Get your lighters out, friends, because the HX850 is everything we were hoping for in the HX750: svelte looks, high performance, and a not-too-bad price tag. Black levels, thanks to Sony's high-tech dimming system, are very good, and shadow detail is also a plus. While it's not the last word in color, images are bright and involving when they need to be.

Feature-wise the TV misses out on voice interaction and other fripperies, but that suits me fine; the emphasis here is on picture quality.

While the HX850 not quite as good as the HX929, the $500 difference in price makes up for that. You can save even more money if you buy the even better Panasonic ST50 plasma, but if you have an aversion to plasma, then the HX850 is a good choice.

See the full review of the Sony HX850 here.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET


The bezel is thicker than on most competitors, but the one sheet of Gorilla Glass hides this a little. The border around the TV appears to be aluminum.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET


The stand is piano black and has an unusual stem, which wouldn't look out of place in a church.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Stand II: The Standening

A rear view of the Sony HX850 stand.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET


The TV is an edge-lit LCD, which means it can be quite slim.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET


Three HDMI, two USB, and wireless.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET


A basic handset, but the inclusion of the dedicated Netflix button is a boon.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony Etertainment Network

Press the SEN button on your remote and you're treated to a selection of apps, music, and video downloads.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

SEN favorites

You can set up favorite apps, but it's much quicker to access them via the main XMB interface than wait for the SEN to load.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Picture settings

The default Cinema mode is quite accurate straight out of the box.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Picture quality

We're more than a third through 2012 at the time of this review and I've seen some pretty terrible TVs and some excellent ones, and the Sony skews toward the latter. While it can't compete with the value-for-money proposition of the Panasonic ST50, it accounts for itself very tidily in the picture quality stakes. It features 95 percent of the HX929's picture at about 80 percent of the cost, give or take a shekel.

The HX850's local dimming works really well, and side-by-side with the much more expensive LG LM9600 there's no contest: the Sony is a winner in terms of both absolute blacks and shadow detail.

Color may not be the TV's strongest suit, but it does share its family's rich and vibrant color palette. If you watch a lot of Web content, the X-Reality Pro engine will clean up a majority of blockiness but no more so than a good PC.

Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET


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