Sony ZH8 Full Array LED initial review: A non-OLED 8K option
Sony took the opportunity to announce its 2020 TV lineup before its CES 2020 press conference had even begun – and there are a bunch of 4K and 8K options available including a 48-inch OLED to bring more options to those who want that particular technology but who don’t have space for, say, a 65-inch set.
Top of the new class is this 8K TV that comes in 75 and 85-inch sizes. But the ZH8 isn’t part of Sony’s Master Series OLED range. Instead, it’s a Full Array LED panel with local dimming.
Full array essentially ups the detail of LED screens, giving you more accurate shadows and bright spots with deeper blacks as well.
Picture processing and audio
- Sony X1 Ultimate processor
- Dolby Vision and Atmos
- Frame Tweeter tech
The ZH8 is based around Sony’s X1 Ultimate picture processor that first debuted in TVs last year but was first previewed at CES two years ago as a prototype. Naturally, a key tenet of the processor’s ability is the effective upscaling of HD and 4K content to 8K pictures.
Part of the impressive tech at work for Sony’s upscaling of lower resolution content is object-based work, whereby specific objects are upscaled using an intelligent database.
Dolby Vision and Atmos are supported, but there’s no move for HDR10+, which seems to be an entrenched Sony position.
Again Sony has decided to utilise part of the TV as a speaker. However, instead of the display vibrating to emit the audio, the frame around the display vibrates. Sony calls this Frame Tweeter.
- Two-position stand
- Backlit remote
In terms of design, the ZH8 is rather understated – the bezel is thin but not unbelievably so and perhaps we’re spoilt by seeing so many super-thin bezels this CES.
As you can see from our photos, the rear of the screen features this somewhat interesting checkerboard pattern.
The TV also comes with a backlit remote for use in dark environments, while there’s also a two-position stand should you wish to place the TV on a smaller cabinet.
The stand is an extremely simple design and we can’t help but think we’d like to have seen something a little more substantial. However, there’s certainly a trend for keeping stand design as simple as possible at the moment.
Android TV and other smarts
- Android TV
- Full Google Assistant
- Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support
Sony’s TV lineup makes use of Android TV with Google Assistant, the Google Play Store and Chromecast. As you’d expect, voice control is a key part of this and you can ask Assistant anything you would using any other device. And, of course, you can control elements of the TV from other smart speakers including Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices.
There’s also support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 tech as well and it’ll also integrate with Apple HomeKit, too.