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Here’s a review of the best 55-inch TV for the money you’re about to spend this holiday season. We follow it up with a quick ranking of the first, second, and third runners up.
The top spot for the 55-inch TV that gives maximum bang for your buck goes to the Sony Bravia A8H. Sony throws their hat into the OLED ring with this statement piece that checks all the right boxes. Let’s take it out of the box and have a look.
Best 55-inch TV for the money: Unboxing the 55-inch Sony Bravia A8H
The Sony Bravia A8H is just a tier below the flagship A9H series, so it carries the premium look of a high-end television set. Its metal-and-plastic chassis delivers a solid build and a sleek design. At only two inches thick at its widest, the boxy, angular profile of the A8H still allows the TV to hug the wall like a painting.
Few accessories ship with this TV. You’ll have to make do with a user guide, a remote, and a pair of batteries.
After an easy unpacking session, you come face to face with a sleek, black screen with both matte and glossy finish. The barely-there bezels of the TV only measure 0.8 inches, giving the screen a frameless esthetic.
The back of the TV is metallic, with a 300×300 VESA mount pattern, a set of side-facing ports, and a second set of downwards-facing ports.
Ports and wireless connectivity
In addition to a wireless adapter that provides Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, the Sony A8H comes with the following connections:
- Four HDMI ports
- Three USB ports
- A digital optical output port
- An Ethernet port
- A coaxial port for antenna
- A 3.5mm audio jack
The smart interface of the Sony A8H 4K OLED TV
The Sony A8H runs on Android 9.0 Pie for TV. This interface avails to you the endless selection of apps in Google’s Play Store. Useful features like Chromecast and Google Assistant only improve your experience of Android TV.
Best 55-inch TV for the money: Hardware and picture quality
The Sony A8H is an OLED panel with cleverly situated speakers that transform the screen into a sound panel. You’ll enjoy the fact sound seems to come from the exact spot on the screen where the wrecking ball crashes into that condemned building.
In terms of picture quality, this is what you have to look forward to:
1. Color accuracy
The A8H performs near-perfect color reproduction. This happens as a combination of 4K resolution, a high color gamut, and pixels that act as their own backlights. You don’t have to calibrate the TV; it looks great right out of the box.
2. Brightness and contrast
The TV has a peak brightness level of just under 400cd/m2 in standard definition. In HDR, brightness levels go up to 600 nits. This is bright enough to expand an already wide color gamut into a large palette of hues and shades. The happy result is a TV that supports HDR, HDR10, and HLG formats.
HDR content looks great due to the pure, perfect black level of the OLED panels (0 nits). This translates to infinite contrast, which the panel uses to full effect. Expect a level of detail and texture that surpasses most TV sets in the market right now.
3. Viewing angles
Wide viewing angles are the icing on this cake. The colors remain accurate, even if you sit right beside the TV. Neither does the TV look dimmer from the side.
4. Screen uniformity
Black, white, and grey screens look perfectly uniform. Here, perfect grey uniformity means no dirty screen effect and no vertical or horizontal lines. Being an OLED screen the A8H doesn’t have to deal with blooming or the light bleedthrough that comes with LED-backlit displays.
5. Motion handling
The pixels of the Sony Bravia A8H change color in a record time of 2.3ms. Its input lag is just under 19ms. These impressive numbers mean that it’s the content that has to keep up with the TV, not the other way round.
You may notice stutter in content with lower frame rates. The Bravia A8H will use black frame insertion and motion interpolation to up low frame rates. This will sometimes cause motion artifacts like the soap opera effect.
A pair of 10-watt drivers sit right behind the screen. They get an assist from a pair of internal subwoofers, which also sit right behind the screen. The clever placement of these speakers transforms the glass screen into a large soundboard that works well enough to deliver Dolby Atmos audio.
Still, an external sound rig remains the best option if you want that immersive theater experience.
- Perfect black levels and accurate color reproduction
- Wide viewing angles
- Ambient optimization feature adjusts sound and brightness to match a room’s ambient light and acoustics
- Great motion handling due to low response time and even lower input lag
- Excellent sound for a set of internal speakers
- OLED televisions are usually dimmer than backlit panels and the Sony A8H is no exception
- No way to opt-out of recommended content or the occasional ad
- The TV lacks a variable refresh rate, which could affect your gaming experience
First runners up for the best 55-inch TV for the money: Samsung Q80
Only the Q80 gives the Bravia A8H a run for its money when it comes to peerless HDR content. There are a few more upsides that could make you pick this particular model.
For one, Tizen is a smooth ride compared to Android TV. There’s also the excellent motion handling of the VA panel that is the Q80. On this count, the performance of the two models is comparable. Read more about the Q80.
Second runners up: Sony X900H
It may not be an OLED or a QLED screen, but the X900H earns its place on this list. This TV is a gamer’s dream with excellent motion-handling; thanks to lightning-fast input lag. It has the added advantage of a variable refresh rate, which is a useful feature for gamers. The X900 has a second advantage over the winner: HDMI 2.1. For some reason, the A8H leaves this feature out of their HDMI ports.
In addition to great picture quality and 4K resolution, the Sony X900 is also the cheapest TV on our list so far. Learn more about this television.
Third runners up for the best 55-inch TV for the money: Samsung Q90T
The 2020 version of the Q90 QLED series is a welcome option to have for your holiday shopping. This TV is a tier above the Q80, which is our first runners’ up. As such, it has all the qualities that make for an immersive viewing experience.
HDR content makes it seem like a scene is playing out right in front of you, instead of inside the TV. Bright, vibrant color, and detailed texture are just a few of the things that you have to look forward to with the Q90.
Samsung tries really hard to render wide viewing angles with their QLED screens. They succeed, to some extent. Still, the Sony televisions outperform the Samsung models on this count. Read more about the Q90.
Best 55-inch TV for the money: Something for everyone, value for money Our shortlist of the best 55-inch TV for the money should help you navigate this sale season with a sure step. This list gives you the confidence of knowing that you’re making a worthwhile purchase. Click here to learn more about the Sony Bravia A8H.