Sony XBR65X900C 4K Ultra HD TV Review
65″ XBR-X900C 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV
Sony’s XBR900C certainly makes a statement with its form factor showcasing its stunning appearance. But what about performance? Can this set provide a picture image that is equally stunning as its design? Or is it just another attractive looking display in the ever expanding 4K UHD landscape. Well, let’s have a look and find out.
The XBR900C embodies the company’s slimmest panel design ever, and its visual impact is that of finely sculpted artwork rather than a video display device. The most notable design element on this set is its remarkably thin panel which is just under .02″ thick – or should I say thin – at its slimmest point. The bottom section of the panel’s depth does increase to approximately 1-5/8″ in order to house the TV’s electronic components and its four ( 2 main, 2 woofers) down firing speakers.
The bezel on this display, or lack-there-of, is so thin that Sony calls it their Vanishing Edge screen – which Sony claims “fills the screen to the very edge, so all you see is a picture that seemingly floats before your eyes”.
For wall mounting, Sony provides a special wall-mount bracket that allows the TV to be flush mounted to the wall. Nice work Sony!
If you plan to place this TV on a cabinet, the two angle or arch shaped feet are adjustable and can be placed either at the “edge” or “middle” position of the display. The edge position will provide the most stability in my opinion.
The picture screen on this set is the clear coat glossy type and is illuminated with Sony’s Dynamic Edge-Lit LED backlighting.
The 900C is available in 55″ and 65″ screen sizes.
Sony’s new X1 processing engine enhances overall picture quality including contrast, color and clarity. In addition, this processing works in conjunction with Sony’s X-Reality Pro Picture Engine which upscales all standard HD content to near 4K quality.
Netflix Recommended TV -This certification makes it easier for consumers to know which manufacturers HDTV’s work best with its streaming video service by establishing performance criteria which can be identified on select TVs by a Netflix Recommended TV logo.
Direct TV Ready – DIRECTV subscribers with the Genie Whole-Home HD DVR can enjoy service and full DVR features without an additional receiver.
Two remote controls are provided with this set – a touchpad device which operates via Bluetooth and features a built-in microphone for voice control of select Android TV functions. The touchpad remote has a One-flick feature which gives you faster access to what you want to watch. This feature opens a shortcut menu to your favorite TV channels and online videos from Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video and more, all without disrupting what you’re already watching.
The other remote is a standard IR type with a typical button layout and functionality.
Wi-Fi – The latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard is built-in to this set for a faster Wi-Fi experience when connected to your homes wireless network. Wi-Fi Direct is also available.
Additional Features Info from Sony:
TRILUMINOS technology – All the colors you dream of can now be seen on your Sony TV with TRILUMINOS Display. Colors come alive on the screen in the widest color range ever, and dynamic color correction ensures colors are as consistent and accurate as possible.
A Smarter TV – So much more than just a Smart TV, Android TV delivers great content, streaming apps and Android games to your TV. Voice search and personalized recommendations make for effortless entertainment.
Google Cast – With Google Cast built-in you can cast your favorite entertainment like HBO GO, Showtime Anytime, MLB.tv and more from your personal device to the big screen. You can cast from your Android phone or tablet, iPhone, iPad, Mac or Windows laptop or Chromebook.
Stream PS3 games directly to your TV – Bring the immersive world of PlayStation directly to your TV with PlayStation Now. Play select PlayStation 3 games streamed directly to your TV. Connect a DUALSHOCK 4 controller to your TV and choose from a variety of game rental periods.
- 4 HDMI 2.0 inputs (HDCP 2.2 compliant)
- 1 Component video input
- 1 Composite video input (shared with component)
- 3 USB inputs
- 1 Ethernet input
- 1 RF input for antenna/cable/satellite
- 1 Digital optical audio output
- 1 Stereo minijack output
The XBR900C Series is Sony’s premium Ultra-thin class of 4K UHD displays, and at first glance will capture your attention with its very striking and eye catching appearance.
Now, it’s time to discover if its good looks will match the most important aspect (in my opinion) of any television… its performance.
One of the first things that captured my attention on the XBR65X900C was the amount of clarity and detail within the picture image…
The 4K resolution of outdoor daytime scenes I viewed were absolutely breathtaking. For example, I was able to see finely textured and intricate detail of objects and in close-up shots of a man’s face while out sailing in his boat. These same images also provided an extreme amount of image depth which allowed me to clearly see the landscape along the shore within the background of these scenes.
I also appreciated the three dimensional appearance this display gave to on-screen images.
Another strong point of the XBR900C was its color rendering capability. And with the help of Sony’s TRILUMINOS technology, this set produced a wide and very dynamic color range which displayed a color palette that was tonally accurate, as well as portraying a life-like visual presentation.
Viewing this display at wide angles wasn’t bad at all, and actually appeared to perform a bit above average for an LED design, with the end results providing minimal picture dimming and color saturation loss.
Sony’s Motionflow XR 960 assists with motion blur reduction, and during the fast motion content I viewed of a flock of birds gliding quickly through the air, I didn’t detect any motion artifacts; so the Motionflow technology seemed to work as advertised.
The XBR65X900C did have some flaws in its performance that concerned me:
Its contrast and black levels were not what I’ve come to expect from one of Sony’s premium XBR models. When viewing dark scenes on this set, black levels appeared somewhat grey and a bit washed out. This became even more apparent while viewing white text overlaid a completely black background. This image also accentuated the limited contrast range this set was producing.
I must say I was very disappointed with the lack of performance in these crucial areas. One possible reason for this outcome may be due to the type of the panel used for this TV, which is said to be an IPS design. I came across this info in a popular forum; however, I wasn’t able to confirm this info at the time of writing this review. Once I’m able to confirm this, I will update this review.
If this set does use an IPS panel, that could explain its less than stellar contrast and black level capabilities, since IPS panels are known for their inability to produce deep black levels.
Note: *Update – The XBR900C does use an IPS panel.
I ‘d also like to bring to your attention the *reported issues from owners of the XBR65X900C that are having panel light bleed problems. I personally experienced this problem with the first unit I used for this review. What I encountered was severe light bleed coming from the bottom left and right corners of the displays’ screen. It was also visible, but to a lesser degree, from the bottom-center and on either side of the TV’s screen.
This caused the dark images I viewed to look grey and severely washed out, and with no appreciable contrast. I could even notice these deficiencies on certain brightly lit scenes, but to a lesser degree.
To my knowledge, Sony is aware of this light bleed issue.
For the record, the second TV, which is the one I used for this review, had no light bleed issues. This seems to correspond with what consumers are saying about this TV – that many individuals are having light bleed issues, while some are not.
Sony’s XBR65X900C is a beautifully designed display. It is loaded with features and has some very good performance attributes such as it outstanding 4K detail and resolution clarity, its exceptional color rendering capabilities, and excellent 4K upconversion of standard HD content.
It does however, have some issues that just cannot be overlooked, namely its inability to produce strong contrast and deep black levels, which could be the result of this TV’s possible use of an IPS panel.
Furthermore, with all the reports of light bleed issue regarding this display, you may want to consider another option such as Sony’s excellent XBR930C Series.
However, if you do decide to purchase this TV, be aware of that retailers return policies just in case you have to make a return or an exchange.
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*Source: AVS Forums and Amazon.com
*Updated on 1/4/2016