Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Sony X800H vs X800G vs X850G Review (XBR85X800H vs XBR85X850G; XBR75X800H vs XBR75X800G vs XBR75X850G; XBR65X800H vs XBR65X800G vs XBR65X850G)

Within each of the Sony X800H, X800G, and X850G series there are two different backlight variants, albeit neither has the LEDs evenly spaced across the back of the TV. Instead of a full-array backlight, the X800H, X800G, and X850G all have a row of LEDs placed either directly behind the screen, or at its edge. The direct-lit TVs in the X800H and X800G series are in the 55-inch class and above whereas the X850G series has only one direct-lit TV: the 85-inch class XBR85X850G. The remaining models are edge-lit (i.e. 43-inch and 49-inch class from either the X800H or X800G series, as well as the 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch class X850G TVs). Regardless of the LED placement, only frame dimming is supported on either the X800H, X800G or X850G. The lack of independently controlled dimming zones means that any black level improvements come at the expense of darkening of the entire image (including the highlights). Therefore, the X800H, X800G, and X850G cannot rely on hardware dimming in order to improve contrast ratio beyond what their panels can natively achieve. That being said, there are software technologies, such as Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, on the X800H, X800G, and X850G.

Sony X800H Sony X800G Sony X850G
43" 49" 55" 65" 75" 85" | 43" 49" 55" 65" 75" | 55" 65" 75" 85"
Power supply Ext. Built-in Ext. Built-in
Backlight Edge Direct Edge Direct Edge Direct
X1 Processor Yes No Yes
Object-based HDR
Yes No Yes
Refresh rate 60Hz 120Hz
Motionflow XR 240 XR 960
eARC No Yes
Dolby Atmos Yes No Yes
Dolby Vision Yes No Yes
HDMI Inputs 3 side, 1 bottom 4 side 2 side, 2 rear 3 side, 1 rear
USB ports 2 (side) 3 (side)
Acoustic Multi-Audio No Yes, 2 tweeters
X-balanced speaker No Yes No
Input Lag ~10ms ~33ms ~15ms

The X800H and X850G use the Sony X1 4K HDR Processor so they are able to perform object-based HDR remaster. Instead of following a global black-to-white contrast curve, this feature adjusts the contrast of individual objects by taking into account their specific color. Given that the X1 processor is not used by the X800G, the object-based HDR remaster cannot be performed by this TV. Neither of the three Sony TVs has a 14-bit processing capability, so they all omit the Smooth Gradation feature. This means that if the content you're watching has in-source posterization artifacts, the X800H, X800G, and X850G won't be able to remove them.

The X800H and X800G have a 60Hz native panel refresh rate, and Motionflow XR 240, which is their frame interpolation technology for generating extra frames between the original ones in order for the motion smoothness to be enhanced. There is also a black frame insertion for the purpose of reducing the type of motion blur caused by image persistence. The X850G, on the other hand, has a 120Hz native refresh rate, and Motionflow XR 960, which makes it more suitable for watching sports in comparison to the X800H or X800G. Furthermore, the X850G is able to show 24fps movies judder-free not only from blu-ray players that output 24Hz signal but also from 60Hz sources (progressive or interlaced scan type), or even from its internal streaming apps. The X800H and X800G, on the other hand, are only able to remove judder from 24fps movies when the source output is 24Hz. There is no difference in terms of the supported signals via HDMI between the X800H, X800G, or X850G mainly because the X850G, despite having a 120Hz refresh rate, doesn't support 1080p@120Hz. In other words, the three Sony TVs can accept up to only 60Hz signals (either 4K or 1080p resolution). VRR (Variable refresh Rate) is not supported either.

The eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) functionality is only present on the X850G whereas the X800H and X800G support the standard ARC on one of their HDMI inputs, meaning that these two Sony TVs, unlike the X850G, are not able to pass-trough Dolby TrueHD-encoded Dolby Atmos tracks from their internal apps to a compatible receiver or a soundbar. Considering that the X800H and X850G are able to decode Dolby Atmos, you can listen to such tracks directly via the TV's own sound system but due to the lack of dedicated height speakers on either the X800H or X850G, the effectiveness of a 3-dimensional sound field would be very limited. The X800H and X850G support Dolby Vision, which is an HDR format. Akin to supporting Dolby Atmos without overhead speakers, the X800H and X850G support Dolby Vision without the ability to boost the backlight in select areas, so the specular HDR highlights are not particularly impactful. It should be said, though, that Dolby Vision's scene-by-scene optimizations, in addition to selecting the optimal tone-mapping based on the TV's peak brightness, are especially useful for TVs with limited peak brightness such as the X800H or X850G. All three Sony TVs in this comparison are compatible HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) formats.

The 43-inch and 49-inch TVs from the X800H and X800G series use an external power adapter whereas the remaining models from either the X800H, X800G, or X850G have a built-in power supply. The X800H and X850G support Bluetooth Profile version 4.2 while the X800G: version 4.1. There are 4 HDMI inputs either TV from the X800H, X800G, or X850G series, albeit the placement is different. For example, the X800G has 2 side and 2 rear HDMI inputs which may be inconvenient in case of wall mounting your TV. For comparison, the X850G has only 1 rear HDMI input whereas the remaining 3 are side-facing. The X800H in the 55-inch class and above has the 4 HDMI inputs on the side, whereas the 43-inch and 49-inch X800H TVs have 3 side and 1 down-facing HDMI inputs. While the X800G and X850G have 3 USB ports each, there are only 2 USB ports on the X800H.

Even though the total audio power output is 20 Watts for all Sony TVs in this comparison, there are some significant differences in terms of speakers. For example, only the X800H uses the X-balanced speaker design for its full-range speakers (of the bass reflex variety) in the 55-inch class and above. The oval-like shape of the X-balanced speakers allows them to fit into a TV (e.g. X800H) which is slightly thinner than its predecessor (X800G) without making any compromises with the sound quality. Even though the X800G and X850G don't have the X-balanced speaker, they still use two Full Range drivers (Bass Reflex type), and so do the 43-inch and 49-inch X800H models. However, only the X850G has 2 sound-positioning tweeters so that high-frequency sounds can be precisely aligned with the action taking place on the screen. In contrast, the X800H and X800G lack the Acoustic Multi-Audio technology.


  1. Hi,
    What is your opinion between
    XBR85X950H and 86NANO90UNA

    1. Hi don,

      The major difference between the Sony XBR85X950H and LG 86NANO90UNA is that Sony has a VA-type of panel and LG: an IPS-type of panel. Normally, a VA-type of panel has (at least) 3x higher contrast ratio than an IPS panel but due to the presence of an optical layer (X-Wide Viewing Angle) on the Sony TV, the difference is only ~2x (still in favor of the Sony XBR85X950H). While they both have a full-array local dimming, the Sony TV exhibits more sizable improvement in the black level in comparison to the LG, thus making it more suitable for watching movies in a dark room, for example. The Sony XBR85X950H can also get brighter than the LG 86NANO90UNA (and the VA-type of panel that Sony has is also inherently less prone to backlight uniformity issues such as dirty screen effect), meaning that the Sony XBR85X950H has an advantage over the LG 86NANO90UNA under high ambient light conditions as well as with high-APL (Average Picture Level) content (i.e. the image is predominantly bright) as in hockey or football. While the optical layer on the Sony XBR85X950H does improve the viewing angles (for a VA-type of panel), it's not to a point that matches IPS-type of panel, so the LG 86NANO90UNA can provide more consistent picture quality off-axis. The LG 86NANO90UNA supports VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and HFR (High Frame Rate) (i.e. 4K @ 120Hz) via HDMI whereas the Sony XBR85X950H doesn't. The LG 86NANO90UNA is also 0.9 inches bigger diagonally.

      Hope that helps.

  2. Hi!
    I’m debating over the XBR85x800H and the XBR85X850G.

    2 stores offered me the same price for both.

    I’m planning on playing video games on it and watching sports (some movies obviously with the wife).

    I Checked all the details; especially about the VA panel of the 850G (85inch).

    But I can’t decide.

    1. Hi Thomas,

      Since you mentioned playing video games, the Sony XBR85X800H has slightly lower input lag compared to the XBR85X850G but the difference is less than 5ms, and the XBR85X850G already has quite low input lag (~15ms). When it comes to watching sports, however, the 120Hz native refresh rate of the Sony XBR85X850G provides a more meaningful advantage (especially with fast-paced sports) over the XBR85X800H which has a 60Hz native refresh rate. For watching movies, the XBR85X800H and XBR85X850G are on par.