Technology

Sony XBR-X900H TV review: Excellent picture now, ready for the future

The XBR-X900H is the best-performing midpriced Sony TV I’ve examined in years, with glorious distinction and brightness, correct shade and loads of punch with HDR. Add to {that a} strong sensible TV system, smooth styling and cutting-edge options and you have got an ideal tv for anybody who values Sony’s model however would not need to pony up for one in every of its OLED TVs.

Like

  • Glorious general picture high quality
  • Greatest-in-class connectivity
  • Obtainable in an 85-inch measurement
  • Extra inexpensive than equal Samsung

Do not Like

  • Dearer than competing TVs with related image high quality

The important thing to this TV’s picture high quality, as with all LCD-based units that carry out properly in my side-by-side checks, is properly applied full-array local dimming. It improves black ranges and distinction by illuminating totally different areas of the display screen individually as wanted. In some essential methods, corresponding to decreasing stray illumination with HDR, the X900H beat the equally geared up TCL 6-Series in these checks, however in different methods the TCL received out, with superior brightness and distinction general. The Sony additionally prices greater than the TCL, so it isn’t my high advice for individuals who need the perfect picture high quality for the cash. 

There are many good causes to decide on the Sony X900H as a substitute, nevertheless. The primary is superior connectivity: Not like the TCL, will probably be suitable with the highest-quality 4K/120Hz video from the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, and in contrast to any TV at this value it additionally has a built-in Next Gen TV tuner for upcoming ATSC 3.Zero broadcasts. The Sony can be accessible in a large 85-inch measurement, one thing not supplied by TCL or Hisense. And possibly Sony’s model cachet is vital to you — however you do not need to throw down much more for a FALD-equipped Samsung, the most affordable of which (the Q80T) prices lots of greater than the X900H. 

Even higher, Sony not too long ago dropped the worth of the 65-inch measurement to $1,000, simply $100 greater than the TCL. If that measurement, or any of the opposite causes above enchantment to you, the X900H must be in your brief listing.

A few refined touches separate the X900H from different big-screen, thin-frame TVs accessible in the present day. There is a line of silver metallic ending across the excessive edge on all 4 sides, matching the silver-colored stand legs. These legs are thinner than normal however really feel lots strong, and I appreciated that they are steel and never plastic.

A glance across the sides finds holes for Sony’s uncommon speaker array, and the underside has bass ports. Each are invisible from the usual seating place however contribute to improved sound, in line with Sony. I do not check audio high quality for PJDM TV opinions, however do not count on miracles right here — any first rate soundbar will seemingly outperform the X900H’s built-in audio by a mile.

The distant is old-school Sony: method too many buttons, most of which you may by no means use. I desire the sleeker, less complicated clickers of Samsung and Roku, in addition to the motion-infused wands of LG. 


David Katzmaier/PJDM

Android TV: No Google TV but, however nonetheless strong

Google not too long ago debuted a new smart TV system called Google TV, however at the moment it is solely accessible in the new Chromecast and Google hasn’t stated when (or if) different Google-powered units just like the X900H will get the improve. In the meantime the present model, known as Android TV, nonetheless performs properly. Apps launched shortly, I zipped round thumbnails and navigation screens with ease, and response instances generally had been on par with Roku, Samsung and LG TVs.

Solely Roku has as many apps as Android TV, and it lacks the voice energy of Google Assistant. Roku’s search is best, nevertheless. LG has Assistant, in addition to Alexa, however its app choice falls brief. The X900H’s array of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos apps is strong too: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Vudu and Fandango Now help each, Google Play Motion pictures helps Imaginative and prescient (however not Atmos) and Tidal helps Atmos.

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David Katmaier/PJDM

Android TV’s menus are completely usable, if not fairly as developed as Google TV. The house web page is clear and easy, with favourite apps grouped on the high for straightforward entry in a customizable bar and clear routes to get extra apps, search and extra. New for 2020, you’ll be able to customise the enter menu, and the TV settings menus have clear explanations of the results of various changes, full with illustrations.

I did expertise some issues. There’s fairly just a few annoying pop-ups and notifications on the house web page. You may’t customise the highest part or what seems in every row, so a display screen largely stuffed with muddle you do not care about is inevitable. Wi-Fi was additionally unstable on my assessment pattern. A few instances I used to be greeted with a pop-up alert saying Wi-Fi was disconnected. The one method I might flip it again on was to unplug the TV and plug it again in. I requested Sony concerning the problem and a spokesperson instructed me it plans to problem a software program replace to cope with the problem — no phrase but on timing.

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David Katzmaier/PJDM

Assistant on TVs works properly. Instructions are transcribed on-screen, together with ideas for follow-up instructions. The X900H lacks the far-field mic discovered on last year’s version, which is a bummer, however speaking into the distant labored superb. I used to be in a position to launch apps, carry out searches, mute and alter quantity, inform it to “play cat movies on YouTube,” get the climate, set timers and so forth. 

It wasn’t with out typical Google Assistant wonkiness nevertheless. As soon as I requested, “What is the newest information?” and an account login web page appeared, and once I clicked by a YouTube channel did not load, full with a “One thing went mistaken” popup, a clean display screen and a spinning progress indicator.

You may hyperlink the Sony TV with Google Nest Home or Amazon Alexa audio system for hands-free motion. The X900H allows you to use your cellphone to forged apps by way of its built-in Google Forged performance, which works identical to a Chromecast, and in addition helps Apple’s AirPlay 2 and HomeKit compatibility. AirPlay 2 lets the TV perform as a show for TV reveals, motion pictures, music, photographs and internet pages with an iPhone, iPad or Mac because the controller. Not like many different TVs, nevertheless, this Sony lacks the total Apple TV app.

Key options

Show expertise LED LCD
LED backlight Full array with native dimming
Decision 4K
HDR suitable HDR10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient
Sensible TV Android TV
Distant Voice

The perfect picture-enhancing additional on the X900H is full-array local dimming. Not like Vizio, Hisense or TCL, Sony would not disclose the variety of dimming zones on its TVs, and whereas extra zones usually equate to raised efficiency, that is not at all times the case.

Different picture-centric extras embody a local 120Hz refresh rate, a notable enchancment on paper over the faux 120Hz refresh rates (they’re really 60Hz native) discovered on some TVs. The X-Movement Readability mode that debuted in 2018 can be on board. It boosts movement decision by making use of black body insertion solely the place it is wanted on the display screen, which is claimed to eradicate the glint and dimness evinced by related modes in previous units. See the image high quality part for extra.

Not like Samsung, TCL and Vizio, Sony would not use quantum dots, so its HDR color gamut is not as extensive. Along with normal HDR10, the X900H helps the Dolby Vision HDR format, not like Samsung.

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David Katzmaier/PJDM
  • 4x HDMI inputs
  • 3x USB ports
  • Composite video enter
  • Ethernet (LAN) port
  • Optical digital audio output
  • 1x headphone/subwoofer audio output
  • 1x RF (antenna) enter
  • RS-232 port (minijack)

The X900H has a few of the most succesful inputs of any 4K TV. It helps quite a few HDMI 2.1 features, particularly enhanced audio return channel (aka eARC), automated low latency mode (ALLM, or auto game mode) and variable refresh rate. A firmware replace will permit its HDMI inputs to just accept 4K decision at 120 frames per second, however Sony could not inform me precisely when it might arrive. That characteristic units it other than many 2020 TVs just like the TCL 6-Collection, particularly for players who need to make the most of excessive body charges
from an Xbox Series X or Sony PlayStation 5.

It is also the only non-8K TV to characteristic a built-in ATSC 3.Zero over-the-air tuner, which permits the X900H to obtain NextGen TV broadcasts. These are nonetheless only available in a tiny number of markets so I did not get the possibility to take a look at this characteristic, but it surely’s good to know that after the broadcasts turn into extra widespread, Sony X900H homeowners will not have to attach an exterior tuner field to look at. 

Learn extra: Next Gen TV is free 4K TV with an antenna, and it’s coming this year

Not like a lot of Samsung’s units, the Sony really has an analog video enter, albeit composite-only, and I additionally recognize having a headphone jack.

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Click on the picture above for image settings and HDR notes.


David Katzmaier/PJDM

Image high quality comparisons

The Sony X900H is a superb performer general, with a lovely, balanced picture that also manages to ship loads of pop and distinction. It will probably’t fairly match the black ranges and lightweight output of some LCDs I’ve examined — most not too long ago from TCL and Hisense — however nonetheless comes fairly shut. In the meantime different areas of picture high quality, particularly shade accuracy and shadow element, had been superior to these TVs. 

Click on the picture on the proper to see the picture settings used within the assessment and to learn extra about how this TV’s image controls labored throughout calibration.

Dim lighting: Darkish film scenes performed in a darkish room are essentially the most difficult sort of content material for LCD-based TVs and whereas the Sony seemed glorious in my side-by-side checks, it wasn’t fairly nearly as good because the TCL 6-Collection or the Hisense at sustaining that essential darkness. Letterbox bars in mid-dark scenes, corresponding to the overall’s speech within the bunker at the start of 1917, offered one instance. The opposite two TVs had been each in a position to protect a blacker shade of “black” within the bars and different darkish areas, just like the troopers’ silhouettes, which made them look a bit extra lifelike than the X900H. The distinction was minor general, nevertheless, and even much less noticeable in different scenes with brighter lighting.

Then again, the Sony preserved particulars in shadows most constantly among the many three TVs, for instance within the tremendous darkish scene with the soldier waking up (1:06:38), and in addition managed blooming and stray illumination very properly. Once more, the variations with SDR had been comparatively minor and all three TVs seemed glorious.

Vivid lighting: The X900H can get exceedingly shiny, though it did not measure fairly as shiny as another units I’ve examined not too long ago.

Gentle output in nits

TV Brightest (SDR) Correct shade (SDR) Brightest (HDR) Correct shade (HDR)
Vizio PX65-G1 (2019) 1,990 1,120 2,908 2,106
TCL 65Q825 1,653 904 1,818 982
TCL 65R635 1,114 792 1,292 1,102
Sony XBR-65X900H 841 673 989 795
Vizio M658-G1 (2019) 633 400 608 531
LG OLED65CX 377 290 690 634

The “correct” numbers above had been measured with the Sony’s Xtended Dynamic Vary setting within the Excessive setting within the Customized image mode, which is a good selection for shiny rooms the place you continue to need an correct picture. As normal, the brightest setting, Vivid, is extremely inaccurate. 

In comparison with the others, the Sony’s display screen end was visibly superior at preserving distinction and black ranges in a shiny room, but it surely did a considerably worse job of dimming shiny reflections. Total I most popular the Sony’s bright-room picture to that of the others in most scenes.

Colour accuracy: Regardless of its lack of quantum dots I’ve come to count on glorious shade from Sony and the X900H isn’t any exception. Its Customized and Cinema modes had been very related previous to calibration though each skewed barely blue; afterward they had been practically excellent. Watching program materials shiny scenes, just like the fields, woods and uniforms in Chapter eight of 1917, seemed essentially the most pleasing and pure of the three TVs, outdoing the obvious saturation of the TCL in my comparability.

Video processing: The X900H had no points delivering correct 1080p/24 cadence with its Motionflow controls within the Off place, which might be the perfect for movie purists. In the meantime the Auto setting launched the buttery smoothness of the soap opera effect. Then there’s the Customized setting, which has adjustable Smoothness and Clearness.

A Smoothness setting above 1 introduces important SOE, whereas Zero turns it off. I really did not thoughts the slight smoothing that the 1 setting introduces (some purists may), however its impact on movement decision was actually slight, so I might in all probability follow 0. The Clearness setting ramps up black body insertion to enhance movement decision, but it surely would not have any impact (apart from dimming the picture) except you have acquired Smoothness at 2 or increased. In different phrases there is not any approach to get the perfect of each worlds — excessive movement decision and no SOE — with one setting.

The X900H measured the best (lowest) input lag of any Sony TV but, at round 15 milliseconds in Sport mode for each 1080p and 4K HDR — an enchancment of 4ms in comparison with final yr’s X950G. Within the Customized mode, in the meantime, I measured 91ms with each resolutions.

Uniformity: The X900H pattern I examined was superb on this class, with few visible variations throughout the display screen in static or shifting check patterns or program materials, corresponding to a hockey match. In comparison with the TCL and the Hisense, the Sony misplaced black stage constancy and distinction from off-angle extra severely as I moved away from the candy spot within the heart of the display screen. Then again, it preserved shade higher than the opposite two.

HDR and 4K video: The X900H is a suburb HDR performer general. I began my comparability with my reference video, the montage from the Spears and Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark, and the Sony held its personal properly in comparison with the TCL and the Hisense, though it could not fairly match both one for distinction. Its largest problem, as anticipated, got here through the tough bright-on-black sections, for instance the honey dripper at 2:50. Each of the others delivered deeper black ranges that gave the picture extra pop and distinction, in addition to displaying much less blooming and stray illumination.

In brighter, extra pure photographs just like the snowy mountains and the recent springs, the Sony narrowed the hole, though brightness in highlights and in bigger shiny areas like clouds and snow lagged the TCL barely and the Hisense much more. Colour accuracy was glorious, a bit higher than the TCL and considerably higher than the Hisense, with a balanced but vibrant look to the flowers and bugs. The Sony additionally preserved element in very shiny areas higher than the Hisense. 

Turning again to 1917 in 4K HDR, the Sony once more competed properly and in some scenes seemed essentially the most balanced and pleasing of the three. The overall’s bunker scene (6:55) was one instance: the TCL 635 confirmed darker black ranges however worse blooming and stray illumination, and whereas the Hisense was brighter in highlights its shade seemed the least lifelike and it additionally confirmed blooming. Once more the Sony preserved shadow element the perfect among the many three as properly.

In brighter scenes the Sony once more trailed the opposite two at delivering that trademark HDR blast of sunshine, for instance within the skies above the troopers as they stroll shortly by the trenches. The TCL and the Sony had been comparatively shut, nevertheless, and difficult to distinguish with out measuring their shiny areas instantly, whereas the Hisense was visibly brighter than each. Then again, as I noticed with the 4K Benchmark, colours on each the TCL and Sony seemed extra correct and pure than on the Hisense.

4K HDR gaming: For this check I performed The Last of Us Part 2 on a PS4 Pro within the TVs’ varied Sport modes: Sport mode on the Sony and Gaming HDR (aka THX-certified Sport Mode) for the 635 (I did not embody the Hisense on this check).

While you’re crawling round a darkish constructing looking zombies, shadow element is extra vital than black stage and distinction, as a result of it permits you to peer into darkish recesses to identify enemies. By that measure the Sony was higher than the 635, delivering each ounce of element within the darkest shadows whereas the 635 was a bit extra shrouded. That stated, the TCL received for black ranges, distinction and punch in the identical (default) sport settings. With many video games, together with The Final of Us Half 2, you’ll be able to regulate gamma and shadow element to style (and you must).

Transferring out into the day-lit Seattle streets, the 635 once more seemed greatest general because of superior distinction, which as normal helped colours pop. The Sony nonetheless seemed nice, nevertheless, and variations can be robust to discern exterior of a side-by-side comparability.

Geek Field

Check End result Rating
Black luminance (0%) 0.010 Good
Peak white luminance (SDR) 841 Good
Avg. gamma (10-100%) 2.15 Good
Avg. grayscale error (10-100%) 1.07 Good
Darkish grey error (30%) 0.99 Good
Vivid grey error (80%) 1.19 Good
Avg. shade checker error 1.80 Good
Avg. saturation sweeps error 1.55 Good
Avg. shade error 2.37 Good
Purple error 2.82 Good
Inexperienced error 2.72 Good
Blue error 2.23 Good
Cyan error 2.26 Good
Magenta error 2.34 Good
Yellow error 1.83 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Go Good
Movement decision (max) 1200 Good
Movement decision (dejudder off) 400 Poor
Enter lag (Sport mode) 15.50 Good
HDR10
Black luminance (0%) 0.006 Good
Peak white luminance (10% win) 989 Common
Gamut % UHDA/P3 (CIE 1976) 92.59 Common
ColorMatch HDR error 3.57 Common
Avg. shade checker error 4.99 Common
Enter lag (Sport mode, 4K HDR) 15.23 Good

Sony XBR-65X900H PJDM review calibration results by David Katzmaier on Scribd

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Author

David Katzmaier