Sony X720E TV Review

Reviewed Sep 05, 2017 at 09:03 am
Sony X720E Picture
Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
7.2
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
6.0
Movies
7.6
TV Shows
7.4
Sports
7.9
Video Games
5.9
HDR Movies
7.2
HDR Gaming
8.2
PC Monitor
Type LED
Sub-Type
IPS
Resolution 4k

The Sony X720E is a decent entry-level 4k TV with a better than average viewing angle and low input lag for gaming. It lacks the fully-featured smart platform found on other Sony TVs and instead, offers only a limited set of apps distributed through the Opera TV Store. Due to the mediocre picture quality in a dark room, it is better placed in a brighter environment where the less uniform blacks won't be an issue.

Our Verdict

7.2 Mixed Usage

Decent TV for a mixed usage. The Sony X720E does especially well for sports and TV shows thanks to its good performance in a bright room and wide viewing angle. Unfortunately, its performance in a dark room leaves a lot to be desired due to its shallow, uneven blacks.

See our Mixed Usage recommendations
6.0 Movies

Subpar TV for watching movies in a dark room. When sitting directly in front, black regions of the screen can appear blotchy which causes letterboxes to be quite distracting. The low contrast also reduces the depth of the picture which gives the image a flatter look.

See our Movies recommendations
7.6 TV Shows

Very good choice for watching TV shows in a bright room. The X720E gets decently bright to overcome reflections well, and it is free of any temporary image retention. Unfortunately, fans of the soap opera effect might be disappointed by its motion interpolation capabilities.

See our TV Shows recommendations
7.4 Sports

Good TV for watching sports. The Sony X720E's grays and colors are quite uniform, so sports fields and ice rinks look smooth and free of blotchiness. The TV's wide viewing angle is also great for game day parties with friends where people will be watching the TV from the sides.

See our Sports recommendations
7.9 Video Games

Great TV for playing video games. The Sony X720E's low input lag and great handling of motion keep games responsive and immersive. Even if it is only 60 Hz, it can flicker to reduce motion blur even further.

See our Video Games recommendations
5.9 HDR Movies

Subpar choice for HDR movies. While the X720E does have some support for HDR formats, it cannot display a wide color gamut and cannot get bright enough to showcase a good HDR effect.

See our HDR Movies recommendations
7.2 HDR Gaming

Mediocre for HDR gaming. While its input lag remains low across input types, the X720E's limited HDR capabilities mean that you won't see much of a difference when playing HDR games.

See our HDR Gaming recommendations
8.2 PC Monitor

Great TV to use as a monitor. It supports important resolutions such as 4k@60hz with 4:4:4 for smooth text. Combined with its low input lag, low motion blur, and wide viewing angle, it makes for a PC monitor that would suit almost every uses. It's only missing support for a 120hz refresh rate for competitive gaming.

See our PC Monitor recommendations
  • 7.2 Mixed Usage
  • 6.0 Movies
  • 7.6 TV Shows
  • 7.4 Sports
  • 7.9 Video Games
  • 5.9 HDR Movies
  • 7.2 HDR Gaming
  • 8.2 PC Monitor
Pros
  • Looks good even if viewed from the sides
  • Low input lag is great for gaming
Cons
  • Limited app selection
  • Blacks aren't uniform.
  1. Update 11/29/2018: The X720E was incorrectly listed as having a Direct backlight. It is actually Edge-lit.
  2. Update 3/12/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2. Learn more about our versioned test bench system here.
  3. Update 9/21/2017: Added note on input lag bug

Check Price

Test Results

Design
Design
Stand

The stand of the X720E is very similar to other Sony TVs. It has a fairly small footprint, so fits well on most tables. Despite the small footprint it feels sturdy and provides good support.

Footprint of the 43" TV stand: 9.4" x 21.9"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x200

The rear of the TV is quite basic, and the majority of it is plastic. Most of the inputs run parallel to the back of the TV and so are fairly easy to access if wall mounted. There are a couple of inputs directly out the back of the TV that may be difficult to use when placed close to a wall.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.55" (1.4 cm)

The borders are quite thin, and look good. They are black plastic, like the rest of the TV.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.76" (7.0 cm)

The TV appears a bit thick when viewed from the side. The thickest part is near the base of the TV, and as such it may stick out a bit if wall mounted.

Design
Temperature
Maximum Temperature
109 °F (43 °C)
Average Temperature
93 °F (34 °C)

The bottom of the screen gets quite warm, but fortunately, the bottom of the frame only gets a little warm to the touch. Most of the TV's vents are along the bottom so this shouldn't be a problem.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality is fine. The TV is almost entirely plastic, but it still feels quite well made and strong due to the use of screws throughout the body, rather than just glue or clips.

Picture Quality
5.8
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
907 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
N/A

The contrast ratio of the Sony X720E is disappointing, even for an IPS TVs, which usually have a lower contrast ratio than VA TVs. When set in a dark room, the low contrast ratio means that blacks look more grayish than really black and dark scenes look washed out. Because of this low contrast ratio, the X720E is better suited for a bright room setting, where ambient light will prevent the low contrast from being noticeable.

In comparison, this is a very similar result as the 2017 Sony X800E and the 2016 W600D, which both have a contrast ratio between 900:1 and 1000:1.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

The Sony X720E does not have a local dimming feature. The video is for reference only.

Update 11/29/2018: The X720E was incorrectly listed as having a Direct backlight. It is actually Edge-lit.

7.8
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
317 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
340 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
342 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
342 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
343 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
343 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
340 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
341 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
341 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
342 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
342 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.000

Plot over time

Good SDR peak brightness, good enough for a fairly bright room. The brightness also stays nearly constant no matter the content shown, which is great. Surprisingly, increasing the 'Contrast' setting from its default 90 to maximum raises the peak brightness by ~10%. The X720E is slightly less bright than the higher tier X800E, roughly equal to the LG UJ6300 in 'Standard' mode, but far less bright than the TCL P607.

6.3
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
326 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
337 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
339 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
340 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
340 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
341 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
337 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
338 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
339 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
340 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
340 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.001

Plot over time

Mediocre HDR peak brightness. Even though it is effectively identical to the SDR brightness, HDR demands higher brightness because highlights are mastered for 1000-4000 cd/m², which is far brighter than this TV is able to produce. On the plus side, the TV is very consistent with its brightness, which is good. Overall, the brightness is a little better than the LG UJ6300, but worse than the Sony X800E and TCL P607.

7.8
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.498 %
50% DSE
0.184 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.427 %
5% DSE
0.080 %

The X720E overall gray uniformity is good. The 50% gray uniformity test picture shows some dark patches on each side of the screen, but besides that, the screen is pretty even, which is great since dirty screen effect is very limited and not really a problem.

Looking at the 5% gray test picture, not much comes up which is good and no problems can be seen here.

7.5
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Shift
41 °
Brightness
51 °
Black Level
75 °

Good viewing angle, better even than most other TVs with IPS panels like the LG UJ7700. The black level stays fairly consistent at an angle which is great, while colors shift and brightness decreases when viewed from a large angle. This TV is a great fit for a room where people often sit to the side of the TV and view it at an angle.

4.8
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
2.785 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

The X720E has a poor black uniformity. Flashlighting is visible on both top corners and also on the bottom left side. Note that in this test the black level is not taken into account, only the screen uniformity.

6.8
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
5.6 %
Indirect Reflections
2.0 %

The reflection handling of the Sony X720E is decent. It has a semi-gloss finish which diffuses reflection across the screen but also reduces their intensity. It is fine for an average room but may be an issue in a bright room.

It is the best budget outdoor TV we've tested, but since this TV wasn't intended for outdoor use, so it is important to have a proper enclosure for outdoor use.

7.0
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
General
White Balance dE
3.71
Color dE
3.01
Gamma
2.19
Color Temperature
5871 K

The X720E has a decent accuracy even without calibration when the 'Scene Select' is set on 'General', the 'Picture Mode' set to 'General' and the 'Color Temperature' set to 'Expert 1'. Other color temperatures like 'Expert 2' and 'Warm' are in the same range of accuracy, but 'Neutral' and 'Cool' are the more inaccurate by far. The white balance dE is a bit high and tending toward the warm side, with the brighter IRE being more affected. Gamma is not too off, tracking close to our 2.2 target.

The color dE is a bit better than the white balance dE and more of the issues could be related to the fact that the white point is a bit off target and as so, the rest of the color are all drifting in the same direction. But even with this, the color accuracy is still acceptable.

9.1
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
General
White Balance dE
0.54
Color dE
2.18
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6492 K

After calibration, the X720E is very accurate. The white balance dE was brought down to 0.54, which is imperceivable. The only problem that came up in the calibration was that some IRE point control (5 and 6) were overlapping each other, making it very difficult to adjust them correctly. This is reflected on our white balance calibration image, where the 50 and 60 point have a higher dE than the rest. After calibration, the gamma was also spot on our 2.2 target, with once again the little bump near the 50 and 60 IRE.

Like most of other Sony TVs, there is no color management system and as such, the only correction to the color accuracy was done via the white balance calibration. The white balance did correct the white point and most of the color repositioned themself with the same correction and the dE was brought down a bit, to reach 2.18, which is good enough that even the enthusiasts would not really notice the color inaccuracy.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Upscaling of DVDs or other low-quality content is good. Lines aren't smoothed as much as some other TVs but this helps to retain details.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content such as cable looks good. Some more artifacts from the camera are visible in the photo, but this isn't present on the TV. Very few haloing artifacts are visible.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

Full-HD sources such as Blu-rays are upscaled well. The image remains sharp and details are preserved.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

No issues can be seen when displaying native 4k content.

6.5
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
No
DCI P3 xy
71.96 %
DCI P3 uv
78.89 %
Rec 2020 xy
51.63 %
Rec 2020 uv
57.49 %

Standard color gamut, only good enough for SDR content using the Rec 709 color space. Deep colors in HDR content won't look as saturated as intended, however most of the scene will have reasonably accurate colors.

The EOTF in the 'HDR Video' picture mode of the 'HDR' 'Scene Select' follows the PQ curve fairly closely up until it clips at the TV's peak brightness. Raising the 'Gamma' setting to max raises the EOTF nicely and brightens nearly everything, as shown here, making it useful for watching HDR content in a bright room. HDR content is only shown properly in the 'HDR' 'Scene Select'; in any other 'Scene Select' such as Game and Graphics the EOTF follows the SDR gamma curve rather than the HDR PQ curve, making dim parts of the scene too bright and bright parts too dim.

5.0
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
56.4 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
23.3 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
44.4 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
18.3 %

Poor color volume, mostly limited by the TV's standard color gamut. The TV's disappointing contrast ratio also prevents it from accurately showing dark colors, as seen in the bottom of the color volume.

8.3
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.115 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.110 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.099 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.080 dE

The Sony X720E does a decent job at displaying our gradient test image. Looking at our test picture, some bands are very visible, especially in the dark green and blue areas, but these obvious bands are fortunately few. With this TV banding won't be problematic when watching most content, such as HDR movies.

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 X720E does not suffer from image retention at all and this is very interesting as this TV has an IPS panel, which often suffers from image retention. This is a very similar result as seen on the Sony X800E, which is also an IPS TV but does not suffer from image retention.

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

Although some IPS panels can suffer from temporary image retention, this doesn't appear to be permanent as seen in our long-term test.

Picture Quality
Pixels
Motion
7.5
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
7.5 ms
100% Response Time
20.8 ms

Response time for the X720E is good, resulting in short trails following moving objects. This is good when watching fast-paced content. The LCD panel response is similar to the X800E, but this TV overdrives the pixels more, which causes some overshoot in all of the low-to-high transitions.

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

Like most Sony TVs, the X720E doesn't flicker, and instead shows each image for a full frame. Oscillations at a frequency of 10 kHz appear at low backlight settings, but this is much too fast to be noticeable without specialized equipment. The absence of flicker makes motion appear slightly smoother, but does result in persistence blur.

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

It is possible to add 60Hz or 120Hz backlight flicker, which helps to reduce persistence blur. To add 120Hz flicker, set the 'Motionflow' option to 'Custom', and move the 'Clearness' slider to '1'. To clear up motion even more with a 60Hz flicker, set the 'Clearness' slider to 'Max'. Note that the BFI option on this TV has a very short duty cycle, which dims the image considerably when the Clearness option is enabled.

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

The Sony X720E has a 60Hz panel which can interpolate lower frame rate content. To enable interpolation, set 'Motionflow' to 'Custom' and increase the 'Smoothness' slider. Note that any motion interpolation will introduce artifacts, so use a small value unless you really like the soap opera effect. Interpolation on the X720E showed more artifacts than normal on our test pattern, so a low Smoothness value is recommended.

8.5
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
20.9 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
0.0 ms

The Sony X720E is great at producing a smooth image, without stutter. This is because the pixel response time smooths the image between what would be jarring frame changes. For the worse case scenario of long panning shots in low frame rate movies it may be noticeable, but otherwise the image is smooth.

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 X720E can only display 24p movies without judder when those movies are played via 24p sources like DVD or Blu-ray players and this without the need to turn on any specific option from the picture setting. On the other hand, the TV can't correctly display at the right cadence 24p movies playing via 60p/60i sources like cable/satellite boxes. When the 'CineMotion' turned on or set to 'Auto', the TV did actually try to change the cadence but was not able to correctly display it as seen in this picture.

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

As with other 2017 TVs, the X720E doesn't support a variable refresh rate.

Inputs
9.2
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
19.7 ms
1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
19.7 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
121.0 ms
1080p @ 120Hz
N/A
4k @ 60Hz
19.8 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
19.7 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
18.7 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
N/A
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
120.8 ms
4k With Interpolation
120.8 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
4k with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A

Excellent low input lag, which will please all but the most competitive gamers. Both the Game and Graphics 'Scene Select' modes always have low input lag and show 4:4:4 color properly, but never show HDR content properly. The 'HDR' 'Scene Select' surprisingly 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 significantly lower than almost all Sony TVs, and roughly equal to Samsung TVs, but a little higher than most TCL and LG TVs.

Update 10/18/2017: There is currently a bug on the Sony X720E that causes the the input lag to rise after the TV is restarted. To make use of the low input lag, it is necessary to change picture mode to something other than "Game" or "Graphics" then back to either for them to function properly.

Update 12/28/2017: The input lag bug is now fixed in firmware v4.503, which you can download here.

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

The TV supports most common resolutions. 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'. 4:4:4 color is only displayed properly in the 'Game' and 'Graphics' modes in 'Scene Select'. 'Graphics' mode is recommended for PC monitor use as the TV's CE dimming is completely disabled. HDR content is only displayed properly in the 'HDR' 'Scene Select', which unfortunately does not display 4:4:4 color properly.

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 (incl. adapter, shared)
Composite In 1 (incl. adapter, 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)
CEC Yes
MHL No
Variable Analog Audio Out Yes
Wi-Fi Support Yes (2.4 GHz)

HDR is only displayed properly in the 'HDR' 'Scene Select'. HDR content is detected when 'Scene Select' is set to 'Auto', and the TV changes to 'HDR' automatically. When HDR content is viewed in any other 'Scene Select' it will not be displayed properly (darks will be too bright, brights will be too dark, etc).

Sound Quality
5.5
Sound Quality
Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
142.54 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
6.86 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
6.87 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
7.16 dB
Max
97.1 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
2.65 dB

Poor frequency response. The X720E has a strong overemphasis on lower frequencies and a very poor bass extension, causing it to sound muddy and to lack clarity. At 97.1 dB of maximum volume though, it does get fairly loud for a TV.

6.0
Sound Quality
Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
0.081
Weighted THD @ Max
16.588
IMD @ 80
0.77 %
IMD @ Max
31.74 %

Mediocre distortion performance. While it does decently at lower volumes, THD levels spike up with higher volume settings reaching noticeable levels.

Smart Features
6.0
Smart Features
Interface