Sony X800H 4K HDR TV Review

Sony XBR800H

XBR65X800H 60Hz Android Smart LED/LCD TV

Review Summary
Sony XBR800H angle view

Product Name: XBR800H

Product Description: X1 4K HDR Processor | 4K X-Reality PRO w/ Dual Data processing | Direct-lit LED backlighting | TRILUMINOS Display | Dolby Vision | Android Smart TV | X-Balanced Speakers

Brand: Sony

  • Sony XBR65X800H
3.5

See full review below

Model year: 2020

Screen size reviewed: 65”

Bottom Line: The XBR65X800H is a decent 4K HDR TV that has a lot to offer in the way of features such as its robust Android smart TV platform which is an improvement over last year’s version by providing a much smoother running interface. Dolby Vision HDR compatibility has now been added allowing for more choices in HDR content, as well as Apple AirPlay 2.

The X800H offers commendable picture quality with most content with the exception of images that contain dark scenes which are displayed on this TV with grayish overtones instead of solid black due to the TV’s IPS panel.

To that end, there are other brands available from the likes of TCL and Hisense whose higher-end models offer comparable or dare I say, even better picture quality than the X800H, and at lower price points.

Dimensions:

With stand: (W x H x D) 53 5/8” X 35 3/8” x 13 ½”

Without stand: (W x H x D) 53 5/8” x 33 1/8” x 2 7/8”

Weight:

With stand: 49 lbs 13 oz

Without stand: 47 lbs 13 oz

Warranty: One year parts and labor

Pros

  • Accurate color
  • Very good wide-angle viewing
  • Excellent low input lag for gaming
  • Bright SDR picture images
  • Good 4K upscaling

Cons

  • Mediocre contrast and black levels
  • Minimal HDR peak brightness

Intro

The X800H is the entry-level “XBR” model in Sony’s 2020 lineup. It is the successor to last year’s X800G and offers several upgrades which include a better processor, Dolby Vision HDR, a much smoother running Android smart TV interface, Apple AirPlay 2 and Apple HomeKit, X-Balanced Speaker technology, a redesigned remote, and vastly improved input lag for video gaming.

Design & Features

Sony X800H side view

Side View

The X800H is available in six different screen sizes which consist of 43”, 49”, 55”, 65”, 75” and 85” options. The 43 and 49-inch sizes use edge-lit LED backlighting, while the 55, 65, 75 and 85-inch models use direct-lit LED backlighting (without local dimming). Technically speaking, the direct-lit models should allow for better contrast and somewhat better black levels.

To the best of my knowledge, all models use IPS panels with the exception of the 75” and 85” models which use VA panels. IPS panels provide good wide-angle viewing with minimal amounts of picture dimming, contrast and color saturation loss. However, the major drawback of IPS panels is their mediocre contrast and black levels.

On the other hand, VA panels usually provide very good too excellent contrast and black levels, but usually suffer from mediocre wide viewing angles.

The screen surface coating is semi-gloss and does a decent job of reflecting indirect light away from the screen. The X800H will do well in a brightly lit room, just not overly bright.

The overall design of the X800H is very simplistic and is made entirely of plastic. The build quality is decent with the possible exception of the bezel which fits loosely around the screen and feels cheaply made. I expected better from a Sony XBR class model. Furthermore, the bezel isn’t a “razor-thin” design that is commonly seen on many of today’s flat-panel TVs and measures approximately a ½” in width. Panel depth is of reasonable thickness and measures approximately 2-7/8” deep.

The “Slim Blade” stand design on this TV is made of plastic and is attached close to the outer edges of the panel and creates an ideal space for a soundbar to sit below the TV screen. I was surprised at the amount of wobble the panel had as I gently rocked it back and forth. I typically experience much less wobble from TV stands. Nevertheless, the stand (feet) still provided decent support and the TV was not at risk of toppling over.Sony RMF-TX500U

Remote control: As mentioned earlier, the remote has been upgraded from last year’s X800G and is the same model supplied with the X900H and is virtually identical to the X950H with the exception of the remotes finish. Personally, I like the sleek design of this remote much better than last year’s model, and I appreciate its intuitive and user-friendly button layout. The remote features a built-in mic for voice recognition and provides voice control of select Android TV functions through the built-in Google Assistant.

Product features

  • X1 4K HDR Processor for good picture quality delivering sharp and detailed picture images
  • Object-based HDR Remaster improves color and contrast for SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) content
  • Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR reduces banding for a smoother, more natural picture
  • 4K X-Reality PRO w/ Dual Data processing enhances Ultra-HD, HD, and SD images by analyzing and refining images with natural detail and clarity.
  • Direct-lit LED backlight with frame dimming enhances contrast and black levels
  • High Dynamic Range formats include HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG. Extends picture contrast and brightness when viewing HDR content
  • TRILUMINOS Display delivers a wider color palette, for enhanced and accurate color reproduction
  • Motionflow XR 240 technology for smoother and clearer fast motion – 60Hz native refresh rate
  • X-Balanced Speakers: Sony’s uniquely shaped X-balanced speakers deliver clear sound from movies and music soundtracks. The TV is equipped with two down-firing X-balanced drivers.
  • Android smart TV platform with Google Assistant built-in
  • Amazon Alexa compatible voice control assistant
  • Apple Airplay 2 and HomeKit – via future firmware update
  • Chromecast built-in
  • Netflix Calibrated Mode – This mode was specially developed to enjoy Netflix originals and reproduce the same picture quality on a TV as on a studio evaluation master.

Connectivity

Sony XBR800H rear ports

Rear Ports

  • 4 HDMI 2.0b inputs (HDCP 2.3 compliant)
  • 1 Composite video input (adaptor cable required)
  • 2 USB inputs – one is USB 3.0
  • 1 Ethernet input
  • 1 RF input for antenna/cable/satellite
  • 1 Digital optical audio output
  • 1 Analog audio output 3.5 mm
  • ARC HDMI input 3
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) provides fast, reliable wireless streaming

Performance

The X800H has good performance in certain key areas, and not so well in others. First the good: Color rendering was very good on this display delivering impressive out of box color accuracy when using the “Custom” picture mode and the “Expert 1” color temperature setting. And in my opinion and experience, Sony TVs generally do a good job with color reproduction and the X800H was no exception. The X800H’s wide color gamut capability delivered a well balanced and full-array color spectrum that was tonally accurate which gave colors a natural appearance that was never over-saturated.

The X800H delivered very good picture detail and clarity with HD content, whether it be a 4K or 1080p resolution source. Brightly lit outdoor scenes really stood out on this display. These images had a great amount of dynamic presence, clarity, detail and realism that gave these types of scenes an added sense of visual reality, in other words, a life-like appearance.

With SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) content, the 800H produced very good peak brightness which makes this TV ideal for a brightly lit room when watching movies or TV shows.

With HDR (High Dynamic Range) content the 800H did ok having just enough peak brightness to see a notable difference with HDR content. Dark scenes with small highlights as well as scenes with varying amounts of contrast range intensities (the amount of light and dark areas in a particular scene) stood out enough to make HDR content on this display a worthwhile improvement over SDR content.

Nevertheless, I’ve seen much better HDR images on displays that were capable of producing much higher peak brightness output. With that said, if you want top-notch HDR performance, seek out a 4K TV with higher peak brightness output when watching HDR content.

Rtings.com has posted “real scene” SDR (standard dynamic range) peak brightness at 415 nits, and HDR (high dynamic range) peak brightness at 504 nits.

Motion handling was very good on this display and did a good job at suppressing motion blur artifacts when watching fast action content during a movie or sporting event. However, you may experience motion judder when watching 24p content via a 60Hz source such as cable TV or native apps. Enabling the TV’s Motionflow and CineMotion settings can help reduce this issue.

Although the 800H doesn’t have any advanced gaming features such as VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) technology, it still has outstanding input lag performance and measures approximately 10.0 ms for both 1080p and 4K signals at 60Hz. This level of performance makes this TV great for video gaming.

Wide-angle viewing was very good on this TV thanks to its IPS panel which minimizes picture quality degradation. This makes the X800H a very good choice for rooms with seating arrangements that are placed at wide angles from the TV screen.

The Android smart TV platform offers a very smooth running interface and has no delay when pressing buttons on the remote. The Google Play Store gives you access to a wide variety of apps with over 5,000 movie titles, music, sports and other entertainment options to choose from.

Sound quality – Sony’s X-Balanced speakers produced decent sound quality. The sound output delivered good stereo imaging, spatial separation and tonal balance in the mid and high-frequency range. Bass impact, however, was limited and was on the lean side of the sonic spectrum, yet still had a noticeable presence. The TV can also play very loud while maintaining decent clarity.

Now, let’s move on to the negative performance characteristics of the X800H: The TVs contrast and black level performance wasn’t very good and will be at its worst when viewing this TV in a dark room environment. Dark scenes will have a grayish appearance and not a deep solid black. This performance shortfall is due to the IPS panel.

However, when viewing this TV in a well lit or moderately lit room, its IPS shortcomings will not be a major issue.

Black screen uniformity was mediocre on this display; this again was caused by the IPS panel. This uniformity issue can be seen in the form of uneven blackness spread across the screen which will produce a clouding effect due to light bleed coming through the screen surface. This effect can be easily seen on a completely dark screen but will be less visible when watching normal content.

Conclusion

Sony’s XBR65X800H is a decent mid-tier 4K HDR television. It offers good picture quality, but does fall short in a few areas, namely contrast and black level performance; but depending on your viewing conditions, this will not necessarily be a major issue. On the plus side, its color presentation was colorfully vibrant and tonally accurate which added a sense of realism to high quality sourced picture images.

I recommend the X800H to anyone in the market for a 4K TV from a trusted name-brand manufacturer and doesn’t mind sacrificing a bit on picture quality yet still be presented with a satisfying viewing experience.

Sony XBR800H room view

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