Sony X810C Review – 4K Ultra HD Smart TV Series – (XBR55X810C, XBR65X810C)
We have to hand it to Sony, when it comes to creating budget-oriented 4K ultra HD TVs that still pack plenty of awesome punch, these guys are the experts from what we’ve seen so far. Even Samsung and Panasonic don’t usually quite reach Sony’s quality when it comes to ultra HD TV technology at a budget but with lots of bang.
The Sony XBR55X810C 4K Ultra HD Smart TV that we’re specifically reviewing here, along with its larger but otherwise essentially identical brother the XBR65X810C are both great examples of this Sony tendency towards quality and lower price in their 2015 4K models. The X810C in particular fits this classification wonderfully, with a very reasonable price and some superb overall specs across the board.
If you want solid connectivity, great picture quality, some fine apps access and excellent compatibility with most of the newest 4K UHD content on the market today, then the X810C is one of your prime candidates for a go-to 4K model TV and the 55 inch TV model offers not only some very reasonable display space but also comes at a price that’s low enough for almost any buyer’s budget. In our opinion, this is one of the better starter 4K TVs on the market today.
There’s plenty that’s good about this 4K UHD TV model and a solid look at the XBR55X810C and its big brother the XBR65X810C shows that Sony invested some solid specs and features into what is in fact something of a budget 4K UHD TV and far from the top of the Sony 2015 4K UHD television lineup.
For starters, the physical design of the X810C TVs is great. While these models lack Sony’s now trademark giant side-mounted speakers, they still look very nice and elegant in any entertainment space. With a flat screen design that features a highly minimized bezel, a relatively thin side profile and an elegant, somewhat spindly but space-efficient support stand, the X810C is easy to maneuver and easy to install in even rather limited spaces.
Sure, some fans of serious 4K home entertainment are going to go for one of Sony’s much bulkier and possibly larger top-shelf TVs with massive side speakers and a rather thick body but for the space savers out there, the X810C is a great choice. Furthermore, it’s screen size of either 55 or 65 inches (depending on specific model) leaves plenty of display space range for those who want a more immersive viewing experience. The extremely thin bezel width of just over half an inch further contributes to a feeling of large screen size.
Next up, there are the excellent visual characteristics of the XBR55X810C. This is a 4K TV that delivers on superb display specs almost across the board. While we’ll cover these details more deeply further down under our visual specs section, we can safely say now that the X810C offers some excellent contrast, great color reproduction, wonderful judder reduction systems (with 24p content playback support) and a fine overall level of visual realism, particularly for native 4K content.
In addition to all this, the XBR55X810C / XBR65X810C TVs also superbly deliver on one feature which is crucial to a 4K TV in a world where most content will be delivered in native SD, 720p HD and Full HD resolution –an excellent upscaling engine that really does a great job of making ordinary resolutions look sharper, more refined than they normally would in a conventional non-4K TV.
Aside from visual specs, the connectivity options on the X810C TVs are great. These models come with full compression codec compatibility for both VP9 and HEVC while also offering full content copy protection compatibility. Also, the X810C and its larger brother both feature the full quota of connectivity ports for HDMI 2.0, USB and of course, Ethernet.
Finally, we come down to Sony’s new Android TV platform, which is fantastic. While we’d argue that the webOS 2.0 smart TV OS of LG’s 2015 TVs is slightly better designed and definitely faster, Sony’s 2015 Android TV for 4K TVs also ranks among the top 2 or 3 smart platforms to date. It’s great for searching the web, looking for media apps in Google’s massive library of such and for generally intuitive, rapid-fire use. Additionally, this 2015 model of a 4K UHD TV and its new Android TV system also offer users a wider than ever selection of apps along with some great voice control and content casting capabilities thanks to Google Cast.
4.5 - 21 Reviews
On the other hand, not everything is perfect about the Sony XBR55X810C and XBR65X810C 4K TVs. They aren’t the best that Sony has to offer, despite their general quality on a budget, and the deficiencies against Sony’s best 4K TVs do show sometime.
First of all, the X810C offers no HDR support as of this writing. We have heard that Sony can install this feature in select TV models via remote firmware updates but so far at least, the company has not done this for the X810C TVs. For high dynamic range support of the very latest and most advanced native 4K UHD content, you’ll have to settle for no less a 4K TV model than Sony’s pricier XBRX850C units .
Secondly, the X810C doesn’t offer real local dimming technology, even though there are other, cheaper 4K UHD TVs such as the LG UF6400 and the Vizio M-Series and P-Series 4K models which do offer the crucial contrast-enhancing benefits of local dimming capacity.
Additionally, the X810C suffers from two other more notable defects that we noticed: First, its sound is only subpar, with poor accuracy and even worse performance as volume is increased. This is a bit disappointing for a Sony TV but then we can’t expect everything to be great either. Second, and this applies only to the X810C, the angle viewing quality of the picture is rather dull, with quite a bit of color loss. The 65 inch model of this TV doesn’t however have this problem since it uses IPS display panel technology.
Finally, unlike the X850C and all models above that 2015 4K TV, the X810C comes without the genuinely impressive benefit of Sony's Triluminos Display color enhancement technology. This is Sony's version of Samsung's Quantum Dot color and it would have made the color coverage in this TV even more impressive had it been included.
The bottom line in the case of the Sony X810C in either of its two size variations is that this is a genuinely excellent and highly recommendable 4K ultra HD TV for anyone who wants to get started with 4K UHD home entertainment without spending too much right off the bat. We highly recommend this model for buyers who are beginning with 4K and not yet ready for one of the big $3,000+ flagship TVs like Samsung's JS9500 SUHD 4K TV with HDR and quantum dot color .
Screen size: 54.5 diagonal inches - XBR55X810C, 65 inch model - XBR65X810C
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 frame dimming technology
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
Remotes: Sony touch pad remote, conventional button remote and iPhone App remote
2x RCA Stereo (L/R) Audio In
1x 1/8" (3.5 mm) Mini Audio Out (Side)
1x RCA Component Video In (Rear)
1x RCA Composite Video In (Rear)
1x RCA Composite Video In (Side)
1x TOSLINK Audio In (Rear)
1x Ethernet LAN In (Rear)
4x HDMI Audio/Video In (Side)
1x 1/8" (3.5 mm) Mini Headphone Out (Side)
1x RF Antenna In (Side)
1x RS-232C Control In (Side)
3x USB Audio/Video/Photo In
Sound: 10W+10W 2ch full range speakers with S-Force Front Surround 3D and S-Master sound
Native Contrast Ratio: over 5,000: 1 (excellent)
Other Display Features: Precision Color Mapping
TV weight without/with stand: 38.2.1 lbs/ 40.6 lbs
Dimensions: 49.0 x 28.7 x 3.2" inches without stand/ With stand: 49.0 x 30.3 x 9.7" inches
Processor: 4K Processor X1 (Quad-core)
The principal highlights of the X810C from Sony revolve around some of its visual specs and the connectivity Sony has built into this TV via its awesome Android TV smart platform and its physical connection ports.
To start with, the X-Reality PRO upscaling engine of the X810C and its 65 inch cousin is just spectacular. This is something we’ve noted in a number of other Sony 4K TV models from all levels of the company’s TV price range and it only confirms our opinion that Sony in particular is an absolute master at upscaling technology, maybe the best of all the major manufacturers when it comes to this particular spec. This is very important. In a market where native 4K UHD content is still unfortunately rather limited in its range, a 4K TV’s capacity to meaningfully upscale normal SD, HD and Full HD 1080p content is crucial. In this, the X810C simply does not disappoint. Full HD Blu-ray content upscaled spectacularly to look virtually identical to native 4K and both normal Full HD and 720p HD also upscale with wonderful clarity and sharpness. Even 480P SD content gets a great treatment through the TV’s X-Reality PRO upscaling engine.
Secondly, the contrast on the XBR55X810C is just fantastic. This Sony model offers superb black uniformity, some deep rich black colors and contrast levels with native 4K and upscaled content are wonderfully rich. The native contrast rate itself is just above 5100:1 and that’s almost about as good as you can expect to get from any 4K LCD TV on the market today. In simpler terms, this low priced model delivers a level of contrast on par with what some of the most expensive LCD 4K TVs can offer.
Finally, we come back to Sony’s Android TV and all the connectivity that works so well with it. In the case of the XBR55X810C and XBR65X810C, The physical connectivity ports and specs of the TVs are superb. Sony has not only put in a full range of HDMI and USB ports, they’ve also delivered extra USB space and a whole bunch of other connection slots which you can glance through in the “Specs” section above. Furthermore, the Android TV platform of the X810C is superb at web search usability with apps browsing. It delivers a whole whack of media apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu and others to the TV easily and quickly. There are also Android games search options, personalized recommendation features and wide access to Google Play’s massive apps marketplace. As a fun bonus, the smart TV’s system’s voice search function lets you even more easily navigate these things through its fairly precise technology.
As a final highlight that connects with the X810C’s connectivity options, this model comes with Google Cast technology as well. This means you can wirelessly “cast” your own video and audio entertainment from assorted online sources on your smart phone or other personal devices straight to the TV’s screen. This technology can be made to work from Android phones/tablets, iPhones, iPads, Mac machines, or Windows laptops as well.
4.5 - 21 Reviews
As we’ve already alluded to plenty in the above sections, the XBR55X810C and XBR65X810C are both excellent TVs as far as their most crucial of technologies –display—goes. These inexpensive 4K UHD models deliver the goods as few 4K TVs in this price range can manage in our experience. Contrast levels are superb with a very high native contrast ratio of over 5100:1(in the non-IPS 55 inch model) and black uniformity is rigorously solid across the screen space without notable lighter spots. Furthermore, black rendering in the darkest spots sits at a very small, 0.02 cd/m2… This is nothing short of superb when put up against white levels of 103 cd/m2.
As far as motion blur and judder go on the XBR55X810C, we again see some excellent performance with full support for judder-free 24p at different settings (60p, 60i etc) and motion interpolation is also available at 30 fps and 60 fps, with control of picture movement being something that you can calibrate very precisely and even avoid the “soap opera” effect by playing with the XBR55X810C and XBR65X810C’s Motionflow and Film Mode settings.
Color on this TV also looks great but what really helps it along is the quality of this model’s contrast. Nonetheless, with a bit of calibration out of the box, the color settings can be set to represent a remarkably good Gamma of 2.15 and a Rec 2020 color gamut coverage of at least 52%. Colors also look particularly vibrant on the 65 inch XBR65X810C because this larger version of this TV also comes with IPS panel technology, which furthermore means much better off-center viewing.
One thing we don’t particularly like about the XBR55X810C’s visual specs is that the TV doesn’t actually come with true local dimming technology on its edge-lit LCD/LED screen. The overall loss of precision light/dark control isn’t too bad due to Sony’s general skills at delivering great picture quality, but the lack of local dimming does take some pf the precision dimming qualities away from this TV’s screen.
As we’d already covered above under “Highlights”, the Sony XBR55X810C and XBR65X810C are both kings of connectivity. Unlike some of Sony’s fancier 4K UHD TVs like the XBRX940C and the X930C , the X810C doesn’t offer support for HDR content but access to just about any other source of modern 4K UHD video is fully integrated via this model's 4 HDMI 2.0 ports. There are also 3 different USB ports, which is more than typical in any 4K TV and on top of these, the XBR55X810C and XBR65X810C offer Ethernet and WiFi connectivity along with a whole .list of other audio and video ports that you can check out in our specs section.
In basic terms, as far as connectivity goes, Sony’s X810C is a really fleshed out 4K UHD TV model.
The 55 inch Sony XBR55X810C is currently selling on Amazon.com for what is in our professional opinion a very reasonable price of $1,098.00. The 65 inch XBR65X810C is selling for an also excellent price of $1,498.00. These are very decent retail prices for a couple of remarkably good budget 4K UHD TVs.
4.5 - 21 Reviews
To summarize briefly. We found some moderate to minor fault with several specs in the XBR55X810C and XBR65X810C: These TVs offer poor sound quality, their lack of local dimming is disappointing and the 55 inch version of the X810C lacks IPS panel technology, meaning that viewing quality on the screen at off-center angles is not so great.
• Excellent contrast ratio
• Very good picture quality
• Fine color rendering
• Superb X-Reality PRO upscaling engine
• King of connectivity options
• Superb Android TV smart platform
• No local dimming
• Crappy sound quality
• Weak off-angle viewing in 55 inch model