Sony XG95 (KD-55XG9505) 4K TV Review

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X1 Ultimate mid-level?

by Phil Hinton Jun 4, 2019 at 7:39 AM

  • SRP: £1,799.00

    What is the Sony XG95?

    The Sony XG95 is a new LED LCD TV for 2019 that introduces the X1 Ultimate chip to a TV that is not part of the Masters Series for the first time. The XG95 doesn't replace the ZF9, as that TV has been discontinued for a while now, but it does sit above the XF90 which is a model that carries over into the 2019 range from last year. In the UK the TV is known as the XG9505 but elsewhere, such as North America, it is known as the X950G.

    It is a FALD design with advanced local dimming and around 50 dimmable zones on the 55-inch version and the 55 and 65-inch versions also have no X-wide angle filter, so they will have good blacks and contrast when viewed from directly in front of the TV. Colours and contrast will drop quickly when viewed from an angle of around 20 degrees or more. However, the 55XG95 we are reviewing will have a better contrast ratio than sets which use the filter.

    For professional calibrators, there is the CalMAN for Bravia app, which allows direct access to the XG95 for calibration and also adds two new picture modes for day and night settings.

    Sound wise the XG95 sees the introduction of tweeters placed three-quarters of the way up the back of the set and angled to shine directly out of the sides of the panel, giving the sound a wider sound stage, with the mid and bass driver pointing downwards at the bottom of the screen. This attempts to mimic the Acoustic surface sound available on the OLED screens but doesn’t vibrate the panel in any way.

    The feet stands are also designed to work with a Sony soundbar and are angled outwards. You will need a large surface to table mount the set with the 55-inch requiring around 39-inches. You can also only fit the feet to point outwards as there are fixed mounting points, unlike the older XF90 where you could have them point inwards for smaller mounting surfaces.

    The TV tuner section of the XG95 is a full on YouView platform with all the terrestrial catch-up services and we really like the way this tuner works. It is easy to skip through channels without bringing up a full-screen EPG. Pressing the Home key also loads up the Android Oreo platform, which for the most part worked as it should, but is prone to crashing or slowing down to a crawl at times. We also had issues with this retail set's Wi-Fi connection dropping after a few hours use and requiring a full restart of the system to get working again. We had to resort to a hardwired Ethernet connection in the end for stability.

    One of our main criticisms of recent Sony TV models has been the remote control which was made from cheap plastic with small rubberised buttons and that didn’t really match the premium feel of the TVs in question that they controlled. Thankfully, Sony has listened to that feedback from reviewers and owners and the XG95 comes with a newly designed and premium feeling remote control. The rear of the remote is made from a soft touch plastic and the front face has a brushed metal finish. The buttons are nicely laid out in a logical manner and the whole item has a nice weight and fits neatly in the hand.

    The Sony XG95 is available in screen sizes from 55- (£1799), 65- (£2199), 75- (£3999) and 85-inch (£4999) with X-Wide Angle available on the 75- and 85-inch models only.

    This review sample is a retail unit supplied by Crampton and Moore. They have kindly loaned us a brand new sealed TV from their retail stock so we can bring you an honest and in-depth appraisal of the model. Just like manufacturer-supplied units, Crampton and Moore have no input when it comes to the review and no influence on the results, they loan us the TV to support our unbiased reviews. If you want to help support us and are looking at buying a new TV, all we ask is that you consider Crampton and Moore for your purchase. The staff are happy to assist you with whatever products you might be interested in. Call Richard on 01302 365760 or email [email protected]

    Sony XG95 Video Review

    Watch our full in-depth review of the Sony XG95 in the video below.


    Conclusion

    7
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10

    PROS

    • SDR image quality
    • Calibrated SDR image is reference
    • Very good HDR colour and PQ EOTF
    • Decent HDR tone mapping and peak brightness
    • Very good build quality
    • Excellent new remote control

    CONS

    • Backlight blooming in the black bars with HDR scope content
    • Lack of dimming zones
    • Android still has issues with crashing
    • Wi-Fi connection issues
    • Sound lacks weight and bass depth
    You own this Total 1
    You want this Total 2
    You had this Total 0

    Sony XG95 (KD-55XG9505) 4K TV Review

    There is much to like about the Sony XG95 with good build quality and a strong design standing out on first look. The new remote control is superb with an intuitive design and layout that gives the TV a higher quality feel compared to the old plastic and rubber affair.

    The feet are wide apart, so you will need to have a suitably wide TV rack and they can’t be reversed like the XF90 feet can, so bear that in mind. Cable management is also good and the connections are well laid out and plentiful to the rear.

    The Oreo Smart TV system is a step up on the previous non-master series TVs but things can still crash and we had issues with our Wi-Fi connection, but the YouView tuner and all the major catch-up services and major streaming apps are here to enjoy.

    The XG95 is fairly accurate in the custom picture mode out of the box for picture quality and can be calibrated manually, or by a professional using the CalMAN for Bravia interface to achieve reference quality results. We certainly managed that with this retail set and using just the front-facing controls. HDR performance is also decent in terms of peak brightness and colour reproduction but the major let down, for us anyway, is the light leakage into the black bars of movies in HDR mode, something that shouldn’t happen at all. Dolby Vision content, for the majority of the time, looks decent but cinema mode can still look a little too dark compared to offboard Dolby sources and the HDR10 version, with some black posterisation, is still an issue.

    The XG95 really shines with SDR content and streaming viewing without HDR. Here we have natural accurate colour reproduction and good blacks with decent shadow detail. Motion is also strong for the most part, but with interlaced content, especially from an external source, the XG95 is not quite as good as previous non-X1 ultimate chip TVs.

    There are no obvious signs of Dirty Screen Effect or panel banding spoiling sports or other similar content in SDR modes and colours are again the strong point with this content. The FA Cup final on BBC iPlayer in UHD HLG also looked superb with great colours and excellent detail.

    If Sony could fix the black bar issues with HDR content we would be handing out a Highly recommended badge right now, but sadly the issue was so distracting on this retail sourced set that it pulled us out of the movies we were trying to watch and became a major distraction.

    No amount of bias lighting in a dark room could fix the issue, which is down to poor engineering of the backlight. As such, this really dents the score we can give to the XG95, which otherwise, is a strong TV with excellent SDR picture accuracy, good gaming features and with 16:9 full-screen content, decent HDR.

    If you are only going to watch 16:9 ratio content in HDR and use an offboard smart TV system, you might find the XG95 to be the excellent TV you are looking for. But for us, as movie fans and viewers, we can’t get past the issue most reviews seem to have skipped and that is the light pollution of the black bars in HDR movies. We just hope Sony takes the feedback as intended and does something to improve the performance for its LED LCD TVs.

    The XG95 fails to win a badge at this stage but we hope Sony will look at adding improvements for movie viewers.


    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £1,799.00

    The Rundown

    Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

    7

    Screen Uniformity

    8

    Colour Accuracy

    9

    Greyscale Accuracy

    9

    Video Processing

    8

    Picture Quality

    8

    SDR Picture Quality

    8

    HDR Picture Quality

    7

    Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box

    8

    Picture Quality Calibrated

    9

    Sound Quality

    7

    Smart Features

    7

    Build Quality

    8

    Ease Of Use

    7

    Value for Money

    7

    Verdict

    7

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