Sony Bravia XR X90J review 1

From the outside, Sony’s X90J looks like just another 4K TV. It has a full array LED display, a slim minimalistic design and it’s HDR compatible.

It’s what’s on the inside that makes this TV standout. 

The X90J has Sony’s new XR Picture Processor inside. And it takes AI processing to the next level.

The XR uses cognitive intelligence to mimic how humans use their brains to analyse visual and audio information, and the results are fantastic. The focal point of a scene stands out naturally, the audio sounds great and the picture quality is impressive.

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Pros

  • XR Picture Processor
  • Affordable
  • Great for gaming
  • Good for upscaling
  • Decent built-in audio

Cons

  • No VRR out of the box

Price

The X90J comes in three sizes, 50-inch which costs NZD$2,599, 55-inch which costs NZD$3,300 and 65-inch which costs NZD$4,000.

Design

There isn’t anything particularly unique about the X90J design. It looks like any other TV. It has a narrow bezel and a slim stand. It looks good.

It comes with 4x HDMI ports, two of which are HDMI 2.1 and one is compatible with eARC. It also has 2x USB ports and 1x ethernet port. All of these ports are located on the side of the TV. 

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Performance

The X90J has a Full Array LED display. LEDs spread throughout the back of the television use local dimming to make lighting more precise and accurate. The intensity of the LEDs can be adjusted depending on the scene. Creating a deeper, clearer image where the blacks are darker and the whites brighter.

Compare this to an edge-lit screen, where the LEDs are spread around the outside of the display, and you instantly notice the better contrast you get with the X90J’s more accurate local dimming. Darker films and TV shows like The Dark Knight, for example, look fantastic.

The X90J is compatible with HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision uses dynamic metadata to adjust the display’s brightness on a frame-by-frame basis. HDR10 on the other hand uses static metadata meaning the content is adjusted once and that’s it. Dolby Vision ensures the right areas are lit up at the right times. This also adds to the contrast between the deep blacks and the bright whites. 

The X90J is great for gaming too. It supports 120Hz/4K gaming when playing a compatible title. And it has a dedicated game mode that reduces input lag to less than 8.5ms. If you’re a PS5 owner, you can use the DualShock 5 controller to turn the TV on and it will take you straight to the PS5 interface.

Sony has also claimed that VRR (variable refresh rate) compatibility will be coming with a future update. This will help eliminate lag, and frame tearing for more fluid and detailed gameplay.

XR Picture Processor

Sony’s new XR Picture Processor is a cognitive intelligence processor designed to accurately mimic how human brains analyse visual and audio information. To best understand the XR Picture Processor, it’s important to know how processors work in older TVs. Let me explain:

A TV processor is basically a TV’s brain. It powers how fast images appear on your screen, it improves the quality of the image, it’s used for upscaling content and everything else your TV does. The processor controls it all.

Nowadays most TVs come equipped with artificial intelligence processors. These use deep-learning algorithms based on millions of data points to process content. Conventional AI processors, analyse elements like colour, detail, contrast and sound individually. Sony’s new cognitive AI, the XR Picture Processor, goes one step further. The XR analyses everything at the same time, just like our brains do.

Where traditional AI processors analyse content and adjust all of it to the same level, the XR processor divides the screen into hundreds of zones. These zones are used to better recognise objects on the screen. In just one second, the XR Processor analyses hundreds of thousands of different elements and adjusts them accordingly. Each zone is individually adjusted to look or sound its best.

This improves the viewer’s natural focal point. The X90J is able to detect the main focal point in a scene and makes it stand out with a natural sense of depth. It looks amazing. 4K content, especially nature shows like Blue Planet, look brilliant on the X90J. 

These improvements are harder to notice when watching lower resolution content but with that said, the XR does a great job at upscaling to 4K. Obviously, a 1080p movie isn’t suddenly going to look 4K, but the XR is good at rendering out, upscaling blockiness. It prevents banding (where you see gradual shades of a certain colour) and there’s a smooth gradation between light and dark areas on the screen. It works well.

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Audio

The XR processor uses the same cognitive AI to process sound, mimicking how the human ear would analyse it. The XR detects the position the sound is coming from on-screen, and places it on that spot. 

The X90J’s audio is positioned both vertically and horizontally allowing for a more three-dimensional soundscape. To create this surround sound effect, the XR processor upconverts audio to 5.1.2ch surround sound. It works well, however frustratingly I did find it difficult to hear dialogue in an action film. The speech was quiet and the action was extremely loud and I found myself constantly turning the volume up and down. However, a few adjustments in the settings did help a little.

The X90Js audio is impressive out of the box, however it still can’t beat a decent surround sound system or soundbar.

Features

The X90J has Google TV built-in. This works exactly as it should and will be familiar to any Android TV users.

Unfortunately, Google TVs best new feature won’t be available in New Zealand. Google has added a “for you,” function in which content is recommended to you from all of the streaming services you are logged into. It’s definitely something to look forward to in a future update however it’s hard to recommend something on the promise of an update. Here in NZ, we’ll just have to get used to using Android TV which by no means is a bad interface, it simply doesn’t have the “for you,” function.

You can also use voice assistants with the X90J. It supports Alexa, Google and Siri.

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Verdict

The days of comparing TVs based on their displays alone are gone. Lots of new high-end TVs are going to have good displays. Now, one of the more important factors to think about when looking for a new TV is its processor. And the X90J has one of the best processors on the market. 

Sony’s XR Picture and Sound Processor is brilliant. It makes content look fantastic and it does it seamlessly. It’s very good at upscaling low-res content, it makes the focal point standout, has all the features you’d want in a new TV and it’s all for a reasonable price. You’re going to love it. 

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Price
Picture
Performance
Audio
Design
Features

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