Sony X700D and X750D Review: 4K HDR (XBR49X700D, XBR55X700D, XBR65X750D)
Sony’s X750D 65 inch 4K TV and X700D 55 and 49 inch models are more or less the same 4K TV, with the main difference between them being that the 65 inch X750D offers a larger 120Hz native refresh rate white the two smaller X700D TVs deliver only 60Hz. This does of course affect performance for motion specs between the three TVs but in all major display performance characteristics, they’re mostly the same. The specific 4K TV we’re reviewing here however is the 65 inch X750D model with 120Hz native refresh rate.
With that said, the X750D from Sony is near the bottom of their 2016 4K UHD offerings in terms of price and, in some ways quality as well unfortunately. This TV is a bit of a puzzle because it does offer some particularly excellent features while also failing at a few other core specs among those which are becoming essential for any decent 2016 4K TV (like HDR color) and specs which should be essential for any decent 4K TV of any kind (like decent contrast and black level). On the other hand, the X750D does come with some of Sony’s great general technologies for high quality smart TV functionality, superb motion control specs in true Sony style and very good viewing angles due to its IPS panel design (which is partly responsible for this model’s terrible contrast ratio).
In basic terms, the X750D is a slightly above-average performer as a newer 4K TV and though Sony has claimed that this model is an “HDR TV”, the label isn’t even worth its name in this case because not only does the X750D fail to deliver HDR-level contrast by any decent standard, it also lacks the wide color gamut and 10-bit color of its similarly priced (to the smaller X700D versions of the X750D) but considerably better cousin the X800D, which actually offers much better value despite the same price.
While we’d consider the X750D to be roughly on par with LG’s cheaper 4K LCD TVs from 2015 and even 2016 in terms of overall value and quality (not very good by 4K TV standards), this model does have a few things working well in its favor, and in one particular specs category, it’s a downright excellent performer.
First, what the X750D absolutely does best and nearly excels at is its motion control performance. The 65 inch model we’re reviewing here comes with a native 120Hz refresh rate which is twice that of the smaller 49 and 55 inch X700D models which are otherwise identical in their specs, so at least in this one area, the XBR65X750D model performs differently (and probably better) than the other two television models which are otherwise also being covered in this review as far as other major display specs go. As a 120Hz 4k TV model, the X750D offers up a range of super motion control specs which allow it to deliver excellent levels of very low motion blur, some great motion interpolation technology for both 30Hz, and 60Hz 4K content and it also offers the added benefit of excellent, nearly perfect 24p content support for certain types of streamed and hard media movies. In this last regard, the 750D delivers pretty much completely judder-free performance that we definitely respect. None of this is to say that a 60Hz 4K TV like the X800D or the X700D models can’t also deliver great motion performance if it has been designed well but as a general rule, 120Hz TVs handle motion and especially fast-paced movie/sports content motion better than their 60Hz cousins. Essentially, its motion handling is the X750D’s single most robust quality.
With that said, the X750D also offers up a level of picture quality which is not bad. We won’t call it great but it’s good enough for a cheaper start 4K TV. There is no wide color gamut or 10-bit color available in the 750D but despite these major deficiencies for a so-called HDR 4K TV, this model delivers decent movie and TV viewing performance. What also helps it along is the superb quality of Sony’s upscaling engine in the company’s X1 processor engine which comes in all of their newer 4K TVs. SD content, 720p content and Full HD content all scale up in sharpness quite nicely while native 4K UHD video sources look wonderfully sharp, even if they are weakened by the 750D’s notoriously low contrast ratio. One major reason for said low contrast is this model’s IPS display technology. Now, as a general rule, IPS panels in 4K TVs generally produce black levels and contrast ratios which are far below the quality of those found in VA (Vertical Alignment) panel 4K TVs and this can’t really be held against IPS by itself since it’s a known part of the display type’s design and as compensation for the low contrast, IPS does offer one benefit that VA panels lack. This is the extremely wide viewing angles it delivers. In the X750D and its X700D cousins, they’re superb, sitting at a full 55 degrees to each side of center. This is twice the viewing angle you’ll get with VA TV designs such as those of Samsung's 2016 current TVs if you want to maintain picture clarity and color accuracy.
Moving along, we’ve stated that the X750D doesn’t offer the wide color gamut and 10-bit color technologies of all high quality HDR TVs. This is indeed the case and it affects color space coverage and color vibrancy in this model but it doesn’t take away from the X750D’s color accuracy, which is quite good. Right out of the box, the TV delivers a very good level of white balance and very decently accurate colors which most viewers with a less discerning eye won’t even need to calibrate before enjoying their favorite movie and TV content. We’ll get into color details about gamma and Delta E further below in our visual specs section but sufficed to say for now that the X750D is a decent color performer for a standard 8-bit SDR 4K TV, with an 8-bit color gradient that displays vibrantly even if color banding between different gradations is visible.
Next, the inputs and connectivity specs of the X750D and X700D 4K TV models are very good. You get the standard roster of Sony’s advanced and robustly complete connectivity inputs and other specs while also getting some great performance from this TV as a 4K monitor and display for console gaming purposes. It’s decent 31 millisecond input lag is more than fast enough for most gamers and the X750D/700D models support assorted resolution/refresh rate combinations for 1080p at 60Hz, 4K at 30Hz, 4K at 60Hz, and all of these in Chroma 4:4:4 for use as PC monitors.
Finally, we love Sony’s 2016 version of their generally excellent Android TV platform in the X750D and X700D models. In these TVs, the platform is as good as it is in any other Sony 4K TV at any price range and this means superb connectivity options for web browsing and access to a wide range of apps as well as great ease-of-use and highly intuitive functionality.
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Just as there are more than a few good aspects to the X750D, there are also plenty of less than stellar characteristics to this 4K TV. Most importantly of all, the X750D is a terrible contrast and black level performer. This is probably its single biggest weakness and in this TV model, both specs are particularly bad in their nature. The TV’s contrast ratio sits at just a bit over 800:1 and this is bad even by IPS panel contrast standards. Even LG’s and Vizio’s mid-range IPS 4K TVs give contrast ratios of at least 1100:1. At a bit over 800:1, the X750D is probably the worst performing 4K TV we’ve reviewed in recent memory as far as contrast goes and as a result of this low contrast ratio, the TV is a very poor choice for watching anything in bright rooms and daylight conditions in particular. The black level in general is terrible in the X750D, with heavy light emission even in the deepest black level and an overall black uniformity which is laden with brightness and even a moderate degree of clouding.
Moving along, the X750D’s brightness is also far from ideal by the standards of 2016 4K LCD TVs. At a maximum of just over 350 cd/m2 even for a small 10% window, the 750D performers about as well as much older 2014 4K TVs tended to do and can be compared to a high performance 4K PC monitor in its brightness capacities. Neither of these comparisons make it a winner by 2016 standards and if you couple this low peak brightness to the terrible black level performance of the X750d, the result is a serious blow to this model’s quality as a decent home theater display.
Moving along, we’re disappointed by the lack of wide color gamut and 10-bit color in the X700D and X750D models. The similarly priced X800D managed to include both and as a result we consider it to be one of the better 2016 budget 4K TVs but Sony decided to skip thes crucial HDR specs in the X750D. Colors do look decent in this model but the lack of wide color gamut and having only 8-bit color do deeply affect performance, especially if you want to enjoy the X750D for watching some of the best and latest 4K Blu-ray content and streamed media in even a fraction of their full HDR glory.
Finally, the audio performance of the X750D is uniformly bad when stressed beyond the most moderate basics of sound volume. High volume creates serious audio distortion and you’re definitely going to need a sound bar or other external speaker array to make the most of your movie watching audio quality.
We should also note that the X7500D and X700D TVs do not offer either 3D technology of the passive or active kind and also don’t come with local dimming technology of any kind.
There are definitely favorable aspects to the X750D and by the standards of SDR 4K TV technology, this isn’t a bad model, with excellent motion control performance and the high quality of Android TV definitely going for it along with top-shelf connectivity specs. However, its display performance in terms of color and especially in terms of really poor contrast/black level performance both serve to make it a less than worthwhile purchase. You’ll get much better value for comparable prices by buying a Vizio P-Series model or in the case of the smaller X700D version of this line, substituting it with Sony’s X800D or some of Vizio’s excellent 2016 4K HDR TV models. We don’t really recommend the X750D or its X700D cousins.
• Screen size: 49 diagonal inches, 55 diagonal inches for the X700D variants and 65 diagonal inches for the X750D version
• Smart TV: Android TV with Apps and Full Web Browser
• HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
• VP9 Included. Yes
• HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
• HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
• Refresh Rate: 60Hz native refresh rate (XBR-49X700D, XBR-55X700D) 120Hz refresh (XBR-65X750D)
• Screen Lighting: Direct-lit LED backlighting
• Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
• Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
• Remotes: Sony button remote with voice recognition
• Connectivity: 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 Component, 1 composite, 1 Audio Out, 1 Digital Audio Out
• Sound: 10 W+10 W
• Contrast Ratio: 855:1
• Black Level maximum: 0.120 cd/m2
• 3D Technology: none
• TV dimensions (box):
• 43 inch: 27.76 x 42.44 x 6.22 inches.
• 49 inch: 30.71 x 47.76 x 6.65 inches
• Processor: 4K X-Reality Pro
While we really like Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range, or HDR capabilities with their brilliant colors and impressive brightness levels, even in the X750D, which lacks wide color gamut and 10-bit color, color accuracy and color performance are at least very good by SDR standards.
4K X-Reality PRO is another highlight of the X850D. It analyses each pixel, and using an image database, adds contrast, detail and texture to every single frame of your content, whether the source is broadcast TV to low quality video streaming. This is the feature most responsible with the superb Sony upscaling capacity found in this television despite its low price. Basically, the upscaling engine renders all content from native 4K UHD video on downwards in resolution as well as it does in any other major Sony 4K TV, even the flagship models.
Google’s Android operating system also features as a feather in the X850’s cap. It gives you unparalleled connectivity and access to content. It allows you to connect to the TV from mobile devices, stream content from Amazon Prime – with Netflix, Sony Ultra and Google Cast coming soon – and function as a gaming platform. The user-friendly platform also has a number of fun and useful tricks up its sleeve including voice control. Since the X750D and X700D models all feature the same essential 2016 version of Android TV that’s found in even the best of the other Sony 2016 4K TVs regardless of price, you’re getting the benefit of this smart TV platform at its best even in these otherwise average 4K TVs in terms of interactive and content access performance. Unfortunately however, the Sony button remote included with the X750D and X700D TVs comes without voice recognition technology, which is unfortunate.
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The Visual specs of the X750D and X700D models are their single biggest weakness in all regards except one which applies mainly to the X750D model in particular. Let’s go through these starting with color, moving to contrast, black level and brightness and then finishing off with motion handling.
In terms of color performance, the X750D and X700D TVs are pretty standard TVs in that thy don’t offer wide color gamut but do offer decent SDR 8-Bit color performance. Their color accuracy is not bad and for 8-bit TVs they generally perform well with out of the box Delta E of 3.91 and a Gamma of 2.09, which is decent though far from spectacular. Due to a lack of Wide Color Gamut, these models don’t come anywhere near covering the 90%+ of the DCI-P3 color space needed for HDR-level Wide Color Gamut but their coverage of 82% of the DCI space is okay for normal 4K content viewing in SDR formatting, and as far as this goes, the X750D and X700D models are above average SDR (as opposed to high dynamic range or HDR) performers.
Contrast, black level and peak brightness are the absolute weakest specs on the X700D and X750D TVs. Even by IPS TV standards, the 65X750D and 49 and 55X700D TVs offer really weak contrast ratios of 855 and 860 cd/m2 respectively, with a black level rating of 0.120 cd/m2. This is a terrible rating indeed and for some idea of how bad, compare it to the 0.019 cd/m2 black level and 5694:1 contrast ratio of Vizio’s 2016 P-Series 4K TV, which costs only a bit more than the 65 inch X750D model. Peak brightness in the X750D is also far from great. Sitting at 355 cd/m2, it’s about average by the standards of SDR 4K TVs and combined with the low contrast and overbright black performance, makes for a 4K TV series that’s particularly bad at performing in well-lit rooms, especially if there’s sunlight present.
Finally, there’s the motion performance of the X750D model in particular. In this case, due to its native 120Hz refresh rate, the X750D is in fact an excellent TV for motion specs. It’s motion blur control is great with a response time of just 9.9 milliseconds and its judder control for 24p content is downright superb. Additionally, the TV offers great motion interpolation for both 60fps and 30fps 4K video sources and upscaled non-4K video sources. The X700D models don’t offer these same specs due to their native 60Hz refresh rates, though we didn’t review them and can’t say their exact measurements with certainty. 60HZ TVs can however still be decent motion performers though they rarely deliver results as smooth as those of a native 120Hz TV panel.
The connectivity package of the X750D and X700D models is the same standard issue package of ports and other specs found in most or all major 2016 4K TVs. These model’s ports include both WiFi and the usual component of:
• 4 HDMI ports with HDMI 2.0a for 4K Q 60Hz 4:4:4 Chroma in ports 2 and 3.
• 3 USB 3.0 ports
• 1 Digital Optical Audio Port
• 1 Analog audio port for 3.5mm jacks
• 2 component In ports
• 1 composite in Port
• 1 Tuner
• I Ethernet slot
• 1 IR In port
The 65 inch X750D 4K TV sells on Amazon for a Price of $1,298.00, while the 49 inch X700D version retails for $649.00 and the 55 inch X700D for $798.00. These are mostly reasonable prices, especially for the two X700D versions but better 4K TVs which even include HDR can be bought for similar prices.
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3.3 - 20 Reviews
Quite simply, while the X750D and X700D TVs are slightly above average 4K TVs by the standards of SDR TVs, they suffer mainly from a total lack of HDR color specs, terrible contrast ratios, very por black performance, mediocre peak brightness and offer really weak built-in audio.
• Excellent motion handling performance
• Decent color performance
• Android TV is as great as ever
• Upscaling engine works nicely
• Affordably priced
• Very poor contrast
• Weak black performance
• No local dimming or SD technology
• No wide color gamut
• Poor speaker performance