Sony XBR49X800D Review – 43″ Or 49″ Version?
It’s time for the Sony XBR49X800D Review, which is probably the very best 4K TV under $1000 you can get.
It’s true that it’s a 2016 creation, but thanks to the success of this line, Sony hasn’t changed much in the newer versions. So it has pretty much the same features as its 2017 cousins.
Therefore, the 2016 XBR 49X800D is one of the best choices you can make for a budget 4K TV. That is, with both its 43″ and 49″ versions, even though they have different features.
However, which of these two versions is more worth buying?
So Let’s Get To The Review
Price: $680 – $798
Cheapest place to buy: Amazon
Worth buying?: For these money, totally (both versions)
- Great picture quality (especially the 43″ version)
- The up-scaling system performs very well with content over 720p
- No judder or motion blur in fast scenes
- Wide viewing angles for 49″ version
- Simple, good-looking design with a very slim screen
- Low input lag and PS4 compatible, so great for gaming
- The smart system is Alexa compatible and has a Google Cast new feature
- Pretty low price, as it’s worth much more than $1000
- Internal speakers aren’t loud enough for a home theatre experience
- The remote has a pretty unfriendly design
- The 43″ version doesn’t offer wide viewing angles
Appearance & Design – Back To Basics
When it comes to aspect, Sony’s XBR 49X800D model doesn’t excel in design, but rather in simplicity. It doesn’t have the glass panels of expensive OLEDs, nor the perfect curves of Samsung’s lattest generation. Instead, it keeps a much simpler design, but that doesn’t necessarily come as a downside.
There’s no difference in aspect between the 2 versions, besides the screen dimensions. The extra slim design has exactly the same width in both – 1.8″. It can be wall mounted or regularly placed, as it comes with a sturdy metal stand.
Overall, the XBR 49X800D comes in a basic design, with a simple, neutral frame and a straightforward screen shape. And even though it’s not my personal favorite, it still receives a good grade at this chapter.
Basic Technology – VA or IPS?
The major difference between the 2 versions of the XBR 49X800D is the technology they’re made on. The 43″ version has VA panels, while the 49″ one is made with IPS. Now, there are hundreds of pages written about these 2 TV panels, but the differences are pretty simple.
VA-based TVs are superior from the picture’s point of view, but they have a big problem – viewing angles.
On the other hand, IPS’s top features are actually the very wide viewing angles and the very low input lag, which makes them perfect for gaming. And even though VA-based TVs are also decent at this chapter, they can’t beat IPS ones.
Therefore, it’s hard to pick a winner between those 2 technologies, because they both at the best at a certain thing. However, judging by picture quality (which should be the #1 factor in a TV), the 43″ VA-based TV would be my personal choice.
Picture Quality – 43″ Is Way Above
When it comes to image rates and user experience, things are very clear – the 43″ version is way above the 49″ one.
The VA-based design leads to great contrast skills, among the best in non-OLED 4K TVs. The levels of black are also the deepest ones on the market, coming right behind the peaks offered by the same OLEDs. You can see the image quality in a very dark room – the black remains clear black no matter the shades around.
The reflection filter of the screen is also pretty good for both versions, but the 43″ one remains on top at this aspect too. Even in a brighter room, the natural light won’t bother your image too much.
The 49″ format isn’t necessarily the worst at this chapter, but picture quality probably remains its Achilles heel. The contrast rates aren’t amazing, the black levels aren’t too deep and the overall quality of the images drops in a very dark room.
Up-scaling System – Totally Worth The Money
Probably the main reason for XBR 49X800D’s great picture quality is the great up-scaling engine.
Even though most 4K TVs can play content over 1080p very well, most are terrible with lower content. However, it’s not the case of Sony’s models, which do a great job with content that is as low as 720p. And it’s exactly the same with the XBR 49X800D.
Besides, even 480p content looks decently, a bit better than its original form. Moreover, judder and motion blur aren’t a usual problem for this TV. The last one may appear rarely, in some very fast scenes, but mainly XBR 49X800D’s 60 Hz refresh rate does its job perfectly.
Another great feature of this TV is that it has many picture settings you can customize after your own taste. Each picture mode’s effects can be changed easily, zooming is possible without damaging the image quality and the brightness changes automatically after the room’s conditions.
Viewing Angles – All Eyes On 49″
If VA-based TV’s biggest problem remains the viewing angles, well…IPS ones are the best at this chapter. Therefore, it’s all about the 49″ version if you want a TV with a wide viewing angle.
LED TVs tend to have a very narrow viewing angle, so you should expect the picture quality to decrease as soon as you move 15 degrees from the center. In fact, at this distance the image would normally look pretty bad on most LED TVs.
However, Sony’s XBR 49X800D allows you to sit over 20 degrees from the center without any damage in the quality of the image. This may not sound too much, but if you compare it with 95% of the LEDs on the market, you will see the huge improvement of XBR 49X800D.
Audio – Not Too Bad, But Not Too Good Either
Sony didn’t find any solution for the audio problems of LCD in XBR 49X800D’s construction. The TV keeps the similar design of its predeccesors and comes with an internal audio system, consisting of speakers.
The overall sound quality is definitely not the worst I’ve seen in a TV, but it’s not on top either. And even though it would probably be enough for a small apartment, it couldn’t keep up for a home theatre experience.
Therefore, a sound bar is an absolute necessity if you want to fully enjoy the user experience, which is pretty much great besides this downside. And keep in mind that there’s no difference between the 43″ and 49″ format regarding the audio part.
Smart System – Simple But Efficient
When it comes to this part, Sony has a lot to be praised for. Android Smart OS, the smart system, is slightly modified from the last version, but it keeps the essential details like basic menu and voice recognition feature.
A new element brought in by this smart system is Google Cast. This feature allows you to transfer content from any compatible source without any other hardware. So basically it makes the procedure 10 times simpler.
One thing you should note about the voice recognition feature is that the XBR 49X800D is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa. But even if things are great when it comes to voice recognition, the manual remote part is pretty bad.
A lot of buyers complained about the bad design of the TV controller, but Sony doesn’t seem to be affected by any of those bad reviews. The actual remote keeps the design of the previous ones, despite not being the most user-friendly in the world.
However, referring exclusively to the smart system, things are looking really good for this XBR 49X800D model.
Gaming – It’s All About 49″
If picture quality is a minus for IPS-based TVs, well…they are definitely the best when it comes to gaming.
The 49″ version’s input lag is pretty low (under 30 ms) so it allows a very fast response time for almost any kind of game. It also supports all the features of PS4, but make sure you change the picture mode to “gaming”. Otherwise, the image will pretty much look washed and unclear.
On the other hand, 43″ version’s gaming features are not pretty bad either. The input lag is indeed higher (around 33 ms), but still low enough to ensure a pretty fast response time. It would definitely not make the best 4K TV for gaming, but it wouldn’t be the worst either. However, you can’t compare it with the IPS-based 49″ version.
So, Is This TV Worth The Money? And What Version Should I Get?
Sony’s XBR 49X800D is one of the best budget 4K TV you can get right now. The picture quality is very high, its smart TV features rock and the TV itself works great as a gaming device. So it is totally worth the money, if you’re not willing to pay over $1000 for a 4K TV. Otherwise, there are better options.
However, once you decided on this TV, which of the 2 version is more worth the money?
Well, if you’re a home theatre fan, more interested in picture quality and detail than anything else, the 43″ version would be a much better choice. However, if you plan not to watch this TV alone all the time, the wide viewing angles are probably a must for you. Therefore, the IPS-based 49″ version would suit you much better.
But all in all, like you could see in this Sony XBR 49X800D review, the TV is worth more than $1000. And that’s why I’m sure it wouldn’t disappoint you.