Sony A8H OLED TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.6
Updated Jan 15, 2021 at 10:53 am
Sony A8H OLED Picture
8.8
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
9.4
Movies
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
8.2
TV Shows
Value for price beaten by
: Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED
8.6
Sports
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
8.9
Video Games
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
8.9
HDR Movies
Value for price beaten by
: none
8.7
HDR Gaming
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
8.4
PC Monitor
Value for price beaten by
: Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED
Type OLED
Sub-Type
WRGB
Resolution 4k

The Sony A8H OLED is an excellent TV that delivers incredible picture quality and manages to improve upon its predecessor, the Sony A8G OLED. Its OLED panel can turn off pixels individually to produce perfect blacks with an infinite contrast ratio, which is ideal for watching movies in a dark room. It has exceptional reflection handling and gets decently bright, so it's suitable for moderately-lit rooms as well. Its viewing angles are excellent, so you don't have to worry about losing image accuracy when watching from an angle. It also has a near-instantaneous response time and a low input lag. That said, the lack of variable refresh rate (VRR) technology may disappoint more serious gamers. Like all OLEDs, it has a risk of permanent burn-in, although it shouldn't be an issue for people who watch a variety of content. Its Android TV platform is easy-to-use and runs smoothly, and there are countless apps for all your needs available at the press of a button in the Google Play Store.

Our Verdict

8.8 Mixed Usage

The Sony A8H is an excellent TV for most uses. Its picture quality is amazing thanks to an infinite contrast ratio and near-instantaneous response time. It upscales lower resolution content well, which is great for watching cable TV or sports. HDR content looks excellent thanks to its wide color gamut and decent peak brightness. Unfortunately, although its input lag is great, it doesn't support advanced gaming features like VRR. Also, like all OLED TVs, there's a risk of permanent burn-in.

Pros
  • Perfect black levels.
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Near-instantaneous response time.
Cons
  • Risk of permanent burn-in.
9.4 Movies

The Sony A8H is incredible for watching movies. Because it's an OLED TV, it has an infinite contrast ratio and produces perfect blacks, which is ideal for watching movies in a dark room. It doesn't use a backlight, so there's no blooming around bright objects. Its near-instantaneous response time can cause lower frame rate content to stutter, but this can be helped with motion interpolation.

Pros
  • Perfect black levels.
  • Can remove judder from all sources.
Cons
  • Stutters in lower frame rate content.
8.2 TV Shows

The Sony A8H is great for watching TV shows. It has exceptional reflection handling and gets decently bright, so you shouldn't have issues watching TV in the daytime. It also has excellent viewing angles, so the image remains accurate no matter what angle you watch from, and it upscales lower-resolution content from cable boxes without issue. Like all OLEDs, there's a risk of permanent burn-in, but this shouldn't be a problem if you watch varied content.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Decent SDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • Risk of permanent burn-in.
8.6 Sports

The Sony A8H is an amazing TV for watching sports. It has fantastic motion handling thanks to its near-instantaneous response time, and it has a Black Frame Insertion option to further reduce motion blur. You shouldn't have visibility issues in most lighting conditions since it gets decently bright and handles reflections extremely well. It also has wide viewing angles, which is great for watching the big game with a large group.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Near-instantaneous response time.
  • Decent SDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • Risk of permanent burn-in.
8.9 Video Games

The Sony A8H is an excellent TV for gaming. It has a low input lag, fast response time, and its infinite contrast ratio makes it the perfect choice for gaming in the dark. However, it doesn't support variable refresh rate technology, and it doesn't have an 'Auto Low Latency Mode'. There's a risk of permanent burn-in, as with all OLEDs, but it shouldn't be an issue if you watch varied content.

Pros
  • Perfect black levels.
  • Low input lag.
  • Near-instantaneous response time.
Cons
  • No VRR support.
8.9 HDR Movies

The Sony A8H is amazing for watching movies in HDR. Like all OLEDs, it can produce perfect blacks, and it doesn't have any issues with blooming since it can turn pixels off individually. It has a wide color gamut and gets bright enough to make highlights in HDR content pop, especially if you're watching in a darker environment. There's a bit of stutter when watching lower frame rate content, which is caused by the TV's near-instantaneous response time.

Pros
  • Perfect black levels.
  • Decent HDR peak brightness.
  • Can remove judder from all sources.
Cons
  • Stutters in lower frame rate content.
8.7 HDR Gaming

The Sony A8H is an impressive TV for HDR gaming. It has a nearly instantaneous response time that makes fast-moving action in video games look crisp, and it has a low input lag. The TV produces perfect black levels and has a wide color gamut that helps bring out highlights in HDR content, despite only getting decently bright. Unfortunately, it doesn't support variable refresh rate technology to reduce screen tearing.

Pros
  • Perfect black levels.
  • Low input lag.
  • Near-instantaneous response time.
  • Decent HDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • No VRR support.
8.4 PC Monitor

The Sony A8H is a great TV for use as a PC monitor. It has a low input lag, fast response time, and excellent viewing angles, so the edges of the screen won't look washed out if you sit up close. It supports most common resolutions, except for 1440p, and it can display chroma 4:4:4 properly, so text should appear crisp. Unfortunately, there's a risk of permanent burn-in, which can happen with constant exposure to static elements like a desktop user interface.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Low input lag.
  • Near-instantaneous response time.
Cons
  • Risk of permanent burn-in.
  • 8.8 Mixed Usage
  • 9.4 Movies
  • 8.2 TV Shows
  • 8.6 Sports
  • 8.9 Video Games
  • 8.9 HDR Movies
  • 8.7 HDR Gaming
  • 8.4 PC Monitor
  1. Updated Mar 01, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.6.
  2. Updated Jan 15, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  3. Updated Dec 09, 2020: We retested the pre-calibration accuracy.
  4. Updated Aug 05, 2020: We've retested the TV's ability to display a 1440p signal with the latest firmware update.
  5. Updated Jul 22, 2020: We've retested the black frame insertion feature with 24p content.
  6. Updated Jul 15, 2020: We've retested the TV's smart features and motion interpolation.

Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Sony A8H OLED replaces the Sony A8G OLED from 2019 and is Sony's entry-level OLED for 2020, sitting below their Master series. It competes with other OLED TVs, like the LG CX OLED and the Vizio OLED 2020.

Design
Design
Style
Curved No

The Sony A8H has an exceptional design. It's simple, the bezels are extremely thin on all sides, and it comes with Sony's two-way position stand, which allows you to set the TV higher up on its feet to make space for a soundbar. The TV looks and feels premium all-around.

Design
Stand

The Sony A8H comes with Sony's two-way position stand, which has two height settings. The higher setting provides enough room for most soundbars, so the lower portion of the screen doesn't get obstructed. The stand comes in four pieces: two feet and two brackets. The brackets and the feet can be set in different configurations to achieve the desired height.

Footprint of the 55" stand in the elevated position: 41.3" x 12.8".

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x300

The back of the screen itself is metal, but the rest is made out of plastic. There's not much in terms of cable management; you can only route the cables through the back of the stand. If you choose to wall-mount it, it's compatible with Sony's SU-WL855 slim wall-mount.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.31" (0.8 cm)

The bezels are extremely thin, even thinner than the Sony A8G OLED's.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.17" (5.5 cm)

The TV is extremely thin and shouldn't stick out when wall-mounted.

9.5
Design
Build Quality

The TV is a mix of metal and plastic. It feels solidly-built, and there are no issues with its construction. There's a bit of flex in the back panel, but nothing of concern. The stand supports the TV well, and there's almost no wobble.

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

Like all OLED TVs, the Sony A8H has an infinite contrast ratio, as it can turn the pixels off completely. This results in perfect blacks, which is great for dark room viewing.

7.0
Picture Quality
SDR Brightness
Real Scene Peak Brightness
316 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
429 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
430 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
432 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
314 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
183 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
409 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
415 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
419 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
308 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
182 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.054

Decent SDR peak brightness. The brightness varies depending on the scene. It's better suited for a dark to moderately-lit room, as it may have trouble overcoming glare in a very bright environment. That said, it's a very decent upgrade from the Sony A8G OLED.

During our testing, we observed that the peak brightness ramps up over some time and then drops very quickly once it reaches its peak. This happens during static scenes and can take up to 45 seconds to ramp up to its peak brightness. This isn't noticeable in normal content, though.

We measured the SDR peak brightness after calibration, using the 'Custom' Picture Mode, 'Expert 1' Color Temperature, and with Peak Luminance set to 'High'.

10
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
No Backlight

The Sony A8H doesn't have a local dimming feature since there's no backlight. OLED panels can turn off pixels individually, so there are no issues with blooming, and subtitles are displayed perfectly.

10
Picture Quality
Local Dimming In Game Mode
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
No Backlight
7.0
Picture Quality
HDR Brightness
Real Scene Highlight
643 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
824 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
687 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
476 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
296 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
161 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
755 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
659 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
465 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
294 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
159 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.092

Decent HDR peak brightness. There's a lot of variation in brightness across different content. This is enough to deliver a good HDR experience.

We measured the HDR peak brightness before calibration, using the 'Custom' Picture Mode and 'Expert 2' Color Temperature. Brightness was set to maximum and Contrast was left at '90', which is the default.

6.9
Picture Quality
HDR Brightness In Game Mode
Real Scene Highlight
606 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
834 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
686 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
478 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
303 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
186 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
759 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
659 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
469 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
303 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
186 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.084
8.9
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
1.434 %
50% DSE
0.116 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.338 %
5% DSE
0.072 %

The Sony A8H has excellent gray uniformity, although this can vary between units. There's almost no visible dirty screen effect, which is great for watching sports or scenes with a lot of uniform colors. Uniformity is even better in darker scenes. We didn't notice any horizontal or vertical banding like on some other OLEDs, although this may occur with more extensive use over time.

10
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.290 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

OLED panels can turn individual pixels off completely, resulting in perfect black uniformity. The deviation is caused by the camera.

8.5
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
49 °
Color Shift
30 °
Brightness Loss
64 °
Black Level Raise
70 °
Gamma Shift
57 °

The Sony A8H's viewing angles are excellent, making it suitable for large rooms and wide seating arrangements. However, there's still some color shift at moderate viewing angles.

9.2
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Glossy
Total Reflections
1.5 %
Indirect Reflections
0.1 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
1.4 %

The Sony A8H has exceptional reflection handling. You shouldn't have issues using it in a bright room with multiple light sources. If you want a TV with slightly better reflection handling, check out the Vizio OLED 2020.

8.8
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
1.84
Color dE
1.42
Gamma
2.23
Color Temperature
6742 K
Picture Mode
Custom
Color Temp Setting
Expert 1
Gamma Setting
0

Update 12/09/2020: We remeasured the accuracy after calibrating our spectroradiometer. The review has been updated.

Out of the box, the Sony A8H has excellent color accuracy, although this can vary between units. Inaccuracies with most colors shouldn't be noticeable to the naked eye. The color temperature is a bit cold, giving the image a slight blue tint. Gamma follows the target fairly well, except most scenes are still too bright.

9.4
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.36
Color dE
1.27
Gamma
2.21
Color Temperature
6499 K
White Balance Calibration
10 point
Color Calibration
Yes

After calibration, the color accuracy is exceptional. Gamma, color temperature, and white balance are all nearly perfect. Color accuracy has improved, but there are still some issues with the color blue.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Upscaling of 480p content like DVDs looks good, and there are no upscaling artifacts.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content like cable TV is upscaled well, and there are no upscaling issues.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content like Blu-ray movies looks good.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

Native 4k content is displayed perfectly. We didn't see any signs of the issue that the Sony A8G OLED had with text rendering when using the TV as a PC monitor.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

The Sony A8H can't display an 8k signal.

Picture Quality
Pixels

The Sony A8H has a four sub-pixel structure, like all other OLED TVs. The four sub-pixels are never on at the same time. You can see the green sub-pixel in this photo.

8.6
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
97.13 %
DCI P3 uv
97.20 %
Rec 2020 xy
73.24 %
Rec 2020 uv
77.25 %

The Sony A8H has an excellent HDR color gamut. It has superb coverage of the commonly used DCI P3 color gamut, and its coverage of the wider Rec 2020 is decent. The EOTF follows the PQ curve almost perfectly, with only some brightening in darker scenes to avoid crushing. Like other Sony OLED TVs, it has a very sharp roll-off towards the TV's peak brightness. The 'Game' mode EOTF is nearly identical, which you can see here.

If you find HDR content too dim, you can make it brighter by setting Advanced Contrast Enhancer to 'High', Peak Brightness to 'High', and Brightness to maximum. These settings will result in this EOTF. You can also increase the Gamma slider and the Black Level for an even brighter image, although they weren't used for our EOTF measurement.

7.7
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
88.1 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
41.0 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
65.9 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
35.2 %

This TV has good color volume. It displays dark colors well due to its superb contrast ratio, but it has a bit of trouble displaying very bright colors.

9.3
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.066 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.078 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.060 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.073 dE

Exceptional gradient handling. There's only a little bit of banding in the darker shades of gray, green, and red. Enabling Smooth Gradation removes most of it; however, there's still some banding in the greens. That said, it's more noticeable in our test pattern than in normal content. Do note that using the Smooth Gradation feature can cause a loss of fine details in some scenes.

8.8
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.27 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.21 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.13 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.06 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

There's a bit of temporary image retention, but it usually goes away after a few minutes. However, this can vary 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.

2.0
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Yes

Like all OLED TVs, the Sony A8H is susceptible to permanent burn-in. However, we don't expect it to be an issue for most people who watch varied content. Sony has built-in two features that can help minimize the risks, which you can read about here.

If you're concerned about the risks of permanent burn-in, then check out the Sony X950H, which is an LED TV.

Motion
9.8
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
0.2 ms
100% Response Time
2.3 ms

Like all OLED TVs, the response time is near-instantaneous, which results in almost no blur trail behind fast-moving objects. There's a tiny amount of overshoot in the 0-20% transition, but it shouldn't be noticeable.

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

The TV doesn't use Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) since there's no backlight, but it isn't flicker-free. The slight dip in brightness is due to the TV's 120Hz refresh rate, which is about every 8ms.

10
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker For 60 fps
60 Hz
60Hz For 60 fps
Yes
120Hz For 120 fps
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
60 Hz

Update 07/22/2020: We've retested the BFI and can confirm that when playing 24p content, the flickering frequency is 96Hz with the Clearness slider set to '1' or '2', and setting it to '3' lowers it to 48Hz.

The Sony A8H has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature. It can flicker at 60Hz or 120Hz, regardless of the refresh rate of the content, meaning that you can set it to 60Hz or 120Hz flickering in 60fps content, and the same goes for 120fps content. To get a 60Hz flicker, set Motionflow to 'Custom', then set Clearness to '3'. For a 120Hz flicker, the Clearness slider should be set to '1' or '2'.

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

Update 07/15/2020: We've retested the motion interpolation with different content and noticed a good amount of artifacts in scenes that have a lot of movement. This is likely due to the TV continuing to interpolate during intense scenes, whereas other TVs tend to stop.

The Sony A8H can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120fps to make motion look smoother. It does a good job in slow-moving scenes, but unfortunately, it introduces a lot of artifacts when the action gets intense. To enable motion interpolation, set Cinemotion to 'Auto' and adjust the Smoothness slider to your preference.

5.0
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
39.4 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
14.4 ms

Due to the TV's near-instantaneous response time, lower frame rate content can appear to stutter. If the stuttering bothers you, enabling motion interpolation can help.

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 A8H can remove judder from all sources. Although it doesn't require any change in the settings to remove judder in 24p content, it's recommended to set Cinemotion to 'Auto', as without it, there are still a few frames that are out of place. For 60p, 60i, and content from native apps, set Cinemotion to 'Auto', Motionflow to 'Custom', and leave the Smoothness slider at '0'.

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