The Sony KD-50X85K (hereafter referred to as 50X85K for simplicity) is a 50-inch LCD TV with a resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels. During the test, it was running software version 6.5942.0698EUA.
The 50X85K shares both the styling and the main design principles with the 43X85K model.
Below are the most important features of the TV design:
- back panel: plastic,
- Electronics cover: none (integrated in rear panel),
- Frame around the screen: plastic,
- frame width: approx. 5 mm,
- feet: metal (press-fit, no screws),
- Leg spacing (max.): 750 mm,
- clearance: 67 mm,
- Slots: left,
- remote control 1: (RMF-TX800U) – plastic, with reduced number of buttons, without backlight,
- remote control 2: plastic, traditional, without backlight.
Image quality Sony 50X85K
The Sony 50X85K uses VA type liquid crystal display. The advantage of this type of display is the contrast – higher than in IPS/ADS matrices. The disadvantage – color degradation at an angle.
The thermogram showed that direct illumination was used (hence the thicker casing).
The white spectrogram indicates the use of PSF/KSF phosphors (also known as TriGain) – these are responsible for the characteristic, highly saturated red in many Sony TVs.
This solution is quite common in TVs from brands other than Korean, and besides Sony, TCL, Philips or Panasonic also use it.
In the noticeably cooled (i.e., having an excess of blue) native mode (6730K), the average color reproduction error was a z 3.7, which is slightly above the threshold of perception.
Such a result was a bit of a surprise to me, although from testing previous Sony models (also from 2021) I knew well where to look for the culprits. As I expected, the culprits for the increased color reproduction errors were ZKK (Advanced Contrast Enhancement) and too dark brightness characteristics (average gamma almost 2.5 instead of 2.4). After disabling ZKK and changing the “gamma” option from default “-2” to “-1” I got the following result:
As you can see, it was worth it: the average color reproduction error dropped from 3.7 to 1.6 and that without any calibration.
As with the 43-inch model, the 100- and 80-percent reds were a tad too intense, but fortunately saturation was just right at other levels.
Further improvement could be achieved if only by calibrating the white balance itself, which would reduce the errors even to a level close to 1.0.
At an angle, the colors darken and fade. Please also note the visible vignetting in the corners. Although when testing the 43X81K I was pleased to see that this problem has been reduced, as you can see in the 50X85K (and also in the 43X85K), this phenomenon is still visible.
“How annoying is that in practice?” – you’ll ask. It depends on your point of view. For someone who expects the TV they bought to be perfect, this will certainly be unacceptable. On the other hand, I personally was not bothered by it either during testing or while watching. I hope Sony will do something about it at some point, especially since some rivals don’t have problems with it (even in cheaper and lower-end TVs).
Wide range of colours
The UHDA-P3 space coverage (CIExy) was as high as 92%, which is a good result (incidentally, the same as in the 43X85K).
In HDR mode (with MaxCLL and MaxFALL equal to 1000 and 400 cd/m^2, respectively), the color reproduction errors were at the lower end of the average error range (3.9 on average).
This is, in my opinion, a pretty good result considering the class of the TV.
Blackness and contrast
Thanks to the VA-type LCD matrix the ANSI contrast ratio was 3112:1, which is of course better than in TVs with IPS/ADS matrices, but rather strongly average for a VA matrix. Despite that it will guarantee dark blacks on SDR material, as you can see below in my standard scene with the spaceship (brightness 05/50).
When watching HDR content, blacks will obviously be brighter, and that’s because of the automatic backlight maximization (to a 50/50 value) required in this mode. Here’s how a scene from the movie The Revenant (The Revenant, 2015, 4K HDR10) turned out:
Activating the “Advanced Contrast Enhancement” (ZZK) option will deepen the blacks, but at the cost of a decrease in maximum brightness (something for something). Unfortunately, there is no ideal setting here. Nevertheless, from a technical point of view, there’s no doubt that ZZK (as a cheap trick) distorts the brightness curve, and that’s why I recommend turning it off.
And a few final comments:
- The factory black level was well set (50),
- The TV does not use dynamic global dimming,
- The TV has a tendency to lose some of the bright details – the whites are factory spiked, and the “contrast” reduction hardly helps.
While it is inferior to the Bravia 43X85K in terms of contrast, the Sony 50X85K will still perform well in a home theater setting, especially on SDR content, thanks to its VA matrix.
In the native mode on the 10% board, the maximum luminance was stable at 496 cd/m^2 after three minutes of measurement. This is definitely above average and was measured when the ZZK function was disabled.
For the curious: turning on ZZK will deepen (i.e. darken) the blacks, but it will also make the maximum brightness in HDR mode drop by 55 cd/m^2.
The Sony 50X85K is equipped with a 120Hz LCD matrix. Below are the results of motion sharpness (dynamic resolution) measurements:
- At the factory setting of the custom mode, the sharpness of moving pictures was only 150 lines (at 1080 max., TVL);
- At smoothness=1 + clarity=1 the sharpness increases to 450-500 lines (although the image is not as clear as in the best rivals);
- with smoothness=2 + clarity=1 sharpness increases to 500-550 lines, but at the cost of additional motion smoothness, which may not suit all users (I admit that I don’t like it and prefer g1/c1);
- The phenomenon of dirty screen (DSE) was very small (bravo!);
- the streaking was low.
The Bravia 50X85K has a motion smoothing function. The dependence of the degree of motion smoothing on the selected option is shown in the table below:
- Off – No smoothing,
- Auto – large liquefaction,
- Custom – adjustable smoothing (“smoothness” option).
- Rivals have more degrees of motion smoothing (Sony, do something about it, please);
- The film mode must be set to large for the motion smoothing function to be active.
Since in terms of sharpness of moving images the Sony 50X85K has to acknowledge the superiority of its 43-inch relative from the same series, for the motion reproduction it receives from me a rating of sufficient with plus (in the old, “only right” scale of 2-5).
The Sony 50X85K has two wideband drivers radiating sound downward.
I perceived the sound as almost identical to that of the 43X85K. The dominant treble and midrange give a bit of imbalance, but the situation can be improved with the equalizer. The bass was present – although light and delicate, but fortunately devoid of artificial boost typical for some rivals (especially Korean). When watching news and current affairs programs (for which this TV is very well suited) it is worth using the “dialogue equalizer” function, which works effectively and is useful. For music and demanding movies, however, a good soundtrack will be essential.
Sony 50X85K smart TV features
I’d like to point out that the Bravia 50X85K uses last year’s “BRAVIA 4K VH21” hardware platform, which means that the functionality based on it will not be significantly different from last year’s. In short, the X85K series TVs are an evolution, not a revolution, from the 2021 X85J.
The Sony 50X85K was running Android version 10, and the system was fast and stable with no significant issues. Although the system can be found in many TVs from different brands, Sony’s Android has a few special features:
- has some interesting additions like the extremely useful quick settings;
- It also has some strange shortcomings, such as the inability to change the speed of content playback in the YouTube application (I must admit that I really appreciate this feature and its absence in the Bravo).
During everyday use it is worth remembering not to issue any commands from the remote control after waking up the TV from standby and to give it a few dozen seconds to load all the necessary programs in the background, thus avoiding unnecessary jams and delays.
Here’s how the availability of video streaming apps looks:
- Apple TV
- HBO Max
- Polsat Box Go
- Polsat Go
- Prime Video
- TVP VOD
Below are music streaming apps:
As with the 43X85K and 2021 models, the factory media player is still underpowered and simply poor software: it takes a very long time to load a list of files from USB when there are many of them. In addition, it can stutter during playback and sometimes even just hangs.
Although the standard player has some unique features (such as sorting files from a network drive), I recommend installing an additional application of this type (such as VLC or similar).
Connectors and interfaces
- HDMI 1 – 2.0
- HDMI 2 – 2.0
- HDMI 3 – 2.1 eARC
- HDMI 4 – 2.1
- USB – 2
- Ethernet – 1
- Optyczne – 1
- Słuchawkowe – 0
- Bluetooth – no
- Wi-Fi – yes
And here’s how the TV presents to devices connected to HDMI port 3 (when Dolby Vision enhanced is enabled):
Similarly to the 43X85K, the tested 50X85K model is also unable to show full 4K resolution on a 120 Hz signal (it shows full at 60 Hz). It’s also worth noting that in the 50X85K (and many other TVs from this brand) HDMI 2.1 and Dolby Vision are mutually exclusive – you can have support for one or the other, but never both at the same time. In other words, playback of Dolby Vision content is of course possible, but on a Dolby Vision signal the chip responsible for HDMI works at most in 2.0 mode. It’s a bit of a shame.
Parameters according to the manufacturer:
- type of display – LCD
- diagonal (inches) – 50
- shape of the display – flat
- maximum resolution – 3840 × 2160
- TV tuners – DVB-C, DVB-T2, DVB-S2
Measured parameters (factory settings)
- ANSI(x:1) contrast – 3112 : 1
- average color error dE2000 (BT709) – 3.7
- UHDA-P3 space coverage (%) – 92
- input lag (ms) – 14.7
It is worth noting that:
- The higher the contrast ratio, the better,
- An average colour error of less than 3.0 is a very good result, and if it is less than 1.0 it is an excellent result; generally the less, the better,
- The greater the coverage of the UHDA-P3 space, the more saturated and thus more vivid and attractive the colours.
Although it has to acknowledge the superiority of its 43-inch sister model in terms of contrast and sharpness of moving images, the 50-inch Bravia X85K series is still a successful TV. However, it’s worth making a few changes to the factory settings described in our review to enjoy even better colour reproduction and higher brightness in HDR mode without the extra cost of calibration. I also recommend it, though not as strong as the 43-inch model.
- A tendency to lose detail in lights in some scenes,
- No 4K resolution at 120 Hz,
- Vignetting in the corners (slight),
- YouTube without playback speed controls,
- too few degrees of traffic flow,
- Stand. multim. play does not allow to repeat some files,
- No pre-defined sound modes,
- no headphone jack.
- Clear, crisp, good quality image,
- Great, vivid, attractive colors (after a few adjustments described in the review),
- Above-average brightness in HDR mode,
- Pretty good blacks and contrast (in SDR mode),
- Low colour degradation at an angle for a VA matrix,
- traffic flow,
- lots of apps and rich multimedia,
- easy operation (including useful quick settings),
- uniquely sort the contents of network drives,
- two remote controls.