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Sony X850E TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Updated Apr 19, 2017 at 09:05 am
Sony X850E Picture
Test Methodology v1.2
7.8
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
7.3
Movies
7.9
TV Shows
7.9
Sports
8.2
Video Games
7.4
HDR Movies
7.9
HDR Gaming
8.1
PC Monitor
This TV was replaced by the Sony X850F
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA (except 75")
Resolution 4k

The Sony X850E 4k LED TV offers better than average picture quality and excellent motion handling but lacks a handful of high-end features. It does best in darker environments, but it's still capable of getting bright enough to be used in lit rooms without issue. Unfortunately, it isn't the best fit for wider living rooms because of its narrow viewing angle.

Our Verdict

7.8 Mixed Usage

Very good TV overall. The X850E offers a good experience with every usage. Picture quality is good, and it's especially good for fast motion like sports or video games.

See our Mixed Usage recommendations
7.3 Movies

Decent for movies in a dark room. The contrast ratio is great and blacks are very uniform, but the experience could be enhanced with local dimming.

See our Movies recommendations
7.9 TV Shows

The X850E is better than average for watching TV shows. It gets sufficiently bright to accommodate brighter living rooms and deals with reflections quite well. It also upscales lower resolution broadcast feeds very well.

See our TV Shows recommendations
7.9 Sports

Great TV for watching sports. The screen is relatively uniform and without major blotchiness. Motion is excellent, fast sports look fluid and crisp.

See our Sports recommendations
8.2 Video Games

The X850E does a terrific job with video games. Input lag is sufficiently low, and it offers a variety of blur reduction features that help keep motion fluid and clear.

See our Video Games recommendations
7.4 HDR Movies

Very good TV for watching HDR Movies. Can display a wide range of colors with very little banding in skies. Doesn't get extra bright, however.

See our HDR Movies recommendations
7.9 HDR Gaming

Very good HDR gaming TV. Input lag remains low regardless of the input type and the TV's HDR capabilities are good. It doesn't get especially bright though.

See our HDR Gaming recommendations
8.1 PC Monitor

Great choice for use as a monitor. Supports a variety of resolutions and has both low input lag and motion blur. Viewing angle isn't great though, so sitting close might cause the edges to darken.

See our PC Monitor recommendations
  • 7.8 Mixed Usage
  • 7.3 Movies
  • 7.9 TV Shows
  • 7.9 Sports
  • 8.2 Video Games
  • 7.4 HDR Movies
  • 7.9 HDR Gaming
  • 8.1 PC Monitor
Pros
  • Deep and uniform blacks
  • Excellent handling of fast motion
  • Can display a wide gamut of colors
Cons
  • Image degrades rapidly at an angle
  • Could be brighter for HDR
  1. Update 6/12/2018: A note for Xbox One X and Xbox One S owners: 1080p @ 120 Hz from the Xbox is only supported on this TV when the Xbox's connection type is changed from Auto-detect (Recommended) to HDMI, but unfortunately in this mode 4k and HDR aren't supported.
  2. Update 3/12/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2. Learn more about our versioned test bench system here.
  3. Update 12/11/2017: Google Assistant has now been added to Android TV on Sony TVs, and it brings a lot of new features to the voice control. The remote score has been increased to reflect the new fuctionality.
  4. Update 11/10/2017: Retested input lag with the latest firmware (PKG6.2669.0070NAA); there was no significant change.
  5. Update 10/17/2017: With the latest firmware (PKG6.2669.0070NAA) the judder over 60Hz signals has been fixed.
  6. Update 9/20/2017: Tested 1080p @ 120 Hz input lag using our new input lag tool.
  7. Update 9/12/2017: The Remote App box has been updated, replacing Google's app with Sony's better one.
  8. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
  9. Update 7/19/2017: Updated with newest firmware (PKG6.2648.0065NAA). The input lag has been retested and is unchanged.

Check Price

65" XBR65X850E
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75" XBR75X850E
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Test Results

Design
8.0
Design
Style
Curved No

The design of the X850E is sleek and minimalistic, in line with other Sony TVs. The familiar center stand supports the TV well, and provides some basic cable management. The borders are quite thin and the build quality is good as everything feels firm. 

Design
Stand

The central stand supports the TV well and feels stable enough, but the plastic isn't as good as last year's metal stand on the X850D. It has a small footprint, ideal for those with narrower tables, and allows for some basic cable management down the rear tracks.

Footprint of the 65" TV stand: 10.4" x 19.8"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x300

The rear of the TV is quite basic, and if wall mounted some of the inputs may be difficult to access.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.47" (1.2 cm)

The borders are thin and look good. They are made of metal and feel sleek.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 1.81" (4.6 cm)

The TV appears quite thin when viewed from the side. The stand leans the TV back slightly but this isn't an issue.

Design
Temperature
Maximum Temperature
113 °F (45 °C)
Average Temperature
93 °F (34 °C)

The TV gets warm at the bottom due to the row of LEDs that lights the backlight, however this should not be a problem during normal usage.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of the X850E is good. Screws hold the back together very firmly and there is no give around the frame.

Picture Quality
8.6
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
4510 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
N/A

The Sony X850E has a good contrast ratio. At around 4500:1, it is a big step up from the 2016 X850D (IPS TV) which had a contrast ratio of only 1248:1. The higher contrast ratio of the X850E results in deeper blacks which in turn make this TV a good choice for watching movies in a dark room.

Update 05/12/2017: Readers have reported that the 75" model has an IPS panel, so the contrast ratio is expected to be around 1000:1.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
N/A
Backlight
Edge

The X850E does not have a local dimming feature. Video for reference only.

7.9
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
334 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
373 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
372 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
371 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
371 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
370 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
372 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
372 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
371 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
370 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
369 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.001

Good SDR peak brightness, very similar to last year's X850D. The brightness remains relatively constant no matter the content shown, because the TV lacks local dimming and uses very little frame dimming. The real scene brightness is a little less because it is measured near the edge of the screen where the TV is a bit less bright. A plot of brightness over time is found here, and shows that the TV's brightness doesn't decrease over time even when showing a static image.

6.8
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
395 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
429 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
425 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
422 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
419 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
417 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
427 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
424 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
421 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
418 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
417 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.001

Decent HDR peak brightness, very similar to the X850D from last year. The TV lacks local dimming and shows very little frame dimming, so the brightness remains relatively constant for all content shown. The screen was brightest in the middle and less bright near the edges, so the real scene brightness is a little less because it was measured near the edge. A plot of HDR peak brightness over time can be found here, and shows that the TV remains bright even after showing a static image for a long time.

7.8
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.709 %
50% DSE
0.158 %
5% Std. Dev.
1.467 %
5% DSE
0.093 %

The overall gray uniformity of the X850E is good. The uniformity of the 50% gray is a bit worse than the 5%, and while looking at the test picture, you can see that both sides and the top of the screen are darker than the center of the screen. Luckily, there is not much dirty screen effect visible on this TV and sports does not suffer much from it since the center of the screen is pretty much even.

Looking at the test picture of the 5% gray you can see that that the sides are a bit more bright than the rest of the picture, but this is more related to the narrow viewing angle of the X850E than to a uniformity problem.

5.5
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Shift
18 °
Brightness
56 °
Black Level
20 °

Poor viewing angle. Colors shift and blacks become gray when the TV is viewed on the side. People sitting to the side of the TV will not have as good picture quality as people sitting directly in front. Last year's X850D has a much better viewing angle because it has an IPS panel.

Update 05/12/2017: Readers have reported that the 75" model has an IPS panel, so expect the viewing angle to be more similar to the X850D we tested in 2016.

8.8
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.685 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

The black uniformity of the X850E is excellent, and it is a significant improvement over the 2016 X850D. Looking at the test picture, some really faint clouding can be seen in each corner, but this is really not a problem, and it doesn't show up when watching regular content. When set in a dark room, the X850E really does a good job as displaying dark scenes when watching movie.

Since it does not have local dimming, some clouding may be visible when displaying a bright highlight, but it is not because of native black uniformity problems but more a limitation of the backlight technology used in this TV.

8.1
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
4.8 %
Indirect Reflections
0.5 %

The X850E has a semi-gloss finish which diffuses reflections across the screen, reducing their intensity. For an average room this is not an issue, but for very bright rooms the glare may be too much.

6.8
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
Custom
White Balance dE
4.28
Color dE
2.99
Gamma
2.26
Color Temperature
5980 K

Before calibration, the color accuracy X850E is a bit off. The white balance dE is high but should not be a problem. The color dE is a bit more accurate and should not be a problem even for enthusiast owners. As for the gamma, the X850E tracking is a bit off, but the difference is minor and also should not cause any issues.

9.5
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Custom
White Balance dE
0.27
Color dE
1.22
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6509 K

Calibration of the X850E is easy and pretty fast to do. The white balance dE was brought down considerably, and the gamma curve flattened to closely track our goal of 2.2. The color dE was also brought down, but could not be brought down further, since, like other Sony TV, there is no color space management.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Low quality content such as cable is upscaled well. Minor halo artifacts can be seen but the image isn't too soft.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

Upscaling of 720p content is good. Lines appear smooth and the image retains details.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content such as Blu-rays are upscaled well. The image looks sharp.

1080p is upscaled differently from most TVs. See our Additional Review Notes.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

No issues can be seen with 4k content.

8.1
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
89.00 %
DCI P3 uv
92.62 %
Rec 2020 xy
67.05 %
Rec 2020 uv
74.89 %

Wide color gamut. The TV is able to show saturated colors well. When the TV tries to show DCI P3 green it falls quite short, but when trying to show Rec 2020 green it can get more saturated.

7.4
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
82.2 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
38.4 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
65.6 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
30.6 %

Mediocre color volume. The TV is able to show its wide color gamut at high and mid brightness levels, but it's not as good with dark colors because it can't dim them as well as a TV with local dimming.

8.6
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.100 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.104 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.106 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.044 dE

The X850E can display our gradient test image without any signs of banding typically seen on 8-bit panel. There are not too many problems that can be noticed, besides some little imperfections in the darker shades of colors. This is fairly good and should not present any problems while watching regular content.

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 X850E does not show any signs of image retention like most of TVs using VA panel. Right after the 10 minutes burn-in scene no retention is visible.

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
8.9
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
4.2 ms
100% Response Time
13.8 ms

The response time of the X850E is excellent, resulting in only a short trail following moving objects. Some overshoot is present but this is a minor issue and helps to reduce blur.

10
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
0 Hz

The backlight doesn't use PWM by default, which is great as it helps to smooth motion. It does still have a small flicker, but this shouldn't be noticeable to most people.

9.3
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
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
60 Hz

It is possible to enable a strong flicker to clear up motion by setting 'MotionFlow' to 'Custom' and increasing the 'Clearness' slider. This is also possible when in the 'Game' or 'Graphics' picture modes, unlike on the X690E.

10
Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

The X850E has a 120Hz panel which can interpolate lower frame rate content and produce a strong soap opera effect. To do so, set 'MotionFlow' to 'Custom' and increase the 'Clearness' slider. Adjusting 'Cinemotion' will change the threshold for interpolation. Set it to 'High' for the strongest soap opera effect'. Note that motion interpolation will introduce artifacts on any TV.

7.5
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
27.9 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
2.9 ms

This Sony TV is good at displaying content smoothly, without stutter due to low frame rates. This is due to the pixel response time, which smooths the transitions between each frame.

10
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
Yes

The X850E can play 24p movies from DVD and Blu-ray players and native streaming apps without judder. Movies playing from a 60p/60i source such as a cable/satellite box are also able to play smoothly without judder.

To be able to display movies from 24p source without judder the 'Motionflow' option must be set to 'True Cinema' and 'CineMotion' set to 'high'.

Update 10/17/2017: With the latest firmware (PKG6.2669.0070NAA) the judder over 60Hz signals has been fixed.

0
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 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 X850E has a native 120Hz panel, but doesn't support any variable refresh rate features such as FreeSync and G-Sync.

Inputs
8.2
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
31.8 ms
1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
31.9 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
106.9 ms
1080p @ 120Hz
17.0 ms
4k @ 60Hz
34.1 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
34.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
34.2 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
34.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
110.8 ms
4k With Interpolation
110.7 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
4k with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A

Low input lag. When in the game or graphics picture modes the TV has ~33 ms of input lag, which is good enough for most gamers. The ~2 ms difference between 4k and 1080p input lag is negligible.

Update 05/23/2017: The TV has been retested after the update to Android TV 7.0 Nougat, and the input lag is unchanged.

Update 07/18/2017: The TV has been tested with the newest firmware update (PKG6.2648.0065NAA). The input lag remains the same.

Update 09/05/2017: Note that the input lag in the 'Game' picture mode is unaffected by the 'Reality Creation' option, whether set to 'Off’, ‘Auto’ or ‘Manual’ across the range of the ‘Resolution’ slider.

Update 09/20/2017: Tested 1080p @ 120 Hz input lag using our new input lag tool. It is much faster than the 1080p @ 60 Hz input lag, likely due to the TV bypassing some processing when it detects such an unusual signal.

Update 11/10/2017: Retested input lag with the latest firmware (PKG6.2669.0070NAA); there was no significant change.

10
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
Yes (forced resolution required)
1440p @ 60Hz
Yes
4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 120Hz
No

All the common input resolutions are supported. Chroma 4:4:4 is supported in the game or graphics picture modes. Only HDMI inputs 2 and 3 support 4k @ 60Hz @ chroma 4:4:4 or 4:2:2, and only when 'HDMI Enhanced Format' is enabled.

On a PC the default resolution is 1080p @ 60 Hz but the resolution can easily be changed to 4k. 1080p @ 120 Hz @ 4:4:4 is supported but doesn't appear by default, so a custom resolution is needed.

Update 06/12/2018: A note for Xbox One X and Xbox One S owners: 1080p @ 120 Hz from the Xbox is only supported on this TV when the Xbox's connection type is changed from Auto-detect (Recommended) to HDMI: (Xbox > Settings > Display & sound > Video fidelity & overscan > Display > Connection > HDMI). Unfortunately in this mode 4k, HDR, 50 Hz and 24 Hz aren't possible, so this mode is only recommended when the higher refresh rate of 120 Hz is more important to you than these other features.

Update 06/18/2018: Correction, 24 Hz and 50 Hz are in fact possible with the Xbox's connection type set to HDMI.

Inputs
Side Inputs
Inputs
Rear Inputs
Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI 4
USB 3
Digital Optical Audio Out 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Analog Audio Out RCA 0
Component In 1 (shared)
Composite In 2 (shared)
Tuner (Cable/Ant) 1
Ethernet 1
DisplayPort 0
IR In 1
SD/SDHC 0

On the rear of the TV there is a shared component/composite input which does not require an adapter. There is an additional composite input on the side, but an adapter is not included. Here is an example of the required adapter.

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
Yes (1)
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, 5 GHz)
Sound Quality
5.9
Sound Quality
Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
142.54 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
3.98 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
4.51 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
6.03 dB
Max
87.9 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
2.98 dB

Below average frequency response. Volume gets sufficiently loud, but a steep bass peak leads a boomy sound signature. A slight amount of compression is present at higher volumes as well.

6.3
Sound Quality
Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
0.104
Weighted THD @ Max
20.147
IMD @ 80
1.87 %
IMD @ Max
9.69 %

The X850E unfortunately produces a lot of distortion at higher volumes. It remains fairly contained under 80dB, it quickly gets more pronounced past that point.

Smart Features
7.0
Smart Features
Interface
Smart OS Android TV
Version 6.0
Ease of Use
Average
Smoothness
Not Smooth
Time Taken to Select YouTube
4 s