Sony X90J 4K HDR TV Review

Sony X90J

XR65X90J 120Hz Google Smart LED TV

Review Summary
Sony X90J

Product Name: XR90J

Product Description: Cognitive Processor XR | Full-array LED backlighting w/ local dimming | HDMI 2.1 | Next-Gen ATSC 3.0 Tuner | Google TV | Acoustic Multi-Audio system | Dolby Vision HDR

Brand: Sony

  • Sony XR65X90J
4

See full review below

Model year: 2021
Screen size reviewed: 65”

Bottom Line: The X90J is a very capable 4K HDR TV with very good overall picture quality. Its color performance has improved which I believe has a lot to do with its XR TRILUMINOS Pro technology. It’s also HDMI 2.1 compliant and has a built-in tuner for ATSC 3.0 for over-the-air 4K broadcast. On the downside, VRR and ALLM gaming features are not enabled but coming with a future firmware update.

Dimensions:
With stand: (W x H x D) 57-1/4” x 35-7/8” x 13-3/8”
Without stand: (W x H x D) 57-1/4” x 32-7/8” x 3”

Weight:
With stand: 52.5 lbs.
Without stand: 50.5 lbs.

Warranty: One year parts and labor

Pros

• Very good overall picture quality including great contrast and very good black levels
• Great color reproduction and accuracy
• Very good peak HDR brightness
• Low input lag for gaming

Cons

• Picture quality degrades when viewing at wide angles
• No VRR or ALLM
• Somewhat expensive. Consider waiting for price drops which will come soon

Intro

Sony’s new X90J is part of the new premium Bravia XR line of 4K and 8K TVs. For more info on the complete Bravia XR lineup click here.

Currently, the X90J is the least expensive model in this new lineup and replaces last year’s X900H.

The X90J features Sony’s latest processor, the Cognitive Processor XR which is designed to replicate the ways humans see and hear and is powered by cognitive intelligence that divides the screen into numerous zones and detects where the “focal point” is in the picture.

The X90J is available in four screen sizes which include 50” ($1,099), 55” ($1,299), 65” ($1,599) and 75” ($2,599) screen sizes.

Design/Features

Sony X90J side view

Side View

The X90J is nicely constructed with decent build quality and made entirely of plastic. The bezel surrounding the screen is very thin and has beveled (rounded) edges, which I can’t ever recall seeing on a TV, and gives the TV a nice aesthetic touch. The semi-gloss VA panel is illuminated with full-array LED backlighting with local dimming that will provide better contrast and black levels.

The stand on this TV is made of sturdy hard plastic and only has one mounting option that is inward from the outer edges of the TV. On the 65” model the stand provides good stability with minimal wobble when I gently rocked the panel from the top edge.

Feature highlights:

  • Cognitive Processor XR uses powerful real-time processing based on a human perspective for a true-to-life picture. The X90J processing features include: XR Contrast Booster 5 that balances light output across the screen for improved contrast |Object-based XR Super Resolution identifies up to hundreds of on-screen objects and enhances their resolution individually for exceptional picture accuracy and detail | Object-based XR HDR Remaster improves color and contrast for SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) content | XR 4K Upscaling intelligently re-creates lost textures and detail in lower-res content | XR TRILUMINOS Pro display technology provide a wider, more natural color palette | XR Motion Clarity for motion blur reduction
  • Full-array LED backlighting with local dimming
  • Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG HDR format support
  • IMAX Enhanced certification for improved performance with IMAX Enhanced 4K HDR content
  • NextGen TV ATSC 3.0 tuner can receive over-the-air 4K broadcasts
  • Acoustic Multi-Audio system uses sound-positioning tweeters at the back of the TV, so the sound follows the actionX90J Remote

Smart TV features:

  • Google TV interface
  • TV is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa devices
  • TV is compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 for wireless streaming from Apple devices
  • Chromecast built-in
  • Voice remote with built-in mic
  • Remote has built-in Google Assistant

Connectivity

  • 4 HDMI inputs (two 2.0b, two 2.1) All inputs are HDCP 2.3 compatible; HDMI 3 and HDMI 4 inputs support 4K/120Hz and will support Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) after firmware update; HDMI 3 input supports enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)
  • 1 Composite video input (3.5mm A/V minijack – adapter required)
  • 1 Digital optical output
  • 1 RF input for antenna, cable, satellite
  • 1 Ethernet input
  • 2 USB inputs
  • 3.5mm stereo minijack headphone output — can also be connected to a soundbar or other audio system
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
Sony X90J Rear Panel

Rear Panel

Performance

Overall I liked what I saw while viewing the X90J. The key areas of picture performance were all presented well on this display which included color, contrast and black level performance. I used the “Custom” picture mode to get the most accurate picture image without having the TV calibrated.

Starting with color, I was very impressed with the intensity and vibrancy of the color spectrum. For example, reds appeared richer and more robust which brought a great sense of realism. This, however, was also true with the entire range of colors I viewed on the X90J. I must also mention that out of the box the X90J has very good color accuracy.

Note: Rtings.com claims the X90J fell short of meeting the wide color gamut specs by a few percentage points during their testing. These results could have been due to a panel anomaly. That being said, if the X90J doesn’t meet the Rec. 2020 specs for wide color gamut, it certainly wasn’t lacking visually for color rendering during my evaluation since the overall color performance was excellent on the display I used for evaluation.

Contrast and black level performance were very good on this display. Contrast range was visually excellent and gave the TV image substantial dynamic pop. Black levels were very good on the X90J delivering impression black intensity while viewing dark content in a dark room. As far as blooming is concerned, you may notice that a particular area of the screen will be a bit brighter near a bright object in dark surroundings. This however will be scene-specific and will not always be evident.

Black screen uniformity: With local dimming turned on, uniformity was pretty consistent across the entire screen with no visible clouding. However, when viewing a solid white object set against the black background, there was some slight blooming around the white object.

The X90J revealed great clarity and detail with high-def images. Objects appeared crisp and sharp and nicely refined. Image depth and transparency were very good giving picture images a more natural and realistic quality.

HDR performance was very good on this display revealing the characteristics I’ve come to expect from properly rendered 4K HDR images. For example, colors had that extra vitality and realism while the peak brightness output allowed for good spectral highlights. Although the HDR performance was good on the X90J, it still fell short of what I consider “some of the best I’ve seen”.

Rtings.com has posted “real scene” SDR (standard dynamic range) peak brightness at 519 nits, and HDR (high dynamic range) peak brightness at 784 nits for the X90J.

Wide-angle viewing was degraded on this TV as was expected for a VA panel that doesn’t apply any technology that enhances wide viewing angle performance such as Sony’s X950H. That said, this TV is not ideal for seating arrangements placed at wide off-axis angles from the screen.

Motion handling appeared to be good delivering smooth and fluid motion during motion intense scenes. There were initial reports of major judder issues while video gaming on this TV, but that issue has been resolved with a recent firmware update.

And speaking of gaming, this TV has very good low input lag: 1080p and 4K signals @60Hz approx. 18.0 ms, 1080p and 4K signals @120Hz approx. 11.0 ms which is quite good for video gaming.

Note: The X90J is advertised as having VRR and ALLM for gaming but these features are not enabled and won’t be until a future firmware update.

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 (depending on content).

Sony has updated its smart TV platform to Google TV. Visually the interface looks very similar to the previous Android TV interface. And just like its predecessor, it’s easy to use and operates smoothly. Google TV gives you access to over 700,000 movies and TV episodes from a wide variety of online streaming services and organized into categories and genres based on your interests.

Conclusion

The X90J is a very good 4K TV and a worthy successor to the X900H. Its overall performance was quite good and most people will find very little to complain about with the exception of VRR and ALLM gaming features not being enabled at the time of launch. That said, I was impressed with its overall picture quality and give it a solid recommendation if you don’t mind going without the features mentioned above.

Sony XR90J

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