Sony X850G 4K HDR TV Review

Sony XBR850G

XBR85X850G Ultra HD 120Hz Android Smart LED/LCD TV

Review Summary

Product Name: XBR850G

Product Description: 4K HDR | Direct-lit backlighting w/ frame dimming | Andriod smart TV w/ Chromecast built-in

Brand: Sony

Price: $2,999.99

  • Sony XBR85X850G
4

See full review below

Model year: 2019

Screen size reviewed: 85”

Dimensions:

  • With stand: (W x H x D) 75 ¼” x 46 3/8” x 17 1/8”
  • Without stand: (W x H x D) 75 ¼” x 43 ¼” x 3 ¼”

Weight:

  • With stand: 108 lbs.
  • Without stand: 102.5 lbs.

Warranty: One year parts and labor

Pros

  • Very good overall picture quality w/ high-def content
  • Solid HDR performance
  • Good contrast and black levels
  • Sharp and detailed picture images
  • Good color reproduction
  • Android Smart TV – fast menu operation, easy to use
  • Great motion handling during sporting events and other fast-action content
  • Very low input lag, great for video gaming – 1080p signal @ 60 Hz approx. 14.7 ms, 4K signal @ 60 Hz approx. 14.0 ms

Cons

  • Contrast and color saturation loss when viewing the TV at wide angles
  • Very heavy

Intro

In recent years, many TV manufacturers have been going really big with screen sizes on many of the TVs across their model lineups. And Sony is no exception and continues this trend with this year’s X850 series. In this review, I will have a look at Sony’s “super-sized” 85” XBR850G.

But, if the 85” model is a bit on the large size for your liking and viewing area, then Sony has you covered with smaller size options which include 75”, 65” and 55” screen sizes. However, at this time the 85” model is the only size available. I tend to wonder if this was a planned marketing strategy by Sony to help push sales of this 85” ultra-large display.

Update Note: the 55″, 65″ and 75″ models are now available at select retailers (Best Buy, Costco, Nebraska Furniture Mart) as the XBR850G/C. They can also be purchased from Amazon.com.

Design/Features

Sony X850G Side View

Side View

Standing in front of this TV will leave you saying wow! Simply because of its sheer size, and it certainly had this effect on me.

The X850 is primarily constructed of plastic including its front bezel and rear panel. The bezel on the 850G is not of the “ultra-thin” design and measures approximately 5/8” in width. Overall the TV appears to be well made; however, the rear panel’s plastic cover seems a bit thin design-wise and had a hollow sound as I tapped on it with my hand. That being said, I’m reluctant to say it felt cheaply made.

The huge TV screen is coated with a semi-gloss finish and is illuminated with direct-lit LEDs with frame dimming. Not to be confused with full-array direct-lit LEDs with local dimming. Local dimming allows for localized dimming of the LED zones on any given area of the TV’s screen, whereas frame dimming does not have this capability.

Note: The direct-lit LED backlight technology used in this TV helps provide better contrast and black levels, which should result in better overall picture quality when compared to the other screen sizes (models) in the 850G series which use edge-lit LED backlighting.

The 85″ model reviewed here uses a VA panel. The 55″, 65″ and 75″ models use IPS panels. This means the 85″ panel will have much better contrast and black levels.

The feet are well designed and are made of metal on the front side and plastic on the rear side. The stand gives the TV very good support, especially for a TV of this size, and had minimal wobble as I gently rocked the TV panel back-and-forth. The rear part of the TV’s feet has pop-open covers that allow for cable management to help conceal cabling connected to the TV.

Remote Control – The remote has been updated from last year’s model and offers a sleek and slender design with an intuitive and user-friendly button layout. In actual use, the remote fits comfortably in my hand and functioned as expected which allowed me to operate the TV with ease. This remote also has a voice command feature that allows for control of select TV functions through the built-in Google Assistant and optional Amazon Alexa enabled devices via a wireless network connection.

More features:

  • High Dynamic Range formats: Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG – High Dynamic Range (HDR) enhances the dynamic range of a picture, increasing the contrast between the brightest whites and darkest blacks. It also enhances color reproduction.
  • 4K HDR Processor X1: The 4K HDR Processor X1 with Object-based HDR remaster and Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR technology gives pure colors at higher brightness levels for truly natural pictures. Everything you watch will have greater depth, detail, and texture.
  • 4K X-Reality Pro Upscaler w/ Dual Database Processing: Sony’s 4K X-Reality Pro Upscaler w/ Dual Database Processing enhances Ultra-HD, HD, and SD images by analyzing and refining images with beautifully natural detail and clarity. With 4K X-Reality PRO and Dual Database Processing, every image is upscaled closer to true 4K quality for great clarity. This 4K television upscales your favorite TV shows, DVD and Blu-ray movies, even video-on-demand content, and smartphone videos to Ultra HD quality.
  • TRILUMINOS display technology for a wider color range
  • Motionflow XR 960 for motion smoothness – 120Hz native refresh rate
  • Android TV with Chromecast Built-in lets you cast your favorite entertainment apps and video content from your Android or iOS device, or laptop
  • Supports voice control of compatible apps: Built-in Google Assistant controls basic TV functions and works with Google Home-compatible voice control assistants. The TV also works with Amazon Alexa-compatible voice control assistants
  • Netflix Recommended TV – This certification makes it easier for consumers to know which manufacturers HDTV’s work best with its streaming video service.
  • Acoustic Multi-Audio speaker system with sound positioning tweeters (10 watts x 2)
  • The TV can be set up to output sound from Bluetooth, the built-in speakers and the headphone output at the same time
  • eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) This feature allows audio to be sent from the television to your AV receiver through the same HDMI cable already being used to send audio/video to the television.

Connectivity

  • 4 HDMI 2.0b inputs (HDCP 2.3 compliant)
  • 1 Component/composite shared video input
  • 3 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
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) provides fast, reliable wireless streaming
  • Bluetooth wireless audio streaming to a compatible speaker or set of headphones

Sony X850G Rear Panel

Performance

Reviewing a TV of this size certainly adds to the overall viewing experience; it provides an immersive picture image that draws you into the on-screen action simply due to its massive size, and I truly enjoyed the time I spent watching this TV, which by the way delivered very good picture quality.

And speaking of good picture quality, the most important aspect needed to achieve this is a good contrast ratio. In basic terms, the contrast ratio is the difference between the brightest image a TV can create and the darkest.

The 85” 850G provided very good contrast which was evident in the content I viewed. Black levels were deep and well saturated due to the TV’s contrast abilities. This is a very important factor when watching dark movie scenes in a very dark room; in these conditions, black levels will appear as they should which would be a solid deep black, minus any grayish shading.

Black screen uniformity was good on this display and appeared dark and evenly shaded across the entire screen. Furthermore, when viewing a black screen, I didn’t see any light bleed or clouding on the TV I used for this review. Also, I didn’t see any blooming while viewing white text against a black background.

While on the topic of screen uniformity, I’d like to mention that I did see some very slight shading in all four corners of the screen, but I could only detect this shading when there was bright white content on the screen. Nonetheless, I had to intentionally look for this issue; otherwise, it would have gone mostly unnoticed.

Depending on the content, I was very impressed with how well the X850G rendered colors. The TV’s wide color gamut presented a bright, rich and very vivid color palette. Colors also appeared very natural and well balanced with no particular color appearing over or undersaturated.

Detail and clarity were very good on the X850G. On close up shots, whether it be an individual’s face or objects in any given scene, the detail and clarity revealed by this TV in brightly lit scenes left nothing to be desired. In darker scenes, detail and clarity were also good, just not as revealing.

HDR content provided the best image quality from the X850G. Images were visually brilliant, delivering good peak highlights with plenty of detail and clarity. Colors were very vivid containing a solid and natural richness that was not present in these levels with non-HDR content.

Motion handling was very good on the X850G, delivering smooth and fluid motion with the fast action content I viewed. Furthermore, panning shots, which can sometimes be difficult to render without motion judder, were displayed without any issues on this TV.

Side angle viewing on the X850G revealed color saturation and contrast loss when viewed at wide angles, which is what I usually experience when watching a TV with a VA panel.

Sound quality from the TV’s speakers was what I commonly hear from a flat panel design. The sound output was thin and lean in quality with very little bass impact. But on a positive note, the sound was clean and clear allowing dialogue to be very discernible. It also had very good imaging and stereo separation. This TV was also capable of producing loud sound output.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed watching the XBR85X850G. It was a very capable performer, producing from good to excellent picture quality depending on the content being viewed, and as expected, HDR content provided the best images as noted above.

The Android-based smart TV platform with Google Assistant built-in and Amazon Alexa using Alexa enabled devices will serve up a well rounded and complete entertainment and smart home integration package.

And last but not least, the ultra-large 85” screen delivers a very immersive viewing experience that puts you close to what can be had with a dedicated home theater projection system with a 100″ screen, all at a reasonable price for such a large flat-screen TV.

HDTVs and More recommended.


You may also like this review of Sony’s XBR65X950G 4K HDR TV.

8 comments

  • Would you recommend the Sony X850G 85 inch over the Samsung QLED Q70 82 inch? Not sure which to pick.

    Thanks

    • Hi Coney,

      Personally, I could live happily with either brand’s model. They both deliver very good picture quality and have good features as well. And speaking of features, I don’t know if you have a preference for a particular smart TV OS, as both brands use different smart TV platforms, which could possibly sway your decision. Personally, I don’t have a preference for any given smart TV OS, as long as they are easy to use and provide smooth and minimal glitch-free operation.

      With that said, I really like both brands, but if I had to choose between the X850G or the Q70 in this particular circumstance I would most likely go with the Q70R since one of its key picture processing features is its full-array LED backlighting with local dimming, which should give the edge in picture quality (especially in a dark room while watching dark content) to the Q70 since the X850G doesn’t use this type of backlighting. But since I wasn’t able to do a comparison between the two models, I can’t be for certain if this would be the case. Furthermore, the Q70 uses quantum dots to improve color reproduction; Sony has its TRILUMINOS display technology that improves color rendering as well.

      I hope this helps you choose the model that’s right for you.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

      • Mr Isaac Barreiros

        @ 85 inches the price difference between the Sony and the Q70 is $1000. I’m currently looking to upgrade my Samsung Q6FN 75” to the Sony 850G, would you think I would be happy ? I would settle for similar picture quality considering the bigger size

        • Hi Mr. Barreiros,

          Sony’s 850G in the 85″ screen size has very good picture quality, and I personally believe you would be happy with its performance. However, when compared to the 85″ Q70, the Q70 will have better overall picture quality, in my opinion. Although I wasn’t able to do a direct comparison between the two models, nonetheless, going off of memory and my review info, I did prefer the Q70’s picture quality over the 850G. Here are a couple of reasons why: the Q70 uses full-array LED backlighting with local dimming which gives it better contrast and black levels when compared to the 850G which uses direct-lit LED backlighting (no local dimming). The Q70 also has better color rendering in my opinion.

          So if you have the extra cash, I would suggest the 85″ Q70. On the other hand, another suggestion is to go with the 82″ Q70 (if you don’t mind giving up a few inches in screen size) and this option would only be $500 more than the 85″ 850G.

          I hope this helps with your decision.

          Regards,
          Milton
          HDTVs and More

  • Hi, I’m very confused between Samsung Q60R 55″ and Sony X850G 55″ as both are entry level tv’s with affordable prices. Can you please recommend for perfect movie experience and best gaming features with good picture quality? Please help!

    • Hi Han,
      The Q60R and X850G are both good TVs, but neither model will give you the perfect movie experience. That being said, both models have similar performance characteristics with certain performance criteria. However, in the performance areas you are concerned about, the Q60R has the advantage while watching movies, especially in a dark room setting due to the much better contrast and black level performance which will render better picture quality in dark movie scenes. The primary reason the Q60R performs better than the X850G in this key area is due to the Q60R’s use of a VA panel. The 55″ X850G uses an IPS panel which usually doesn’t produce good contrast, thus delivering a less than ideal movie viewing presentation in a dark room (The 85″ X850G uses a VA panel).

      As far as gaming features, the Q60R supports FresSync variable refresh rate technology for a better gaming experience when using an Xbox One game console. On the other hand, both TVs have very low input lag which makes them great for gaming.

      So for me personally, I would go with the Q60R based on its better contrast performance.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

  • Christopher Muise

    I am not sure how long current pricing will hold, but the 85″ X900F has dropped down to a tick under $3k on Amazon which means BB will match. I very recently was sold a brand-new-in-the-box 85″ 850G (which as recently as two weeks ago was showing up at $2899.00 on Amazon) and immediately I noticed some black blotches behind the middle of the screen. They could not be removed. I called Amazon and they exchanged it for an 85″ X900F that costs only $100.00 more than than the 850G had cost when I bought it ten days ago. They gave me full credit for the 850G and I immediately upgraded the replacement to the 900F. Wow.

    There is ZERO comparison between the two sets. The FALD and the better processor on the X900F make this a far better set. The 850G is ok for watching 4k content during the day, but the lack of FALD makes it a clear loser when the lights go down. Also, given the dearth of native 4k content on broadcast TV, the better processor of the 900F makes for a better DirecTV experience (though history shows that the quality of the broadcast can vary widely…for instance, the NFL Network broadcast of the recent Bucs-Panthers game in London was atrocious on the 900F whereas the ESPN Saturday night broadcast of LSU-Florida was breathtaking).

    I have heard of too many quality-related issues of Samsung so given the price drop of the 85″ X900F to under $3k (it was over $5k when it was released) I would def opt for this over the Q60R without a second of hesitation.

    • Hi Christopher,

      You made an excellent choice in purchasing the Sony X900F. I don’t know if you have noticed on this website that I have been heavily promoting the 900F as one of my favorite 4K TVs, and I still consider it one of the best sets currently available. And as you have also discovered, this model delivers top-notch performance and now can be had at significant savings.

      I agree with your assessment that the 900F outperforms the 85” X850G, as I also rated it a better performer than the 850G. Nevertheless, the 85” 850G is definitely no slouch, and offers very good overall performance in its own right; it just can’t match what the 900F has to offer in terms of overall picture quality.

      Christopher, thanks for your comments; very much appreciated and enjoy your new 900F.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

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