The Sony X930E 4K HDR TV is a great LED TV with top of the line picture quality. It's one of the brightest TVs we've reviewed, so it does great with HDR. It covers everything quite well as both motion and input lag are good. Its only real pitfall is the quite narrow viewing angle.
- Exceptionally bright, which is great for HDR
- Deep and uniform blacks
- Very good motion handling
- Image degrades rapidly at an angle
The design of the X930E is great. From the front it looks like most other Sony TVs with the familiar center stand and minimalistic look. The cable management is excellent, due to the textured plastic covers and built-in cable guides. The build quality is also great, and the body of the TV feels very sturdy.
The TV features a very similar central stand to the X900E. It supports the TV well and is very stable. It also provides a channel through the rear legs for cable management.
Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 11.1" x 19.8"
The back of the TV has many textured plastic panels which are used to hide cables (shown here). The wall mount bolt holes can be found under the panels.
The X930E is a fairly cool TV, and only gets slightly warm after prolonged usage. The exception is its power brick, which reaches a warm 42 °C; however this should not be a problem.
- 11% Contrast
- 6% Local Dimming
- 6% SDR Peak Brightness
- 6% HDR Peak Brightness
- 6% Gray Uniformity
- 7% Viewing Angle
- 4% Black Uniformity
- 2% Gradient
- 4% Pre Calibration
- 1% Post Calibration
- 6% 480p Input
- 9% 720p Input
- 11% 1080p Input
- 6% 4k Input
- 4% Color Gamut
- 4% Color Volume
- 1% Image Retention
- 6% Reflections
- 1% 3D
The Sony XBR55X930E has a very good picture quality. Dark room performance is great thanks to the excellent contrast ratio and good black uniformity. Bright room performance is not lacking either, thanks to the good reflection handling and the high SDR peak brightness which should overcome most glare. The gray uniformity is average but it does not have too much dirty screen effect which should please sports fans. The X930E has a narrow viewing angle, so its colors and black level degrade fast when viewed off center. In a case where a large group is watching TV at the same time, the ones sitting more to the sides won't have the same great picture quality as those right in front. Finally, when it comes to HDR this TV is an excellent choice. The relatively good local dimming, great HDR peak brightness and good color reproduction make it one of Sony's best options.
The native contrast ratio of the Sony X930E is excellent. The TV can produce very deep blacks and provides superb picture quality when set in a dark environment. This contrast ratio is almost double that of the 2016 X930D. When 'Auto local dimming' is enabled and 'X-tended Dynamic Range' is set to high, we measured a contrast ratio of 6564.
The local dimming feature of the X930E works surprisingly well for an edge-lit TV. Blooming still happens when there is a very bright highlight, but it looks much better than on the 2016 X930D when compared side by side, even though the X930E is much brighter. The local dimming reacts really fast and you don't really see the changing of zones when the small white dot is moving fast.
When compared to the X900E, a full array backlight TV with local dimming, the X930E local dimming feels more refined and in the end, the result looks a bit better.
Excellent brightness for SDR content, and brighter than any TV we tested in 2016. The X930E will be usable in even the brightest of rooms. The TV's local dimming helps small areas like our 10% window achieve a great best case brightness, but even the 100% window is still very bright. The TV also remains bright for a long period of time after a transition which is great.
The X930E has exceptional brightness for HDR, and is brighter than any TV we tested in 2016. Local dimming helps to make small areas incredibly bright, but large areas also remain very bright. The TV maintains this high brightness for a long time. This high brightness will make highlights in HDR content very bright so they stand out from the rest of the picture.
The gray uniformity of the X930E is average. The edges are darker than the rest of the screen, and there is a darker band on the bottom half of the screen. Fortunately there is not much dirty screen effect, which is important when watching video content with big panning shots over a uniform surface, such as hockey or football.
When looking at our 5% gray uniformity picture there are not too many uniformity problems. The bottom of the screen is a bit brighter than the rest, but the difference is almost unnoticeable.
Poor viewing angle. Blacks become gray when viewed from even a slight angle, which lowers the contrast ratio and makes the picture look more washed out. Colors also shift significantly at an angle. It is not recommended to view this TV from the side.
The black uniformity is excellent and is similar to what we measured on the X900E. Some clouding can be seen on the two bottom corners, but this isn't an issue when watching most normal content.
This test is done with local dimming turned off; this way we can compare the real black uniformity of the panel used in this TV. So you can expect a better black uniformity when watching regular content with local dimming turned on.
The panel of this TV is excellent, just like the 2016 X930D. It can display our gradient test image without banding almost perfectly. Note that this test was done with 'Smooth gradation' off to really showcase the native performance of the panel used in this TV.
Out of the box, this TV is not bad and for normal home use it could be used as is and most people would not notice anything wrong. Overall the image is a bit warm, but this isn't too dramatic. When looking at the color reproduction, all the colors track well but the blues have the most error.
Just like the X900E, the calibration is very easy to do via the 2 and 10 points white balance. The TV responds fairly well to the calibration. The gamma was flattened to more closely follow the gamma 2.2 curve, and the overall white balance dE error was reduced to a negligible 0.27 which is great. The color dE was brought down a bit, but it couldn't be reduced further because the TV lacks a color space management system.
You can see our recommended settings here.
Great color gamut. Deep colors in HDR content will be well reproduced. The TV does struggle to show deep green and cyan in the rec. 2020 gamut, but this is fairly typical of modern TVs.
Decent color volume. The X930E is able to show its wide color gamut at a range of brightness values. Extremely dark or bright deep colors are not as well represented as colors of moderate brightness, but they are still well represented. The color volume of the X930E is mostly limited by its color gamut which is not extremely wide, unlike the Samsung Q7F which has a very wide gamut.
The Sony XBR55X930E does not suffer from image retention. It features a VA panel which usually perform well in this test.
The X930E doesn't support 3D, just like most 2017 TVs.
The X930E has great motion handling. It has a low response time, so fast moving objects appear clear. It has optional black frame insertion which can increase the amount of visible flicker to help clear up moving objects. Unfortunately movies played via cable or a home theater PC experience some small judder, but for most people this isn't noticeable. The X930E has a 120Hz panel which is able to interpolate lower frame rate content for those who enjoy the soap opera effect.
The TV has a fairly low response time which results in little motion blur following moving objects. Unfortunately it is slightly worse than the X900E, mostly due to the longer 0%-20% transition.
Update 04/03/2017: The 0%-20% and 20%-0% transition have been remeasured with less noise.
The X930E does have a flickering backlight, unlike most Sony TVs. It uses PWM to dim at a frequency of 960hz. This is both a multiple of 60Hz and very high, so it is unlikely to be noticeable even by those sensitive to flicker. To decrease the flicker frequency and clear up motion, set 'MotionFlow' to 'Custom' and increase the 'Clearness' slider. Unfortunately it can't reduce the flicker to 60Hz.
Movies playing from DVDs, Blu-rays or any other source outputting at 24p don't suffer from judder on the Sony X930E.
Movies playing from cable/satellite boxes do present a small judder, even when 'Motionflow' is set to 'RealCinema' and 'Cinemotion' is set to high. This may be due to a firmware bug since there are signs of interpolation that should not normally appear under these specific settings (see the artifacts near the top edge here). Generally, Sony TVs don't suffer from judder from 60p/60i sources, so we will update this review if it gets fixed in a future firmware.
The X930E has a 120Hz panel which is able to interpolate lower frame rate content. To do so, set 'MotionFlow' to 'Custom' and increase the 'Smoothness' slider. To reduce the threshold for interpolation (increasing the soap opera effect) set 'CineMotion' to 'High'.
The X930E has a large variety of inputs built in, and its HDMI ports support all the common input signals. In game mode it has good input lag when showing a 4k input but only mediocre input lag when showing a 1080p input.
The X930E has good input lag with a 4k signal but only mediocre input lag with a 1080p signal. The 1080p input lag is good enough for most gamers, but competitive gamers may be disappointed. The 4k input lag on the other hand should be good enough for nearly anyone. The 'game' and 'graphics' picture modes both have the same low input lag and both support chroma 4:4:4.
Update 05/23/2017: The TV has been retested after the update to Android TV 7.0 Nougat, and the input lag is unchanged.
- 20% 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
- 20% 1080p @ 120Hz
- 20% 4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
- 20% 4k @ 60Hz
- 20% 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
The TV supports all the common input signals. 1080p @ 120 Hz was displayed properly without the artifacts seen in the X930D and without the jagged scaling of the X900E. To play 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 color, HDMI port 2 or 3 must be used and 'HDMI Enhanced Format' must be enabled. Both the 'game' and 'graphics' picture modes properly display 4:4:4 color.
The TV has a shared composite/component port and an additional small composite port that needs an adapter, which unfortunately is not included. An example of a compatible adapter is found here.
To enable audio passthrough, the TV's audio output needs to be changed from 'TV speakers' to 'Audio system'.
Dolby Vision support is expected to be added in a future update.
The Sony X930E has an average sound quality. That isn't saying much, though, since we rarely ever see a TV that performs well in this area.
Average frequency response, the low-end cutoff is poor, but the TV provides a good mid-range performance. Volume gets pretty high, but compression artifacts can be seen in the higher frequencies.
Poor distortion performance. The amount of distortion at 70 is about average, but it steeply rises as the volume is raised. Maximum volume distortion is especially bad.
The X930E uses Android TV as its smart OS. Android TV is, unfortunately, more difficult to navigate than some other smart OS's, so first-time users may take some time getting used to where the different options are located. The 'Action Menu' button on the remote helps to relieve this problem by showing a short list of common settings so users rarely need to navigate to the settings app. Despite Android TV's complexity, it is still a good smart OS because of its vast app selection; the included Google Play Store contains a plethora of apps users can download and use. Android TV also includes Chromecast built-in so a smartphone or tablet can cast content directly to the TV. Content can also be played from USB flash drives when they are plugged into any of the TV's 3 USB ports. The included remote has a microphone for Voice Search, which works well.
The main interface of the TV has no ads. Third party apps may have ads, such as video ads in YouTube. There is an option in the TV's settings to opt out of personalized advertising for these third party ads.
The first row of the Android TV Home menu is filled with suggested content. It is possible to disable all this suggested content until all that remains is a line saying "No recommendations available at this time". This can be done in the TV's settings by disabling all the sources of suggested content one by one, going back to the home screen, then going back into settings and disabling the Sony instructional links that appear as suggested content sources.
The X930E has a large remote with many buttons. Fortunately commonly used buttons are located in the center of the remote, around the direction pad, so users don't have to reach very far. The exceptions to this are the Inputs and Power buttons, which are commonly used and hard to reach because they are at the remote's corners. Also hard to reach is the Voice Search button, which uses a microphone in the remote itself to do searches and text entry using only the user's voice.
Differences between Sizes and Variants
We tested the 55" (XBR55X930E). For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 65"(XBR65X930E) as well.
Note that the 65" model doesn't have an external power brick, which may make it easier to wall mount.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Sony XBR-55X930E doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review. Note that some tests such as the gray uniformity may vary between individual units.
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Compared to other TVs
The Sony X930E is one of the best LED TVs we've reviewed, but it faces some tough competition in its category.
The Sony X900E is another great Sony LED TV. They're both quite similar, but the X930E gets a lot brighter which is great for HDR. The local dimming of the X930E also performs slightly better than the X900E, but it's difficult to justify paying more for the marginal differences. Because of this, most people should get the X900E instead.
The LG B6 is an OLED TV, which thanks to its perfect blacks and contrast makes it a step ahead of the X930E when it comes to picture quality. The B6 doesn't get quite as bright, but it can produce a wider range of color and it handles motion blur a bit better than the Sony. They're around the same price, so the better pick is the LG B6 OLED TV.
The Samsung Q7F is an LED TV, part of their new QLED series. It can produce a much wider range of colors than the X930E, but the overall picture quality is worse. It also cannot get nearly as bright as the X930E, and is slightly more expensive. Even at the same price, the Sony X930E is the better buy.
The Vizio P series 2016 is an LED TV with very good local dimming that dramatically helps its picture quality. It doesn't get quite as bright, but it matches the Sony in most other aspects. TV shows and HDR gaming is where it falls the short the most, but most people will still be more pleased with it over the X930E, especially considering the drastic price difference. The X930E is a better TV, but it's difficult to justify the additional expense.