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An in-depth Sony X85K review gives a glimpse into the future of smart TVs. Sony’s X85K lineup puts features like HDMI 2.1 and 120Hz panels within reach of the buyer on a budget. This is an emerging trend where pocket-friendly televisions carry features and functions we associate with high-end displays.
The Sony X85K is a mid-range product line that should remain relevant for years to come. Let’s take a closer look at the 43-inch model to see why.
Sony X85K Review: The shopper’s checklist for the modern TV
Image quality should be a buyer’s top consideration as they shop for a new TV. To be more specific, you should choose a TV that delivers:
- Rich, high-fidelity color
- Great contrast that allows for depth, texture, and minute detail that pops off the screen
- A responsive screen with smooth motion and minimal blurring
Also necessary are the bells and whistles that come with most smart TV platforms. Convenient tools that deliver traffic and weather updates make life easier. Integration with smart home devices makes your living space come alive to wait on you hand and foot. Many smart TV platforms are also compatible with home security systems, allowing your TV to become a small control center.
From a performance perspective, you want a smart interface with a wide selection of streaming apps. The user interface should also be responsive, with minimal lag and zero choppiness. It would also be nice if smart TV platforms were ad-free, but we work with what we get.
Sony X85K Review: Build quality and design
The hardware of the Sony X85K sits in a sturdy black chassis with thin bezels framing the screen. You’ll find an infrared sensor and a power button on the lower bezel near the logo.
At a depth of 2.88 inches, the X85K panel is slim enough for an okay-looking wall mount setup. Alternatively, you could use the legs that ship with the X85 to install the TV on your entertainment stand. The TV legs are relatively stable and come with clips you can use to manage your cables.
The back panel has a 300×300 VESA wall mount pattern and a column of ports that’s easy to access.
Sony X85K Review: Ports and connectivity
A major selling point of Sony’s X85K lineup is HDMI 2.1 capability. The TV has two HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K content at the panel’s native refresh rate of 120Hz (the ultimate for gaming). 4K at 120Hz means that you get to enjoy crisp, high-resolution content with smooth motion. This pair of HDMI 2.1 ports also supports variable refresh rate (VRR) and auto-low latency mode (ALLM). These features make the Sony X85K an excellent option for demanding titles on your new generation PlayStation or Xbox systems.
Here is the full list of input and output ports you’ll find on this TV:
- Four HDMI ports (two of which have HDMI 2.1 capability)
- F-type coaxial connector for cable/antenna
- Composite AV port
- A digital optical output
- Two USB ports
A wireless adapter takes care of Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. Wireless connectivity allows you to use functions like Chromecast, Apple Airplay and connect to different smart home devices.
Google TV platform
Google’s TV interface offers countless streaming apps and just as many productivity tools. There are also plenty of games for the person who likes active interaction with their TV.
The peerless motion handling of the Sony X85K makes for a responsive interface that reflects your user commands in 10ms. You can enhance your user experience with Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands. The Google platform also carries functions that operate your smart home devices and home security system.
Sony X85K Review: Hardware and image quality
The 43-inch Sony X85K is a 120Hz VA panel with 4K resolution and direct backlighting. While the TV lacks direct-array local dimming, it still has an impressive native contrast ratio. This comes down to the panel’s ability to render inky blacks and colors that get as bright as 590 nits. As brightness levels go, 590cd/m2 is enough to deliver fine detail, texture, and depth in HDR. The TV’s internal processor works with the native capability of the panel to optimize different sections of an image.
Color and image quality
4K resolution and a wide color gamut allow the Sony X85K to display rich color that matches the source material. There’s very little difference between the colors coming out of the panel’s pixels and the digital signal of your content.
The Sony X85K is bright enough to display vivid images in a bright room. Its screen has a matte finish that does a passable job of deflecting glare.
Being a VA panel, the X85K has narrow viewing angles. At 40 degrees to the side of the screen, the picture starts to dim, and the colors will wash out. You’ll need to put some distance between the TV and an audience. More distance from the TV means that your guests remain in the ‘sweet spot’ where images remain accurate.
The X85K has low input lag (10ms) and a low response time (less than 15ms in game mode). These numbers mean that fast-action content plays smoothly, with no motion blur to speak of. The panel’s processor will upgrade content with low frame rates without causing distracting motion artifacts.
- Good build quality and ports that are easy to reach
- HDMI 2.1 ports that transmit 4K content at 120Hz
- Compatible with Apple’s HomeKit platform
- Support for Apple Airplay2
- Good motion handling with VRR and ALLM for a smoother, more responsive gaming experience
- Support for Dolby Atmos
- Support for Dolby Vision and other HDR formats except for HDR10+
- Great picture quality
- There Sony X85 is more expensive than similar TVs from brands like Hisense, but with good reason
- No opt-out for ads
- Narrow viewing angles cause images to degrade as you move to the side of the screen
- You may find a glitch where you’re forced to enable VRR, which could deactivate Dolby vision manually. A software upgrade will solve this
Sony X85K review verdict: A good investment
We conclude this Sony X85K review by working out if this TV is worth its asking price, and the answer is a resounding ‘Yes.’
The feature set of the X85K lineup will remain useful and relevant for many years. As the competition works to catch up, you get to enjoy high-resolution, high frame-rate content for a steal. Best of all, the impressive specifications of the Sony X85K deliver a good viewing experience on most counts. Click here to learn more about this television.