If you are looking for a television that brings the Sony X1 processor into the house at the lowest possible price, then you look at the XF85 series Sony KD-55XF8505. That model is now slightly higher in the line-up than the XE85 last year since the XE90 and XE93 have both been replaced by one device, the XF90. On the other hand, it makes the step between the two new models bigger. The Sony KD-55XF8505 is equipped with an edge LED backlight instead of a full array backlight.
Sony KD-55XF8505 – specifications
- What: Ultra HD LCD TV, Edge Led
- Screen size: 55 inch (139 cm), flat
- Connections: 4x HDMI (1xARC 4x v2.0a), 1x component video, 1x composite video, 1x stereo cinch, 1x optical digital out, 3x USB (1x 3.0) , 1x headphones, 3x antenna, Bluetooth 4.1
- Extras: HDR10, HLG, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, Android TV (7.0 Nougat), USB / DLNA media player, DVB-T2 / C / S2, CI + lock, voice control, X1 4K HDR processor
- Dimensions: 1,231 x 776 x 315 mm (including foot)
- Weight: 20,0 kg (including foot)
- Consumption: 103 / 0.5 watt (Energy Label A )
- List price: 1.600 euro
A complete overview of all the models that Sony launched on the market in 2017 can be found in the 2018 Sony TV line-up. Here you can also find the complete specifications per model.
Sony KD-55XF8505 – design
How do we describe the models in the XF8505 series? A modern design, excellently finished, with a calm appearance. At first sight the TV looks pretty simple. But the narrow frame in dark-colored aluminum, the black back with its fine-grained structure, the light-metal colored legs on the side, the beauty of this unit is in the details. Combined with its narrow profile, the XF85 has all the characteristics of a beautiful subtopper.
Sony got rid of the external power we found on some models from last year. There is still some cable management in the feet. The plastic lid that you have to open for this feels fragile, which should have been a bit more robust. The space for cables is bigger than you think. We got our cable bunch of six, without any problems, which will certainly suffice for most people.
The supply of connections of the KD-55XF8505 is excellent. You have four HDMI connections, all equipped with HDCP 2.2 . Three are on the side, one on the back. Use HDMI 2-3 for Ultra HD and HDR content, which you can use in the menus in Enhanced 4K mode for the best image quality.
You also get three USB connections on the side, of which a USB 3.0 version, and the headphone output. At the rear we also find component and composite video connections and the digital optical output. All connections at the rear are oriented towards the wall, which can be difficult if you opt for wall mounting. The device is equipped with Bluetooth for those who want to use a wireless headset.
Sony KD-55XF8505 – ease of use
Sony equips his televisions with Android TV, already version 7 (Nougat). There is no significant difference with the previous version, except support for HLG within Android TV, and the possibility to log in with multiple Google accounts.
Unlike at Philips where you have a Google username and password during the installation must type, it appeared on this device still possible to set your television easily and quickly with the help of your smartphone. This saves you a few minutes during installation, but provides no further benefits. Those who want to add a second account simply need to enter a username and password.
The remote of the XF8505 series is identical to that of the XE90 series last year, only the ‘Discover’ button under the -pad has been replaced by a ‘tv’ button, more about that. A classic zapper in other words, with rubber top and keys with a very low profile. He feels pleasant and the keys take just enough pressure. Through a little tangible relief around the d-pad you control it without looking and you do not accidentally hit one of the six keys around it.
The layout is fine, although we find the playback keys slightly too small at the bottom. The apps key to the right of the d-pad actually has no added value. The remote has separate buttons for Netflix and Google Play and a microphone button at the top.
Sony KD-55XF8505 – features
Smart TV platform
The KD-55XF8505 uses the same chipset as last year’s models. The Mediatek MT5891, with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 and Mali-T860 GPU has 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. It gives the smart TV platform a more pleasant and smoother experience. In top models we prefer to see something more powerful, but for these types of subtoppers the performance is certainly sufficient.
The interface of Android TV fills the entire screen, with top recommendations. Then you get a row of apps, games and the inputs. At the very bottom you will find all settings. Compared to LG WebOS and Samsung Smart Hub, the interface looks unnecessarily large.
Android TV’s main asset is the built-in Chromecast function. This allows you to browse Netflix on Youtube on your smartphone, for example, and to show the selected content on your television with the press of a button. Your smartphone remains usable for other things. A list of apps that support Google Cast can be found in the Google Home app on your smartphone. The YouTube app unfortunately does not show any HDR images, but it did work in Netflix and Amazon.
The most important change in the interface, and the remote, is the ‘TV’ button. That key, at the bottom of the d-pad, switches directly to the built-in TV tuners. If you are already looking at built-in tuners, this key activates what used to be the ‘Discover’ menu. This is a small bar at the bottom of the screen that first shows TV functions (the TV guide, recordings, etc.), but also includes recommendations, and where you can create a list of favorite Android apps. You can not call that menu anymore if you do not watch TV (via the built-in tuners), we regret that.
The media player is very complete and played all our video test files, including HDR video. The music player knows no advice with ALAC, but with all standard music formats. And he also reads all the tags. Get VLC from the Google Play Store, who know what to do with ALAC. Kodi or any other media player is also recommended if you want to give the TV the look and feel of a media library.
Sony KD-55XF8505 – Image quality
The Sony KD-55XF8505 uses a edge LED backlight with global dimming. It uses an IPS panel, so you can expect a good viewing angle, but a modest contrast.
The best choice starts from the Cinema Pro mode.
|Advanced / Brightness
|Sharpness / Movement
|Image Mode: Cinema Pro
Brightness: 20-40 *
Light sensor: from *
|Brightness: 20-40 *
Black level: 50
Black change: from
Adv. Contrast optimization: Low
Color tone: 0
Color Temperature: Expert 1
Live Color: From
|Image sharpness: 50
Reality Creation: Auto *
Reduce random noise : From
Digital noise reduction: Off
Smooth Gradation: Low MotionFlow: True Cinema / Standard *
Explanation of main settings;
- The Cinema Pro mode is an excellent calibrated start. We did notice that it is very clear (with Sony, ‘Brightness’ refers to the level of backlighting). If you look at darkening, lower it to 20, or stay at 40 and activate the light sensor.
- Contrast optimization: Do not turn it off, the contrast will then completely dilapidate.
- Reality Creation: improves detail. The Auto mode is generally fine, those who prefer the pure approach turn it off, or switch to Manual 20. For more detail, you can go to 40, but avoid higher settings.
- For Motionflow the purists keep it on True Cinema. If you want a little more fluid image, you switch to Standard.
- If you look at a lot of daylight, try the Cinema Home setting
General image and image processing
The XF8505 series, just like its predecessor, the XE85, use of the X1 processor. That is less powerful than X1 Extreme, the processor that you find in the XF90 and higher models, but it still delivers extremely good performance. He will rid your parent material of any noise or compression artifacts (block formation), and ensures nice, sharp upscaling of all images to Ultra HD. With Reality Creation you can give the images some extra sharpness and detail. Be careful with these settings, as you put them too high, you get disturbing effects such as false detail or excessively accentuated contours. Reality Creation is very fine, so you can really experiment. For Ultra HD content, you really let Reality Creation out, on the finest test patterns it creates some moiré effects. There was no problem for Full HD and lower. Also be sure to activate ‘Smooth gradations’, that setting eliminates annoying color bands in soft color transitions.
The XF85 series has excellent movement sharpness. Who really wants to see all the details, puts MotionFlow in the ‘Clear’ position, a good choice for sports. If you want to make pan images nice and smooth, then you prefer ‘standard’, because ‘fluid’ creates too many image errors. You can also get started with personal settings. In that case, set ‘Brightness’ to ‘1’ (higher values dim the screen a bit, but stay at a maximum of 2, even higher and you can see a small double border around moving objects), and experiment with ‘Suppleness’ (3). us good value).
IPS panels have a relatively poor black value and this Sony confirms that too. With a native contrast value of barely 775: 1 it is difficult to make images with a lot of impact. Yet this Sony can, how? In the Cinema Pro mode ‘Contrast optimization’ is activated (in the lowest setting). Sony then uses a smart full-screen dimming and delivers a huge improvement in contrast to 2962: 1, a value that allows it to stand next to a lot of VA panels. The dimming effects are rarely visible, unless in extreme cases such as subtitles on an almost black scene. So leave that setting undisturbed, even if you think, ‘I am not a fan of contrast’. The calibration of the device in this mode is excellent.
The image is very clear (around 400 nits), with a perfect gray scale and color temperature. Also color rendering and color range score an almost perfect result. Together with the proper contrast display, this makes Sony a pleasure to watch as long as you do not look at blackout. In that case, you see the limitation of the IPS panel in terms of contrast. Bright images are very lifelike in a lot of ambient light.
The screen did suffer quite a bit from ‘IPS glow’, which is visually comparable to the leakage of light from the backlight, but is an intrinsic problem of IPS panels. When you look from a different angle, the problem seems to be moving. The glow is only visible on very dark images, and is especially noticeable when you look at darkening. Since you do not do that with this television anyway, it is not a dramatic problem. Some viewers may find it difficult.
In this highly overexposed photo you see the effect, in practice it is much less dramatic.
This Sony supports HDR10, and HLG. Dolby Vision support is missing. The peak luminance is around 509 nits (in Cinema Pro), but with a completely white screen it even rises to 600 nits. This is a good result for a subtopper. The color range is identical to that of last year’s models, with approximately 87% DCI-P3 and 84% Rec.2020. In HDR it is also well calibrated. An IPS panel is at a disadvantage for HDR playback in scenes with extreme contrast (fireworks, for example). There the moderate black value shines through, and takes away a little impact. In clear images, however, there is no problem, and the screen shows neatly all required
There is no mode to give SDR content an HDR look. Of course you can achieve the contrast improvement to maximum, but the effect is limited.
Reflections and viewing angles
IPS screens can offer a good viewing angle, so there is sufficient possibility not to sit perfectly in front of the television. Reflections remain within the limits.
In the normal picture modes (dynamic, standard, natural, film) we measure a layer of 103 ms, which is too much for decent gaming. In game mode the lag drops to 28 ms which is a good result. We also see these two results in HDR mode. Console rooms can therefore choose this TV with peace of mind.
Sony KD-55XF8505 – Audio quality
The XF85 series uses its 20 watts of music well. The result is very good for your daily portion of television and some music in the background. As soon as you turn the volume knob you will hear the small restrictions. For films that is generally not a real problem (although you obviously can not expect cinema sound), with music you can hear that the bass reproduction and dynamics suffer from a high volume.
For the lag measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. To analyze any HDR problems we use HDFury Vertex .
Sony KD-55XF8505 – Conclusion
The Sony KD-55XF8505 (XF85 series) is a nice illustration of the compromises that you makes for a subtopper. The IPS panel makes the unit less suitable for home cinema environments where you are obscuring. Initially because the black value is rather poor, but also because of the IPS glow that can sometimes be difficult in dark images.
But there are a lot of good features. The screen provides a lot of clarity, and combines that with good global dimming technique to achieve a decent contrast. That clarity, the excellent motion sharpness and excellent color rendering make this Sony a very good choice for sports, and a good all-rounder for the whole family. Even for HDR playback, it has a lot of clarity and a sufficiently large color range in the house.