Hi, I’m Daniel from RTINGS.com. Today we’re testing the Sony X950G. It is a 2019 model, and is one of the highest end LCDs in Sony’s lineup, behind the Zee series. We bought the fifty-five inch model to test, and we expect this review to be valid for the larger sixty-five inch model.
We chose this size as we expect it to be representative of the most popular variations of the X950. We expect the larger seventy-five and eighty-five inch models to perform differently with better viewing angles, but worse contrast ratio due to Sony’s ‘X-Wide Viewing Angle’ implementation, which we’ll talk about later in this review.
The equivalent model in Europe are the XG95 variations, such as the XG9505 in the UK which we also expect to perform similarly. So, we’re going to start by looking at the design of the TV, and then we’ll talk about the picture quality and our testing results.
We’ll look at the motion handling and input lag, and then compare to these competing models which are currently available. The design of the X950G is very familiar to anyone who has seen the 2018 Sony TVs, like the X900F.
The TV appears fairly minimalistic, and only the thin metallic legs protrude out the front. Compared to last year’s models, these look almost the same but are a bit thinner. They support the TV well and feel sturdy, although do require quite a large footprint – they extend forty inches wide on the fifty five inch model, and can’t be reversed inward to decrease the footprint.
The borders of the TV are thin and look good, and the TV is quite thin when viewed at an angle so sits close to the wall when VESA mounted. Moving around to the rear of the TV we can see the controls on the left hand side.
The three buttons provide basic functions like power on and off, and changing inputs and volume. The rear of the TV also looks very similar to 2018 Sony models. The inputs directed out the side can be easily accessed if the TV is placed close to a wall, and those directed down the back can be routed through the rear of the stand for cable management.
Unlike the X900F, all four HDMI ports support HDMI 2.0 full bandwidth which is useful for those who have multiple high bandwidth devices like new consoles or a PC. Looking at a thermal image of our TV, we can see that the temperature is relatively uniform.
This is typical of full-array local dimming TVs as the LEDs are distributed directly behind the screen. So now we’ll go on to the picture quality. We will be comparing to currently available models; however the competition will change throughout the year as new models are released.
For updated comparisons with new models as we buy and test them, see the links below to the review page on our website. Now, for those who watch TV in a dark room or a home theater environment a high contrast ratio is important to produce deep and detailed dark scenes.
The X950G has a VA-type panel and the fifty-five inch model we tested can produce deep blacks in a dark room which is great. The seventy-five and eighty-five inch models have what Sony calls ‘X-Wide Viewing Angle’ though, and in our previous review of the Z9F with this same technology we found a lower native contrast ratio.
We expect these larger sizes to be in the same ballpark as the Z9F, with a native contrast at around two-thousand to one. Local dimming can be used to increase the effective contrast ratio of scenes by dimming the backlight in darker areas.
With the local dimming setting activated, the contrast ratio does increase slightly however the zones are not dense enough to raise the contrast significantly on our checkerboard pattern. Looking at the local dimming of the TV, we find that it looks very similar to the X900F which is decent and it appears to have a very similar zone layout and algorithm.
You may notice the different local dimming zones when a bright object crosses from one zone to another, but this isn’t as distracting as on the Vizio P Quantum. When watching movies with sub-titles, if you notice distracting blooming then you should decrease or even disable the local dimming setting.
Now, if you regularly watch at an angle or have a wide seating area then good viewing angles are important to get the best image from any seating position. The fifty-five inch X950G we tested has disappointing viewing angles, which is typical of TVs with VA-type panels and we expect a similar result of the sixty-five inch.
This isn’t a problem for those who watch from directly in-front though. Note that the seventy-five and eighty-five inch models have the ‘X-Wide Angle’ technology. We expect these larger sizes to behave similarly to the Z9F we tested with the same feature, and for the viewing angles to be better than most VA TVs and appropriate for wide seating.
This does affect the contrast ratio though, as previously noted. If you’ve got a bright room, then good reflection handling is important to reduce the amount of distracting glare. The model we bought has excellent performance, with a semi-gloss finish that diffuses reflections across the screen and reduces their intensity.
This is an area though that the larger seventy five and eighty five inch sizes may be different, and should perform similarly to the Z9F. The X wide viewing angle layer can cause reflections to be scattered horizontally across the whole screen.
This isn’t a big problem though, and it should still be fine for a bright room. Now, another important aspect for those in a bright room is the ability to overcome glare due to the TVs peak brightness.
The X950G performs excellently in SDR, so the whole screen can get very bright. If you have lots of direct reflections, then just turn up the ‘Brightness’ slider to increase the backlight. If you watch HDR content, then the TV can also produce very bright highlights which is great for an image that pops.
On our real scene test pattern it can produce one of the brightest highlights we’ve tested which is great. If you plan to watch HDR content, then a wide color gamut is important to produce vivid, saturated highlights.
The X950G is very good, and covers most of the DCI P3 color space. It isn’t as good as the Samsung QLEDs or the Z9F but can still make highlights pop. If you plan to watch SDR content though and care about an accurate image, then the X950G is one of the most accurate TVs we’ve tested.
In the ‘Custom’ picture mode with the gamma slider adjusted, it is remarkably close to the 6500 kelvin color temperature and 2.2 gamma that most content is mastered at. If you watch a lot of movies or play games and want the least amount of color banding then the X950G is a great choice.
It has excellent gradient performance, and includes a ‘Smooth Gradation’ option that works very well to reduce banding which is present in the source material. Now, if you watch a lot of sports or play video games then a uniform screen is important.
This is because non-uniformity causes distracting areas called the dirty screen effect which is especially noticeable in panning shots across a uniform color like when watching hockey. The X950G is decent, but the edges of the screen are darker causing a vignetting effect which can be distracting.
Also, there are some uniformity issues near the center of the screen but for many people this is unlikely to be a big issue and this also varies between units so yours might be different. So on to the motion handling.
The X950G has a very fast response time, so there is only a small blur trail behind fast moving objects, which is visible as a faint smear behind the left hand side of our moving logo photo. This is great for watching sports or playing fast paced games.
If you care about the smallest amount of blur though, then you’ll want to flicker the backlight to clear up fast paced motion. The black frame insertion feature on Sony TVs can be controlled in the ‘MotionFLow’ menu with the ‘Clearness’ slider.
Setting it to maximum introduces the most flicker for the clearest image, however the one-hundred and twenty hertz frequency does produce duplications with most content that is at sixty hertz. Now, if you are playing fast paced games then low input lag is important to minimize the delay between an event in-game and when you see it on the screen.
The X950G offers great performance in the ‘Game’ or ‘Graphics’ picture modes, and unlike the X900F it doesn’t vary much between resolutions so should be a good choice for PC or console gamers.
Another improvement over the X900F is the new processor in this Sony model. It feels much faster, and results in a fluid experience when browsing the menus or opening apps. The remote has also been upgraded, and while it keeps many of the same buttons as previous sony remotes, it does feel a bit more premium and more intuitive to use.
There is also a button for direct access to google assistant which works well. One change in sound performance from the X900F is the addition of a pair of speakers at the top of the TV to help with sound positioning.
Unfortunately we don’t measure this and can’t comment on its performance, but we did find that it doesn’t help the frequency response or distortion. Overall, the dialog is clear but the TV lacks bass and may not be loud enough for a very noisy environment.
If this is a problem, external speakers or a soundbar may be the way to go. So overall, the X950G is an impressive TV with great picture quality. The larger sizes do offer different performance due to the x-wide viewing angle technology though, so check out our review which is linked below if you have any questions.
Compared to the X900F, the 950G offers a few improvements but for most people the differences aren’t likely to be big. The 950G has slightly lower input lag, and can get brighter for HDR. It also offers a newer, faster processor which makes the smart features feel more fluid.
Now, the Z9F has many similarities to the larger seventy-five and eighty-five inch sizes of the X950G as they have the X-Wide viewing angle feature. These TVs may be a better pick for a room with some lights and wide seating.
The Q8FN is also an interesting TV with better reflection handling than the Sony which may be useful for those in bright rooms. It also has some neat gaming features like the ability to apply motion interpolation while keeping a low input lag and it supports FreeSync variable refresh rates from a PC or new XBox.
The best choice between these two depends on what you care about, so go with the one that suits your usage and budget. The 2018 Vizio P Quantum is also an interesting TV, with better local dimming that may be a better choice for those in a dark room.
It also offers a wider color gamut for HDR and can produce clearer motion with 60Hz flicker to match the content. On the other hand, the X950G has better smart features with a more traditional smart platform.
The 950G can also display smoother gradients, and has better color accuracy. So that’s it! What do you think of Sony’s first 2019 TV? Let us know in the comments below. You can check out all of the measurements on our website, and if you like this video, subscribe to our channel, or become a contributor.
Also, we are currently hiring in our offices in Montreal for various positions. So, if you want to help people find the best product for their needs, have a look at the careers page on our website. Thank you for watching and see you next time.