There is no denying Sony’s latest range of TVs look impressive, with the company’s premium X93E setting the benchmark for the 2017 line-up.
The television‘s flush glass panel, minimal bezel and crosshatched rear offers an elegant design that wouldn’t look out of place in any house or apartment.
Although, it slighly falls short of LG’s ultra-thin OLEDs and Samsung’s sleek all-metal QLEDs – Sony does have an OLED coming to market later this year.
To ensure the TV remains sleek and sexy even when placed on furniture, Sony has included a minimal centrally mounted stand and hidden panels, which are both used to disguise its extensive cable management channels.
The premium models also ship with a bracket designed to make the TV sit close to the wall, while allowing the user to angle the unit depending on where they are watching.
Sony has also applied an anti-reflective filter that is darker than the company’s previous LCD range, which is an improvement, but not flawless.
A classy design can only take a TV so far, with picture performance being the biggest drawcard when looking to purchase a new unit.
Thankfully, Sony has managed to deliver outstanding picture quality.
The picture is driven by the company’s Slim Backlight Drive Plus technology, which has two layers of light guide plates that allow for precise local dimming control — this means only illuminating zones of the TV with visible content, while allowing areas with no detail to remain black.
While I believe the perfect blacks offered by LG’s OLED technology — which doesn’t require backlighting as each pixel produces light individually — is slightly better at improving contrast to produce a better picture, Sony’s TVs are still highly impressive.
Sony’s 4K HDR Processor X1 chip also boosts the picture quality by optimising the range of brightness frame by frame, meaning you see pure colours at higher levels.
Using its own Triluminos technology, Sony is able to enhance the colour saturation on the display of its TV’s — although this can affect the contrast offered by the true blacks when watching something very colourful.
Sony’s X1 Extreme processor also allows for HDR upscaling — high dynamic range is a technique that heightens a picture’s dynamic range with the contrast between the brightest whites and darkest blacks.
By using upscaling, Sony is able to make normal 4K and HD video look much closer to HDR-optimised content.
In an attempt to match it with the market-leading OLEDs, Sony’s X94E and X93E are HDR 10 and Dolby Vision compatible, although the later won’t be available until the business end of the year.
Unfortunately, the viewing angles were not as good as the offerings from its competitors.
While people willing to drop large amounts of cash on premium TVs would be likely to purchase a high-end soundbar to complete their home entertainment set-up, Sony has ensured this isn’t a necessity.
The X93E and X94E have a built in speaker system containing two sets of three forward-facing speakers — sub, mid-range and tweeters.
The result is an imposing audio quality, which I personally feel is the best out of any TV currently on the market.
When watching content and listening to music, I found spectacular vocal clarity and more than sufficient bass.
Sony’s latest flagships all come standard with Android TV, which offers a plethora of apps and content from the Google Play store.
The operating system is very easy to navigate, with an area specifically curated to offer you viewing suggestions and the ability to use picture-in-picture when browsing.
Similar to Samsung and LG’s TVs, Sony offers Voice Search from the remote control and during testing I found it to be very responsive.
One of the downsides I found with the TV was the remote, which seemed too busy for my liking.
For someone more tech savvy the navigation isn’t too complicated, but I feel a stripped down remote like Samsung’s QLED range would have been a better option.
All in all, Sony’s 2017 range is a real competitor in the crowded TV market. While I still feel LG’s OLEDs are the gold standard for premium TVs, I wouldn’t hesitate recommending the product.