Consumer electronics are being crammed with more and more features, but things are a bit different when it comes to televisions. Sony is known for its televisions, and their 46HX850 model is one of the more interesting 46-inch ultra slim LED-backlit models around. It’s priced in the Rs 1 lakh+ price bracket, making it a decidedly high-end model.
The Sony TV caught on video
The KDL-46HX850 is a 46-inch 3D display, which, like every other TV today, operates at a resolution of 1920x1080 and uses LED backlighting, which helps with the TV’s thinness.
Slim but sturdy design
There are plenty of connectivity options too. There are four HDMI input ports, which is plenty even if you have several sources such as an HTPC, gaming console, DTH service and Blu-ray player. There are also component and composite for older devices as well as the standard RF connection if you a use traditional cable TV connection. There are also two USB 2.0 ports on the side if you want to view content off external storage drives. As with other Sony TVs, there’s no support for NTFS, which is something we can’t get our head around. This rules out high-definition videos larger than 4 GB, which is the limit set for FAT file partitions.
There’s also a Ethernet port for internet connectivity, and the TV supports DLNA so streaming media from other devices straight to it is possible.
Sony’s designs really do make their TVs stand out from the rest. It’s no different with the 46HX850. What you see head-on is essentially a large flat glass planel with a slim, silverish bezel surrounding it.
Connectivity options at the rear of the TV
The back of the TV is made of metal with a large, solid stand holding the display upright. There’s only a little bit of a difference between the stand on this cheaper 46HX850 model as compared to the massive 55-inch 55HX925 model we reviewed a few months ago.
The remote control bundled with the 46HX850 is no different from the 55HX925 that we reviewed a while ago. It’s lighter than most other remotes of other brands.
Basic remote - identical to the previous models
It’s predominantly made of plastic and has a list of multimedia controls at the top , followed by the direction controls used for controlling the user interface. Then, there are the number buttons which are intended for switching channels but are allso useful while browsing the internet.
Default keyboard isn't the simplest to use
While most web-connected HD media players only let users stream media from the Internet and access social networking, the HX850 comes with a proper browser. The look and feel reminds you most of the Sony PlayStation 3’s web browser. Font and page rendering are pretty good and are almost identical to the experience on a PC or notebook.
Apart from being able to stream media off external storage drives, there are also a bundle of online media streaming services that are included in the TV’s interface. The Indian media streaming channels show mostly Hindi TV shows.
Indian TV shows streamed over the internet
There’s also a special Sony Entertainment Network channel airing more of these shows. Video quality is decent and is comparable to most DTH services. There’s support for YouTube and other social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter as well.
One of the biggest downsides of this TV, as with most Sony products, is the lack of compatibility with NTFS drives.
Apps and user interface
The TV has support for Opera apps as well. There’s a whole bunch of apps that come preinstalled on the TV but there’s also the option to download more apps off the web directly. They are all of pretty high quality and the remote control works well with them. Controls are responsive and we personally find the quality of the games and apps to better than most of the competition.
Opera apps on your TV
In all other ways, the user interface is similar to the other Sony TVs that we’ve reviewed in the past. The interface is pretty self explanatory and it doesn’t take too long to figure out the controls. Another unique feature is the ability to apply the same settings for all of the input sources, if you’d like. This saves the user the trouble of having to calibrate each individual input source identically.
The TV looks pretty good out of the box, without much need for calibration. After toning the colour down a bit, images and video look way better.
We tested the TV across a number of sources, ranging from Blu-rays and games to online streaming services and even a a PC connected directly via HDMI. We found the detail of video to be very high in the case of Blu-ray media.
Somewhat bulky active 3D glasses
Frame rates aren’t an issue, as media running at 60fps looks as smooth as it does on the PC or any other player. In this particular case, we found colours to be a tad on the cooler side, which is a good thing. Most TVs tend to overemphasise colours and details, and the 46HX850 has a more soft, subtle look. For those who like better colours, you can obviously bump up colour saturation a bit to around 60 - 70 percent.
Even non-1080p content is pretty decent. Obviously, it lacks detail, but the TV does a good job at upscaling content. 720p content looks as rich and so does DVD quality standard definition content.
3D is supported as well but the glasses used are active. There’s a microUSB port for charging the glasses, and they’re also comparatively larger than those that come with other TVs. There isn’t a lot of flicker but it’s noticeable for sure. There’s also some ghosting that’s visible while viewing 3D content, which can be a little annoying. Overall, it’s still not a very refined 3D viewing experience.
TVs, no matter how expensive or massive, often come with poor quality speakers. The speakers on the Sony 46HX850 aren't much different in this aspect but they are louder than those of most other TVs. The sound is a little warm with some amount of bass, but there isn’t much detail. Audio tends to get muffled once you cross the 70 percent volume mark.
The TV renders text really well and that’s handy if you’re going to be using the TV as a display for a desktop computer or laptop. There’s close to no input lag which is also good if you’re going to be playing games on it. Pixels are only visible when you’re within three feet of the TV. Ideally, for desktop use you should be sitting a bare minimum of four feet away.
Verdict and Price in India
A good blend of features, performance and design
Sony sells the 46HX850 for a price of Rs. 123,990, which would be too expensive for just another 46-inch TV. The 46HX850 however, isn’t just another TV. It’s actually a pretty good performing display, which offers a reasonably large number of features. We only have a few complaints, such as the inability to play media off NTFS file partitions on drives and the average 3D viewing experience. If you want style, features and 2D video performance, then this is a product worth considering.
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