The Sony X850F is a good 4k TV with an IPS panel. It can get bright to overcome glare and handles reflection well in a bright room but it has a very low contrast ratio so blacks appear gray when viewed in a dark room. The picture quality is decent but remains accurate when viewed at an angle which is good for those with wide seating. It also has a fast response time, which is great for watching fast-paced content. Unfortunately, Android TV isn't as streamlined or intuitive as other platforms.
Good TV for a range of usages. Blacks appear gray and blotchy when viewed in a dark room such as watching movies at night, but in a bright room, the reflection handling is good and the TV can get bright to overcome glare. Image also remains accurate when viewed at an angle, which is good. Input lag is low and motion handling is great, which is great for PC use or gaming. The TV supports HDR, but it can't produce very vivid colors or bright highlights to take advantage of it.
Mediocre pick for watching movies in a dark room. Native contrast is low and the TV doesn't support local dimming so blacks appear gray and blotchy when viewed in a dark room. Movies are smooth when played from a Blu-ray player or native apps, but some small stutter may be noticeable when watching movies over cable.
Great choice for watching TV in a bright room. Image remains accurate when viewed at an angle, which is good for those with wide seating. The Sony X850F can get bright to overcome ambient glare which is great, and anti-reflective coating works well to reduce distracting reflections. Unfortunately, although the Android TV smart platform is very versatile, it is less intuitive and slower than other platforms for casual watching.
Great TV for watching sports in a bright room. Motion handling is great, thanks to the fast response time so only a short trail is seen behind a fast moving puck or football. Picture quality is only decent, but the image remains accurate when viewed at an angle which is good. The screen can get bright to overcome glare, and TV is great at handling reflections so it is a great fit for a bright room.
Great TV for gamers. Input lag is low, so the TV feels responsive, which is great. Motion handling is also great, and only a short trail can be seen behind fast-moving objects. Picture quality is only decent though, and blacks appear gray and blotchy in a dark room.
Mediocre TV for watching HDR movies. Picture quality is only mediocre, as blacks appear gray and blotchy in a dark room. Movies from a Blu-ray player or Netflix are smooth, but the X850F doesn't have a very wide color gamut and can't produce bright highlights.
Better than average for HDR gaming. The TV feels responsive due to low input lag and great motion handling. Unfortunately, blacks appear gray in a dark room, and the TV can't produce a very wide color gamut or bright highlights for HDR. Also, it doesn't support local dimming to improve the dark scene performance.
Great option for a monitor. Image remains accurate when viewed at an angle, which is great when viewing the edge of the screen from close up for PC use. The TV supports chroma 4:4:4 for clear text on all backgrounds, and it feels responsive due to low input lag and great motion handling.
The design of the Sony 2018 X850F is great. The legs, while similar to the X900F are unlike any Sony we have reviewed recently. They are wide-set and require a larger table, but there should be no issues placing a soundbar between them. There is only basic cable management at the back, similar to the X900F, but not as good as the X930E which includes routing through the back panel. The bottom edge of the TV gets a little warm to the touch. Despite being almost entirely made of plastic, the TV feels well constructed.
The stand on the X850F is unlike any other Sony TV we have reviewed. It is similar to the stand on the Samsung MU6100. It is made entirely of plastic with an aluminum finish. On our 65" model, we found them to cause the TV to wobble if it is knocked.
The footprint of the 65" TV stand: 12.0" x 43.4"
The borders of the TV look good. While slightly thicker than the 55" X900F they are still quite thin.
The Sony XBR65X850F has more of a uniform thickness than the X900F. It won't stick out from the wall much when mounted.
The X850F feels well constructed, despite being made almost entirely of plastic. There are no obvious gaps or issues. The tabs along the back of the legs for cable management are just bent plastic. While it hasn't caused any issues for us, this could break with repeated flexing.
Disappointing contrast ratio on the X850F. It has an IPS type panel similar to the X850D. Dark scenes will not look their best especially when playing in a dark room.
We tested the 65" model, but it is highly likely that the 85" will have a VA type panel, which we would expect to have at least a 3000:1 contrast ratio.
There is no local dimming feature on the X850F. The video is for reference only.
Better than average screen uniformity. No serious issues with dirty screen effect, which is good for watching sports or other content with large areas of uniform colors. This TV is brightest in the center and the corners are dark, which is common for TVs and isn't as distracting as uniformity issues near the center or brighter edges.
Good viewing angle. Color saturation and black levels remain good even if sitting on a wide couch or with side seating, but brightness drops sharply if sitting to the side.
We tested the 65" model which uses an IPS panel. It is highly likely that the 85" model uses a VA type panel which would have worse viewing angles.
Disappointing black uniformity. There is some obvious clouding especially around the edges. The X850F does not handle dark scenes well and would not be recommended for a dark room.
Clouding is more visible when displaying bright objects in dark scenes, since this TV does not have a local dimming feature.
The X850F has a very similar to finish to the X900F. It does not diffuse reflections as much as some other TVs.
Average color accuracy out of the box with 'Custom', 'Game', or 'Graphics' mode. Color temperature is far from our target of 6500K, so most colors have more of a yellow tint. Gamma is very close to our target of 2.2.
White balance is near perfect post calibration and color is good. Color temperature is very close to our target as is gamma. 'Custom' picture mode provided the best results.
You can see our recommended settings here.
Older 480p content is upscaled well. There are some minor artifacts but the TV handles it well.
Upscaling of 720p is handled well. There is some softness but the image is clear.
The HDR color gamut of the X850F is good, although Rec 2020 coverage is limited. The TV has difficulty producing deeply saturated greens especially. Most scenes won't have overly saturated colors, but in very colorful scenes such as a sunset or an ocean scene the TV's limited color gamut will be noticeable.
The HDR EOTF in the 'Cinema Pro' picture mode follows the target PQ curve fairly well until it rolls off at the TV's peak brightness. The EOTFs in 'Game' and 'PC' mode are very similar to that of 'Cinema Pro', which is good.
Update 05/02/2018: The color gamut was erroneously measured at a 50% stimulus. It has been remeasured at 75% stimulus to be in line with our other TVs. It now measures slightly higher, and meets our threshold for a wide color gamut TV.
Below average color volume. The TV has difficulty displaying deep, dark colors due to the lack of local dimming and low native contrast ratio. It does not cover either color space very well.
The X850F displays gradients well. There is some banding especially in the dark colors, but not enough to bother most people.
Like most IPS and VA panels, there is no sign of temporary image retention on the X850F.
We don't expect IPS panels to have any permanent image retention. The IPS panel in our long term test has not shown any permanent burn-in.
Great fast response time, good enough for even fast-moving content like sports. Most of the blur in the photo is due to 60 fps persistence; the ghosting trail following the logo is very short, which is excellent. This response time is very similar to the rival Samsung NU8000, but not quite as fast as the higher end Sony X900F.
The X850F has an optional BFI mode that adds flicker to make motion look more clear. Unfortunately, this flicker is limited to 120 Hz, which causes duplications in 60 fps motion, as seen in the photo; 60 Hz flicker like that of the Samsung NU8000 would be better. The X850F's flicker is activated by setting 'Motionflow' to 'Custom' and increasing the 'Clearness' slider. The X850F does not have the new 'X-Motion Clarity' feature of the X900F, so adding flicker will decrease the TV's brightness.
The X850F has a 120 Hz panel and can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120 fps. This high frame rate greatly improves motion but can appear strange to some (the 'soap opera effect'), and sometimes adds unwanted artifacts during fast motion. Interpolation is activated by setting 'Motionflow' to 'Custom', increasing the 'Smoothness' slider, and setting 'Cinemotion' to 'High'.
The TV can show low framerate content smoothly, which is good when watching TV shows and movies. The TV's response time is long enough that completely transitioned frames aren't held on screen for a long time, which reduces the appearance of stutter.
The TV can consistently remove judder from all 24p content such as native apps, Blu-ray players, or movies from a cable box which is excellent. The TV removes judder from 24p HDMI sources automatically, but for 60p, 60i and native app sources 'Motionflow' must be set to 'True Cinema' and 'Cinemotion' to 'High' to remove judder.
Update 06/08/2018: The X850F has been retested, and can play movies from 60p or 60i sources at the correct cadence. The text above has been adjusted.
The TV does not support variable refresh rate features like FreeSync.