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Sony X85J TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.6
Reviewed Jun 09, 2021 at 10:39 am
Sony X85J Picture
7.5
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Vizio OLED 2020
7.2
Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Vizio OLED 2020
7.8
TV Shows
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense H9G
7.6
Sports
Value for price beaten by
: Vizio OLED 2020
7.7
Video Games
Value for price beaten by
: Vizio OLED 2020
7.2
HDR Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Vizio OLED 2020
7.7
HDR Gaming
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense U8G
7.8
PC Monitor
Value for price beaten by
: LG NANO90 2020
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

The Sony X85J is a good TV overall. Its direct predecessor never released in North America, so the closest model we've tested was the 2019 Sony X850G. It uses a VA panel, delivering outstanding contrast and excellent black uniformity, making it a great choice for dark-room viewing, but there's no local dimming, which is disappointing. This TV also has great brightness, but glare can still be an issue with direct reflections. Like other 2021 TVs, it runs the new Google TV interface instead of Android TV. This is a good TV for gaming, with two HDMI 2.1 ports, low input lag, and a great response time. Unfortunately, some of the advertised gaming features of this TV aren't available yet, but they've been promised in a future firmware update.

Our Verdict

7.5 Mixed Usage

The Sony X85J is a good TV for most uses. The excellent contrast and outstanding black uniformity are great for watching movies in the dark, but it lacks a local dimming feature, which is a bit disappointing. It's a good TV for watching sports or TV shows during the day, and its low input lag and fast response time make it a good choice for playing games.

Pros
  • Outstanding contrast.
  • Great response time.
  • Huge selection of smart apps.
  • Upscales low resolution content well.
Cons
  • Image degrades at an angle.
  • Direct reflections can be distracting.
7.2 Movies

The Sony X85J is a decent TV for watching movies. It has outstanding contrast and excellent black uniformity, so dark scenes look great in a dark room, but, unfortunately, there's no local dimming feature. Older, low-resolution movies upscale well, and this TV can remove judder from any source. Unfortunately, there is some stutter when watching movies, especially in slow, panning shots.

Pros
  • Outstanding contrast.
  • Can remove 24p judder from any source.
  • Upscales low resolution content well.
  • Excellent black uniformity.
Cons
  • Stutters in panning shots.
  • No local dimming.
7.8 TV Shows

The Sony X85J is a very good TV for watching TV shows. There's a large selection of apps, so you don't have to worry about an external box for your streaming service of choice, and it upscales older content well, with no noticeable issues. It has great peak brightness, but direct reflections can still be distracting in a bright room. Unfortunately, the image degrades when viewed at an angle, so it's not a great choice if you like to move around.

Pros
  • Huge selection of smart apps.
  • Upscales low resolution content well.
  • Great SDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • Image degrades at an angle.
  • Direct reflections can be distracting.
7.6 Sports

The Sony X85J is a good TV for watching sports. It has a great response time, resulting in little blur behind fast-moving objects (like the players). It also has a large selection of apps, so you should be able to find your favorite sports streaming app, and if you're watching on cable, it upscales lower resolution content well. This TV has great peak brightness, but direct reflections can still be distracting. Unfortunately, the image degrades when viewed at an angle, which isn't ideal for watching the big game with lots of friends.

Pros
  • Great response time.
  • Huge selection of smart apps.
  • Upscales low resolution content well.
  • Great SDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • Image degrades at an angle.
  • Direct reflections can be distracting.
7.7 Video Games

The Sony X85J is a good TV for playing video games, and it's expected to get even better with a future update. It has low input lag, a great response time, and great peak brightness in SDR, and it's future-proof, with two HDMI 2.1 ports. Unfortunately, most of the advanced gaming features advertised by Sony for this TV aren't available yet, including support for variable refresh rate technology (VRR), but they've been promised in a future firmware update.

Pros
  • Outstanding contrast.
  • Low input lag.
  • Great response time.
  • Great SDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • No local dimming.
  • Gaming features not yet available.
  • Direct reflections can be distracting.
7.2 HDR Movies

The Sony X85j is a decent TV for watching the latest movies in HDR. It has outstanding contrast and excellent black uniformity, but it lacks a local dimming feature. It has decent peak brightness in HDR, but some small highlights aren't as bright as they should be. Unfortunately, there is some stutter when watching movies, especially in slow, panning shots.

Pros
  • Outstanding contrast.
  • Can remove 24p judder from any source.
  • Excellent black uniformity.
Cons
  • Stutters in panning shots.
  • No local dimming.
  • Some scenes are overbrightened.
7.7 HDR Gaming

The Sony X85J is good for gaming in HDR. It has outstanding contrast and excellent black uniformity, so blacks look black in a dark room. It delivers a great gaming experience, with low input lag and a great response time, for a responsive gaming experience with little blur. Unfortunately, although it has two HDMI 2.1 ports for next-gen gaming, some advertised gaming features aren't available yet.

Pros
  • Outstanding contrast.
  • Low input lag.
  • Great response time.
Cons
  • No local dimming.
  • Gaming features not yet available.
  • Some scenes are overbrightened.
7.8 PC Monitor

The Sony X85J is a good TV for use as a PC monitor. It has low input lag, so the cursor feels responsive and lag-free, and the fast response time results in relatively clear motion, with little blur behind fast-moving objects. Although it has great peak brightness, glare from direct reflections can still be an issue. Unfortunately, the image degrades at an angle, which can be an issue if you're too close, and it uses a BGR subpixel layout, which can cause text clarity issues on some computers.

Pros
  • Low input lag.
  • Great response time.
  • Great SDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • Image degrades at an angle.
  • Direct reflections can be distracting.
  • BGR subpixel layout can cause issues with text.
  • 7.5 Mixed Usage
  • 7.2 Movies
  • 7.8 TV Shows
  • 7.6 Sports
  • 7.7 Video Games
  • 7.2 HDR Movies
  • 7.7 HDR Gaming
  • 7.8 PC Monitor
  1. Updated Jun 15, 2021: We incorrectly stated that this TV has a Smooth Gradation feature; it doesn't.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Sony X85J is a mid-range 4k from Sony's 2021 4k lineup, sitting above the Sony X80J and below the Sony X90J. Its direct predecessor, the Sony X850H, was never released in North America, so the closest model we've tested is the 2019 Sony X850G. We expect the 2021 model to compete with the Samsung AU8000 or the Hisense U6G, which we haven't tested yet.

Design
Design
Style
Curved No

The Sony X85J has a nice but simple design. It doesn't look as premium as the Sony X90J, and it's mainly plastic, but it should look nice in most decors. The inputs face to the side, which is nice, especially if you wall-mount it.

Design
Stand

The stand is nearly identical to the one on the Sony X90J, and it supports the TV well, but there's a bit of wobble. Unfortunately, like the X90J, the feet aren't adjustable, but there's an alternate model known as the X89J that has two stand positions.

Footprint of the 55" stand: 41.9" x 13.3".

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x300

The back of the TV is nearly identical to the Sony X90J. It has a grid-like pattern across most of the back panel, but unlike the X90J, there's no brushed aluminum square in the middle. There's a clip on each leg for cable management. Although pretty basic, it can help to keep the back of your TV neat.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.39" (1.0 cm)
Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.87" (7.3 cm)

Due to the direct-lit backlight, this TV is a bit thicker than edge-lit TVs, like the Samsung Q60/Q60A QLED.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Sony X85J has good build quality. It's entirely plastic, and there's some noticeable flex on the back panel, especially near the VESA mount and around the bottom edge. There's also a bit of concerning pull around the border. The TV leans a bit, but this isn't noticeable from the front at all. The stand supports the TV well overall, but there's a bit of wobble.

Picture Quality
9.2
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
6,308 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
N/A

The Sony X85J has fantastic contrast, so blacks look black in a dark room. The native contrast of this TV without local dimming is similar to the Sony X90J's contrast with local dimming, but this varies between units.

Note: We've seen some reports that the 43 inch model might have an IPS panel. If this is the case, we expect it to have much lower contrast but better viewing angles.

8.4
Picture Quality
SDR Brightness
Real Scene Peak Brightness
506 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
518 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
528 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
527 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
526 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
526 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
518 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
528 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
527 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
526 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
526 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.001

This TV has great peak brightness in SDR. It's about as bright as the Sony X90J, but not as bright as the Hisense U8G. There's no noticeable variation in peak brightness with different content, which is great.

We measured the SDR brightness after calibration in the 'Custom' Picture Mode, with Brightness at max, Contrast at '90', and Color Tone set to 'Expert 1'.

If you want a slightly brighter image, the 'Vivid' Picture Mode with Contrast at 'Max' results in a slightly brighter image, but this mode is less accurate.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Direct

Although the Sony X85J uses a direct-lit backlight similar to the Sony X90J, there's no local dimming feature. The video is for reference only, so you can see how the local dimming feature on other displays compares to one without local dimming.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming In Game Mode
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Direct

Unlike the Sony X90J, this TV doesn't have a local dimming feature. The video is for reference only, so you can see how the local dimming feature on other displays compares to one without local dimming.

7.0
Picture Quality
HDR Brightness
Real Scene Highlight
547 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
561 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
568 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
568 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
567 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
567 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
561 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
568 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
568 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
567 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
567 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.001

The Sony X85J has decent peak brightness in HDR. It's bright enough that most scenes look almost like they should, but small specular highlights don't stand out as much as they should in some content.

Unfortunately, the TV doesn't follow the EOTF curve, so some scenes are displayed brighter than they should be. This isn't as noticeable as on the Hisense U8G, but if you care about the most accurate image possible, this might bother you.

If you want to make HDR content brighter and don't mind losing image accuracy, change to the 'Vivid' Picture Mode, and set Contrast to 'Max'. These settings result in a much brighter image, as you can see in this EOTF plot.

We measured the HDR brightness in the 'Custom' Picture Mode, before calibrating the TV, with Brightness at max, Contrast at '90', and Color Tone set to 'Expert 2'.

7.0
Picture Quality
HDR Brightness In Game Mode
Real Scene Highlight
547 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
563 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
570 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
570 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
570 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
569 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
563 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
570 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
570 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
569 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
569 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.001

The brightness in 'Game Mode' is identical to the 'Custom' Picture Mode. The TV still doesn't follow the EOTF properly, but this isn't as much of an issue, as most games have an option to adjust the HDR brightness.

7.9
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
3.165%
50% DSE
0.151%
5% Std. Dev.
0.856%
5% DSE
0.106%

The Sony X85J has very good gray uniformity, but the corners of the screen on our unit are noticeably darker than the center. The center is much more uniform, though, with very little noticeable dirty screen effect. In near-dark scenes, the uniformity is even better, with almost no noticeable uniformity issues. Gray uniformity varies between units, so let us know if yours looks better or worse than this.

8.6
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.742%
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

The unit we tested has excellent black uniformity, but this can vary between units. There's a bit of cloudiness in the screen, which can't be reduced as there's no local dimming, but this isn't very noticeable in most content.

5.5
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
29°
Color Shift
36°
Brightness Loss
37°
Black Level Raise
10°
Gamma Shift
16°

Unfortunately, as expected of a VA-type panel, the Sony X85J's viewing angles are disappointing. Colors stay accurate to a wider angle than the Hisense U8G, but dark shades look washed out at a narrow angle. A TV with an IPS-type panel, like the LG NANO90 2021, is a better choice for a wide seating arrangement.

Note: We've seen some reports that the 43 inch model might have an IPS panel. If this is the case, we expect it to have much better viewing angles but worse contrast.

7.1
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
5.7%
Indirect Reflections
0.7%
Calculated Direct Reflections
5.1%

This TV has decent reflection handling, but direct reflections might still be distracting in bright environments. The semi-gloss finish reflects bright lights directly back and only partially diffuses them.

9.0
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
1.06
Color dE
1.72
Gamma
2.21
Color Temperature
6,614 K
Picture Mode
Custom
Color Temp Setting
Expert 1
Gamma Setting
0

Out of the box, the Sony X85J is remarkably accurate. Gamma is very close to our target of 2.2, and the white balance is nearly perfect. There are some inaccurate colors, especially highly saturated blues, but they're close enough to the targets that we don't expect most people to notice them. Note that the exact accuracy out of the box can vary between units.

9.4
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.31
Color dE
1.45
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6,512 K
White Balance Calibration
10 point
Color Calibration
No

Calibration improved the white balance and gamma to near perfection, but as there's no color calibration on this TV, we weren't able to correct any of the color issues.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

We didn't notice any issues upscaling 480p content like DVDs.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content, including most cable TV stations, is upscaled well by the Sony X85J, with no noticeable issues.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

Like most TVs we've tested, 1080p content looks almost as good as native 4k content.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

4k content is displayed perfectly, with no noticeable issues.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

This is a 4k TV that won't accept an 8k signal.

Picture Quality
Pixels

Like most TVs on the market, the Sony X85J uses a BGR (Blue-Green-Red) subpixel layout instead of the traditional Red-Green-Blue layout. For video content, this doesn't cause any issues, but if you're planning on using this TV as a PC monitor, it might be an issue for text clarity. You can read more about this here.

8.0
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
89.89%
DCI P3 uv
95.40%
Rec 2020 xy
65.42%
Rec 2020 uv
71.16%

The Sony X85J has a great color gamut. It can display nearly the entire DCI P3 color space used by most current HDR content, but it falls short on highly saturated greens, although this won't be very noticeable with most content. It also has okay coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 color space, but it's not as good as the Hisense U8G.

The X85J we tested displays a wider color gamut than the Sony X90J, which is unexpected. This can vary between units, though, and the difference isn't very noticeable. We also found that the X90J has better tone mapping, and in person, with real content, the X90J looks better.

7.2
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
81.5%
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
40.4%
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
61.7%
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
30.6%

The Sony X85J has decent color volume. It's limited by the incomplete color gamut and, like most LCDs on the market, blues aren't as bright as other colors. Thanks to the high contrast ratio, this TV can also display dark, saturated colors well, but not as well as the Hisense U8G.

8.7
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.082
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.109
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.077
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.089

Update 06/15/2021: We incorrectly stated that this TV has a Smooth Gradation feature. That feature is only available on 2021 models with the Cognitive Processor XR, including the Sony X90J.

The Sony X85J has excellent gradient handling. There's some banding in darker shades, especially greens, but it's not very noticeable with most 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%

There are no signs of temporary image retention on our unit, but this can vary.

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.

Motion
8.2
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
4.0 ms
100% Response Time
11.7 ms

The Sony X85J has a great response time, but it's a bit worse than the Sony X90J. Like most TVs with VA-type panels, dark scenes have slower transitions, causing more noticeable blur. There's very little overshoot, though, which is great.

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

The Sony X85J uses direct (DC) dimming to dim the backlight. Like the Sony X850G, there's some noise at very low backlight levels, but this isn't noticeable at all, and the backlight never turns completely off. This is different from the Sony X90J, which uses Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) to dim the backlight. PWM can bother some people, as it can cause eye fatigue and/or headaches.

6.0
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker For 60 fps
120 Hz
60Hz For 60 fps
No
120Hz For 120 fps
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
120 Hz

This TV has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature that can reduce the amount of persistence blur. Like the Sony X90J, it can only flicker at 120Hz, which can cause duplications when watching 60Hz content. Note that our scoring is based only on the refresh rates that support Black Frame Insertion, and do not reflect how effective it is.

To use BFI, set Motionflow to 'Custom' and Clearness to max.

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

The Sony X85J has an optional motion interpolation feature that can improve the appearance of lower frame-rate content. Subjectively, it seems to perform well, but we did notice some artifacts in busier scenes.

7.1
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
30.0 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
5.0 ms

Due to the fast response time of this TV, there is some noticeable stutter when watching movies. This is mainly noticeable in slow panning shots. If stutter bothers you, enabling motion interpolation can help to reduce it, but this can introduce the soap opera effect, which some people don't like.

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 Sony X85J can remove judder from all sources. For 24p sources, it's automatic, you don't need to change any settings;. For 60p/60i sources and native apps, set Cinemotion to 'High' with Motionflow set to 'Custom', and Smoothness and Clearness at their minimum.

0
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
HDMI Forum VRR
No
FreeSync
No
G-SYNC Compatible
No
4k VRR Maximum
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
No VRR support
1080p VRR Maximum
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
No VRR support
1440p VRR Maximum
N/A
1440p VRR Minimum
No VRR support
VRR Supported Connectors
No VRR support

At the time of publication, the Sony X85J doesn't support any variable refresh rate technologies like FreeSync. Sony has promised that it will be added with a later firmware update, but we don't know when that will happen.

Inputs
9.4
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
15.6 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
91.0 ms
1440p @ 60Hz
15.1 ms
4k @ 60Hz
15.2 ms
4k @ 60Hz + 10-Bit HDR
15.5 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
15.2 ms
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
91.1 ms
4k @ 60Hz With Interpolation
87.5 ms
8k @ 60Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120Hz
6.3 ms
1440p @ 120Hz
N/A
4k @ 120Hz
6.3 ms
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1440p with VRR
N/A
4k with VRR
N/A
8k with VRR
N/A

The Sony X85J has outstanding low input lag, which is especially important when gaming or for use as a PC monitor. Overall, it's a tiny bit slower than the Hisense U8G but a bit faster than the Sony X90J. The input lag outside of 'Game Mode' or with motion interpolation is significantly lower than the Sony X90J, though we're not sure why.

9.2
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 60Hz
Yes (forced resolution required)
1440p @ 120Hz
No
4k @ 60Hz
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 120Hz
Yes (native support)
8k @ 30Hz or 24Hz
No
8k @ 60Hz
No

The Sony X85J supports most common resolutions, except 1440p, which requires a forced resolution. It displays proper chroma 4:4:4 in all natively supported resolutions; you only need to be in the 'Game' or 'Graphics' Picture Mode. For signals that require full bandwidth, set HDMI Signal Format to 'Enhanced Format'.

Inputs
Advanced Console Compatibility
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
No
PS5, 4k @ 120Hz + HDR
Yes
PS5, 4k @ 120Hz
Yes
PS5, 4k @ 60Hz + HDR
Yes
PS5, 1440p @ 120Hz
No
PS5, 1080p @ 120Hz
Yes
PS5, Variable Refresh Rate
No
Xbox Series X, 4k @ 120Hz + HDR
Yes
Xbox Series X, 4k @ 120Hz
Yes
Xbox Series X, 4k @ 60Hz + HDR
Yes
Xbox Series X, 1440p @ 120Hz
No
Xbox Series X, 1080p @ 120Hz
Yes
Xbox Series X, Variable Refresh Rate
No

The Sony X85J doesn't support 4k @ 120Hz and Dolby Vision at once, so you have to choose between them by changing the HDMI Signal Format setting. This TV doesn't support Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), but it recognizes when it's connected to a Sony PlayStation 5 and automatically enters 'Game Mode'.

Inputs
Inputs Specifications
HDR10
Yes
HDR10+
No
Dolby Vision
Yes
HLG
Yes
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
HDMI 2.1 Class Bandwidth
Yes (HDMI 3,4)
CEC Yes
HDCP 2.2 Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
USB 3.0
Yes (1)
Variable Analog Audio Out Yes
Wi-Fi Support Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

The Sony X85J has two HDMI 2.1 ports. Unfortunately, one of these is also the eARC port, so if you're planning to connect a home theater system, you'll only be able to connect one HDMI 2.1 device directly to your TV.

Inputs
Input Photos
Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI 4
USB 2
Digital Optical Audio Out 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Analog Audio Out RCA 0
Component In 0
Composite In 1 (adapter required, not incl.)
Tuner (Cable/Ant) 1
Ethernet 1
DisplayPort 0
IR In 1
SD/SDHC 0

Unlike the Sony X850G, there's no dedicated component or composite input. Instead, there's a single composite in port, which requires a breakout adapter that's sold separately.

Inputs
Audio Passthrough
ARC
Yes (HDMI 3)
eARC support
Yes
Dolby Atmos via TrueHD via eARC
Yes
DTS:X via DTS-HD MA via eARC
Yes
5.1 Dolby Digital via ARC
Yes
5.1 DTS via ARC
Yes
5.1 Dolby Digital via Optical
Yes
5.1 DTS via Optical
Yes

The Sony X85J supports eARC on HDMI port 3. This allows the TV to pass high-quality, uncompressed audio to an external home theater system or soundbar. To enable this feature, go to Audio Output in the Display & Sound settings menu, then set eARC to 'Auto', Digital Audio Out to 'Auto 1', and Passthrough to 'Auto'.

Sound Quality
7.2
Sound Quality
Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
100.79 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
1.78 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
1.99 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
4.92 dB
Max
93.1 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
5.21 dB

The Sony X85J has a decent frequency response. Like most TVs, the low-frequency extension (LFE) is high, as it can't produce any deep thump or rumble. Above the LFE, the frequency response is very balanced, resulting in clear dialogue. It can get very loud, but there's a bit of pumping at max volume.

6.6
Sound Quality
Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
0.035
Weighted THD @ Max
13.223
IMD @ 80
1.99%
IMD @ Max
20.51%

Decent distortion performance. At lower volumes, there's very little total distortion, but it increases drastically at max volume.

Smart Features
8.0
Smart Features
Interface
Smart OS Google TV
Version 10
Ease of Use
Average
Smoothness
Very Smooth
Time Taken to Select YouTube
2 s
Time Taken to Change Backlight
2 s
Advanced Options
Many

The Sony X85J runs on Google TV instead of the Android TV interface used in previous years. The core of the smart interface is the same, but the overall layout and some functionality have changed.

0
Smart Features
Ad-Free
Ads
Yes
Opt-out
No
Suggested Content in Home
Yes
Opt-out of Suggested Content
No

Unfortunately, like almost all TVs on the market now, there are ads throughout the interface. We noticed them in the app store and on the main page, but the exact location varies.

9.0
Smart Features
Apps and Features
App Selection
Great
App Smoothness
Very Smooth
Cast Capable
Yes
USB Drive Playback
Yes
USB Drive HDR Playback
Yes
HDR in Netflix
Yes
HDR in YouTube
Yes

Through the built-in Google Play Store, this TV has a massive selection of apps.

8.5
Smart Features
Remote
Size
Large
Voice Control
Many Features
CEC Menu Control
Yes
Other Smart Features
No
Remote App Android TV

The remote is identical to the one included with the Sony X90J. It's a bit larger than most remotes currently on the market, as Sony is one of the last brands to still include a full numpad and full controls on the remote. The remote has a built-in mic for voice control, but it must be paired over Bluetooth with the TV for this feature to work. The voice commands work well, allowing you to change inputs, search for content, or even adjust some settings.

Smart Features
TV Controls
Smart Features
In The Box

  • User manual
  • Remote control
  • Batteries
  • Power cord
  • VESA mount adapters
  • Cable clips

Smart Features
Misc
Power Consumption 52 W
Power Consumption (Max) 153 W
Firmware PKG6.3628.0454NAA

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the 55 inch Sony X85J TV (XB55X85J), and it's also available in a 43 inch, 50 inch, 65 inch, 75 inch, and 85 inch size. We expect our results to be valid for the other sizes as well, but we've seen some reports that the 43 inch model might have an IPS-type panel, so it might perform differently. As Sony doesn't provide any panel information, if you have any information on the panel types for the other sizes, let us know in the discussions below.

The Sony X85J is also available as the X89J in some regions. We expect our results to be valid for it as well; the only difference is that the X89J has an adjustable stand.

Size Model Number Alternate Model
43" KD-43X85J KD-43X89J
50" KD-50X85J  KD-50X89J
55" KD-55X85J  KD-55X89J
65" KD-65X85J  KD-65X89J
75" KD-75X85J  KD-75X89J
85" KD-85X85J  KD-85X89J

If you come across a different type of panel or your Sony X85J doesn't correspond to our review, let us know, and we'll update the review. Note that some tests, like the gray uniformity, may vary between individual units.

Our unit was manufactured in April 2021; you can see the label here.

Compared To Other TVs

The Sony X85 is a good mid-range 4k TV and Sony's cheapest TV with HDMI 2.1. There are better options available from other brands at a lower price point, though, so this might not be the best choice for everyone.

For more options, check out our recommendations for the best TVs, the best 4k gaming TVs, and the best movie TVs.

Sony X90J
50" 55" 65" 75"

The Sony X90J and the Sony X85J are very similar overall. The Sony X90J has a full array local dimming feature that can improve contrast and reduce blooming in dark scenes, but the X85J has better native contrast and a flicker-free backlight. The Sony X90J is brighter in HDR and HDR content displays at the correct brightness. If you care about calibrating your display for the most accurate image possible, one important difference here is that the X85J doesn't have a color management system.

Sony X80J
43" 50" 55" 65" 75"

The Sony X80J and the Sony X85J use different panel technologies, each with strengths and weaknesses. The X85J is better for a dark room, as it has much better contrast and better black uniformity. The X80J is better for a wide seating area, as it has better viewing angles.

Sony X900H
55" 65" 75" 85"

The Sony X900H and the Sony X85J are very similar overall. The X85J has a higher native contrast ratio, but the X900H has a full array local dimming feature that can reduce blooming in dark scenes and improve contrast. On the other hand, the X85J has a flicker-free backlight, and the more recent Google TV interface is a bit faster than the older Android TV 9.0 interface on the X900H.

LG C1 OLED
48" 55" 65" 77" 83"

Although the LG C1 OLED and the Sony X85J use very different panel technologies, the LG is much better for most people. The LG delivers a perfect dark-room experience, with true inky blacks and perfect uniformity. The LG also has much better viewing angles and better reflection handling. On the other hand, the Sony is brighter, and unlike the LG, there's no risk of permanent burn-in with static content.

Samsung Q70/Q70A QLED
55" 65" 75" 85"

The Samsung Q70/Q70A QLED and the Sony X85J are nearly identical. The Sony that we tested has better gray uniformity, but this can vary between units. The Samsung is a bit better for gaming, as it supports the latest gaming features, including variable refresh rate technology (VRR). Those features are advertised for the Sony as well, but they're not yet available and will be added in an upcoming firmware update.

Samsung Q60/Q60A QLED
43" 50" 55" 60" 65" 70" 75" 85"

The Sony X85J is better than the Samsung Q60/Q60A QLED. The Sony has slightly better contrast, a much faster response time, and can remove judder from any source. The Sony is also better for gaming and more future-proof, as it has two HDMI 2.1 ports, a 120Hz refresh rate, and it's supposed to receive support for variable refresh rate technology (VRR) with a future firmware update.

Sony X950H
49" 55" 65" 75" 85"

The Sony X950H is much better than the Sony X85J. The X950H has a good full-array local dimming feature, and it's much brighter than the X85J. The X950H also has much better reflection handling and slightly better viewing angles. On the other hand, although the X85J lacks a local dimming feature, it has better contrast. The X85J is also a bit more future-proof, as it has two HDMI 2.1 ports.

Hisense U8G
55" 65"

The Hisense U8G is much better than the Sony X85J. The Hisense has a full array local dimming feature to improve contrast and reduce blooming in dark scenes. The Hisense also has much better reflection handling and can overcome glare in most rooms. The Hisense is also much brighter, and small highlights in some HDR content stand out much better.

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