Sony XBR65X950G 4K HDR TV Review

Sony XBR950G

X950G Ultra HD 120Hz Smart LED/LCD TV

Review Summary

Product Name: XBR950G

Product Description: 4K HDR | Full-array direct-lit LED backlight with local dimming for excellent picture contrast and black levels | Picture Processor X1 Ultimate | X-tended Dynamic Range PRO delivers 6X the brightness range of conventional LCD TVs | 4K X-Reality PRO upscales images to near 4K quality | Android TV with Chromecast Built-in

Brand: Sony

  • Sony XBR65X950G
4.5

See full review below

Model year: 2019

Screen size reviewed: 65″

Bottom Line: Sony’s XBR65X950G is a great 4K TV. It delivers pristine picture quality that is hard to find fault with other than the usual wide-angle viewing deficiencies that are common with LED TVs. Its full-array LED backlighting serves up very good contrast and black levels. HDR performance is top-notch with good HDR content. It also delivers a very bright picture image which makes it ideal for bright rooms. Its price point makes it an affordable option for anyone in the market for a premium 4K HDR TV.

Dimensions:

  • With stand: (W x H x D) 57” x 35 5/8” x 13 1/8″
  • Without stand: (W x H x D) 57” x 32 7/8” x 2 7/8”

Weight:

  • With stand: 54.9 lbs.
  • Without stand: 51.8 lbs.

Warranty: One year parts and labor

Pros

  • Exceptional overall picture quality – best image quality with good HDR content
  • Full-array LED backlighting with local dimming – enhances contrast and black levels
  • Android smart TV platform
  • Excellent 4K upscaling
  • Good motion handling during sporting events – no motion artifacts
  • Low input lag/ as low as 11.4 ms for 1080p @ 120Hz, 19.0 ms for 1080p @ 60Hz, 21.0 ms for 4K @ 60Hz input signals – great for video gaming

Cons

  • Typical loss of contrast and color saturation at wide viewing angles
  • 65” model does not have Wide Angle viewing technology

It’s time to kick off the 2019 TV review season, and first on deck is Sony’s brand new XBR950G. This display is part of the company’s premium family of LED/LCD TVs which also consists of the XBR850G and XBR900G. The 950G will be available in 55”, 75”, 85” and a 65” model which is the focus of this review.

Side view

Note: The 75” and 85” models have “Wide Angle” technology which is claimed by Sony to improve wide-angle viewing and minimize color saturation loss when viewing the TV from wide seating angles. This feature should give these models better performance at wide viewing angles. Other than that, all models in the X950G lineup should have similar if not identical performance when viewed sitting in front of the TV.

Design and Features

The design of the X950G is very similar to last year’s excellent X900F. In fact, upon a closer look, they are almost identical. With that said, the 950G is a beautifully crafted display that is aesthetically pleasing and should satisfy most consumers looking for a TV that fits nicely with their room décor.

Build quality of the 950G is quite good and well constructed even though the back panel is made of plastic, as is the case with most TVs today, yet it still provides a sense of quality. The TV’s stand (feet) are made of metal and plastic; I found that the feet offered very good stability as I gently rocked the panel back-and-forth as I typically do to test how well the stand supports the TV panel.

The bezel that surrounds the TV screen is almost razor-thin and doesn’t call much attention to itself, yet adds to the overall attractiveness of the TV. The display screen has a semi-gloss finish and handles room reflections quite well, which means you should not have any issues viewing this TV in a bright room.Sony X950G Remote

Remote control – I really enjoyed using the remote supplied with this TV and in my opinion is an improvement upgrade over the previous model. The new remote’s design and silver finish give it a classier and more impressive look. The remote offers a sleek and slender design with an intuitive and user-friendly button layout. In actual use, the remote fits comfortably in my hand and functioned as expected which allowed me to operate the TV with ease. The remote is not backlit.

XBR65X950G key features:

  • 4K screen resolution  – 2160p
  • X-Motion Clarity blur reduction (120Hz refresh rate)
  • High Dynamic Range (Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG) extends picture contrast and brightness when viewing HDR content
  • Full-array direct-lit LED backlighting with local dimming for excellent picture contrast and black levels
  • X-tended Dynamic Range PRO delivers 6X the brightness range of conventional LED/LCD TVs
  • Picture Processor X1 Ultimate
  • 4K X-Reality PRO upscales images to near 4K quality
  • Object-based Super Resolution enhances detail
  • Object-based HDR Remaster improves color and contrast for SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) content
  • IMAX Enhanced certification for improved performance with IMAX Enhanced 4K/HDR content ( firmware update coming)
  • TRILUMINOS Display technology for a wider color range

Smart TV Features

  • Android TV with Chromecast Built-in lets you cast your favorite entertainment apps and video content from your Android or iOS device, or laptop
  • Supports voice control of compatible apps: Built-in Google Assistant controls basic TV functions and works with Google Home-compatible voice control assistants. The TV also works with Amazon Alexa-compatible voice control assistants
  • Netflix Calibrated Mode mimics the settings on Netflix’s mastering monitors to ensure an accurate picture
  • The TV is compatible with Apple HomeKit and AirPlay 2 to allow wireless streaming from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac (via future firmware update)

Sound Reproduction

  • Acoustic Multi-Audio speaker system with sound positioning tweeters (10 watts x 2)
  • Bluetooth wireless audio streaming to a compatible speaker or set of headphones
  • The TV can be set up to output sound from Bluetooth, the built-in speakers and the headphone output at the same time

Connectivity

  • 4 HDMI 2.0b inputs (HDCP 2.3 compliant)
  • 1 Composite video input (adaptor cable required)
  • 3 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
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) provides fast, reliable wireless streaming

    Rear Panel

Performance

Note: All video testing was done in Custom mode

I was extremely impressed with the XBR950G’s picture quality. This observation was true with all resolution sources I tested which consisted of 4K HDR, 4K, 1080p, 720p, and even 480p. By far the 4K HDR content I viewed delivered the best picture quality on this TV. HDR images were very dynamic with exceptionally bright highlights that were not washed out or suffered from blooming. Scenes that contained both bright and dark images simultaneously showed fantastic picture quality; I was impressed with how well this TV separated and blended the varying contrast differences of the picture into one superbly produced composite image.

HDR images also showed outstanding detail and image clarity, in addition to excellent image transparency, which certainly provided a very engaging viewing experience. Color reproduction was also excellent, rendering solidly rich and dynamic hues that were both very accurate and natural when displayed on the XBR950G.

4K and 1080p images on this display delivered the same picture attributes mentioned (in the paragraph) above but to a lesser degree, but with no negative impact on overall picture quality, and delivered the type of performance I have come to expect from a 4K TV in this performance class.

Contrast performance was very good to excellent on this TV with the best results obtained with HDR content. In general, the contrast range was impressive, rendering peak whites and deep blacks for a dynamic picture image.

Black levels were impressive for an LED/LCD TV, delivering very deep blacks in the content I used for evaluation. Black levels were rich and solid with no grayish overtones showing up in any of the demo scenes I played while watching in a dark room environment. Enabling the “Local Dimming” feature on this TV will help to improve black levels and contrast range.

Shadow detail was excellent on this display, which allowed me to plainly see all objects clearly and with good detail in the dimly lit scene I usually use for shadow detail evaluation.

Black screen uniformity was excellent on this TV; on a completely dark screen, I did not detect any light bleed or flashlighting coming from any area of the TV screen. I was quite impressed with this performance since I often see at a minimum, some slight light leakage on some of the LED TVs I review.

Furthermore, I didn’t notice any blooming from bright white text against a solid black screen background.

Motion handling – I didn’t experience any motion blur or judder with the sources I used for motion handling. Sporting events were produced without any motion artifacts.

Side angle viewing on the X950G revealed typical color saturation and contrast loss, which is an expected shortcoming for most LED/LCD TVs that use VA panels when viewing the screen at an angle. This issue has the greatest impact when watching the TV at extremely wide angles.

Sound quality from the TV’s speakers was what I expected from a flat panel design – sound output was thin and lean sounding with very little bass impact. But on a positive note, the sound was clean and clear allowing dialogue to be very discernible. It also had very good imaging and stereo separation.

Conclusion

Sony’s XBR65X950G is shaping up to be a very good addition to its latest models in my opinion, and I was very impressed with its overall excellent picture quality with all the video sources I used during this review. It comes with a feature-rich package including a very good smart TV platform which runs on Android TV Oreo 8.0. This TV is destined to become one of Sony’s top models for 2019, and I believe it will be very popular among consumers. With that said, I suggest you check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

HDTVs and More recommended.


Check out Sony’s complete 2019 4K TV lineup here

You may also like this review and a great deal on one of Sony’s finest TVs – The 75″ XBR75X940E.

17 comments

  • I have just upgraded from an 8 year old 1080p Toshiba tv that has deep black and has served me well – still pretty happy with it now. But I wanted to upgrade to a 4k tv.

    First thing I’ve noticed about the 950G is that it is extremely clear – color is top notch. Yes there’s a lot of blooming with HDR or even other content but it does not really bother me. What I’m really disappointed about is the JUDDER – I see it in almost all content – not all the time but in certain scenes. I only use netflix and prime video apps installed in thr tv as I dont use a separate media box. I have played around with the motion settings and non really resolve it unless I increase smoothness to 2 which introduces significant soap opera effect.

    • Hi Flip,

      I know you said the blooming doesn’t bother you, but you can reduce this by adjusting the TV’s ‘Local Dimming’ feature to a lower setting or even turning it off.
      As far as the judder you’re experiencing, you should apply the following settings, if you haven’t already done so, to help reduce or eliminate judder with minimal soap opera effect:
      Set Motionflow to ‘Custom’, Smoothness to ‘Min’, Clearness to ‘Min’ and CineMotion to ‘Auto’. These settings should solve your issue.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

  • Just purchased 65” xbr950g and returning it tomorrow. It doesn’t have youtube tv which is ludicrous!

    • Hi Stephani,
      You can download the YouTube TV app from the TV’s smart TV menu. Just click on the Google Play Store app and search for it there.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

  • Update to YouTube TV app on the X950G:

    The Youtube TV app is not available on the X950G. I contacted Sony and verified this after a recent comment from an owner of this TV, who I thank for her input in clarifying and bringing this issue to my attention.

    The Sony rep stated to me that the developer, which is Google, chose not to make the YouTube TV app available for this particular model.

  • I’m in need of a new TV and was deciding between X850G or X950G. I am a not a gamer and Just watch movies and normal TV use. I’ve owned older Sony XBR for many years. Now with all the new technology I am having trouble deciding. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Hi Marty,

      I don’t know what your budget is, but if you’re concerned about having very good or great picture quality, I would most certainly go with the X950G. It will cost you more, but in my opinion, it is definitely worth the extra cash and will give you better overall picture quality.

      Some of the key features that set it apart from the X850G are its full-array LED backlighting with local dimming for better contrast and black levels.

      You mentioned you like watching movies – Well, the FALD backlighting will make your movie viewing look much better especially when watching TV in a dark room.

      The 85” X850G uses a VA panel with direct-lit backlighting without local dimming. I should also point out that the 55”, 65” and 75” models in the X850G series use IPS panels which don’t produce good contrast when compared to VA panels, so contrast and black levels will suffer which will be most noticeable when watching in a dark room. The smaller models use edge-lit LED backlighting.

      The X950G also has much better peak brightness output which enables it to deliver top-notch HDR performance. Its great contrast range also helps the X950G to produce its excellent HDR performance. The X950G will also have better color reproduction. Furthermore, the X950G has a better picture processor.

      With all that being said the X850G is still a good TV in its own right and has good overall picture quality – minus what was mentioned above regarding the non 85” models. Nevertheless, the X850G can’t compete with the X950G in the areas mentioned above.

      I’d also like to point out another great option to consider is Sony’s X900F 4K HDR TV. In my opinion and experience, the X900F outperforms the X850G but falls a bit short in beating out the X950G. The 900F is a 2018 model that is still available and can be had at great savings.

      I hope this info helps with your purchasing decision.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

  • Hi!
    Hoping I can get some help deciding between these 2 models:
    900F 75″ for $1799
    950G 65″ for $1399.
    Tv will be in our room hanging on the wall aprox. 16 ft away from view distance.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Edgar,

      I may not be much help for you in choosing between the X900F and X950G. They both have excellent picture quality which is similar in appearance with a slight edge going to the X950. That being said, I could live happily with either model. And the determining factors for which model I would personally choose would be screen size and price, which you mentioned in your comments.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

  • Hi Milton,

    Thank you for these thorough reviews! I’m in between the Sony X950G and Samsung’s Q70/Q80. I read your reviews for the X950G & Q70, seen both at a store, and they look amazing in the store’s demo mode. I’m seeking some feedback from someone who has seen both in normal viewing habits. My TV would be used for 60% sports, 20% Netflix/movies/shows, 20% news/etc (Zero video games). I keep my TVs for a while, so I plan to use this as my main TV for probably 7 years. Do you have a preference between these? Thinking long term, I’m wondering if the lack of Dolby Vision on the Q70 is significant in the years to come. Thank you!

    • Hi Evan,

      Glad you like the reviews, thank you. Either model would suit your needs well; they both have very good motion handling for watching sports, they both deliver excellent performance for movie watching including HDR content. As far as going without Dolby Vision, that’s a call you will have to make based on whether or not you think you may want to watch Dolby Vision content and how much becomes available in the near future. For me personally, it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

      Where overall picture quality is concerned, I did not do a direct comparison between the two models, so I can’t say for certain which display has better picture quality. But what I can say for certain is that they both deliver excellent picture quality and I could live happily with either model.

      However, if I did have to choose, I would go with the Sony X950G, just as a personal preference.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

  • I forgot to ask! Which did you find better in general picture quality between the X950G & Q70? Live broadcast sports aren’t in the most amazing format, so general picture quality and motion would play a big part in the decision. Thank you!

  • Can I cast YouTube from My iPad on the 950G?

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