The Sony X850G is a good 4k TV with an IPS panel. It delivers decent overall picture quality, but has a very low contrast ratio and bad black uniformity, so it isn't a great choice for a dark room. This TV has great peak brightness and excellent reflection handling, so it has no trouble overcoming glare in a bright room, and the image remains accurate when viewed at an angle. It's a great TV for gaming, as it has outstanding low input lag, the lowest of any recent Sony TV, and an excellent response time.
Note: The 85" model has a VA panel, and likely looks much better in a dark room, but has worse viewing angles.
The Sony X850G is the direct replacement for the 2018 Sony X850F. It sits between the X800G and the X900F in the 2019 lineup, and is more of a budget model for Sony. Its main competitors are IPS TVs like the Sony X800G, the LG UM7300, and VA TVs, like the Samsung RU8000, TCL 6 Series/R617, and the Hisense H8F.
The Sony X850G has a very basic design, and it looks very similar to the X850F. The body is very thin, but is almost entirely made of plastic and feels a bit cheap in some places. Because this TV has two feet instead of a center stand, it requires a larger table.
The stand supports the TV well, and there is very little wobble. The feet themselves are quite small, but they require a fairly large table, as they are near the ends of the TV.
Footprint of the 65" stand: 41.2" x 12.5".
The back of the TV is very basic, and is made of plastic. The panels have some flex to them, but we don't expect this to cause any issues. The back of the feet can be used for very basic cable management.
This TV is very thin, much thinner than the X800G, and it looks great wall-mounted.
Overall, the X850G has decent build quality. The body of the TV is almost entirely made of plastic, and there's some flex to the back panel, but there are no obvious issues or areas of concern.
The Sony X850G delivers decent overall picture quality. Like most IPS displays, it has decent viewing angles, but doesn't look great in a dark room, as it has a disappointing contrast ratio, bad black uniformity, and it doesn't have a local dimming feature. This TV looks great in a bright room, though, as it has great peak brightness in SDR and excellent reflection handling. It can display a wide color gamut, but has disappointing color volume. There is very little banding in areas of similar color.
The Sony X850G has a disappointing contrast ratio, worse than any recent TV, including the X800G. Blacks look gray, especially when watching TV in a dark room.
Note: The 85" model (XBR-85X850G) has a VA panel, and likely has much better contrast.
This TV does not have a local dimming feature. The above video is for reference only.
Great peak brightness in SDR, with no variation in brightness with different content, which is great. We measured the peak brightness after calibration, with the 'Custom' Picture Mode and the 'Expert 1' Color temperature.
Unfortunately, there are no brighter picture modes. Enabling Adv. contrast enhancer increases the peak brightness a tiny bit, but not enough to make a noticeable difference.
Decent peak brightness in HDR. Small bright highlights in some scenes stand out, but not enough to show off the content creator's intent.
We measured the peak brightness with no calibration settings, with the 'Cinema' Picture Mode and the Color temperature set to 'Expert 2'.
Unlike most TVs, these settings are the most accurate and the brightest. The 'Vivid' picture mode has a lower peak brightness.
Very good gray uniformity. There isn't much variation in the center of the screen, but there is noticeable vignetting, and the sides of the screen are a bit darker. In near-dark scenes, the uniformity is significantly better.
Decent viewing angles. At very wide angles the image starts to appear washed out, but colors only shift at extremely wide angles. Colors appear washed out at moderate angles, but this shouldn't be an issue for most people.
Note: The 85" model (XBR-85X850G) has a VA panel, and likely has a worse viewing angle.
The Sony X850G has bad black uniformity, worse than the X800G. There is significant clouding throughout the entire screen, and the LEDs can be seen bleeding through the bottom edge.
Note: The 85" model (XBR-85X850G) has a VA panel, and likely has much better black uniformity.
Excellent reflection handling. There is still some noticeable glare, as the screen finish isn't able to completely diffuse bright lights, but in most rooms there shouldn't be any issues.
With our pre-calibration settings, this TV has mediocre accuracy. There are noticeable errors in many colors, as well as brighter shades of gray. Gamma is too low, tracking closer to 2.0, so most scenes are too bright, and the color temperature is a bit too warm.
After calibration, the X850G has excellent accuracy, but it's a bit worse than most TVs. There are still inaccuracies in some colors, especially reds, that some people might notice. Gamma follows much closer to 2.2, and the white balance is nearly perfect.
You can see our recommended settings here.
1080p content, including Blu-rays, looks almost as good as native 4k content. When the 'Graphics' Picture Mode is used with 1080p content, the TV switches to nearest-neighbor upscaling, which some people prefer for computer use.
The X850G can display a wide color gamut, and has great coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut used by most 4k UHD Blu-rays. The EOTF follows the PQ Curve closely for the most part, but dark scenes are over-brightened. The TV starts tone mapping near its peak brightness, but unfortunately, whites mastered above about 1500 cd/m² are clipped, causing a loss of some bright details.
The PC Mode EOTF is nearly identical, but some scenes are over-brightened.
If you find HDR content too dark, setting the Color Temp to 'Expert 2', Contrast to 'Max', Gamma to 'Max', and Adv. contrast enhancer to 'High' results in a noticeably brighter image, as shown in this EOTF. Unfortunately, the peak brightness remains unchanged, and whites are clipped above about 400 cd/m².
Mediocre color volume. It's limited by the low contrast ratio, and the limits of the color gamut it can display.
Note: The 85" model (XBR-85X850G) has a VA panel, and likely has slightly better color volume.
The Sony X850G has excellent gradient handling. There is some slight banding in all shades, but this isn't really noticeable with most content.
There is only minor temporary image retention immediately after displaying our high-contrast static test image for 10 minutes, and it disappears almost immediately.
Although some IPS panels can suffer from temporary image retention, this doesn't appear to be permanent, as seen in our long-term test.
Like the X850F, this TV uses an IPS panel.
The Sony X850G has great motion handling. It has an excellent response time, but there is some noticeable overshoot in most transitions, which can be distracting. The backlight is flicker-free, but there it has an optional black frame insertion feature, which introduces 120Hz flicker in order to improve the appearance of motion. This TV has a native 120Hz panel, but it can only display 120Hz content through motion interpolation, and it doesn't support any variable refresh rate technologies, like FreeSync.
This TV has an excellent response time, but unfortunately, there is noticeable overshoot in most transitions.
The backlight is completely flicker-free, which is great. There is some noise at low backlight levels, but this isn't noticeable, and the backlight never turns completely off.
This TV has an optional black frame insertion feature that improves the appearance of motion, but it can only flicker at 120Hz, which isn't ideal as it causes noticeable duplications with 60Hz content.
To enable this feature on the X850G, set Motionflow to 'Custom', and adjust the Clearness setting to your liking.
Even though this TV only accepts 60Hz signals, it can interpolate lower frame rate content to increase the frame rate as high as 120Hz. Like most TVs, there are some artifacts with higher settings, and this introduces an effect known as the Soap Opera Effect, which may bother some people.
See our recommended settings here.
The relatively fast response time of this TV results in some noticeable stutter when watching 24p movies. This is especially noticeable with slow, panning shots.
This TV can remove judder from all sources, which is great. Movies played from 24p sources, like a Blu-ray player, are always judder-free. When watching movies played from a 60p/i source, like a cable box, Motionflow has to be set to 'Custom', with both sliders set to 'Min' and CineMotion set to 'Auto'.
The X850G has a native 120Hz panel, but doesn't support any advanced variable refresh rate technologies, like FreeSync.
The Sony X850G has outstanding low input lag in 'Game' mode, the best we've seen on any recent Sony TV. It can display chroma 4:4:4 properly from a computer, which is important for clear text, but it doesn't support 1440p inputs. Despite the 120Hz panel, it doesn't accept a 120Hz signal. Like most other Sony TVs, it supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10+.
This TV has outstanding low input lag, better than any recent Sony TV we've tested, including the X950G.
The X850G has a native 120Hz panel, but it can't display a 120Hz signal from 1080p or 1440p sources. It can display chroma 4:4:4 properly, which is important for clear text when connected to a PC, but only in the 'Game' or 'Graphics' picture mode. Like many other Sony TVs, when in the 'Graphics' mode, the TV switches to nearest-neighbor upscaling when sent a 1080p signal.
The X850G supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision but doesn't support HDR10+.
The Sony X850G supports eARC. If your receiver doesn't support eARC, unfortunately, like the X950G, it can only pass through Dolby Digital over ARC or Optical.
This TV has mediocre sound quality. It has a decent frequency response, but the low-frequency extension (LFE) is high, so the bass has no thump or rumble, and only a bit of punch. Dialog is clear, but it lacks a bit of airiness due to the dip around 10kHz. Like the Sony X950G, this TV has an additional pair of speakers at the top, which are supposed to help with sound positioning. Unfortunately, we don't currently test for this. For better sound, a dedicated speaker system or soundbar is recommended.
The Sony X850G has a decent frequency response. The low-frequency extension (LFE) is high, so there is no thump or rumble to its bass, and it has only a bit of punch. Above the LFE, the frequency response is more balanced, resulting in clear dialog, but it lacks a bit of airiness due to the dip around 10kHz. This TV can get pretty loud, but it does produce a bit of pumping at peak volume.