Sony Bravia XR 4K OLED TV review – Visual brilliance

A few weeks ago I got my hands on the latest line of Sony TVs with the new Bravia XR 4K OLED Android TV. I spent a few weeks with the product, familiarizing myself with its Android TV firmware and new XR display technology.

It’s been a little unclear over the past decade how many times Sony has announced its exit from the South African market in various segments under its brand. Whether it’s their TV, mobile or Sony Television Network division, it hasn’t been easy for the consumer to keep up. A few years ago, Sony exited the TV market only to be reintroduced in 2020 and was then not readily available nationwide. However, at the end of 2021, the brand again announced its relaunch on South African shores with its new Sony XR TV series.

The model I received for review, to be precise, was the Sony Bravia XR-65A80J.

Sony Bravia XR 4K OLED TV Design and build

The Sony Bravia XR 4K OLED TV measures approximately 1448x836x53mm without the feet attached and 1448x859x330mm when attached. There’s a very thin bezel around the display, which measures around 10mm around all edges. This gives it a screen-to-body ratio of 94.8%.

In terms of connectivity, there are two areas on the back which have ports. The first is an easy-to-reach panel on the right side, with a longer panel in the center housing additional ports. The right panel includes an HDMI port, two USB ports, speaker input, video input and remote IR ports. Then there’s also a power button right at the top.

The main panel presents the rest of the ports. This includes an antenna input, LAN port, digital audio output, RS remote input, x3 HDMI ports and another USB 3.0 port. That’s a pretty impressive number of ports overall, so most users should be covered for a wide variety of inputs and outputs.

The Sony Bravia XR 4K OLED TV has two elements (if you exclude the feet). The first is the panel itself, which is an ultra-thin display. Although extremely thin, it doesn’t flex at all, which provides some peace of mind that it won’t break easily under unwanted pressure.

The second part is the control box, where the motherboard and other internals are housed. This creates a rectangular attachment look at the back. That said, it’s also not that thick at just 53mm.

It’s an impressive design no matter how you try to present it. It has a titanium black aluminum finish, with a thin bezel, thin screen and lightweight build that ticks all the boxes. Quite brilliant actually.

Screen and display

Sony Bravia XR 4K OLED TV review

As the model name suggests, the Sony Bravia XR 4K OLED TV received for review had a 65-inch (or 64.5-inch to be precise) screen. Additionally, it features an LG-made OLED panel powered by Sony Bravia technology. With a 30-bit color display, it has over a billion colors.

For its display, it has a 4K screen, which equates to a resolution of 3,840×2,160 pixels, or 2,160p. This makes it an Ultra HD display. Additionally, the panel also supports Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG enhancements, along with a 120Hz refresh rate. It has a viewing angle of 178° in both vertical and horizontal angles. It has a very reasonable pixel density of 68ppi, which is ideal for its size.

Given its OLED panel, the image quality is fairly consistent. Its viewing angles are excellent and contrast is brilliant with its single-pixel dimming, making blacks truly black. Where it lacks compared to other high-end models is that it’s not quite as bright. However, it makes up for it in almost every department.

Facility

Being a 65 inch screen TV, I was skeptical about installing it myself. With my wife out of commission due to recent knee surgery, it had to be an individual job. Luckily, it wasn’t that complicated after all.

Once you’ve undone the ties on the box, you can simply lift it off the base and place it to the side. The TV is then still able to stand upright in the base, despite its size, making it easy to lift and place on the sofa for assembly.

That wasn’t a problem either. The panel itself weighed 22.3 kg. You will then need to install the legs, which is done in two steps. First, you will screw the two sections together using two screws per leg. Once you have completed this task, you can simply slide the feet into the box under the TV. This adds about another KG to the total weight, now at 23.2 KG.

Although a little harder to maneuver, it’s still reasonable to lift and place the TV on the stand. Then all you have to do is plug in the power cord and go through the on-screen setup.

There are two main ways to set up Android TV. The first of these is starting from scratch using on-screen prompts. This includes connecting to WiFi, logging into your Google account and more. The second option is much simpler by using the link and code on the TV and completing the installation via your Android smartphone, which is then copied to the TV and you are good to go.

Later, you can fine-tune your settings, from screen brightness, contrast, dynamic range, audio mode and more. You can also download any relevant apps you might need that aren’t already preloaded (YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.). Luckily, it will also offer Disney+ app install once it lands in South Africa, which is not yet available on non-Android TVs.

Sony Bravia XR 4K OLED TV performance

Sony Bravia XR-65A80J

The performance of the Sony Bravia XR 4K OLED TV is pretty smooth for the most part. Opening apps is a snap, while switching between them in minimalistic multitasking mode is pretty easy too. You can then return to a previously opened app and continue where you left off.

The TV is powered through the ARM ARMv8 chipset under the hood. This includes a single 1.80 GHz processor with 4 cores. It’s bolted to an MT5895 motherboard, which has 2.9GB of RAM. On top of that, it also has the Cognitive XR processor for crystal clear visuals. This makes the overall performance quite satisfactory for the most part.

However, where the TV lets down a bit is the lack of UI customization. Although it runs Android TV 10, it’s pretty stiff. While you can select a few apps to display in the top bar, you can change the layout of the summary and suggestion view, where you can see display suggestions by app. It’s pretty frustrating, especially considering there are one or two apps you’ll never use that are stuck in the main menu.

However, being an Android TV, it makes it easy to cast from your mobile via Chromecast. This has always been one of my favorite browsing features on Android TV. You can search and select content to play via your Android smartphone, then control viewing with volume, play/pause, skip to next and more. Integrating this with the Google Home app and control becomes even easier to manage as part of an ecosystem.

The OLED panel is also a pleasure to watch. The 4K resolution, high contrast display on the 65-inch panel is quite an experience. Also, with some apps, as well as your console, supporting HDR mode, it makes for quite brilliant lighting effects. There is very little to complain about when it comes to the viewing experience, be it movies, series, sports or games. It’s really quite amazing.

Conclusion

Youtube video

The Sony Bravia XR 4K 65″ OLED Android TV is a very good unit. It looks good, has great visuals, a decent feature set and easy to use Android TV firmware. UI customization and is quite an investment (R55,999), there are very few flaws when it comes to your overall viewing experience.

The article

Sony Bravia XR 65″ OLED Android TV

ADVANTAGES

  • 65″ OLED screen
  • Thin bezel, thin panel
  • HDR and Dolby Vision support
  • Voice control for smart home features
  • 120Hz refresh rate

THE INCONVENIENTS

  • Expensive
  • Lack of UI customization

Breakdown of reviews

  • Ease of learning
    0%
  • Ease of use
    0%
  • Design
    0%
  • Performance
    0%
  • Enjoyment
    0%
  • Value for money
    0%

Briana R. Cross