Sony X950G Review (XBR55X950G, XBR65X950G, XBR75X950G, XBR85X950G)
In the first quarter of 2019, Sony has launched the Sony X950G as the high-end model of their LED TV lineup. The presence of X950G in the market will replace the X900F which has existed before. As the successor of Sony X900F, in addition to some of their technologies still adopting the technology of X900F, X950G also comes with some improvements that expected can makes its performance is better than the predecessor. In the market, it is available in some screen sizes including 55 inch (XBR55X950G), 65 inch (XBR65X950G), 75 Inch (XBR75X950G), and 85 inch (XBR85X950G).
But even so, there is a major difference between the smaller screen sizes (55 inch and 65 inch) and the bigger screen size (75 inch and 85 inch), that is about X-Wide Angle optical panel technology. For this case, the 75 inch and 85 inch is not supported by this technology, while the 55 inch and 65 inch is not. Look at 2018 model, this technology actually has been applied on the Sony Z9F Master Series. This technology makes Z9F has wider viewing angle than standard VA panel, even though it is still worse than IPS TV. And since the 55 inch and 65 inch model is different to the 75 inch and 85 inch model, this review refers to the 65 inch and 55 inch model that don’t have X-Wide Angle technology.
The other improvement offered by Sony X950G over X900F is their image processor. If Sony X900F is powered by 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme, X950G has been powered by the newer processor X1 Ultimate, the picture engine we found on the Z9F. X1 Ultimate is claimed can performs better than X1 Extreme, particularly in improving fine details of images. It doesn’t only makes native 4K source looks exquisite, but it also can up-scale non 4K source to 4K excellently. Additionally, coming with HDR technology, X950G already supports the number of HDR formats including HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG. It also comes equipped with Dolby Atmos support, eARC.
Like the X900F predecessor, Sony X950G also uses VA Panel technology with direct-LED backlight. It also comes equipped with a Full Array Local Dimming for improving contrast and black level. Additionally, for improving its color reproduction, X950G is supported by the number of technologies like TriLuminos Display, Precision Color Mapping, and others. Meanwhile, for handling motion, X950G has native 120 Hz refresh rate panel that powered by X-Motion Clarity. And as smart TV platform, it is featuring Google Android TV 8.0 Oreo.
Sony X950G Key Specs
|Sizes Available||55 Inch (XBR55X950G), 65 inch (XBR65X950G), 75 inch (XBR75X950G), and 85 Inch (XBR85X950G)|
|Resolution||2160 x 3840 (4K)|
|Panel Technology||VA panel|
|Local Dimming Technology||Full Array Local Dimming (FALD)|
|X-Wide Angle Technology||55 inch and 65 inch : No, 75 inch and 85 Inch : Yes|
Features and Technology
|Image Processor||4K HDR Processor X1 Ultimate|
|HDR Supports||HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG|
|Input Signal Supports||4096 x 2160p (24, 60 Hz), 3840 x 2160p (24, 30, 60 Hz), 1080p (30, 60, 120 Hz), 1080/24p, 1080i (60 Hz), 720p (30, 60 Hz), 720/24p, 480p|
|Contrast Enhancement Technology||Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object Based HDR Remaster, X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 6X|
|Color Enhancement Technology||TriLuminos Display, Live Color Technology, Precision Color Mapping, Super Bi Mapping 4K HDR|
|Clarity Enhancement Technology||4K X-Reality Pro, Dual Data Base Processing, Object-based Super Resolution|
|Motion Enhancement||X-Motion clarity|
|Native Refresh Rate Panel||120 Hz|
|Backlight Dimming Frequency||720 Hz|
Smart TV Experience
|Smart TV platform||Android 8.0 Oreo|
|Features and Apps||Google Voice Assistant Compatible, Amazon Alexa Compatible, Netflix, Amazon Videos, Google Play Store, etc|
|Remote Control||Sony’s 2019 Voice Remote|
|Sound Output||10 + 10 watt|
|Speaker Type||Acoustic Multi Audio|
|Dolby Atmos Support||Yes|
|HDMI ports||4 HDMI ports support HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth, HDCP 2.3, eARC (HDMI 3), CEC|
|USB Ports||1 port USB 3.0, 2 ports USB 2.0|
|Composite In (AV In)||1|
|Digital Audio Out||1|
|Analog Audio Out||1 (Mini Jack 3.5 mm)|
|Built-In Wi-Fi||Yes (802.11a/b/g/n/ac)|
|Price||See the price on Amazon|
The Strong Points
Peak brightness of X950G may be not as good as Z9F, but it is better than the X900F the predecessor. And for a mid-range TV, peak brightness of Sony X950G is excellent. Since they have local dimming, their peak brightness may depend on the scene and source. With SDR test pattern, the maximum peak brightness is reached when it is displaying bright area covering 10 % of TV screen where it can reach around 1200 nits. Meanwhile, the minimum peak brightness is reached when it is showing a bright area covering 100% of TV screen that is around 700 nits. With Real scene instead of with test a pattern, the peak brightness is reached when it is displaying small highlight in dark scene where it can reach around 700 nits. This means, in SDR mode, it can get very bright and its peak brightness is bright enough to overcome the glare when they are used in a bright room. And combined to its good reflections handling, the picture displayed on its screen will looks consistent even though it is used in a very bright room with a lot of lights or sunny windows.
Meanwhile, with a HDR test pattern, Sony X950G can even reach brighter peak brightness. Just like with SDR content, its peak brightness also depends on the percentage of bright scene to dark scene. With a test pattern, peak brightness reached by X950G may be only slight brighter than in SDR mode, no matter with small bright area or all area is bright. But with real scene, their peak brightness is much brighter that is around 1100 nits. Just like with SDR content, the maximum peak brightness is reached when it is showing highlights in dark scene. With its brightness level, although not always, but at least, at certain scene, Sony X950G can show HDR images excellently like at 1000-4000 nits of brightness range intended by content creator. This is better than the X900F predecessor where its peak brightness is still below 1000 nits in all condition.
Sony X950G has excellent color gradient particularly when it is processing 10 bit content like HDR movies. Its color gradient is even among the bests that ever. This cannot be separated from great performance of Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR technology behind it. When playing HDR content, color gradient of picture displayed looks very smooth with almost no major color banding visible. Some little imperfection may be still visible in certain color like dark green and medium grey, but X950G has a feature that can correct this issues. To correct this issue, you can set “Smooth Gradation” to “Low”. But on the other hand, the picture will lose some fine details.
Out-The-Box Color Accuracy
The other strong point that offered by X950G is its truly excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, even before a full calibration. Before you make any color calibration at all, its White Balance dE and Color dE is already very low. Additionally, its color temperature is almost to close 6500K target and Gamma is also very close to 2.2 the target. There is almost no TV that can match its color accuracy before a full calibration. Meanwhile, after calibration, White Balance dE and Color dE of X950G is even lower and nearly perfect. Gamma and Color Temperature continue to be close 2.2 and 6500K target. These all make color accuracy of Sony X950G after calibration is outstanding.
The pixel response time of X950G is excellent. Its pixel response time may be not as low as OLED TVs, but between LED TVs, its pixel response is among the best. The result, when it is displaying fast moving images like sports or fast games, the picture produced looks very smooth and clear with almost no motion blur visible. There may be still a short ghosting trail following fast moving object, but most people may not notice this much. Meanwhile, the blur that may be visible is more due by 60 fps persistence. To correct this issue, Sony X950G actually has an optional Black Frame Insertion (BFI) mode that allows you to minimize blur that caused by persistence. By activate this mode, the dimming frequency of its backlight will bring down to 120 Hz. But a bit unfortunate, the lowest possible frequency of its flickering pattern is 120 Hz, not 60 Hz. And of course, in minimizing persistence blur that caused by 60 fps content, the result is not as good as a TV with a 60 Hz BFI mode like most models of Samsung TV.
You need to know, by default, X950G actually has 720 Hz dimming frequency. By bringing down the dimming frequency, this will minimize blur that caused by 60 fps persistence like sports or video games. But on the other hand, this will make its backlight flicker is more noticeable. Meanwhile, with its default dimming frequency, flicker is almost invisible on its screen. This means you can set it according to your preferences. If you feel more comfort with flicker, you can disable this mode. Otherwise, if you feel more comfort with persistence blur, you can enable this mode.
If X900F the predecessor has a bit issue in its input lags, particularly in 1080p resolution, Sony X950G comes with the improvement in input lags in PC and Game mode. Its input lags are even the lowest between all models of Sony TVs so far. If so far, the input lags of almost all models of Sony TVs in 1080p are too high, the input lags of X950G in 1080p resolution is excellent that is lower than 20 ms. This means this TV is very responsive for any 1080p games, whether for casual or fast paced games. Additionally, the input lags of X950G in 4K resolution are also a bit lower than most model of Sony TVs so far. This certainly makes it is also very responsive for 4K games. With low input lag in both 4K and 1080p resolution and combined to its excellent picture quality, good motion handling, and burn-in risk-free, this makes X950G as a great TV for games.
The Weak Points
Side Viewing Angle
As is typical of a TV that used VA panel, Sony X950G also has poor side viewing angle coverage. At around 15 degrees off center and front, black level produced start to look washed out. Additionally, color of the picture also will look washed started at around 25 degrees off center and front. The result, when viewed from the side (wider than 15 degrees), the quality of the picture displayed on its screen will decline. And the wider angle you watch TV from, the picture will get worse. This will be a problem for you who often watch TV with a group of your family who sit on the wide seating. But even so, this actually is not its own problem considering most of VA TVs also have the same problem. Keep in mind, this only applies on the 55 inch and 65 inch model of X950G. While as we have mentioned above, its 75 inch and 85 inch model have been supported by X-Wide Angle Optical panel that improves its side viewing angle coverage.
Black Level and Contrast
Native Contrast Ratio of X950G is a bit worse than the X900F predecessor. It contrast ratio is not even as we expected from VA TV. But even so, the contrast ratio of Sony X950G actually is still good. Additionally, although only slightly, its local dimming is also able to improve its contrast ratio. This certainly makes it is able to produce deep black. With about 0.25 nits of black level that reached by X950G, this is dark enough to make black looks really black in a dark room. Additionally, it also dark enough to reveal shadow details of HDR images. And combined to its excellent black uniformity, this makes dark scene of HDR images can be shown like intended by movies creator.
As we have discussed above, Sony X950G comes equipped with Full Array Local dimming. Can be ascertained its performance is better than edge-lit local dimming. But a bit unfortunate, its dimming zone is limited, so its performance is not as good as Z9F that has many more dimming zones. Nevertheless, X950G is able to manage its dimming zones well. Its local dimming us able to improves its contrast ratio slightly and also extend its wide color gamut down to a range of different brightness. But since it has limited dimming zone, it cannot eliminate blooming around bright object. If you watch HDR movies with subtitle, you will see some blooming around subtitle. Nevertheless, by adjusting the local dimming setting, the negative effect that caused by blooming can be minimized.
Color Gamut and Volume
Color Gamut of Sony X950G may be a bit worse than the X900F the predecessor, but actually, its color gamut is good. Its color gamut can cover more than 93 % of DCI P3 and almost 70% of Rec.2020 color space. It is not exceptional, but still meets the minimum requirement for showing HDR images colorfully. Additionally, saturated color in HDR can be shown well. Although some certain colors are still shown less saturated, but their accuracy is also fairly good. This means, it is good for HDR content that required wide color gamut. Additionally, color volume of X950G is also reasonable good. Its color volume is only limited by its wide color gamut. Its local dimming is able to extend its color gamut down to its entire brightness range fairly well, makes darker colors can be shown as saturated as bright colors. And combination between wide color gamut and reasonable color volume makes color of HDR images looks very good on its screen.
Performance of Sony X950G
For Watching Movies
Top bring a feel like in the cinema, most people usually watch movies in a dark room. And of course, this requires a TV that has good contrast ratio and deep black level. And for this case, Sony X950G is an impressive TV for watching movies in a dark room. In addition to deep black, it also has good black uniformity and reasonable local dimming technology. And combined to its good color accuracy and motion handling certainly will make movies looks great and clear with fluid motion on its screen.
For Watching TV Shows
We assume most people watch TV shows in a bright room, performance of Sony X950G when used for watching TV shows is also great. In addition to it can get very bright that can fight the glare, it also has good reflection handling. This certainly makes the picture displayed on its screen looks remains good, even when there are a lot of lights in your room.
For Watching Sports
Just like when used for watching TV shows, we assume most people prefer to watch sports in a bright room. And in addition to it has excellent peak brightness and reflection handling, the X950G also has good motion handling. This certainly makes its performance when used for watching sports is also great. Sports look smooth and clear with almost no motion trail visible. But a bit unfortunate, its side viewing angle is poor. So, if you watch sports with a group of friend or family who watch TV from multiple angles or sit on wide seating, some of you may not get the best viewing.
For Playing Games
In addition to good picture quality and good motion handling, the Sony X950G also has low input lags in Game and PC mode on both 1080p and 4K resolution. Additionally, X950G also has good image retention and permanent burn-in risk free. All of them make X950G is a good TV when used for playing any games. No matter you are playing fast paced games or casual games, 1080p or 4K games, it allows you to play them responsively without laggy. A bit unfortunate, it doesn’t support variable refresh rate technology like FreeSync that give you a tear-free gaming experience.
Although not the best, Sony X950G is an impressive TV for HDR. Almost all of major aspects of HDR produced X950G is strong. Its black level is dark enough to reveal details of images in dark scene, makes shadow details of HDR images can be shown excellently like the intended. Additionally, it also has wide color gamut and excellent color gradient, makes color of HDR images displayed on its screen looks very accurate with very smooth gradient. And finally, although not always, in certain scene, it can also HDR images at 1000-4000 nits of brightness level intended by content creator where there are not many TVs which can do this job.
Smart TV Experience
Comes with The new Android 8.0 Oreo, it allows better smart TV experience than the predecessors. As we have discussed above, Android Oreo brings a significant improvement on its user interface over previous version. In this version, its user interface is organized better and easier to use than 7.0 versions. If on the previous version, most options that used are placed at the bottom of the page, in this version, they are moved to the top. Additionally, its performance is also smoother and faster than the predecessor due the upgrade of the processor. The interesting is about the apps provided where it provides an abundance of apps. As its preinstalled apps, there are Netflix, Amazon Videos, YouTube, Web Browser, and many more. The TV also gives you an access to Play Store, the most complete apps tore that provide an abundance of apps, contents and games you can download from. Additionally, this TV also already supports Google Voice Assistant that allows you to do many more with your voice command. X950G also allows you to watch videos from Netflix, YouTube or USB Drive Playback in HDR.
Compared to the competitor
Sony X950G vs X900F
Sony X900F is the predecessor of X950G. As the successor of X950G, it comes with some improvement and the major improvement is its picture engine where X950G already supported by X1 Ultimate we found on Z9F while X900F is powered by X1 Extreme. Although in contrast and color gamut, X950G is a bit worse than X900F, but the difference is not too noticeable in normal usage. On the other hand, X950G is brighter and has lower input lags. In general, X950G is better than X900F even though its superiority is also not too significant.
Sony X950G vs Z9F
Sony Z9F the master series is the top model of Sony’s 2018 4K HDR LED TV lineup. Overall, Sony X950G is a bit worse than Z9F. Refer to the 55 inch and 65 inch model of X950G that don’t have X-Wide Angle technology, X950G actually has better native contrast ratio and deeper black level. But on the other hand, its local dimming performance is not as good as Sony Z9F. Additionally, peak brightness of Z9F is also not as bright as Z9F. Lack of X-Wide angle technology on its 65 inch model also makes its viewing angle coverage is also not as good as Z9F. But even so, for the 75 inch and 85 inch that have X-Wide angle technology, contrast ratio and side viewing angle coverage of X850F is almost similar to Z9F. Meanwhile, in term of motion handling, input lags, and smart TV experience, performance of X950G is almost similar to Z9F. Overall, Z9F is better than X950G, particularly on their local dimming performance and peak brightness.
Sony X950G vs Samsung Q8FN
Samsung Q8FN is the second top model of Samsung’s 2018 QLED TV lineup. Refer to the 55 inch and 65 inch model of X950G, Samsung Q8FN is actually has a bit better native contrast ratio and deeper black level. They both have full array local dimming and its local dimming performance is not far different. Additionally, color gamut and color volume of Q8FN is also better than X950G. On the other hand, Sony X950G is superior in peak brightness and color gradient. But even so, although peak brightness of X950G is much brighter but its reflection handling is not as good as Q8FN. Meanwhile, in term of motion handling and input lag is almost similar. Although in motion handling their performance is almost similar, Q8FN has FreeSync variable refresh rate and auto low latency that offers its own sensation in playing games. Overall, Q8FN is a bit better than X950G.
Overall, Sony X950G is a good TV. It performs evenly in almost all aspects. It has good native contrast ratio and good local dimming. Additionally, it also can get very bright in both SDR and HDR. This certainly makes its performance is good in both dark and bright room. In certain scene, its peak brightness even is brighter than 1000 nits. This certainly makes X950G can show HDR images with full of bright and vivid highlight. In addition to good picture quality, Sony X950G has good motion handling and low input lags. Not just that, with Android 8.0 Oreo as its smart TV platform, it offers attractive and responsive smart TV experience with tons of apps, content, games provided. But even so, just like other TVs with VA panel, poor side viewing angle also becomes the major drawback of X950G. So, overall, as long as you don’t use it in a wide room with viewers watch TV from multiple angles, X950G is a good TV for mixed usage, whether it is for watching movies, TV shows, Sports, or playing games, in a dark room or bright room. But keep in mind, this review is just for its 55 inch and 65 Inch model. While for 75 inch and 85 inch model, it has better wide viewing angle coverage due the X-Wide angle technology, but on the other hand, this makes its contrast ratio is not as strong as the 55 inch and 65 inch model.
- Excellent Peak Brightness
- Outstanding Out of The Box Color Accuracy (Pre Calibration)
- Good Motion handling
- Low Input Lags
- SIde Viewing Angle Coverage is poor