Hands on: Sony Bravia 8 review

The replacement for the Award-wining A80L looks brighter and better in early demos

What is a hands on review?
The Sony Bravia 8 TV photographed on top of a wooden cabinet
(Image: © What Hi-Fi?)

Early Verdict

While we won't pass final judgement until we have had the Bravia 8 in for full, independent testing, this early look suggests that improvements to brightness and colours could make it an even better TV than the excellent A80L.


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    Small but noticeable increase in brightness

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    Seemingly warmer colour balance than the A80L

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    Nice physical design


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    Not available in sizes smaller than 55 inches

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    Still just two HDMI 2.1 sockets

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The A80L was the surprise TV package of last year. Sony caught LG napping and produced a TV that fairly trounced the C3 with a brilliantly punchy and dynamic picture performance.

Keen to not ‘do an LG’ and rest on its own laurels, the Japanese brand is replacing the A80L with the Bravia 8, which predictably lacks MLA and QD-OLED technology but does boast a new design, upgraded picture processing and a claimed increase in peak brightness.

Of course, LG has now made up for the slightly lacklustre performance of the C3 with the new C4, which is a big improvement and, on balance, a better TV than the A80L. Will the new Bravia 8 put Sony back on top of the mid-range OLED TV charts? We won’t be able to say for sure until we’ve had a final production sample into our test rooms for a full, comparative review, but a demonstration at a pre-announcement event in LA certainly suggested that the Bravia 8 is a better TV than the already excellent A80L.

Price and availability

We only so far have UK pricing for the new Bravia 8, but the good news is that it's launching at a lower price than the A80L did. Here's the full pricing breakdown:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
SizeSony A80LBravia 8
55£2399 / $1900 / AU$2995£2199 / $2000 / AU$TBC
65£2999 / $2600 / AU$3995£2699 / $2800 / AU$TBC
77£4499 / $3600 / AU$6495£3999 / $3900 / AU$TBC
83£5499 / $5500 / AU$8795No such model

One big disappointment regarding the Bravia 8 is that, like the A80L, it won’t be available in sizes below 55 inches. In fact, Sony is leaving the 42-inch and 48-inch A90K, which launched way back 2022, on the market for yet another year. That seems a real shame.


A close-up of the feet of the new Sony Bravia 8 TV

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Sony has made a few small design changes for the Bravia 8. For a start, the bottom sections of the two feet are thin and flat so that a soundbar can lie across them. The feet can also be positioned so that there’s a very small gap between stand and set or with a larger gap so there’s space for said soundbar. They can be inserted into either the ends of the bottom edge or more to the centre, too.

Wall-mounters, meanwhile, will be pleased to see that there’s no longer a two-step design around the back, with the new, flatter rear allowing the set to be mounted more flush to the wall.


A photograph of the Sony Bravia 8 TV, taken from the side

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The biggest news from a picture perspective is that Sony is claiming that the Bravia 8 is capable of going around 10 per cent brighter than the A80L, which was already a bright and punchy TV by mid-range OLED standards. This increase in brightness has been achieved without the addition of MLA or QD-OLED technology, or even a heatsink.

The XR Processor will undoubtedly play a part here, but Sony flags just a couple of specific upgrades to its picture processing. Those are a new scene selection technology for recognising specific scenes within content, and improved face detection, which can now identify and enhance faces from the side, in close-ups and even in crowds.

Sony’s new Prime Video Calibrated Mode also makes an appearance on the Bravia 8, promising picture settings that are automatically adjusted for different content types on Amazon’s streaming service – even sport. Netflix Calibrated Mode and Bravia Core Calibrated mode return, albeit under the new Sony Pictures Core Calibrated Mode name in the case of the latter.

Otherwise, the feature set is very much as before. The Bravia 8 uses the Google TV operating system, which is thorough and fairly intuitive but lacks the style and slickness of the proprietary platforms of LG and Samsung. On the gaming front, there are still just two HDMI 2.1 sockets – an almost unforgivable deficiency at this late stage of the current console generation – but they do at least finally support Dolby Vision gaming as well as the previous 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM formats.


The Sony Bravia 8 TV photographed on top of a wooden cabinet in a large room

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Sony’s Bravia 8 demo session featured the LG C3 for comparison. I rather wish the A80L had been provided instead, seeing as that would have provided a more tangible illustration of this year’s upgrades (plus, it’s a better picture performer than the C3 overall), but there were still good insights to be drawn.

The session kicked off with both TVs in their ‘Vivid’ modes, with Sony explaining that while it realises these modes aren’t cinematically accurate, they are useful for exploring the upper limits of the sets. Sure enough, the Bravia 8 trounced the C3 for brightness and impact here, but that was largely expected given that the A80L was already much punchier than the C3. However, I found the degree of pop from the Bravia 8 to be extra-impressive, suggesting that the claim of a roughly 10 per cent increase in brightness over the A80L is likely accurate.

Because OLED black depth doesn’t need to be sacrificed for brightness to be increased, overall contrast increases, too, and this tends to increase perceived sharpness and image solidity. This seems to especially be the case with the Bravia 8 which, in demo footage of a carnival, produced a magnificent sense of depth.

I was surprised by how palatable the colours of the Vivid mode were, even in skin tones, but it was still unpleasantly over-sharpened, so I was pleased when Sony changed the C3 to its most accurate Filmmaker Mode and the Bravia 8 to its equivalent Professional picture preset, which Sony admitted was still a “work in progress” at the time.

The clip used was one from Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 that is well-known to TV reviewers for its stern test of black depth and shadow detail. Here, the C3 initially looked better thanks to its more revealing delivery of the horde amassing on the cliffs above Hogwarts, but a glance at the mastering monitor confirmed that the Bravia 8’s deeper, moodier delivery was actually more accurate – at least if we assume that the mastering monitor itself was correctly calibrated, which we have no reason to doubt. The Bravia 8’s colours were impressive here, too, proving consistent even in the shadows.

The overall colour balance bears slightly further discussion, as the one minor criticism that can be aimed at the A80L is that its picture lacks a little warmth, which is something we saw when comparing it to the comparatively richer C3 last year. Throughout the entire Bravia 8 demo session, the new Sony looked just as warm and rich as the C3, but with slightly subtler shading to areas such as skin tones. If you saw the A80L’s slightly cool delivery as a flaw, it’s one that Sony appears to have fixed for the Bravia 8.

A quick switch to the Standard mode confirms that Sony is still keen to maintain most of the mastering monitor-style colour balance here while adding a lovely extra dose of punch and sharpness. This looks set to once again be a great mode for those who find a TV’s most accurate modes to be a little restricted.


Predictably, the new Bravia 8 features Sony’s unique Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology, which involves actuators that vibrate the whole screen to generate sound. Sony hasn’t flagged any specific changes to the sound system, so we’re working on the assumption that we’re once again looking at a 50W system consisting of three actuators and two bass drivers, though we will of course update this information once we’ve had confirmation from Sony.

We can’t yet offer any insight into the Bravia 8’s sound performance, either, as this wasn’t part of the demo experience provided at the pre-launch event. For what it’s worth, the A80L sounds very good for a TV, with excellent directness, detail, clarity and spaciousness. We’d appreciate a little extra bass weight with the Bravia 8, though not at the expense of control.

Early verdict

Sony Bravia 8 in a modern living room with beige furniture and a wooden coffee table

(Image credit: Sony)

For hopefully obvious reasons, we never pass final judgement on any product from a hands-on session, but it’s fair to say that at this stage the Bravia 8 looks like a worthwhile upgrade on the already excellent A80L, particularly in terms of brightness and colour vibrancy.

Whether it’s good enough to defeat the C4 – itself a big improvement on last year’s C3 – isn’t yet clear, but we can’t wait to put the two sets side by side for a full comparative test. It promises to be the OLED TV battle of the year.


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Tom Parsons

Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. He began his career as What Hi-Fi?'s Staff Writer and is now the TV and AV Editor. In between, he worked as Reviews Editor and then Deputy Editor at Stuff, and over the years has had his work featured in publications such as T3, The Telegraph and Louder. He's also appeared on BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and Sky Swipe. In his spare time Tom is a runner and gamer.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.