Sony 55-inch X9500G 4K TV Rewiew
IF YOU CAN’T RUN TO OLED, THIS ISONEOF THE BEST LCD TVS EVER MADE.
SONY RECENTLY WOWED us with its latest OLED TV – the A9F – but it was as ridiculously good as it was ridiculously expensive. Now here’s the latest iteration of its best LCD TV replete with full-array, rear lighting and a full complement of features and performance enhancements inherited from its OLED big brother. It comes at a much-more affordable price but lands in a crowded market. So, is it worth buying?
It’s not as thin as other LCDs but the inevitable thickness derived from rear-lighting comes with substantially less bulk than we’ve seen with similar competitors. The bezel is thin, the feet are substantial and it looks classy as big, glass screens go. The new remote is generally welcome. It looks refined compared to its button-crammed predecessor and the Bluetooth nature means it works wherever its pointing. It’s responsive and accurate but fewer buttons mean fewer features too.
The ‘Android O’ Operating System is inherited from the A9F and it’s seriously impressive. It’s highly customisable, dripping with apps and functionality and all the lag from earlier Android operating systems has gone. It also has Chromecast casting and Google Assistant built-in: the latter’s voice search impressively scours multiple apps when executing content requests. It’s also compatible with Apple’s networking and smart home products.
We fired up some top-quality, high-contrast, 4K content to test it. The Grand Tour’s Lamborghini Huracan Performante review (Amazon) demonstrated impressive colour and contrast performance thanks to bright, vibrant, orange-and-green colours plus piercinglighting shining out of dark areas. There was some light bleeding into letterbox bars and bright objects sometimes exhibited halo effects on dark backgrounds but this wasn’t to a distracting degree. Letterbox bars could remain almost-completely black but it involved turning brightness down significantly – it can’t match the perfect contrast of OLED. We were impressed that, despite the vibrant colours, skin tones remained natural. There are many expert settings to tailor things just so, but we were generally satisfied with default settings.
Youtube’s Costa Rica 4K 60fps showreel demonstrated the impressive, smooth panning performance afforded by the 200Hz refresh rate yet it neither produced the immersionkilling Soap Opera Effect nor dimmed the picture by inserting black frames. However, some fast-moving objects occasionally left trails when it was caught off-guard. We were also impressed by Sony’s ‘Bit Mapping’ technology which successfully eliminates banding in colour gradients.
Netflix content generally looked great, especially when it was Dolby Vision compatible. However, we’re not convinced by Sony’s ‘Netflix Compatibility Mode’ which could often wash-out colours instead of, “Producing the image that the director intended.”
Sony raves about viewing angles but, from the sides there’s noticeable colour degradation. It’s not enough to affect general living-room viewing, though.
Upscaling prowess is very impressive – noise is almost eliminated in very-low-definition content although some outlines can look a little soft. Sound is distinct and well-rounded.
Ultimately, it’s brilliant all-round TV thanks to its great picture, sound, features and usability. It also comes at a reasonable price. However, light bleeding issues mean picture quality is still a step below OLED rivals.
65-inch 4K LCD TV, X1 Ultimate image processor, Super Bit Mapping, Android O OS, Chromecast, Alexa, 2 x 10W speakers, 4 HDMI, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 1, Ethernet, Headphone jack, Optical out, AC Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos. Weight 19KG with stand.