The flagship 2016 Sony Android TV is an interesting set. Gone are those magnificent-sounding Magnetic Fluid Speakers and in their place is a much thinner profile. With its visual makeover, Sony also focused heavily on the internals, providing a more robust Android TV experience and native 4K HDR support which many believe will be the true draw and strength of 4K sets. So how is the X930D being received? Quite well, it seems. Here is the final verdict from What Hi*Fi:
This is what we want from an HDR set. It doesn’t reach the absolute blacks or brightness of some rivals, but the Sony XD93 trumps most of them where it matters: subtlety
With the flagship TV in hand, the gang over there judged the X930D based on four categories: features, Android TV, picture, and HDR. On the topic of features:
The main thing you ought to know about the XD93 is that, equipped with Sony’s 4K Processor X1 chip, this set is both Ultra HD and HDR compatible.
There are a couple of extra technologies too, X-tended Dynamic Range PRO and the company’s unique TRILUMINOUS display, which are basically geared to delivering that HDR content as more than just a box-ticking exercise.
What’s more, all four of the set’s HDMI inputs are waiting open-armed for that 4K content with HDCP compatibility, and three further USB ports effectively gives you an option for each day of the week.
When it comes to Android TVs, things have certainly improved – as much as they can improve. That’s because like Android Wear, manufacturers can’t touch the UI which leaves little for Sony to do, other than hardware tweaks to make the experience better.
We’ve sometimes been less than complimentary about Android TV as well, but this appears to be its least convoluted, most intuitive form. Your homepage is neatly set out into sections for recommended content, featured apps, inputs, your remaining apps, games and settings, with each category significantly malleable.
Don’t want to see that input you hardly ever use? Just hide it. Want another to be more easily accessible? Then move them around.
After the jump, their thoughts on picture and HDR which just got a big boost from Netflix, as their HDR-enabled app has gone live for Sony’s 2015 and 2016 4K TVs.
Chances are that many won’t even bother with Android TV as they have their own box connected to their TV for apps, be it PS4 or an Apple TV. So how does picture quality fair?
Yes, you read that correctly, we watched live sport on a 4K TV without our thumbs itching to change at least to the high-definition broadcast. Most significantly, we’re testing with all Sony’s picture aids, those supposedly helping contrast, motion and whatnot, set to off.
Of course the image seems softer when you switch between SD and HD, but it’s still an impressively detailed and cohesive picture with a composed natural colour pallet.
F1 is ideal for showcasing this Sony’s remarkable control over motion; even with a picture so radically upscaled, the XD93 manages to avoid dizzying sweeps and blurring.
Despite a lack of content, HDR is the future of 4K and that’s where the X930D shines. It doesn’t seem to have the widest range between darks and lights but instead a focus on a wider color palette which could make that lack mute.
what impresses us about Sony’s interpretation of HDR is what we believe is most important: a broadened colour pallet in terms of gradation that panders to the subtler hues, making skin tones appear more natural and even bolder colours more nuanced.
Ultimately they leave things with this:
We have seen other HDR sets that render the immediate, show-off contrast better, but that won’t last unless you’ve got what Sony has here. This is not a set simply keeping up with technological advances, but one proving why HDR can be an advance in absolute terms.
There may be a better television than the XD93 out there, but you’ll be searching a while before you see one that will reduce your enjoyment of Sony’s latest 55in offering. Simply, there’s little of any matter that could keep us from imploring you to buy this.
I sure would love to have one of these on ‘loan’ from Sony, say… indefinitely? It’s also worth noting that the review was based on a 55-inch X930D. Sony also offers the series in a 65-inch set which should produce identical results. However, Sony also ship the 75-inch X940D which is fully backlit, allowing it to produce even more impressive colors and HDR content.
Are you thinking of picking up the X930D?