Sony X90J 4K HDR TV Review Revisited | Better This Time?
Our first stab at Sony’s X90J 4K HDR TV didn’t go as planned, so we’re back with a second look at what we had hoped would be a TV with outstanding picture quality for the price.
We were left worried last time we visited the X90J.
Were things different this time around? Find out how a perfect sample of the X90J performed in our testing. A million thanks as always. OK, here we go.
So let’s just take things from the top.
I still love how easy it is to set up this TV
. Two legs, just pop them right in, no screws needed. There’s only one place for the feet.
Trust me, I scoured the underside looking for hidden spots, and there are none.
This is where the feet go.
I also like the Google TV platform, as I’ve mentioned in past videos.
It’s really grown on me over the past few months,
and it’s become my preferred smart TV platform.
If for no other reason, because it’s so easy to get logged into apps, I love that
as a TV reviewer. But also the look and the feel of it just suits me.
And I get less of a sponsored content vibe for some reason.
I just do. Add to that Sony Cinema picture
preset settings are fantastic.
There’s really nothing much more you need to do to get the best picture quality.
I think no manufacturer has more accurate picture presets across all the options
than Sony. But the Cinema Preset is especially good, and part of
that means really accurate colors without needing a calibration.
Although a white balance adjustment will make greys in some colors
look a bit better, pulls out a bit of green as I’ve measured.
So color accuracy is a thing
for picture quality, but there’s lots more to consider.
I’m about to get to that.
But before I do, I just have to comment on the TV’s sound quality.
This is an area where my opinion hasn’t changed since I first reviewed this TV.
I don’t think it sounds very good at all.
Even though Sony has added tweeters
to the top side of the back of the TV to try to make the sound more spacious.
Now, I’m not comparing it directly to the Sony A80J, A90J,
compare it to the X95J either, which I do expect to have in soon.
I’m comparing it to other TVs in its price class.
And while it isn’t necessarily worse
than, say, the TCL R635 or the Samsung Q80A,
which I’ve only heard in passing anyway. I can say that
I don’t like how it sounds, and I would absolutely be using a sound bar.
So keep that in mind when you’re considering this TV
and your budget comes into play.
Now let’s talk about picture quality. Some of the fundamentals didn’t change
and some of them did since I reviewed the somewhat damaged X90J
The peak brightness doesn’t appear to have been affected, but the backlight
system clearly did take a hit because the black levels on this unit
The backlight control is better.
Halo and blooming are better mitigated.
There’s a bit less of a milky quality to the picture. To be honest
it’s hard to describe why,
but this TV is noticeably better than the damaged unit I received.
And I checked that with some of my team who all agree.
So I’m not just drinking my own Kool-Aid.
Mmm. Tasty Kool-Aid. Sugar free, of course.
Anyway, here’s the bottom line.
Even though this review sample is better than the last one I had,
I am still not as enthused about it as I was the X900H.
Now, I’m sure that if I put the X90J next to the X900H,
I would have to admit that the X90J is a superior TV in many respects.
Well, the market. The market is what has changed.
You have Hisense out there with the U8G, which is blowing the doors off this TV
And it’s got some solid inky blacks as well,
thanks to its almost preposterous number of local dimming zones.
Then you’ve got the Samsung Q80A, which is not a Neo-QLED,
in other words, it doesn’t have mini-LED
backlighting, just like the X90J here, but is also a strong performer.
like the TCL R635, which didn’t start in this price class
and honestly gets pretty close
for much less money, at least when it first came out.
And hopefully the TCL prices come down.
Then you have the Vizio P-Series Quantum or P-Series Quantum X, depending on which
year of TV you’re buying, which are cost competitive with this TV as well,
and they also get brighter. Bottom line, depending on your priorities,
there are TVs with flashier specs than the X90J
and they cost the same or less.
So the X90J just doesn’t stand out in the market
quite the same way the X900H did for me last year.
But that doesn’t mean it has an identity crisis necessarily.
It has its place and will appeal to certain folks.
I just think maybe fewer folks than before.
The X90J is going to appeal to Sony TV fans.
Period. Full stop. End of story. That’s it.
Sony’s processing is on full display here.
The motion on this TV is excellent.
if you leave the motion setting on custom. That gives you good smoothness
without soap opera effect.
And if you set the motion to auto, it is exceptionally smooth motion,
but with some soap opera effect, which for gaming,
I think is less of an issue than it may be for movies.
I ran every stress test I have and the Sony’s motion
looks great on this unit, so that’s a plus.
Also, Sony’s color accuracy,
as I mentioned before, looks great out of the box.
It loses saturation and intensity, though, due to brightness limitations.
And that’s where I think I have to be the most critical.
This TV’s limited brightness is smartly handled by Sony.
It’s got a high average picture level,
so it comes off as bright, but it lacks punch in HDR highlights.
And overall, it seems to lack a bit of contrast to. Also the colors
lose some vibrancy as a result. Accurate or no
as you get out of the mid bright colors and into some of the HDR color space,
the zing just isn’t there for me.
Also, even though the backlight is handled really well and halo and blooming are
well mitigated, I don’t feel like this TV seems to hit true black very often.
I think part of that is the aggressive anti-glare coating on the screen.
Thing is without that anti glare,
the TV would have so much reflection to overcome with brightness
it doesn’t have, that the net effect would be negative.
So the TV needs that anti-glare.
And I feel like one of the tradeoffs is perceived contrast. By the measurements
The contrast is good, but in real life viewing, it just isn’t what I want.
Even at this TV’s price level where it isn’t going to be as good as a mini-LED
TV with two hundred plus zones, I still feel a little let down.
Let’s do a reality check.
I think most folks who walk in a dark room
and see this TV would say it looks great.
And that’s because this TV does a lot really well. Sony has swagger.
And you can see that here.
The TV just lacks the muscle that I think some enthusiasts are looking for.
So if you were to ask me, do you recommend this TV,
I would say as my response often has to be, I don’t know.
That depends. Who are you? Are you a Sony fan with a budget?
Then yeah, I think you would dig this TV.
Do you value accuracy and finesse over brute strength?
Then this is the TV for you.
Are you mostly a casual gamer who just wants your games to look good?
So no, I’m not jumping out of my seat and shouting the
X90J’s praises, but it is definitely a quality TV.
And if you find yourself attracted to it, go for it.
But if you like flashy roadsters and sports cars as opposed to
mid-level luxury sedans, then you probably want to look elsewhere.
So that’s the TV review. I’m glad I got the second unit.
It is definitely better than the damaged one I got.
And it was worth doing this second look, because I feel much more confident
about my take on this TV. And that brings me to the
YouTube exclusive portion of this video that I promised earlier,
I noticed in the comments
that some of you are wondering why we even published the first video.
Why do we even do unboxing videos?
So let me let you in on a little bit of what goes on behind
the scenes for my TV videos. As far as unboxing videos go,
so that you’re experiencing in the video what it’s actually like to unbox
I want you to know what that’s like
and maybe it gets you more excited for the TV
that you’re thinking about buying, knowing that you’ll get to do the same soon.
But because we do that in real time, sometimes we don’t discover problems
until late in the process.
And when that happens, we are already hours into production.
Are we going to waste all of that?
No way. Especially since in most cases it changes nothing about the unboxing
and setup portion. At most, it might hold back my first impressions,
and let’s be honest, by that point, we’re all gunning for that full review.
Now, in the case of this Sony, we then had to make a tougher choice.
Do we go ahead and try to review it or do we just box it up,
hope we can get another one. and wait it out?
Thing is, there’s no guarantee I will get another sample.
And if I do, I may have to wait for a long time.
And in the case of that Sony X90J here, it wasn’t clear at the outset
that the damage could be having small effects on performance
that could amount to a death by a thousand cuts situation.
And that’s the thing about death by a thousand cuts,
you don’t see the death coming until it’s too late, right?
And again, after hours spent on TV, I feel like sharing that
experience with you. Do you find it frustrating? Well, good,
because you know who is frustrated the most?
Me. I’m the one that had to unbox the TV and go through all that.
And then I have to reboxthe TV and then unbox another one,
and let me tell you, folks, reboxing TVs is like my least favorite thing ever.
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