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Sony Bravia XR Z9J Master Series 8K HDR TV reviews

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Sony Bravia XR Z9J Master Series 8K HDR TV reviews

The Sony Master Series Bravia XR Z9J is one of the maximum aspirational TVs you could buy these days. Sure, LG has its $30,000 Z9-Series 8K OLED TV, however among LED/LCD TVs, the Sony Z9J is the most luxurious commercially to be had TV you could purchase. With a road fee of roughly $6,500, the 75-inch Sony Z9J makes Samsung’s $2,600 flagship seventy five-inch 8K Q900R seem like a budget purchase through comparison.

Sony Bravia XR Z9J Master Series 8K HDR TV reviews

Pure Sony flex

The Sony Master Series Z9J is the successor to a lineage of Z-series TVs which have represented the great that Sony can make. When we speak approximately “setting the bar,” that’s what the Z-collection is supposed to do. If the Z9J ought to talk on Sony’s behalf, I imagine it might say some thing like, “Hi. I’m the Z9J. I’m the quality LED/LCD TV that Sony has ever made and I’m the first-class LED/LCD TV that money should buy. Sony is aware of TV engineering higher than every other brand and I’m the proof.”

That Z9J — this kind of blowhard. But does it have the chops to back up the ones claims? For the most component, sure it does.

While the Z9J doesn’t pretty attain TV nirvana (for an inanimate object, it seems to have too much sense of self), it comes very near. I’ve reviewed TVs that could get brighter, TVs that may get blacker, and TVs which have extra advanced gaming functions, but on balance, the Sony Z9J bests all of them with the right … properly, balance of performance in all the maximum crucial regions. Perhaps more importantly, although, the Z9J is simply amusing as hell to observe.

Sony’s state-of-the-art era of photo processing chips is called Cognitive Processor XR. For the sake of brevity — and absolute confidence a good deal to Sony’s chagrin — I will eventually seek advice from it greater genuinely as “the XR processor.” This processor is prime to the Z9J’s exquisite overall performance. In some methods, I get how it works, and in others, I’m completely baffled. Look, I’m no longer an engineer, I simply play one on TV.

What I apprehend is that the processor is supposed to understand how the human eye/visual system works and then actively maximize a TV’s performance via the use of cognitive intelligence and executing a bajillion strategies in keeping with second. It’s not just about how fast this processor can make decisions, it’s about how meaningful the ones selections are. For example, if we have an picture of a cheetah nestled within the grassy plains of Africa on the display screen, with the cheetah within the foreground and the grasses in the background, the XR processor will in all likelihood pour its electricity into resolving first-class element within the cheetah’s coat for every frame in which it seems rather than try and upload element to a blurred-out background of grass. That’s clever selection-making.

Another way to express the significance of this TV’s processor: If the Z9J were a automobile, the XR processor could be its engine. Several other brands construct TVs the usage of most of the identical parts as determined within the Sony Z9J, but they don’t appear like the Z9J because they don’t have the Z9J’s engine. In different words, you can construct the shell of a McLaren 720S to spec, proper right down to the wheels, tires, mirrors, seats, and guidance wheel — and it would look exactly like a McLaren 720s. But toss a Toyota Camry engine beneath the hood, and that vehicle has 0 hope of acting anything remotely like a McLaren 720s.

Since I’m now dug into this car metaphor, permit me cross in advance and beat it to demise. If I had been to slap a McLaren 720s engine into our 720s-searching shell however deliver the car a Chevy Malibu drivetrain and suspension … nicely, you get it. It nevertheless isn’t going to carry out just like the McLaren 720s. Likewise, Sony’s XR processor needs a few different top rate mechanics in order to drag off its magic. That brings us to the backlight machine.

Proven backlight system

Sony used to call its fancy backlight device “Sony Backlight Master Drive.” That’s advertising and marketing talk for Sony’s Secret Sauce lighting device. While LG, Samsung, and TCL are touting mini-LED backlighting systems, Sony is sticking with a tried-and-real machine that stays a mystery to all who are not able to bodily select it apart and analyze it — it just ditched the fancy name. Ask Sony what’s going on backstage and it will reply with something alongside the lines of, “We’re no longer announcing, however it appears amazing, doesn’t it?”.

I don’t know how it’s miles that Sony can use a fragment of ordinary-sized LEDs with far fewer dimming zones than the opposition and by hook or by crook come up with a TV that looks better than TVs with a whole lot extra brilliant specs on paper, but the corporation pulls this trick off year after yr. The end result is extraordinary backlight manipulate with minimal blooming and halo results, exquisite black ranges, very superb shadow detail, and genuinely remarkable brightness — all wherein it counts. HDR imagery, each in HDR10 and Dolby Vision, seems astounding.

That leads us again to the XR processor. The backlight machine does what it does when it wishes to do it way to wise selection-making by the XR processor. At least, that’s what I suppose is happening. In the give up, what I see is a lovely TV, and considering the fact that Sony is so secretive about its method, all I can do is make an intelligent wager.

Masterful colour

Since it isn’t enough for me to without a doubt nation that the Z9J has impeccable color duplicate, I use a Spectracal C6 colorimeter profiled to an X-ceremony i1 Pro spectrometer and Calman Ultimate software to degree TV performance. In the area of shade, the Z9J is an exemplary performer. I have only visible other TVs without-of-field coloration accuracy which could stand up to the Z9J, and both of those TVs have been also made by Sony (the A90J and A80J).

Impeccable movement

Historically Sony’s robust in shape, cinematic and easy motion with a minimum of artifacts is one of the Z9J’s extra admirable performance attributes. There’s a pleasant line among abating motion blur and introducing heavy-handed movement smoothing that makes an image look artificial or invokes what I bear in mind to be the feared “soap opera impact,” and I have not begun to look a logo tread that line as deftly as Sony does. Although to be candid, a lot of Sony’s top class TVs perform simply as admirably in this class at a much lower fee.

Superior upscaling

Since there’s valuable little 8K content to experience (thank you, YouTube, for providing some mind-blowing 8K pictures to experience on 8K TVs, albeit rather compressed), it’s important that any 8K TV be capable of upscaling 4K, 1080p, and 720p material to 8K resolution with out making it look worse than it would in its native resolution. While I experience that maximum TV producers provide solid upscaling, I must hand it to Sony for being a reduce above the opposition on this location. Images surely look cleanser on Sony 8K TVs, irrespective of the authentic resolution. But no TV is a miracle-worker, and I hold that no TV seventy five inches or above seems appropriate reproducing 720p cable or satellite content.

Stellar sound

For folks who often study my TV critiques, I will sound like a broken report here. I think a premium TV just like the Z9J deserves an similarly premium sound system. Really, a TV only desires to no longer sound terrible to be satisfactory in my e-book. After that, an impressive, immersive audio enjoy is first-rate brought by a great soundbar (we’ve got quite a number wonderful guidelines for the excellent soundbars you can purchase), or better yet, a multi-speaker audio machine driven by an A/V receiver (an admittedly loss of life breed of sound system).

All that said, the Sony Z9J can provide a highly enjoyable audio experience, with punch, grunt, readability, and musicality. It is one of the quality-sounding TVs you can buy. And it should be at the price.

Performance metrics

In SDR and not using a modifications to the custom photograph mode (vehicle neighborhood dimming set to medium and height luminance set to off). I measured 389 nits height brightness from a ten% window. With car neighborhood dimming set to low, I measured 431 nits, and with that placing at excessive, I got 381.

With car nearby dimming constant at medium and top luminance set to low, I got 784 nits. With height luminance at medium, I were given 1422 nits, and set to excessive, I were given 1902 nits. That’s for SDR, parents. That is an insanely brilliant SDR photograph. You shouldn’t take this TV out of doors, but you may take this TV outside and nonetheless see it in full sun.

For HDR, I were given variances depending on where the car neighborhood dimming setting changed into at, but the superior comparison putting had a massive effect on the TV’s brightness output. Set at medium, I got 2,500 nits height brightness. Impressive.

I reckon the Z9J is probably able to pushing four,000 nits top brightness in small HDR highlights.

Is there anything it can’t do?

Given the mountain of praise I’ve heaped on the Z9J, it’s honest to invite what its weaknesses might be. It has some.

First, the Sony Z9J isn’t the best choice for gamers who want the present day capabilities supported by means of next-gen gaming consoles like the Xbox Series X/S or PCs with hot-rod graphics playing cards like the RTX-3000 series. At the time of writing, variable refresh charge (VRR) isn’t but supported (as a minimum not within the U.S.) and firmware updates for VRR help in markets outside of the U.S. Have received a much less than heat reception. Auto low-latency mode turned into simplest currently presented (kind of) in a firmware update and is reportedly buggy.

While I don’t see hardcore gamers going for the Z9J with such a lot of other stellar gaming TV alternatives to be had at a fraction of the cost, I assume all people who can pay this a whole lot for a TV should get the whole lot. All the bells and whistles. The Z9J falls short on this regard.

Truthfully, though, I assume the Z9J’s best weak point is that it may’t be loved by using very many people’s homes. To say it’s miles fee-prohibitive is a gross understatement. Thankfully, I assume the Sony X95J is going to get ninety five% of the manner towards the Z9J’s performance at a miles more approachable rate (rather talking, of direction — it’s nevertheless quite costly). Does the Z9J certainly need to be so high priced? Such is the tough truth with luxurious products, I think.

Why I like it

Sony Z9J TV with an image of multicolor, glittery swirls on display screen.
Dan Baker/Digital Trends
Until I noticed the Sony Z9J, I could have advised you the TV I might purchase this 12 months might be either the LG G1 Gallery Series OLED or the Sony A90J OLED — and it might be a tough name among the 2. Now that I even have seen this TV, I’m just no longer certain. No TV has tempted me faraway from OLED like the Sony Z9J. I suppose it is the HDR brightness punch and the manner the image appears to leap off the display screen and into my room in a way I have simply not seen from OLED. Don’t get me wrong, OLED continues to be the king of assessment way to its perfect black degrees, but the Z9J plays so nicely that I don’t must paintings too tough to forgive it for struggling a bit inside the black level department. It’s just so exact.

I spent hours truly looking it as it became such an incredible delight to behold.

The greatest endorsement I can deliver this TV is that I spent hours definitely looking it as it was such an terrific pleasure to behold. Sure, I possibly need to had been doing other paintings, but I gave myself a skip and watched for natural leisure because I knew it might be every other year or so earlier than a TV like the Z9J crosses my checking out room again.

After all those hours spent looking, I’m left trying to look at it some more. I’ve said that about valuable few TVs in my life.

Is there a better opportunity?

In terms of picture pleasant, I feel only the LG C1 and G1 OLED TVs, the Sony A90, or the Samsung Q900R can keep a candle to the Z9J, and for an expansion of various motives. Sadly, though, the blanket answer to this question is sure, due to the fact the charge of this TV is not possible to justify.

How long will it ultimate?

The Z9J is held again most effective by way of its loss of guide for some features associated with HDMI 2.1, and people are relegated to advanced gaming worries. In phrases of product nice and relevance, the Z9J will still be pointed out five years or extra from now, simply as the Z9D is these days. Sony gives a one-yr parts and hard work guarantee in opposition to defects on TVs used for in-home purposes.

Should you buy it?

If you have got the way, knock your self out. The Z9J is a stellar TV. Just make sure to ask me over for a watch party.

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