Sony’s KDL-W850B is one of two models in the company’s W850B Series. This product line is part of Sony’s premium tier of 1080p televisions and is actually their second-best model falling just below the W950B Series.
Even though 4K Ultra HDTVs are the latest rave in the television market these days, 1080p models continue to remain very popular with consumers, in particular, those who are not ready to make the jump to 4K.
If you’re concerned you may be missing out on the “best there is” picture quality by not moving up the resolution ladder to 4K, don’t fret. Because the fact is, the best 1080p models on the market can easily rival many of the 4K displays out there, which is primarily dependent on the content you are viewing and your seating distance from the screen.
The W850B is capable of delivering this level of picture quality and is the focus of this review.
Probably the most obvious design feature of this set is its “iconic wedge” design. This gives the set a profile that’s narrower at the top (0.9″) and wider at the bottom (3.8″). This should help in giving the set more stability. It also allows more room for Sony’s larger and better-performing Long Duct speaker system.
The W850B’s screen has a non-reflective matte anti-glare coating for reduced glare in brightly lit rooms. The display is framed by a thin black bezel which gives it more of a portrait look than that of a TV screen. The TV’s stand features adjustable feet which can be moved inward to allow for placing the TV on a smaller cabinet. Nice touch Sony.
The 850B is an edge-lit backlight design display that produces a bright picture image which is ideal for brightly lit rooms. Sony’s X-Reality Pro engine enhances color, clarity and detail for maximized picture performance.
This TV delivers plenty of entertainment via its smart TV platform. The Sony Entertainment Network (SEC) gives you dozens of entertainment options including Video Unlimited which features the latest movie and TV releases. Music Unlimited is a music streaming service that offers a catalog of millions of songs.
And of course, you get your usual assortment of apps including Netflix, Amazon Instant, YouTube, Vudu, Hulu Plus, Pandora and many more, all available through the sets Wi-Fi connection to your home’s network.
The Social View feature allows you to watch live programming with other viewers via an optional camera mounted atop the TV, you can then see and interact with family and friends in a different location.
If 3D viewing is your thing. This set gives you this option along with two pairs of active 3D glasses.
The Motionflow XR480 feature is good at eliminating motion artifacts during live sporting events; however, during other types of programming, this processing can add the dreaded soap opera effect, (when film source programming looks like video). I suggest you turn this function off if it appears to affect the picture quality or proves your own disliking.
The included remote is nicely designed with an easy-to-use button layout. It provides many direct access buttons for on-the-fly connectivity to sources such as Netflix and Sony’s own SEN apps, Social View – which loads the social networking app mentioned above, Discover for searching the web and TV content by category, and Football for activating the TV’s sports picture mode. The remote is not backlit.
Sony also offers an optional touch-pad clicker remote for use with this set. See here.
- 4 HDMI inputs – one supports MHL (mobile high-definition link)
- 1 Component input
- 1 Composite input – shared with component
- 2 USB 2.0 inputs
- 2 Analog audio inputs
- 1 Analog audio out
- 1 Digital optical out
- 1 RF input for antenna/cable
- 1 Ethernet
- 1 Subwoofer output
The W850B delivers very good picture quality producing a sharp, detailed and bright image. The colors were accurate and well saturated. Image depth was good for a 1080p display.
Black level reproduction is a strong point with this TV. Blacks were deep with good shadow detail.
While viewing an outdoor jungle scene from the movie Avatar, the W850B delivered a very satisfying image. The color balance was excellent with no over or under-saturation of colors. Image depth in this scene was very good allowing me to see fine detail deep into the onscreen image. Dark areas in this scene were a deep black and contrasted well with the surrounding brighter areas of this image.
During this same scene, which had a fair amount of onscreen action, I saw no motion blur or image judder.
Screen uniformity appeared to be good on the particular set I used for evaluation. On a black screen image overlaid with white text, I could not detect any clouding or light bleed.
Side angle viewing was a bit disappointing on this display. As I moved off-axis to either side of the TV and beginning at about a 25-degree angle, the picture began to dim and lose contrast and color saturation. This is a common anomaly with most LED TVs. However, I have seen better performance in this area from other premium-class LED displays.
Sony’s W850B is a very good choice if you’re looking for a premium class 1080p LED TV. It delivers very good overall performance and is loaded with features all at an excellent price. Its off-angle viewing performance is a bit below typical LED standards in my opinion but is not problematic enough to be a deal-breaker, especially if you won’t be viewing this display at extreme angles.
With that said, the W850B’s positive attributes certainly outweigh any flaws it may have. And with a current asking price of under $1,200.00 for a premium LED TV, you are getting plenty of bang for your buck.
See the video presentation below for more info regarding the KDL-W850B.
My Rating & Specs
Sony W850B LED HDTV
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• Very good picture quality
• Deep black level performance
• Stylish design
• Good price vs. performance & feature value
• Extensive smart TV platform
• Side angle viewing suffers from typical LED picture dimming, contrast and color saturation loss
Screen size: 60″
• With stand: (W x H x D) 54″ x 33 1/8″ x 12 3/4″
• Without stand: ( W x H x D) 54″ x 31 1/2″ x 3 3/4″
• With stand: 76.5 lbs
• Without stand: 74.3 lbs
Warranty: One year limited
Have any comments about this review? Please leave them below.
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Great review, you have a good sense of including all relevant information while keeping it short.
I’m just about to exchange my new Samsung 55″ J6309 for this tv however the model number my retailer has is the Sony KDL-W840B. Is this a completely different model? From what I understand it is the Canadian version of the 850 with a 240 motionflow instead of the 480. Am I missing anything else? I’m exchanging the Samsung primarily because of the poor performance I got while watching sporting events. (Judder, blur and poor colour/resolution). I primarily watch HD cable, sports, movies and casual gaming. From what you saw, is the Sony the better bet for what I’m looking for?
Hi Brian, thanks for the compliments regarding this review – much appreciated.
Since you encountered poor performance with the Samsung J6300 during sporting events, I would definitely check out the W840B which does appear to be the equivalent of the US W850B and should deliver similar performance. With that said, the Sony W850B (US model) does deliver good motion blur control/performance when viewing fast action content. Color reproduction is also very good, delivering accurate and well saturated colors. So taking all into consideration, I believe the W840B would be a better choice for you.
Thanks for the advice. One last question. I’m seeing on the AVS forums that there have been bad radial banding and bad clouding/screen uniformity with mostly the 70″ models. Do you know of this and did you encounter any with the 60″?
I have to decide tomorrow so a quick reply would be greatly appreciated.
I did not know of these reports on AVS forums. However, I did not encounter either of these issues on my 60″ review sample. So there is a chance you may or may not get a display that exhibits these artifacts. And as you probably already know, many LED displays are prone to these issues, especially clouding and screen uniformity. Good luck.