Sony X690E TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Reviewed Sep 25, 2017 at 09:05 am
Sony X690E Picture
7.4
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
6.9
Movies
7.3
TV Shows
7.3
Sports
8.4
Video Games
6.8
HDR Movies
7.7
HDR Gaming
8.0
PC Monitor
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

The Sony X690E is a good 4k LED TV with decent picture quality, low input lag and good handling of motion. It's only found in larger sizes, but it's a versatile entry-level TV. Unfortunately, its picture quality deteriorates at an angle, and its limited HDR capabilities stop the feature from having much of an effect on picture quality.

Our Verdict

7.4 Mixed Usage

The Sony X690E is a good TV for a mixed usage. It has a better than average picture quality, very low input lag for gaming and great handling of motion. Unfortunately, its simplistic smart features might not please all, and its narrow viewing angle means it's only suitable for watching directly in front.

Pros
  • High contrast ratio gives deep and uniform blacks
  • Very low input lag for gaming
Cons
  • Picture quality deteriorates at an angle
  • Very limited HDR capabilities
  • Basic smart features
6.9 Movies

Decent TV for movies in a dark room. The Sony X690E produces uniform blacks thanks to its great contrast ratio, which helps keep letterboxes clean and free of blooming. Unfortunately, it lacks a local dimming feature to further enhance the depth of the picture.

7.3 TV Shows

Decent TV shows performance. The TV's decent picture quality and brightness make it a better than average choice for watching broadcast or online content. It's not the best at handling reflections though and its elementary smart features might be a little limiting for some.

7.3 Sports

The Sony X690E does better than average for watching sports. It has a good screen uniformity, which helps keep fields and ice rinks looking clean. Unfortunately, it's not great when viewed from an angle, making it less useful for wider living rooms.

8.4 Video Games

Great TV for playing video games. The Sony X690E's very low input lag and low motion blur make it a great choice for gaming. Games feel responsive and look very fluid and clear. Unfortunately, its backlight flicker function cannot be enabled in game mode.

6.8 HDR Movies

Mediocre HDR performance. While the Sony X690E does have some basic HDR support, its capabilities stop it from offering any picture quality enhancement with HDR content.

7.7 HDR Gaming

While its HDR capabilities are limited, the X690E's input lag and overall gaming experience does not deteriorate with an HDR input.

8.0 PC Monitor

Good TV for a PC monitor. It supports the most important resolutions, and its low input lag and motion blur keep it responsive and enjoyable to use with a mouse. Unfortunately, its narrow viewing angle means that sitting too close to it will often cause darkening and other deterioration on the edges of the screen.

  • 7.4 Mixed Usage
  • 6.9 Movies
  • 7.3 TV Shows
  • 7.3 Sports
  • 8.4 Video Games
  • 6.8 HDR Movies
  • 7.7 HDR Gaming
  • 8.0 PC Monitor
  1. Update 3/12/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Update 3/12/2018: With the newest firmware update (04.100) the input lag bug no longer occurs, and the input lag is low in 'Game' or 'Graphics' mode after power cycling the TV.

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Test Results

Design
8.0
Design
Style
Curved No

The design of the X690E is quite basic but works well. It is similar to most other Sony TVs but feels a bit cheaper as the parts are all made of plastic and the body is relatively thick. The central stand supports the TV well and many of the inputs are easy to access even if the TV is wall mounted.

Design
Stand

The central stand is similar to most other Sony TVs. It supports the TV well and feels quite stable.

Footprint of the 60" TV stand: 12.0" x 24.9"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 400x300

The rear of the TV is entirely plastic and is quite basic. Unlike the X720E, there is no channel down the rear of the stand for cable management.

Update 04/09/2018: The TV has a VESA 400x300 wall mount.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.55" (1.4 cm)

The borders of the X690E have an average thickness. This is the same thickness as the X720E we reviewed.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 3.39" (8.6 cm)

The TV is quite thick when viewed from an angle, so it may stick out from a wall a bit if mounted.

Design
Temperature
Maximum Temperature
99 °F (37 °C)
Average Temperature
95 °F (35 °C)

The TV runs fairly cool, partly due to its low brightness. The bottom is lined with vents, and there is a vent midway up the back of the TV to help with cooling.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of the X690E is fine, but all of the plastic parts do feel quite cheap compared to other Sony TVs. It isn't an issue for normal use but does lack a premium feel.

Picture Quality
8.4
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
3950 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
N/A

The Sony X690E has a great native contrast ratio just shy of 4000:1. This contrast ratio means that the X690E will be a good option for people with a dark home theater room since blacks look deep and not grayish like on some IPS TVs, and also because it can reproduce dark scenes fairly well without them looking washed out.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Direct

The Sony X690E does not have a local dimming feature.

6.6
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
225 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
241 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
241 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
240 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
240 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
240 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
240 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
240 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
240 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
240 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
240 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.000

Plot over time

Decent SDR peak brightness. The brightness remains very consistent no matter the scene shown, which is great, but the TV isn't bright enough for a very bright room.

The brightness is better than the TCL S405 and Vizio E Series 2017, but not as good as the Sony X720E and Vizio M Series 2017.

5.5
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
234 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
246 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
246 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
247 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
247 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
247 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
245 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
245 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
245 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
245 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
245 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.000

Plot over time

Disappointing HDR peak brightness. Even though the HDR brightness is essentially the same as in SDR, HDR demands much higher brightness because highlights are mastered at 1000 or 4000 cd/m², much higher than the TV can produce. However, the average brightness of HDR scenes is usually 100 cd/m², so most of the scene will be shown accurately.

This brightness is better than the rival TCL S405 and Vizio E Series 2017, but not as good as the Sony X720E and much less than the pricier Vizio M Series 2017.

7.3
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
3.504 %
50% DSE
0.174 %
5% Std. Dev.
1.234 %
5% DSE
0.133 %

The X690E has a decent overall gray uniformity. Looking at the 50% gray uniformity test picture, we can see that the 4 corners and sides look a bit darker than the center of the screen, and we can also notice a warmer patch in the lower left corner of the screen. Besides those 2 issues, the rest of the screen is fairly even and dirty screen effect was not problematic at all when watching our sports clip, on which we can clearly spot DSE when it is present.

On our 5% gray test picture, we can see some darker vertical bands, but those were very hard to notice while watching some normal content since it is very rare that you will have a scene in a movie with a dark uniform background. On the test image, we can also notice that both sides are a bit brighter, but this is mostly due to the viewing angle being very narrow and reducing the visible black level.

4.1
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Shift
16 °
Brightness
28 °
Black Level
19 °

Poor viewing angle, but fairly typical for a TV with a VA panel. Blacks turn gray and colors shift when the TV is viewed from even a small angle, while brightness decreases not long after. This TV is not well suited for a room where people often sit to the side of the TV and view it at an angle.

9.0
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.635 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

The Sony X690E has an excellent black uniformity. While displaying our test image, the screen is very even and no major clouding or flashlighting can be noticed. This is a great result and this will help greatly the X690E to display dark scenes in movies. Note that while looking at this picture, the black level is not taken into account, but the whole evenness of the screen.

7.5
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
5.6 %
Indirect Reflections
0.7 %

The reflection handling of the X690E is fine. It has a semi-gloss finish which diffuses reflections across the screen, reducing their intensity. It is fine for most rooms, but in a bright room, the high reflection value is an issue.

7.3
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
General
White Balance dE
2.99
Color dE
3.26
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
5963 K

Out of the box, when set on the 'General' scene select and on the 'Custom' picture mode, the Sony X690E has a better than average accuracy. The white balance is a bit on the warm side and the white balance dE is on the limit where it begins to be noticeable by enthusiasts. The color accuracy is also not bad, as the dE is also just hovering over the limit where it begins to be noticeable to enthusiasts.

The gamma is right on our target of 2.2, with only a small dip in the lighter shade, but this is really not a problem. For most people, the Sony X690E could be used without calibration, as with most Sony TVs in general, which tend to be very accurate.

9.0
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
General
White Balance dE
0.38
Color dE
2.31
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6533 K

After calibration, the X690E accuracy is excellent. The white balance dE was brought down to a negligible 0.38, and the little dip in the gamma was flattened and all this due to the 10 point white balance calibration provided by Sony. Note that the 10 points calibration was a bit harder than on other TVs though, as each IRE point was not well defined, as they would affect sometimes up to 2 adjacent IRE points, making the whole procedure long and tedious.

As with most Sony TVs, the X690E did not provide a color management system, and the only possible correction to the color accuracy was done via the correction applied to the white balance. The correction of the white point did help to fix some of the inaccuracy, as the color dE did shrink a bit, but some color, like the blue, did retain a high level of inaccuracy. In the end, this is still a very good result.

You can see our recommended calibration settings here

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Upscaling of low-quality content is good. The image isn't too soft and details are preserved.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

With a 720p input such as cable the upscaling is good, and jagged edges are smoothed well without much detail loss.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

Full-HD content such as Blu-rays are upscaled well. The image is sharp and detailed.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

No issues can be seen with native 4k content such as UHD Blu-rays.

6.5
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
No
DCI P3 xy
73.79 %
DCI P3 uv
76.03 %
Rec 2020 xy
52.94 %
Rec 2020 uv
55.40 %

Standard color gamut. Only good enough for SDR content using the Rec 709 color space. Deep colors in HDR content will be shown less saturated than intended, but most colors in a scene will be shown fairly well. The TV's color accuracy struggles when showing very bright DCI P3 colors; the same test done at a lower brightness (50% stimulus as opposed to 75%) shows far better color accuracy, because the TV can more easily reach this brightness.

HDR content is only shown properly in the HDR 'Scene Select' (or 'Auto'); it is the only mode that uses the HDR PQ curve instead of the SDR gamma curve. In this mode the TV's EOTF follows the PQ curve fairly well, though the slope of the line undershoots a bit. Adjusting the 'Gamma' setting to '+2' makes the EOTF follow the PQ curve more closely, as shown here. Even higher gamma would be better in bright rooms.

5.5
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
60.5 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
22.6 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
49.4 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
18.5 %

Disappointing color volume, mostly limited by the TV's standard color gamut. The TV's black point is decent which helps at the bottom of the volume, but at the top, some saturated colors are not as bright as they should be.

7.7
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
8 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.143 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.121 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.121 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.089 dE

The Sony X690E is good at displaying our gradient test image. While analyzing our test picture taken of the gradient image, we could notice the regular banding normally seen on 8-bit TVs, but this is not a problem for TV shows, sports or standard SDR movies as all those are 8-bit content. Besides the 8-bit banding, some little shade inaccuracies can be noticed in the dark end of color, but this is not bad at all when compared to other TVs.

We did watch some HDR movies on the X690E and were really surprised how well it could display HDR movies, even though we can see 8-bit banding in our gradient test. As you can see here, banding is visible, but we have seen 10-bit TVs with more banding than on the X690E. In the end, unless you are a professional looking for a TV to display some 10-bit extensive graphics with a computer, the Sony X690E should do a good job, in your home setup, with your SDR and HDR movies collection.

10
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

The Sony X690E VA TV does not present image retention at all, even right after the 10 minutes burn-in scene. This is in line with most VA TV tested before and should please those gamer out there who worry about image retention harming their TV.

10
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
No

We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.

Picture Quality
Pixels
Motion
8.7
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
4.4 ms
100% Response Time
14.6 ms

Great response time, leading to only a very short trail following moving objects. This is great when watching fast-paced content. Most of the blur in the picture is due to image persistence. Many of the TV's transitions have overshoot, suggesting that the TV is using overdrive to improve response time.

10
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
Yes
PWM Dimming Frequency
0 Hz

Like most Sony TVs, the X690E's backlight doesn't flicker at all by default which is great. This completely eliminates the double image artifacts seen on TVs with PWM flicker dimming, but it does lead to persistence based motion blur because images are shown for a full frame.

6.5
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
N/A
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
0 Hz

Turning on Black Frame Insertion (BFI) greatly reduces this persistence blur by showing images for only a short time, at the cost of adding 60 Hz flicker, which is annoying for some and greatly decreases the brightness. BFI is activated by increasing the 'Clearness' slider to max in the TV's 'Motionflow' settings, which are unfortunately unavailable in game mode.

7.0
Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
No

The TV only has a 60 Hz panel, so its motion interpolation function (soap opera effect) can only interpolate content up to 60 fps. Motion interpolation on this TV doesn't work very well as it adds a lot of artifacts, even on a simple translation pattern like our test pattern. This appears to be a bug, but it may not be fixable by firmware. Motion interpolation is added by increasing the 'Smoothness' slider in the TV's 'Motionflow' settings. We recommend leaving it off because of its artifacts, or using low values of 'Smoothness'.

7.6
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
27.1 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
2.1 ms

This Sony TV is good at displaying content without stutter. Even for long panning shots in 24p movies, the response time helps to smooth the transition between frames and produce a smoother overall image.

5.6
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
No
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
No
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
No

The Sony X690E can display 24p movies without judder playing from 24p sources like DVD and Blu-rays players and this without the need to turn on any special feature at all. 24p movies playing from 60p and 60i sources do present judder and the X690E could not remove it, no matter what we tried. This is a similar result as the Sony X720E.

0
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
4k VRR Maximum
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
N/A
1080p VRR Maximum
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors
N/A

The Sony X690E doesn't support a variable refresh rate. It has a native 60Hz panel.

Inputs
9.2
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
20.2 ms
1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
20.2 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
119.9 ms
1080p @ 120Hz
N/A
4k @ 60Hz
20.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
20.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
20.2 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
N/A
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
119.9 ms
4k With Interpolation
119.9 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
4k with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A

Excellent input lag, which should please all but the most competitive gamers. Both game and graphics modes have the same input lag and show 4:4:4 color properly, but neither shows HDR content properly. The HDR 'Scene Select' is the only one that shows HDR properly, and it has low input lag as long as 'Motionflow' is turned off, but it does not show 4:4:4 color properly. Overall, the input lag is similar to the Sony X720E and most Samsung TVs, far better than most other Sony TVs, but not as good as many LG and TCL TVs like the S405.

The TV, unfortunately, has a major bug: when in a low input lag 'Scene Select' (Game, Graphics, HDR), low input lag and 4:4:4 support are not preserved when the TV is turned off and back on. The only way to get it back is to switch to a different 'Scene Select' and then back to the low input lag one. It is unknown if a future firmware update will fix this issue.

Update 01/23/2017: With the newest firmware update (04.100) the input lag bug no longer occurs, and the input lag is low in 'Game' or 'Graphics' mode after power cycling the TV.

8.3
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
No
1440p @ 60Hz
Yes
4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 120Hz
No

Most common resolutions are supported. 4:4:4 color is only shown properly in the Game and Graphics 'Scene Select' modes, and HDR content is only shown properly in the HDR mode (but not proper 4:4:4). The Auto 'Scene Select' should switch to HDR when it detects HDR metadata. 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 color is only supported on HDMI inputs 2 and 3, and only when 'HDMI Signal Format' is set to 'Enhanced' for the port in use.

Also, in Graphics mode the 1080p upscaling is very crude, merely mapping one 1080p pixel to four 4k pixels. This makes the image sharper but also more jagged. This behavior is the same as on the Sony X900E, shown here. Graphics mode also completely disables the TV's CE dimming when very dark content is shown on screen.

The TV, unfortunately, has a major bug: when in a low input lag 'Scene Select' (Game, Graphics, HDR), low input lag and proper 4:4:4 support are not preserved when the TV is turned off and back on. The only way to get them back is to switch to a different 'Scene Select' and then back to the low input lag one. It is unknown if a future firmware update will fix this issue.

Update 01/23/2017: With the newest firmware update (04.100) the input lag bug no longer occurs, and the input lag is low in 'Game' or 'Graphics' mode after power cycling the TV.

Inputs
Side Inputs
Inputs
Rear Inputs
Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI 3
USB 3
Digital Optical Audio Out 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Analog Audio Out RCA 0
Component In 1 (shared)
Composite In 1 (shared)
Tuner (Cable/Ant) 1
Ethernet 1
DisplayPort 0
IR In 0
SD/SDHC 0
Inputs
Inputs Specifications
HDR10
Yes
Dolby Vision
No
HLG
Yes
3D
No
5.1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
Yes
5.1 Passthrough ARC DTS
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical DTS
Yes
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
Yes (HDMI 2,3)
HDMI 2.1 Full Bandwidth
No
ARC
Yes (HDMI 3)
USB 3.0
No
HDCP 2.2 Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
CEC Yes
MHL No
Variable Analog Audio Out Yes
Wi-Fi Support Yes (2.4 GHz)

HDR content is only displayed properly in the HDR 'Scene Select'; in any other mode the TV uses the SDR gamma curve rather than the HDR PQ curve. The Auto 'Scene Select' should switch to HDR when it detects HDR metadata.

Sound Quality
6.5
Sound Quality
Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
151.02 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
4.94 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
4.86 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
3.36 dB
Max
92.5 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
2.28 dB

Passable frequency response. Unlike most TVs we've tested, the X690E doesn't have a significant overemphasis on lower frequencies, but it still features a downwards tilt that causes the treble response to be a bit under-represented. Its low-frequency extension is quite poor, making it sound a bit thin.

6.4
Sound Quality
Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
0.041
Weighted THD @ Max
18.293
IMD @ 80