vertical lines. These can only be seen when displayed near-black scenes in a pitch-black room.
The TV has excellent wide viewing angles. Unlike VA and IPS TVs, there is very little fluctuation in black levels or brightness at wide angles. It isn't perfect, though, as colors gradually lose accuracy, and at wide angles they appear washed out.
The A8G, like all OLED TVs, has perfect black uniformity. The measured deviation in uniformity is due to the camera.
This TV has excellent reflection handling, very similar to other top-end Sony TVs. Like many high-end TVs, the anti-reflective coating is very good at diffusing reflections across the screen, but this does add a slight purple tint to the screen.
With our pre-calibration settings, the A8G has decent accuracy. Colors have great accuracy, but there are some inaccuracies that might be noticeable. The white balance is inaccurate, though, and almost all shades of gray have noticeable inaccuracies. Gamma is a bit too low, resulting in most scenes appearing brighter than they should.
Update 09/16/2019: With Android 8.0 it is now possible to download the CalMAN for Bravia app from the app store for Auto-Calibration.After calibration, the TV has excellent accuracy. Color accuracy improved a bit, and white balance errors were almost completely corrected. Gamma is much closer to the 2.2 reference target.
You can see our recommended settings here.
1080p content, like Blu-ray movies or older game consoles, looks almost as good as native 4k content.
Most 4k content looks great, but there are some noticeable issues when using the A8G as a PC monitor. Find out more here.
The Sony A8G, like all OLEDs, can display an impressive wide color gamut. It measures slightly better than the A9G, but this is likely due to panel variance, and is not necessarily indicative of a real difference. The EOTF follows the PQ curve almost perfectly, but some dark scenes are slightly over-brightened. In Game mode, the EOTF is identical (Shown here).
Unfortunately, the Sony A8G has mediocre color volume. Like the A9G, the A8G can't display very bright saturated colors, as the white sub-pixel desaturates pure colors at high brightness levels.
This TV does an excellent job displaying gradients. There is some banding in all colors, but it shouldn't be very noticeable with most content. The Smooth Gradation feature can remove almost all remaining banding, but can cause a loss of some fine details.
The TV shows no signs of temporary image retention, but this can vary a bit between units.
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. We are currently running a long-term test to help us better understand permanent burn-in. You can see our results and read more about our investigation here.
Like all OLED TVs, the A8G uses a 4 sub-pixel structure, but all 4 are never used at the same time on one pixel. This image shows the red, green, and white sub-pixels. You can see the blue sub-pixel in our alternative pixel photo.
We encountered an issue when using the A8G connected to a PC. When sending full 4:4:4 chroma or RGB, there appears to be a processing issue affecting the white sub-pixel, which results in non-uniform text. The affected pixels also appeared to move around as we moved our test image around the screen. We took a few photos of the issue to show how it changes over time:YouTube. On our unit, setting the Contrast to '89' instead of '90' corrected most of the issue, but we don't know if this is specific to our unit or not.
Like all OLED TVs, the Sony A8G has excellent motion handling. It has a nearly-instantaneous response time, which results in remarkably clear motion, with very little blur behind fast-moving objects. This lack of blur can also be a downside though, as this results in stutter with low frame rate content. The effects of stutter can be reduced with the TV's motion interpolation feature, or by enabling the Black Frame Insertion feature. This model has a 120Hz refresh rate, but does not support any variable refresh rate technologies.
Like all OLED TVs, the Sony A8G has a nearly-instantaneous response time. This results in extremely clear motion, but the lack of blur may bother some people, as there can be noticeable stutter when watching low frame rate content, like movies.
The TV does not use PWM, so there is no noticeable flicker, but it is not flicker-free, as there a slight decrease in brightness every ~8ms, due to the TV's refresh cycle. This should not be noticeable.
The A8G has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature that can help improve the clarity of motion, by reducing the amount of time the image is held static on screen. The A8G can only do this by introducing a 60Hz flicker, which may bother some people.
This feature can be enabled on the A8G by setting Motionflow to 'Custom', and setting Clearness to 'High'.
The Sony A8G can interpolate lower frame rate content to increase the frame rate as high as 120 fps. In very busy scenes, the TV will sometimes stop interpolating, which can cause the image to appear to jerk, due to the sudden change in frame rate.
See here for the settings that control the A8G's motion interpolation feature.
Like all OLED TVs, 24p content can appear to stutter, due to the nearly instantaneous response time. This is especially noticeable with slow-panning shots. If this bothers you, enabling motion interpolation or the Black Frame Insertion feature can help.
This TV can remove judder from all sources. If the Black Frame Insertion(BFI) feature is enabled, the A8G is unable to remove judder from 24p content played back from a 60p/i source, like a cable box.
See our recommended settings to remove judder here.
Unlike the LG C9, the Sony A8G does not support any of the variable refresh rate technologies, like HDMI Forum's VRR. It does have a native 120Hz panel, which is great for gaming.
The A8G has good low input lag, although it's a bit higher than most TVs currently on the market. It supports most of the common resolutions and refresh rates, including 1440p @ 120Hz, which is great for Xbox One gamers. Unlike the A9G, this TV does not support eARC, and similar to some older Sony TVs, like the X900F, it only has two full bandwidth HDMI ports.
The A8G supports most of the common formats. Chroma 4:4:4 is displayed properly in most formats, except when sending 1440p @ 120Hz, as long as the Picture Mode is set to 'Game' or 'Graphics'. Even though chroma 4:4:4 is displayed properly, there is a processing issue on the A8G that causes a rendering issue when sending a 4k 4:4:4/RGB signal, as described here.
The A8G supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but does not support the competing HDR10+ format. Like the A9G, the headphone jack can also be used to connect to a subwoofer, but unlike the A9G, the TV cannot be used as a center speaker.
The Sony A8G has a decent sound. It can get quite loud, but there is significantly more distortion at higher volume levels. It produces a decent amount of bass with clear dialog, but its bass doesn't have any thump or rumble to it. For a better sound, a dedicated sound system or a soundbar is recommended.
The frequency response of the A8G is decent. Low-frequency extension (LFE) is at about 80Hz, which is decent, and results in a bass with good body and punch, but no thump. Frequency response above the LFE is well-balanced, resulting in clear dialog, but as it tapers off around 9kHz, it lacks a bit of airiness.
The distortion performance is decent. At low and moderate volumes, there is very little distortion, which is great. At higher volume levels, the total amount of distortion increases significantly. This shouldn't be an issue for most people, though.
Update 07/18/2019: The Sony A8G has been updated to Android 8.0. The scores and pictures of the review have been updated.
Like the majority of Sony TVs, the A8G has great smart features. It runs a custom version of Android OS, designed for TVs. The interface is well organized and easy to navigate, but is not the smoothest, and is not as smooth as higher-end Sony TVs, including the A9G. It has an outstanding selection of apps though, through the Google Play Store.
Update 07/18/2019: The A8G has been updated to Android 8.0 and the score has been modified to reflect the change. The time to select YouTube has also gone down by 1 second thanks to the easier to navigate menu.
The Android 8.0 interface is easy to use, but not as smooth on the A8G as the A9G, and it is a bit slower overall.