The Sony X85J TV is a new upper mid-range TVfrom Sony’s 2021 lineup with a few good features. But how does it stack up against the competition? We’ll be looking through our test results to see if this 4k TV is worth its price and find out if it’s a good mid-range option.
We bought the 55-inch model to test, but it is also available from 43 to 85 inches. We expect these other sizes to perform the same.Check our Deal Page to see all available sizes. Before getting into its performance, let’s look at the design.
The X85J has a simple design that looks nice overall. The X85J features the same stand as many others, only TVs. It has deep feet wide apart, so you’ll need a big table to place it on.The stand supports the TV fairly well, but there’s still some wobble.
The back has a chequered-like pattern and is made of plastic. There are only clips on the legs for cable management and slots for VESA mounting. The X85J has good build quality. It’s made entirely out of plastic, and there are no noticeable issues with it, which is what you expect from an upper-midrange model.
Now, let’s talk about the smart features.Sony TVs in 2021 use the new Google TV, which is an upgraded version of Android TV but, it’s more of an aesthetic upgrade. Still, the navigation feels very smooth & the GooglePlay Store has a ton of apps available to download.
The X85J comes with the same remote like most other 2021 Sony TVs. It’s large and features a full Numpad and navigation buttons. There are quick-access buttons to popular streaming apps and one for voice control. You can ask it to change inputs, search for content, or change settings. Before we dive deep into our test results, let’s talk about how this TV performs overall.
For watching content in a Dark Room, The TVs a high native contrast ratio, so it produces deep blacks. Its black uniformity is also amazing, with minimal blooming around bright objects. Sadly, it doesn’t have a local dimming feature to improve the dark room performance.
Also, it has accurate colors and a wide color gamut which are great for watching HDR content. If you’re going to watch TV in bright rooms, you need it to get bright. That’s exactly what it does as it has high brightness. It has decent reflection handling that should be good enough for a room with a few lights, but strong reflections can get distracting.
For watching Broadcast or cable content, theX85J doesn’t have any issues upscaling lower-resolution content. The motion looks smooth, thanks to its quick response time. The downside is that it has narrow viewing angles, so it’s not the best choice for watching shows or sports with a few people.
There’s good and bad news when it comes to gaming or PC use. The bad news is that it doesn’t have any gaming features like VRRsupport. The good news is that it should come in a future update. Even without VRR, it still has low input lag and HDMI 2.1 inputs. If you want to use it for PC gaming, it displays chroma 4:4:4, which helps with text clarity. With our quick overview out of the way, let’s dive into the details.
We’re going to look at the good and not so good of the TV according to different usages. The contrast ratio is one of the most important aspects of picture quality. This is the difference between black and whites. Having a good contrast is important if you want the TV to display deep and inky blacks when watching it in darkrooms. The X85J has a fantastic native contrast ratio of over 6300:1.
This means that it displays deep blacks, but sadly there’s no local dimming feature to improve it any further. Black uniformity on our unit is excellent, with minimal blooming around bright objects too. Our unit has fantastic color accuracy, so the image looks like how the creator intended. Sony TVs are known for their good accuracy. You shouldn’t experience any issues.
If you’re watching HDR content, the TV needs to display a wide color gamut, displaying a range of colors.As for this TV, it covers a wide color gamut. Another key thing to having good picture quality is HDR brightness. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and is a video format that enhances the details in highlights and shadows.
The X85J has decent brightness in HDR. It maintains its brightness consistent across different content, which is great, but it still may not be enough to make highlights stand out truly. Now, if you want good bright room performance, It’s important to get a TV that gets bright enough to combat glare. This TV has impressive SDR brightness, so it should fight glare easily.
“You also want good reflection handling ifyou’re going to use it in a well-lit room. The X85J has a good semi-gloss screen finish, and it has decent reflection handling. It performs well with a few light sources around, but reflections can get distracting if you have strong light sources on them. Now, for Broadcast content like TV shows and sports: If you want to watch your favorite show or the big game with a few people around, it’s important to have wide viewing angles.
This helps make the image remain accurate when viewing from the side. Sadly, like most VA panel TVs, it has narrow viewing angles, so the image looks washed out and inaccurate when viewing from the side. If you’re watching sports, especially ones with fast-moving players, the TV’s response time is a key factor. This is when it takes for pixels to switch from one color to the next, and it affects motion.
The X85Jhas a great response time, so the motion looks good overall, and even for gaming, it looks smooth. There are still some artifacts in darker transitions, though.The X85J has a flicker-free backlight, which is great because additional flicker can cause some image duplication in sports, causing you to lose track of the ball or puck. There’s an option to introduce flicker to reduce persistence blur, called Black FrameInsertion, or BFI.
However, that feature on this TV only flickers at 120Hz, which could distract, and it also makes the screen dimmer, so it’s not for everyone. For a responsive gaming experience, it’s important to have low input lag. When it takes to send a signal from your console to when the action appears on the screen.
The lower the input lag, the better. Luckily, this TV has very low input lag whether you’re gaming at 60 or 120Hz. Its input lag is slightly higher than some other TVs on the market, but the difference is minimal. If you want a nearly tear-free gaming experience, it’s important to get a TV that has variable refresh rate support. This technology matches the refresh rate of the TV to the frame rate of the game, even if the frame rate of the game drops. Sadly, the X85J doesn’t have it yet.
However, it’s advertised to receive it in a future firmware update, but we don’t know when that will be. If that’s important to you, other TVs with VRR support like from Samsung, LG, and Hisense. Thanks to the TV’s HDMI 2.1 inputs, it supports4k @ 120Hz gaming from the new Xbox series x and ps5.
However, this TV doesn’t support4k @ 120Hz in Dolby Vision from the Xbox. This means you have to drop the refresh rate down to 60Hz if you want to use Dolby Vision. Also, The TV doesn’t have an Auto Low LatencyMode to automatically switch the TV into the game mode for low input lag.
However, if you connect the TV to a PS4 or PS5, it recognizes the consoles and automatically switches the TV into game mode. With other consoles, you have to switch to Game Mode manually. If you want to game in HDR, you still get low input lag.
However, the HDR brightness in game mode is exactly like outside game mode, which is to say: decent. It will make some highlights stand out, but not all. What sets TVs apart from monitors is their sub-pixel layout. While most monitors use an RGB subpixel layout, TVs like this one mainly use a BGR layout.
Even though it’s a flipped layout, not all programs support BGR, so that some text may look blurry in those programs. You can learn more about it here. Also, it’s important to have good gray uniformity, especially if you’re going to view documents with large areas of uniform color, like a webpage or text document.
You want the entire screen to look uniform in these cases. Our unit has good gray uniformity. The edges are darker than the rest of the screen but there almost no dirty screen effect in the center, which is great. Now let’s take a look at the inputs.
All inputs are side-facing on the left side, making them easy to access when the TV is wall-mounted. There are four HDMI inputs, two of which are HDMI 2.1. This allows you to achieve 4k @ 120 Hz frame rates, which is great for gaming. There is also one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port, plus digital and analog audio outputs, a tuner, ethernet port, IR in, and composite input, but it doesn’t come with an adapter.
If you want to use the X85J as a monitor, it’s important to know which resolutions the TV supports. The Sony X85J supports most common resolutions, except 1440p, which requires a forced resolution. It displays proper chroma4:4:4 for better text clarity in all natively supported resolutions; you only need to be in the ‘Game’ or ‘Graphics’ Picture Mode. For HDR content, the TV supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR formats, but not HDR10+.
You can learn more about HDR formats here. Lastly, when watching movies, you also want to see smooth motion. Since movies are often shot in lower frame rates, there’s a bit of stutter because each frame is held on longer.
There are a few features to help reduce this issue. With 30 or 60 fps content, it can interpolate up to 120fps, known as the soap opera effect. It works well, but we noticed some artifacts in busy scenes. If you’re watching24 fps content, which is what all movies are shot in, it can cause some judder, which can be noticeable during panning shots. Luckily, this TV removes 24p judder from any source. So no matter what the frame rate of your source is in, you shouldn’t have any issues with stutter or judder. Before we finish, let’s quickly talk about the built-in speakers.
They have a decent frequency response as they have a well-balanced sound profile if you listen to moderate levels. There isn’t much distortion either, but therefore if you listen at its max volume. However, if you want the best sound experience, it’s best to go with a dedicated surround sound setup or soundbar.
If you want to connect a sound receiver, it supports eARC on HDMI 3, allowing you to pass high-quality, uncompressed audio to a compatible receiver. It supports both Dolby Digital and DTS audio formats. It’s a bit disappointing that the eArc port is one of the HDMI 2.1 inputs, leaving you only one HDMI for your gaming consoles.
To resolve that issue, you will need an HDMI 2.1 compatible receiver. Overall, the X85J is a good TV. It performs well in dark and bright rooms thanks to its high contrast ratio and impressive peak brightness. It displays a wide color gamut and has decent HDR brightness for HDRmovies or gaming. Speaking of gaming, it has a quick response time and low input lag, but it currently doesn’t have any VRR support.
However, it’s on the costly side when shooting this video, and there are cheaper options that you can get with better performance. The X90J is a higher-end TV that costs a bit more than the X85J. The main difference is that the X90J has a local dimming feature, allowing it to display deeper blacks. The X90J also gets much brighter in HDR, making highlights stand out more.
However, other than that, the TVs are similar, and they should each receive VRR support when Sony makes it available to their TVs. The Hisense U8G is a better TV overall. It offers a ton more features like local dimming and VRR support, which the X85J doesn’t have, and it costs a bit less.
The Hisense also gets much brighter, making it a better choice for HDR content. However, the Sony is available in a wider range of sizes, making it easier to get the size you need. So that’s it! You can check out all of the measurements on our website.