Sony Bravia XR-65X95J Review | PCMag
Sony impressed us earlier this year with its flagship OLED TV, the Master Series A90J. The X95J, Sony’s LED equivalent of that model, offers some useful features such as hands-free Google Assistant integration as well as support for both Apple AirPlay and Google Cast. However, its steep price ($1,999.99 for the 65-inch XR-65X95J we tested) pits it against strong competitors, including the Hisense U8G, LG C1, and Samsung QN90A, all of which are Editors’ Choice award winners for various reasons including price, black levels, and picture quality. The X95J trails them all in terms of contrast and color, so while it’s a good TV, it just can’t quite keep up.
Sleek Look, Clever Stand
The minimalist X95J sports an almost bezel-free design; a tiny chrome band outlines the sides and top of the screen, while a slim brushed metallic strip defines the bottom edge. The TV sits on two flat, angular metal legs that you can attach to either lift the screen a few inches (like most TV stands) or let the bottom edge of the screen sit nearly flush against the surface it’s sitting on. The legs are positioned very wide, so check your measurements for where you want to put the TV to make sure you have enough space.
The power cable is permanently attached and sits on the right side of the back of the TV. All other connections are on the left side facing out including an HDMI port, two USB ports, a 3.5mm composite video input, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a 3.5mm port for an IR receiver, alongside a switch for the built-in far-field microphone. Three more HDMI ports (two 4K120, one eARC), a third USB port, an optical audio output, a 3.5mm RS-232C port, an Ethernet port, and an antenna or cable connector face down.
The included remote is a long, thin black wand with rubber buttons. A circular direction pad sits in the middle, along with a number pad and four color buttons for quick access to video streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Netflix, and YouTube. Volume and channel rockers and playback controls sit below the pad. If you prefer, you can manually summon Google Assistant via a dedicated button and speak directly into the remote, rather than use the TV’s far-field microphones. The remote connects wirelessly to the TV, so you don’t need direct line of sight to control it.
Google TV, With Apple AirPlay
Sony uses Google TV for its smart TV platform, which means the X95J effectively behaves as if a Chromecast With Google TV was connected to it. The Google TV platform provides access to all major streaming services including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Twitch, and YouTube. The interface is adept at tracking most of those services for content searches, suggestions, and aggregating live TV. Google TV also offers thousands of different apps and other services, while support for Google Cast means you can mirror your Android device, Chrome tab, or PC screen to the TV. Additionally, the X95J supports Apple Airplay 2 for mirroring iOS devices and Macs.
Google TV also integrates Google Assistant voice control. Just say, “Hey Google,” and give your command. Google Assistant can search for content, control the TV directly, control compatible smart home devices, and provide general information such as weather forecasts and sports scores. It can also show your calendar (unless you use G Suite for your calendar, which is poorly supported). If you don’t want the microphones to always listen for the wake phrase, you can physically turn them off with a switch on the the TV. The Hisense U9DG and U8G TVs also offer hands-free Google Assistant through the slightly less sleek Android TV platform.
Good Performance, But Not the Best
The Sony X95J is a 4K TV with a 120Hz refresh rate. It supports high dynamic range (HDR) content in HDR10, Dolby Vision, and hybrid log gamma (HLG). Oddly, to enable Dolby Vision, you need to manually switch the HDMI input’s signal format to Enhanced Format (Dolby Vision), not just Enhanced Format, which enables other HDR modes but not Dolby Vision.
With an SDR signal, the X95J shows a peak brightness of 399.092cd/m^2 with a full-screen white field and 353.518cd/m^2 with an 18% white field and an 0.042cd/m^2 black level. With an HDR signal, those numbers jump up to 596.527cd/m^2 with a full-screen white field and 930.929cd/m^2 with an 18% white field. That’s significantly brighter than the A90J’s 632.348cd/m^2 peak brightness, though as an OLED TV, the A90J offers perfect black levels and so its contrast ratio is fundamentally higher than any LED TV.
The average black level, taken from black portions of the screen while a separate part of the screen is fully lit up, is 0.039cd/m^2 with some caveats. We noticed a good amount of light bloom on the screen, with areas far away from the light dropping to around 0.01cd/m^2 and areas closer to the light reaching nearly 0.08cd/m^2. Using an estimated average, the X95J’s effective contrast ratio is 23,870:1. This is very good, but notably lower than the contrast ratios of the Hisense U9DG (198:206:1) and U8G (88,168:1), as well as Samsung’s QN90A (367,593:1). All of these models are significantly brighter, with lower black levels.
The above charts show the X95J’s color measurements in Cinema mode with an SDR signal compared against Rec.709 broadcast standard color levels and with an HDR signal compared against DCI-P3 digital cinema standards. Whites are perfect with both signals, and colors are consistently well balanced, with cyan slightly drifting toward green in HDR. The TV doesn’t quite hit the ranges it should, though, with reds and greens slightly oversaturated in SDR and all colors falling short of DCI-P3 in HDR. The Hisense U9DG (and U8G, for that matter), LG C1, and Samsung QN90A all cover or nearly cover the DCI-P3 color space, as does the Sony A90J.
See How We Test TVs
Colors in BBC’s Planet Earth II look balanced and natural, but the limitations of the TV’s color range mean the greens of plants aren’t quite as rich as they could be. That said, you can clearly see fine details like fur and bark both in bright light and shade, as well as pleasant variations in the blues of the water and the sky.
While the X95J’s reds fall a bit short of DCI-P3, Deadpool’s costume in the opening scenes of Deadpool still looks properly saturated even under the overcast lighting. The flames in the burning lab fight are bright with many different hues of yellows and oranges. You can easily discern shadow details in dark parts of the frame.
The stark blacks and whites of the party scenes in The Great Gatsby show the X95J’s strong contrast performance. White shirts, balloons, and jackets pop out, while the cuts and contours of black suits are apparent. Despite the light bloom we noticed in our lab tests, this effect wasn’t as apparent when watching films. Skin tones looked warm and natural against the contrasting elements as well.
As a Sony TV, the X95J primarily targets PlayStation 5 owners with its gaming features, and that’s not good news for gamers on other platforms. For example, Sony has yet to add variable refresh rate (VRR) support to the PS5, which means the X95J doesn’t support that feature (or any other platform-specific VRR, such as Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync). However, the TV does support 4K120 from the PS5 and any other hardware capable of that resolution and frame rate, and it offers an auto low-latency mode.
We measured the X95J’s input lag using an HDFury Diva HDMI matrix and recorded lags of 146.3 milliseconds in Cinema mode and 10.8ms in Game mode. The Game mode number is what’s most important for video games, and 10.8ms is hardly disappointing. However, after the last few years of seeing several TVs with input lag well below 5ms, it’s also not impressive. The X95J comes in just over the recently lowered 10ms threshold we use to determine the best TVs for gaming. Once again, the Hisense U8G, LG C1, and Samsung QN90A all showed lower input lag, (7.9, 4.7, and 2.6 milliseconds, respectively), and all feature VRR and AMD FreeSync.
A Fine Flagship TV
The Sony X95J is a very good TV that offers strong contrast, fairly good color, and plenty of features. That said, the comparably priced LG C1 OLED ($1,799.99) offers far better colors and darker blacks, as do both the pricier Samsung QN90A ($2,599.99) and the less expensive Hisense U8G ($949.99), both of which get significantly brighter. We also like Sony’s OLED A90J, though it’s much more expensive at $3,999.99. There’s really nothing wrong with the X95J, it just falls slightly behind the competition.
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