If, like us, you find shopping for TVs a little baffling, Sony’s 2019 TV range should be a breath of fresh air. We deal with multiple SKUs of phones fairly often, but TV ranges often confuse us with prices and features all over the shop. Sony’s made this a little easier this year with the same size panels in both of their focus ranges so you get the features you want in the panel size you want.
X85 and X95
The focus this year is on the X85 and X95 series, both of which feature 55, 65, 75 & 85-inch LED panels across the line, with some differences in terms of panel quality, performance, processors and features packed in justifying the price difference.
They’re all 4K HDR displays, with processors tweaking the images that go to your screen to ensure the best viewing experience – colour gradients are smoothed out, motion handled so as to not cause parallax effects and more.
Both series in the range support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. They also feature Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio, which places speakers behind the screen so the audio comes from the screen – this becomes especially important with larger screens.
You might expect the X95 to come with more features, and you’d be right. Along with some superior image processing capabilities comes a dedicated Netflix Calibrated Mode. It’s hard to appreciate the differences without putting them side by side to see how the Netflix mode brings better tones and contrast to your content. There’s also an IMAX Enhanced mode that we assume brings some similar presets.
X85 series TVs run from $2200 up to $7000, while the higher spec X95’s go from $2700 to $10,000.
Keep the X80 in mind too
Stepping down a little, there’s the X80 series which runs some smaller sets with simpler features.
If your TV space is a little smaller, your requirements might be a little simpler; you might not need all the advanced picture processing from the higher end X models.
X80 models are a good, affordable option. Screen sizes from 43, 49, 55 & 65-inches while prices range from $1500 up to $2400.
New Android TV features
They’re all running Android TV, with Sony’s systems based on Android 8.0. Before getting upset at this, remember that even Google thinks Android TV doesn’t need to stick to the same refresh cycle as handsets and other devices.
The new TV OS brings app-specific channels to the launcher screen and also adds new universal search features.
Perhaps the most important new feature for these TVs though is the new processors touted across the line for “stress-free usability”, ie it’s faster – previous Sony Android TV models suffered from some notoriously poor system performance.
While all Android TVs work as Chromecast receivers, Sony’s TVs also bring a unique feature in that they’re compatible with Apple’s AirPlay 2 protocol. This lets iOS and Mac users easily share their screens wirelessly to the TVs in high quality. They can also work with Apple HomeKit to be included in some control sequences.