We recently reviewed the Sony X80J (review) which brought with it good panel performance. The X80J however, does not run on Sony’s 2021 XR processor powering the likes of the X90J (review). The X80J also has HDMI 2.0 ports bringing with it YUV 422 HDR instead of RGB HDR found on the X90J which has HDMI 2.1. The Sony X85J does not have dimming zones like the X90J but has two HDMI 2.1. Confused? Well, don’t be as we will not only review the Sony X85J here but also help you understand how it stacks up against Sony’s X80J and X90J TVs. We will also try and answer questions like, does the X85J bridge the features gap between the X80J and X90J? Who is this TV right for? Read on and find out!
Sony X85J Specs at a glance
Panel Size: 85-inch (also available in 55, and 65-inch as well)
Panel Type: VA LED
Panel Resolution: 3840 x 2160 – 4K
Panel Refresh Rate: 120Hz
HDR 10 support: Yes
Dolby Vision Support: Yes
Weight (with stand): Approx. 44.5kgs
HDMI Ports: 4
USB Ports: 2
Speakers: 20W (Bass Reflex Speaker, X-Balanced Speaker)
Built-in storage: 16GB
Price: MRP: 6,99,900. Best Price: Rs 4,99,990
Sony X85J: Display and picture quality
Let’s kick things off with the most important thing about the TV, the black mirror. The 85-inch variant we have with us here has a VA panel and does not come with any dimming zones. The peak brightness of the TV is above 500 nits (close to 550 nits), and we found the TV to have a sustained brightness of about 400 nits. This makes the TV a lot brighter than the X80J but not as bright as the X90J.
The TV has a 4K resolution with support for popular HDR formats including Dolby Vision, HDR 10 and HLG. Under the hood, the TV has Sony’s 4K HDR X1 Processor, the same found on the X80J.
Sony X85J: 4K and HDR performance
Let’s kick things off with our Calman data and we found that without calibration, the TV has a delta error of about 10. The 2-point grayscale error was relatively low out of the box.
For real-world testing, we played our standard slew of content on this TV and realized that the panel is actually quite bright for content consumption. Even without local dimming, the contrast on the TV was good to ensure minimal blooming when consuming content in a pitch-dark room. Put simply, the content consumption experience of this TV was better than the X80J in a dark room but fell a tad short when compared to the X90J, putting the performance of this TV smack bang in the middle of the other two Sony TVs.
In a show like Our Planet which plays in Dolby Vision, we got some great colours and bright highlights when consuming content. Even dark sequence details in a show like Altered Carbon, another one in Dolby Vision, we got very good dark scene performance without loss in details. For both these shows, despite the lighting in the room, we left it on the Dolby Vision Bright preset for the best experience.
The interesting observation comes in shows like Jack Ryan and The Grand Tour which are in HDR 10. The Standard preset when watching these 2 shows, reproduces very good colours and brightness, albeit, with a slightly cool colour temperature. Switching to the Cinema preset made the content look slightly better with a warm tone, but reduced the brightness. When I switched the auto-brightness of the TV off, the brightness was as good as the Standard preset with good colour reproduction and a slightly warm colour temperature which is more accurate.
With some biased lighting in the room, content consumption was good with almost no blooming in dark sequences. While there was some slight blooming in dark sequences in a pitch-dark room, it was immediately eliminated with some bias lighting.
Sony X85J: FHD performance
Once again, just like the X80J, the Standard preset of the TV got the job done very well for SDR content consumption. It makes the content look rich, skin tones naturals and colours pop. In a movie like Spider-Man Homecoming, the reds and blues of Spider-Man’s suit look crisp and the web design in it looks well defined. The same for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation where we have a desert bike chase sequence, the skin tones look natural and while the Cinema preset makes things slightly warner and pleasing to the enthusiast, the mastering of the standard preset works so well, that you would be ok leaving it on the standard for almost all forms of content.
When we put out a poll asking you what TV preset you use to consume content, most of you said, you leave it on Standard. It looks like Sony is aware of this as their Standard preset looks very good for everyday SDR content consumption.
Sony X85J: Gaming performance
Thanks to the two HDMI 2.1 ports on the X85J, we get access to 4K at 120Hz. Sadly, like the X90J, we will get VRR as an update on the TV towards the end of 2021. Nonetheless, the fact that we get full RGB HDR on the PS5 is a treat on this TV. Just so you know, because of HDMI 2.0 on the X80J, you get YUV 422 HDR on the PS5 connected to the X80J.
We played our standard slew of games on this TV including Ghost of Tsushima: Directors Cut, Spider-Man: Miles Morales (review), Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart (review) and Dirt 5 (review). Needless to say, the experience of playing these games on the TV was sublime. From the soft yet punchy HDR of swinging towards the sun in Spider-Man to the bright desert race in Dirt 5 and even all the bright particle effects in Ratchet and Clank, this TV is a treat for gamers.
While your choice between the X85J and X90J depends on your budget and requirement, the X85J is one of the TVs you can consider if the X90J is out of reach for you, especially if gaming features are important.
To put things into perspective, as of writing this review the 55-inch Sony X80J is priced at Rs 94,990 while the 55-inch X85J is priced at Rs 1,19,990 and the 55-inch X90J is priced at Rs 1,49,990. These are all MOPs.
The 65-inch X80J is priced at Rs 1,34,990 and the 65-inch X85J is priced at Rs 1,69,990 while the 65-inch X90J is priced at 1,99,990. Once again these are MOPs. Hopefully, this will help you make a more informed decision of the price to performance.
Sony X85J: Audio performance
The X85J can produce a nice room-filling sound with good channel separation and clarity at moderate to loud volumes. The TV lacks a little bit of bass but the overall sound output is very good for everyday content consumption and also watching movies and playing games. The vocals are clear and I recommend going into the settings and switching on surround sound to get better channels expiration. The race at the 12-minute mark in Rady Player One is a great example of good channel separation and dynamic range.
At about 40-50 per cent, the speakers on this TV produce room-filling sound and unless you are looking for an immersive cinematic surround sound experience, can get the job done quite comfortably with the speakers on this TV.
Sony X85J: UI
The UI here is identical to what we saw on the X80J. You have the all-new Google TV UI with the same fluidity and the same convenience we saw on the X80J. To access the Google Play store, you still need to use Google Assistant. The “For You” tab is still missing from the Google TV UI, but that’s more of a Google TV thing than a Sony thing.
One thing to remember is that you should go into the settings and select the enhanced format for HDMI 3 and 4 to ensure you get 4K at 120Hz from the two HDMI 2.1 enabled ports. You can do this by going to Settings – Channel & Inputs – External Inputs – HDMI Signal Format. Here, select the enhanced format for the HDMI input.
Sony X85J: Remote control
The remote control is once again identical to what we got on the X90J and X80J. It has a slim candy bar form factor and textured back. You have OTT hotkeys for Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube along with playback controls. You also get the number pad and a dedicated button to bring up the Google Assistant. Overall, the remote is well built, functional and works well.
Sony X85J: Build and design
The X85J has a lot in common with the design of the X80J. It has the same two slim feet holding it in place and you get two clips that hook onto the feet for cable management. The back has a slightly textured finish and the TV has slim bezels all around the display. It is quite a well-built TV with the only downside being the slight wobble you get when you place this TV on a table.
The placement of the ports is pretty standard. They are all on the left side of the TV facing outwards. We have two USB ports, optical audio out, headphones port, AV port, four HDMI ports, ethernet port and a good old antenna.
Sony X85J: Bottom Line
Here’s answering the all-important question, should you buy the X85J? While we have reviewed the 85-inch variant of the TV, it is also available in 55 and 65-inch screen sizes. Your decision should be based on the features you are looking for and whether they are available in your budget. The X85J has a good bright panel for content consumption and even though it does not have local dimming, the darkroom performance of this TV is good with minimal blooming. A little bias light can help eliminate this as well. The viewing angles are good, but the colours start to shift at extreme angles. It has two HDMI 2.1 ports and supports 4K at 120Hz along with RGB HDR for gaming. Sadly, there are only two HDMI 2.1 ports of the four and VRR support will come via an update at the end of the year. If you are in the market for an HDMI 2.1 enabled LED TV that isn’t as expensive as the X90J, then the X85J can definitely be one to consider.