Sony Bravia X950H/XH95 4K LED-LCD TV evaluation
It feels just like the Sony X950H Sequence 4K TV (XH95 within the UK) was tailored for us. It appears to completely handle all the problems we had with final yr’s less-than-amazing Sony X950G/XG95 by providing louder and clearer audio, whereas additionally including quite a lot of good UI modifications that make customizing the image simpler than ever.
It is inside inches of being top-of-the-line TVs of the yr – a title that appears to be more durable and more durable to win as TV producers pump out higher processors and panels each few months – however is stored from that honor by two poor design selections: lack of HDMI 2.1 ports and a brand new stand design that may lead the show to wobble wildly.
Fortunately, the TV nonetheless has eARC for Dolby Atmos passthrough and wall-mounting circumvents the usage of the legs totally, so neither is an absolute deal-breaker.
Whereas there are a selection of cheaper TVs on the market that obtain related efficiency, none have the X1 Final Processor, assist for Dolby Imaginative and prescient and the most recent model of Android TV. If you need the entire above and don’t thoughts wall-mounting it, the XH95/X950H is the best way to go.
Value and launch date
The Sony XH95 Sequence (Sony XBR-X950H Sequence within the US) is a part of the Sony 2020 TV lineup that was partially unveiled at CES 2020 again in January. It’s not probably the most premium LCD-LED TV within the lineup, however it’s the most premium TV that’s inside arm’s attain of the common TV purchaser (learn: not millionaires).
To that finish, the Sony XH95/X950H begins at an inexpensive sticker worth of $999/£1,199 for those who go for the 49-inch display screen dimension – choose for those who don’t wish to cope with the wobbliness of the 55-inch, 65-inch and 75-inch variations – and rockets as much as $3,999/£3,999 for those who go for the outrageously giant 85-inch model.
How does that stack as much as different 2020 4K TVs from Samsung and LG? Properly, it’s really proper across the identical worth because the Samsung Q80T and LG Nano 90. We just like the Sony a bit greater than the LG Nano Sequence as a consequence of its extra pure colours, very good movement dealing with and glorious upscaling, however this yr’s Samsung Q80 Sequence presents some powerful competitors and is value trying out for those who’re on the fence.
Sony X950H/XH95 Specs
(Picture credit score: Sony)
Display sizes obtainable: 49-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch | 4K: Sure | HDR: Sure (HDR10, Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HLG) | Panel Expertise: LED-LCD | Sensible TV: Android TV | Curved: No | 3D: No | Inputs: 4 HDMIs (all 4 HDMI 2.zero however one with eARC), two USBs, RF tuner, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optical digital audio output
Earlier than we dive too deep into the design, it’s value declaring that the TV principally has two variations – one for the 55-, 65- and 75-inch variations, and the opposite for the 49-inch and 85-inch model.
The largest distinction between them is that the latter makes use of final yr’s chassis and legs, whereas the previous makes use of a brand new design that we’ll describe – and criticize a bit – beneath. In case you plan on shopping for a 49-inch or 85-inch model, try our evaluation of the Sony XG95/X950G for what to anticipate by way of design and setup, however every part else on this part applies to each TVs.
When it comes to what’s related throughout all of the fashions are the Full Array LED design that provides practically OLED-levels of black and decreased haloing, plus the X1 Final Processor that we’ll speak a bit extra within the efficiency part beneath.
However let’s concentrate on the chassis and body of the 55-, 65- and 75-inch fashions: setting them up is so simple as constructing the steel legs by utilizing a number of screws after which sliding them into place in both a wide-legged or narrow-legged configuration. This design permits individuals with smaller leisure facilities to nonetheless maintain the TV – which is useful for people who don’t need their furnishings to dictate which TV they purchase.
It’s an ideal thought, however sadly the best way Sony executes it makes the TV wobbly on its legs with a reasonably excessive heart of gravity. Which means it’s simpler than most different TVs to tip over, and could possibly be an actual drawback for people who’ve children operating round. In case you’re shopping for it, it’s most likely a greater and safer thought to wall-mount it as a substitute.
Spin the TV round to the again and also you’ll discover the inputs and outputs of the display screen. That features 4 facet HDMI 2.zero ports with HDCP 2.Three and HDMI-CEC, one in every of which helps eARC for Dolby Atmos audio passthrough. There’s a pair of USB ports for charging and connecting units, optical audio out, a 3.5mm audio jack and an ethernet port, too.
For most people, the choice to go along with HDMI 2.zero as a substitute of the newer and extra future-proof HDMI 2.1 isn’t a giant deal, however for players who desire a Variable Refresh Fee-capable TV with 4K@120Hz, this TV would not have it. Bummer.
Sensible TV (Android TV)
Like earlier years, Sony TVs nonetheless use Android TV as their major good platform. For some, that is an instantaneous deal-breaker, however truthfully Android TV has been making quite a lot of enhancements through the years which have introduced it nearer than ever to LG’s webOS and Samsung’s Tizen good platforms.
One of many largest modifications right here is that Android TV now has principally each app the opposite two have together with HBO Max and Disney Plus alongside traditional staples like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Sadly you will not discover Apple TV Plus right here, however principally each different main streaming app is accounted for.
When it comes to pace, Android TV on the X950H/XH95 is fairly quick, particularly for those who’re principally utilizing it for Netflix. We went from standby mode to streaming in full 4K in Dolby Imaginative and prescient in about 15-20 seconds, and with the proper community speeds you should not have any drawback matching that.
Although, admittedly, the perfect function for all of the beginner calibrators out there may be the improved Image Settings menu that has visible representations of each single choice. Certain, most people know the distinction between brightness, distinction and shade saturation, however having an in depth description with a picture foolproofs the system.
As you’d count on with Google’s Android TV platform, the Sony X950H/XH95 presents Google Assistant and entry to the Google Play Retailer, plus built-in Chromecast. There’s additionally now assist out of the field for Apple Airplay 2, which is nice for all of the iOS customers on the market on the lookout for an Apple TV different.
Smarter, quicker and simpler to make use of than earlier than, Android TV is slowly however absolutely inching its manner nearer to a prime spot on our listing of the perfect good TV platforms.
When it comes to efficiency, Sony TVs have all the time been in a position to nail that pure look with impeccable shade accuracy and not using a drawback, and this yr is not any completely different.
For many of our exams, we used the TV’s Customized preset which, with out tweaking, is nearly excellent. It’s principally the ISF preset you’d discover on different producers’ units with barely subdued brightness, a tinge of heat and little movement processing. You possibly can principally set it and overlook it for nearly all types of content material.
If you need one thing a bit brighter or extra vivid, you should use the Normal image mode with HDR Remaster for HD/SDR content material to get that synthetic pop, or crank the settings to their max with the Vivid setting that you simply’ll see on retailer cabinets.
As a result of the TV makes use of the identical Sony X1 Final Processor as final yr, you most likely received’t see an enormous distinction between this yr’s Sony X950H/XH95 and final yr’s Sony X950G/XG95, however Sony has included some additional tech to widen viewing angles to each mannequin within the lineup this yr as a substitute of simply the 75- and 85-inch variations that had it final yr. It’s additionally added a lightweight sensor that may increase the brightness when the TV detects daylight or brilliant overhead lights, and can dim robotically if you settle in for a late night time film.
Talking of brightness, nevertheless, it is value saying upfront that the X950H/XH95 is probably not as brilliant as a number of the different LCD-LED TVs in its worth vary, particularly for those who’re evaluating it towards Samsung’s QLED collection or the Vizio P-Sequence Quantum X.
Clearly, you get probably the most out of this set with native 4K/HDR content material that takes benefit of full array lighting design and delightful Triluminous shade replica tech. With Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HDR10 and HLG all supported, you need to have loads of choices to select from by way of content material, although you received’t discover HDR10+ assist right here.
That mentioned, as a result of 4K/HDR content material isn’t fairly ubiquitous but, you’ll be completely happy to know that Sony has tweaked its upscaling course of even additional for 2020 – not that it actually wanted it. Like all the opposite producers, Sony’s utilizing object-based upscaling based mostly on a huge picture library and a few machine studying wizardry. Lengthy story quick, HD content material seems to be fairly nice, even for those who by no means flick on HDR Remaster – known as Reside Coloration within the settings – although we do suggest no less than making an attempt it as soon as to see what you’re lacking.
The upgrades to Android TV and Sony’s image efficiency are nice, however the addition of a second amplifier for the 2 prime drivers on the again of the TV is an absolute game-changer. Final yr the TV used a single amplifier for all 4 drivers (backside left-right and prime left-right) and it made dialogue practically not possible to listen to if the TV was positioned in a big open room.
The addition of a second amplifier for the highest drivers means dialogue is way, a lot clearer this time round and whereas it’s not fairly soundbar ranges of readability, it’s a giant enchancment. (In case you actually need the perfect sound expertise, we suggest connecting a Dolby Atmos Soundbar or AVR to the HDMI Three port of the TV for true spatial audio – belief us, it’s definitely worth the funding.)
The opposite, smaller change that’s new for this yr is the change to the almond-shaped X-Balanced Speaker form for the underside drivers as a substitute of the ovular one used final yr. This helps disperse the sound to offer the TV a barely wider soundstage and appears to spice up the general readability within the mid-range. Once more, don’t count on miracles, these are nonetheless two 10w audio system and two 5w audio system up on prime, but it surely’s a noticeable enchancment.
The opposite neat improve is to the distant of the TV that has a built-in microphone that can be utilized for computerized EQ leveling if you setup the TV. You most likely aren’t lacking an excessive amount of for those who skip this step, however contemplating that it is ultra-convenient to make use of, we suggest that you do not.
Different panels to ponder…
In case you’re on the lookout for one other TV with full array lighting and related upscaling, try the Samsung Q80T. It’s a bit brighter than the Sony and extra vivid than the Sony is, however doesn’t fairly do movement or upscaling as nicely. We suggest the Samsung TV for people who’re shopping for a TV for brilliant residing rooms and who love brilliant, poppy photographs, whereas we suggest the Sony TV for individuals who need one thing a bit extra refined.
In case you’re on the lookout for high quality efficiency at half the price, we suggest final yr’s TCL 6-Sequence QLED R625 screens that aren’t as brilliant and have barely oversaturated photographs, however provide related efficiency for a complete lot much less.
The final choices we’ll give, in fact, are the LG CX OLED and LG BX OLED that shall be obtainable later this yr. Sure, they’re costlier than the Sony TV is and may finally succumb to very minimal picture burn in, however you merely can’t get the pure black ranges of an OLED TV on an LED-LCD display screen.
Who’s it for
There’s simply no getting round it – the Sony X1 Final is a superb processor. Sony has painstakingly tuned it to place out probably the most pure photographs with the Customized image setting, and it makes just about each piece of movie look superb.
Sports activities followers
In case you’re a sports activities fan, you will recognize the TV’s 120Hz native refresh price and significantly good movement processing chops. The truth that it may deal with each ultra-fast motion and slow-paced dramas with out overprocessing is a testomony to the years value of labor Sony has executed on this area.
Who’s it not for
Dad and mom with little ones and accident-prone individuals
A wobbly stand is simple to disregard for those who’re older and stay alone or with a partner, however for those who’re a mother or father with younger ones operating round, we’d have some severe issues concerning the Sony XH95’s new stand design – particularly when the legs are set shut collectively. TVs tip over with stunning regularity so it’s essential to take precautions towards tragedy by wall-mounting this – and another TV – for those who suppose there’s any probability somebody may come alongside and knock it over.
Players who desire a completely future-proof TV set
Sony didn’t do an ideal job of future-proofing the TV. By utilizing HDMI 2.zero ports as a substitute of HDMI 2.1, the TV received’t assist VRR or be able to dealing with 4K@120Hz – which is a bummer for players preparing for the following technology of consoles and PC parts.
- In search of a brand new display screen? Take a look at our listing of the perfect 4K TVs