Sony XBR85X950H 4K HDR TV Review

Sony XBR950H

X950H 120Hz Android Smart LED/LCD TV

Review Summary
Sony X950H angle view

Product Name: XBR950H

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 smart TV | X-Wide Angle | Acoustic Multi-Audio | TRILUMINOS Display

Brand: Sony

  • Sony XBR85X950H
4.5

See full review below

Model year: 2020

Screen size reviewed: 85”

Bottom Line – The XBR85X950H is an excellent 4K HDR LED/LCD TV and is ideal for anyone seeking a high-end TV with top-notch picture quality and a full suite of features including an Android smart TV platform. It’s also available in a wide variety of screen sizes including a mammoth 85” version that I reviewed here and will immerse you in the onscreen action.

Dimensions:

  • With stand: (W x H x D) 75 1/4″ x 46 1/2″ x 16 1/4″
  • Without stand: (W x H x D) 75 1/4″ x 43 3/8″ x 3”

Weight:

  • With stand: 108 lbs.
  • Without stand: 101.4 lbs.

Warranty: One year parts and labor

Pros

  • Fantastic picture quality
  • High peak brightness with SDR and HDR content
  • Excellent 4K upscaling
  • Good motion handling during sporting events and other fast-action content
  • Good wide-angle viewing picture quality
  • Low input lag – appox. 19.0 ms with 1080p @ 60Hz and 4K @ 60Hz signals, great for video gaming

Cons

  • No HDMI 2.1 support for high frame rates up to 120 frames per second, variable refresh rates and 48Gbps bandwidth
  • No variable refresh rate – used primary for video gaming

Intro

Sony’s XBR950 series continues its high-end excellence with its follow-up to last year’s popular and excellent performing X950G with the new X950H which is Sony’s best 4K LED/LCD TV (not including the XBRZ9F Master Series LED TV which was released a couple of years ago and is still available). This latest entry of premium class displays offers Sony’s best features and technology which I will cover later in this review.

The X950H is available in five size options which include 49”, 55”, 65”, 75” and 85” screen sizes.

Design and Features

X950H Side view

Side View

The X950H has an attractive yet modest design that is typical for flat-panel TVs in today’s market; which means it doesn’t have any visual features that would allow it to stand out from any other TVs currently available. The bezel design on this TV is relatively thin, however, it is a bit thicker than what I typically see on LED/LCD TVs, especially on a higher-end model in this price class. The screen surface is glossy, which is a personal preference of mine because it helps give the overall picture image more pop and visual transparency, in my opinion.

The XBR950H uses full-array led backlighting with local dimming to illuminate its pixel structure. This backlighting scheme allows for better contrast and black levels in addition to more precise localized screen dimming.

The feet (stand) that support this massive 85” display are made of metal. The feet provide very good support for the TV panel. The 85″ 950H provides cable management so all of your cables can be neatly channeled into the pedestal feet and up to the back of the TV.

Remote control – The remote is identical to last year’s model with the exception of a color change to black instead of silver. And just like the previous year’s model, the remote has a sleek design with an intuitive and user-friendly button layout. And in actual use, the remote fit comfortably in my hand and functioned as expected. Sony 950H Remote Control

Feature highlights:

  • Picture Processor X1 Ultimate – This powerful chip will produce picture images revealing real-life clarity and detail with a rich and vibrant color spectrum. It also contains processing for 4K X-Reality PRO which 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.
  • Full-array LED backlighting with local dimming for great contrast and black levels. Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range Pro/XDR Contrast 6x enhances contrast for an even more dynamic picture presentation.
  • 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. (This feature is available with screen sizes larger than 55″).
  • Ambient Optimization – automatically adjust picture and sound to your environment. An embedded light sensor that optimizes picture brightness to room conditions, boosting brightness in a well-lit room and reducing it in dark rooms.
  • TRILUMINOS Display delivers a wider color palette, for enhanced and accurate color reproduction.
  • X-Wide Angle minimizes color saturation and contrast loss when viewing the TV from wide angles (except 49″ screen size)
  • X-Motion Clarity technology for smoother and clearer fast motion – 120Hz refresh rate
  • CalMan Ready for use with CalMan auto-calibration software
  • Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos – Dolby Vision brings scenes vividly to life for authentic viewing, while Dolby Atmos fills the room with immersive surround sound.
  • In addition to Dolby Vision, the 950H is also compatible with HDR10 and HLG High Dynamic Range (HDR) formats.
  • 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. With Netflix Calibrated Mode, the creator’s vision and intent are faithfully preserved.
  • IMAX Enhanced – This is a certification and licensing program that will allow users to play the highest quality 4K images and most powerful audio in the comfort of their home. IMAX and DTS are working with studios and content partners to digitally remaster popular movies and other content for IMAX Mode.
  • Android TV platform with Google Assistant built-in
  • The XBR-85X950H allows for two options to respond to voice commands: In the setup menu, you can choose to have the built-in Google Assistant only activate when you press the mic button on the remote and speak into it. Or, for hands-free voice control, you can set the TV to access Google Assistant by saying “OK Google” when you’re within range of the TV’s built-in far-field microphone.
  • Amazon Alexa-compatible voice control assistants
  • Apple Airplay 2 and HomeKit
  • Chromecast built-in
Sony XBR950H Rear Panel

Rear Panel

Connectivity

Sony X950H Rear Ports

Connection Ports

  • 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
  • eARC – allows for high-quality audio such as Dolby Atmos via TrueHD and DTS:X via DTS-HD over an HDMI connection
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) provides fast, reliable wireless streaming
  • 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

Performance

The XBR85X950H follows in footsteps of its predecessor -the XBR950G – and delivers fantastic picture quality that truly makes you appreciate the caliber of its performance. And my viewing experience was significantly enhanced by the sheer magnitude of its 85” screen, which truly brought the element of a “life-like” “you-are-there” viewing presentation. I was very impressed.

High def images produced by this TV, whether it be 1080p or 2160p (4K), were top-notch depending on the quality of the source. Detail and clarity were first-rate, delivering sharp and crisp images with exceptional amounts of fine detail which were obvious in the wildlife and outdoor landscaping scenes I viewed on the X950H.

Image transparency was excellent on this display allowing me to see deep into the image with crystal clear quality which gave images a three-dimensional appearance.

Contrast and black levels were excellent on this TV, thanks in part to Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range Pro/XDR Contrast 6x which enhances the X950H’s dynamic range capabilities. This technology allowed this TV to deliver bright peak whites and deep inky blacks. During dark scenes of a popular Marvel movie, I witnessed impressive black levels that added to the realism of the dark movie scenes I watched. Black levels didn’t appear crushed which made for very good shadow detail which was very apparent while viewing nighttime scenes that had lots of objects and landscape foliage.

As I mentioned earlier, this display had excellent peak brightness; for example, while viewing normal content of white text against a solid black background, the white text was a very bright white which contrasted well against the black background giving the text dynamic punch. I did, however, notice some slight blooming around the white text; this will vary depending on your picture settings.

Black screen uniformity was very good on this TV. The screen was a uniformly even shade of black across the entire screen. And during this observation, I did not detect light bleed.

The XBR950H had very good out of box color rendering and doesn’t need to be calibrated to achieve good color accuracy when using the Custom picture mode setting. Nonetheless, a calibration will squeeze out the best picture quality this TV has to offer.

That being said, color reproduction was excellent on this display delivering a rich and vibrant color palette without appearing oversaturated. In addition, the naturalness and accuracy of colors made images appear very realistic. Furthermore, the TV’s wide color gamut capabilities revealed a notable increase in color quality when viewing HDR content.

Side angle viewing on the XBR950H was very good, especially for an LED TV. This performance was made possible by Sony’s X-Wide Angle technology. This technology performed as advertized and allowed for very wide viewing angles from the TV screen with minimal amounts of picture quality loss, namely color saturation and contrast. There is, however, one drawback to this technology; it causes a decrease in picture brightness.

But I must point out this small loss in picture brightness had very little impact on picture quality and will go unnoticed since the X950H still has a very high peak brightness output.

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.

4K HDR – As was the case with the X950G, HDR content delivered the best picture quality on this display. HDR images were very dynamic with exceptionally bright highlights. 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.

I also noticed the increase in picture detail and clarity that HDR images had to offer. And as mentioned above, color reproduction revealed a performance increase delivering colors with more dynamic punch, and realism.

The XBR950H produces a very bright picture and will do very well in a brightly lit room.

Rtings.com has posted “real scene” SDR (standard dynamic range) peak brightness at 565 nits, and HDR (high dynamic range) peak brightness at 980 nits.

Sound quality is decent on this TV thanks in part to Sony’s Acoustic Multi-Audio technology. The X950H produces spacious sound with decent imaging and stereo separation. The sound is also more enveloping and is optimized to the location of the images on screen thanks to the additional speakers located on the top backside of the panel.

The TV’s frequency response has respectable high and midrange sound output but is lacking in bass extension which comes as no surprise since this is a flat panel design. Dialogue was clear and discernible, so you won’t have trouble hearing and understanding spoken words in the content you are watching.

Conclusion

Sony’s XBR950 series is once again poised to be one of the best 4K TV lineups for 2020. It’s loaded with great features while delivering exceptional picture quality that was hard to find fault with. And the fact that the 85” model I reviewed here having such a large screen, brings it close to the size of a front projection screen, and will offer you and your family members and guest a more engaging and immersive TV viewing experience.

I highly recommend Sony’s XBR950H regardless of the screen size you may choose.

Sony X950H room view

You may also like this review of Samsung’s QLED Q80T 4K TV.

10 comments

  • Thanks for your excellent, informative reviews. I’m comparing this unit to the Samsung Q80t that you also recently reviewed. My viewing area will limit me to the 49″ models. The primary use will be movies and streaming content in a dark room, with gaming a distant secondary consideration.The Samsung’s lack of Dolby Vision is a definite negative but not a deal breaker for me. The 950H is about $100 cheaper at all sizes as of this writing. Would you have a preference between these two? Any thoughts are appreciated.

    • Hi Geoff,

      I appreciate your kind words. Thank you.
      The Samsung Q80T and the Sony XBR950H are both excellent TVs. And I could live happily with either model. However, if forced to choose, I would go with the X950H, namely due to its support for Dolby Vision. And for me, it’s better to have it and not need it or use it, vs. not having it and needing it.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

      • Thanks for your quick response, and for this great site.

        • You are welcome. And thanks again for your kind words. Much appreciated.

          Regards,
          Milton
          HDTVs and More

        • Hi Milton,

          Thank you for providing the most insightful reviews. I appreciate how descriptive your information is given and understood. It’s helped me navigate all the sites and decide
          Between the Q80 and x950…. for price.
          Again thanks and stay safe
          Craig

          • Hi Craig,

            Its comments like yours that make what I do worthwhile. I’m glad you’ve found the content here to be informative and useful. Your comments are valued and much appreciated.
            Take care.

            Regards,
            Milton
            HDTVs and More

  • It doesn’t look like this model has Next Gen ATSC 3.0. Is that correct?

  • hi
    thanks for your great review

    This tv or X950G ?

    • Hi arshi,

      Glad you liked the review. Thanks.
      Both models deliver excellent performance, so it’s really a toss-up. But if the price isn’t an issue, I would go with the newer model (X950H). But if you are concerned about pricing and can find the X950G cheaper, then go with that model.

      Regards,
      Milton
      HDTVs and More

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