Browsing through Sony’s web page for television models is like going through a Zara catalogue. There’s one in every imaginable size and for every conceivable budget, and the X80K fits smack in the middle of the range, being an LED without local dimming, but with Sony’s latest video processor and the inclusion of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. It undercuts the pricier options in Sony’s line-up by a substantial margin and what you get doesn’t feel like a compromised product in any way. So, is it worth giving up on full-array dimming?
Sony X80K 65in review
Android TV has made way for Google TV, and Sony has found more reasons to update their line-up, yet again!
For the 65in
Before we get into the skin of the Sony TV, let’s take a look at the exterior itself. With vanishingly thin bezels, the X80K is up there with the OLEDs in terms of screen-to-body ratio and even in profile, is slim enough to trick guests into thinking that it could be an OLED. Sony’s brilliant table-top legs don’t even need a screwdriver to install, just plug them in and you’re ready to set up this Google TV in no time.
With every iteration of Android TV, it’s been getting easier to set up a smart TV using your smartphone and with Google TV, you’re up and running in under 10 minutes, regardless of your iOS or Android leaning. If you’re on iOS, all you need is the Google Home app from the app store and the rest is self-explanatory.
The remote control has been given a once over too with the buttons almost flush-mounted to the surface, making it easier to wipe off dust or debris. Like all things these days, it gets a dedicated Google voice assistant button and hotkeys for popular apps such as YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, and strangely…YouTube Music.
Get past the setup and the home screen is very much an aggregation of content from across the platforms and is sorted by genre, interest and watch history. It does make your life easier or overwhelming, depending on whether you’re coming from an older Android TV or shifting from an Apple TV box. Whatever the case may be, it has all the apps you could imagine streaming from and the added advantage of having the entire Google Play Store at your disposal to experiment with.
Not having earned its reputation for nothing, even this mid-range model comes stuffed with every picture customisation mode you could ever want. Whether you choose to get the X80K professionally calibrated or choose the Cinema preset with Expert Colour, chances are you will find something to like about its picture quality, motion smoothness or the fantastic viewing angle. Although the panel doesn’t sport local array dimming, for the most part, most viewers won’t even notice anything different about the X80K’s picture quality. In fact, with motion control dialled to a bare minimum, HDR on auto and Live Colour set to Medium, The Joker is rendered with a beautiful, natural film-like tonality that captures the mood of the movie.
Where the X80K starts to struggle a bit is peak HDR brightness and you realise that while the colours show acceptable accuracy and saturation, the whites just don’t stand out as much as required to really make the image pop. The low native contrast ratio and the more reflective than normal screen don’t help if you’re watching this TV in a bright room with lots of coming in directly at it.
Gamers too will miss VRR and high refresh rate, but there’s no visible input lag so the games do look smooth and benefit from the excellent colour reproduction of the X80K in virtually any mode. Sonically, it just about meets daily watching requirements, but if you need to “feel” your movies and game soundtracks, a soundbar or external reinforcement will be imperative.
The Sony X80K may not be the most affordable 65in LED around, but in the Sony scheme of things, it is a middle-order model. For the premium, you do get some typically “Sony'' attributes like superb colour accuracy, great motion processing, extremely wide viewing angle and fantastic upscaling of 1080p content to 4K.
Overall, for most casual viewers the X80K would be the perfect Sony big-screen to buy if they don’t want to pony up for the OLED models. But, the HDR video connoisseurs might be left wanting due to the lack of deep blacks and peak brightness.
As far as LEDs go, the Sony X80K isn’t cheap, but offers fine out-of-the-box pictures, and will please everyone but the most meticulous cinephiles.
|Resolution:||3840 x 2160 4K|
|Backlight type:||LED w/Frame Dimming|
|HDR:||Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG|
|Connectivity:||HDMI x 4, USB x 2, Optical, 3.5mm audio out, ethernet|
|Dimensions (WHD):||1452 x 836 x 72mm|