Sony Bravia XR X90K 65-inch review
- Sony launched the new series of Bravia XR X90K TVs in India, targeted at premium LED buyers.
- The TVs come in two sizes for now—55-inch and 65-inch; I reviewed the latter.
- It is the successor to the X90J, one of Sony's most loved series.
AdvertisementIn June 2022, Sony launched a new upper mid0range 4K LED smart TV - Bravia XR X90K - in India as a successor to the Sony X90J. The 55-inch variant of the TV costs ₹1,29,990, whereas the 65-inch that I reviewed is available at ₹1,79,990. There's also a 75-inch variant that will make its way to the Indian market later.
The TV uses Sony's Cognitive Processor XR processor and runs on Google's Android TV platform with a wide range of smart features and a host of apps. It also brings modern features like full-array local dimming, HDMI 2.1 bandwidth, and variable refresh rate support to eliminate screen tearing.
I have been using Sony Bravia XR X90K for over 20 days, which was a great time to review this TV as I watched some visual-heavy shows released recently. I watched the new season of Stranger Things on Netflix, The Boys on Amazon Prime, Ms. Marvel on Disney, and also the new Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, among many others, all on this huge TV.
After watching all that, it was hard to complain about the experience and even harder to let it go back, but does that mean it's perfect? Read on the review to find out.After watching all that, it was hard to complain about the experience and even harder to let it go back, but does that mean it's perfect? Read on the review to find out.
Design and build: Minimal, well built
Unless switched on, the front of the Sony X90K looks like any other LED TV with a simple, clean design, thin bezels, and black plastic body. The build quality is good, a consistent trait on most Sony products for years. It has a well-bound body with bezels attached firmly and uniformly, but the back panel does flex in a specific area near the ports - which isn't an issue.
The TV has flat metal feet that sit flush on the table. I really liked the stand assembly, as you need to put it in the bracket, and it snaps. The TV can be ready to put on stands in less than thirty seconds and what's even better is that it's very stable, and I did not see any wobbling. You can put it in two positions - short and raised, which means you can adjust the gap between the platform and the tv in case you want to place a soundbar under it. The height to the bottom of the screen in the short position is 4 cm and 8.5 cm in the raised position.
The back panel is black and has textured plastic with aluminum in the center. The only design flaw Sony X90K has is the lack of a cable management solution, and the ports are hard to reach when it's wall-mounted. However, it sticks pretty well to the wall and has a minimal gap, which looks neat.
There's a button placed right underneath the center of the TV to turn it On/Off, change channels, adjust the volume, or switch inputs. There's also a switch to turn off the mic on the TV when not using it, just an added privacy feature.
The first thing to note here is that this TV is said to have tons of tech packed inside. Some key ones include the Cognitive Processor XR, Sony's flagship chip used in the premium Bravia XR series, and HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision support. In addition, it has a 10-bit VA panel with local dimming.
Sony markets many other features, so many that I'll leave a list below and move on to see how it fares in real-life performance.
- It has dual database processing, XR 4K upscaling, and XR super-resolution for clarity enhancement.
- There is Live Color Technology, XR smoothening, and XR Triluminos Pro for color enhancement.
- For contrast, it has a dynamic contrast enhancer, XR contrast booster 10, and XR HDR remaster.
- There is XR motion clarity for smoother motion in fast-paced scenes.
- For gaming, there is auto HDR tone mapping and auto genre picture switch. Auto switch mode, as the name suggests, changes the picture profile based on the content on the screen - be it playing games, watching movies, or sports.
These features make it look like a TV from the future, but how does it translate into real-life performance? Not as much as it seems, but enough. Let's get into the details.
I am thoroughly impressed with the performance, which keeps the marketing jargon valid in most cases. Starting with local dimming, it comes with 59 dimming zones, this time over last year's 24 on the X90J. For a user, it makes the screen picture look better with a higher contrast ratio and has incredible detail clarity in HDR videos.
AdvertisementThe panel is a bit reflective, which means you can't keep it opposite or an angle with a bright light source.
It is very bright in normal, SDR, and HDR picture modes ranging between 600-1000 nits. Despite that, it has deep black comparable to OLEDs, but the loss in detail in extremely dark scenes makes it different from them. But if you face this issue, there is an option to tune the blacks, using which you can reduce the black that might help fix the detail loss.
Note that if you are using the TV with peak brightness, you might observe occasional blooming in dark scenes, especially around lights and bright objects. However, it's not as prominent to be a deal breaker, and only the pixel peepers will come across it.
Sony shines in when it comes to color reproduction. It's a common trait seen on most of its high-end TVs, and this one is no different. This is where you can see those long list of XR features come into play. It renders stunning colors with its wide color gamut coming into play, and it came out full blooming while watching Ms. Marvel. This TV made watching that Marvel series a wholesome experience, and I did not want to go back to watching the rest of the episodes on a different screen. The vibrancy on this can match the best QLEDs out there, making the overall picture quality flawless and still keeping it natural.
What makes it even better is the option that Sony gives comprehensive control to fine-tune the picture settings as per your liking. I did not change much on it, as the out-of-the-box picture quality was sharp, clear, and bright.
It's an excellent TV for a cinematic experience, and Dolby Vision enhances it further. In HDR Mode, the pictures also show natural 3D depth, and high brightness helps it to play dark scenes with crisp details as the backlight dims when HDR kicks in.
AdvertisementThe upscaling tech of Sony is great in general, and so is on this TV. I watched old movies like The Mummy and Jurrasic Park to test the performance, and I could clearly see the upscaling magic. The upscaling works with the OTT apps if you attach a pen drive or a hard disk and any 24p content being played through any external device, such as a set-top box, DVD player and Android TV box. In short, it smoothens the frames, removes digital noise to enhance details, reduces judder, and you can see it happening in real-time.
The gaming performance on this 65-inch screen is gamers rejoice. I was waiting for a Sony TV with PS5 support to come in so that I could play some titles in their full glory. It did deliver on that promise too.
It supports Auto Low Latency (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) to power gaming. In my case, it automatically turns on the TV and switches to the game mode when you connect a PlayStation device. Game Mode disables many image-enhancing features in exchange for low output latency. Note that the technology is limited to Sony devices, so it won’t work with Xbox, and you’ll have to manually switch from the remote and lock your settings by yourself. The visuals of games like Ghosts of Tsushima and Spider-Man: Miles Morales look breathtaking.
Audio: is the built-in speaker enough?
The audio is powered by a 10+10 Watts full range speaker with two 5+5 Watts sound positioning tweeters. It supports Dolby Atmos and Dolby Audio, along with DTS. In addition, there's a feature that calibrates sound according to the room size and the viewer's positioning in the room. The company claims that the audio setup is designed so that the sound feels like it's coming directly from the direction of the source on the screen. It is also said to be capable of producing 5.1.2 channel audio where the TV acts as a central speaker.
Sony's TVs are relatively more expensive than their counterparts, and the price difference is seen in some departments - audio is one of them. However, no additional unit protrudes out of the body, and the given system is still impressive. It has a decent frequency response and a very balanced sound profile and is especially great for watching shows and movies with particular emphasis on dialogue. Expectedly, it lacks bass, so if you want an entire 5.1-channel surround sound experience, consider investing in a soundbar.
AdvertisementI did not pair it with any soundbar or speaker during my use and did not find the need to. It gets loud, and the distortion is so minimal that you'd only notice it at high volume levels. It does fine for casual music listening, gaming, or even movies unless you want a full-fledged theatre experience.
User Interface: How is the software experience?
The TV runs the upgraded version of the Android TV, called Google TV. It gets almost every feature from its predecessor, but that's not all. It's more than just a name change. Using Android TV UI on the side made this one feel slicker, smoother, and more intuitive.
It has Chromecast and Google Assistant, and you get an Apple Home kit and Apple Airplay on this TV. You can do easy casting from other Android devices and operate it using just voice. You can download the Google Android application on your phone and operate the TV through it.
The Sony X90K comes with the newly-designed Sony remote for 2022. It skips the numpad, making it much sleeker and lighter. Look-wise it does not look as premium as the TV, but its sleek form factor makes it handy. It also gets shortcut buttons to popular apps like YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, and YouTube Music. Additionally, it has a built-in mic which comes in action for voice commands using Google Assistant.
The Sony Sony X90K connectivity options include 4 HDMI ports whose HDCP version is 2.3. The HDMI 3 and 4 have version 2.1, are eARC specific, and come with variable refresh rates with support for Auto Low Latency and 4K gaming at 120Hz. You also get HDMI CEC on this TV, which allows you to control multiple compatible devices using one remote simultaneously. Further, it has two USB ports, an Ethernet port, a digital audio port, an RF input port, and a headphone jack. For wireless, it has dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v4.2.
With even phone makers getting into the market, there are many TV brands to choose from. Many of these are budget offerings, and TVs from legacy brands like Sony, Samsung, and LG seem to look overpriced for what they offer on paper. The Sony X90K is the perfect example of why these TVs cost higher, even though they seem similar on paper. The seamlessness of use, stunning picture quality, excellent sound quality, and the difference in visual experience make it a worthy option against cheaper 65-inchers from competing brands. If budget is not an issue and you care for the experience, this TV is a safe option. You will get more affordable and even more expensive options for a big TV — but this hits the right balance.
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