SONY A8F 4K UHD OLED TV, AN OVER­PRICED SHOCKER

SmartHouse - - REVIEW // SONY - Writ­ten by DAVID RICHARDS

Sony’s new 4K OLED TV is a shocker but what can you ex­pect from a Com­pany that builds a prod­uct us­ing third party man­u­fac­tur­ers and other TV Com­pa­nies parts.

I first saw this TV at CES, then in a set up here in Aus­tralia and to be hon­est for the price the lat­est A8F TV is like buying a car branded BMW that’s built by some­one like Skoda or Ford with­out a price re­duc­tion. Sony is not the brand it once was and their lat­est TV is a Com­pany trad­ing on brand clout from the past.

The first thing you have to recog­nise is that Sony has spent the best part of the last decade los­ing money in the TV mar­ket. Where they use to build their own TV’s they now out­source to cheap TV builders and it’s start­ing to show.

The big­gest com­po­nent in their lat­est OLED TV of­fer­ing is the dis­play panel and that’s made by LG, as for their 4K HDR Pro­ces­sor X1 Ex­treme pro­cess­ing en­gine that is at least 18 months old. In com­par­i­son both Sam­sung and LG have this year de­liv­ered brand new pro­ces­sors for their top end 2018 TV’s and it shows with bet­ter colour man­age­ment and bright­ness and sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased mo­tion con­trol which is ideal when watch­ing sport­ing events such as the Soc­cer World Cup in Rus­sia.

Even the Aus­tralian Fi­nan­cial Re­view who are big fans of Sony prod­ucts de­scribed the A8F as ‘merely a cos­metic up­grade on last’s year’s model’.

The pub­li­ca­tion claims that ‘For good and for bad, this year’s A8F looks more or less like all the other TVs on the mar­ket”.

The AFR also claimed that the re­mote con­trol on the A8F is a dis­grace.

It doesn’t even be­long on Sony’s cheap­est An­droid TVs, much less a premium TV such as the A8F. It’s odd that the com­pany seems to have lis­tened to com­plaints about the slight an­gle on last year’s A1 OLED and an­swered it by to­tally re­design­ing the whole look of the TV but is deaf to the ca­coph­ony of com­plaints about its re­mote con­trols.

If you are look­ing at this TV for the first time in a re­tail store don’t get sucked in be­cause the demo video that Sony has given re­tail­ers is set to store mode and what you get when you get the TV home is noth­ing like what you see in store. This is an is­sue that the Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion needs to look at as it can be mis­lead­ing for some con­sumers when vis­it­ing a re­tail store.

Trusted Re­views de­scribed the A8F as not be­ing “a true ‘sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion’ fol­low-up to last year’s wildly suc­cess­ful Sony A1”.

TRUSTED RE­VIEWS DE­SCRIBED THE A8F AS NOT BE­ING “A TRUE ‘SEC­OND­GEN­ER­A­TION’ FOL­LOW-UP TO LAST YEAR’S WILDLY SUC­CESS­FUL SONY A1”.

It’s a facelift, the op­po­site of the thing Ap­ple does where they up­date an ex­ist­ing phone’s per­for­mance but leave the body iden­ti­cal. The per­for­mance is largely un­changed, but the body has had a tweak.

Sony is plan­ning a firmware up­grade for the A8F later in the year and what I don’t know is whether this has come about be­cause of com­plaints.

The most im­me­di­ate change is that Sony has re­moved the flashy, pull-out stand around the back in favour of a reg­u­lar slab of metal that holds the AF8 up­right. I sus­pect that the de­sign did not ap­peal to most con­sumers who ei­ther wall mount or cabi­net mount their TV.

What is a plus is that Dolby Vi­sion is now sup­ported in ad­di­tion to HDR10.The A8F mod­els also still use Sony’s Acous­tic Sur­face tech­nol­ogy to make the screen

the TV’s speak­ers, and still uses An­droid TV to pro­vide its smarts, com­plete with built-in Chrome­cast.

I am still not cer­tain about this sound tech­nol­ogy as au­dio is still hard to hear. As for my per­sonal pref­er­ence I find that au­dio is sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved when one at­taches a pair of head­phones to the TV ei­ther via a ca­ble or via a Blue­tooth con­nec­tion.

At $3999 for a 55″ Sony OLED model and $5,999 for a 65-inch A8F model this is se­ri­ously over­priced with both Sam­sung, LG and Pana­sonic of­fer­ing a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive.

I also sus­pect that Oc­to­ber we will start see­ing sev­eral brands sell­ing an OLED with the same pro­cess­ing power of the A8F at half the price Sony is ask­ing for a brand sticker stuck on an LG OLED TV panel. Among the brands plan­ning an OLED TV for later this year are Philips, Hi­tachi, Toshiba and Blaupunkt.

rat­ing: 4/10

SONY IS PLAN­NING A FIRMWARE UP­GRADE FOR THE A8F LATER IN THE YEAR AND WHAT I DON’T KNOW IS WHETHER THIS HAS COME ABOUT BE­CAUSE OF COM­PLAINTS.

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