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One minute review
The Sony X90J is practically everything we would want from a mid-range 4K Led-LCD TV. For the money, there are few TVs that can match it for picture quality and features, making it the first of its kind for mid-range models.
Honestly, we saw it coming. Last year, the Sony X900H / XH90 was one of the best TVs of the year for exactly the same reasonsAnd now Sony has made it even better with its new XR Cognitive Processor that offers incredible contrast control and scaling.
We love the fact that it's a native 120Hz TV with 2 full HDMI 2.1 ports for Xbox Series X and PS5, variable refresh rate, and auto low latency mode, plus it uses a full-array panel with local dimming for better black levels. Setup is simple, and the TV uses the new Google TV platform, which puts recommended content front and center.
There are still some lingering issues with setting up a new console on the TV, such as issues with the TV appearing in daylight in a bright room and with an off-axis display, but the Sony X90J manages to offer unusual performance for a reasonable cost.
Price and launch date
- Part of Sony's 2021 TV build
- Costs start at $1299 / €1149 / AU$1895
- Competing with LG C1 OLED and Samsung Q90A QLED
The Sony X90J is a part of the Sony TV 2021 compilation that includes the new A90J and A80J OLED TVs, as well as the X95J and X80J 4K LED-LCD TVs. The X90J, reviewed here, is the little mid-range and offers many of the best features of high-end TVs minus the color sensor of the Z9J or the X-Contrast Pro of the A90J OLED. The good news? It is much more affordable than either of these 2.
In terms of screen size and cost, this is what you are looking for:
- Sony XR-50X90J: $1299 / €1199 / €1499 / AU$2,695
- Sony XR-75X90J: $2499 / €2599 / AU$4,299
Then, Where does this put the Sony X90J compared to the competition? Somewhere right in the middle. It's obviously not as affordable as the QLED TCL 6 series, which only costs around €649 for a 55-inch screen, nor is it as expensive as certain 8K TVs we've seen come out this year like the new Samsung QN900A. So it's right in the middle as well as the Samsung QN90A and LG C1 OLED, which offer higher maximum brightness and better black levels, but only the Sony X90J comes with the first Google TV content.
The wild card here is the new Sony X95J. This is the next step up from the X90J offering X-Anti-Glare technology, higher brightness and better contrast. It should be considerably more expensive than the X90J, so we'd primarily recommend this TV to our friends and family over the X95J, but reviewing viewers may appreciate waiting until such time as they can raise the money for the X95J on their site. .
- Full LED-LCD TV with local dimming
- Not super slim, but very stable
- Two HDMI 2.1 ports for 4K @ 120Hz plus requires you to dive into menu settings
Because it's a full LED-LCD TV with local dimming, the Sony X90J isn't quite as slim as the company's line of OLED TVs, but it's not unattractive either.
Sony X90J Specifications
- Screen sizes: 50, 55, 65, 75 inches.
- 4K: Yes
- HDR10: Yes
- HLG: Yes
- Dolby Vision / Atmos: Yes Yes
- Panel technology: Led-LCD
- Connected TV: Google TV
- Bent: No
- Size: 1452 x 950 x 338 mm (65 inches without stand)
- Weight: 22,9kg (without stand)
- 3D: No
- Tickets: 2x HDMI dos1 (1x eARC), 2x HDMI dos0b, 2x USB, 1xRF, Ethernet
- Outputs: 1x optical.
The front of the TV has a relatively thin bezel, though it doesn't offer the edge-to-edge picture that other 4K TVs do, and two slim legs. Your own feet easily slide into position near the outer edge of the TV and perfectly stabilize the screen.
Flip it on its side and you'll see that the Sony X90J isn't exactly the slimmest display on the market, but it does use the extra space to its full potential. Inside the TV is a full matrix panel with local dimming, as well as a rock solid sound system with two sound positioning tweeters on the sides of the TV and drop-down woofers.
Flip it back and you'll find your typical port selection: here you have 4 HDMI ports (2 of which support 4K/120 and one supports eARC), plus Ethernet, a digital optical audio out, Auxiliary and an RF Tuner. . It also has 2 USB ports.
While we want all 4 ports to support HDMI 2.1, having 2 ports at least will allow you to connect a PS5 and Xbox Series X simultaneously for dual 4K/120Hz gameplay, however connecting directly to the HDMI 4 port isn't enough. In fact, you will have to go to the settings – Channels and inputs – External inputs – HDMI signal format – HDMI 4 – Enhanced format. There is a second option that indicates the enhanced format (Dolby Vision) but do not select it as it prevents the TV from outputting at 120Hz and at the moment there does not appear to be a way for the TV to accept the 4K signal. / 120 Hz and Dolby Vision simultaneously.
Finally, in terms of remote control, the Sony X90J comes with the latest voice remote control which comes with a built-in microphone and four shortcut buttons for Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and Disney Plus. The remote feels great in your hand, and because it's quite large, it's not easy to lose it.
Connected television (Google TV)
- One of the first Sony TVs with Google TV
- Smooth, content-driven presentation
- Supports Chromecast built-in and Google Assistant
- One of the few televisions with Bravia Core service
At this point in the review of a Sony TV, traditionally we have been talking about Android TV, but this year we will talk about Google TV. That's because while Android TV has been Google's smart TV platform for nearly a decade, Google TV is here to take the reins, and we're glad it has.
What we love about Google TV is that it's flashier, livelier, and more vibrant than Android TV.. It takes content recommendations from all the services you already use (and some you don't) and brings them to the front of your home screen, as long as you sign in to your Google account during the first set up of your TV.
Using your Google account will also fill the main screen of the Chromecast UI with relevant and recommended content. If you're familiar with Android TV, this will all be very familiar to you, but for the uninitiated it's a veritable array of content compiled from different sources. For example, on our home screen we have "Captain America: The First Avenger" (probably because we tidied up the Marvel movies) and Parks and Recreation, among other comedies and sci-fi movies.
Scroll down the Recommended Content row a bit more and you'll find rows of Netflix-style content that are grouped by genre, a row of recommended YouTube videos, and finally trending shows and movies. You'll also find rows of handpicked movies and shows categorized in other unique ways (like Oscar-winning movies) that are fun to explore as you search for something to watch.
When you select something to watch, you can start watching right away or add it to your watch list so you can find it later. Google TV also uses a thumbs up/thumbs down system to help improve the recommendations it makes.. Finally, there's a half-decent built-in search that can show you multiple ways to stream a certain movie or show, but it's not as robust as Roku's built-in search engine.
In terms of app selection, you have all the major services to choose from (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.), as well as a service that no one else has called Bravia Core. Simply purchasing an X90J by February 23, 2024, entitles you to 10 movie credits to use on a selection of at least 300 movies. These films include most of the Sony Picture Entertainment catalog such as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Jumanji: The Next Level. This is something that no other TV has at the moment, and since it's essentially free to try, it's worth enjoying while you can.
Overall, we think Google TV is a great addition to this year's Sony TVs and helps the X90J compete with equally powerful smart TV platforms from Samsung and LG.
- Exceptional image quality and color saturation
- Fantastic scaling thanks to the XR cognitive processor
- Surprisingly good contrast
- Has glare and off-axis viewing issues
Unsurprisingly, the colors and reflections are absolutely stunning here. The TV does an amazing job of taking HD content and upscaling it to 4K, and native 4K HDR content, especially those recorded in Dolby Vision, is exceptionally beautiful. Again, this isn't surprising, as we feel precisely the same way about the X90J's predecessor, the Sony X900H.
Then, What has changed in the image quality department? Well, the biggest addition this year is the new XR Cognitive Processor that adds more depth to some scenes, especially older content shot in HD, and better contrast control.
Let's start with the XR cognitive processor first. What it does differently is that you can divide a scene into multiple parts and then you can determine what the focal point is. If the processor sees an illuminated neon sign, it knows that it needs to increase the brightness and clarity of that sign. If you identify a person, it improves their complexion and all the little details like hair or wrinkles. It happens instantly, frame by frame, behind the scenes.
As for the enhanced contrast control, it depends on how the processor performs with the full-array panel and a built-in light sensor. During a briefing with TechRadar last year, Sony said the TV has a technology called XR.