Although Sony’s lineup may not be the biggest in 2020, it ranges from mid-range 4K LCD UHD TVs to high-end OLEDs. For its OLEDs it uses the display technology developed by LG. The Japanese manufacturer of consumer electronics wants to score points in the television market above all with its so-called “Master Series“, which is intended to revolutionize home entertainment and is primarily designed for the home cinema experience. It is particularly noticeable that Sony has not specialized in gaming televisions, even though they will launch the Playstation 5 in 2020.
The X750H is the most affordable TV in Sony’s 2020 lineup and has not been equipped with too many features. The VA panel gives it a high contrast ratio of 5700:1 and deep blacks, which results in a good picture quality in dark surroundings. On the other hand, the picture is not quite as impressive in bright surroundings, which is due to the average reflection handling and the low brightness. The motion handling of the 60Hz panel is pretty decent with a response time of about 4ms, so there is only little motion blur.
If you are looking for a cheap gaming TV and don’t want to push next gen gaming to its limits, you’ll be very satisfied with the input lag of about 11ms, because the TV feels very responsive while gaming. Additional features like ALLM, VRR and HDMI 2.1 are not available – which is quite common in this price segment.
The X800H Bravia has completely different characteristics than the cheaper X750H due to the built-in IPS panel. It has a wide viewing angle and can be used particularly in bright environments. However, the picture quality is not as good in dark surroundings, which is due to the poor contrast ratio and the mediocre blacks – black looks more like gray in dark rooms. Furthermore, with about 530 Nits, it becomes brighter than the X750H and has a wide color gamut. However, this is not enough to display HDR content well.
Sony also saves most of the additional features of the X800H, but has a lot more than the X750H. However, it has been equipped with an Auto Low Latency Mode, which automatically keeps the input lag as low as possible during gaming. It also has Dolby Vision implemented for dynamic optimization of HDR content and an HDMI eARC which supports Dolby Atmos via Dolby True HD.
The X90H is the entry-level model in the Full Array LED series and is therefore equipped with considerably more features. The image quality of the VA panel is very different from the IPS panel of the X800H and is superior in almost all ambient conditions. In bright rooms, the picture quality is better due to the higher peak brightness, and in dark rooms, the higher contrast ratio and deep black produce a beautiful picture, which is further enhanced by Full Array Local Dimming. However, this can lead to unsightly errors like blooming. The IPS panel also gives the X800H a much wider viewing angle than the one of the more expensive X900H.
In addition to the better picture quality, the equipment is much more sophisticated. It has an HDMI eARC and a 120Hz Panel. The X900H is equipped with an HDMI 2.1 interface, which supports both VRR and Auto Low Latency Mode. With these extras, the X900H is perfectly suited for gaming and can take full advantage of the next-gen consoles with [email protected] that will be released in 2020. There is also a twin tuner, which enables the USB recording function – even when watching another program.
In most categories, the X950H is superior to the X900H. Like the less expensive model, it uses a VA panel, but the viewing angle has been greatly extended by an additional display layer. In addition, this layer also has a positive effect on the reflection handling, which in combination with the higher peak brightness makes the TV much better suited for the use in bright rooms than the X900H. In dark surroundings, its picture quality is quite similar, because the additional layer reduces the contrast ratio. With the higher peak brightness of 1180 Nits, HDR content can be displayed brilliantly and the image processing of the X1 Ultimate image processor ensures an extremely natural image.
However, the more expensive X950H does not perform quite as well in the gaming category. It lacks almost all the features to ensure a good gaming experience. It has no HDMI 2.1, no VRR, no ALLM and a not very good input delay. In short, the X950H was not designed for gaming, unlike the XH90.
The high-end OLED A8 immediately stands out as a TV designed for the best possible home cinema atmosphere. Due to the OLED construction, it has a breathtaking picture quality in dark surroundings that is unmatched by other technologies. The motion handling is also excellent due to the almost instantaneous response time – so even fast movements cause almost no motion blur. Eventual motion blur can be further minimized by the X-Motion-Clarity feature, which is also possible at a frame rate of 120Hz. In addition, the sound system of the A8 has the innovative Acoustic Surface Audio function, which makes the sound seem to come directly from the center of the picture, creating an immersive cinema experience.
In bright surroundings, however, the OLED performs, as expected, worse than the X950H. The peak brightness is simply not high enough, because otherwise the organic LEDs would suffer from the higher thermal output. As a protection mechanism against overheating, the Automatic Brightness Limiter is used to dim the brightness in large bright scenes to prevent burn-in.
Like the XH95, the A8 is not really suitable for gambling. It also lacks the HDMI 2.1 interface and the associated advantages.
The Sony Z8H is a premium TV with a 120Hz VA panel, which offers 8k resolution. It has a deep and even black and has been equipped with an excellent full array local dimming feature with 320 zones, which really benefits the contrast ratio. The contrast ratio of 4000:1 is comparatively low, which is due to the X-Wide Viewing Angle layer. In return, however, the X-Wide Viewing Angle layer extends the viewing angle, which would be quite narrow without this layer on VA panels. In dark environments it cannot quite keep up with OLED technology, but it shines in brighter environments. The high peak brightness of 2100 Nits makes it bright enough to produce an excellent image quality even in bright conditions.
Exactly like the OLED A8, the Z8H also has the Acoustic Surface Audio feature, which turns the TV itself into the center speaker of a sound system and creates the sound directly in the center of the picture. The ZH8 also has an HDMI 2.1 interface, which is otherwise only available on the XH90 in the Sony lineup. This enables [email protected] and also a Variable Refresh Rate is available.
Sony is relying on a Black Frame Insertion feature called “X-Motion Clarity“, which is also available on the new OLEDs this year. With the “X-Wide Angle” layer, the manufacturer is addressing the common problem of VA panels and, similar to its competitors, is trying to improve the image from an oblique viewing angle. Further features are the “Pixel Contrast Booster” for OLEDs, which is intended to enhance color and contrast ratio, and in the area of sound, “Acoustic Surface Audio+“, where the sound is to come directly from the center of the TV set by means of forward facing speakers.
For orientation: Sony model names have a letter at the end of the model name that indicates the year of publication and ranges from E = 2017 to H = 2020. The number before it stands for the value within the group. The higher the number, the more expensive the television.