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Review: Sony KD-75XG9505 (XG95 series) Ultra HD LCD LED TV

Sony KD-75XG9505 (XG95 series)
The Sony KD-75XG9505 (XG95 series) is the top LCD model from Sony for 2019, In this Review we put the 75 inch version on our test bench.
4.6/5 - (300 votes)

The Sony KD-75XG9505 (XG95 series) is the top LCD model from Sony for 2019. The device inherits almost all the features of the ZF9 series from 2018, but makes important adjustments here and there. We put the 75 inch version on our test bench.

Sony KD-75XG9505 – specifications

  • What: Ultra HD LCD TV, Full Array Local Dimming (5 x 12 segments)
  • Screen size: 75 inch (189 cm) ), flat
  • Connections: 4x HDMI (1x eARC 4x v2.0a), 1x composite video, 1x stereo minijack, 1x optical digital out, 3x USB (1x 3.0), 1x headphones, 3x antenna, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Extras: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, Android TV (8.0 Oreo), Chromecast, USB / DLNA media player, DVB-T2 / C / S2, CI + slot, voice control, X1 Ultimate 4K HDR processor
  • Dimensions: 1,674 x 1036 x 376 mm (incl. Base)
  • Weight: 37.2 kg (incl. Base)
  • Consumption: 230 / 0.5 watt (Energy rating B)
  • 4,500 euros

Sony KD-75XG9505 – design

Design takes a secondary place with a 75 inch rather quickly, the image is after all much larger and more striking than the small design details. You can see that clearly on this Sony. The dark metal frame around the screen hardly stands out. The small alloy accent line at the bottom is the most striking.

The obliquely oriented, light-alloy feet ensure a sturdy set-up. There is space at the back of both feet to route the cables away. Since the feet are relatively large, you also get quite a few cables in it. The plastic panel with which you cover the cables moves very difficult, and often you think there is a risk of breaking. After some careful pushing and pulling it turns out to be very sturdy.

The XG95 uses a Full Array backlight and that means that you cannot expect ultra-slim TV. The arched back, however, masks that very well. The back has a granular structure and contains a nice dividing line where the side speakers are incorporated.

Connections

The device has four HDMI connections, one on the side and three on the back. They are all equipped with HDCP 2.3, and are also all ready for Ultra HD HDR. Those who want the best quality for their external HDR sources, choose the “Enhanced setting” in the settings (Settings / Watching TV / External Inputs / HDMI Signal format). The HDMI3 HDMI support for eARC extended Audio Return Channel, but that is the only HDMI 2.1 feature on board. Furthermore, these are still HDMI 2.0 connections.

On the side are two USB connections, and a USB 3.0 at the back. On the side there is also a headphone output and a composite video input. The digital optical output, network connections and rear antenna connections are all facing downwards. This is useful for wall mounting. Bluetooth is also provided if you prefer to use wireless headphones.

Sony KD-75XG9505 – ease of use

The XG95 series works with Android 8 (Oreo). Installation is smooth and easy, and you can avoid having to type in a username and password by using your smartphone and Google’s ‘set up my device’.

Remote control

The 2019 line-up was given a new remote control. At first glance, the changes appear to be primarily cosmetic. The design is somewhat slimmer, the top is finished in faux brushed metal, the bottom in black plastic with a rough texture. The remote uses traditional keys, no more rubber on top that also covers all keys. It fits comfortably in the hand and the keys are easy to press.

Upon closer inspection there are also changes to the layout. The circle with keys around the d-pad disappeared. They have been replaced by regular keys, and other functions have also been chosen at those locations. For example, the inputs, microphone, and settings are now at the top, and the back button, TV, and Home at the bottom. That choice is a lot more convenient in daily use, especially since the microphone and inputs are accessible without having to move your hand. There are still direct buttons for Netflix and Google Play. Only the playback keys below are still a bit too small.

Finally, the remote works with IR, but also via Bluetooth (you have to activate that in the menus), so you don’t have to aim. Only the power key always works via IR. In short, not a revolutionary new remote, but a good set of improvements.

Sony KD-75XG9505 – features

Smart TV platform

The XG95 uses the same chipset as those in the ZF9 / AF9 (MediaTek MT5893 ), but in a slightly modified configuration. The quad-core ARM Cortex-A73 only received 2.5 GB RAM instead of the 4 GB RAM found on the ZF9. However, the other specs (Mali-G71 GPU and 16GB internal storage) remain identical. The chipset works a lot smoother than the previous one, and for now the choice for less RAM does not seem to have any serious disadvantages.

Smart functions

The channels provide a convenient way to browse through content from built-in apps, and also show the most recent TV channels you visited. Chromecast will of course remain built-in. Nevertheless, Android TV remains less useful than the Samsung Smart Hub or LG WebOS.

Sony has considerably adjusted its own menus, and we can be clear about that, which is an excellent improvement. The entries now appear in a ribbon at the bottom of the screen with large icons.

You can also change the content via the tile on the right at the end of the ribbon. You can hide, add or display tiles automatically when they are connected. You can also add apps. The “Inputs” button thus becomes an alternative and fast way to start all your favorite TV functions. An excellent idea.

The settings menu has also been adjusted. This also now appears in a ribbon at the bottom, and you can also adjust this so that you have functions that you regularly use quickly at hand. The complete menu can be reached by selecting ‘settings’ in the ribbon.

The TV key below gives access to the program overview and the electronic TV guide.

[19659040] The TV is equipped with a dual TV tuner for digital TV (DVB-T2 / C / S2) but only has one CI + slot. So watching and simultaneously recording another channel is only possible with channels that are not encrypted. The media player is fairly complete, but refused our old Divx files. Install Vlc, Kodi or Plex as an alternative media player. The music player knows no ALAC, but with all standard music formats and tags.

Sony KD-75XG9505 – Image quality

The XG95 takes the place of the ZF9 at the top of LCD line-up. He uses a Full Array background lighting with local dimming. However, the number of zones is fairly limited (5 x 12). The panel is of the VA type and is equipped with the X-Wide Angle film that improves the viewing angle.

Main settings

In our article about the professional calibration of a TV you can read all about the possibilities to achieve the best image settings with a professional. Here you will find an explanation of the most important picture settings and tips for setting up your TV. With the basic settings we have come to the following settings for this TV.

The best choice starts from the Cinema Pro mode.

General Advanced / Brightness Color Sharpness / Movement
Image mode: User
Auto Image mode: Off
Brightness: 15-35 *
Color: 50
Light sensor: on *
Brightness: 15-35 *
Contrast: 90
Gamma: -2
Black Level: 50
Black Adjust: Off
Av. Contrast optimization: Off
Automatic Local dimming: Middle
X-tended Dynamic Range: Off
Color: 50
Color tone: 0
Color Temperature: Expert 1
Live Color: Off [19659064] Image sharpness: 50
Reality Creation: Auto *
Random noise reduction: Low *
Digital noise reduction: Low *
Smooth Gradation: LowMotionFlow: Auto, or flexibility 2, brightness 1.
Film Mode: Auto

Explanation of main settings;

  • The ‘User’ image mode provides the best calibrated start. We did notice that it is very clear (with Sony, “Brightness” refers to the level of the backlight). If you look at darkening, lower it earlier to 15. If you stay at 35, it is best to activate the light sensor.
  • Reality Creation: improves detail rendering. The Auto mode is generally fine, if you prefer the pure approach, turn it off, or switch to Manual 20. For more detail, you can go up to 40, but avoid higher settings.
  • Activate both noise suppressions in the lowest position, especially if you set Reality Creation higher than 20. In that case we would even recommend “Middle”.
  • Motionflow: out for the purists, car for those who choose the easiest solution. Manual tinkering is also possible. Set flexibility to 2 and brightness to 1.
  • If you look a lot in strong daylight, then also try the Cinema setting.

General image processing

The XG95 is equipped with Sony’s top processor, the X1 Ultimate. This guarantees excellent image processing. It quickly and reliably detects all film and video frame rates, making comb effects, serrated edges or moiré extremely rare. On this large screen, noise becomes very easily visible, but the noise suppression works that nicely away, both for random noise and compression noise (blocking). If you would like to see some extra sharpness and depth in the image, activate Reality Creation. In that case, you absolutely want to activate the noise reduction, otherwise this setting also makes all noise much more visible. Color gradations remain nicely free of color bands, thanks to ‘Smooth gradation’, these settings are best left in the low position.

Just like the XF90 (which remains available this year) and the ZF9 makes the XG95 use of X-Motion Clarity. He thereby combines the local dimming capabilities of the background lighting with “black frame insertion” (BFI) to achieve sharper motion detail without greatly dimming the brightness of the image. You leave Motionflow on, by the way, in the “auto” mode if you simply want the smoothest result with the best detail. An artifact here or there remains possible. Alternatively, choose ‘Manual’ and set Suppleness to 2 or 3 (depending on your taste) and Brightness to 1, with these settings the Sony brings out all the details, and hardly loses its brightness.

General image properties

The contrast of the ZF9 and its smaller number of zones than the ZD9 has led to divided opinions about the qualities of that device. The XG95 will therefore inevitably lead to the same discussion. The VA panel is subdivided into 5 × 12 segments, which is less than the ZF9 (13 × 8). Nevertheless, the screen achieves an ANSI contrast of approximately 3,700: 1 in our measurements, which is excellent and significantly better than the result of the ZF9. With local dimming activated, the contrast can, depending on the test pattern, go up to 10,000: 1 or even 38,000: 1.

Nevertheless, that contrast measurement is not decisive. Due to the smaller number of dimming zones, the image leans more towards the performance of XF90. That means that in extreme cases you can see halo formation or segment activation. You notice that relatively easily in films such as Gravity. HDR images are of course also a tough challenge (see photo above, overexposed for effect). Subtitles in dark scenes also remain a problem, but Sony seems to have improved that a little.

If you look at darkening, it is best to activate the light sensor, which greatly reduces the visible problems. With more average content, and possibly some light in the room, you notice that the result is very good even with the bright brightness of the image. Sony controls its dimming zones very well, and that results in living room conditions in a very good image.

The User ‘mode provides the best calibration. The image is very clear, so we recommend that you leave the light sensor on. If you look a lot at darkening, you can alternatively lower the “Brightness” to 15 and switch off the light sensor. The calibration is fine, with a slightly too cool gray scale (very light blue / cyan overtone). Color range and color reproduction are top. The XG95 shows particularly beautiful black detail, and delivers very lively and attractive images with its strong contrast and good colors. If you mainly watch in daylight, choose the Cinema image preset, which is a bit brighter.

HDR

This Sony supports HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG. The maximum luminance is stable at around 1,020 nits and can peak briefly at 1180. On a completely white screen, the maximum is around 640 nits. That is a good result, but significantly below the 2,000 nits of the ZF9. The color range is 90% DCI-P3 and 67% Rec.2020, good enough for beautiful HDR images, but slightly below the competitors.

Here too the User is picture mode the best choice. Unfortunately you do not see in the settings ribbon at the bottom whether the HDR mode is activated, for that you have to go to the full settings menu. We would like to see that adjusted. The calibration is very good and perfectly follows the desired EOTF curve. Black detail is fully visible, but the Sony can potentially hide some white detail. The metadata seems to be ignored and the EOTF curve always has a hard kink at the top to around 1,000 nits, even if we simulate a maximum of 2,000 or 4,000 nits in the metadata.

Other test patterns show However, the TV itself decides how to do tonemapping based on the image. On some gradients we often saw details of up to 2,000 nits and even higher in extreme white images. We therefore suspect that the risk of hidden white detail in real content will remain limited. Thanks to an excellent color reproduction and an exemplary brightness curve, HDR images are a real pleasure, only the more extremely contrast-rich images may suffer from halo formation.

With Xtended Dynamic Range, your SDR images can give an HDR effect, but it makes images are mainly clearer and bring a little extra white detail.

Reflections and viewing angles

Like the ZF9, the XG95 uses X-Wide Angle technology, a film on the front of the screen that spreads the light. But beware, only the 75 and 85 inch models use this. The 55 and 65 inch models are not equipped with this film. According to Sony, that choice was made because on the larger screens you can quickly look at the sides of the image from a corner. X-Wide Angle does indeed provide a better viewing angle, but that is probably still light at the expense of contrast. We hope to confirm this later with measurements of a 55 or 65 inch model.

Reflections are spread somewhat horizontally, probably also a consequence of the X-Wide Angle Film. So try to avoid as many reflections as possible.

Gaming

In normal image modes we measure a lag of 105 ms, which is too much for decent gaming. In lag game mode, the lag drops to 22.4 ms, an excellent result.

Sony KD-75XG9505 – Audio quality

Sony equips the XG95 series with ‘Acoustic Multi Audio’, with two extra tweeters at the back sit on the side of the screen. These should ensure that the sound appears to come more from the screen. Sony wants to create a comparable experience with its OLED screens that use “Acoustic Surface”.

The results are poor at best. Yes, the sound does indeed seem to come out of the screen more and not from underneath the image, as is often the case. Dialogues are ready and clear. But just like the ZF9, this Sony is only equipped with 2x 10W and although a lot of volume comes from the device, the sound is often shrill. A nice, tight bass is missing.

Partly the somewhat shrill sound also has to do with the audio settings. In many modes (including music), for example, surround is activated, which sometimes gives you the feeling of being in a church. That’s nice for a piece of Vivaldi, but not so good for Metallica. Be sure to check that in the settings, and turn off the surround effect if necessary!

The Sony KD-75XG9505 supports Dolby Atmos passthrough via its HDMI eARC function.

Review equipment

We use a lag measurement Leo Bodnar Display was meters. For all other measurements, we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. We use an HDFury Vertex to analyze any HDR problems.

Sony KD-75XG9505 – Conclusion

Whether you think this Sony KD-75XG9505 is a good deal will depend very much on your requirements. Are you looking for perfect black reproduction and spotless contrast in all circumstances, then the limited number of dimming zones does not have enough to realize that. The X-Wide Angle film is not available on the 55 and 65 inch. That means a worse viewing angle on those models, but probably an even better contrast. The sound quality is a bit poor.

However, if you are looking for a TV for typical living room use, with generally some ambient light, then the performance of the Sony KD-75XG9505 is excellent. His contrast is very strong, he has a better viewing angle than an average VA panel, delivers beautiful colors and a lot of brightness for beautiful HDR images. The sharpness of motion is very good, so sport and gaming can certainly be on the program.

The user interface received a whole series of small improvements, which together make use a lot easier: the new remote, Android 8 with a more powerful chipset, and the new quick menus at the bottom of the screen are excellent adjustments. Only the price makes us doubt. The XG95 is considerably more expensive than the XF90 that is still available and offers highly comparable performance in terms of image quality. This 75 inch model will compete with the new Samsung Q85R, possibly a very strong opponent.

Cons

  • Limited number of dimming zones
  • Moderate sound quality
  • No X-Wide Angle at 65 and 55 inch

Pros

  • Image processing
  • Excellent contrast, with good viewing angle
  • Very good motion sharpness
  • Improved user experience (Android8 and remote)

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