Sony XBR55X900F Picture Quality

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Sony XBR55X900F Picture Quality
DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS PICTURE QUALITY SOUND QUALITY SMART FEATURES

 

The Sony XBR55X900F Picture Quality is a great 4k TV with impressive picture quality, especially in a dark room due to the high native contrast ratio and full array local dimming support. The TV excels at HDR as it can produce bright, vivid highlights. Motion handling is also excellent due to the fast response time and ability to flicker the backlight to clear up motion.

Picture Quality

The Sony X900F has a very good picture quality. When set in a dark room, the deep black it can produce help greatly with dark scene reproduction. This is mostly due to the impressive contrast ratio, good black uniformity, and decent local dimming feature. When set in a brighter room, the TV is also very good since it got a great SDR peak brightness and the screen finish is great at dealing with reflection and glare. The gray uniformity is good and dirty screen effect is not visible while watching sports like football or ice hockey.

Finally, HDR looks great and this is mostly due to the high HDR peak brightness, which when paired with the local dimming, can reproduce very bright specular highlights.

Contrast

The native contrast ratio is excellent. When set in a dark room, it can display really deep blacks, making the TV a very good option if you have a dark home theater room.

Local Dimming

The full array local dimming of the Sony X900F is decent and better than most LED TVs. It is a small upgrade when compared to the 2017 X900E. The X900F performance is more similar to the 2017 Sony X930E when set side by side, although the X930E has slightly less abrupt transitions of the zones on movements.

Therefore, if you notice this behavior, you can set it the ‘Medium’, and it should behave more conservatively.

SDR Peak Brightness

Great SDR peak brightness, good enough for even a bright room. The TV’s local dimming does a good job of boosting bright sections of the screen when other sections are dimmer, shown by how the smaller window tests are brighter than the larger ones. Overall, this brightness is a marked improvement over last year’s X900E, and is far better than the brightness of many competing TVs like the Samsung MU8000 and LG SJ8500, though still not as bright as last year’s X930E.

HDR Peak Brightness

Great HDR peak brightness; bright highlights in HDR content will be shown fairly bright, though not quite as bright as the 1000-4000 cd/m² they’re intended to be. The TV’s local dimming is able to boost highlights to be very bright, because the rest of the scene in HDR content is usually fairly dim when compared to SDR content, so the TV has more power budget for the hightlights. Overall the HDR brightness is better than last year’s X900E.

Gray Uniformity

The gray uniformity is good.  Besides that, dirty screen effect is not problematic since the center of the screen is even and it is not noticeable when watching sports like hockey, a sport where the slightest uniformity issues are usually very easy to see.

Looking at the 5%, we can see that both bottom corners are a bit brighter than the center and this is mostly due to the clouding of the panel, as the same brighter zone are also visible on the black uniformity. In any case, this is almost not noticeable when watching normal content, and as such, is not problematic.

Viewing Angle

Bad viewing angle, but fairly typical for a TV with a VA panel. Colors and blacks degrade significantly when viewed from even a small angle, while brightness degrades less at an angle. This bad viewing angle makes this TV not well suited for a room where people often sit to the side of the TV and view it at an angle; in such cases an IPS TV with a good viewing angle, like the LG SJ8500, may be better.

Black Uniformity

The Sony X900F black uniformity is very good. Looking at the native black uniformity picture (when the local dimming is turned completely off) our unit has some faint flashlighting, especially near the edge and the corners of the TV. The clouding is not too strong and when looking at normal content, should not be too apparent.

Turning on local dimming hides most issues, but it comes at the cost of blooming around bright objects (like the center cross in this picture).

Note that the screen uniformity varies per unit, and another X900F could be better or worse than the unit we bought.

Reflections

The reflection handling of the Sony X900F is great. The semi-gloss finish does diffuse reflections slightly, but not as much as more hazy TVs such as the Samsung MU8000. The anti-reflective coating works well to reduce the total reflections and provides very similar performance to last year’s X900E. This should be fine for most rooms, but reflections may be distracting in a very bright room or if sunlight falls directly on the TV.

Pre Calibration

The most accurate picture mode out of the box is the ‘Custom’ picture mode, and it is also one of the picture modes that gives you the most control over all the picture setting available.

The ‘Cinema Pro’ is also very accurate, but this picture mode targets a gamma closer to 2.4, rather than our desired 2.2 target.

Post Calibration

The accuracy is outstanding after calibrating the white balance. Unfortunately, the lack of color management system on Sony’s TVs can’t be corrected further.

Overall, the calibration here did only bring some small corrections, as the TV was already very accurate out of the box, and the process was very fast and without issues.

480p Input

Upscaling of low quality 480p content such as DVDs is good. Some halo artifacting is visible along edges, but there is a good range of options to customize the upscaling depending on preferences.

720p Input

720p content such as cable is upscaled well. Edges are smoothed to reduce blockyness, and some haloing artifacts are visible.

1080p Input

1080p sources such as Blu-rays look great once upscaled. The X900E was able to apply direct nearest neighbor upscaling when in the ‘Graphics’ picture mode, but this isn’t available on the X900F (similar to the X930E with the same X1 Extreme Processor).

4k Input

Native 4k content such as UHD Blu-rays or high quality streaming content is displayed without any issues.

Color Gamut

Great wide color gamut; saturated colors in HDR content will be shown fairly well, but not quite as well as some other TVs like the LG OLED B7A. The TV’s color accuracy for less saturated colors is also fairly good, so the overall HDR image will be accurate.

The TV’s HDR EOTF follows the target PQ curve very closely up until it rolls off and clips at its peak brightness. The EOTFs in the ‘Game’ and’Graphics’ picture modes also follow the target closely. Users who want a brighter HDR image can increase the TV’s ‘Gamma’ and ‘Adv. contrast enhancer’ settings, which will raise the EOTF to be brighter than the target curve.

Color Volume

Decent color volume in HDR. The Sony X900F’s local dimming does a good job of extending its wide color gamut down to a range of different brightness, so darker colors will look as saturated as brighter colors.

Gradient

Excellent gradient performance; no major banding is visible during normal usage when playing 10 bit content (such as HDR).

Temporary Image Retention

No temporary image retention could be noticed on the Sony X900F white running our test. This is good for those wanting to use this TV as a PC monitor. Note that this is a different result from our 2017 X900E, as the later did show sign of very faint image retention.

Permanent Burn-In Risk

We don’t expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.

Pixels

The pixels look almost identical to the X900E , however, there is a small notch at the bottom of each sub-pixel.

 

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