The X800E is a good 4k smart TV with decent picture quality for an LED TV. It has a wide viewing angle and can display a wide range of colors with very smooth gradients. It also has low input lag and deals with motion well, making it a good gaming TV. Unfortunately though, its blacks lack depth, and they'll often appear blotchy making the TV less suitable for use in a darker setting.
- Can be enjoyed even from the sides
- Gradients are smooth and without stepping
- Great handling of motion.
- Contrast is low, making blacks less deep
- Blacks are blotchy
The design of the X800E is similar to most other Sony TVs, including the X800D from 2016. It does have less of a premium feel to it when compared to the older model, and some of the inputs can be a bit more difficult to access if close to a wall. It also has an external power brick.
The plastic stand is a bit lower quality than the 2016 X800D but still supports the TV well and provides tracks tracks at the back for some basic cable management.
Footprint of the 43" TV stand: 9.6" x 21.9"
The main body of the TV is fairly cool, only getting slightly warm along the bottom where the LEDs are for the backlight. Its power brick on the other hand does get warm to the touch, reaching 40 °C.
- 11% Contrast
- 6% Local Dimming
- 6% SDR Peak Brightness
- 6% HDR Peak Brightness
- 6% Gray Uniformity
- 7% Viewing Angle
- 4% Black Uniformity
- 2% Gradient
- 4% Pre Calibration
- 1% Post Calibration
- 6% 480p Input
- 9% 720p Input
- 11% 1080p Input
- 6% 4k Input
- 4% Color Gamut
- 4% Color Volume
- 1% Image Retention
- 6% Reflections
- 1% 3D
The Sony X800E has an average picture quality. The contrast ratio and black uniformity are disappointing and when set in a dark room, and results in grayish looking blacks. As a result, the X800E won't be a good choice for a dark room but still can be okay for a viewing room with a lot of light as the low contrast isn't noticeable when viewed in a bright setting. The peak brightness is good and should be enough to fight glare from a close lamp or a window, but the screen is worse than average at dealing with reflections. The gray uniformity could be better but luckily, dirty screen effect is not a problem. The addition of the decent viewing angle results in a good TV for watching sport, especially with a large group of people. Finally, the X800E has a good HDR capability since it has a good HDR peak brightness, wide color gamut and it can display gradients without banding.
The Sony X800E has a disappointing contrast ratio of only 961:1. This is mostly due to the IPS panel used in this 2017 model. This results in a quarter of the contrast ratio when compared to the 2016 X800D, which is a big disappointment. When viewed in a dark room, dark scenes in movies look washed-out and blacks aren't as deep as on other TVs with VA panel.
The Sony X800E doesn't have a local dimming feature. The video is for reference only.
Good SDR peak brightness. The TV stays consistently bright no matter the content played, and should appear bright even in a moderately lit room; however it's not as bright as most high end TVs. The TV is a little brighter than last year's X800D but less bright than the X700D.
A plot of brightness over time is shown here.
Good HDR peak brightness. The TV is consistently bright when watching any content, however its lack of local dimming prevents it from making small highlights as bright as intended. The TV is a little brighter than the X800D from last year but less bright than the X700D.
A plot of brightness over time is shown here.
The overall gray uniformity of the X800E is decent, and there is not too much visible dirty screen effect as most of the issues are situated on the edges of the screen. Both sides are particularly darker than the middle of the screen leaving the center of the screen pretty even. Dirty screen effect is not really a problem.
Nothing too bad stands out looking at the 5% gray test picture and this reflects what the TV looks like in person, which is a good thing.
Decent viewing angle. The TV's black level does not change much at an angle, however its colors wash out rapidly and its brightness decreases steadily when viewed on an angle. People sitting to the side of the TV will still have okay picture quality, better than with many VA TVs such as the X800D, but not as good as with OLEDs or some other IPS TVs.
The black uniformity is disappointing on this 2017 X800E. Some flashlighting can be seen in both top corners and clouding is present on most of the screen, but a lot of it is due to the fact that this model is using a IPS panel which usually performs worse than TVs with VA panels. In any case, dark scenes will not look optimal on this TV, especially when the TV is set in a dark room.
The X800E performs very well on our gradient test. As you can see in our test picture, the gradient looks very smooth and is almost perfect, without any major visible banding from any colors and even in the grayscale.
Great performance out of the box for the Sony X800E. The white balance is a bit on the warmer side than we usually aim for, but it is not far off and the gamma is tracking our 2.2 target pretty closely. Looking at the color dE, overall it is a great score, where all color tracks relatively well, with only the blues being a bit less accurate. In the end, this is a good result and for personal use, this TV could be used as it is without any problems.
After calibration, the X800E is very accurate. The white balance dE was brought down to only 0.27, which is a great result and calibration is relatively easy. As a result of this, the gamma was able to track closely to our 2.2 target.
When it come to the Color dE, as with other Sony TVs, the X800E does not have a 'Color Management System' and the only correction possible here is done via the white balance. Even without a 'CMS', the color dE was brought down to 1.99, which is still better than what we had out of the box, with only the blues being a bit more off than the rest of the other colors.
You can see our recommended settings here.
Wide color gamut, though not as wide as on the X800D. Deep colors in HDR content will be fairly well represented. The TV struggles with showing deep greens, like most other TVs, but also can't show fully saturated blue.
The TV's EOTF follows the PQ curve fairly closely, but at higher brightness it rolls off then clips at its maximum brightness. This EOTF was measured in the Custom picture mode using our recommended settings; the EOTF in the Cinema Pro picture mode shown here is nearly identical unlike other Sony TVs we've measured.
Poor color volume. The TV has a wide color gamut when showing bright colors, but its gamut narrows significantly when showing very dark colors. It also can't make dark colors dark enough due to its low contrast ratio. The TV performs frame dimming when shown our black-with-border slide, but even this doesn't make the black point very dim.
The X800E as an excellent result on our image retention test. If you look very closely to our test picture, you will see a really faint remnant of the top Rtings logos but it was not enough to trigger a response from our test. Looking at the TV in person when the pictures were taken, it was not possible to see any retention. For an IPS TV, this is a very good performance, especially if you compare with the 2016 Sony X700D IPS TV.
The X800E is a bit more reflective than most other TVs. This is fine for a dark room, but for a bright room rainbows can be seen around reflections and the semi-gloss finish diffuses them across the screen.
The X800E doesn't support 3D.
The X800D is great at handling motion. It has a fast response time which results in very little blur following fast moving objects. By default the backlight doesn't flicker which helps to produce smooth motion, but it is possible to introduce flicker to clear up fast moving content. Movies played from a cable box do experience some minor judder, but this isn't noticeable to most people. The X800E has a 60Hz panel which can interpolate lower frame rate content for those who enjoy the soap opera effect.
Great response time, which results in only a very short trail following moving objects. This is a similar result to the X800D from 2016.
Like many Sony TVs, the backlight doesn't flicker by default. This results in smoother motion without duplications. It is possible to flicker the backlight with the 'Motionflow' setting. Increasing the 'Clearness' slider causes the backlight to flicker at 120Hz which clears up motion blur a bit but not as good as the 60Hz flicker available on the X800D.
This TV can only display 24p movies without judder from 24p sources (DVDs, Blu-rays). 24p movies playing from 60p/60i sources like cable or satellite boxes do present some minor judder and the TV can't remove even with 'CineMotion' set to 'Auto'.
This is the same result as last year models (X800D) and people who are sensitive to judder may notice it when watching movie from cable/satellite boxes.
The X800E has a 60Hz panel which can interpolate lower frame rate content. To do so adjust the 'MotionFlow' to 'Custom' and increase the 'Smoothness' slider. Note that any motion interpolation does introduce some artifacts.
The X800E supports all the common input signals (except 120 Hz), so nearly all content will be displayed properly. It has low input lag which is good enough for most gamers, but very competitive gamers may be disappointed.
Consistent low input lag of ~34 ms when in the Game or Graphics picture modes. This should be good enough for most gamers but may disappoint very competitive gamers. The input lag with motion interpolation enabled is much better than on most TVs, but at 49.5 ms it's still a little high for gaming. Overall the input lag is very similar to that of the X800D.
- 20% 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
- 20% 1080p @ 120Hz
- 20% 4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
- 20% 4k @ 60Hz
- 20% 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
All the common input resolutions are supported, except 120 Hz input because this TV has a 60 Hz panel. To receive 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 color, HDMI inputs 2 or 3 must be used and 'HDMI Enhanced Format' must be enabled. 4:4:4 color is displayed properly in the Game or Graphics picture modes. When using the TV as a PC monitor 1080p is listed as the default resolution.
There are two composite inputs on the rear of the TV, but one of them is shared with the component input. The other composite input is in for the form of a 3.5mm jack and requires an adapter (not included) such as this.
The X800E's sound reproduction capabilities are about average for what's found in TVs, which means it'll most definitely benefit from being replaced by an external set of speakers or soundbar.
Passable frequency response. The sound coming from the X800E's speakers is a bit dark, mostly from the relatively strong recession in the higher frequencies. Compression and pumping artifacts are also present at higher volumes.
Poor distortion. The results are a bit higher than average at standard volumes, but skyrocket when levels are closer to maximum, rendering volume settings past the 85 mark virtually unusable.
The Sony X800E runs the new Android TV 7.0 Nougat, which has a few major changes compared to 6.0 . Double clicking the home button now opens a task switching menu where the user can quickly switch between running apps. There is also a new picture in picture feature that lets video from an HDMI input or the TV's tuner be shown in a hovering box at the top right corner of the screen, while the user navigates the TV's interface and opens apps. Overall though the new update didn't fix the main problems with the platform, namely ease of navigation, interaction speed and frame drops, and the remote's lack of smart features.
Other core features of Android TV remain unchanged. The included Google Play store has a vast selection of apps that can be downloaded, more than on many other smart platforms. The TV's 'Chromecast built-in' feature allows content to be cast from a smartphone or tablet to the TV. Content can be played from a USB drive attached to one of the TV's three USB ports. The remote has a built in microphone for voice search, which works well.
The TV has no ads in its main interface, though apps can have ads. It's possible to opt out of personalized advertising for these ads.
The first row of the TV's home screen is filled with suggested content. In the 'Home' section of the TV's settings there is an option to disable sources of suggested content. If all these sources are disabled the first row of the home screen just contains a line saying "No recommendations available at this time".
The X800E's remote is very large with a dizzying array of buttons. Fortunately most of the commonly used buttons are clustered within easy reach around the direction pad, though the power and inputs buttons at the top of the remote are difficult to reach. The remote has a built in microphone for voice search, which can quickly bring up content within apps to watch or buy, but lacks the advanced voice command features of some other platforms such as Samsung's Tizen OS.
The remote is identical to that of the X850E (same model number), but not as good as those of the X900E and X800D, due to each button being a separate chunk of rubber rather than the continuous surface of the other remotes.
Differences between Sizes and Variants
We tested the 43" (XBR43X800E). For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 49"(XBR49X800E) and 55" (XBR55X800E)
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Sony XBR-43X800E doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review. Note that some tests such as the gray uniformity may vary between individual units.
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Compared to other TVs
The X800E is a good LED TV, but it's a bit too expensive for the performance it delivers.
The X800D is the previous Sony TV from the same series, and it's overall a better TV. It doesn't have the same wide viewing angles, but it has a much better picture quality. Unless you're going to be using the TV as a PC monitor, the X800D is a better choice.
The MU6300 is an entry level 4k TV from Samsung. It's a bit better in a dark room, but picture quality degrades rapidly at an angle. It doesn't have some of the HDR-related features found on the X800E, but the contrast ratio is a big difference. Especially since it is quite a bit cheaper, most people will be better off with the MU6300.
The MU8000's is one of Samsung's midrange 4k TVs for 2017. It's a step up both in price and performance over the KU6300, but it's also a better overall TV than the X800E. It does much better in a dark environment, but it doesn't have the wider viewing angles of the X800E. Unless you plan to watch your TV from an angle, go for the MU8000.