Sony XBR65X930E 4K HDR Ultra HD TV Review
X930E 120Hz Smart LED TV
Sony’s new XBR930E offers improvements over last year’s excellent XBR930D with better video processing control and redesigned edge-lit backlight illumination, in addition to higher peak brightness for better HDR performance.
The X930E series is available in 55″ and 65″ screen sizes.
The build quality of the XBR65X930E is very good and showcases a handsome slim-bodied display panel featuring an ultra-slim bezel design with most of its bezel actually being embedded within the screen itself, leaving a slim ‘trim’ piece along the outer edges of the bezel. This gives the display a well-refined and elegant appearance.
The screen itself is made of clear acrylic and contains a semi-gloss finish.
As with Sony’s new 900E series, the 930E has a very similar new stand design and provides very good stability for such a large screen size. It’s also part of the panels cable management system that hides cabling routed to and from the back panel.
Speaking of the back panel, this set has an unusual textured design that covers a large portion of the panel. The center part of the panel is non-textured and has a removable section that hides cable management and some of the TV’s connection ports. There is also a smaller removable panel section on the right side of the back panel which contains the majority of the TV’s A/V and USB connection ports.
Sony uses an innovative edge-lit backlighting system which they call Slim Backlight Drive+: This design improvement over the previous version uses a double-edge LED panel that directs light where it’s needed, boosting dimming precision for higher peak brightness, contrast, and realism, allowing it to deliver superb image quality from an incredibly slim design.
The LEDs are now mounted on the top and bottom of the panel instead of its previous side-mount locations. This allows for brighter illumination of the display’s screen.
The Slim Backlight Drive+ has two layers of light guide plates, allowing precise local dimming control, which Sony claims to improve quality over a full-array LED backlight design. As a result, better peak brightness and deeper black levels are achieved, in addition to colors that are more vibrant and increased picture detail.
Other picture enhancing features include:
- Sony’s new 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme with Object-based HDR remaster (analyzes images in each scene and corrects the color and contrast of each object individually, making colors and contrast appear more realistic) and Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR technology (with 14-bit signal processing – creates a smooth natural picture without image banding). The 4K HDR Processor X1 reproduces more depth, textures, and natural colors than its predecessor, the 4K Processor X1, with 40% more real-time image processing.
- 4K X-Reality Pro Upscaler enhances the clarity of all image sources and delivers refined picture quality with more perceived detail. Also, all non-4K sources are upscaled to near 4K quality. In addition, noise reduction techniques used in this processor allow for clearer, smoother and more natural images.
- X-tended Dynamic Range PRO 10x makes darker areas darker and brighter scenes brighter by precisely balancing the light output across the screen, dimming some areas and boosting others, X-tended Dynamic Range PRO reveals a brightness range 10x greater than a conventional LED-LCD TV. Furthermore, this processing proves very beneficial when combined with a 4K HDR signal by delivering even greater contrast range in the form of peak brightness (highlights) and black levels, in addition to better picture detail and more vibrant colors.
- TRILUMINOS Display technology creates incredibly true, natural shades of colors that are rich and vibrant and brings you closer than ever to real-world colors.
Additional features for the XBR65X930E include:
- Basic remote control features a built-in mic for voice recognition and allows for voice control of certain Android TV functions. The remote is not backlit
- Google Android smart TV platform with Google Play – The XBR930E uses Android’s Marshmallow (6.0.1) operating system and incorporates Android TV with access to a variety of apps available for download from the Google Play store – Android TV gives you access to movie, music, sports, and other entertainment apps
- HDR or High Dynamic Range (HDR10 and Dolby Vision w/ FW update) provides increased contrast with a greater range of peak brightness (highlights) and black levels, in addition to better picture detail and more vibrant colors
- HDR Remaster improves color and contrast for SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) content
- 10-bit panel displays more colors with finer steps of gradation for greater color reproduction with HDR sources
- HEVC/VP9 decoding for watching streamed 4K video sources like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube
- DIRECTV 4K Ready – DIRECTV subscribers with the Genie Whole-Home HD DVR can enjoy 4K service and full DVR features without an additional receiver
- Motionflow XR 960 for motion blur reduction
- Netflix Recommended TV – This certification makes it easier for consumers to know which manufacturers HDTV’s work best with its streaming video service
- Chromecast built-in allows content to be cast from a smartphone or tablet directly to the TV
- 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct capability
- Opera Web Browser
- 4 HDMI 2.0a inputs (HDCP 2.2 compliant)
- 1 Component video input (shared)
- 2 Composite video input (shared)
- 3 USB inputs
- 1 Ethernet input
- 1 RF input for antenna/cable/satellite
- 1 Digital optical audio output
- 1 Analog audio output 3.5 mm
The XBR65X930E delivered an impressive overall picture quality. Image detail and clarity were first-rate on this TV, resulting in a very three-dimensional picture with exceptional image depth. This performance was best revealed while viewing 4K and 4K HDR images, whereas 1080p images were less revealing when compared to standard 4K images.
4K HDR content delivered the best picture quality on this TV. One example of this outstanding performance was of a shot taken from inside a room with a dimly lit interior with a view of a window showing the outdoors on a bright sunny day.
The contrast range in this scene was excellent – revealing very good luminosity in the dark areas of the scene that had the outside light hitting certain areas of the interior, while still maintaining excellent shadow detail of the objects placed throughout the room that wasn’t being illuminated with direct light from outdoors.
Furthermore, the peak brightness from the outside of the window had great brilliance without appearing washed out and allowed me to clearly see the outside landscape.
The end result: the peak bright highlights and the dark areas of the image had an excellent balance and demonstrated what a great HDR image should look like.
Color reproduction: Sony’s TRILUMINOS Display technology continues to do a great job in helping to render eye-catching color palettes on Sony’s top TV models. The X930E’s wide color gamut capability produced good color volume and was most evident in HDR content. For example, while viewing images with a wide range of colors, each color was presented with accurate and robust shading that appeared vibrant and natural while remaining distinct from one another.
Black levels were impressively deep on the 930E. Dark scenes in my movie demo clips provided deeply saturated blacks with very good shadow detail.
During my picture evaluations, I typically like to test for contrast capability by seeing how well a display can render white text against an all-black background… the XBR930E did a good job on this test, delivering very good peak white brightness performance when viewed in a dimly lit viewing environment; while at the same time delivering deep and rich black levels to the rest of the image. However, I must point out there was some slight blooming around the white text.
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 or flash-lighting effects.
I must point out, however, that while viewing most content that didn’t contain dark scenes, I noticed a very slight darkening effect along the edges of the TV’s screen. This darkening effect wasn’t too distracting, and I only tended to notice it when I intentionally looked for it.
As with the XBR900E I recently reviewed, motion handling was also very good on the XBR930E. While viewing the same test footage of a basketball came shot in 4K, the games fast-paced action revealed very smooth and artifact-free images.
Motion judder wasn’t a problem either while watching my demo 24p movie clips. However, this can be an issue when watching movies from cable TV sources that have 60p/60i signals. In this case, set the TVs ‘Motionflow’ to ‘True Cinema’ and set ‘Cinemotion’ to ‘High’ to help eliminate judder.
Side angle viewing revealed the typical color saturation and contrast loss when viewing this TV from wide angles. This is always something to consider if you will use this TV in a setup with room seating placed at wide angles from the screen.
The sound quality from the XBR65X930E’s front-firing speakers had similar but notably better results from what I experienced with the XBR65X900E and had slightly above average sound quality when compared to what I normally hear from most flat-panel TVs. Although not great, the sound was somewhat full-bodied and delivered a sense of spaciousness that made listening a bit more enjoyable.
Bass output, although minimal, had a small amount of punch behind it which made action scenes in movies a bit more enjoyable. It also made music sound somewhat more dynamic than what I usually hear from other flat-panel TVs. However, I still recommend a soundbar to obtain a better audio presentation.
Gaming input lag on the 930E had mixed results, and according to my source, input lag for a 1080p signal was a mediocre 42 ms, but a 4K signal measured a very good 25 ms. So obviously when using this TV for gaming, you’ll get the best results when feeding it a 4K signal.
I chose the ‘Custom’ picture mode when setting up the 930E for evaluation.
Brightness: 40 – defaults to ‘Max’ with HDR signal
Black level: 48
Black adjustment: Off – use at your own discretion
Adv. contrast enhancer: Off – use at your own discretion
Auto local dimming: Low
X-tended Dynamic Range: Low – Defaults to ‘High’ in HDR mode
Color temperature: Expert 1
Live Color: Off
Motionflow: Off – use at your own discretion or as needed
Cinemotion: Off – use at your own discretion or as needed
Sony’s XBR65X930E represents a state-of-the-art high-end 4K Ultra HDR display that is hard to find any significant faults with, other than the typical side angle viewing deficiencies that are common to most LED TVs.
Its picture quality ranks among the best currently available were LED displays are concerned, especially while viewing HDR content. It’s also loaded with top-notch features including access to the Google Play store for a variety of home entertainment options and has Chromecast built-in to simplify your streaming connectivity.
And with its visually elegant and ultra-slim design, this display will blend seamlessly with your home decor as you enjoy its stunning picture quality with your favorite entertainment.
HDTVs and More recommended.
My Rating, Summary & Specs
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• 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme, X-tended Dynamic Range PRO 10x and 4K X-Reality Pro Upscaler technologies provide top-notch picture quality
• Great HDR picture quality
• Android smart TV
• Good motion handling capability
• Built-in Chromecast
• Picture quality diminishes at wide viewing angles
• Slight picture darkening along screen edges in bright images
Screen size reviewed: 65″
• With stand: (W x H x D) 57 1/4″ x 36″ x 11 5/8″
• Without stand: (W x H x D) 57 1/4″ x 33″ x 1 9/16″
• With stand: 93.4 lbs.
• Without stand: 84.2 lbs
Warranty: One year parts and labor
Check out this short video presentation for Sony’s X930E series…