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Sony X90J vs X85J Review (XR-50X90J vs KD-50X85J, XR-55X90J vs KD-55X85J, XR-65X90J vs KD-65X85J, XR-75X90J vs KD-75X85J)

by on August 19, 2021
 



Sony X90J vs X85J Review

The Sony X90J and the X85J are the mid-end TVs of the Sony’s 2021 LED TV lineup. The X90J is the successor of the X900H in 2020 while the Sony X85J is the successor of the X850G in 2019. Keep in mind, in 2020, Sony never released the direct predecessor of the X85J in North America. In this lineup, the X90J sits under the X95J, while the X85J sits one level below the X90J. The major similarity among them is that they both use VA panel technology. You need to know, in this year, the X80J or lower model use IPS panel. And we have known, the major advantage of the TV that use VA panel is that they have good native contrast ratio, making them suit to be used in a dark room. But on the other hand, a TV with VA panel usually has narrow viewing angle coverage, so it is not suitable when used in a wide room with wide seating arrangement.

Both of the Sony X85J and X90J are great TVs in each of their class. Regardless they are used for, their performance is good. In addition they have good native contrast ratio and black uniformity, they also have good motion handling, wide color gamut, good peak brightness, low input lags, etc. All of them make them great for any usage.

Meanwhile, in the market, the X90J are available on 4 screen sizes variant including 50 inches (XR-50X90J), 55 inches (XR-55X90J), 65 inches (XR-65X90J, and 75 inches (XR-75X90J). On the other hand, in addition the sizes that found on the X90J (KD-50X85J, KD-55X85J, KD65X85J, KD-75X85J), the Sony X85J s also available on 43 inches (KD-43X85J) and 85 inches (KD-85X85J). Meanwhile, with the same screen sizes, as the step-up model, the Sony X90J is sold more expensive than the X85J. So, what are their differences between them and which TV is better considering their price/value?

Check the Latest Price
Sony X85J Sony X90J
43 inches Sony KD-43X85J on Amazon
50 Inches Sony KD-50X85J on Amazon Sony XR-50X90J on Amazon
55 inches Sony KD-55X85J on Amazon Sony XR-55X90J on Amazon
65 inches Sony KD-65X85J on Amazon Sony XR-65X90J on Amazon
75 inches Sony KD-75X85J on Amazon Sony XR-75X90J on Amazon
85inches Sony KD-85X85J on Amazon

Sony X90J vs X85J Side by side comparison

Sony X85J vs X90J Specification

Specs and Features Sony X85J Sony X90J
Screen sizes available 43 inches (KD-43X85J), 50 inches (KD-50X85J) 55 Inch (KD-55X85J), 65 inch (KD-65X85J), 75 inch (KD-75X85J), 85 inch (KD-85X85J) 50 inches (XR50X90J), 55 inches (XR55X90J), 65 inches (XR65X90J), 75 inches (XR75X90J)
Panel Technology VA Panel VA panel
Resolution 4K (2160 x 3840) 4K (2160 x 3840)
Backlight Technology Direct LED Direct LED
Local Dimming No Full Array Local Dimming
X Wide Angle No No
Picture Processor 4K HDR Processor X1 Cognitive XR 4K processor
HDR Support Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR10 Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR10
Clarity Enhancement 4K X Reality Pro XR 4K Up-scaling, Dual database processing, XR Super Resolution
Contrast Enhancement Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object Based HDR Remaster Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object Based HDR Remaster
Color Enhancement Live Color Technology, Precision Color Mapping, TriLuminos Display Live Color Technology, XR Smoothing, XR TriLuminos Display
Native Refresh Rate 120 Hz 120 Hz
Motion Enhancement X Motion Clarity 960 XR Motion Clarity
Smart TV Platform Google TV 10 Google TV 10
Remote Sony’s 2021 Voice Remote Control Sony’s 2021 Voice Remote Control
HDMI Ports 4 4
USB Ports 2 2
Audio Channel 2 2
Audio Power Output 10 Watt + 10 Watt 10 Watt + 10 Watt
Speaker Configuration Full Range (Bass Reflex) x 2 Full Range (Bass Reflex) x 2, Tweeter x 2
Speaker Type Acoustic Multi Audio, Sound Positioning Tweeter, X-Balanced Speaker Acoustic Multi Audio, Sound Positioning Tweeter, X-Balanced Speaker;

Contrast and Black Level

Both of the Sony X85J and X90K have excellent native contrast ratio, as expected from LED TVs with VA panel. Native contrast ratio of the X85J is around 6300:1 while the X90J is around 5600:1. Regardless their difference, their native contrast ratio is strong enough to produce deep black. So, although they are set in a pitch dark room, black produced by them will still look really black. The X85J may have a bit higher native contrast ratio than the X90J, but the advantage of the X90J is that it has full array local dimming feature that can help to further improve its performance in a dark room, while the X85J doesn’t have this feature or it just use frame dimming to dim its backlight. Although not a lot, local dimming of the X90J can improve contrast ratio of the X90J to around 6200:1. So, the result is that black produced by them is not much different.

Winner: X85J

Local Dimming Feature

As we have mentioned above, the major advantage of the X90J over the X85J is that it has full array local dimming feature while the X85J doesn’t have. The impact is not only on black level produced, but also on their performance in handling blooming around bright object. Without local dimming, the X85J will have an issue in handling blooming around small bright object in a dark scene like subtitle in movies. To make blooming less noticeable, it will dim its backlight throughout the screen.  On the other hand, the Sony X90J has great local dimming feature. Dark scene can be shown fairly well without much black crush while lighter areas still retain a good amount of details. Blooming around text may not so good, but subtitle can still be displayed well and not be distracted due to the entire bottom row lights up.

Winner: X90J

SDR Peak Brightness

Both of the Sony X85J and X90J also have SDR Peak brightness and their peak brightness is almost similar. With real scene, they both can get a bit brighter than 500 nits, which mean it is good enough for most bright rooms. Meanwhile, with white window test, since the X85J doesn’t have local dimming, its SDR peak brightness is relatively consistent at any white window sizes where it a bit brighter than 500 nits for both short and longer time. On the other hand, local dimming of the X90J makes its peak brightness slightly varies depending on the content. It hits its brightest peak brightness on 10% white window, which is around 760 nits for a short time and slightly drop to around 730 nits. On 2% white window, it peak brightness is lower, which is around 575 nits for a short time and slightly drop to around 550 nits. On 25%, 50% and 100% white window, its peak brightness is relatively consistent for longer time where it gets around 550 nits, 500 nits, and 540 nits.

Ignoring their difference in characteristic of their peak brightness, overall, their SDR peak brightness is equally great. This makes them easily combat the glare in most bright room. But unfortunately, their reflection handling is only decent. This means, in a bright room, they may not have an issue with the glare. But even so, it struggle with direct reflection. So, place them opposite window or bright lights should be avoided.

Winner: Draw

HDR Peak Brightness

While their SDR peak brightness is not much different, the Sony X90J has much brighter HDR peak brightness than the X85J. With HDR content, peak brightness if the X85J only slightly increases over its SDR peak brightness, which is around 550 nits. But even so, the good point is that its peak brightness is relatively consistent with different content, which means it is good. Its peak brightness may be bright enough to show most scenes of HDR images as bright as they should be. But even so, small highlight look not too standout on its screen.

On the other hand, since it has local dimming feature, peak brightness of the Sony X90J varies depending on the content. With real scene, it can get around 780 nits, which means it is great.  With window test, it gets its peak brightness on 10% white window where it gets around 790 nits for a short time and a bit drops to around 765 nits for longer time. On 2% white window, it gets around 545 nits for a short time and slightly drops to around 530 nits for longer time. On 25% white window, it even can get brighter than on 2% white window where it gets around 650 nits for a short and longer time. On 50% and 100% white window, its peak brightness is also relatively consistent, even for a short and longer time where it hits around 560 nits. This means, just like the X85J, it can show most scenes of HDR images as bright as they should be. That is not only that, small highlight also look standout on its screen the way they should in HDR.

Winner: X90J

Color Gamut and Color Gradient

Both of the Sony X90J and X85J have great color gamut. But even so, compare among them, the X85J can deliver a bit wider color gamut than the X90J, though, it may be caused by panel variance. In DCI P3 xy and uv color space, the X90J cover around 88% and 90% of color space while the X85J can cover wider, which is around 90% and 95% of color space. Additionally, in Rec.2020 xy and uv color space, the X90J cover around 63% and 67% of color space while the X85J can cover around 65% and 71% of color space. With their color coverage, most colors of HDR images can be shown accurately on their screen, where for HDR images mastered in DCI P3 like HDR 10 or that mastered in Rec.2020 like Dolby Vision.

In addition have great color gamut, they both also have good color volume. Since they have good contrast ratio, they both can produce deep, dark shades of colors fairly well. They both can also produce saturated bright color fairly well, except very bright blues where all LED TVs struggle to produce these colors. Overall, color volume of the X85J is slight better, but this is more caused its color gamut is wider than the X90J. The Sony X90J may have better color gradient and volume than the X85J, but this has no significant impact on the normal content.

Winner: X85J

Color Gradient

The use of higher level image processor makes the Sony X90J has slight better color gradient than the X85J. On the screen of the Sony X90J, there may be still a little bit banding in almost all shades of colors, particularly in reds, greens, and grays. But even so, this should not be noticeable in normal content. Meanwhile, on the screen of the X85J, there are a bit more banding in all shades of colors than on the X90J, but in normal content, this should not be still noticeable for most people. However, if you still feel bothered with banding, you can set “Smooth Gradation” feature to “High” to remove most of banding. But keep in mind, set their “Smooth Gradation” feature to “High” may be able to remove most of them, but this can cause some certain scenes lose fine details. Overall, ignoring the superiority of the X90J, their color gradient is equally great.

Winner: X90J

Black and Gray Uniformity

The Sony X85J has better black uniformity than the X90J. When showing a black scene with white cross line at the center, on the screen of the X85J, there is only slight cloudiness on its screen and this is not very noticeable in most content, which means it is good. But even so, blooming is noticeable around white cross line at the center. On the other hand, since it doesn’t have local dimming, it cannot be reduced. On the other hand, without local dimming enabled, clouding is noticeable in almost entire screen and the screen looks tend to dark blue than black. Fortunately, with local dimming enabled, most of the screen looks black and much more uniform, which mean it is great. Although not as noticeable as on the screen of X85J, blooming is still noticeable around white cross line.

In addition have black uniformity, the X85J also have better gray uniformity. When showing through screen is gray, on the screen of the X90J, there is a bit dirty screen effect on the center and the edges of the screen look darker than the rest. On the screen of the X85J, there is also a bit dirty screen effect at the center and the edges of the screen also look darker. But even so, it is more obvious on the screen of the X90J than X85J. Fortunately, the darker the screen, their uniformity is much better.

Winner: X85J

Side Viewing Angle

The use of VA panel may make them have great native contrast ratio, but on the other hand, this makes them have narrow side viewing angle. The flagship model of Sony’s 2021 lineup like Z9J or X95J may have an optical layer called “X Wide Angle” that can significantly improve their side viewing angle coverage. But unfortunately, both of them don’t have this optical layer technology. SO, its side viewing angle is not much different to other TVs with VA panel. On their screen, black level will rise when viewed from the side, started at around 14 degrees off center and front. Additionally, color of images will also look washed out and inaccurate started at around 25 degrees off center and front. Brightness of images also will decrease but at wider angle, which is around 40 degrees off center and front. This means, when viewed from the side, the picture displayed on their screen will look less accurate. Of course, this is not suitable for you who have wide seating arrangements for watching TV.

Winner: Draw

Motion Handling

The Sony X90J has a bit better pixel response time where its pixel response is around 11 ms while the X85J is around 12 ms. But even so, this difference is not too significant and in general, their pixel response time is equally great. The result, when they are displaying fast paced content likes fast sports or fast action movies, the picture displayed on their screen look very clear with only a bit little motion blur. There may be still some faint trail following fast moving object, but this should be hard to notice by most people. Blur that may be still visible is more caused by persistence that is the way our eyes track movement. The low pixel response time may make motion looks clearly, but on the other hand this will caused low frame rate content like 24p movies can appear to stutter on their screen. But you don’t need to worry since it can be easily solved by interpolating them to higher frame rate like 60 Hz and 120 Hz. And both of them have motion interpolate feature.

Meanwhile to dim their backlight, the Sony X90J use PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) dimming system. Unlike Samsung TVs where their dimming frequency changes depending on the picture mode setting, the dimming frequency of the X90J is relatively same at any picture mode, which is 720 Hz. This may make its screen is not flicker free, but since its backlight flickers at high frequency, its backlight flicker will not be noticeable for most people, which means it is good.  On the other hand, since the Sony X80J doesn’t have local dimming, to dim its backlight, the X85J use direct dimming instead of PWM dimming. The result is great where there is not flicker on its screen.

But even so, to help improve motion appearance, flicker that match to the frame rate of the content is required.  And for this case, both of the Sony X90J and X85J have an optional BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode. But unfortunately, they both only support 120 Hz BFI mode that means they can flicker at 120 Hz only, even if they are laying 60 fps content. This may be good for 120 fps content but for 60 fps content, this can cause some duplication. To enable their BFI, you must set “MotionFLow” to “Custom” and “Clearness” to “Max”.

In addition can handling motion excellently, both of the Sony X85J and X80J also can do a great job in handling 24p judder. Regardless the source, whether it is native 24p content like Blu-ray or DVD’s movies, 24p content via native Apps like Netflix, YouTube, etc, 24p content via 60i signal like movies from satellite TV or via 60p signal like movies from streaming devices, all of them will be displayed clearly on their screen with judder-free. To remove judder, for native 24p movies or via native Apps, you don’t need to make any setting. But for movies via 60i or 60p signal, you must set Cinemotion to “High”, “MotionFLow” to “Custom”, and both “Clearness and Smoothness” to “Min”.

Both of the Sony X90J and X85J have native 120 Hz Refresh rate panel. This allows them can support any content with frame rate up to 120 Hz or interpolate low frame rate content to up 120 Hz. Additionally, in their advertiser, they both actually also support VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). But unfortunately, until now, VRR technology is not available on both yet and may be available on a later firmware update.

Winner: X90J

Connectivity

As their major connectivity, the Sony X85J and X90J have 4 HDMI ports. Just like most modern TV, all of their HDMI ports also support HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2, and CEC. Additionally, one of their HDMI ports also supports ARC and eARC (HDMI 3), allowing them to pass high quality audio format like Dolby Atmos via True HDR or DTS:X via DTS HD-MA. Although only 2 ports and not full bandwidth, they both also already support HDMI 2.1 (HDMI 3 and HDMI 4). Unfortunately, their HDMI ARC also on HDMI 2, so if you have soundbar or home theater system connected on their HDMI ARC, there is only 1 HDMI 2.1 that available. Their HDMI ports also support most resolution at 60 fps and 120 fps including 1080p @ 60Hz, 1080p @ 120 HZ, 4K @60 Hz, and 4K @ 120 Hz, etc. However, they don’t support 1440 @ 120 Hz while for 1440p @ 160 HZ, it requires forced resolution. And when you want to play HDR content via their HDMI ports, they both support HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision.

IN addition 4 HDMI ports, they both also have 2 USB ports where 1 port is USB 2.0 and the rest is HDMI 3.0. Additionally, they also have 1 Tuner In (Digital/Analog), 1 Ethernet port, 1 IR port, 1 Digital Audio Out (optical), and 1 Analog Audio Out (Mini Jack). They actually also have 1 composite In which require breakout adapter. Fortunately, it is not included in their buying package, so if you want to connect your other device via composite, you must buy an adapter separately.

Discussing about their input lags in Game Mode, the input lags of the X85J is precisely lower than the X90J. Regardless the resolution, with 60 fps games, the input lags of the X85J are around 15 ms while input lags or the X90J are around 18 ms. With 120 fps games, regardless the resolution, their input lags are much lower, which are around 6 ms for the X85J and around 11 ms for the X90J. This means, when used for playing games, the X85J will be more responsive than the X90J, albeit input lags of the X90J actually is also low enough to play games responsively, even for fast paced games that require fast reflexes.

Winner: X85J

Smart TV Platform

Google TV

As their smart TV platform, both of the Sony X85J and X90J run Google TV 10. This platform actually has the same core to Android TV but it has a bit difference in user interface and functionality. Overall, Google TV runs smoothly on both. Additionally, their interface is also easy to use. In addition some preinstalled apps provided, there are also tons of apps provided on Google Play Store you can directly download from your Sony TV. Additionally, they both also come with built-in ChromeCast, allowing you to cast any content from your smart phone to them. That is not only that, both of them also comes with built-in Google Assistant, allowing you make a voice command for some functions like change inputs, search content, launch apps, etc. In addition Google Assistant, they also support Amazon Alexa, some Apple apps like AirPlay 2, Apple Siri, etc. Overall, Google TVs is great smart TV platform that has easy navigation and good selection of apps.

Sony Remote 2021

As their controller, both of the Sony X90J and X85J are also equipped with the same remote control, which is Sony’s 2021 voice remote. Their remote is fairly large and provide a full number buttons and a full control buttons. This remote also have a built in microphone for voice command, but to use this feature it must be paired to the Sony TV. After paired, you just need to press Google Assistant Button and make a voice command. Additionally, their remote also have 4 dedicated buttons for YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, and Prime Video, so you don’t need to enter the menu when you want to launch these apps. This remote can also be used to control other devices connected on your Sony TV via HDMI ports, as long as they already support HDMI CEC.

Winner: Draw

Check the Latest Price
Sony X85J Sony X90J
43 inches Sony KD-43X85J on Amazon
50 Inches Sony KD-50X85J on Amazon Sony XR-50X90J on Amazon
55 inches Sony KD-55X85J on Amazon Sony XR-55X90J on Amazon
65 inches Sony KD-65X85J on Amazon Sony XR-65X90J on Amazon
75 inches Sony KD-75X85J on Amazon Sony XR-75X90J on Amazon
85inches Sony KD-85X85J on Amazon

Sony X85J vs X90J Performance

For watching Movies

Both of the Sony X90J and X85J are great TVs for watching movies in a dark room. They both have good native contrast ratio and black uniformity, makes dark scene of images looks excellent in a dark room. Additionally, they also have good motion handling, so fast action movies will be shown smoothly and clearly on their screen. If you have old movies collection that has non 4K resolution, they both have great 4K-upscaling engine that lets you to watch them as details as native 4K movies. They both can also do a great job in handling judder. So regardless the source, you can enjoy any type of movies with judder free. A bit shortcoming is they have a bit issue on image stuttering when they are playing low frame rate content. But this can be easily solved by enabling their motion interpolation feature. Meanwhile, that makes the X90J better is that it has local dimming feature while the X85J doesn’t have. With local dimming feature, the X90J can handle blooming and minimize “crushed black” better than the X85J.

Winner: X90J

For Watching Sports

When used for watching sports, their performance is also equally great. In addition they have good picture quality, they both also good SDR peak brightness, makes them have no issue with glare when used for watching sports in most bright room. Nevertheless, since their reflection handling is not so good, place them opposite window or light source should be avoided if you don’t want have an issue with a reflection. The other good point is that they also have good motion handling, so you will be not bothered with the blur when watching fast sports like MotoGp or Formula One. Additionally, their good gray uniformity also lets you to watch sports with a large field like football or hockey without a lot of dirty screen effect.  But unfortunately, they have narrow viewing angle coverage. This is not suitable for you who often watch a big game with a group of your family and friend.

Winner: Draw

Video Games

When used for playing video games, the X90J is also better than the X85J. The Sony X85J may have lower input lags that make it more responsive than the X90J when used for playing fast paced games. Additionally, their motion handling is also equally great and not much different, allowing you to play any games with smooth and clear picture quality and minimal blur. That is not only that, their native 120 Hz refresh rate panel and HDMI 2.1 lets you to play high resolution games that supported by modern games console like PS 5 or XBOX X Series. Until here, their gaming performance is not much different. Meanwhile, its local dimming feature is make the X90J can deliver better picture quality than the X85J, especially when showing texts in games. We expect, a later firmware update that comes with VRR technology is released soon, so this can further improve their gaming performance.

Winner: X90J

HDR Performance

The Sony X90J also has better HDR performance than the X85J. They both may good native contras ratio and excellent black uniformity that allows them can show shadow details of HDR images excellently with not a lot crushed black. But even so, since the X90J has local dimming feature, dark scene of HDR images will look better on its screen than on the screen of the X85J, particularly when showing text or subtitle in movies. Additionally, they both also have wide color gamut and color volume, so most colors of HDR images can be shown accurately on their screen. They great gradient handling also makes them color gradient of HDR images displayed on their screen looks very smooth with almost no banding. Furthermore, both of the Sony X90J and X85J are also able to show most scenes of HDR images as bright as they should be. But even so, in showing small highlight, the X90J can show it much brighter, so small highlight of the HDR images will look much more standout on its screen than on the screen of the X85J. Nevertheless, although not as great as the X90J, HDR performance of the X85J is already good, especially for its class.

Winner: X90J

Conclusion

As we have discussed a lot above, the main difference between the Sony X90J and X85J is on the local dimming feature and images processor. With local dimming feature, performance of the X90J is better than the X85J when they used in a dark room. Additionally, use the higher level image processor also makes the X90J can handle image processing a bit better. This have an impact on their performance overall. No matter they are used for, whether you use them for watching movies, sports, TV shows, HDR movies, or playing games, the X90J can perform better than the X85J. Nevertheless, this is in rule since the X90J is a step up model and with the same screen size, it is sold more expensive than the X85J.

So, which is a better choice among them? Considering their performance, of course, the Sony X90J is better than the X85J. The use of local dimming feature and higher level of image processor make it is better than the X85J for any usage. But as we have discussed above, with the same screen size, the X90J is sold hundreds to thousand dollars more expensive than the X85J, depending on the screen sizes. Now the decision comes back to you according to your budget. If you don’t care about their difference in price, the X90J certainly is better. But even so, if you also consider your budget, you can consider the Sony X85J since its performance and picture quality is also not much behind the X90J.

Check the Latest Price
Sony X85J Sony X90J
43 inches Sony KD-43X85J on Amazon
50 Inches Sony KD-50X85J on Amazon Sony XR-50X90J on Amazon
55 inches Sony KD-55X85J on Amazon Sony XR-55X90J on Amazon
65 inches Sony KD-65X85J on Amazon Sony XR-65X90J on Amazon
75 inches Sony KD-75X85J on Amazon Sony XR-75X90J on Amazon
85inches Sony KD-85X85J on Amazon

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