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Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F)

Stephan Jukic – May 24, 2018


The Sony X850F is basically the company’s successor to the 2017 Sony X850E and like its predecessor, this model comes in a slightly limited range of only larger sizes and features a mostly mid-range set of features. Sony has traditionally offered at least one of its X850 TVs with IPS display since at least a couple years ago and with the 2018 X850F the company followed this routine by making all of them except for the giant 85 inch model into IPS display model. What this means in practical terms is quite important: The TV by default comes with a much lower contrast ratio, weaker black levels and some other variations in color performance.

On the other hand, IPS display technology does improve viewing angles dramatically. It’s IPS issue aside, the X850F is a relatively good 4K HDR TV in most other ways. Note, the model being reviewed here is the 65 inch edition with IPS.

The 85 inch X850F offers a Vertical Alignment panel (VA display) and will have entirely different contrast, black level and local dimming specs. Color performance might also be different. All other specs, for motion handling, smart functionality, connectivity, gaming chops and so forth should be more or less identical in both IPS and VA versions.

Check the Sony XBRX850F 4K HDR LCD TV (2018 Model) on Amazon
Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F)
4.7Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F) – 4 Reviews


  • Excellent motion handling
  • Fine HDR and SDR color delivery
  • Excellent connectivity
  • Solid 4K TV for gamers and PC use
  • Very good viewing angles


  • Terrible contrast ratio
  • Weak black levels
  • No local dimming to improve the above
  • Poor native audio power

Bottom Line

The Sony X850F is a good TV in so many ways, but its IPS display panel creates a contrast and black level performance that badly weakens how well this TV shows content on the screen. We recommend it if you like the wide viewing angles of IPS though.

Also Read. Our comprehensive guide to the best 4K HDR TVs of 2017 and 2018

What We Liked

There are plenty of good things about the Sony X850F.

In fact, if it weren’t for the specific problem of its IPS panel nearly ruining the TVs highly important performance on contrast and black level delivery, this would for the most part be one excellent high mid-range 4K HDR LCD TV. Thus, despite its notable flaws, the X850F does indeed offer a whole range of things we consider to be very good or even truly superb about its overall performance. Some of the following are as good in this model as they are in even the best Sony 2018 4K TVs, so let’s get down to the details of what we liked most about this model.

Color Performance Fortunately for owners of IPS 4K TVs or those who prefer this type of display for some reason (possibly because of the wide viewing angles it offers) color performance isn’t affected much at all and the X850F shows this wonderfully. In terms of both HDR and regular color volume, accuracy and vibrancy, this model performs nearly as well as any VA panel 4K TV would and delivers some great richness to any content you watch with it.

Now, deep rich black levels and high contrast definitely help make colors stand out more richly but the X850F’s actual raw color rendering performance does stand up by itself. HDR color The same goes for HDR color delivery and capability in this mid-range Sony 4K HDR TV.

It offers full support for wide color gamut at over 90% of the DCI-P3 color space and also supports full 10-bit color. In other words, the type of display panel it has doesn’t affect these two specs notably and while the X850F’s IPS display makes it a dismal failure at coming even close to meeting HDR10 standards for contrast, black level and peak brightness, at least high dynamic range colors are rendered superbly as required. We do need to mention that pricier and more refined Sony televisions like the X900F or Sony’s 2017 X930E do deliver superior overall color volume, higher DCI-P3 wide color gamut and better metrics for things like gamma and delta-E

Also Read.

Here’s everything you need to know about how high dynamic range, or HDR, works in 4K TVs

Our in-depth review of Sony’s X900F 4K HDR LCD TV

Motion handling The X850F does motion wonderfully. In previous years some of Sony’s mid-range 4K TVs tended towards defects in their motion handling but not so in this model’s case.

The X850F not only avoids almost all ghosting during movies, sports action or TV shows, it also avoids stutter and manages some excellent frame rate interpolation (as long as you don’t mind something of a soap opera effect). There’s also no backlight flicker that we could see and the X850F is just fine at handling most sources of lower frame rate content on its native 120Hz panel. Viewing Angles

The one huge benefit of IPS displays in 4K TVs is that they offer excellent viewing angles. Unlike VA TVs, whose pixels are narrow from left to right (due to their vertical alignment), IPS pixels are wider horizontally and allow for color, contrast and brightness to stay high even if the TV is being viewed from well over 30 degrees off to one side or another. VA panel 4K TVs may offer much better contrast but their narrow viewing angles are one of their major defects.

Obviously, for those thinking of buying the X850F among our readers, the 85 inch model, with its VA display doesn’t come with this particular benefit. Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F) Display Brightness

The X850F gets quite bright. This makes its contrast ratios even worse than they might otherwise be for an IPS 4K TV but it also comes with its benefits in terms of good viewability even in brighter rooms and a bit of compensation for the low contrast ratio of this model. What we also like about the X850F’s brightness specs for both sustained and peak HDR and SDR brightness is the sheer level of consistency they seem to have.

In the model we reviewed here, (as we’ll show in greater detail below in our Visual Performance Specs section) specific levels of brightness stayed almost even for all settings when the TV is in standard content viewing mode and later stay even at a higher level when the TV is set to view HDR content. Design We like the design of the X850F.

It looks much like Sony’s premium 2018 4K HDR TVs except that it’s a bit thinner due to the absence of a full array LED backlight panel. Now while this means no high quality local dimming and higher peak brightness, the TV is at least much lighter and friendlier when it comes to mounting on a wall. Like the X900F, the X850E is made entirely out of plastics but it feels solidly constructed and its legs are a little thinner and more widely spaces.

Quite frankly, we’d even say we prefer this model’s design to that of its pricier cousin the X900. The bezels along the screen edge are extremely thin all around and that creates a great impression of a large, clean display area. Gaming Chops for consoles and PC use

Sony’s X850F offers some very decent console gaming compatibility across a wide range of resolution and color combinations, with or without HDR. In its gaming mode it performs well or even great in all these areas as our section on input lag in the Visual Performance Specs section further below will show. On the other hand, There are TVs out there that support superior levels of input lag across different resolutions, color settings an HDR adjustments.

Examples of these include Samsung’s MU-Series models from 2017 and 2018, Vizio’s 4K TVs and even TCL’s excellent P or C-Series models. Even Sony’s X900F performs a bit better than the X850F. However, for most gamers and PC users, the X850F does well enough in these areas and its high level of HDR color support boosts the quality of 4K or HDR gaming nicely.

It’s also a great TV for use as a PC monitor if you want one truly huge computer display. It also supports assorted resolution and color combinations when hooked up to any newer PC. Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F)

Also Read:
Our review of the Samsung MU8000 4K HDR LCD TV
Our Review of TCL’s fantastic P-Series 2017 4K LCD TV with Dolby Vision HDR

Smart TV platform and Google Assistant

On a final note regarding complex features we particularly like, the smart TV platform of Sony’s 2018 TVs is the latest version of Android TV and while it lacks a bit of the fluid, easy usability of rival smart TV platforms like WebOS from LG or the fantastic Roku TV, we still like it plenty. Android TV offers a tremendous selection of apps with many more available for download from the gigantic Google Play marketplace. All of the major streaming media apps such as Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Vevo, Spotify and even Sony’s own special 4K movie download service are present but most importantly of all direct access to Google Play means that you can download just about any TV-compatible app from what is one of the World’s largest app marketplaces.

For this reason more than any other Android TV is a great smart interface for what is already a superb piece of hardware technology. Furthermore, the X850F’s version of Android TV also includes the downright fantastic new Google Assistant voice command software, letting you speak to open numerous apps, check the weather, open access to connected devices and search for content across apps. Google is still refining its voice assistant technology but the version of Google Assistant in the X850F already stands out for its quality among similar technologies from rival brands like Amazon’s Alexa, which are becoming ever more popular in most of the 4K TVs of 2018.

What We Didn’t Like

Contrast, black levels and local dimming performance

The biggest issues that the X850F faces revolve around its picture performance. IPS 4K TVs have their uses and for a certain type of 4K TV owner they can be very useful due to their wide viewing angles but their huge weakness lies in the terrible contrast performance they deliver. This is where the X850F disappoints the most and the problem is compounded even further by the absence of any local dimming technology behind this TV’s screen.

We’ve seen other IPS 4K TVs such as LG’s SJ8500 and certain Vizio P-Series IPS editions deliver some remarkably decent contrast ratios by IPS display standards but this was helped out by the fact that these TVs came with local dimming to augment darkness. The X850F lacks this feature and thus its already very poor native contrast of less than 900:1 can’t be improved further beyond this level. As a result, overall contrast is crappy, black levels are rather washed out and the overall result is a quality of general display performance that’s constantly marred by these black level failures.

This model is an HDR 4K TV, with support for vibrant, rich high dynamic range colors in certain types of content. And while those colors are indeed rendered nicely, their impact is weakened by how poor the quality of black levels shows itself to be in this television. This is the single biggest weakness of the Sony X850F and it’s nearly a deal breaker in many ways.

Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F)

Also Read:
Our Review of the still fantastic 2017 Sony X930E 4K HDR TV
Our in-depth review of LG’s excellent SJ8500 IPS 4K LCD HDR TV
Our Review of Samsung’s Excellent Q9F LCD HDR 4K TV from 2017

Gaming Performance Details Another somewhat more minor issue we have with the X850F lies in how well it delivers low input lag for gaming via consoles and PC rigs. As we stated in our section above on what we liked about this model’s gaming chops, the X850F does not deliver poor input lag performance during gaming.

Most casual Xbox One, PS4 or more serious 4K HDR gamers, using the HDR and 4K versions of these consoles, will be happy enough with how well this 4K TV handles motion during gaming but, we’ve seen better performance from much cheaper 4K TVs. To name a couple of examples, TCL’s P-Series models from 2017 and any Samsung 4K TV no matter how cheap it is all offer fantastic input lag metrics and they’re also capable of similar or sometimes better HDR performance for high dynamic range games.

Also Read. Our review of the monster Xbox One X 4K HDR Gaming console

Audio Weakness

Finally, we can’t say we love the native audio system of the X850F. It’s below average in its overall performance and that’s a bit disappointing to see in a Sony TV like this from a company that we know to be capable of doing better (The Sony OLED TVs for 2017 and 2018 being an example of some very clever TV audio innovation). This isn’t to say that the X850F offers flat out crappy audio, but even a low-priced external speaker system or sound bar will improve this part of the TV’s performance enormously.

Value vs.

Price & Bottom Line

Overall, we think the X850F is a good 4K HDR TV as far as it goes but we don’t believe it quite offers enough performance to justify its price as a high mid-range 2018 4K TV, even if it comes from a major and excellent brand like Sony. There are plenty of better options available at lower prices and some TVs from Sony itself offer far superior overall performance while costing only a bit more. The 2017 X900E is a great example of this.

If you want a good IPS 4K TV, the X850F might be a good option but even as far as IPS 4K TVs go, we think LG’s SJ8500 from 2017 is the much better option. It offers better contrast, comes with local dimming and even includes support for Dolby Vision HDR, which is always a nice bonus.

Check the Sony XBRX850F 4K HDR LCD TV (2018 Model) on Amazon
Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F)
4.7Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F) – 4 Reviews

Also Read:
Our review of the superbly priced 2017 Sony X900E 4K HDR LCD TV

Key Sony XBRX850F TV Specs

  • Screen sizes: 65 in XBR65X850F, 75 in XBR75X850F, 85 in XBR85X850F (TV being reviewed is 65 inches)
  • Smart TV: Android TV with Google Assistant voice assist
  • HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
  • VP9 Included.


  • HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
  • HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
  • HDR Support: Yes, HDR10, Hybrid Log Gamma
  • Refresh Rate: 120Hz native refresh rate
  • Screen Lighting: edge-lit LED backlighting WITHOUT local dimming
  • Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
  • Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
  • Remotes: Sony smart remote and Sony remote app for iOS, Android
  • Connectivity: 4 HDMI (all of them 2.0a and HDCP 2.2) ports, 3 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 Digital Audio Out, all located in eternal One Connect box
  • Sound: 10 W+10 W with Dolby(TM) Digital, Dolby(TM) Digital Plus, Dolby(TM) Pulse and DTS Surround Sound support
  • Contrast Ratio: 895:1 (native, real contrast without local dimming activated)
  • Peak Brightness: 522 nits (cd/m2)
  • 3D Technology: N/A
  • TV dimensions without stand: (65 inch model): 57 1/8 x 33 x 2 1/8 inch (1450 x 836 x 52 mm)
  • Dimensions with stand: 57 1/8 x 35 1/2 x 12 1/2 inch (1450 x 900 x 315 mm)
  • TV weight (65 inch model): 56.4 lbs with Stand, 58.4 lbs without stand
  • Processor: 4K HDR Processor X1

Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F)

Check the Sony XBRX850F 4K HDR LCD TV (2018 Model) on Amazon
Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F)
4.7Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F) – 4 Reviews

Display Performance Metrics

The following are the several categories of key display metrics for picture performance in the Sony X850F HDR TV. They may vary slightly from unit to unit so they should not be taken as absolutes. However, they should maintain a generally high level of similarity in all units that makes them good enough to be reliable indicators of quality.

Different sizes of TV display can change some of these metrics slightly (for example, larger edge-lit 4K TVs tend to have weaker local dimming and peak brightness) and though the X850F maintains identical display specs in all of its sizes, some TV models come with display panel variations for certain specific sizes. The following metrics of display performance for contrast, black level, color performance, brightness and motion handling (all of which are the most important aspects of display performance) essentially bear out what we said above about the X850F: This is a 4K TV with some excellent picture specs in how well it handles motion on the screen, how well it renders colors and how well it upscales non-4K content, but the X850F is fatally flawed by its contrast and black level issues and the lack of local dimming technology that could have made them more manageable. Black Level, Local Dimming and Contrast:

Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F) Black levels, local dimming and contrast are all entwined together in any 4K TV and thus deserve being covered together. A 4K display’s contrast ratio is affected by how dark the screen can be made and this maximum black level is in turn affected by the presence and quality of local dimming technology.

For those of you who don’t clearly know how local dimming works, it’s basically a method by which the LEDs behind an LCD 4K TV display actually turn off in specific patterns to minimize how much light leaks through into the blacks that the screen is supposed to display. Not all TVs have local dimming though and in cheaper models, the LED backlight is always on, with blacks being created by light barriers inside the pixels on the screen itself. The X850F delivers what we’d consider to be a terribly poor black level across the board.

This affects and ruins its overall capacity for high quality contrast ratios (high contrast in essence) and also creates really washed out black levels for any dark areas of the screen. The resulting effect of these defects is a low level of general picture quality. It even makes the X850F’s otherwise great color rendering seem weaker and less vibrant than it really is (since how good colors look to the eye is partly due to how strongly they contrast against darker areas on the screen).

The presence of local dimming, even of the limited sort that edge-lit LCD TVs like the X850F are limited to, would have definitely boosted the above problems with contrast and black level in the X850, but because Sony deigned to exclude this feature from this model, it made the X850F’s biggest problem even worse. Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F) Brightness:

Peak brightness is the maximum possible spot HDR or SDR luminosity of a 4K TV display or a section of it as measured in units of brightness called nits (or cd/m2, which is the same thing) under different conditions. Sustained brightness is the highest possible sustained HDR or SDR brightness that the TV screen can manage over different conditions or areas of illuminated display. In terms of how well it handles peak and sustained brightness for both conventional SDR (standard dynamic range) and for HDR (High dynamic range) content, the X850F compensates a bit for its poor black levels by being a pretty good performer.

For both SDR and HDR content, this television delivers fairly high average luminosity and more interestingly still, it delivers these high levels of brightness for each setting very uniformly regardless of how much of the screen is pumping out light. This is an impressive achievement and definitely wins the X850F some points on picture quality. The numbers below demonstrate what we mean:

SDR Brightness

  • Overall SDR peak brightness for normal content: 409 nits
  • Peak 2% display area display SDR brightness: 408 nits
  • Peak 10% display area SDR brightness: 408 nits
  • Peak 100% display area SDR brightness: 407 nits
  • Sustained 10% SDR brightness: 407 nits
  • Sustained 100% SDR brightness: 405 nits

HDR Brightness

  • Overall HDR peak brightness for normal content: 522 nits
  • Peak 2% display area display HDR brightness: 522 nits
  • Peak 10% display area HDR brightness: 521 nits
  • Peak 100% display area HDR brightness: 520 nits
  • Sustained 10% HDR brightness: 522 nits
  • Sustained 100% HDR brightness: 522 nits

Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F) Color Delivery: The X850F’s color deliver is very good.

It’s not as excellent as we noticed it in the X900F or in any Samsung ultra-premium 4K HDR TV but it’s still very good. This television model supports full HDR color with 10-bit color support and wide color gamut coverage of over 92% of the DCI-P3 color space. These specs mean that when the X850F is showing high dynamic range video content, it delivers rich, vibrant and highly saturated color realism.

The TV’s problems with black levels and contrast weaken how well its color rendering seems to perform as far as the naked eye is concerned but in terms of measured performance, there’s nothing really wrong with the X850F’s ability to deliver quality color for almost any content. Color volume at high levels of brightness and in shadowy scenes is also very good. White balance delta E, color delta E and Gamma in the X850F sit at relatively decent levels of 0.25, 2.11 and 2.09 respectively.

We’ve seen better in cheaper 4K TVs but these aren’t bad values at all. Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F) Motion Handling & Upscaling:

The Sony X850F is one relatively good TV for gamers who want to hit 4K and HDR notes with their console gaming if they have the right kind of accessory technology. We’ve seen better performance on this front from most of Samsung’s 4K TVs and, surprisingly, even their cheapest models as well as those of Vizio or TCL but the X850F still performs fairly well on the whole and with the benefit of its HDR color performance to boost things further. The following are the specific specs for its gaming performance in different console setups:

  • 4k @ 60Hz: 29 ms
  • 1080p @ 60Hz: 27 ms
  • 1080p @ 120Hz: 12.9 ms
  • 4k @ 60Hz + HDR: 29.3 ms
  • 1080p @ 60Hz + HDR: 26.9 ms
  • 4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode : 89.8 ms
  • 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4: 30 ms
  • 4K @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR: 30.2 ms
  • 4K with interpolation activated: 93 ms (leave the interpolation off)

We should also note that Sony has built the X850F with some truly superb compatibility with PC hardware for use as a giant sort of PC monitor.

This TV offers up full 4:4:4 chroma subsampling support and 1080p @ 120 Hz support when coupled with PC rigs. Other supported resolutions include those mentioned above in our input lag listings. Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F)

Also Read:
Our complete guide to refresh rates and motion handling in 4K TVs


The Sony X850F, like all of Sony’s newer 4K TVs, offers up a full package of today’s now standard and essential advanced connectivity specs.

For connecting it to pretty much any external media device in the most useful possible ways, no user should have any problems with this model. In other words, it comes equipped with multiple HDMI, USB ports and other crucial connectivity slots. The television however lacks full HDMI 2.0 HDR supported bandwidth in all four HDMI ports.

Instead only ports 2 and 3 offer this. The following are its ports and their specifications: Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F)

  • HDMI : 4 (2 and 3 come with HDCP 2.2 and full HDMI 2.0a capacity)
  • USB : 3 (USB 3.0)
  • Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
  • Analog Audio Out 3.5 mm : 1
  • Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
  • Ethernet : 1
  • HDR10 support: Yes
  • Hybrid Log Gamma HDR support: Yes
  • Dolby Vision HDR: No but coming later in 2018 firmware update

The Sony XBR-X850F TV models also offer audio connectivity in the following types.

  • 1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
  • 1 Passthrough ARC DTS
  • 1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
  • 1 Passthrough Optical DTS

Sony X850F Pricing

The Sony XBR-X850F’s several different size ranges are selling for the following prices found in the links below at the time of this writing.

Bear in mind that these are subject to sometimes frequent downward change and it’s a good idea to click the following Amazon links for real-time pricing and all available discounts on this model.

Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F)

Check the Sony XBRX850F 4K HDR LCD TV (2018 Model) on Amazon
Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F)
4.7Sony XBR-X850F 4K UHD HDR LCD TV Review (XBR65X850F, XBR75X850F, XBR85X850F) – 4 Reviews

Check 65 inch, 75 inch, 85 inch Sony XBR65X850F Price
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Truvison TX55101 4K UHD TV Review

2018 is the year when India is finally taking 4K seriously. The competition’s hot in this segment, and all major players, old and new, are putting interesting products on the table. It’s truly a great time to be a buyer in this segment.

That brings us to Truvison, a Europe-based consumer electronics company that’s relatively new in India, and has brought its new 4K TV range to the market. The model we are testing today – the TX55101, doesn’t have HDR support but does have an interesting list of features. How well does it actually perform?

This is what we found out.

Truvison TX55101 design and specifications

The Truvison TX55101 has a metallic front bezel that’s evenly sized on all four sides. When you first take this TV out of its box, you’ll have to carefully peel off a plastic protective layer covering the screen before you start using it. We understand that this is meant to protect the screen, but removing it is tricky, and you could end up leaving some hard-to-remove plastic strands tucked inside the bezel.

The metallic stands have a standard two-spoke design, and the same finish as the bezel, making them match perfectly. Overall the design is simple, yet elegant. It will look good in most living rooms.

Truvison also bundles a wall mount in the box in case that’s what you prefer. The TV has three HDMI ports; two on the back and one on the side.

There are two USB ports, both USB 2.0, which is a shame considering that you will need USB 3.0 if you want to play 4K videos smoothly from external drives – but more on that in a bit. The TV supports Wi-Fi connectivity, and there’s also an Ethernet port on the back. For audio output there’s a line-out port on the side and a coaxial port on the back of the TV; the latter for surround sound.

Finally, there are two sets of composite inputs on the back, and the RF Antenna input along with an SD card slot on the side. The Truvison TX55101 comes with two remotes – one is a standard IR remote that everyone’s familiar with, and the other is a Bluetooth remote with air mouse functionality and a keyboard on the back. The IR remote is quite straightforward and functional, with shortcuts for the Netflix, YouTube, and NexGTV apps, which come pre-installed on the TV.

The Bluetooth remote on the other hand is not the typical second remote with a minimalistic design that we’ve seen from other manufacturers. It has all the main controls of the IR remote, plus shortcut buttons for YouTube, Netflix, Hotstar, and the Google Play Store.

It even uses IR to send these button presses to the TV. On the back of the remote is a full QWERTY keypad for typing, and that’s what is communicated via Bluetooth – along with the air mouse functionality. The thing is, the remote requires a Bluetooth receiver which occupies one of the two USB ports on the TV.

After using it for a while, we’d say it is definitely better optimised for a point-and-click interface, which means sacrificing a USB port. The Bluetooth remote leaves the standalone IR remote redundant. To make matters worse, the IR receiver has a very narrow sensor field, which means you have to explicitly point the remote at the bottom right of the TV for it to register your input.

Truvison TX55101 features and software

The Truvison TX55101 runs a customised version of Android 4.4.4 (KitKat).

Selling a product with such an old version of Android is problematic to begin with, and to make things worse, it runs only the mobile versions of all Android apps. This means that Netflix, Hotstar, and Amazon Prime Video (available on the Play Store), run as they would on an Android smartphone, instead of using their TV-optimised interfaces. You have to keep switching to the air mouse to operate these apps, and it can end up being an exercise in frustration.

Also, it’s important to note that none of the apps recognise the panel’s 4K resolution, which means that all videos from them will play capped at full-HD. The TV lets you download additional apps from the Google Play Store, but there’s a caveat here as well. Not a lot of apps support Android KitKat anymore.

Some apps like YouTube won’t even update to their latest versions for this exact reason. The TV has a total of 8GB of storage, of which only around 4GB can actually be used. It’s not much so you ‘ll have to be picky about the number of apps you install.

Truvison TX55101 4K UHD TV Review Needless to say, the “smart” TV functionality is quite a letdown. You’d be better off using external players such as a PlayStation 4 Pro, an Apple TV, or any other 4K source to make the most of this TV.

As we have stated, this is a 4K TV without HDR support, which seems like quite a miss for a TV at this price point. It does have a peak brightness of a little over 300 nits, which is good enough for a clean standard dynamic range (SDR) image. The panel itself is a LED-edge-lit LCD, and the company claims a contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1.

Truvison TX55101 performance

Software issues aside, running 4K media on the panel gave us some pretty interesting results.

The external devices that we used for testing – a PlayStation 4 Pro and an Apple TV 4K – recognised the display as 4K immediately. We first tried out 4K shows such as The Punisher, Stranger Things, and Black Mirror, all of which looked pretty good overall. There was no noticeable ghosting in bright scenes, and no light leaks in dark ones.

In fact, the picture was clearer in shows with film grain effect, such as The Punisher. This show does not look good on a lot of 4K panels – even ones with HDR. Here, the TV did a pretty good job of noise reduction (by default, no additional settings were required), resulting in a cleaner picture, with the film grain effect playing a more passive role.

The colours on the TV are also well calibrated, and we didn’t notice any particular colour overpowering the others. Black levels were well managed well, as far as edge-lit panels go. You don’t get the deepest of blacks, but as long as you’re not watching a very dark film in a dark room, you shouldn’t have much to complain about.

The black levels also help with contrast, which makes images pop well. Truvison TX55101 4K UHD TV Review In games, the TV fared just as well when it came to visual quality.

We did however notice very slight input lag in twitch-style action games such as Injustice 2, which can be because of the TV’s high response time of 8ms. It’s not that big of a deal for most games, but could be a bit of an issue if you’re planning on playing competitive online titles. Upscaling is not a strong point for the Truvison TX55101, and watching 1080p videos showed an instant difference in quality.

As you go lower in resolution, the image quality keeps getting worse. Moreover, we noticed that when we sat close to the TV – say only about 4-5 feet away – there was noticeable horizontal interlacing across the screen. This was evident in the Smart OS interface as well as all the media, apps, and games we ran on this TV.

Once we saw it, we couldn’t unsee it. If you have an eye for these things as we do, the interlacing could become a problem to the point that you would be looking for it even when it’s not so evident. Truvison TX55101 4K UHD TV Review

We were able to play full-HD videos from an external drive using the TV’s in-built media player, but we had trouble across the board when trying to play 4K files. The videos would either glitch out completely or just play at an unwatchably slow framerate. Even installing VLC player on the TV didn’t help.

In terms of audio, this TV was quite adequate if all you’re concerned about is loud, room-filling sound. The two 10W speakers do offer decent sound, but it isn’t exactly an aurally immersive experience. For more refined audio quality, you should put the TV’s digital audio output to good use, since Dolby Digital audio is supported.

Despite not being HDR-capable, the panel on the Truvison TX55101 was initially quite impressive and promising.

4K performance across movies, TV shows and games was pretty good. However, the same can’t be said about the rest. The outdated OS, unimpressive upscaling, and the interlacing issue are three strikes against a TV that costs Rs.

68,990, which is really a shame. Sure, other options at this price level might not be perfect either, but their flaws aren’t deal-breakers. Price: Rs.

68,990 (MRP)


  • Contrast and colours are handled well
  • Room-filling audio
  • Feature-rich Bluetooth remote


  • Visible interlacing
  • Outdated OS
  • No 4K playback through USB
  • Unsatisfactory upscaling
  • Narrow IR sensor range

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Design: 3.0
  • Performance: 2.5
  • Value for money: 2.0
  • Overall: 2.5

Sony needs a new Walkman

Longtime Sony watchers can debate when exactly one of Japan Inc.’s best turnaround stories began. April 1, 2014 is as good a guess as any. That was the day then-CEO Kazuo Hirai plucked Kenichiro Yoshida from relative obscurity and named him chief financial officer.

At the time, Hirai had held the top job for two years — long enough to see how the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung had run away with industries Sony once dominated. Long enough, too, to realize he needed help stopping the hemorrhaging that had sent shareholders fleeing. That year was epochal for another reason: a North Korean hacking scandal involving a data theft from Sony’s Hollywood movie subsidiary that made a proud Japanese icon the butt of jokes.

One Saturday Night Live skit on Pyongyang’s cyberbreach had actor Mike Myers cracking: “Why pick on Sony? They have not had a hit since the Walkman.” Hirai and Yoshida were not amused — they went to work.

Wisely, they cut off many a gangrenous limb. Sony scrapped its money-losing personal computer business, stomached layoffs and a £1.7 billion write-down on smartphone operations, took an ax to a flailing television unit and invested more in unglamorous microchip businesses. They tried to reform the corporate culture, making some headway in taking down Sony’s notorious silos — competing divisions jealous of each other’s budgets that barely talked and stymied the company’s once-fabled innovative spirit.

It is a work in progress, but it has already generated a revival that has Sony reporting its best operating profit in two decades: £6.61 billion in the fiscal year ended in March. Hirai passed the baton to Yoshida in February. And earlier this week, the 58-year-old Yoshida made his first big move as CEO: paying £2.3 billion to gain control of EMI Music.

It is increasing its stake from 30% to 90% by buying out most of the stock held by the partners with which it originally bought into EMI in 2012. It makes Sony the No.

1 music publisher at a moment when streaming services are adding new life to the entertainment game. Sony now owns more than two million songs from the likes of David Bowie, Kanye West, Frank Sinatra, Queen, Alicia Keys and Pharrell Williams.

Sony is also grabbing a 39% stake in Peanuts Holdings, which holds rights to the “Peanuts” cartoon and comic empire, featuring popular characters Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Equally important, Yoshida said Sony will push on with investments in sensors critical to evolving technologies from self-driving cars to artificial intelligence. Semiconductors, too — a vital profit stabilizer.

Yet one question Yoshida has yet to answer: What, exactly, comes next for Sony in terms of big new hit products? The kind of products with which it made its name. As much as Sony is an exemplar for how other Japanese giants can cut bloat, refocus on core competencies and restore profits, it is a microcosm of where the economy finds itself.

Sony, like Japan, had its heyday in the 80s, back when it revolutionized consumer electronics and its wares dwarfed the global competition. Yet executives, like Tokyo policymakers, grew complacent. As chieftains rested on their laurels, Steve Jobs of Apple fame eclipsed Sony founders Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita.

Nearly 17 years after the iPod outpaced the Walkman, which arguably remains the Japanese group’s signature achievement, Sony still has not come up with a globally-competitive answer. Nor has Sony topped Apple’s iPad or Samsung’s ubiquitous Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets. While Sony scaled back on smartphone ambitious, a rebooted Xperia line of phones and tablets — or an entirely new concept — could increase its global reach.

Herein lies Yoshida’s challenge: getting his army of engineers, programmers and networkers to conjure up a game-changing invention — or two — that unlocks Sony’s true potential. Yoshida aided Hirai immeasurably in returning Sony to profitability. That is no small feat, considering the travails of Howard Stringer and Nobuyuki Idei before them.

During his 2005 to 2012 stint, Stringer, Sony’s first non-Japanese boss, spent most of his time struggling to get a handle on the global colossus; the rest praying for a weaker yen and grappling with shocks ranging from the global financial crisis to floods in Thailand that wiped out key factories. The Hirai-Yoshida team finally got Sony into shape. Yet it now stands at the starting gate, plotting a course for catching up with rivals these next 10 to 20 years.

One worry is that Yoshida is not a product man. Just before his death in 2011, Jobs made a parting shot aimed at one-time game-changer Microsoft. No, Jobs said, Microsoft is not a threat because the board replaced visionary Bill Gates with a salesman — Steve Ballmer — not an innovator.

Only time will tell if replacing Hirai, who spent years honing PlayStation products, with finance executive Yoshida will serve shareholders. On the bright side, the EMI purchase is the mergers-and-acquisitions equivalent of hitting the “play” button — acquiring control of a regular revenue stream. Apple’s cash-flow success rests on an ecosystem built around cutting-edge hardware.

Its iTunes model informed the evolution of Amazon, Google, Samsung and others. Sony, too, to some extent. One of Hirai’s preoccupations was crafting a network of games, music, movies and other content around physical PlayStation consoles.

The resulting income stream from a loyal community of customers is bolstering Sony’s bottom line. Yoshida calls PlayStation’s roughly 80 million subscribers Sony’s key “community of interest.” Grabbing control of EMI this week means Sony has more content with which to grow that orbit.

Financial stability is a vital pillar of future success. But imaginative risk-taking is what make a technology power in today’s globalized world great. Sony now has a solid financial base.

Now it must show it has the capacity to tolerate disruption required for corporate invention. An obvious missing link is splashy new hardware that appeals to a broader array of consumers — those with little interest in sitting before a gaming console. Whether that means new advancements in smartphones, tablets, watches or other wearable technology is up to Team Yoshida.

Even better, devising something we have not seen before — a new gadget that surprises and delights the globe. In other words, regaining the innovative mojo that once changed the world. The days when Sony can cut its way to profitability are ending.

In recent years, Sony limited red ink by selling real estate and relying on banking and insurance units. Yoshida needs to turn his own musings into action. In 2014, just a month after becoming CFO, Yoshida chided predecessors for not changing along with the global electronics industry.

Now that Sony has righted itself, it falls to Yoshida to prove he can build as well as he can cut. For now, Yoshida is sticking with the realism he learned from Hirai and setting conservative targets. He is focused on “raising profit quality.” Hence investing in content as a means of “increasing the proportion of recurring revenue,” not least EMI’s streaming revenues.

Yet that conservatism may fall flat with shareholders hoping for a bit of the old Sony magic. The company that Ibuka and Morita founded in 1946 traced Japan’s resurgence from the ashes of war to global dominance. It did so by hitting dramatic homeruns innovation-wise, not with modest tactical gains.

Now that Sony is ready to swing away to the revenues coming from its music portfolio, it falls to Yoshida to wow the tech world anew, not just protect what he and Hirai achieved.

For Japan Inc.’s sentimental favorite, the hard part is just beginning.

William Pesek is a Tokyo-based journalist and author of “Japanization: What the world can learn from Japan`s lost decades.” He is a former columnist for Bloomberg and Barron’s.

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