What is Sony AF8 / A8F?
Sony's television strategy this year is quite curious. After dating the most eye-catching and exciting OLED TV of 2017, tracking the Japanese giant in 2018 is a relatively unobtrusive matter.
That's because the new Sony AF8 OLED (A8F in the US) It's not true tracking of 'second generation' of the successful Sony A1 last year. It is a facelift, the opposite of what Apple does when they update the performance of an existing phone but leave the body identical. The performance has not changed, but the body has been modified.
The result is an excellent OLED TV for 2017, which really can not compete with the big dogs of 2018 like the Samsung Q9FN or the LG E8 OLED. The AF8 comes to the market with less impact than the Sony A1, although that is not bad, since its launch price is much lower.
Revised here is the 65-inch Sony KD-65AF8, which is yours for £ 3299. The 55-inch KD-55AF8 can be found at £ 2499. That's the same current price range as the Sony A1 OLED of 2017 after a year of price cuts, although the LG C7 and the Panasonic EZ952 are even cheaper.
Note: Sony AF8 is the name of TV in the United Kingdom. In the United States, it's called Sony A8F.
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Sony AF8 OLED [Design
It stays straight. That's literally the big news and the reason why I could consider the Sony AF8 OLED on the A1. Last year Sony left with an A-frame design, with the screen backing down about five degrees. I loved it, but some people were not interested. Sony heard comments and this is the vertical alternative.
Okay, there's still a slight tilt, but it's not more than two degrees and it seems to be more of a safety feature than anything else. It is barely perceptible even when standing on its side, so it will look vertical from the sofa.
Not having a frame A significantly reduces the TV's footprint. With the A1, you needed a bench at least 339 mm deep and as wide as the screen. The Sony AF8 OLED uses a minimalist central pedestal of only 255 mm deep, so you will not have a problem placing it on a regular-sized AV shelf or table.
It's also good news for wall assemblers. The folded frame A of the A1 meant a gap of 107 m. The electronic components of the AF8 have been distributed across the entire width of the TV and now project 76 mm from the wall.
Remove the bracket and bracket and the overall look of the AF8 is completely in line with the A1. Sony's "One Slate" design philosophy means that there is very little to look at other than the screen. There is a small logo hidden in the corner. The only & # 39; bling & # 39; of the TV is the LED in the center, but even this can be turned off. If you want a picture-only design, this is it.
I like the remote control less. It's a plastic slab and cluttered with buttons that was the norm until a few years ago, but more recently Sony's rivals have been sending premium TVs with more inspiring alternatives. LG's "Magic" remote control uses motion sensors to control a pointer on the screen, while Samsung's optimized aluminum rod is a beauty.
Sony AF8 OLED – Features
An Ultra HD The 4K resolution (3840 × 2160 pixels) is given at this level, as is the high dynamic range (HDR). Supported HDR formats include the standard HDR10 and the Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) compatible with the incoming transmission.
There will also be compatibility with the dynamic Dolby Vision metadata, which can optimize the image scene by scene, although when this will come later through the firmware update.
Internally, this is the same TV that we got with the Sony A1 OLED. The AF8 uses the same excellent processor 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme, which stands out for the detail and refinement of the color.
& # 39; Acoustic Surface & # 39; It was the most exciting feature that was presented for the first time with the A1, and I am very happy to see her come back. Basically, the screen is primarily responsible for the audio. The actuators vibrate the screen, which then functions as a giant speaker.
That's only possible with thin OLED screens: you'll never find this technology on thicker LCD TVs. You will not see the vibrations, since the screen only handles the highest and highest frequencies too fast for human eyes: the bass notes are handled by a separate woofers behind the screen.
But would not it dirty the screen? Apparently not. I asked that question last year when the A1 came out, and Sony said they were confident the screen would be fine. The lack of complaints in the last year seems to support that statement, so I do not worry about AF8.
Regarding the connections: there are three USB ports and four HDMI inputs. All four are HDMI 2.0 and are compatible with HDCP 2.2. Unfortunately, only Input 2 and Input 3 support 4K at 60 fps with a 4: 4: 4 color.
Finally, the software. Sony continues to use Android TV. Things I like about this: easy configuration with Android phones, integrated compatibility with Google Cast and Google Home. I can see the appeal of this integrated approach.
The presentation of the home page is still a disaster. There are two sections for application tiles. Sony's own configuration tips are combined with Google Play promoted movies and randomly recommended YouTube videos. I do not care much. I prefer the intuitive and easily customizable pop-up bar approach favored by LG and Samsung. Oh, and Android TV is also usually slow enough to grate, especially if you just want to quickly enter the settings.
At least the application support is good: there are 4K HDR versions of Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube. The support of YouView also means that you get the main terrestrial applications of updating: BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and Demand 5.
Sony AF8 OLED – Performance  I would like to feel a little bad when comparing the Sony AF8 with other emblematic 2018 models (like the Samsung Q9FN or the LG E8 OLED). Technically it uses "last generation" technology and has an appropriately lower launch price. On the other hand, it does a lot of things well and it's still an excellent TV, so I'm going to compare them anyway.
Let's start with the brightness, which is the most obvious difference. The Sony AF8 reaches a maximum of 700 nits, which is consistent with last year's A1. Meanwhile, this year's LG OLEDs, like the LG E8, offer approximately 100 more nits. The Samsung Q9FN is the brightest of the bunch at 2000 nits.
The brightness is not really everything, but if you're looking for a suitable HDR hit, the Sony AF8 has no equal, especially if you want to watch TV in bright rooms, or during the day with the curtains open. Therefore, manage expectations accordingly.
That's really the only complaint I have about the Sony AF8, and even then it's not a proper complaint because the lower brightness is reflected in the lower price. On the other hand, I am pleased to report that the Sony AF8 works just like the Sony A1. That was, and still is, a fantastic television.
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OLED panels may not have excellent brightness, but this it balances with an impeccable lighting control up to the pixel level. Light and dark elements can be combined with zero possibilities of flowering or halo effects often associated with LCD models. Viewing angles is another advantage: you can sit anywhere in the room without worrying about the loss of brightness or color.
For now it is not a novelty that an OLED TV can reach black tinted, deeply black, but the Sony AF8 shows a good amount of shadow detail too. Compared to the LG E8, the dark scenes of Sony show a little more crushing, but the flip side is that Sony also shows less image noise, as well as less clipping in the reflections.
Movement management is strong enough to worry about the latest generation. With MotionFlow processing set to Standard or True Movie mode, the image is smooth while retaining a natural look. Avoid unwanted artifacts, or that awful glaring effect of "soap opera" which comes with an overly aggressive photo interpolation. In fact, I would say that the movement here is better than this Samsung Q9FN of 2018.
There is a lovely feeling of refinement in both details. The 4K resolution is nothing new, but the textures here are fine and very subtle without being engraved and too sharp. The colors exhibit the same level of refinement: the combinations of tones are very well done with little posterization (or "band").
Regarding the audio performance, I'm still a great admirer of the Acoustic Surface technology. Does a good job of direction and placement effects; the sound usually seems to come from specific parts of the screen. The tonal balance is also good. I never felt the need to switch to the appropriate speakers or a sound bar, although you will still need one for the big movie soundtracks, since the Sony AF8 will not shake the room. Also, I think that the AF8 has less bass hit than the Sony A1 last year.
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Finally, a word in the game Like all good TVs, the Sony AF8 has a mode of Dedicated game, which deactivates much of the processing to reduce latency. Here we have an entry delay between 30ms and 45ms. That's not surprising, but while it will not attract competitive players, I did not feel that it would significantly affect my performance.
Here are some words about the configuration. Actually, there is very little to do, since the presets are very good from the start. I'd say stay in Standard or Movie viewing mode. The first is more powerful and bright, but the latter is more precise with colors. For motion processing, it would keep MotionFlow in Standard or True Cinema mode.
Why buy the Sony AF8 OLED?
If you liked the idea of Sony A1 2017 but I do not like the inclined design, this TV is for you. It's almost the same TV, and while it does not represent the latest in 4K and HDR technology, it's an excellent TV.
It does not get as bright as other iconic 2018 TVs like the Samsung Q9FN or the LG E8 OLED, but it comes with a smaller price tag. The movement management of the Sony AF8 and the high levels of refinement are also among the best available.
However, if you have little cash, many of 2017's flagship alternatives can be found for less.
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A redesigned classic. It is not the best according to the latest standards, but it is still excellent.