Sony KDL-55W800C Bravia Review (KDL55W800C)
55 Inch, LED Smart Android TV
by Jack Burden, Senior Editor
The KDL-55W850B is Sony's value offering in a 1080p HD LED screen. It appeals to those looking for the reliability of Sony processing while not paying up for 4K UHD resolution. The main upgrade features present is Sony's X-Reality Pro video engine.
The KDL-55W800C has a solid on-center picture quality, but does not include the Triluminous Display nor Dynamic Range enhancements for a widened color gamut present on the higher end Sony's. The color rendition is less accurate here than on top end Sony's as a result but still realistic with plenty of pop especially when watching HD programming. It might present somewhat grainy and dark with poorer quality DVDs.
The right source material really shows the strengths of the W800C panel
14 different picture modes offer an astounding amount of picture quality choices to optimize the screen for whatever content you are watching. Once calibrations are made the picture quality on the W800C is very good from both HD and standard definition sources, though not as strong as those top units with a clear coat screen or top 4K TVs. The light-flow through the screen is not quite as pronounced.
Side Angle Viewing
The W800C comes with two features to address the weak side angle viewing inherent in LED backlit LCD TVs. The Auto Wide feature and the TV SideView feature help to mitigate side viewing contrast degradation. So the 800C is a bit better than the competition in the mid-grade off center viewing angle category starting to noticeably fade at around 25 degrees off center.
Sony has distanced itself from the competition in color accuracy over the past couple of years. You get more naturally saturated colors on the W800C than Samsung and LG mid grade TVs. Inclusion of the stellar X-Reality Pro video engine is a major plus for a mid-grade HDTV. This engine refines color information and image edges for a sharper looking picture where possible.
The W800C displays strong color, contrast, and picture depth in this shot
Motionflow XR 960 Setting
The “effective” refresh rate on the W800C has doubled from last year. It's got a true 120Hz panel. Although this excellent TV has tons of great technology built in, it is not able to eliminate the Soap Opera effect (elimination of too much natural background blur) when de-juddering the picture image. It's still best left Off for any kind of movies or TV show programming. I like it On for sports. This setting is on by default so you will need to go through and turn it off in the menu (in the Advanced picture settings) when you don't want it on. The options within the Motion flow setting do make a big difference in the amount of Judder taken out and the effects on the picture vary quite a bit. The choices are: Clear, Clear Plus, Standard, Smooth, and new setting called Impulse. Out of the choices the Smooth or Standard setting seemed best to me.
Though not a “buy for” feature, PS3 Games can be streamed directly to the TV. However Sony's PlayStation Now service requires DUALSHOCK4 controller, sold separately, and 5Mbps Internet connection (5-12 Mbps recommended for the best quality experience). Additional purchases and registration required.
Light flow through and contrast are good qualities in this shot. A good bit of screen reflections can be seen too
Smart TV/Android TV Features
Sony has given up the Apps and Smart TV function to Google's Android TV for 2015. I think this is a smart move as Sony was never really the best at Smart TV. The voice search on Sony's Android TV works incredibly fast and well. It's great for searching YouTube and Google Apps and Games. But I wonder about The menu is full of Google Play options. You log in to your Google ID to access Apps, games, and content from Google Play. Among the various choices:
The selection of apps on Android TV is impressive. Most of the services have good content to offer
Google Cast allows you to show movies, pictures, and TV shows from your IOS or Android based smartphone or from a laptop. We suspect the best use of Google Play will be games.
Lastly, if you're not content with the choices, you can always connect a Roku box, which really has the best offerings anyway. Then you get both.
The W800C is easily one of the better looking TV in it's price category with an extremely small framing bezel which sits atop a minimalist chrome metal stand.
Value Rating: 87/100
At around $1199 the KDL-55W800C commands a slight premium over the competition from Samsung and LG, but in my mind it's worth it for the X-Reality Pro video engine and the extra 120Hz native panel. It's also a slightly better looking screen than the others with a thinner bezel frame. You cant beat getting Sony functionality in a mid grade product.
- Edge Lit LED, LCD TV
- Motionflow XR 960 from 120Hz Native Panel
- X-Reality Pro Video Engine
- Speakers 2 X 10W
- Inputs: HDMI 4, USB 2, Component 1
- HDMI PC Input: Yes
- Digital Audio Out: 1
- Wifi - Yes
Overall Rating: 84/100
|Jack Burden joined the review staff of CEAG Inc. in May 2003 after finishing his graduate work at Harvard University. He has been reporting on consumer electronics and conducting product reviews for more than seven years... Read more about Jack|