Sony X930D Review (XBR65X930D, XBR55X930D)
Along with X940D series, Sony X930D is the flagship of Sony’s 2016 4K HDR LED TV X Series lineup. The difference to X940D is only about their backlighting where X930D use EDGE LED backlighting while X940D uses Direct LED backlighting. The other points, X940D is on only available on 75 Inch sizes (XBR75X940D) while X930D have 2 variants screen sizes, XBR55X930D with 55 Inch and XBR65X940D with 65 inch screen sizes. X930D is the second best TV among Sony’s 2016 4K TV lineup under Z9D series. But it offers a benefit where its price is much cheaper than Z9D series that sold nearly twice as much.
In the market, XBR55X930D is sold about $1700 while XBR65X930D is sold about $2500. Of course this price is not fixed and still could change at any time. With that much money, you will get stunning picture quality with full HDR experience, attractive Smart TV, great 3D performance, and many strong performances of their features. One of the mainstay technologies of X930D is about Sony classic “TriLuminos Display” that offers wide range of color gamut also combination of X1 Engine and 4K X-Reality Pro engine that deliver clear, detail, colorful picture quality. Along with X940D, X930D is the only model of Sony X series that compliant with Ultra HD Premium Certification set by UHD Alliance.
Sony X930D Key Specification
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Size Available||55” 65”|
|Backlight||Slim Backlight Drive (Edge Lit)|
|X-Tended Dynamic Range||Yes (Pro)|
|Support HDR 10||Yes|
|4K-X reality Pro||Pro|
|Color Technology||TriLuminos Display|
|Advanced Contrast Enhancer||Yes|
|3D Technology||Yes (active)|
|Motion Control||MotionFlow XR960|
|Key Apps||Opera Browser, Google Cast, PlayStation Now, and more|
|Remote||Voice Remote Control (RMF-TX200U)|
|RF (Terrestrial Cable)||1|
|Composite In (AV)||2|
|Speaker Type||Down Firing w/Bass Reflex|
|Total Audio Output||7.5 watts x 4|
The Performance of Sony X930D
Like most 4K TVs that released in 2016, HDR (High Dynamic Range) is also the main focus of Sony X930D. It is the only models of Sony’s 2016 4K TV X series that compliant with Ultra HD certification set by UHD alliance. This allows you to enjoy HDR picture fully on the screen of X930D. TriLuminos Display, X-Tended Dynamic Range Pro, and combination of X1 engine and 4K X-reality Pro Engine is the main key technologies behind it. In addition stunning picture in HDR or SDR quality, Sony X930D also offers some features that is not less great and attractive such as 3D performance, Android Smart TV, and many more.
For starters, let’s discuss about its HDR performance as its main focus. But before we discuss about its HDR performance, this should be better if we discuss first about HDR itself. As we know, HDR technology is originally used on digital camera for offering more details picture quality in shadows or sun highlighted effects. In 2016, this technology was begun to be applied on TVs marked by the many of 4K TVs that released in 2016 labeled with HDR. Maybe some old TVs models has introduced HDR as one of their features, but not as focus as in 2016. With the many 4K TVs labeled HDR in 2016 and for minimizing consumer confusion in choosing which the TV that offers HDR fully or not, some big names of 4K TV manufactures cooperate called UHD Alliance to make a standardization of HDR must met by an HDR TV called HDR 10. A 4K TV compliant with HDR 10 entitled to get Ultra HD Premium Certification.
UHD Alliance has set the number certain standardization of HDR 10. In term of color, to get Ultra HD certification, a 4K TV must cover more than 90% DCI of color P3 and support 10 bit. While in term of contrast and black level, there is two options. The first, 1000 nits of peak brightness with 0.05 nits black level and the second, 540 nits peak of brightness with 0.0005 nits of black level. The first option is usually for LED TVs while the second option is for OLED TVs.
So, how is the performance of X930D? With X1 engine behind it and the support of the number advanced technologies X-Tended Dynamic Range, Slim Backlight Drive, Advanced Contrast Enhancer, and Local Dimming Technology, Sony X930 can reach 0.035 nits of black level with 2843:1 contrast ratio. This is lower than 0.05 nits of black level set by UHD alliance for HDR 10. Otherwise, on 2% window, X930D can reach up to 1054 nits of peak brightness where the minimum target set by UHD alliance is 1000 nits. With deep black level and bright peak white reached by Sony X930D, of course in there is no issue when it is displaying HDR contents in term of contrast.
Moving on color performance, Sony X930D comes with TriLuminos Display that claimed can delivers wider range of color gamut. In fact, it can delivers more than 93% DCI P3 color space while the minimum standardization of color gamut set by UHD Alliance is 90% DCI P3 color space. It may not the best considering top model Samsung SUHD TVs offers wider color gamut. But with this color gamut delivered, at least it meet the standardization of HDR 10 about color gamut. Additionally, Sony X930D also supports 10 bit panel like what set by UHD Alliance in term of depth of color. As we know, 10 bit colors means it has about more than 1 billion shades of color that also means the color gradation is smoother. With this color performance, there is also no issue on color reproduction when it is displaying HDR contents.
With all of display specs we have discussed above, this means the display specs delivered by Sony X930D the standardization of all aspect of HDR10 set by UHD Alliances. This means it is compliant with Ultra HD certification. And of course, this allows you to enjoy HDR fully on its screen stunningly with strong contrast and rich color. As mentioned, along with X940D, X930D series is the first of Sony 4K TV lineup that compliant with Ultra HD Premium Certification.
But unlike other models of X-series like X850D or X750D that use IPS Panels, Sony X930D uses VA panel. As the consequence and compounded with the use of Edge LED Backlight, contrast and color looks degraded started at 16 degrees off center and front. You must set your set in such a way center and in front of your TV to get the best viewing. But because this is an innate characteristic of VA panel, this certainly is not a weakness of X930D itself. All of top models of 4K TVs like Samsung SUHD TVs also has the same problem about Side Viewing Angle.
While Samsung has removed 3D technology for their 2016 lineup, Sony still retains 3D technology for X930D series. This course makes X930D is including one of a few 4K TVs that released in 2016 that come with 3D technology. Although it is powered by active 3D technology, but there is not many crosstalk and flicker appears. This proves its 3D performance is very good. The other benefits, each of eyes can receive full resolution of 3D images, compared to passive 3D that allows each of eyes receive only a half resolution of 3D images. Additionally, the depth of 3D images is very noticeable with clear and smooth image quality.
Sony X930D is including one of 4K TVs with the best in motion handling. There is not many motion blurs appears when it is used for watching video contents with a lot of fast scenes. This means the response time of the pixels is very quick. But this doesn’t means the flicker or motion blur can be eliminated completely. The other great performance is also shown when it plays 24 contents like Blu Ray movies or PC movies via 60p signals or Cable TV movies via 60i signals. This means there is no judder when play all of these contents.
In addition to Motion Control, Sony X930D is also including 4K TVs with the best UHD Up-scaling Engine. Combination of X1 engine and 4K X-Reality Pro Engine behind it make it does a good job when up-scaling all video contents with lower resolution to 4K quality. The 480 contents like DVDs are up-scaled clearly and detail to 4K quality on the screen of X930D. And the better result certainly is produced when the sources is 720p contents like Cable or Satellite TV. Moreover if the sources are 1080p contents like Blu Ray Movies, the picture looks crisp, sharp, and smooth in 4K quality without loss of details like you are watching from native 4K sources.
That is not less attractive from Sony X930D is about its smart TV where it features Google Android TVs as its platform. As we know, it is a Smart TV platform with most complete apps and features. The one of the benefits, most f the people has been familiar with Android OS on their android Smartphone. To call “home” Android Menu, you just need to hit “Home Key” on your remote. The key features are also not much different on your Android Smartphone. There is Google Play Store as that provides tons of apps, contents, and games, Google Voice Search, Google Cast, and many more. To download all of them, it is also not much different when you are downloading contents via Google Play Store. But before you can download, previously you must log on your Google account. But unfortunately, not all of apps that provided by Android Smartphone are also provided on Google Android TV. This is due the use touch screen on Smart phone while Google android TV uses remote as the controller.
In addition huge apps that you can download from Google Play Store, there are also some default Sony’s apps. The most attractive for games mania is “Play Station Now” that low you to play PlayStation 3 Games without a console. You just need Dual Shock Controller and Internet Connections for streaming PS3 games from PS3 rentals available in the internet when want to Play PS3 Games.. But even so, although without console, it does not reduce the speed, responsiveness, and graphic details of the games.
Sony X930D is equipped with s channels speaker system with 7.5 watts of each speaker output. There is no built-in woofer this means the low frequency of sound or bass performance is weak. Ignoring its poor bass performance, the middle and high frequency of sound is also poor with maximum loudness below average, even for slim TV. With poor performance in its sound quality, the addition external sound bar or other audio system is highly required for X930D.
Like most of 4K TVs that available in the market, Sony X930D is equipped with 4 HDMI 2.2 Ports, 3 USB Ports, 2 Composite In (AV), 1 Component In (Hybrid with AV), 1 RF, 1 Ethernet, 1 Audio Out, 1 Digital Audio out (optical), 1 RS 323, and built-in Wi-Fi as their connectivity. All of the USB ports, 1 HDMI port, Ethernet, Audio Out, RS 323 and Digital Audio Out are installed on the side of the panel while 3 HDMI ports while all of Composite In and Component in are installed on rear panel. The other 3 HDMI Ports and RF are installed on the center of rear panel and contradictory with the direction of USB ports. With all of these ports, X930D provides complete connectivity and can cover many of your electronic devices even for old devices that use AV in as their major connectivity.
Good HDR performance is the highlight of Sony X930D. It may not the best among top 4K TVs that released in 2016, but as we have discussed above, all of its display specs compliant with Ultra HD premium set by UHD Alliance. This means it can display HDR fully without any issues. In the internal scope of Sony, along with X940D, X930D is the first model of Sony 4K TVs that compliant with HDR 10 standardization in addition there is also Z9D as the top model of Sony’s 2016 4K TV lineup. In addition to full HDR performance, Sony X930D also offers great performance on some features such as UHD Up-scaling Engine, 3D, Motion Control, and excellent Android Smart TV. But because it use VA panel, poor side viewing angle becomes a classic issue of the TV that use this type of panel includes X930D. But unfortunately, stunning picture quality that produced by X930D is not balanced by impressive audio sound. Unlike most top model 4K TV that come with built-in woofer, there is no built-in woofer behind X930D. So, you still need add external sound bar for better sound quality.
With the price about $1700 for 55 Inch and $2500 for 65 Inch, of course the price that offered is appropriately for a 4K TVs with HDR performance fully. Moreover, X930D comes with great 3D performance where there is not many 3D TVs in 2016, even there is no there is no 3D TV that released by Samsung in 2016.This course becomes its own benefit for X930D.
- Wide Color Gamut
- Strong Contrast with deep Black Level and Bright Peak White
- Full HDR Performance
- Great 3D performance
- Great 4K Up-scaling performance
- Responsive and Attractive Android TV
- Poor Side Viewing Angle
- Poor Sound Quality