Sony KDL-70W850B Bravia Review (KDL70W850B)
70 Inch, Edge Lit LED-LCD TV, Smart TV, Active 3D
by Jack Burden, Senior Editor
The KDL-70W850B is Sony's attempt to satisfy those who are looking for large format screens with plenty of top tier picture quality features. It's the 2nd best 2014 Sony LED TVs get without stepping into 4K or OLED territory. The W950B series above this one doesn't hit these sizes, but has the Truluminous display and X-tended Dynamic Range features for the best picture quality. A price tag of $2,299 is about right for a 60-inch TV with this feature set.
- Bright peak whites and strong contrast
- Active 3D looks great with Blu-rays and streaming content, 2 glasses are included
- Wedge design allows for built-in woofers in addition to speakers meaning better overall sound quality
- USB media player plays a large assortment of video formats and multiple file systems (NTSF, FAT32, etc.) for those with digital media libraries
- 4 HDMI, 2 USB inputs
- Subwoofer out on the TV is a very cool addition
- Multiple positions for legs of the stand for any size TV stand
- Updated Sony Entertainment network is slick and works better than last year
- Active 3D glasses are expensive and require batteries
- Motionflow settings are not ideal for all content
- Side angle viewing suffers from typical LED contrast and color loss
- Camera for Skype is an additional purchase
Picture Quality Rating: 89/100
The KDL-70W850B has impressive picture quality, but the W950B above it gets a bump in color and contrast from the Truluminous display and X-tended Dynamic Range. The W850B is the same as the W800B, but with larger screens. The X-reality Pro picture processing engine is the powerhouse behind rich and crisp images. The color rendition is realistic and we don't see the 'pop' of over-saturation present in many LED TVs this year. Background noise and motion artifacts are kept at a minimun as well.
Here you can see great picture depth rendition as well as strong color and contrast
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 W850B 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. However, accuracy is not a problem for the TV.
Side Angle Viewing
The biggest problem with side viewing angles here is contrast and color saturation degradation. It happens pretty quickly once the viewing point hits 20 to 25 degrees off center, they get much worse the further to the side one goes. This is the case with all matte-screen LCD TVs that we have tested. Front and center, you will see a very good colorful and accurate picture, but from the sides you will be disappointed.
Motionflow XR 480 Setting
Although this excellent TV has tons of great technology built in, it was 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 non-live-sports programming. 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.
Active 3D Viewing
Sony implements the active 3D technology on this TV. Sony TVs from last year saw a lot of passive 3D, and we thought they did an excellent job. The clear benefit of active 3D is full HD resolution going to each eye. You are going to get a more detailed picture thanks to that, and it looks great on the W800B. 2 pairs of 3D glasses are included in the box, but if you need more they are going to cost a pretty penny. We noted some crosstalk and flicker when watching in a brightly lit room.
Features Rating: 84/100
Sony Entertainment Network – Sony Social View
All of the standard go-to apps are here: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Instant Video, and more. You'll also find your fill of news and sports apps. We did notice that apps can be slow loading and small frustations with sign-up forms. When I tried to load the NHL Vault App, the menu prompts me to go online from a computer to register for the service.
This is the TV page that displays what is on air now and will be soon. It is a nice feature, but it may not be a replacement for cable and satelliet box guides
The Social View feature can be used with an optional camera. Viewers are now able to watch live programming with friends and family even if they are not in the same location. Sony's camera technology allows for a clear image in a dim room and eliminates background noise and echoes. Twitter integration takes the social aspect even futher by connecting viewers to everyone else watching and tweeting about the same program.
This is the layout of the Soical View feature. The program in the largest window with a webcam feed on the left and live Twitter updates on the bottom of the screen
Design and Appearance
The KDL-70W850B design differs from the TVs lower in the 2014 Sony lineup. This one features the "Wedge" design. From the side, the base is wide and slopes in toward the top of the screen. The best part about this design is more room for speakers. Two woofers in addition to the two speakers can fit here. Standard wall mounts still work on the W850B as well. This also has the two legged stand we have been seeing so much of too. Sony really thought this one through and implemented multiple mounting locations on the bottom of the display to accomodate large or small TV stands. The black bezels are as thin as expected to be on a top tier TV and the deepest part of the cabinet is 3 3/4 inches.
The sleek Wedge Design of the W850B aims to address the lacking sound typically associated with flat panel TVs (There is not a pop-up camera on the W850B)
Value Rating: 88/100
As far as value goes, the KDL-70W850B is pretty average. You get the reliability and picture quality associated with the Sony name and a standard feature set with strong active 3D viewing. Sound quality is a big plus here that the W850B has over the competition. The Sharp LC-70SQ15 sells for around the same price with some added future-proofing when it comes to native 4K signals, but picture quality is not as strong.
Overall Rating: 87/100
- Screen Size (measured diagonally) : 69.5"
- Brilliant Full HD (1080p) picture quality
- Top notch X-Reality PRO picture processing engine delivers color, clarity and detail at their best
- Motionflow XR 480
- Iconic, new Wedge design enables better speakers for more clear and powerful sound
- ClearAudio+ Digital Sound Processing (DSP)
- Wider sound range can be achieved with optional subwoofer SWF-BR100
- Built-in Wi-Fi for streaming connectivity, including Sony Entertainment Network™
- Active 3D capable with 2 pairs of glasses included
- TV Dimensions with stand (W x H x D): 62 1/2 x 38 1/4 x 14 5/8 in
- TV Dimensions without stand: 62 1/2 x 36 1/4 x 3 3/4(31/32) in
- Weight with stand: 98.3 lbs
- Weight without stand: 95.9 lbs
|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|