Sony X90K LED Full Array: Review and opinion

The new Sony Bravia XR-X90K LED TV, is a very complete TV and provides good performance for those looking for a good TV, but without having to shell out a lot of money.

To do this, it has very interesting technologies such as Sony’s cognitive XR processor, Full Array backlighting as well as 2 HDMI 2.1 ports for 120 Hz gaming on PS5 or Xbox Series X consoles.

It is available in 55, 65, 75 and 85 inch sizes and at a price that we consider quite tight. If you want to know all the features offered by this Sony X90K XR Full Array continue reading.

1

Design

Exterior appearance and finishes, resistance…

When it’s not on, the Sony X90K looks like any other LED TV: simple, clean design, thin edges and black plastic casing. It’s not the most fashionably designed TV and the thickness is a bit thicker than other competing models, but it doesn’t look bad either.

Sony X90K screen frame designSony X90K screen frame design

Build quality is good, as with most Sony products for years now. The casing is well made, the bezels are solid and evenly spaced, but the back panel flexes in some area near the connections, which is also not a big problem.

The TV has flat metal feet that rest on the table. We liked the mounting of the stand, which you just insert it into the stand and snap it in. You can place the TV on the stand in less than thirty seconds and the best part is that the stand is very stable and no swaying is noticeable.

The two-legged stand can be adjusted to three positions: further apart, more central or higher. This is useful if you want to mount a sound system underneath. The height from the bottom of the screen is 4 cm in the short position and 8.5 cm in the raised position.

The back is textured black plastic with an aluminum center element. The only design flaw of the Sony X90K is the lack of cable management.

Just below the center of the TV is a button that allows you to turn the TV on and off, change channels, adjust volume, and change input. You can also mute the TV’s microphone when not in use.

2

Design

Inputs and outputs, wireless connections

Connectivity options on the Sony X90K include 4 HDMI ports that are HDCP version 2.3 compliant. HDMI ports 3 and 4 are version 2.1 compliant, and one of them is ARC and variable frame rates supporting auto low delay and 4K playback at 120 Hz.

Sony Bravia XR-X90K Connections.Sony Bravia XR-X90K Connections

This TV also features HDMI CEC, which allows you to simultaneously control multiple compatible devices with a single remote control. It also has two USB ports, an Ethernet port, an optical audio output, an RF input and a headphone jack. For wireless communication, it has dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth version 4.2.

3

Smart TV

Operating system, apps and smart features

The TV comes with an updated version of Android TV, called Google TV. It has almost all the features of its predecessor, but includes some more. It’s more than just a name change. Using the Android TV interface on the side makes the device more fluid, smooth and intuitive.
It has Chromecast and Google Assistant, and this TV also has Apple Home Kit and Apple Airplay.

You can easily stream from other Android devices and control them with just your voice. And you can download the Google Android app on your phone to control the TV.

The Sony BRAVIA XR-X90K comes with two Sony remote controls one of them redesigned for 2022, with the removal of the numeric keypad. This makes it much thinner and lighter and visually it has a much more modern look. In a way, it resembles the one that Samsung has been including for years in its TVs.

Sony Bravia's new remote for 2022 - Sony X90K reviewNew Sony Bravia controller for 2022 – Sony X90K review

Apart from this remote, it includes another more basic one that already includes the buttons and is the same that we have seen in older Sony TVs. The brand has decided to include two so that older people who do not handle well with the most modern controls, do not have problems using the TV.

On the smart remote, there are shortcuts to popular apps like YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube. It also has a built-in microphone that can be used for voice commands with Google Assistant.

4

Sound

Acoustic Multi-Audio and sound system

Sound reproduction is provided by a 10+10 watt full range speaker with two 5+5 watt tweeters for sound localization. These two positioning tweeters, are located at the sides of the TV to provide a more direct sound.

The Sony X90K is compatible with Dolby Atmos, Dolby Audio and DTS. There is also a function that adjusts the sound according to the size of the room and the position where you are sitting. Sony claims that the sound adjustments are designed to make it seem like the audio is coming directly from the direction of the display source. It also claims to be able to produce 5.1.2 channel sound, allowing the TV to act as a center speaker.

The integrated audio system, has a decent frequency response and a very balanced sound profile, and is especially suitable for watching series and movies, focusing on dialogues. If you want a richer, more immersive sound experience, you’ll need to invest in a soundbar.

Recommended sound bars

Polk True Surround III 5.1 Channel Wireless Surround Sound System

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Sony HT-A3000 3.1ch Dolby Atmos Soundbar

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Sony HT-A5000 5.1.2ch Dolby Atmos Sound Bar

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Samsung HW-Q990B 11.1.4ch Soundbar

Wireless Dolby Atmos / DTS:X, Rear Speakers, Q Symphony, SpaceFit Sound+
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The sound is loud and the distortion is so minimal that it is only noticeable at high volume. It offers a more than acceptable experience for occasional music listening, gaming and even movie watching, as long as you don’t want the full cinematic experience.

5

Picture

Sharpness, color, contrast…

The first thing to note is that this TV is equipped with a lot of technology. In particular, it includes the Cognitive XR processor, Sony’s flagship chip used in the high-end Bravia XR series. It also features a 10-bit VA panel and Full Array backlighting with Local Dimming.

Sony X90K Full Array image quality.Picture quality Sony X90K Full Array

The number of local dimming zones of light, is 59 in the 65″ version which is the one we tested. In the other sizes, there may be slight variations in this number. This is an increase of more than double over the previous X90J model from 2021. This helps to make light management more precise and controllable in more specific areas.

However, this is still a fairly low number and some blooming or halos are still noticeable in some scenes when viewed in the dark. This was to be expected in a Full Array TV with so few areas. However, apart from those moments and if you don’t watch it totally in the dark, the black level it offers is quite good.

Black levels are still lower than OLED displays, but the main difference is that details degrade in very dark scenes. The good news, is that there is a black level adjustment option that allows you to reduce the black level to avoid loss of detail.

Compared to the 2021 model, if you notice a better contrast ratio and especially in HDR you get a better experience. In both SDR and HDR modes, the maximum brightness is very high, sitting between 600 and 1000 nits. It’s a great TV for a cinematic experience, and Dolby Vision makes it even better. Even in HDR mode, images show natural 3D depth, and the high brightness helps dark scenes appear rich in detail, as backlighting fades when HDR mode is activated.

When using the TV at maximum brightness, some blooming may occur as we have discussed, occasionally in dark scenes, especially near bright lights and objects. However, it is not so noticeable as to be a problem and will only be noticeable at specific times. This is only avoidable as we already know in OLED TVs, where light is controlled at the pixel level.

The color reproduction of this Sony X90K is excellent. This is a feature common to most high-end TVs and this model is no different. Thanks to the wide color gamut, it reproduces stunning colors. The color saturation of this TV rivals the best QLED TVs on the market and the picture quality is pristine and natural.

Even better is Sony’s ability to change the picture settings to your liking. We didn’t make many adjustments because the picture quality was crisp, clear and bright right out of the box. This is one of the aspects we like best about Sony, that it is already very well tuned out of the box and not many changes are necessary. Still, as always, with a good calibration, we can improve the image significantly.

Sony always excels in its motion management and with the XR Motion Clarity feature, smoother motion is guaranteed in fast moving scenes.

The panel is slightly reflective, so in brightly lit environments, we may have a slight discomfort. As we discussed earlier, the panel is VA type, which is perfect for producing purer blacks, but has the disadvantage of viewing angles. When viewed from the side, the loss that occurs is noticeable, with more washed out colors and less contrast.

Sony X90K VA panel viewing angle.Sony X90K VA Panel Viewing Angle

Sony’s resolution enhancement technology is usually excellent and this TV is no exception. We viewed old movies like The Mummy and Jurassic Park to test the performance and could see how well it scales.

The XR processor does good rescaling with OTT applications when connecting a USB stick or hard drive and with 24p content played through an external device such as a set-top box, DVD player and Android TV. In short, images are smoothed, digital noise is removed to improve detail, jitter is reduced and all of this is visible in real time.

The gaming performance of this 65-inch display will impress the most competitive gamers. It supports automatic low latency (ALLM) and variable refresh rate (VRR) for gaming. The TV automatically turns on and switches to gaming mode when the PlayStation is turned on.

In gaming mode, various image enhancement features are disabled to achieve low output latency. Note that this technology is limited to Sony devices. Therefore, it does not work with the Xbox and you have to turn it on manually with the remote control and lock the settings yourself.

For gaming, automatic HDR audio level adjustment and automatic picture genre switching are available. As the name suggests, Auto Switch mode changes the picture profile depending on the content on the screen, be it games, movies or sports.

6

Opinion

Last conclusions and final opinion

The Sony X90K achieves virtually flawless performance, with outstanding picture quality, good sound and a feature-packed operating system. The XR processor achieves a great level of detail and textures and a first class handling of moving images. Contrast is very good with deep blacks and high brightness to make the most of HDR content.

There are details to improve such as the appearance of halos in some dark scenes, especially in HDR where brightness is boosted to the maximum. Also the viewing angle ruins the experience a bit when not viewed from the front.

There are both cheaper and more expensive alternatives but this one offers the right balance. With respect to the lower ranges such as the X85K, the use of Full Array backlighting for higher contrast and better image processing is noticeable. With respect to the higher OLED models, you notice a worse black level and less depth with a more washed out image especially when viewed in dark rooms and from the side.

So, the Sony X90K follows in the wake of previous Sony 90 series models that have always been a best seller for offering a lot at a competitive price.

See Sony XR-X90K TV price

Sony 55 Inch 4K Ultra HD TV X90K Series

BRAVIA XR Full Array LED Smart Google TV with Dolby Vision
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Sony 65 Inch 4K Ultra HD TV X90K Series

BRAVIA XR Full Array LED Smart Google TV with Dolby Vision
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Sony 85 Inch 4K Ultra HD TV X90K Series

BRAVIA XR Full Array LED Smart Google TV with Dolby Vision
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Alternatives to the Sony X90K

There are other alternatives to the Sony X90K that we also consider interesting such as the following:

Samsung Q80B

The Samsung Q80B is the most direct rival of the Sony X90K. It is the most similar model in features in Samsung to present Full Array backlighting, HDMI 2.1 and 120 Hz and its price is similar although it is usually a little cheaper.

The panel is VA type as in the Sony and the number of local dimming zones is very similar, reaching a very even contrast and brightness. The sound system is somewhat more powerful with a 2.2.2 channel system and 60W of power (except at 50″).

This is a great alternative at a lower price, but without sacrificing picture quality and sound.

SAMSUNG 55-Inch Class QLED Q80B Series

Direct Full Array Quantum HDR 8X Smart TV with Xbox Game Pass
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SAMSUNG 55-Inch Class QLED Q80B Series

Direct Full Array Quantum HDR 8X Smart TV with Xbox Game Pass
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SAMSUNG 65-Inch Class QLED Q80B Series

Direct Full Array Quantum HDR 8X Smart TV with Xbox Game Pass
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SAMSUNG 75-Inch Class QLED Q80B Series

Direct Full Array Quantum HDR 8X Smart TV with Xbox Game Pass
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LG QNED 85

Another alternative, is the LG QNED 85, which has Mini LED backlighting, with smaller bulbs. This model uses IPS panel, which will offer a better viewing angle than the Sony and Samsung, but the contrast will be lower.

LG 75-Inch Class QNED85 Series Alexa Built-in 4K Smart TV

HDMI, 120Hz Refresh Rate, AI-Powered 4K, Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos
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8.4 Total Score

The Sony X90K series is a highly recommended alternative if you are looking for an LED TV that offers advanced features, but without having to go to the price of Mini LED or OLED TVs. It incorporates a powerful image processor that provides good sharpness and great scaling from any source, as well as good moving picture management. The Google TV operating system is very fine and allows you to access multiple content including the BRAVIA Core movie platform. It is true that its price is higher than other similar alternatives such as the Samsung Q80B and even for little more you can buy an OLED TV from LG.

PROS
  • Good contrast
  • Color reproduction
  • Image processing
  • Handling of moving images
  • Good scaling with low quality sources
  • Excellent gaming TV with HDMI 2.1
  • More than decent integrated sound
  • Multitude of apps with Google TV
CONS
  • Limited viewing angle
  • Somewhat high price
  • Rather thick design compared to other models
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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