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A Review of the Sony XBR65X800B 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz Smart LED TV

by on August 25, 2015
Details
 
Manufacture
Overview

The Sony XBR65X800B was released to the public in January of 2015 but in terms of its overall specs and features, this much more of a 2014 4K TV from the company than one of its 2015 X850C models.

Nonetheless, this doesn’t stop the model from being one excellent piece of highly affordable 4K UHD home entertainment technology. While definitely not as beefed up with high end specs as many newer Sony models, the XBR65X800B offers an excellent quality of display, complete and up to date connectivity features and a robust design with a wonderfully minimalist profile. Sony is famous for its extremely beefy looking 4K TVs, which come with giant built-in side-mounted speakers and completely forego ultra-thin screen design. However, with the XBR65X800B, the company went in the opposite direction and created a model that might appeal heavily to users who prefer Sony’s brand but want the minimalism normally found in Samsung and LG 4K TVs.

Finally, the XBR65X800B lacks only a few minor specs and one major spec that are found in its almost identical but slightly more expensive cousin the 2015 XBR55X850B and other newer models. Thus if you want a high quality 4K experience with an excellent 4K starter TV, this model is still a very solid choice.

The Good

Sony’s 4K TVs are rarely weak in terms of their features and display technology. For the most part, you’re guaranteed at least a very decent viewing experience for the money you spend. In the case of the XBR65X800B, this isn’t the case. The TV delivers what is arguably an excellent visual delivery for its price.

For starters, the XBR65X800B comes with a superb level of 4K ultra HD rendering that really delivers on refined details when used with native 4K content. We’ve found this to be a solid characteristic of Sony’s TVs across a wide range of models; they don’t just deliver 4K display, they do so with a superior level of vibrancy, clarity and contrast when compared with TVs from most other brands in their specific class. Thus, the XBR65X800B’s display just looks better than a comparable Vizio or Sharp display does despite the same resolution and similar pricing.

However, if this isn’t enough, the XBR65X800B also includes Sony’s own particularly powerful HD upscaling engine, which is considered by many to be one of the best on the market. Thus, with this model, Full HD content looks remarkably like native 4K content and even 720p HD content and 480p SD content look sharper than they normally would.

If you use the XBR65X800B to view Blu-ray HD video content, the upscaling given to it will actually even look better than native 4K does from a streamed source, so as far as getting content that looks like 4K even if it’s not formally so), you have plenty of HD options available with the XBR65X800B. The 55 inch screen on this model only makes upscaled content look better, since distinguishing easily between native 4K and Full HD on a screen of 60 inch TV or less is only possible from very close viewing range.

Finally, we love the connectivity package in the X800B. This model delivers on connectivity specs as well as any newer and much pricier Sony UHD model. Thus, despite this being what would be considered a budget TV by Sony standards, Full access to just about all online and set-top ultra HD media sources is guaranteed. There is also a full web browser and all needed HDMI 2.0 ports with full HEVC/VP9 and HDCP 2.2 content copy protection integrated into them are present.

Check the Price of Sony XBR65X800B 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz Smart LED TV (2014 Model) on Amazon:

4.7 - 53 Reviews

The bad

On the other hand, Sony’s X800B series of 4K TVs is certainly not the best that the manufacturer has to offer. The XBR65X800B is an excellent piece of home entertainment hardware but it lacks some of the most impressive technologies offered by Sony’s newer 4K TVs.

First of all, this model lacks the truly impressive Triluminous Display technology that all Sony TVs started to come with as of 2015 (and the company’s higher end 2014 TVs had it too). Triluminous Display is essentially the quantum dot nano crystal film technology also found in Samsung’s SUHD JS8500 4K TVs and by adding a layer of light-polarizing molecular crystals below an LCD screen, these nano crystals dramatically enhance the realism and vibrancy of on-screen colors. The difference between the XBR65X800B and its almost identical cousin the X850B is mainly found in this, the exclusion of quantum dot color in the former.

Secondly, Sony’s X800B lacks the 3D viewing technology offered by higher end 2014 and 2015 models by the manufacturer. This may not be a major deficiency to some users who couldn’t care less about 3DTV but buyers who have kids and want to wow them a bit more with home-based 3D are better off looking for a different model, with the X850B being the next most affordable TV with 3D included, at least in the Sony line.

Finally, while this may not exactly be a negative considering this is after all an older model, the X800B doesn’t come with Sony’s far superior 2015 Android TV-based operating system. Instead, it features the slightly older and less efficient Sony Entertainment Network 2014 Smart TV platform. While this is still a great Smart TV OS, Android TV definitely beats it in terms of user friendliness.

Final Thoughts

We definitely recommend the XBR65X800B. It may not be the best that Sony has to offer but it’s still and excellent start 4K TV from a superb brand. Furthermore, its connectivity package and general compatibility with a wide range of high quality 4K and general media content is almost as good as it gets. The price of the XBR65X800B is also very reasonable at well below $2000.

Specs

Screen size: 65 diagonal inches
Smart TV: Yes
HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
Refresh Rate: 120Hz native refresh rate
Screen Lighting: Edge-lit LED backlighting with Local dimming
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels 4k UHD
Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
Remotes: Sony touch pad remote, conventional button remote and iPhone App remote
Connectivity: 4 HDMI 2.0 ports, 3 USB ports, Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, MHL PC interface, 1x analog/digital combo
Sound: 2 x main channel speaker - built-in - 10 Watt with S-FORCE Front Surround Sound
Dynamic Contrast Ratio: over 1 million
TV weight with stand: 72.09 lbs
Dimensions: 60.9 x 37.5 x 7.8 inches with stand

Highlights

Let’s start with the Smart TV features of the XBR65X800B. While this model doesn’t come with the even better Smart TV platform with Android TV found in Sony’s newest 4K models, you’re still getting a great OS and smart platform from Sony’s 2014 TVs.

Powered by a dual core processor, the Sony Entertainment Network 2014 smart TV system offers full web browsing, access to the latest 4K apps like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and of course also access to the Sony Entertainment Network and its selections of 4K content. Also interesting and rather unique is the fact that this TV, like so many other Sony models, offers access to PlayStation Now, for enjoying yourself with PS3 games without the need for a console. You only need to get your hands on a DualShock controller, which is sold separately unfortunately. In addition to this, some 300 different content app services are available on the X800B, for streaming wireless access to 4K videos, or a much broader selection of HD content from sites like Hulu Plus, YouTube (which also offers 4K video), Pandora and many others.

Furthermore, if you really want a maximal 4K content access experience, the 65X800B is fully compatible with the Sony FMP X10 4K media player, which is sold separately for just under $700. This is a bit of a steep price but the X10 does deliver access to what is arguably the single largest library of 4K content in the world, with hundreds of movie, TV show and documentary titles to choose from in the media player, for rental or purchase. With its HDMI 2.0 ports and HDCP 2.2 content copy protection, the X800B can deliver content from the X10 or any other external media player at a full 60Hz.

Finally, for watching fast-action movie and sportscast sequences, the X800B comes with Sony’s Refresh Rate Technology, which takes the native 120Hz refresh rate of the screen and enhances it to a simulated 240Hz. The effect can be a bit odd on some types of slow-paced content but it’s great for football games and heavy movie action.

Visual Specs

The 65X800B features some surprisingly robust visual specs. Contrast looks great on this TV and color vibrancy is definitely above average for a regular LED/LCD TV. Because this model doesn’t feature Triluminous Display and its quantum dot color enhancing filter technology, you won’t get the same level of deep rich colors or as good a reproduction of difficult to simulate colors like aqua blues, emerald greens and red shades as that found in the top-shelf Sony 4K models for this year. However, what you do get is better than average and very solid color that will leave most normal HDTVs in the dust and bets out many conventional 4K TVs from Panasonic, Sharp and even LG with its quality. In fact, the X800B delivers color reproduction only slightly inferior to that of its higher end cousins the 900B and 950B, which do come with Triluminous technology. In others words, the lack of Triluminous is only a minor dent here and it’s compensated for by Sony’s high quality conventional color reproduction technology.

Another visual spec that the XBR65X800B lacks is Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range technology for sharper, broader levels of contrast through a higher peak brightness and deeper blacks. This is more of a high-end feature and its absence does create a level of contrast that’s not as defined as it could be. However, like we said, for most users, especially those just starting out with 4K TVs, the X800Bs native contrast will look more than good enough.

As for side-angle viewing, this is an area in which the X800B does suffer somewhat. Lacking the IPS panel display technology of higher-end models in Sony’s line and among other brands, the X800B quickly loses both color vibrancy and contrast variation at angles of more than 40 degrees. Overall dimming quickly becomes apparent beyond this range.

Connectivity

In terms of connectivity, the 65X800B offers almost all of the same specs as its high-end and newer cousins. This is a TV that has been built with full access to the latest online content and external media device video in mind, partly because Sony itself owns or offers sources from both.

Four HDMI 2.0 ports give you more than enough slots for hopping up external media players, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and even PC GPUs if you happen to own one of Nvidia’s newer graphics cards, which can connect via HDMI 2.0 to a PC monitor or TV screen. Furthermore, all of the HDMI ports offer HDCP 2.2 content copy protection while two of them offers MHL 3.0 and MHL 2.1 input capability.

To top things off with its physical connectivity ports, the 65X800B offers 3 USB 2.0 slots, an Ethernet input and connections for digital optical audio, analog audio and a subwoofer output.

Finally, the SEC Smart TV platform of the 65X800B is fully capable of connecting to the wider web and comes with built-in 4K apps like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, both of which offer 4K video streams. You can also stream video from YouTube and rent movies or shows in 4K from Sony’s Video Unlimited UHD service. This last content option offers an enormous selection of 4K content but is only available to buyers of Sony’s FMP-X10 4K media player box.

Pricing

The XBR65X800B from Sony is selling on Amazon right now for $1,798.00. Not the most affordable 4K TV on the market but still a great deal for the specs, picture quality and connectivity options it offers. The 55 inch model is even cheaper at $1,098. This is last years model, we suggest checking out the Sony XBR49X830C or the larger Samsung UN50JU7100.

Check the Price of Sony XBR65X800B 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz Smart LED TV (2014 Model) on Amazon:

4.7 - 53 Reviews

Not so Great

To summarize quickly, the X800B TV suffers from less than maximal contrast thanks to a lack of X-tended Dynamic Range technology, it comes with no Triluminous Display and its dual-core processor is not as powerful as we’d like. A Quad-core option would have been better for eliminating some minor issues of responsiveness when using the Smart TV platform. Finally, this TV offers very weak off-center viewing quality.

Positives

• Excellent picture quality
• Great color reproduction
• Affordable price
• Superb connectivity
• Nice minimalist design

Negatives

• No Triluminous Display
• No X-tended Dynamic Range
• Poor off-angle viewing
• No 3D capability

Editor Rating
 
Features
B+

 
Quality
A-

 
User Friendliness
A

 
Connectivity
A+

 
Price
A-

Total Score
A-

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User Rating
 
Features
C

 
Quality
A-

 
User Friendliness
B

 
Connectivity
B

 
Price
C+

User Score
17 ratings
B-

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Bottom Line
 

Despite its assorted deficiencies against the next levels of Sony 4K TVs, the XBR65X800B holds its own surprisingly well and delivers good to great characteristics on visual specs, connectivity, color and user friendliness. We still recommend this TV.

Check the Price of Sony XBR65X800B 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz Smart LED TV (2014 Model) on Amazon:

4.7 - 53 Reviews

 
2 comments
 
Leave a reply »

 
  • Raymond
    September 30, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Stephen,

    I’m trying to decide between the Sony XBR49X800D and Vizio M50-D1. I’m trying to get one of these TVs for the upcoming Playstation 4 Pro. I see they both got equal review scores on this website (great reviews by the way). Which one would you recommend and why? I’d love to know which TV offers the best HDR quality, thank you!

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      October 3, 2016 at 8:47 am

      Hey there Raymond. The Vizio M-Series 2016 models are indeed great 4K TVs and they offer HDR support for content metadata but their actual display specs don’t cover HDR color specs for wide color gamut and they also lack 10-bit color support. The Sony X800D on the other hand covers both of these so it definitely offers the superior level of HDR.

      However, the M-Series model is the better and more responsive 4K TV for console gaming with a much lower input lag that’s a full third less than that of the 33 milliseconds of the X800D. Also, the M-Series delivers excellent local dimming, which the Sony TV lacks.

      Basically as long as full HDR color isn’t a major issue for you, go for the Vizio TV, it’s the better gaming set.

      Reply

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