The 7 Best Reasons To Avoid A Sony A80J Oled TV

The Sony A80J OLED TV seems like a top-tier option on paper. With features like a cognitive processor, Acoustic Surface Audio+, and vibrant OLED display, it promises an immersive viewing experience. However, several drawbacks make the A80J a risky purchase for many consumers.

In this guide, we’ll explore the 7 most compelling reasons to avoid buying a Sony A80J OLED TV. For each downside, we’ll compare the A80J to competitor models that outperform it. We’ll also overview suitable alternatives and answer common questions about OLED TVs.

Overview of the Sony A80J OLED TV

Before diving into the A80J‘s weaknesses, let‘s briefly overview its key specs and features:

  • Sizes: 55", 65", 77"
  • Display: 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) OLED
  • High dynamic range support: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
  • Processor: Cognitive Processor XR
  • Refresh rate: 120Hz
  • HDMI ports: 4 (HDMI 2.1)
  • Gaming features: ALLM, VRR, ALLM
  • Audio: Acoustic Surface Audio+
  • Smart platform: Google TV

On paper, the A80J looks like a highly advanced 4K OLED TV. But several disadvantages make it less than ideal for many buyers.

Reason 1: High Risk of Permanent Burn-In

All OLED TVs have some risk of image retention and burn-in. However, the A80J seems especially prone among 2022 models.

Burn-in happens when a static image remains on the screen so long it leaves a permanent shadow. This often occurs with logos, bright graphics, or on-screen tickers.

According to RTings testing, the A80J showed burn-in in a standardized test after ~5000 hours cumulative exposure. That‘s worse than competitors like:

  • LG C2 OLED: ~7000 hours
  • Sony A90J OLED: ~6000 hours
  • Samsung S95B QD-OLED: ~9000 hours

The results indicate Sony still lags behind in preventing OLED burn-in. For users planning to keep their TV 5+ years, it introduces unnecessary long-term risks.

Reason 2: Incomplete HDMI 2.1 Feature Set

The A80J has four HDMI 2.1 ports, enabling 4K/120Hz gaming and dynamic metadata. However, its HDMI feature set remains incomplete compared to rivals.

Absent features include:

  • Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) below 60 Hz
  • Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)

The lack of <60 Hz VRR stems from hardware limitations in Sony‘s MediaTek platform. It means you miss out on smoother variable refresh rates for cinematic, story-driven games.

ALLM not being supported also means you‘ll have to manually enable game mode. This introduces extra input lag that competitors like the LG C2 OLED can switch on automatically.

Considering this TV costs $1000+, it‘s reasonable to expect full HDMI 2.1 support out of the box. But with the A80J, that still isn‘t the case.

Reason 3: No Dedicated Gaming Hub

The Sony A80J runs the Google TV platform. It‘s polished and highly customizable. However, it lacks a dedicated gaming hub found on models like LG and Samsung TVs.

Gaming hubs provide quick access to connected consoles, Game Mode presets, genre-based settings, and gaming assistance tools:

LG Game Optimizer interface

LG C2 Game Optimizer Hub

Without a centralized gaming menu, the A80J makes accessing games and optimizing settings more complex. You lose one-touch presets tailored for FPS, RPGs, RTS titles, and more.

For casual gamers, it may not matter much. But for hardcore gamers who want every advantage possible, the lack of gaming hub is a letdown.

Reason 4: Underwhelming VRR Performance

Enabling VRR (variable refresh rate) should make games appear buttery smooth by syncing the frame rate with the display‘s refresh rate. But on the A80J, VRR introduces screen flicker and brightness variation issues during extended sessions:

A80J VRR flicker

A80J VRR flicker demonstrated

The same VRR content plays smoothly on OLEDs like the LG G2 and Samsung S95B. So it appears tied to limitations in Sony‘s VRR implementation, rather than the display panel itself.

Sony may improve performance via future firmware updates. But in its current state, the A80J‘s VRR brings headaches rather than the seamless gaming experience expected.

Reason 5: Lower Peak Brightness Than Rivals

While OLED TVs will never match QLED TVs for brightness, the A80J lags behind even other 2022 OLED sets:

  • Sony A80J peak brightness: ~690 nits (Vivid mode)
  • LG G2 peak brightness: ~780 nits
  • Samsung S95B peak brightness: ~1070 nits

The superior brightness gives the LG G2 and Samsung S95B advantages in well-lit rooms. HDR pops more through sunlight, while highlights stand out better against glare.

The A80J still renders deep blacks thanks to OLED. But for a $1300+ television, buyers expect strong brightness alongside the inky blacks—an area where it compares less favorably.

Reason 6: Lacks Support for Advanced HDR10+ Format

The Sony A80J supports baseline HDR10 and Dolby Vision high dynamic range. However, it lacks the more advanced HDR10+ format found on many competitor TVs:

Key services/devices that use HDR10+:

  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Roku streamers
  • Blu-ray players
  • PlayStation 5 & Xbox Series X

HDR10+ builds on HDR10 with extra scene-by-scene metadata for optimizing brightness, color, and contrast. Supporting services can fine-tune HDR10+ content to extract the most picture detail from a compatible TV.

Without HDR10+, the A80J misses out on the best visual quality from these services. And as HDR10+ becomes more widespread, that gap may widen going forward.

Reason 7: Limited Range of Screen Sizes

The Sony A80J OLED TV is only available in 55", 65", and 77" variants. Compared to LG, Samsung, and Vizio models offering 42" up to 83" options, it limits flexibility for different room sizes.

Buying a 77"+ TV isn‘t practical for smaller living rooms. But with the A80J series, that‘s the only route for a truly cinematic experience. Conversely, gamers desiring a desktop-sized OLED are left totally out of luck.

Most buyers prefer a balance of price, performance, and the "right" screen size for their space. Unfortunately, the A80J‘s limited sizing selection inhibits striking that balance.

Are There Any Good Reasons Left to Buy the Sony A80J?

Given the A80J‘s downsides, is there still a case to buy this television? Here are a few remaining benefits that may appeal to certain buyers:

Standout picture quality: The Sony A80J remains an excellent performer for movies and cinematic games. OLED pixels render deep black levels remarkable for accentuating detail. Plus, Sony‘s Cognitive Processor XR does a stellar job upscaling HD/SDR content close to 4K HDR-like quality.

Acoustic Surface Audio+: The A80J pumps impressive sound from the screen itself via actuator drivers. It creates a wide, focused soundstage that outperforms most built-in TV speakers.

ATSC 3.0 tuner included: Over-the-air viewers can future-proof for NextGen TV broadcasts via the integrated ATSC 3.0 tuner. Competing models like the LG C2 OLED lack this tuner.

Google TV interface: Sony uses the popular Google TV platform rather than its own smart OS. The customizable, voice-enabled Google TV experience offers a vast app selection and ease of use.

If you don‘t need HDMI 2.1 gaming features, view primarily movies, and want a cinematic audio/visual experience, the Sony A80J becomes a stronger contender. It meets the needs of certain buyers despite drawbacks for general consumers.

3 Best Sony A80J OLED TV Alternatives

Given its flaws for mixed usage, we recommend considering three alternative TVs over the Sony A80J:

TVKey StrengthsPrice
LG C2 OLEDBrighter OLED panel, gaming features, Dolby Vision IQ/Atmos support$1300+
Samsung S95B OLEDHigh peak brightness, gaming hub, 10 year anti burn-in warranty$1600+
Samsung QN90B QLEDExceptional brightness & reflection handling, gaming performance$1200+

LG C2 OLED TV: The stellar LG C2 rects most A80J weaknesses at a similar price point. It offers comparable picture quality with slimmer bezels, boosted gaming metrics, and advanced Dolby Vision+ formats missing on the Sony model. Unless you require the A80J‘s ATSC 3.0 tuner, the C2 is a clearly better all-around value.

Samsung S95B QD-OLED TV: Samsung‘s new S95B QD-OLED TV combines quantum dot and OLED panel technologies for superior brightness and color. It also has an anti burn-in warranty and full HDMI 2.1 capability the A80J lacks. The only downside is its higher $1600+ pricing. But for the ultimate dim-room TV today, it‘s hard finding a better option than the S95B.

Samsung QN90B Neo QLED TV: Buyers wanting an especially bright television should also consider Samsung‘s QN90B 4K QLED TV. Its Mini-LED backlight produces searing highlight brightness that outdoes nearly all models, OLED or LED. The impressive contrast and color help it rival OLED for picture quality at a lower cost. It‘s the best high-end LED/LCD TV where brightness matters most to your viewing.


Is the Sony A80J worth buying in 2023?

The A80J remains a decent premium TV pick for its strengths in movies and built-in Acoustic Audio. But considering faster, brighter alternatives now exist at equal or lower cost, it‘s tough justifying the A80J to most buyers in 2023. We suggest checking out the LG C2 or Samsung QN90B for better all-around home theater value this year.

Do all OLED TVs have risk of burn-in?

Burn-in is an inherent risk of OLED technology. However, the chances of burn-in happening, and the time it takes to occur, varies among different OLED models. Some OLED TVs like the Panasonic LZ2000 implement special features to minimize static image retention over years of regular use. But no OLED is entirely immune as current manufacturing limitations persist.

How long do OLED TVs typically last?

When treated with care around static content, OLED TVs often last anywhere from 5-7 years or 80,000-100,000 hours of cumulative runtime. Real-world longevity depends on factors like usage habits and how long the TV continues receiving firmware support. But generally, current OLED TV lifespans are comparable to LED LCD sets when accounting for the inherent burn-in susceptibility.

What picture settings yield the best image quality on the Sony A80J OLED TV?

For the most accurate picture on the A80J out of the box, set the Contrast and Brightness to max, leave Color near the middle point, enable Live Color, and set the Black Level between “Low” and “High.” Additionally, disabling Reality Creation and limiting Motionflow to Custom 1-2 reduces processing artifacts. Follow these tips to get the cleanest, most balanced picture that takes full advantage of the A80J’s OLED capabilities.

The Bottom Line

The Sony A80J remains an impressive 4K OLED TV in some respects. It renders stunning contrast and black levels while providing great upscaling of lower-quality content. Additionally, the built-in audio outperforms most competitors.

However, key weaknesses around burn-in, brightness, and gaming hold it back as a top-tier recommendation in 2023. The LG C2 and Samsung S95B rectify these issues at equal or lower pricing. And Sony‘s decision to skip HDR10+ feels increasingly questionable as more services adopt the HDR format.

Given the rapid pace of TV innovation lately, buyers deserve the latest technology improvements when paying a premium. The Sony A80J falls a half-step behind in that regard despite its gorgeous OLED image. We suggest checking out this year‘s newer OLED and QLED options if you want the most future-proofed 4K TV pick that minimizes compromise.

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