Sony X900H 4K TV Review – Including a Comparison to the X950H

Sony XBR900H

XBR65X900H HDR 120Hz Android Smart LED/LCD TV

Review Summary
Sony XBR900H angle view

Product Name: XBR900H

Product Description: X1 4K HDR Processor | Full-array direct-lit LED backlight with local dimming | X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 6x | HDMI 2.1 | Next-Gen ATSC 3.0 Tuner | Android smart TV platform with Google Assistant built-in | Apple Airplay 2 | X-Balanced Speakers

Brand: Sony

  • Sony XBR65X900H
4

See full review below

Model year: 2020

Screen size reviewed: 65″

Bottom Line – The X900H is a well rounded 4K TV that offers very good performance and features. One of its prominent features will be HDMI 2.1 compliance, which will enable it to handle 4K @120 Hz content and receive ATSC 3.0 over-the-air broadcast, as well as having VRR and ALLM capabilities for enhanced video gaming. These latest technology enhancements will solidify the X900H as a future proof TV.

Dimensions:

With stand: (W x H x D) 57 1/8” x 35 5/8” x 13 3/8”

Without stand: (W x H x D) 57 1/8” x 32 7/8” x 2 7/8”

Weight:

With stand: 51.2 lbs.

Without stand: 48.9 lbs.

Warranty: One year parts and labor

Pros

  • Very good overall picture quality including excellent contrast/black levels and great color accuracy
  • HDMI 2.1 compliant w/ future firmware update
  • Low input lag and great gaming features including VRR and ALLM
  • Will be PlayStation 5 ready

Cons

  • Picture quality degrades when viewing TV at wide angles
  • No as many “picture settings” menu options as past X900 models

Intro

Sony’s XBR900H is the follow up to the excellent performing XBR900F which was released in 2018 and still remains one of my favorite 4K TVs. Now after reviewing the XBR900H, I will say from the start that Sony has done a fine job with this latest 900H Series model.

Although, the X900F does have overall better picture quality, in my opinion. However, this statement is made according to my memory and notes from the X900F evaluation and not a direct comparison.

The X900H is available in 55”, 65”, 75”, and 85” screen sizes.

Sony XBR900H side view

Design and Features

Appearance-wise, the X900H is an attractive flat panel TV. The narrow aluminum bezel gives the display a pseudo-bezel-less appearance which helps keeps you focused on the screen for a more immersive viewing experience. The metal blade stand is designed with a minimalist approach not drawing too much attention, yet is still eye appealing for all who desire such a thin design. The stand also provides good support for the display panel.

The screen is coated with a semi-gloss finish and is illuminated with full-array LED backlighting with local dimming. The X900H will also do a good job reflecting light away from the screen in a well-lit room. Just don’t place it in direct sunlight for best results.

The X900H is approximately 2-7/8” thick which doesn’t make it one of the thinnest flat panel designs currently available, yet is still reasonably thin for this type of design. The X900H is also solidly built and doesn’t feel or appear cheaply made. The X900H features a very simplistic cable management system that allows for cables to be routed along the TV’s feet and secured in place with clips.

Sony X900H cable management

Product highlights

  • X1 4K HDR Processor for great picture quality delivering deep contrast and detailed picture images
  • 4K X-Reality PRO upscales images to near 4K clarity
  • Object-based HDR Remaster improves color and contrast for SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) content
  • Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR reduces banding for a smoother, more natural picture
  • Full-array direct-lit LED backlighting with local dimming for excellent picture contrast and black levels
  • X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 6x – Adjust the contrast for brighter peak whites and deeper blacks
  • HDMI 2.1 – Allows for 4K @ 120Hz/fps, higher bandwidth up to 48 Gbps, eARC, variable refresh rate, ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) – 2.1 will be available with a future firmware update
  • Next-Gen/ATSC 3.0 tuner for over-the-air 4K broadcast
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG) extends picture contrast and brightness when viewing HDR content
  • TRILUMINOS Display delivers a wider color palette, for enhanced and accurate color reproduction.XBR900H remote
  • X-Motion Clarity technology for smoother and clearer fast motion – 120Hz native refresh rate
  • Netflix Calibrated Mode – This mode was specially developed to enjoy Netflix originals and reproduce the same picture quality on a TV as on a studio evaluation master.
  • Calibrated Mode, the creator’s vision and intent are faithfully preserved.
  • CalMan Ready for use with CalMan auto-calibration software
  • Acoustic Multi-Audio uses sound positioning tweeters to help optimize the location of sound on the screen so you hear precisely controlled, high-quality audio from the appropriate areas of the scene
  • X-Balanced Speakers: Sony’s uniquely shaped X-balanced speakers deliver clear sound from movies and music soundtracks. The TV is equipped with two down-firing X-balanced drivers.
  • Android smart TV platform with Google Assistant built-in
  • Amazon Alexa-compatible voice control assistant
  • Apple Airplay 2 and HomeKit
  • Chromecast built-in
  • Remote Control: The basic remote features a built-in mic for voice recognition. The built-in microphone provides voice control of select Android TV functions through the built-in Google Assistant.

Connectivity

Sony XBR900H rear ports

Rear Ports

  • 4 HDMI inputs – 2.1 on inputs 3 & 4 (HDCP 2.3 compliant)
  • 1 Composite video input (adaptor cable required)
  • 2 USB inputs – one is USB 3.0
  • 1 Ethernet input
  • 1 RF input for antenna/cable/satellite
  • 1 Digital optical audio output
  • 1 Analog audio output 3.5 mm
  • ARC HDMI input 3 (eARC support will be added via future firmware update)
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) provides fast, reliable wireless streaming
  • Bluetooth wireless audio streaming to a compatible speaker or set of headphones

Performance

The XBR65X900H delivered very good picture quality. And as expected, HDR content provided the best image quality from the X900H. Images were presented with enhanced luminosity, delivering good specular highlights with plenty of detail and clarity. Colors were very vivid displaying great accuracy and a natural richness that was not present with non-HDR content. Although, non-HDR color rendering was still very good and was what I expected from a Sony TV of this caliber. Furthermore, this TV has wide color gamut capability for greater color volume when viewing HDR content.

Rtings.com has posted “real scene” SDR (standard dynamic range) peak brightness at 493 nits, and HDR (high dynamic range) peak brightness at 556 nits.

Standard 4K content delivered great picture quality. Picture attributes such as image depth and transparency, detail, and clarity were all presented with excellent quality, and the combination of these attributes brought forth an appealing three-dimensional image presentation.

The X900H has exceptional contrast range thanks in part to its full-array LED backlighting with local dimming and Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 6x technology, which allowed the X900H to deliver outstanding black levels which were readily apparent in content with dark and significantly black images. In addition, shadow detail was also very good when viewing physical objects in scenes with low light levels.

Black screen uniformity was very good on this TV. I did not see any light bleed along any of the screen’s edges, nor could I detect any clouding across the screen’s surface while viewing a dark screen.

Motion handling was good on this display due to Sony’s X-Motion Clarity technology which did a good job at suppressing motion blur artifacts. This was very obvious while watching fast action content, whether it be a movie or sporting event.

Side angle viewing suffered from picture degradation that is common with most LED/LCD TVs when viewing the TV at wide angles. The contrast and color saturation loss was obvious, although not very intense.

Sound quality – Sony’s Acoustic Multi-Audio technology and the TV’s two X-Balanced speakers produced decent sound quality. The overall sound output was enveloping with adequate stereo imaging and spatial separation. Bass impact was limited and was on the lean side of the sonic spectrum, yet still had a noticeable presence.

Performance Comparison – X900H vs X950H

Before I get to the different performance characteristics between the X900H and X950H, I’d like to highlight some of their feature differences: The 950H has a better processor – Picture Processor X1 Ultimate, the 900H has a less capable, but still very good X1 4K HDR Processor. The 950H has X-Wide Angle technology which does improve its wide-angle viewing performance. The 950H has a better remote, yet the 900H’s remote isn’t lacking in functionality by comparison. The 950H has 3 USB inputs, whereas the 900H only has two.

Now, where the 900H does have a step up in features is with its HDMI 2.1 inputs. This will allow 4K @ 120Hz/fps, higher bandwidth up to 48 Gbps, eARC, variable refresh rate (VRR) and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode). It also has an ATSC 3.0 tuner for over-the-air 4K broadcast.

Now, on to the performance differences: I’ll get right to the point – the X950H does have overall better picture quality which was quite obvious. Although the X900H technically has a better contrast ratio, visually the 950H has a better-perceived contrast range, which gave the 950H more dynamic punch and pop. Both TVs had excellent black levels which were a deep shade of black. However, the 950H’s black levels appeared to be a bit more intense when viewing normal dark content. Additionally, dark scene shadow detail was also better on the 950H. Objects in nighttime scenes were more clearly defined on the 950H.

Note: The X950H’s lower contrast ratio is supposedly due to its X-Wide Angle technology. This statement is based on info I found from a reliable online source.

Peak brightness output was noticeably better on the 950H allowing for much better peak bright highlights and more dynamic punch. Detail and clarity were more refined on the 950H delivering more texture and definition to on-screen objects. The 950H also had better image transparency which provided a more realistic image. Color rendering was very good on both displays, but the 950H’s color palette had a bit more vibrancy and punch.

So, is the 950H worth the extra cash? In my opinion yes. I did see a worthwhile improvement in picture quality that made the 950H more enjoyable to watch. But on the other hand, if I hadn’t done a side-by-side comparison of the two displays, I most likely wouldn’t have known what I was missing; that’s just how appealing the 900H’s picture quality truly is.

With that said, if your budget doesn’t allow or you just don’t want to spend the extra money for the 950H, then go with the 900H. You will still be getting an excellent 4K TV.

See the full review of the XBR950H here.

Conclusion

During my evaluation, the XBR900H proved to be a very good 4K HDR TV, and from a features standpoint, it has many of the latest bells and whistles including Sony’s initial entry into HDMI 2.1 compliance. Additionally, the Android smart TV platform with Google Assistant makes it easy to find your favorite content and services for hours of endless entertainment.

And last but not least, the XBR65X900H delivered commendable picture quality that was visually satisfying, especially with 4K HDR content. However, if you won’t be viewing HDR content on this TV, you will still be presented with great picture quality with other high def resolution sources including standard 4K and 1080p resolutions.

My final thoughts…

In my opinion, Sony’s XBR900H will be one of the most popular TVs for 2020 simply because it packs a lot in the way of premium class performance and features as a mid-tier 4K HDR TV at an affordable price.

HDTVs and More recommended.

17 comments

  • Good review, but when is Sony going to activate HDMI 2.1 features in the 950H as other forums have already confirmed it has the same HDMI 2.1 hardware as the 900H after checking repair schematics?

    • Hi Fuzzy,

      At this time I have not heard any official word on if the 950H will be getting an HDMI 2.1 upgrade. But if and when it does, I will update this review with the info.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

      • I’ve heard it’ll be around the launch of the PS5, so if we’re to believe that rumour, and the rumours of the PS5 release date… November 20th.

    • I can assure you that the X900H and the X950H do not share the same hardware and that because of that the X950H will never include HDMI 2.1 beyond it’s current support for eARC.

      The mainboard diagram of the X900H (seen here – https://i.imgur.com/53ZbNLA.png) shows no additional hardware required for eARC and two full HDMI 2.1 ports, it also has no separate X1 co-processor as all picture processing functions are handled by a single System-on-Chip (SoC) processor.

      The X950H mainboard diagram (seen here – https://i.imgur.com/k2wQHsY.png) shows separate hardware to implement eARC because of its HDMI 2.0 only chipset. You can also see it has a separate co-processor chipset to implement the X1 Ultimate processing features so that there is less demand on the primary system SoC.

      • Hi 88keyz,

        Thanks for your very thorough and detailed response. Much appreciated.

        Regards,
        Milton
        HDTVs and More

    • 950H no HDMI 2.1

  • Hi Milton
    Thanks for your excellent review. Do you think Sony are missing a trick with their current TVs by not making allowance for people with sound bars? This particular TV is higher on its stand than some of their models (but still quite low) which are almost flat to the surface and force buyers with SBs to wall mount. A more practical solution would be to make the stands/feet height adjustable in the way another manufacturer (can’t remember which one) does.

    • Hi Leonard,

      Good points. But in my opinion, I honestly don’t think Sony is taking into consideration that many consumers may want to place a soundbar beneath their TVs. I also believe Sony may not want anything to distract viewers from focusing on the picture image which may happen if a soundbar is placed beneath the TV screen.

      That being said, Sony’s design practice forces consumers to choose other options that allow for soundbar placement such as wall-mounting the TV, as you mentioned, or purchase a tabletop cabinet that has shelving that will allow for a soundbar to be placed under the TV.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

  • Thanks for the review, Milton! I have been looking for a TV that will support all the gaming features present in the HDMI 2.1 standard for the living room. While looking for an HDMI 2.1 set, the price of this TV blew me away. It’s also nice to hear it handles just about everything well. I have a Sony 900E in the bedroom and it has been a fantastic TV. The picture quality is miles above my current living room TV (a Vizio P-Series). Keep up the great work.

    • Hi Jesse,

      Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the review. And I agree, the 900H is a great value and offers a lot in the way of performance and features.
      Glad to hear you’re still enjoying the 900E.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

  • Hello,
    Thanks for the review.

    I was debating either buying the 75″ 900H over 75″ Samsung QLED Q80T or 75″ LG NANO91

    Can you please advise? Thanks.

    • Hi Indy,

      I’m a fan of all three of these manufacturers, but of the three models you mentioned here, I would most likely go with the Samsung Q80T due to its overall better picture quality. That said, the Sony 900H would be my second choice.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

  • According to Rtings, x900H has better contrast so I find this review quite interesting. I have seen two other reviews also declares that X950H has better contrast. Maybe something was wrong with Rtings’ machines. Sometimes their numbers conflict with real life I guess.

    By the way, did you notice upscaling difference between these two? How much difference does X1 Ultimate processor make?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Denise,

      I respect the work and info that Rtings provides, and whether or not their equipment was faulty can’t be determined by anyone outside the Rtings organization. Furthermore, Rtings does state their reason for the X950H’s lower contrast ratio when compared to the X900H which was due to the X-Wide Angle technology used on the X950H. So I will take that info at face value and accept their technical findings.

      That being said, during my evaluation, I did mention that under normal viewing conditions the contrast and black levels were visually better on the X950H which conflicts with Rtings technical findings. So with this particular circumstance, I will trust my trained eyes.

      On a personal note, I’ve been evaluating TV performance for many years, long before this website was established and what I’ve discovered is that technical measurements don’t always align with what you actually see on-screen during normal viewing conditions. Technical measurements are important and do have their place and are useful to all (including me) who like to explore the technical aspects of an electronic device. However, at the end of the day, what matters most is how pleasing a picture image appears to the person(s) who are watching any given TV regardless of what the technical measurements may reveal, in my opinion.

      As far as any upscaling differences between the two models, the X1 Ultimate processor does provide subtle improvements in the form of picture detail and clarity. But to see these small differences I had to look hard and scrutinize the picture images very closely.

      Thanks for your comments, Denise, much appreciated.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

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