The 2018 Sony Bravia A8F builds on the solid foundation of last year’s Bravia A1, as its rivals are also upping the game.
Design: The Bravia A8F dispenses with the integrated kickstand type table top stand A-Frame design seen in the Bravia A1. Thus, we no longer get to enjoy the relaxed 5-degree backward screen lean. The Bravia A8F instead switches to a more conventional table top stand where the display looks straight at you—so you will need a table less deeper than the Bravia A1 needs. The frame around the screen is extremely thin.
Performance: Sony sells the Bravia A8F in two screen sizes—55-inch and 65-inch, with OLED panel, 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range (HDR) standards and the X1 Extreme image processor. What you get is a visual experience that is close to perfection. We have often observed that Sony’s image processing does a significantly better job than its closest rivals—that has not changed. Individual pixels light up and turn off, depending on the visuals on screen, and that accuracy leads to great detailing and contrast. Textures are smooth, and there is no ‘graining’ visible. Be it a football match in high definition or The Grand Tour in 4K and Daredevil in 4K with HDR—all are handled with equal ease. This isn’t the brightest screen when the backlight is set at maximum, but that is not something to worry about for home use. Fast moving visuals are brilliantly smooth, and unlike the Bravia A1, there is no occasional image ghosting.
No speakers: How can that be? The magic of the Sony Bravia A8F is that the entire display is the speaker. The technology is called Acoustic Surface System, and there are actuators placed behind the display panel, which vibrate the screen and produce sound. There is a woofer at the back to handle lower frequencies. Compared with its predecessor that used similar technology, the Bravia A8F sounds significantly crisper. The bass is better too.
Smart TV: Sony remains loyal to Google’s Android TV platform. You get the widest range of streaming apps, Netflix and Amazon Video aside (Hotstar, Sony Liv, Voot, Hooq, Viu and more) and the interface is simple enough.
In sum: If you are considering a flagship television at the moment, it will be a tough choice that includes the Samsung Q7F QLED TV (Rs208,900 onwards) and the upcoming LG OLED AI ThinQ TV (Rs299,990 onwards). If the artificial intelligence (AI) power of voice control in the LG TV does not necessarily excite you, you could opt for the Sony Bravia A8F—simply because it does the video, audio and design bits equally well.