Sony A8F vs A1E Review (XBR55A8F vs XBR55A1E, XBR65A8F vs XBR65A1E)
Sony A8F is a 2018 model of Sony OLED TV while Sony A1E is the predecessor, the first model of Sony OLED TV that released in 2017. If in last year, A1E bring a unique designed named “One Slate”, in this year, A8F comes with a refreshed design. Nevertheless, of course, there are some improvements brought by A8F that expected can improve performance and picture quality produced by Sony A8F over A1E. In the market, Sony A1E comes in 3 screen sizes options, 55 inch (XBR55A1E), 65 Inch (XBR65A1E) and 77 Inch (XBR77A1E), while A8F comes in 2 screen size options only, 55 inch (XBR55A8F) and 65 Inch (XBR65A8F). With the same screen SIZE (XBR55A1E vs XBR55A8F, XBR65A1E vs XBR65A8F), Sony A8F is priced hundreds dollar more expensive than A1E. Nevertheless, this is more caused the price of A8F is still full while the price of A1E has dropped a lot. But of course, their prices certainly are not fixed and could still change at any time, particularly for the price of A8F that recently launched.
Sony A8F vs A1E Key Specs
|Specs and Features||Sony A1E||Sony A8F|
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Size Available||55 Inch (XBR55A1E), 65 Inch (XBR65A1E), 77 Inch (XBR77A1E)||55 Inch (XBR55A8F), 65 Inch (XBR65A8F)|
|Technology Dimming||Pixel Dimming||Pixel Dimming|
|Backlight||No (Self-Lighting Pixel)||No (Self-Lighting Pixel)|
|Picture Engine||4K HDR X1 Extreme||4K HDR X1 Extreme|
|HDR||HDR 10, Dolby Vision, and HLG||HDR 10, Dolby Vision, HLG|
|Ultra HD Premium Certification||Yes||Yes|
|Color Technology||4 Sub pixels technology (RGBW)||4 Sub pixels technology (RGBW)|
|Advanced Technology||Dynamic Contrast Ratio, Precision Color Mapping, Object-Based Remaster Technology ,Dual Data Base Processing, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR, TriLuminos Display||Dynamic Contrast Ratio, Precision Color Mapping, Object-Based Remaster Technology ,Dual Data Base Processing, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR, TriLuminos Display|
|4K Up-scaling||4K X-Reality Pro||Tru 4K Up-Scaler|
|Platform||Google Android TV Ver. 6.0||Google Android TV Ver. 6.0|
|Features||Full Browser, Google Play Store, Google Voice Search, Play Station Now, etc||Web Browser, VoD Service, Cloud Games, Google Voice Assistant, Google Home, etc|
|Remote||Sony Voice Remote||Sony Voice Remote|
|RF (Terrestrial Cable)||1||1|
|Wi-Fi Built In||Yes||Yes|
|Speaker Type||Acoustic Surface (Actuator + Subwoofer)||Acoustic Surface (Actuator + Subwoofer)|
|Total Audio Output||10 W + 10 W + 10 W + 10 W + 10 W||10 W + 10 W + 10 W + 10 W + 10 W|
|Price||See the price on Amazon||See the price on Amazon|
Technologies and Features of Sony A1E and A8F
There are not many differences in technologies which support Sony A1E and A8F. The one of striking differences between Sony A1E and A8F is on design. As we know, A1E comes with a design named “One Slate”. From the front, A1E looks very minimalist without stand, bezel, or speaker. This TV is designed to put on the table or AV Rack with a tilt about 5 degrees and supported by easel stand. Meanwhile, compared to A1E, the design of Sony A8F is really fresh. While A1E is designed to put on the table, Sony A8F is designed to be wall-mounted. However, this did not rule out A8F is also putted on the table. To get the flatter section at the rear, the easel stand is removed. To support a TV when it is put on the table, A8F is supported a very small footprint stand as the instead of easel stand. Essentially, design of Sony A8F looks more like other OLED TVs than the predecessor A1E.
As we see on comparison table above, the technology and features that support both Sony A8F and A1E are almost identical. On their panel, both of them equally use OLED Panel made by LG where in this year, LG don’t make significant improvement to their OLED display. Nevertheless, there is a little modification to its pixel structure that reduces the risk of permanent burn in.
For producing stunning detail picture quality, both Sony A8F and A1E are equally powered by 4K HDR X1 Extreme Engine where there are the number of Sony’s advanced technologies embedded including precision color mapping for improving their color accuracy, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR for maximizing their color gradient, Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, and also Dual Database processing and Object Based HDR Remaster technology for improving the clarity of HDR images produced by them. Additionally, for deliver wide color gamut and excellent rendition of colors, both Sony A1E and A8F are also powered by the same technology, those are TriLuminos Display and Live Color Technology. Meanwhile, optimized to HDR experience, both of them equally support most of HRD formats which available in the market including HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and Dolby Vision. This allows you to enjoy HDR movies with more HDR formats options.
All OLED TV including Sony A8F and A1E actually have excellent pixel response time and flicker free which makes their motion handling is excellent. But in certain condition, to clear up the motion, particularly when playing 60 fps contents or playing video contents with interpolation, this require flickers with flicker frequency is same to frame rate of contents. For this case, Sony A1E and A8F have an optional BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode called Motion Flow XR. This feature can help the motion look clearer when they are playing 60 contents like sports or games.
For connecting with other devices, both Sony A8F and A1E are equally equipped with 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB ports, and other inputs/outputs, allow you to connect most of your other devices onto A1E or A8F at once. And as their smart TV platform, both Sony A1E and A8F are also equally featuring Google Android TV. But the difference, Sony A8F comes with version 7.0 while A1E comes with version 6.0. The excellence, both of them already support Google Voice Assistant that makes its voice navigation can do more like search within apps, change inputs, open apps, answer some basic question, and many more. Not even just that, they also already support Google Home Assistant that allows you to control you other Google Home compatible devices with your voice. And unlike other TVs that use speaker system for generating sound, both Sony A1E and A8F use a technology called “Acoustic Surface”. To produce a sound, this technology utilize their own screen that vibrated by the number of actuators affixed to the back of rear panel.
Sony A8F vs A1E Performance
Like other model of OLED TVs, the one of the strongest aspect of picture quality offered by Sony A8F and A1E is on its infinite contrast ratio and perfect black level. As we know, OLED Panel has self-lighting pixel that means each of pixel can emit its own light without affected by the condition of other pixel surrounding. This also allows OLED panel doesn’t need backlight. The result, when showing totally black, the screen doesn’t emit light at all that certainly make it can produce perfect black level and perfect black uniformity. And since A1E and A8F have perfect black level and black uniformity, this certainly makes their performance when showing dark scene is great, especially when showing HDR Image. As we know, one of the main purpose HDR images is to reveal more information in dark scene so dark scene produced will look clearer. Meanwhile, with perfect black level, both Sony A1E and A8F can reveal details in dark scene excellently. On the other hand, this also makes dark colors can be shown fairly accurate. The result, dark scene of HDR images will look excellent, even when they set in dark environment. The excellence of A8F and A1E in showing dark scene will be more noticeable particularly when they playing movies with a lot of dark scene like Horror or Thriller movies.
While performance of OLED TVs including Sony A1E and A8F in dark room is the best, although not as good as premium LED TV, their performance in a bright room can also be said excellent. When inputted by SDR signal, the excepting of at large window size, they can produce about 400 nits that means it is quite bright to dampen the glare, makes picture displayed on their screen looks remain good when set in a room with a lot of light. A bit unfortunate, when showing a scene with most or all objects are bright, their peak brightness drop to below 300 nits, even with all object are bright, their peak brightness drops to below 200 nits. Compare between them, Sony A8F can produce a bit brighter peak brightness, makes picture displayed on its screen looks a bit brighter than the predecessor A1E. Nevertheless, overall, its performance in a bright room is fairly good.
Meanwhile, when inputted by HDR signal, both Sony A1E and A8F can produce far brighter peak brightness. They equally can make small windows size is brighter than larger window size, makes highlight of HDR images can be shown brighter. But like when inputted by SDR, Sony A8F can reach brighter peak brightness than A1E at any window sizes. The highest peak brightness reached by Sony A1E is at small window size that is about 700 nits, while at the same window size, A8F can reach brighter than 800 nits. But like when showing SDR images, their peak brightness also drops to below 300 nits even below 200 nits when showing a scene with most or all objects are bright. This means, no matter they are showing a scene with all objects are bright or a scene with a bright small object in a dark background, Sony A8F can show them brighter than A1E. But since their peak brightness are still below 1000 nits, this certainly makes them are not able to show highlight of HDR images at 1000 – 4000 nits where HDR image are usually mastered. Nevertheless, at least , it is still far bright than 550 nits as the minimum standardization set by UHD alliance for OLED TV to show highlight of HDR images fully. Overall, although not as bright as LG OLED C8, their peak brightness is good for OLED TV. The excellence, since they have self-lighting pixel, when showing a highlight in a dark background, there are not unwanted adjacent lights or blooming around the small bright object.
Discussing about their color reproduction, Sony A8F also has a bit wider color gamut than Sony A1E. But the excellence of A8F to A1E is not too significant and overall, their color gamut is excellent. Their DCI P3 color space coverage is close 100% and their Rec.2020 color coverage is also fairly good. The result, most of colors of HDR image in DCI P3 like HDR 10 image or in Rec.2020 like Dolby Vision image can be shown fairly accurate. Compared to Samsung QLED TVs as the TV with the best color gamut, their color gamut is only a bit narrower. But even so, due their panel have RGBW pixel structure and their peak brightness is limited by ABL (Automatic Brightness Limited), very bright colors cannot be shown as saturated as darker colors. This will be more noticeable when they are showing bright outdoor scene. Meanwhile, powered by Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR technology, both Sony A1E and A8F can process 10 bit or more depth of colors excellently. The result, color gradient of HDR images displayed on their screen looks fairly smooth without any major imperfections. Some little imperfections might still be visible in dark shades of colors, but overall, their color gamut is better than most TVs which available in the market.
Winner: Sony A8F
Side Viewing Angle
In addition to infinite contrast and perfect black level, the other excellent performance offered by OLED TV including Sony A8F and A1E is about their excellent side viewing angle coverage. If on LED TV with VA panel, black level and color degrades at less than 20 degrees off center and front, OLED can maintain black level and colors at wider angle. At less than 30 degrees off center and front, color might also start to shift, but at the wider angle, the color shift is not as significant as that happens on LED TV. Meanwhile, black level and brightness can be maintained at wider angle, even at extremely wider angle. The result, when viewed from the side, the picture displayed on their screen will look remain good, as good as when viewed from the center and front. This certainly makes both A8F and A1E are suitable for you who often watch TV with your families or friend where they usually watch TV from multiple angles.
Motion Handling and 24p Playback
Extremely low pixel response time also becomes the excellence of OLED TVs including Sony A8F and A1E. As we know, the lower the pixel response time of a TV, motion blur will be more minimized. Like other model of OLED TVs, Sony A8F and A1E also have extremely low pixel response time, far lower than the lowest pixel response time reached by LED TV. The result, when playing fast moving images, the picture produced will looks smooth and clear with almost no ghosting trails following fast moving object. Blur that may visible is more caused by persistence than response time. Additionally, since OLED TV doesn’t have backlight, this allows A1E and A8F is free from flicker. But even so, in certain conditions, flickers is required to clear up the motion, particularly when playing 60 fps contents like sports or games or playing video contents with interpolation. For this case, Sony A1E and A8F have an optional Black Frame Insertion mode called Motion Flow. This feature is effectively help to make motion looks clearer but on the other hand, this will cause duplications. Nevertheless, overall, both Sony A8F and A1E do a great job when handling motion blur.
Meanwhile, their performance when playing 24p movies is also excellent. No matter the frame rate of the movies, whether it is native 24p videos like Blu-Ray or DVD movies, movies via streaming app like YouTube, Netflix, and others, 24p videos via 60i signals like movies from satellite TV, or even 24p movies via 60p signals like movies from streaming devices such as Apple TV, Fire TV, and others, all of them will be shown clearly and smoothly on their screen with judder-free. To remove the judder without adding “soap opera effect” you just need to set “Motion Flow” to “Custom” and “CineMotion” to “High”.
There are no differences between them about inputs/outputs. Both Sony A1E and A8F are equally equipped with 4 HDMI ports as their major connectivity where their HDMI ports already support HDCP 2.2 and CEC. Nevertheless, which support HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth are only HDMI 2 and 3, while that supports ARC (Audio Return Channel) is only HDMI 3. Both of them are also equipped with 3 USB ports where 2 ports are USB 2.0 (USB 2 and 3) while 1 port is USB 3.0 (USB 1). In addition USB and DHMI ports, both of them are also equally equipped with 1 Composite In (AV In), 1 RF IN, 1 Ethernet In, 1 Digital Audio Out (Optical), Analog Audio Out (mini jack) and others. As their wireless connectivity, both Sony A8F and A1E also equally equipped with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Additionally, they also similar input lags in “PC” and “Game Mode”. At 4K resolution, their inputs lags is excellent, low enough to play any games so feel responsively, even for playing fast paced games which require fast paced games. A bit unfortunate, at 1080p resolution, their input lags is a bit too high, but this is still comfortable for most games. While when used for playing fast paced games, this may be a bit disappointed.
As their smart TV platform, both Sony A8F and A1E are equally featuring Google Android TVs as their platform. The difference, Sony A1E comes with 6.0 version, while A8F comes with 7.0 version. As a newer version, the 7.0 version certainly comes with some improvements and additional features over the 6.0 version. But in term of user interface, there are not many changes. On their “Home Menu”, apps are grouped into multiple rows, the apps which have similar functions is grouped together. This certainly makes navigation is simple. Nevertheless, since there too many apps provided on their home menu, this certain makes their home screen is too crowded and very long. This means, to see everything, you must make a lot of scrolling, makes their navigation is not as easy to use as other smart TV platforms. The many apps provided precisely makes their performance is not so smooth. Once you launch an app, their performance is not too consistent. Sometime, it will open quickly, but on the other time, this requires one two seconds before it open. Additionally, animation is also often choppy and the interface also often freezes. Their performance is slow particularly when accessing menu within app. Meanwhile, the excellence offered is about apps provided. In addition to there are already a lot of preinstalled apps like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Videos, HuluPlus, Web Browser, Games, and many more, it also has an app store called “Google Play Store”, where we know, it is powered by ton of developers and also provides tons of apps, games, information, and others. What provided by Google Play Store even is a lot more than what provided by app stores of other platforms. Now, Google android TV also support Google Home Assistant and Amazon Alexa home Assistant that allows you to control your other compatible devices via your TV with the voice commands of your remote.
As their controller, both Sony A1E and A8F have similar remote. Their remote is larger than others and have a lot of array of buttons. In addition to standard functions buttons like power on, navigation pad, volume, and others, there remote are equipped with 2 dedicated buttons for Amazon and Netflix, allow you to launch these apps without entering the home menu. At the center top, there is a microphone buttons and once this button is pressed, it provides access to the Google Voice Assistant. This allows you to do a lot of thing with your voice commands, a lot of more than default Sony’s voice navigation. And with IR blaster, this remote also can be functioned to control some functions of other compatible CEC devices connected on these Sony TVs via HDMI ports.
|Performance||Sony A1E||Sony A8F|
As we have discussed a lot above, Sony A8F as the successor of A1E comes with refreshed design. Unlike the predecessor Sony A1E where with “One Slate Design”, it is focused to be placed on the table or AV rack, Sony A8F is focused to be well-mounted on the wall. But it did not rule out also placed on the table with the support of the stand. Meanwhile, in addition to design, Sony A8F actually also bring some improvements that should makes its performance is better than Sony A1E as the predecessor. In reality, peak brightness and color gamut produced by Sony A8F is indeed a bit better then A1E, makes HDR performance and picture quality produced is a bit better than Sony A1E, however, the excellence offered by A8F in picture quality and HDR Performance is not too striking. Ignoring a bit excellence offered by A8F, overall, picture quality, HDR performance, and performance of other features offered by both Sony A1E and A8F are excellent.
So, which is a better choice between them? As we have mentioned above, when I was writing this comparison, with the same screen size, Sony A8F is priced hundreds dollar more expensive than A1E due it still has a full price. Meanwhile, in addition to refreshed design, A8F also brings some improvements on its performance, especially its peak brightness and color gamut. On the other hand, sold hundreds dollar cheaper, performance and picture quality offered by Sony A1E is not far behind A8F. Now, the decision comes back to you according to your preferences. As the note, since A8F still have a full price, if you prefer to choose it, wait a one or two next months until its price drops may give you a benefit up to hundreds dollar.