The standard in the TV world is constantly changing. OLED is starting to gain the upper hand and even within the different OLED TVs on the market there is quite a difference. Sony has been developing different OLED models for some time and has now launched the A80L, a high-end OLED model that has a number of useful features for anyone who wants to enjoy their games to the fullest.
Appearance and features
First, I have to take a moment to talk about the appearance of this new model. What is immediately noticeable upon unpacking the box is how incredibly thin this screen is. The bezels around the screen itself really seem to be minimal. That’s standard with an OLED TV, of course, but Sony promises that the A80L has a number of extra features that you won’t see right away. Sony itself describes this as “Acoustic Surface Audio+. That means the screen can be used as a speaker to complement your own sound system or sound bar. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but while watching a Formula 1 race or playing God of War Ragnarök, for example, this increases the quality of sound you hear. By the way, the A80L comes with two legs that you can put in the TV in different ways. This makes it possible to raise the screen slightly so that, for example, your soundbar fits under the screen itself.
Sony has made sure that we gamers are provided with every convenience. For example, there are two HDMI 2.1 connectors with this OLED to enable 120FPS. There are also some perks for PlayStation 5 users such as “Auto HDR Tone Mapping” and automatic picture mode conversion. That’s because the TV recognizes when a PlayStation 5 is connected. There is also a very handy menu available where you can fine-tune a number of settings. Think of VRR and it is even possible to lower the motion blur via this ‘Game Menu’. Another notable extra in this menu is adjusting the screen size. With this option in the menu, it is possible to resize the screen you are playing on to that of a monitor. In this way, you could switch between the grand experience of a console game to the competitive experience of a PC game. It sounds like a handy feature, but in practice I never actually used the latter option.
In use with movies, series and games
Well, on paper and while unpacking, basically everything about the Sony A80L looks incredibly good and promising. In the end, of course, what matters is whether this is still true while watching a movie or series and playing a game. Ultimately, for the 55-inch model I was able to test, you have to pay a sloppy 2,300 euros. Fortunately, my experience with the A80L has been nothing but positive. From the moment everything is connected, which is very easy, you can go all the way. The TV features Google TV, which means that all your favorite streaming services are available through various apps and that casting to the TV is no problem at all. In addition, everything that supports the features of the A80L looks really awesome. Even for an OLED TV, the quality of the screen managed to make a very positive impression. You’ll often hear the clichés that “black really is black,” but with the A80L, it really was. Especially when you manage to find the right setting for the content you are watching, the A80L feels like a big step forward.
When I switched back to my own TV, I immediately missed the extra layer of sound that the A80L was able to offer me.
It’s not just the picture that plays a role in this, the aforementioned audio is also taken to the next level with this TV. I use a soundbar to better enjoy all the content I take in, and that aforementioned Acoustic Surface Audio+ is more than a gimmick. When I switched back to my own TV, I immediately missed the extra layer of sound that the A80L was able to offer me. I didn’t expect to ever say it, but a good solution seems to have been found for audio and TVs. Keep in mind, though, that that means I myself use a soundbar and don’t lean solely on the sound coming out of the TV. Sony did take a step forward with this, but I still recommend using a soundbar with it.
The same goes for gaming, by the way. When you connect the PlayStation 5, the A80L instantly recognizes it and you can set it to your liking. It almost sounds like a disguised PR talk, but when you play your games on a good TV, I still enjoy them more. Scenes from God of War impress even more, and the cars from a game like Gran Turismo 7 – where the cars always look great – jump out a little extra. On top of that, again, the sound is just that little bit better thanks to the aforementioned audio options. As mentioned, it’s nice that you can resize the images to monitor size, but I didn’t use that myself. By the way, I actually always turn off motion blur in games as soon as possible, and the menu that has this option is nice, but not entirely necessary. As far as I am concerned, these features are more of a gesture by Sony that they are thinking about the gamer with TVs as well, rather than something I will actually use.
All in all, I can’t help but recommend the Sony A80L. Just keep in mind that this TV comes with a price tag of at least 2,300 euros. I understand very well that this is why it is not yet for everyone, but thanks to the various options, the ease with which everything can be set and especially the instinctive big step forward in audio is reason enough for me to recommend the Sony A80L to everyone.