Sony KD-55X85K 4K TV 2022 review with Google TV
The Sony X85K is a mid-range 4K TV in Sony’s 2022 lineup. It comes to replace the Sony X85J series, which was only available in Europe. It’s a good TV with great performance for a dark room thanks to fantastic contrast and excellent black uniformity. But it also has great peak brightness for bright rooms.
It works with the updated Google TV interface. Gamers will appreciate the low output latency, HDMI 2.1 speed and VRR variable refresh rate support. On paper, the X85K seems like a good inexpensive gaming TV, but does its combination of features and specs make it a worthy proposition? In our Sony KD-55X85K 4K HDR TV review, we’ll analyze its competitiveness.
The Sony KD-55X85K TV is very similar to the X90K we wrote about earlier. Almost everything is the same, which suggests that both models use the same shell with two small differences. One is the big X on the back of the X90K, which the X85K doesn’t have, and the X85K lacks the side tweeters because the X85K has a simpler 2.0-channel audio system.
Overall, the 55X85K looks as you’d expect from a TV at this price point. That is, identical to the X85TJ. Good quality by Sony standards, but nothing outstanding. Although it has a relatively thin frame (1 cm), which makes the screen look pretty decent. The measured thickness of the Sony 55X85K is about 7.2 cm, which is a bit more than you’d want for wall mounting.
In this case, having side ports helps, as you won’t have a problem using them if the TV is mounted on the wall. On the back, the Sony X85K retains pretty much the same layout we saw in the X90K, but as we mentioned, there are some very subtle changes. All the ports are placed in the same places, while the plastic back panel now has a new square structure to break up the monotony.
The Sony X85K TV uses a stand in the form of widely spaced legs. That means you’ll need a large cabinet to put it on. But on 55-inch and larger models, the legs can be repositioned closer together. There are special clips on the back of the legs to group all the cables together.
The X85K series uses the 4K HDR X1™ processor, which we also recently saw in the X80K, and it’s less efficient than the Cognitive Processor XR 2022 that Sony has been so heavily promoting. In fact, no revolutionary changes have been seen in it. One of its features is HDR remastering, which analyzes different objects on the screen and adjusts contrast.
This is its main difference from devices of a similar class, where the contrast is adjusted only by a single graph from dark to light shades. And since objects are remastered discretely, the KD55X85K can display images with greater depth and detail. The Dynamic Contrast Enhancer option automatically adjusts contrast settings to match the environment to provide crisper, cleaner colors.
The backlighting system is another area where the Sony X85K TV borrows from the lower-end X80K. So we see a Direct LED system with no local dimming, and instead Sony uses what it calls frame dimming. Keep in mind that all diagonals use the same backlighting, so there are no size differences here like in some 2020 models like the XH80.
Brightness and viewing angles
One of the most important aspects of any HDR TV is brightness. The X85K’s custom picture mode at maximum brightness gives a peak of about 530 nits in the SDR brightness test with a 10% white window on a dark background. SDR content doesn’t have very high brightness requirements, so all is well here and the X85K is very good at it.
In the 10% HDR test, the X85K was able to produce 575 nits of peak brightness. And while you can’t say the HDR levels were bad, the TV is still not bright enough to make fine details stand out as they should. In terms of contrast, the VA panel does much better: blacks are deeper and don’t look gray. There’s no local blackout here, but you can’t ask for more from such an inexpensive device.
Sony X85K – Design.
Because of the VA panel, the viewing angles of the Sony X85K are not very good. Sony implements certain technologies to combat this in its best offerings, called X-Wide Angle and X-Anti Reflection. Unfortunately, you can only find them in higher end offerings like the X95K. And the model in question retains good image quality only up to 25-30 degree angles.
As for HDR protocols, there are no surprises from Sony, as we still don’t have HDR10+. In general, the X85K supports the standard trio of HDR protocols, including basic HDR10, which is required for 4K UHD playback, HLG, which is used in broadcasting, and finally the more advanced Dolby Vision, which uses dynamic.
Motion processing and gaming
The 55X85K TV uses a 100 / 120 Hz panel, and that’s a good thing. But on the other hand, it comes with a lower Motionflow XR 1000 because it doesn’t have the new XR cognitive processor. There is an option to use either standard motion interpolation or interpolation with black frame insertion (BFI) for motion smoothing.
Mention that the X85K supports VRR out of the box. The TV has outstanding output latency. When using game mode, we get an excellent value of 15ms. This is enough to ensure a smooth gaming experience even for hardcore gamers. Outside of game mode we get 87ms. HDMI 2.1 supports all game oriented features including automatic low latency mode (ALLM).
Like the previous model, the X85K comes with Google TV, which is a superstructure over Android TV. This makes the OS unique in both appearance and functionality. The interface is smoother, more direct and easier to navigate. What’s abundant in Android is the tremendous app support. Through the included Google Play Store you can find literally thousands of titles.
The Chromecast player is also available here and gives you the ability to stream content from other gadgets directly to the TV. Voice control is also present, but it seems a bit limited compared to other competing models. Sony’s voice search is also available. The new X85K has Bravia Cam support.
This module is purchased separately and helps you optimally adjust the sound and picture depending on where you are in relation to the TV. In addition, you can even try to control the TV using gestures. A built-in media player is also available, which you can use to play a variety of video and audio content from external storage connected to the USB ports.
The Sony X85K TV is equipped with an audio system just like the one we saw in the X80K. That is, there is no Sony Acoustic Multi-Audio technology and you’ll have to settle for the usual 2.0-channel audio system with 2 x 10 watts. True, Sony added X-balanced speakers to the phase-inverter system.
Sony X85K – Switching
This is a specially shaped radiator, delivering the best possible results for a slim TV. Obviously, choosing a round driver will adversely affect the overall thickness of the TV, while an oval driver will degrade sound quality. The specially shaped X-balanced driver combines the best of both worlds, at least according to Sony’s claims.
The switching capabilities of the Sony 55X85K have not changed. In a special recess on the rear panel, we see first two USB ports, one of which is version 3.0. Next comes the digital optical audio output, and a mini-headphone jack (it’s also an analog video input). Then there are four HDMI ports, two of which are version 2.1 with 4K / 120 Hz support, an Ethernet port, and two antenna sockets (possibly one) for satellite and terrestrial antennae.
By the way, one of the HDMI 2.1 ports is with eARC. If you use this option to connect the soundbar, there is only one port available, which can be used with next-generation consoles. The X85K comes with built-in Wi-Fi (802.11ac) and Bluetooth v4.2.
At the moment (June 2022) the price of Sony KD-55X85K TV in Russia has not yet been announced. The same applies to Sony KD-43X85K, KD-50X85K, KD-655X85K, KD-75X85K and KD-85X85K TVs. In foreign online stores, the price of a Sony KD-55X85K TV is $1,100. You can buy a Sony KD-43X85K TV for $700, a Sony KD-50X85K for $900 and a Sony KD-65X85K for $1,200. The Sony KD-75X85K TV will cut the budget by $1,900, and the Sony KD-85X85K will be available to buy for $2,800, but only closer to the end of June 2022.
Summary of X85K review
Sony’s X85K review concludes with a few final words. The Sony X85K is a very good choice for those looking for decent performance on a limited budget. It has its strengths, but it certainly has a few notable flaws that keep the TV from being the best in its category. However, given its price, it would be a good family TV option.