The new Sony X85J offers a unique technology package in its price range. The test reveals why others barely come close.
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With its technical equipment, the Sony Bravia X85J is probably unique in its price range: At the time of testing, the KD-65X85J cost less than 1,000 euros, but there are up to 120 Hertz for the LCD screen and for two HDMI inputs. They also accept variable frame rates, making them perfect for the new game consoles. The X85J also liked the good image quality with natural colors and high brightness reserves with good contrast. Given the price, it’s no wonder that the sound only satisfies basic needs. Thanks to the Android operating system including Google TV, the Sony is up to date, an additional streaming device is not required here.
Pros & Cons
Good picture with natural colors
High maximum brightness
Two HDMI 2.1 ports up to 4K and 120 Hertz
Huge app selection with all major streaming providers
Instructions in the menu confusing
Connection equipment not fully usable
Gamers prefer TVs with a refresh rate of 100 to 120 Hertz. This makes movements look sharper. By the way: This is also an advantage for sports broadcasts. In addition, fast signal processing or short latency is required so that not every shot comes too late. And for the new generation of game consoles, the HDMI inputs should be able to handle 4K resolution with a frame rate of 120 Hertz and ideally with variable frame rates (VRR, Variable Refresh Rate). It sounds like expensive fun, but the Sony X85J ticks all the boxes at a surprisingly affordable price. Sony also offers the X85J with the same technology with a smaller screen of 50 inches (127 centimeters), as well as in three larger versions with 65, 75 and 85 inches (164, 190 and 215 centimeters). In the test of the KD65X85J, COMPUTER we checked.
Sony X85J in the test: bright and high-contrast images
The most important thing about the screen of the Sony Bravia X85J has already been said: It is an LCD screen with UHD resolution (3840×2160 pixels), 100 to 120 Hertz refresh rate and LED backlight. The LEDs for backlighting the LCD panel are not built into the edge, as is often the case, but are arranged over the entire surface behind the LCD panel. This makes the Sony comparatively thick (7.2 centimeters at 65 inches), but this ensures good brightness distribution. Even very dark images looked nice and even and not blotchy in the test. All backlight LEDs shine with the same intensity (no local dimming as with the more expensive Sony X90J), but only slightly brighten black image areas. The X85J achieves beautifully crisp images with a maximum contrast of 4500:1 and a maximum brightness of an impressive 640 candelas per square meter.
The image quality of the Sony X85J is that good
Such bright and high-contrast images are not possible in this price range without compromises. The possible viewing angle is small. Two people next to each other on the couch can enjoy the crisp picture, if you sit further out, the picture looks increasingly dull. This is typical for the VA panels used. The alternative IPS technology, on the other hand, has stable viewing angles, but shows much flatter images with a lower contrast. Thanks to 100 to 120 Hertz, contours remain sharp and clear even in fast movements, gamers are happy about a snappier gaming experience. The Sony does not slow down the gaming fun with annoying video delays, the latency in the test at 60 Hertz was an uncritical 18 milliseconds, with 120 Hertz playback it is halved again. The Sony X85J showed superior performance in the color test. They are natural and unadulterated, and the deviations determined by measurement remained in the absolutely uncritical range (Delta E 2.1). The Sony covers the normal TV color spectrum very correctly, and at least 92 percent of the larger HDR color space. This is really good for the price range, the somewhat pale green is hardly noticeable in practice.
The best picture settings for the Sony X85J
Typical for Sony televisions: The picture is well preset ex works, the most natural colors and a perfect brightness gradation are in the user picture mode . It is very easy to reach by pressing the gear button on the remote control in the quick menu, which also allows you to quickly switch to suitable modes for gaming and photos. If an HDR film is running, the Sony conveniently switches to HDR users independently . To the left of the picture mode, you can go to the detailed picture settings in the quick menu. The light sensor is activated there ex works . You can leave it that way, the television reduces the picture brightness significantly in the dark room, but not with HDR films . You should definitely switch off below Advanced Contrast Enhancer . It drowns out details in dark areas of the image. In the Clarity submenu , random noise reduces annoying rustling , so the automatic setting is the best choice. In the Motion submenu , you can set whether and to what extent the television should smooth out jerky movements. In the automatic setting of Motionflow , it shows them smoothly and without interference in TV programs. In cinema films, the jerking appears less severe than unprocessed, without ironing out the cinematic effect. In the user setting and smoothness at level 2, movements run smoothly.
Sony improves the sound at the push of a button
Tuning is also possible – and necessary – for the sound of the Sony television. In the test, the X85J sounded nasally distorted and thin in the factory settings. This is very easy to counteract. The automatic acoustic calibration can be found in the settings in the submenu Sound – sounds complicated, but only requires a few confirmations with the remote control. The TV will then play a series of short test tones. Using the microphone in the remote control, he determines the actual sound result and adjusts the playback accordingly. The result was convincing in the test, the nasal and hard coloring disappeared. Of course, the calibration can’t do magic, so the basses are absent and the trebles are a bit occupied – there are only two small speakers in the bottom of the TV. Connection to an external system is therefore recommended. It’s a good thing that the two feet of the Sony, with a height of seven centimetres, have enough space for common Create soundbars , thanks to the 1.20 meter distance between the two, it can also be a long bar. Should the television stand on a sound deck or on a smaller piece of furniture? That’s not a problem, for this purpose the feet can be mounted further inwards with a distance of 48 centimeters.
Connections with snags in the details
At first glance, the rear connector panel is pleasing with its lavish equipment and clear labeling. The snags are in the details: for soundbars, for example, one of the four HDMI ports is also used for the audio output (eARC, enhanced Audio Return Channel). However, it is also one of the two inputs that create 4K resolution with up to 120 Hertz according to HDMI 2.1 . Gamers need them for the new game consoles. So if you have the Sony PlayStation 5 (see on Amazon) and the Xbox Series X (see on Amazon) at the same time connect and want to use with the highest possible resolution and frame rate, must find another way for the sound. The Sony offers three alternatives, all of which do not output Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound: optical digital output, headphone output and Bluetooth. Small consolation: This connection dilemma is widespread, only a few very expensive televisions circumvent it by allowing all four HDMI inputs 120 Hertz. Another shortcoming: When connecting the new consoles, the Sony offers the choice between a high frame rate or the HDR process Dolby Vision. 120 Hertz is the better decision. Then the dynamic contrast adjustment of Dolby Vision is missing in HDR games. However, if you adjust the HDR screen adjustment in the Xbox and PlayStation settings, you will still achieve a brilliant HDR result.
With recording, but without timeshift
The rest of the equipment corresponds to the current standard of televisions in this price range: TV reception via cable, satellite and antenna, a hard drive can be connected for TV recordings. The recording programming is easy with the program preview on the screen, especially since it doesn’t get annoying with long loading times. Because only one receiver is installed for each of the three reception paths, no other program can run on the screen during a TV recording. Sony also dispenses with the practical timeshift function, with which a running program can be paused and watched from the hard drive with a time delay.
Android with Google TV and countless apps
The X85J does not show any weaknesses when it comes to smart functions: Sony uses Android as the TV operating system in combination with the comparatively new Google TV user interface. The apps with their logos take a back seat, with recommendations for TV programs and streams in the foreground. This may seem unusual at first, but over time you will find your way around. The Google Assistant is accessible with the microphone in the remote control and helps to search for specific TV channels, films and YouTube clips. The apps of the popular streaming providers from Apple to Netzkino and Sky Ticket are already installed or quickly downloaded from the Google Play Store, the operation worked quickly and without fuss in the test. The Chromecast function is typical of Android TVs: the playback of Internet streams can be redirected from the smartphone to the television. Apple users can also stream photos and videos from their mobile device to the Sony screen via AirPlay .
With its technical equipment, the Sony Bravia X85J is probably unique in its price range: At the time of testing, the KD-65X85J cost less than 1,000 euros, but there are up to 120 Hertz for the LCD screen and for two HDMI inputs. They accept variable frame rates and are therefore perfectly suited for the new game consoles. The X85J also liked the good image quality with natural colors and high brightness reserves with good contrast. Given the price, it’s no wonder that the sound only satisfies basic needs. Thanks to the Android operating system including Google TV, the Sony is up to date, an additional streaming device is not required here. Competitors in the same price range often only have an HDMI 2.1 input for 4K to 120 Hertz, or they can Contrast and color fidelity can’t keep up. This makes the X85J practically without alternative for gamers, and sports fans also get their money’s worth with the 100 Hertz image.
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