Sony X850E Review (XBR65X850E, XBR75X850E) – 2017 Model 4K HDR TV
Sony XBR850E is a mid class of Sony’s 2017 4K HDR LED TV lineup and also the successor of X850D. In the market, it is available on 2 screen sizes only, 65 Inch (XBR65X850E) and 75 Inch (XBR75X850E). There is a significant change over the predecessor that is about the type of panel that used by them, particularly for 65 Inch model where now it uses VA Panel, while for 75 Inch model, it still uses IPS panel. As we know, in last year, all models of Sony X850D comes with IPS panel that makes it has wide viewing angle. But at the expense of good side viewing angle, Sony X850E especially XBR65X850E now has deep black level and strong contrast that makes picture produced is better particularly when used in a dark room.
Come with a new image engine called 4K HDR Processor X1 where there are some advanced technologies embedded including Advanced Contrast Enhancer, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR, and Object-based HDR Remaster technology, Sony X850E offer better HDR performance than the predecessor X850D series. Nevertheless, like the predecessor, it supports HDR 10 only and maybe HLG once the standardization of HLG is confirmed. Additionally, X850E now also has the ability to improve the color and brightness range of SDR contents so allowing you to enjoy SDR videos with the quality close to HDR. The other great performance that offered by X850E is about its ability to up-convert lower resolution contents to near 4K quality where Sony TV is always the best. For handling motion blur when it is displaying fast moving images, Sony X850E is powered by Motion Flow XR960 based on native 120 Hz refresh panel. This makes it can handle motion blur well so the picture produced looks very smooth and clear. The other improvement over the predecessor is about the input lag especially at 4K resolution where X850E now has low input lags under game mode, regardless the resolution of the sources. And come with new version of Google Android TV, it offers more attractive smart TV platform with tons of useful and interesting apps provided.
In other hand, lack of IPS panel makes its side viewing angle is poor. This means if you view TV from side viewing angle started at 20 degrees off center and front, the quality will deteriorate. But even so, as long as you don’t often view TV from side viewing angle, this should not be a big issue.
Sony X850E Key Specification
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Size Available||65 Inch (XBR65X850E), 75 Inch (XBR75X850E)|
|Panel Technology||VA Panel (XBR75X850E : IPS Panel)|
|Backlight||Edge Lit LED|
|Dimming Technology||Frame Dimming|
|Support HDR||HDR 10, HLG (require a software update)|
|Picture Engine||4K HDR Processor X1|
|4K-X reality Pro||Yes|
|Color Technology||TriLuminos Display|
|Motion Control||MotionFlow XR960 (native 120 Hz)|
|Key Apps||Opera Browser, Google Cast, PlayStation Now, and more|
|Remote||Voice Remote Control|
|RF (Terrestrial Cable)||1|
|Composite In (AV)||2|
|Speaker Type||Bass Reflex Speaker|
|Total Audio Output||10 W + 10 Watt|
|Price||See the price on Amazon|
Performance of Sony X850E (XBR65X850E, XBR75X850E)
Since Sony X850E uses VA Panel, particularly for XBR65X850E, its side viewing angle is not as good as the predecessor X850D series. But at the expense of good side viewing angle, it has deep black level, strong contrast, and good black uniformity that makes its dark room performance is good. This means when it is used in a dark room, blacks of images looks still very dark. This course makes details of images in dark scenes looks very clear and more realistic especially when displaying HDR videos. As we know, for displaying HDR 10 contents fully, one of the requirements is black level reached by an HDR TV is 0.05 nits or lower. Meanwhile, black level reached by X850E is around 0.02 nits that mean it is very good.
While black level and contrast is far deeper and stronger than the predecessor X850D, peak brightness reached by Sony X850E is similar to the predecessor. Since it doesn’t have local dimming, its peak brightness is relatively constant at any percent of windows that is around 420 nits. This might not as bright as what reached by the higher series X900E, but it is bright enough to make its HDR performance is good. Additionally, peak brightness reached by X850E is also quite bright to drown out the glare in a moderately bright room. But even so, for displaying HDR 10 videos fully like what intended, it is not still quite bright. As we know, for displaying HDR 10 fully, peak brightness reached by an HDR TV is at least 1000 nits. On the other hand, what reached by X850E is also not bright enough to fight the glare when it is used in an extremely bright room with sunlight coming in through the window.
Meanwhile, with TriLuminos Display and some technologies that support it, Sony X850E can deliver wide color gamut that makes the color of the picture displayed on its screen looks very accurate, even hard-reproduce-color like emerald green or others still look very accurate. Meanwhile, for displaying HDR contents that mastered with wide color gamut, the color of the picture produced also still looks accurate. As we know, HDR 10 needs at least 90% of DCI P3 color space in order to the color looks perfectly, while what reached by X850E is a bit wider than this minimum recommendation. Of course this makes color of HDR videos displayed on its screen looks really popping up and vibrant. And for displaying SDR contents that mastered with Rec.709 color space, this course is not a problem for X850E. On the other hand, with Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR technology inside the X1 Engine, Sony X850E can process 10 bit depth of color perfectly. The result, color gradient of the picture displayed looks very smooth without any major color banding. Despite some imperfections might still be noticeable in darker color, but this should not be a major problem.
The other great performance that offered by Sony X850E is about its UHD Up-Scaling Engine. Combination of 4K X-Reality Pro and X1 engine make its performance is really great when up-scaling lower resolution contents to near 4K quality. The final images in 4K that resulted really look sharp and clear with small details preserved well, even when the source is 480p video like movies from DVDs. And of course, the higher resolution of the source, the final images in 4K produced looks clearly and sharply. In addition 4K Up-scaling engine, Sony X850E is also equipped with the ability to up-covert SDR contents to near HDR contents. Object-based HDR Remaster technology inside the X1 engine improves color range and contrast refers to each object in images. This allows you to enjoy SDR contents with the quality near to HDR.
Note: This review is only for 65 inch model (XBR65X850E), Since 75 inch model of X850E uses IPS Panel, picture quality produced is similar to the predecessor X850D
Motion Handling and 24p Playback
With MotionFlow XR960 based on native 120 Hz refresh rate technology, Sony X850E does a great job when handling motion blur. Pixel response time is very low that makes the picture looks very smooth and clear when it is displaying fast moving images like sports program or fast movies. Motion blur might still be a bit noticeable, but this should not be a problem for most people. Following the fast moving objects, there is only a faint short trail. Meanwhile, when displaying 24p movies, what performed by SonyX850E is not as perfect as what performed by the predecessor X850E, particularly when it is displaying 24p movies via 60i/60p signals. When displaying 24p videos like movies from Blu-Ray, X850E offer smooth and clear picture quality with judder-free. But when displaying 24p videos via 60i/60p signals like movies from streaming media or satellite TV, judder is still noticeable. But because most of people don’t notice about judder, this should not be a problem.
Like the predecessor X850D, Sony X850E is also equipped with complete features. There are 4 HDMI Ports, 3 USB ports, 2 Composite In (AV In), 1 Component In, 1 RF In (Terrestrial), Ethernet, and Digital Audio Out (Optical). The version of their HDMI ports is 2.0 and they already support HDCP 2.2, CEC, Audio Return Channel, and more. Additionally, talking about input lag, overall, input lag of Sony X850E is very low under game mode, similar to the predecessor X850D at 1080p source, but far lower at 4K source. This means X850E is very comfortable when used for playing most of games, regardless the resolution of the games. Nevertheless, its input lag is not as low as Samsung MU series like MU8000 or other models.
Like other models of Sony’s 2017 4K HDR LED TV lineup, Sony X850E features latest version of Google Android TV as its smart TV platform. One of the most advantages of Android TV is about the apps that provided where there are a lot of useful and interesting apps provided. Additionally, in addition to default Sony and Google apps provided like PlayStation Now, Google Voice Search, Chrome Cast, and more, you can also download tons of apps, games, and contents provided in Google Play Store. As we know, Google Play Store is one of the most complete apps store. Layout and user interface is also designed very attractive. Additionally, its performance is also fast and responsive. Loading time of an app once it is launched is very quick. As well as selecting between apps, this also feels very responsive. But unfortunately, navigating on Google Android TV is not as simple as other smart TV platforms like Tizen OS by Samsung or WebOS by LG. Although most of people might be already familiar with Google Android OS on their android smart phone, nonetheless navigating on Google Android TV is a bit confusing.
Meanwhile, as the controller, Sony X850E uses similar remote to last year model X850D. The remote is a bit large and has a lot of buttons. One of the interesting features is it has a built-in microphone for voice search or voice navigation. Additionally, it is also equipped with IR blaster that allows you to control other devices connected on your Sony TV with as single Sony remote.
As a mid-end TV, overall, picture quality offered by Sony X850E is very good. Since it uses VA panel, black level and contrast reached is very deep and strong for its class that makes its dark room performance is great. Additionally, peak brightness is also bright enough to makes its picture quality looks consistently well in a bright room. Color very saturated that makes picture displayed looks more realistic and natural. HDR performance is above average, but still cannot display HDR fully like what intended due its peak brightness is far below 1000 nits as the minimum recommendation for displaying HDR10 videos. In addition stunning picture quality for its class and good HDR performance, Sony X850E also offer good motion handling for sports, low input lag for games, and great UHD Up-scaling engine. But since it use VA panel, side viewing angle becomes a major drawback of X850E.
Should I buy this TV? As long as you don’t have a plan to use it in an extremely bright room or a wide room with a lot of viewers view TV from multiple viewing angles, X850E might be a good options for you. Its price is affordable and performance that offered is in accordance with its price. But even so, as your further consideration before you decide to buy it, there are a lot of opinions from its real customers who have purchased it.
- Deep Black level and Strong Contrast
- Good Motion Handling
- Great UHD Up-scaling engine
- No 3D Technology
- Side Viewing Angle is poor