Sony XBR65X850E 4K HDR Ultra HD TV Review

Sony XBR65X850E

65” X850E 120Hz Smart LED TV

Sony’s XBR850 series has been a popular model among consumers since its introduction in 2013 with the XBR850A. I started reviewing this series with the XBR850B, and every model since then, which brings me to Sony’s latest release in this series – the 850E.

In this review I will take a quick look and the 850E and highlight its features and performance.

Design/Features

XBR850E Side View

As with most Sony XBR models, the 850E has an attractive and eye appealing design. The bezel and trim are extremely thin, giving the illusion that the screen has no borders for an overall very aesthetically pleasing appearance, and presents on-screen images that appear to float in mid-air.

The XBR850E comes with a pedestal stand that is nicely designed and embodies a small foot print which will allow the TV to sit on-top of a cabinet that doesn’t have a large amount of width. The stand also has a cable management system  which allows cables to be neatly routed and out-of-sight through the legs of the stand.

The build quality of the 850E is good… the frame is sturdy and solidly constructed.

The 850E uses edge-lit LED backlighting to illuminate the TV’s semi-matte screen.

Sony XBR850E stand/base

XBR850E Stand/Base

Key performance features of the 850E include:

  • Sony’s new X1 4K HDR Processor with Object-based HDR remaster (analyzes images in each scene and corrects the color and contrast of each object individually, making colors and contrast appear more realistic) and Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR technology (with 14-bit signal processing – creates a smooth natural picture without image banding). The 4K HDR Processor X1 reproduces more depth, textures, and natural colors than its predecessor, the 4K Processor X1.
  • 4K X-Reality Pro Upscaler enhances clarity of all image sources and delivers refined picture quality with more perceived detail. Also, all non-4K sources are upscaled to near 4K quality. In addition, noise reduction techniques used in this processor allow for clearer, smoother and more natural images.
  • TRILUMINOS Display technology creates incredibly true, natural shades of colors that are rich and vibrant and brings you closer than ever to real-world colors.

Additional features include:

  • Basic remote control features a built-in mic for voice recognition and allows for voice control of certain Android TV functions. The remote is not backlit
  • Google Android smart TV platform with Google Play – The XBR850E uses Android’s Marshmallow (6.0.1) operating system and incorporates Android TV with access to a variety of apps available for download from the Google Play store Android TV gives you access to movie, music, sports, and other entertainment apps
  • HDR or High Dynamic Range provides increased contrast with a greater range of peak brightness (highlights) and black levels, in addition to better picture detail and more vibrant colors
  • HDR Remaster improves color and contrast for SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) content
  • 10-bit panel displays more colors with finer step of gradation for greater color reproduction with HDR sources
  • HEVC/VP9 decoding for watching streamed 4K video sources like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube
  • DIRECTV 4K Ready – DIRECTV subscribers with the Genie Whole-Home HD DVR can enjoy 4K service and full DVR features without an additional receiver
  • Motionflow XR 960 for blur reduction
  • Netflix Recommended TV – This certification makes it easier for consumers to know which manufacturers HDTV’s work best with its streaming video service
  • Chromecast built-in allows content to be cast from a smartphone or tablet directly to the TV
  • 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct capability
  • Opera Web Browser
  • Bluetooth Audio Streaming (via firmware update summer 2017) enables the TV to wirelessly transmit its audio over a Bluetooth connection to a set of Bluetooth headphones, a single Bluetooth speaker, or a single pair of Bluetooth speakers

The XBR850E is available in 65” and 75” screen sizes.

Connectivity

  • 4 HDMI 2.0a inputs (HDCP 2.2 compliant)
  • 1 Component video input (shared)
  • 2 Composite video input (shared)
  • 3 USB inputs
  • 1 Ethernet input
  • 1 RF input for antenna/cable/satellite
  • 1 Digital optical audio output
  • 1 Analog audio output 3.5 mm
Sony XBR65X850E rear panel

XBR850E Rear Panel

Performance

I’m happy to report that Sony has gone back to using a VA panel on the 65” XBR850E instead of an IPS which was used on the previous XBR850D. As many of you already know, IPS panels restrict contrast range which greatly affects deep black level reproduction.

Note: The 75” XBR850E uses an IPS panel.

With that said, in my opinion and experience, the XBR65X850E has better overall picture quality than last year’s 850D. Contrast ratio is a key performance factor for producing good picture quality, and the 850E’s contrast ratio is very good which was readily apparent when viewing dark content in movies. Blacks were very deep and well saturated, which makes this TV an excellent choice for watching movies in a dark viewing environment.

Since we’re on the topic of the 850E’s black level capability, I’ll go ahead and talk about the TVs black screen uniformity, which was very good. When viewing a completely black screen I did not see any light bleed coming from the edges of the screen.

Furthermore, while viewing a black screen overlaid with white text, blooming was virtually nonexistent.

Generally speaking, I enjoyed the overall picture quality of the XBR850E, the picture image was bright and dynamic, displaying vibrant and colorfully bold images which appeared very accurate. Flesh tones were also very good, delivering natural well balanced color tones.

Image detail and clarity on the 850E were first rate, rendering crisp, sharp and well refined picture images, which was of course most notable on high-def content.

HDR performance on the XBR850E was good but fell a bit short in overall performance due to its lack of the higher HDR peak brightness levels needed to produce an optimal HDR image. Sony’s XBR900E has better HDR performance due to its higher peak brightness output.

Motion handling was very good on the 850E while viewing my test footage of a basketball game shot in 4K. I was impressed with how smooth the action flowed on the court. These results were achieved with all motion control options set to off.

Side angle viewing produced the typical results I normally see and usually expect from LED TVs. The TV suffered from contrast loss which can give the picture a gray and washed out appearance. It also lost color saturation which makes colors appear dull and less vibrant.

Picture Settings:

I chose the ‘Custom’ picture mode when setting up the 850E for evaluation.

Brightness: 40 defaults to ‘Max’ with HDR signal

Contrast: 90

Gamma: 0

Black level: 49

Black adjustment: Off – use at your own discretion

Adv. contrast enhancer: Off – use at your own discretion

Color: 51

Hue: 0

Color temperature: Expert 1

Live Color: Off

Sharpness: 50

Motionflow: Off – use at your own discretion or as needed

Cinemotion: Off – use at your own discretion or as needed

Conclusion

Sony’s XBR65X850E represents a very respectable 4K HDR Ultra HD TV with most of the latest must have and sought after bells and whistles. What garners it even more praise from me is the fact that Sony decided to bring back a VA panel to this otherwise very good performing TV.

The XBR65X850E is also one of the more affordable displays in Sony’s current XBR lineup which make it a very good value for a premium 4K TV, especially when compared to Sony’s higher tier XBR models, in addition to the great picture quality it is capable of producing.

HDTVs and More recommended.

Image credit Sony

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Sony XBR65X900E

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