The smoothest flagship Android TV we tested

This is the time of year when we are anxiously awaiting the PS5 and Xbox Series X launches and if you’re wondering why I’m starting a TV review with the next console generation, you should know that hardware under the hood, next generation gaming consoles HDMI 2.1 Comes with a feature called 6 HDMI 2.1 will be an article in itself when breaking, know that it comes with features like 120FPS, automatic low latency mode, variable refresh rate and much more to enhance your gaming experience. Since next generation consoles are proud of these features, it is understandable for you to keep an eye on them if you plan to buy a TV in 2020 and want it to be proof of the future. So, is the Sony X9000H your next entertainment / gaming TV?

Well, before we get to that, a small note. A firmware update to enable HDMI 2.1 will be released on this TV and at the time of writing this review, the update is not finished. Also, only HDMI ports 3 and 4 will enable HDMI 2.1 More on that after this review.

Glasses at a glance

Panel size: 65-inch (also available in 55-inch)
Panel type: VA LED
Panel resolution: 3840 x 2160 – 4K
Panel refresh rate: 120Hz
HDR 10 support: Yes
Dolby Vision Support: Yes
Weight (including stand): 23.2 kg
HDMI port: 4
USB port: 2
Bluetooth: Yes
Wi-Fi: Yes
Ethernet: Yes
Speaker: 20W (full range (Bass Reflex) x 2, Tweeter x 2)
Built-in storage: 16GB
Price: Rs 1,69,990 for 65-inch and Rs 1,09,990 for 55-inch

Sony X90H can play games on 4K and HDR.

Display and image quality

Let’s dive into the most important thing – display and image quality The Sony X90H has a VA panel with Dolby Vision support with 4K resolution and HDR 10. It also supports Dolby Atmos. It has a Netflix mode that we’ve seen on multiple Sony TVs. It has two settings for Dolby Vision content – Dolby Vision Bright and Dolby Vision Dark, again, something we’ve seen on multiple Sony and some Android TVs. Although the TV has full-array backlighting and local dimming, it lacks Sony’s X-Wide Angle technology, which helps improve the TV’s viewing angle. We’ve seen this technology on high-end Sony TVs and it works pretty well. Its absence is missed here, but the viewing angles on the Sony X90H are by no means bad. You only notice the change in color when you reach the extreme. Considering it is a VA panel, the viewing angles are good. Let’s get some content performance.

HDR calibration on Sony X90H using Xbox One X.

4K and HDR performance

Holy Smoke, the first thing that comes to mind when this panel is bright is when you start watching TV. Although we do not know the maximum brightness of the TV, be aware that it can be really bright, especially when using HDR content. In fact, all of our test videos, be it modified carbon, our Planet Grand Tour, looked great. There are plenty of TVs available in both 55 and 65-inch price points ranging from 50 to 70K and all of them have some impressive performance, but once you look at the X90H you know why you’re paying a premium. First, with dimming zones – although it doesn’t seem to be as much as what we found in the X95G (review) last year, it is enough to distinguish bright and dark objects right next to each other. So, when watching a show like Hour Planet where there is some juicy atmosphere and some dark corners of the jungle, the content looks very crisp.

The SONy X90H supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

When using Dolby Vision content in a bright room, you may want to stick to Dolby Vision Bright and Dolby Vision Dark in a dark room as these settings work quite well. With standard HDR content, you can have standard or animated, which can fit your palate. I like standard presets because in some cases vivid colors have popped up a bit more.

Surprisingly, “Netflix Calibrated Mode” was off by default and I had to go to settings to turn it on. Most of what it does is stop speed flow and change some settings, but I prefer standard presets with speed flow stop. Again, that’s just a personal choice.

FHD performance

We’ve played FHD content on TV from Spider-Man: Homecoming, Young Sheldon, Mission: Impossible and much more, and the FHD content has been beautifully presented. Young Sheldon’s scenes look brilliant and the characters’ facial features are visible with many details. Even in FHD, Spider-Man and not HDR look lively. In some cases, you will be forgiven for thinking that the TV is producing high resolution content. So, the TV will work better if you use SDR and FHD content.

Gaming performance

Since it’s a “PS5 ready” TV and sadly we don’t have access to the new console yet, we’ve connected both the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro to the TV. For the PS4 Pro, we’ve played some God of War and Sushima’s ghost. The former has a sequence where you are in a mine and on most budget 4K HDR TVs, the details are a little harder to see in the dark unless you have your light source on it. Here, you can see the details in the dark corner, which is great. Even in Ghost of Tsushima or Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, which lets you play in the night setting, which we did, and the games under the moon sky looked quite breathtaking with visuals. Sony TV’s performance with these game sequences easily surpasses the performance of the TVs we’ve reviewed, such as the Hisense 55A71F (Review) and Realme SLED TV (Review).

Even the brightest action sequence in a game like Gears 5 (Review) which was an HDR game looked absolutely gorgeous on this TV.

Ready for PS5 TV with Sony X90H HDMI 2.1 support

So, let’s address the elephant in the house – HDMI 2.1. Sadly the TV will only have 2 ports that support HDMI 2.1 (ports 3 and 4) which is an inconvenience when you consider that 1 of them is an ARC port. So, if you have a home theater connected to this TV via ARC, you only have one HDMI 2.1 enabled port for a console. If you only get one Next-Gen machine then you should be fine. But if you want to connect more than two HDMI 2.1 enabled devices, it will be a problem. Especially when you consider that LG offers four HDMI 2.1 ports with its high-end nanocell and OLED TVs. In fact, LG has been doing this since 2019.

Audio performance

For audio, the Sony X90H’s 65-inch TV has two full-range (Bass Reflex) drivers and two tweaks, which we have here for review. In the 55-inch variant, you only get two full range (Bass Reflex) drivers. The output from the TV is 20W but it definitely feels loud. For starters, to enjoy the content, you don’t have to go beyond the 40% mark and you can hear the footsteps and slaps pretty well. Even in mixed performance with multiple characters speaking on the screen, it seems that the sound is coming from different points of the screen. This effect is not as pronounced as we have seen on Sony’s OLED TVs, but its presence is noticeable here.

Sony X90H runs on Android TV UI.

With Sony’s Bass Reflex speakers, you’ll find decent low-end considering that these are TV speakers, but to get a truly immersive experience, you should invest in a soundbar.

UI

Sony has been running Android TV OS since the beginning of Smart TV. With the X95G in 2019, we’ve seen some subtle changes to the UI that make it easier to change image settings when using content. If you want to change the image or audio settings, you don’t have to drag the menu to the right to disrupt the viewing experience. For basic setting changes like picture mode, audio, source and much more, a small strip comes at the bottom of the display and it’s easy to navigate. You can add some specific settings that you want to change in this bar below to make it easier to change your most used settings.

The Sony X90H has a simple, easy-to-use UI to change settings

In addition to this, with the X90H, we now have a graphically heavier and more detailed side navigation UI. When you enter Motion Settings, for example, you’ll find a small description that explains what the setting does and how it affects the image. It adds a layer of explanation to each setting, making it easier for people to navigate and find out what settings they’re changing.

Comes with a description explaining the UI settings of Sony X90H.

Overall, the Android TV UI is similar to what we know year after year and the improvement in image setting and navigation is a welcome change.

Remote control

The remote control is just like what we saw of the X95G last year and it’s a good thing as well as really liking that remote. While we’ve seen many TV makers go for a more minimalist approach, it does add a full-size remote control with a rubber and click key, and a textured back grip. If you hold the remote in the center, your thumb will have access to most functions. Unlike the LG TV UI, Sony’s TV remote does not yet have a mouse feature and typing still manually navigates the onscreen keyboard, but you can use the Android TV app on your smartphone to simplify the typing process. Since the passwords for apps like Netflix and more can be stored in your Google login, once you log in to the TV, other services are guaranteed to be logged in as well. Overall, the remote control feels premium and quite ergonomic.

The Sony X90H has an old school ergonomic remote control that is well made.

Construction and design

Finally, let’s talk about the construction and design of the TV. The TV is not the thinnest out there and considering it a full array backlit TV with local dimming, the thickness is justified. Port placement is quite standard. They are all facing out to the right of the TV. We have two USB ports, optical audio out, headphone port, an AV port, 4 HDMI ports, an Ethernet port and a good old antenna.

Sony X90H is a relatively thick TV

The thickness of the TV makes it convenient to reach the side ports when the TV is mounted on the wall.

All ports are located on one side of the Sony X90H.

Coming to the bezel, the TV has a really thin bezel that does not interfere with the viewing experience. One thing to note is that the TV has a silver border around it which gives it a premium finish. A special mention is to keep the TV in place of the feet. The feet have a really slim design, which reminds me of an ice skating shoe blade. No matter how thin they are, they hold the TV quite well. Another thing to note is that the legs are not screwed into the TV. They have more of a slot in the design. One more thing to note is that the foot is not at the extreme end of the TV. But on the inside somewhat confirms that they fit with most home entertainment tables that can hold a 55-inch TV.

The legs of Sony X90H TV are quite thin.

The Sony X90H holds it well in the legs

The last row

While the Sony X9000H isn’t the pinnacle of Sony’s 2020 LED TVs, it’s a sweet spot for those who want a flagship TV for next-generation gaming as well as enjoy content usage. It is a very well-made TV that comes with a premium design It has great image quality for gaming and content use, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a smooth Android TV. Subtle changes to the Android TV UI are also a welcome change in image quality settings. If I have a problem with this TV, it is that only 2 ports will get HDMI 2.1 and this is a bummer.

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