Sony X900F Review (XBR49X900F, XBR55X900F, XBR65X900F, XBR75X900F, XBR85X900F)
Sony X900F is a mid-range TV of Sony’s 2018 4K HDR TV lineup. It is a successor of X900E in last year that has successful in commercial and becomes the one of the best mid-range TV in 2017. Nevertheless, although in term of the price, it can be categorized as a mid-range TV, but in term of performance and picture quality, it comes with high-end aspirations. Compared to the predecessor, it comes with some improvements on its technologies like on its picture engine, the number of zones of its local dimming, and other. This certainly also makes the picture quality produced has improvement. In the market, Sony X900F is launched with 5 options of screen sizes including 49 Inch (XBR49X900F), 55 Inch (XBR55X900F), 65 Inch (XBR65X900F), 75 Inch (XBR75X900F), and the largest is 85 inch (XBR85X900F). Refer to the performance of the predecessor and with some improvements in technology over the predecessor, can be predicted, it will be the one of the best mid-range TV in 2018.
Technology and Features of Sony X900F
As we have mentioned above, one of the improvement that offered by Sony X900F over the predecessor X900E is about its picture engine. Now X900F is powered by X1 Extreme engine where in last year, this engine is used only for the high-end model like X930E, X940E, and OLED A1E, while the X900E used standard 4K HDR Processor X1 Engine. With this picture engine, in addition to it is ready to support Dolby Vision, there are also the number of additional technologies embedded like Dual Data Base Processing and Precision Color Mapping that makes quality of the picture produced is better.
The other technology of high-end TV that used by Sony X900F is Full Array Local Dimming. It comes with VA panel with Direct Light LED backlight and local dimming. The enhancement over the predecessor X900E, it has more dimming zones, but unfortunately, Sony doesn’t clearly reveal how many dimming zones of X900F. The other a bit improvement offered by X900F over the predecessor X900E is about their X-tended Dynamic Range, where now X900F comes with X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 6x, makes it has a bit brighter peak brightness than the predecessor. Meanwhile, for delivering white color gamut and excellent colors rendition, like the predecessor or other mid-end to upper model of Sony’s 4K HDR TV lineup, Sony X900F is powered by TriLuminos display ad powered by the number of Sony’s proprietary technologies likes Precision Color Mapping, Super Bit 4K HDR color mapping, and others.
Sony X900F is also a great TV when used for watching fast movies or fast movies. Behind it, there is X-Motion Clarity technology based on native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. Meanwhile, like mid-end to upper model, for connecting with other devices, it is equipped with 4 HDMI ports and 3 USB ports as their major connectivity and other inputs/outputs like Composite In, RF In, and more. And for completing your home entertainment with smart features, Sony X900F is featuring Google Android TV version 7.0 as its smart TV platform where the advantage that offered is about the many apps provided on its apps store named Google Play Store. But a bit unfortunate, excellent picture quality and performance offered by Sony X900F is not compensated by an adequate sound performance. It is only equipped with 2.2 channel speaker system with 20 watts of total sound output and it is not equipped with built-in sub-woofer. Nevertheless, you can buy an additional external sound system to improve its sound performance.
Sony X900F Key Specification
Specs and Features
|Size Available||49” (XBR49X900F), 55” (XBR55X900F), 65” (XBR65X900F), 75”(XBR75X900F), 85” (XBR85X900F)|
|Panel Type||Vertical Alignment (VA Panel)|
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|LED Backlight||Direct LED|
|Dimming Type||Local Dimming (Full Array Local Dimming)|
|Contrast Enhancement||Dynamic Contrast Enhancer|
|Color Technology||TriLuminos Display|
|Color Enhancement||Precision Color Mapping, Super Bit Mapping 4KHDR, Live Color Technology|
|Brightness Enhancement||X-Tended Dynamic Range 6X|
|HDR (High Dynamic Range)||Yes (HDR 10 and HLG), Dolby Vision with an upcoming software update|
|Image Processor||4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme|
|4K Up-scaling||4K X Reality Pro|
|Picture clarity Enhancement||Object-Based HDR Remaster, Dual Data Base Processing|
|Motion Control||X-Motion Clarity|
|Native Refresh rate panel||120 Hz|
|Smart TV Platform||Android TV Version 7.0|
|Speaker Type||Bass Reflex Speaker|
|Audio Output||10 W + 10 Watt|
|HDMI Ports||4 (1 side, 3 bottom)|
|USB Ports||2 (side), 1 (bottom)|
Performance of Sony X900F
Black Level and Contrast
Picture quality becomes the one of excellences of Sony X900F in competing in the market. Since it is powered by X1 Extreme and has more number dimming zones of its local dimming than the predecessor, X900F offers a substantial improvement in picture quality than the predecessor X900E that already has strong picture quality. One of the major strength of picture produced by Sony X900F is about its contrast and black level. With more than 5000:1 of native contrast ratio and its contrast ratio will increase when local dimming is activated, this allows X900F can produce extremely deep black level, even darker than 0.02 nits that means it is great. Additionally, its black uniformity is also very good. Combine these two factors, and a good performance of its local dimming, this makes Sony X900F can deliver excellent picture quality when set in a dark room. As we know, the impact of high native contrast ratio when set in a dark room is very crucial. Blacks of images look fairly deep, while darker colors also look fairly accurate. But a bit unfortunate, since the number of its dimming zones still can be said low, in certain scene, the adjacent black areas is still slightly polluted by bright scene. Nevertheless, overall, dark scenes can be excellently shown, even when it is set in a dark room. Meanwhile, when it is coming with HDR contents, its black level is also far darker than required to excellently reveal details images in dark scenes, makes shadow details of HDR images looks excellently like the intended by the HDR technology itself.
Meanwhile, with close to 1000 nits of peak brightness and its good reflections handling, Sony X900F is also able to maintain its excellent picture quality is in a bright room, even in extremely dark room. Additionally, its local dimming is also very effective to boost the bright area of the picture while other areas are dimmer, makes bright scene of picture looks excellent on the screen of X900F. Meanwhile, when inputted by HDR contents, its peak brightness is even brighter, even it can reach close to 1000 nits of peak brightness in small area of window. This shows its local dimming effectively works to boost the peak brightness in small area of window. The result, a dramatic highlight in dark background of HDR image can be shown fairly bright, while the surrounding areas is still dark. But unlike OLED TV where it can show highlight of HDR images perfectly without blooming, around bright small object, there are still spreading unwanted light or bloom spreading.
Not only a dramatic highlight of HDR images that can be shown extremely bright, when showing a scenes with almost all objects are bright, its peak brightness also doesn’t significantly drop and still above 600 nits that means it is great. A bit unfortunate, since its peak brightness is still below 1000 nits and on the other hand, HDR images are usually mastered in brightness range between 1000 nits – 4000 nits and the minimum standardization of peak brightness have set by UHD alliance to show highlight of HDR images like the intended is 1000 nits, this certainly makes it cannot show highlight of HDR images at its native brightness where it is mastered. Nevertheless, for its class, peak brightness reached by X900F is great and including the best.
In term of color reproduction, although not as wide as OLED TVs or Samsung QLED TVs, Sony X900F is still able to deliver wide color gamut. It can cover more than 90% of DCI P3 color space that means it is good for HDR contents. Saturated colors of HDR images can be shown fairly well, while the less saturated colors like greens or cyan also still can be shown fairly accurate. On the other hand, since it has deep black level, bright peak luminance, and good local dimming, this makes X900F can fairly well show its wide color gamut at its entire brightness range. Its color volume is only limited by its wide color gamut itself. This means, darker colors can be shown as accurate as bright scene. And combination of wide color gamut and decent color volume certainly makes colors of HDR images displayed on its screen looks fairly accurate, no matter it is for dark scene or bright scene. Additionally, the use of X1 extreme makes X900F has excellent gradient colors. This cannot be separated from great performance of Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR technology embedded on its X1 Extreme Engine. The result, when showing 10 bit contents like HDR 10 videos, color gradient of the picture displayed on its screen looks very smooth with almost no major color banding noticeable. Meanwhile, when showing SDR contents with 8 bit depth of colors, some color banding might still be noticeable. But even so, it can be minimized by enabling “Smooth Gradient” feature on its picture setting. Overall, color gradient of X900F is excellent and better than most of their competitors, even still better than most of high-end TVs from other manufacturers.
4K Up-scaling Engine
Combination of X-Reality pro and X1 Extreme behind it makes X900F does a great job when up-scaling non 4K contents to 4K contents. No matter the resolution of the source, you can enjoy them in 4K quality sharply and clearly. Low resolution 480p contents even still can be up-scaled to 4K resolution fairly well with smalls details are still preferred well. This can be seen from there is only very little haloing can be seen. And the higher resolution of the source, the final images in 4K produced will looks sharper and clearer with smalls details are preserved better. The ability of Sony X900F in Up-scaling non 4K contents is even not just that. Combination of Object Based HDR Remaster and Dual Data Base processing inside the X1 Extreme makes X900F can improve the brightness and color range of the contents, allows you to enjoy any contents with the quality as close as possible to 4K HDR.
Side Viewing Angle
Since Sony X900F uses VA panel, this makes it has a major issue on side viewing angle coverage. As we know, the use of VA panel might makes it has strong native contrast ratio, but on other hand, its side viewing angle coverage is poor. Less than 20 degrees off center and front, the color already looks shift. Black level even looks degrade at narrower angles. Instead of looking black, black will tend to looks grey. This certainly makes the picture doesn’t look as well as when viewed from the center and front. And when viewed from the wider angle, the picture will look worse. But since all TVs with VA panel typically have the same problem about side viewing angle, this certainly is not its own problem. And as long as you don’t often watch TV from the side, this should not be a problem for you.
Motion Clarity and 24p Playback
Sony X900F does a great job when handling motion blur. Its pixel response time is extremely low and even lower than most of other LED TVs that means it is great for reducing blur. Additionally, although its backlight is turned on by PWM System that allows the presence flicker on its backlight, but its PWM system use high frequency, this makes the flicker are almost unnoticeable. Combination of low pixel response time and great flicker handling and also powered by Sony’s new Black Frame Insertion technology named “X-Motion Clarity”, this makes the picture displayed on its screen looks smooth and clear with almost no motion blur and no flicker when it is playing fast paced contents. Following fast moving object, there is only a short ghosting trail where most people might not notice about that. On the other hand, Sony X900F also does a great job when playing 24p movies. No matter the frame rate of the source, whether it is 24p contents like Blu-Ray or DVD movies, 24p contents via 60p signal like movies from streaming device, 24p contents via 60i signal like movies from satellite TV, or 24p contents via native apps like movies from Netflix, Amazon Videos, and others, all of them will be shown clearly and smoothly with judder-free. Nevertheless, to remove the judder without adding “soap opera effect” you need make some certain settings like set “Motion Flow” to “True Cinema” and set “CineMotion” to “High”. With great performance in motion handling and 24p playback, this indicates that Sony X900F is a great TV when used for watching sports or movies.
Like other mid-end to upper TVs, Sony X900F is also equipped with 4 HDMI ports as its major connectivity. All of their HDMI ports are already support HDCP 2.2. Nevertheless, which already supports HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth are only HDM 2 and 3, while that supports ARC is only HDMI 3. However, all of its HDMI ports have not support HDMI 2.1 Full bandwidth. In addition HDMI ports, Sony X900F is also equipped with 3 USB ports, 2 USB 2.0 (USB 2 and 3) and 1USB 3.0 (USB 1). Additionally, there are also 1 RF In (Antenna In), 1 Composite In (AV In), 1 Digital Audio Out (Optical), and 1 Analog Audio Out (Mini Jack). Unlike the predecessor X900E that has 1 Component In, Sony X900F is not equipped with this input. And for connecting to the internet, X900F provides two connection options, via cable where there is 1 Ethernet port or via wireless where it is equipped with built-in W-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz).
Since it uses the same picture engine than the last year model X930E, the input lags of X900F in Game Mode and PC Mode are also similar to X930E. At 4K sources, although not as low as the competitors, its input lags is still excellent that is lower than 25 ms. This makes X900F is very comfortable when used for any 4K games, even for fast paced games that require fast reflexes. On the other hand, apart 1080p at 120 Hz, its input lags at 1080p source are higher, that is about 40 ms. This is only comfortable when used for playing causal 1080p games while when used for playing fast paced games, this might be a bit disappointing and feels laggy. But overall, combination of its excellent picture quality, great motion handling, good image retention and its input lags, Sony X900F is including one of the best mid-end TVs for games.
Like other models of Sony’s 2018 4K HDR TVs lineup, Sony X900F is also featuring Google Android TV version 7.0 as its smart TV platform. There are not many changes on the menu layout. Like last year version, its navigation is not as easy as other platform, particularly for new users. Its “Home Menu” is still very long, so if you need to see everything installed, you need to scroll a lot to the side. Additionally, its performance is also not too consistent. Sometimes, when you open the menu, it will open quickly with smooth animation. But on other time, there is a lag for a second or two before opening and its animation will be choppy. Nevertheless, on the other hand, it offers an excellence on the apps and features that provided. With Google Play Store as its apps store where it is supported by tons of developer, contents provided is a lot more than what provided by apps store of other platform. There are tons of apps, games, contents, information, streaming apps including video streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Videos, Live TV, and many more where you can directly download them from your Sony TV. Additionally, now it also already supports built-in ChromeCast, allows you to cast video contents from your supporting smart phone to your TV. Now Android TV also already supports Google’s Voice Assistant.
As the controller, Sony X900F uses Sony Voice Remote like what used by other model of Sony’s 2018 4K HDR TVs. It remote is larger than most and it has a lot of buttons. But unlike last year model, it buttons are hard-to-press, in this year Sony has replaced with soft buttons. In term of functions and buttons layout, there are not many changes. It has two dedicated buttons for Google Play and Netflix. Additionally, it also equipped with built-in microphone and has a voice button at the top to activate Google’s Voice Assistant that uses Bluetooth connection. And work together with IR Blaster, this remote also can be used for controlling some functions of other device connected with your TV via HDMI port.
Sony X900F is a mid-range TV that has ability close to a high-end TV. Combination of deep black level and bright peak brightness makes it is able to deliver consistent picture quality in a room with any light condition. Additionally, excellent picture quality and great performance on some features offered makes it is a great mid-priced TV for any usage, whether for watching movies that require good judder handling, TV shows, sports that require good motion handling, and games that require low input lags and other aspects. Additionally, coming with HDR technology, it also already supports most HDR formats, allow you to enjoy movies with more HDR format options. But even so, for a while, with its default firmware, X900F only supports HDR 10 and HLG, while for Dolby Vision, it is required a firmware update which is planned to be released in summer 2018. The other interesting thing that offered is about Google Android TVs as its smart TV platform. Although its navigation is not as simple as other platforms, but it offers a lot of more apps provided by Google Play Store. But this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have drawbacks. One of the major drawbacks of Sony X900F is about its poor side viewing angle coverage, make it is not suitable when used in a wide room with a group of viewers watch TV from multiples angles. Additionally, it only has standard audio system and its audio performance is also not too impressive, so if you care about sound performance, you must buy an additional sound bar separately.
Should I but this TV? Considering its excellent picture quality, good performance of some features, and also its price, Sony X900F might be one of the best options for you who are searching mid-end TVs for mixed usage. But as the note, since its side viewing angle coverage is poor, this TV is not suitable for you who often watch TV from the side or have a plan to use it in a wide room with viewers watch TV from multiple angles.
Compare to the Competitors
Sony X900F vs Sony X900E
Sony X900E is the predecessor of X900F. But since it is an older model, of course its price has dropped, makes it is sold hundreds dollar cheaper than X900E. As a newer model X900F comes with some improvements like on their image processor, the number of dimming zones of its local dimming, and others that makes it offers better picture quality particularly on its peak brightness that certainly also makes its HDR performance is better than the predecessor X900E. Essentially, performance and picture quality of X900F is better than the predecessor X900E. But even so, considering picture quality and performance of X900E is not far behind X900F, even including the best mid-range TV in 2017, it is a good option for you for a cheaper solution. However, since X900E has been discontinued by the manufacturer, if you want it, you must buy it immediately.
Sony X900F vs Samsung NU8000
Samsung NU8000 is also a mid-range of Samsung’s 2018 4K HDR TV lineup and also the successor of MU8000. With the same screen size, it is sold hundreds dollar cheaper than X900F. Nevertheless, of course, its picture quality and performance is not as good as what offered by X900F. Black level is deep, but not as deep as X900f, as well as its peak brightness, this also not as bright what offered by X900F. Additionally, coming with HDR, it only supports HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. But the advantage offered, it has lower input lags at 1080p and 4K inputs and its smart TV’s navigation is easier to use. Nevertheless, overall, performance and picture quality of Sony X900F is still above NU8000. However, considering it is priced hundreds dollar cheaper, Samsung NU8000 might be a good cheaper solution for you who are searching a TV that launched in 2018.
- Excellent Native Contrast Ratio and Black Level
- Excellent Motion handling
- Good Full Array Local Dimming Performance
- Great Peak brightness for its class
- Google Play Store provides tons of apps, games, contents, and many more
- Poor Side Viewing Angle
- Smart TV's navigation is not easy