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Sony 55-inch X90J (XR-65X90J) review

Find out if this Sony X90J TV is really "perfect for PlayStation" like the brand claims.

Sony Bravia X90J review
Published: Friday, 10th December 2021 at 9:38 am
A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
Our Rating
GBP £1199

Pros

  • Outstanding picture performance
  • Dolby Vision HDR
  • Dolby Atmos sound

Cons

  • Poor Catch-up TV support
  • No HDR10+
  • Not all HDMI inputs cope with 4K 120fps gaming

The Sony Bravia X90J claims to be smarter than any other 4K LED TV out there, but that’s not a reference to its smart TV platform. Its new Cognitive Processor XR processor apparently uses novel AI techniques to replicate the way we all see and hear. This is also one of the TVs that Sony deems ‘Perfect for PlayStation.’

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So what does this all mean for you, dear reader? Let’s investigate.

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Sony 55-inch X90J (XR-65X90J) review: summary

Sony Bravia X90J TV review

We’re sold on the X90J. It’s one of the most impressive new Sony LED TVs we’ve seen in some time, offering impressive 4K picture quality, good sound, and some welcome next-gen games console support.

Overall, we rate it a great buy because there’s not much that it doesn’t do well – movies, gaming and sports. It won’t break the bank either.

Price: The TV typically costs £1199, but you can currently buy the 55-inch Sony Bravia X90J for £899 at Currys.

Key features:

  • Cognitive Processor XR processor
  • HDMI v2.1 connectivity
  • Google TV
  • Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Pros:

  • Outstanding picture performance
  • Dolby Vision HDR
  • Dolby Atmos sound

Cons:

  • Poor Catch-up TV support
  • No HDR10+
  • Not all HDMI inputs cope with 4K 120fps gaming

What does the Sony X90J do?

  • The Sony X90J is a 4K LED HDR TV
  • It uses the Google TV smart platform
  • In addition to regular HDR10 and HLG, it supports Dolby Vision HDR
  • It features Auto HDR tone mapping from PlayStation games consoles
  • Two of the four HDMI inputs can display high frame rate games at 4K 120fps from a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X console
  • It works with Amazon Alexa and Google smart assistants
  • An Ambient Optimization light sensor automatically adjusts picture and sound in response to the available light in the room
  • It lacks Freeview Play and doesn’t offer BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub catch-up services

How much is the 55-inch SonyX90J (XR-65X90J)?

The 55-inch Sony 55-inch X90J is listed at £1199/$1199. It’s also available in 50-, 65- and 75-inch screen sizes (XR-50X90J, XR-65X90J and XR-75X90J), priced at £1099/$1099, £1599/$1499 and £2299/$2099 respectively. The 55-inch model is the sweet spot in terms of screen size and price.

The X90J is the more affordable stablemate to the Sony X95J. The two models share the same feature set and connectivity options, although the more expensive X95J comes with additional cosmetic flourishes, enhanced picture contrast and a slightly more powerful audio system.

You can buy the XR-50X90J from Currys for £879.

You can buy the XR-55X90J from Currys for £899.

You can buy the XR-65X90J from Currys for £1399.

You can buy the XR-75X90J from Currys for £1699.

Is the Sony 55-inch X90J (XR-65X90J) TV good value for money?

We rate the X90J a high-value TV option from Sony. There are caveats, including HDMI connectivity for gamers and the lack of Freeview Play, but they’re not deal-breakers. When it comes to picture performance, this is a premium screen at a mid-range price.

SonyX90J (XR-65X90J) features

The X90J is one of the first screens we’ve built around the Google TV smart platform. A variation of the more commonly used Android platform, it places emphasis on content curation and recommendations. The interface is easy to use and includes Android niceties like Chromecast and Google Assistant support and a decent selection of streaming services (Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+, Prime Video, etc.)

Unfortunately, it lacks Freeview Play and has limited catch-up TV services (just All4 at the time of writing). You’ll definitely want to use the set with a set-top box or streaming media stick, something like a Fire TV player or Roku streamer.

Sony 55-inch X90J (XR-65X90J) design and set-up

The screen looks neat, with a very thin bezel. It utilises a full-array backlight, which aids picture quality, but this means it’s a little deeper (70mm) than edge-lit rivals.

The model has adjustable feet, which can be placed either towards the edge of the set or more towards the centre - Sony calls this a 2-way Slim Blade stand. The good thing is it allows some freedom when it comes to AV furniture choice, and it can also help create space for a soundbar. It’s worth noting that the adjustable feet are not available on the 50-inch model.

Sony X90J back of TV

Connectivity comprises four HDMI inputs. Only two HDMIs are 4K 120fps ready for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and one of these is also used as an eARC connection to a soundbar. There’s support promised or Variable Refresh Rate (we’re waiting on a firmware update due before the end of the year).

Other connections include two USBs, a digital optical output, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and Ethernet for wired networking.

The screen is reasonably straightforward to set up, although you’ll need to log in with your Google account as part of the process.

Sony X90J (XR-65X90J) picture quality

Sony X90J TV review

We’re increasingly seeing Artificial Intelligence used to enhance image TV picture quality, but here Sony has taken a slightly different approach to its rivals, creating an all-new Cognitive Processor XR processor able to process picture information in a way that mimics the human eye.

When we look at objects, we focus on a given point, rather than the entire scene. Cognitive Processor XR tries to do the same, focussing its processing power where it’s most beneficial. The system effectively divides the screen into zones in order to detect the ‘focal point’ of the picture (whereas regular AI will detect specific picture elements).

The set has a full-array backlight, which combines good overall picture brightness with more control over peak HDR highlights. Also in play is XR Contrast Booster technology and XR HDR Remaster technology to give an HDR look to regular HD TV programmes.

You’ll want to take some care where you position the screen, though, as it tends to lose contrast and colour intensity when viewed off-axis.

The set transpires to be a great HDR performer; we noted bright highlights and a strong contrast range. It comes with Dolby Vision support, in addition to HLG and HDR10. The TV doesn’t acknowledge HDR10+ dynamic metadata, as favoured by Prime Video, though.

Sony Google TV X90J

As you would hope from TV pitched as ‘perfect for PlayStation’, input lag is low. We measured latency at 17.2ms (1080/60) with Game mode engaged.

Uniquely, the set also has two dedicated modes for use with a PlayStation 5, namely Auto HDR Tone Mapping and Auto Genre Picture Mode. With the former, it’ll handshake with the PS5 and then self-optimise for the best possible picture, ensuring you’ll see fine detail and rich colour even in high contrast scenes.

With Auto Genre Picture Mode, the set automatically switches into Game Mode when gaming, minimising input lag, or Standard Mode when watching movies from a streaming service or an Ultra HD Blu-ray.

The set also boasts Ambient Optimization technology; a sensor monitors the ambient light in your viewing room and tweaks the picture automatically.

Sony X90J (XR-65X90J) sound quality

The X90J uses a simplified version of Sony’s Acoustic Multi Audio system. Two downward-facing speakers are supported by two sound positioning tweeters high on the rear of the set.

This allows it to present a soundstage that’s more expansive – wider – than lesser models. It doesn’t have any deep bass capability, though, but with 2x10W on tap, it does go reasonably loud.

Our verdict: should you buy the Sony X90J (XR-65X90J)?

We reckon the X90J sets a high benchmark for a mid-range 55-inch UHD LED TV. Its Cognitive Intelligence enhanced picture quality is first-rate, with superb detail and colour depth. It’s really contrasty, too, doing a great job with HDR movies and TV shows. It would have been nice to have a couple more full spec HDMI inputs, and the lack of Catch-up TV support is annoying, but motion handling (always a Sony strength) is excellent.

Overall, a fine 4K TV and a must-audition for PlayStation gamers.

Our rating:

  • Design: 4/5
  • Picture quality: 4.5/5
  • Sound quality: 4/5
  • Value for money: 5/5
  • Overall: 5/5

Where to buy the Sony X90J (XR-65X90J)

You can buy the 55-inch Sony X90J from Currys for £899.

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For more product guides and reviews, head over to the Technology section. Need some more advice before buying a TV? Take a look at our best TV to buy guide. 

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