With 55-inch 4K HDR LED Smart TVs available for as little as Rs. 40,000 today, it becomes increasingly hard for reviewers like us to recommend spending amounts that run into lakhs of rupees simply for better performance. Indeed, there's no point in trying to convince someone with a budget of Rs. 40,000 to consider a TV of the same size that costs Rs. 2,50,000, but if you do have the budget for a premium TV, then the benefits are plain to see.
One such TV is the Sony KD-55X9500G, the 55-inch model in Sony's X95G series, which currently sits at the top of the Japanese company's LED TV lineup in India. You could spend significantly more on an OLED TV from Sony if you wanted to — like one belonging to A9F series, for example — but the X95G lineup serves the needs of buyers who want a feature-filled TV, but don't want to pay the premium that OLED TVs still command.
The Sony X95G range includes the 55-inch model on review here (priced at Rs. 2,49,900), a 75-inch variant (priced at Rs. 5,49,900), and an 85-inch variant (priced at Rs. 12,99,900), with all three having the same specifications apart from screen size.
For Rs. 2,49,900, the Sony KD-55X9500G offers a 55-inch 4K HDR LED screen, support for Dolby Vision and Dolby sound, smart connectivity through Android TV, and the promise of top-tier performance. This is an admittedly impressive set of features, but now we're going to find out whether Sony has done enough to make the X95G offering worth its price, in our review.
Slim screen borders aren't just popular on smartphones, and many premium TVs today are also going for the all-screen aesthetic. It's a look that naturally suits TVs, and the front of the Sony X95G is all about the screen. There are thin borders all around, with the bottom being slightly thicker than the top and sides. The bottom has a Sony logo and an indicator light that tells you when the TV is on; it can be permanently turned off through the settings, though, for a fully minimalist look.
The back of the TV is quite neat, with a thin strip near the top which houses the speakers. At the two ends of the strip are the tweeters, which Sony says can simulate the effect of sound coming from the screen itself. The left side of the TV has one set of ports and sockets facing outwards, while another set faces downwards just below it.
The stands that come with the Sony X95G TV are rather awkward-looking and raise the TV a bit too high above any table it's placed on, but they are strong enough to keep the TV stable. Furthermore, they aren't positioned very far apart, so you can place the Sony TV on a small table if needed. You can, of course, have the TV wall-mounted if you prefer.
The Sony X95G has plenty of connectivity options — the basics are covered with four HDMI ports (three at the bottom, one at the side), one set of composite input sockets, and three USB ports (one USB 3.0 port at the bottom, two USB 2.0 ports at the side).
Apart from that, the TV can connect to the Internet through either Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet, connect to external accessories using Bluetooth, and send audio to external devices through digital or 3.5mm outputs. HDMI ARC and HDMI CEC are supported, and the TV has built-in Chromecast functionality as well.
This Sony X95G TV has a 55-inch LED-backlit LCD screen with a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels and a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz at full-HD resolution, with 4K capped at 60Hz. The HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision formats are supported for high dynamic range content, and all of this is powered by the Sony X1 Ultimate picture processor, which is the company's latest and most powerful picture processor yet.
For sound, the 55-inch Sony X95G TV has two tweeters and two full-range drivers, with a total output of 20W. Dolby Audio and DTS Digital Surround are built in, while Sony has stated that Dolby Atmos support will be coming with a future firmware update.
The remote bundled with the Sony X95G is quite tall, but is light and comfortable to use. It's a smart remote that can receive voice commands — you can use the Google Assistant function, as well as use your voice instead of typing things in the user interface. Once paired properly, the IR emitter on the remote is only used to turn the TV on and off; all other functions use Bluetooth and don't need the remote to be pointed at the TV to work.
There are dedicated buttons for Netflix and Google Play, as well as proper navigation buttons and playback controls. HDMI CEC support means that the remote can be used to control other connected devices as well, and it was able to properly control an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K that we had connected to the TV. It's an impressive remote that might look old-fashioned, but when it comes to functionality, is as modern as they come.
As is the case with the rest of Sony's premium TV lineup, the Sony X95G TV runs on Google's Android TV software and user interface. Some manufacturers offer severely limited versions of Android TV, but Sony hasn't held anything back here — you get access to all popular apps and services on the Sony X95G.
This includes Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hotstar, along with Google's popular YouTube and Google Play Movies, all of which come pre-installed. The versions of these apps on the TV are excellent and they can be used easily with the D-pad on the remote. Furthermore, the Netflix and Amazon Prime Video apps do support 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision streaming (if your subscription plan allows that), and we were able to play 4K content on YouTube as well.
Streaming video using the Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, and Google Play Movies apps worked well on our 25mbps Internet connection at up to 4K. However YouTube had buffering issues at any resolution above 1440p.
You also get access to Google Assistant on the TV, and it's possible to give voice commands through the remote. Furthermore, the TV can be linked with Google Home speakers, if you have any, for further integration. While Google Assistant on the Sony X95G TV largely worked as expected, we were particularly impressed with its ability to search through the Netflix catalogue and directly play content we asked for. This needs you to be signed in to the official Netflix app on the TV with your account.
There are plenty of ways to tweak the picture and sound settings, including black levels, contrast, colours, and motion on this TV to get it working exactly how you want it. On the whole, Android TV remains one of the best smart TV UIs available today, though booting it up takes a while. This means if you are in the habit of powering off the mains once you are done watching, you will find the TV painfully slow to wake up the next time. If you just use the remote, this is a non-issue.
The Sony X95G is priced at a significant premium over the competition, and naturally sets big expectations of quality performance. In many ways, particularly with top-quality content, this TV does not disappoint. We spent a few days with the 55-inch Sony X95G for our review, watching all sorts of content ranging from standard definition to Ultra-HD, in the form of streaming services, news channels, and video sample files on a USB drive. We also had access to Dolby Vision and HDR10 content, which we used to test the Sony TV.
Starting out with the best content available, we played Our Planet on Netflix. This is among the most visually brilliant shows ever made, and Netflix does full justice to the production quality by offering it in 4K with Dolby Vision for compatible TVs. Playing this both over HDMI using an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K as well as through the Netflix app on the Android TV interface, we were absolutely blown away by the level of detail, brightness, and colour accuracy.
The Sony X95G TV is extremely capable with HDR and Dolby Vision, and we could see a clear impact in the increased colour gamut and brightness. The stunning visuals from the rainforests of Borneo in Our Planet were bright where they needed to be, with scenes of sunlight streaming through the thick foliage showcasing just how bright the TV can get.
Furthermore, the illumination was properly targeted at parts of the screen where the bright colours were, while dark zones effectively retained their darkness. HDR10 content from Amazon Prime Video looked good as well, although Dolby Vision content looked visibly better.
This level of peak brightness can be credited to the Sony X95G being an LED TV, but the experience also relies on Dolby Vision Bright, a special picture mode that automatically bumps up the brightness and tweaks other settings to make the best of Dolby Vision content. On the other hand, the LED screen does have its disadvantages when it comes to black levels, and the Sony X95G TV does suffer in this department.
Blacks aren't quite as black on the Sony TV as on a decent OLED or even a Quantum Dot TV, and this is evident particularly with HDR content. This also affects contrast, which isn't quite as good as we'd hoped for from such an expensive TV. With non-HDR content, the black levels would be generally acceptable for an LED TV, but we expect better at this price.
Looking away from Dolby Vision and HDR, and focusing on the picture itself, the Sony X95G TV gets most things right. While watching a variety of content including Designated Survivor on Netflix, The Looming Tower on Amazon Prime Video, and some of our sample 4K clips, we found the picture to be sharp, but with a softness that ensured that edges weren't quite as jagged as we've seen on more affordable options.
Visuals were detailed and colours were accurate and easy on the eyes; the picture was bright, but not searingly so. The Sony X95G TV provides what is probably the most accurate and visually realistic picture quality with high-resolution content that you can expect at under Rs. 3,00,000.
Moving to full-HD content, we watched the movie Rampage on Amazon Prime Video. The TV did a decent job of upscaling full-HD content. The picture was sharp and clean, with excellent colours, and some of the brightness and colour enhancing tricks that are seen with HDR content. However, we did see some issues with motion, despite trying all sorts of settings to make things clean on this front.
With all motion processing settings turned off, motion became jagged whenever the picture got a bit busy. Turning motion processing on, motion issues were fixed to an extent, but we still saw some artefacts and rough motion with very quick movement.
Slow and gentle motion was smooth, and the soft nature of the picture helped in ensuring that it was pleasant with full-HD and higher-resolution content. However, these issues are hard to overlook (even if they only crop up occasionally), particularly considering the price of the TV.
While things are great for the most part with high-resolution and high-quality content, the Sony X95G TV doesn't quite hold its own with standard definition and 720p content. It can be argued that people who buy this TV aren't likely to watch a lot of standard definition content, and people who watch standard definition content really shouldn't buy such a TV, but it's still worth pointing out how poorly the TV handles regular programming and low-resolution video. We turned to a TV news channel broadcast in SD, and while it wasn't entirely unwatchable, the lack of detail, numerous artefacts, and dull colours made for a sub-par experience.
The Sony X95G TV has a unique sound setup called Acoustic Multi Audio, which uses two full-range drivers and two tweeters to produce a total of 20W of sound. All of these drivers are at the back of the TV, and the design and layout of the speakers is said to give the impression of the sound coming from the screen itself.
In practice, the sound stage of the Sony KD-55X9500G was decent, and its Dolby and DTS tuning did seem to ensure that the sound was clean and sharp. However, it didn't quite get as loud as we'd have liked, and as we usually recommend that if you're spending a lot of money on a high-quality TV, it's worth investing in a soundbar or speaker system for the best overall home entertainment experience.
The Sony X95G is probably the best LED TV you could buy right now. It takes advantage of the higher peak brightness that an LED screen offers to deliver what is, in our opinion, the best performance, brightness, and colour accuracy that you can get today. Of course that depends on content quality. When watching 4K Dolby Vision content, the experience is the best there is. HDR10, regular 4K, and full-HD video is pretty good as well.
Going below full-HD resolution, the Sony X95G doesn't do even a satisfactory job; this TV isn't meant for use with less than the best content available today. If you largely rely on streaming services, modern consoles, and Blu-Ray movies for content, with occasions where you watch regular TV programming through a set-top box being few and far between, this TV will suit you fine. If you have the top-tier Netflix plan and a fast Internet connection at home, you'll love this TV.
At Rs. 2,49,900, the Sony X95G is quite expensive, especially considering the fact that you're getting an LED panel for the price of an OLED one. It's possible to find some high-end OLED TV models at this price, including some of LG's 2019 models. OLED is the screen technology of the future, and buyers should ideally try both options before making a decision on a TV at this price level.
Despite all of this, the Sony X95G is a strong performer that offers practically everything you would want from a high-end TV, and it might be worth considering for its superb performance with 4K and Dolby Vision content.
Price: Rs. 2,49,900
Ratings (out of 5)