Sony X850D Review (XBR55X850D, XBR65X850D, XBR75X850D, XBR85X850D)
Sony X850D is the mid class of Sony’s 2016 HDR 4K TV lineup. It comes with plenty aspects of 4K entertainment that will make you more comfort when enjoying home entertainment. There are stunning picture quality with amazing color, great viewing angle, and attractive Google Android TVs as their smart TV platform. One of the highlights is about HDR (High Dynamic Range) where it already supports HDR contents that allow you to enjoy movies or TV shows rich detail in shadow. But unlike the above series X930D r the predecessor X850C, Sony X850D is not equipped with 3D technology. So, how is its performance compared to the competitor in its price range? We will discuss a lot about it below.
In the market, Sony X850D is released with 4 variant of screen sizes, XBR55X850D with 55 Inch sizes, XBR65X850D with 65 inch sizes, XBR75X850D with 75 inch sizes, and the largest XBR85X850D with 85 inch sizes. IT is sold started at about $1200 for the smallest screen XBR55X850d up to $8000 for the largest screen XBR85X850D. This certainly cannot be said to be expensive for the TV with plenty features like X850D series. And with the passage of the time, of course these prices could still change and usually likely to go down.
Sony X850D Key Specs
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Size Available||55” (XBR55X850D), 65” (XBR65X850D), 75” (XBR75X850D), 85” (XBR85X850D)|
|Panel Type||IPS (VA Panel for XBR85X850D)|
|HDR||Yes (Compatible with HDR 10)|
|Dimming Technology||Frame Dimming|
|4K-X reality Pro||Pro|
|Color Technology||TriLuminos Display|
|Advanced Contrast Enhancer||Yes|
|Motion Control||MotionFlow XR960 (native 120 Hz)|
|Picture Engine||X1 Engine with 4K X-Reality Pro|
|Key Apps||Opera Browser, Google Cast, PlayStation Now, and more|
|Remote||Voice Remote Control (RMF-TX200U)|
|RF (Terrestrial Cable)||1|
|Composite In (AV)||2|
|Digital Audio (Optical)||1|
|RS 232||1 (Mini Jack)|
|Speaker Type||Down Firing w/Bass Reflex|
|Total Audio Output||10 watts x 2, 7.5 watts x 4 (XBR75X850D)|
The performance of Sony X850D
Sony X850D comes with IPS panel that means its offers wider viewing angle than most 4K TVs available in the market. Compared to the flagship X930D, it is lacking X-tended Dynamic Range and Local Dimming that course has a big impact on the black level and contrast reached. As instead, it comes with frame dimming technology which certainly has many shortcomings than local dimming technology. Additionally, unlike the predecessor X850C, there is also no 3D technology behind it. But even so, separated from all of their shortcomings, Sony X850D still deliver great performance in certain aspects like viewing angle, color gamut and smart TV.
Let’s start from its picture quality because our main consideration in buying a TV certainly is about picture quality. And because this TV also supports HDR that becomes main focus in 2016, we will discuss first about their HDR performance. As mentioned, Sony X850D series supports HDR 10, a HDR format set by UHD Alliance. But the question, although it can play HDR 10 contents, does its display specs meet the minimum standardization set of HDR 10?
We will start from color gamut. We can see on table above, for delivering wider color gamut, Sony X850D is powered by TriLuminos Display Technology. Before the competitor like Samsung or LG introduces quantum dot panel that offers wide color gamut for their top models, Sony has introduces TriLuminos Technology a few years early. It is the Sony’s proprietary advanced technology developed for improving color gamut. The resulted, with TriLuminos Display behind it, X850D series can deliver more than 93% of DCI P3 color space. Of course this meet the minimum standardization of HDR 10 set by UHD alliance for color gamut where they set minimum 90% DCI P3 of color gamut. Additionally, Sony X850D also supports 10 bit panel like what set by UHD alliance for depth of color. This allows it can deliver about 1 billion Shades of color that means the color gradation looks very fine and smooth. As comparison TV with 8 bit panel deliver only about 16 millions shades of color. With superb performance in color reproduction, the color of the picture that displayed on 4K screen of X850D looks very accurate.
But of course, the most important aspect of picture quality is not about color only. Black level, Peak Brightness and Contrast also becomes important aspects of picture quality, all the more for HDR, this course needs higher contrast ratio with deeper black level and brighter peak white than HDR quality. UHD alliance even set 1000 nits of peak brightness and 0.05 nits of black level that should be reached by HDR TV for displaying HDR10 contents fully. But unfortunately, this standardization is still far from what was achieved by Sony X850D. It only can achieve 0.084 nits of black level with contrast ratio 1248:1 while peak brightness that reached is only around 420 nits. This value certainly is still far from the minimum criteria of HDR 10 set by UHD alliance. Maybe the use of IPS panel can be used as a reason for its poor performance of Sony X850D in peak brightness and black level. But looks the competitor LG UH8500 series that also comes with IPS Panel and can reach about 550 nits of peak brightness, this shows the weak performance of X850D series in term of peak brightness.
With the lackluster performance in brightness and black level, of course we cannot hope a lot can enjoy HDR picture fully on the screen of X850D. But the poor performance of in contrast and brightness doesn’t make its overall performance is not so bad. In other hand, it offers strong performance on color or other features that becomes its own advantages compared to the competitor.
Although the use of IPS Panel makes poor black level and contrast, in other hand it offers wider viewing angle than its competitor in its price range that use VA panel like KS8000 or even KS8500 with curved panel. As the note, the contrast and color will looks degraded started at 20 degrees off center and front, but with IPS panel, Sony X850D can do better. On its screen, the picture will start to deteriorate at more extreme viewing angle or more precisely at about 35 degrees off center and front. The benefits, you will be more flexible placing you seat t get the best viewing.
Sony is always the best in term f UHD Up-scaling. This cannot be separated from the great performance of combination between X1 Engine and 4K X-Reality Pro. This becomes very important because until now since 4K TV is first released en masse, there are not many native 4K contents that available in the market. But with great performance in UHD Up-scaling, you will enjoy all contents with lower resolution even from SD 480p sources in 4K quality clearly and details on the screen of Sony X850D. So, no matter your video sources are 480p like DVDs or 720p likes cable TV, you certainly can enjoy them in 4K quality amazingly, all the more if the sources is 1080p like Blu Ray, of course the result is more perfect even not much different to native 4K sources.
Sony X850D is also included a 4K TV with great performance in handling fast motion images. Although motion blur cannot be eliminated completely when it displays video contents with a lot of fast scenes like games or sports, but at least there is not much motion blur noticeable. So does when it plays 24p content like Blu Ray movies or 24p contents via 60i signal like Cable or Satellite TV even when streaming 24p contents via 60p signals, Sony X850D does its job exceptionally with free judder. Its performance even is better than the competitor LG UH8500 series or Samsung KS8500/KS8000.
Smart TV platform also becomes an interesting point of Sony X850D. As we know, started at 2015, Sony has replaced Sony Entertainment Network with Google Android TV as the smart TV platform of their lineup including X850D. In addition it comes with user friendly interface, it also fast and responsive. The selecting between apps and loading in time is fast and smooth. Overall, it is similar to Android platform on your android smart phone. There is Google Play Store that provided tons of apps, contents, games, Google Cast, Google Voice Search, and many more. Like on your smart phone, to download apps, contents, or that available on Google Play Store, you need log in with your Google Account. The difference to android on smart phone is about the controller where android smart phone uses touch screen while Google TV use remote. This causes not all apps that provided on android smart phone also available on Google Android TV.
In addition to default Google apps, there are also the number of latest apps that used for streaming 4K or HDR contents like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Ultraflix, and more. The interesting for games mania is about Play Station Now where it allows you to play “Play Station 3” games without a console. This means you just need Dual Shock Controller and internet connection for streaming Play Station 3 games from many PS3 rentals that available in the internet. In term responsiveness, speed, and picture quality, it is not much different when you use PS3 console.
Don’t ever expect a lot about sound quality offered by X850D even for XBR75X850D with 4 channel speaker system. This means the sound quality of Sony X850D is very poor. There is no built-in woofer that improves low frequency or bass. The loudness of sound may quite enough, but it sounds a bit harsh. But fortunately, the poor performance in sound quality is not fixed like poor performance in picture quality. This means, poor sound quality can be solved easily by adding stand alone sound bar or audio system for your TV.
The connectivity ports that available on Sony X850D is very complete. There are 4 HDMI ports supports HDCP 2.2, 3USB Ports, 2 AV in, 1 Composite In, and other like we see on table above. Of course, this can cover the many of your devices. All of the USB ports, 3 HDMI Ports, LAN port, and Audio out are installed on the side panel. While 1 HDMI Ports, all of AV In and Component In, RS 232 port and Digital Audio Out (optical) are installed on rear panel.
Because of contrast is one of the most important aspects on picture quality, poor performance in black level and peak brightness makes HDR performance that offered by Sony X850D is not too excellent. This means black level and peak brightness reached by X850D series doesn’t compliant with what set by UHD alliance for HDR 10. Even about peak brightness, it is not quite enough to match what reached by UH8500 as fellow IPS TV. But fortunately, the poor performance on black level and peak brightness is not followed its color performance. With TriLuminos Display, it can deliver wide color gamut even more than the minimum criteria of HDR 10 formats. Additionally, it also supports 10 bit color that offers fine and smooth color gradation. Wide Viewing Angle is also a strong point of X850D thanks to IPS panel behind it. The other great performance that offered by Sony X850D is about its UHD Up-scaling performance. Additionally, an attractive Android Smart TV also a plus point that offered by X850D. But to get best experience in sound quality, the addition sound bar is highly recommended. 3D technology also becomes the missing technology of X850D.
With the price range between about $1200 for the smallest screen XBR55X850D to $8000 for the largest screen XBR85X850D, these prices certainly cannot be said expensive. Although its display spec doesn’t compliant with Ultra HD Premium Standardization, but it offers above average performance in color gamut, so you can still enjoy good HDR images on the screen of X850D. In other hands, there are still many features with strong performance that offered by Sony X850D. In mid-class, it is included a TV that should be considered when you want to buy TV in its price range. But if your main consideration is HDR, of course it is not a best choice because there is Samsung KS8000 or KS8500 that compliant with Ultra HD premium but of course with some weakness on other aspects like viewing angle and motion handling.
- Wide Color Gamut
- Attractive Android TV
- Wide Viewing Angle
- No 3D Technology
- Peak Brightness and Black Level dosn't compliant with Ultra HD Premium Certification
- Weak Contrast
- Weak Sound Quality