Sony X900F TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Updated Mar 02, 2020 at 03:49 pm
Sony X900F Picture
7.9
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: LG B9 OLED
8.3
Movies
8.0
TV Shows
7.8
Sports
7.6
Video Games
8.2
HDR Movies
7.6
HDR Gaming
7.5
PC Monitor
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

The Sony X900F is a great 4k TV with impressive picture quality, especially in a dark room due to the high native contrast ratio and full array local dimming support. The TV excels at HDR as it can produce bright, vivid highlights. Motion handling is also excellent due to the fast response time and ability to flicker the backlight to clear up motion. The main negative is the narrow viewing angle, so the best image quality is reserved for those directly in front of the TV.

Our Verdict

7.9 Mixed Usage

The Sony X900F is a great TV for a range of usages. High contrast ratio and local dimming results in great dark scene performance for watching movies in a dark room. Input lag is low, especially at 4k, and motion handling is excellent which is great for gaming. The TV can produce bright, saturated highlights for HDR. Unfortunately, the image degrades when viewed at an angle.

Pros
  • Deep and uniform blacks.
  • Excellent motion handling.
  • Bright HDR highlights.
Cons
  • Picture quality degrades at an angle.
8.3 Movies

Great movie performance for the X900F. Blacks are deep and uniform, with local dimming to improve dark scenes. The picture quality is great and colors are accurate out-of-the-box. 24p movies are displayed smoothly, which is good.

8.0 TV Shows

Great for watching TV in a bright room. The image on the XBR55X900F gets bright which helps to overcome ambient glare, and the reflection handling is impressive. Picture quality is also great. Unfortunately, the Android smart platform isn't as good as the competition and the image degrades when viewed at an angle.

7.8 Sports

Good TV for watching sports. The Sony X900F has a fantastic response time, so fast-moving objects will have little motion trail behind them. It can get very bright and it handles reflections well to combat glare in bright rooms. Unfortunately, this isn't a good choice if you're planning on watching the game with a large group of people since its viewing angles are poor. However, its gray uniformity is good with no visible dirty screen effect, which can be distracting when watching sports.

7.6 Video Games

The Sony X900F is excellent for playing video games. The input lag is good enough for gaming, but unfortunately, it doesn't support any variable refresh rate (VRR) technology. If you game in dark rooms, it has a great contrast ratio and good black uniformity. For people who game with older consoles, this 4k TV displays 720p and 1080p content well.

8.2 HDR Movies

HDR movies look great. The Sony X900F supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The picture quality is great, with a high native contrast ratio and good uniformity, and the TV can create bright, vivid highlights for HDR.

7.6 HDR Gaming

Great for gaming in HDR, such as with the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro. Input lag is low at 4k, and motion handling is excellent so fast-paced games feel responsive. The X900F supports HDR10 and can produce bright, saturated highlights thanks to the high peak brightness and wide color gamut.

7.5 PC Monitor

Great TV for PC use. The X900F feels responsive thanks to low input lag and excellent motion handling. It supports chroma 4:4:4 for clear text across all backgrounds but unfortunately, the viewing angle is poor, so the edges of the screen darken when viewed from up-close.

  • 7.9 Mixed Usage
  • 8.3 Movies
  • 8.0 TV Shows
  • 7.8 Sports
  • 7.6 Video Games
  • 8.2 HDR Movies
  • 7.6 HDR Gaming
  • 7.5 PC Monitor
  1. Update 5/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  2. Update 2/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  3. Update 4/9/2019: An app update has added ads to the home screen. We have updated the ad-free box.
  4. Update 2/28/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  5. Update 1/9/2019: The latest YouTube app update, version 2.04.05, now supports HDR.
  6. Update 8/13/2018: We have retested the input lag with the latest firmware (PKG6.5603.0175NAA) and it remains the same.
  7. Update 6/12/2018: It turns out 1080p @ 120 Hz is possible, when the Xbox's connection type is changed from Auto-detect (Recommended) to HDMI, but unfortunately in this mode 4k and HDR aren't supported.
  8. Update 6/11/2018: Dolby Vision support has been added as of firmware (PKG6.5603.0175NAA); the scores have been updated. Also a note for Xbox One X and Xbox One S owners: 120 Hz from the Xbox will not work with this TV (and all 2018/2017 Sony's we've tested), because the TV requires a forced resolution for 120 Hz to be displayed.
  9. Update 5/2/2018: The color gamut was erroneously measured at a 50% stimulus. It has been remeasured at 75% stimulus to be in line with our other TVs.

Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
8.5
Design
Style
Curved No

The Sony X900F's design is great. It's quite different from traditional Sony aesthetics. The wide-set legs are the most noticeable difference, and they do require a larger table, but are designed so that the Sony soundbar can fit between them. There's basic cable management similar to the X900E down the back of the stand, but it isn't as good as the X930E which includes routing through the back panel. The build quality is very good and the TV feels solid.

Design
Stand

The stand supports the TV well and feels secure. It's wide enough to place a soundbar between the two feet. There's also space at the back of the legs for cable management, which most people will enjoy.

Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 39.2" x 10.6"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x300

The back of the XBR55X900F has a simple design with two sets of inputs. One is directly on the back, pointing downwards, so it can be difficult to reach if the TV is wall-mounted. The other set of inputs is on the side and should be easy to access no matter where you place the TV.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.35" (0.9 cm)

The borders of the TV are quite thin and look good. They look almost identical to other Sony TVs.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.76" (7.0 cm)

This TV is reasonably thick. It will stick out from the wall a bit more than the Sony X850F, which has more of a uniform thickness. However, this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of the X900F is good, and although the TV is almost entirely plastic, it does feel well-constructed and solid.

Picture Quality
8.8
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
5089 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
5725 : 1

As is the case with most VA panels, the Sony Bravia X900F has an excellent contrast ratio. It can display deep blacks when viewed in a dark room, so this TV is a good choice for watching movies with dark scenes. If you're looking for an OLED with a perfect contrast ratio, check out the LG B8 OLED.

With the local dimming feature enabled, the contrast ratio slightly increases, but the dimming zones aren't big enough to have an impact on this pattern.

7.0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Full-Array

The full array local dimming of the 2018 Sony X900F is decent and better than most LED TVs. It's a small upgrade when compared to the 2017 X900E. The X900F performance is more similar to the 2017 Sony X930E when set side by side, although the X930E has slightly less abrupt transitions of the zones on movements.

Very similar performance to the Samsung Q8FN. The X900F has deeper black levels, but there is more visible blooming.

When set to 'High', the feature is very good at limiting blooming and keeping a good overall black level, but on some occasions, it may be a bit too aggressive as small highlights can get dimmed on fast movements. Therefore, if you notice this behavior, you can set it the 'Medium', and it should behave more conservatively.

8.7
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
578 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
781 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
962 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
781 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
581 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
641 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
700 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
943 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
776 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
577 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
638 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.026

Great SDR peak brightness, good enough for even a bright room. The TV's local dimming does a good job of boosting bright sections of the screen when other sections are dimmer, shown by how the smaller window tests are brighter than the larger ones. Overall, this brightness is a marked improvement over the 2017 X900E, and is far better than the brightness of many competing TVs like the Samsung MU8000 and LG SJ8500, though still not as bright as the X930E.

8.4
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
894 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
828 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
988 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
764 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
648 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
653 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
788 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
974 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
761 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
645 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
651 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.023

Update 04/18/2019: There are some brightness issues playing Dolby Vision content from an external source on the X950G and X900F. Find out more here.

Great HDR peak brightness; bright highlights in HDR content will be shown fairly bright, though not quite as bright as the 1000-4000 cd/m² they're intended to be. The TV's local dimming can boost highlights to be very bright because the rest of the scene in HDR content is usually fairly dim when compared to SDR content, so the TV has more power budget for the highlights.

7.5
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
4.335 %
50% DSE
0.165 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.812 %
5% DSE
0.103 %

Good gray uniformity on this TV. There are some uniformity issues at the corners, but none at the center, so the dirty screen effect (DSE) should be minimal. This is important for people who watch sports, where the DSE is most noticeable.

5.2
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
24 °
Color Shift
19 °
Brightness Loss
40 °
Black Level Raise
14 °
Gamma Shift
14 °

Like with most VA panels, the Sony Bravia X900F has poor viewing angles. People will notice a drop in picture quality when viewing from the side, so this isn't a good choice for rooms with wide seating arrangements.

7.7
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.923 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
1.056 %

Good black uniformity. There's some blooming around the center cross and very little backlight bleed around the edges in the native black uniformity picture. However, with the local dimming feature enabled, the screen looks more uniform, and there's no backlight bleeding anymore. Dark scenes will look good in dark rooms.

8.3
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
3.5 %
Indirect Reflections
0.4 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
3.1 %

Great reflection handling on the XBR55X900F. It has a semi-gloss finish which slightly diffuses light. Like 2017's Sony X900E, this TV has an anti-reflecting coating to help reduce the total number of reflections, which should work well in most rooms. However, it might be distracting if it's placed in a room with direct sunlight on it.

8.8
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
1.66
Color dE
1.60
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6537 K
Picture Mode
Custom
Color Temp Setting
Expert 1
Gamma Setting
0

Out of the box, the accuracy of the X900F is excellent, and for most people, this TV could be used right away without the need for any calibration.

The most accurate picture mode out of the box is the 'Custom' picture mode, and it's also one of the picture modes that gives you the most control over all the picture setting available.

The 'Cinema Pro' is also very accurate, but this picture mode targets a gamma closer to 2.4, rather than our desired 2.2 target.

9.5
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.13
Color dE
1.33
Gamma
2.19
Color Temperature
6495 K
White Balance Calibration
10 point
Color Calibration
No
Auto-Calibration Function
No

The accuracy is outstanding after calibrating the white balance. Unfortunately, the lack of color management system on Sony's TVs can't be corrected further.

Overall, the calibration here did only bring some small corrections, as the TV was already very accurate out of the box, and the process was very fast and without issues.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Upscaling of low-quality 480p content such as DVDs is good. Some halo artifacting is visible along edges, but there is a good range of options to customize the upscaling depending on preferences.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content such as cable is upscaled well. Edges are smoothed to reduce blockiness, and some haloing artifacts are visible.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p sources such as Blu-rays look great once upscaled.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

Native 4k content such as UHD Blu-rays or high-quality streaming content is displayed without any issues.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input
Picture Quality
Pixels

The pixels on the X900F look almost identical to the X900E as seen here, however, there is a small notch at the bottom of each sub-pixel.

8.0
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
88.01 %
DCI P3 uv
93.93 %
Rec 2020 xy
64.78 %
Rec 2020 uv
72.51 %

Great wide color gamut; saturated colors in HDR content will be shown fairly well, but not quite as well as some other TVs like the LG B7 OLED. The TV's color accuracy for less saturated colors is also fairly good, so the overall HDR image will be accurate.

The TV's HDR EOTF follows the target PQ curve very closely up until it rolls off and clips at its peak brightness. The EOTFs in the 'Game' and 'Graphics' picture modes also follow the target closely. Users who want a brighter HDR image can increase the TV's 'Gamma' and 'Adv. contrast enhancer' settings, which will raise the EOTF to be brighter than the target curve.

Update 05/02/2018: The color gamut was erroneously measured at a 50% stimulus. It has been remeasured at 75% stimulus to be in line with our other TVs. The results remain almost identical.

7.1
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
78.8 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
45.4 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
62.4 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
36.0 %

Decent color volume in HDR. The Sony X900F's local dimming does a good job of extending its wide color gamut down to a range of different brightness, so darker colors will look as saturated as brighter colors.

9.0
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.092 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.083 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.083 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.057 dE

Great gradient performance on the X900F. There's no visible banding when playing 10-bit content, such as HDR. There's some visible banding in 8-bit SDR, but this can be reduced with the 'Smooth Gradation' setting enabled.

10
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

No temporary image retention on this TV. This is great if you're planning on using it as a PC monitor.

10
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
No

We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.

Motion
8.6
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
3.1 ms
100% Response Time
10.2 ms

Amazing response time on the X900F, so fast-moving content will have little blur trail behind them. It has a better response time than the Sony X850F.

9.5
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
720 Hz

There's a backlight flicker on this TV, but at 720Hz, it's almost unnoticeable for most people. If you're looking for a flicker-free Sony TV, check out the Sony X850F.

6.0
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
120 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
No
120 Hz for 120 fps
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
120 Hz

The 2018 Sony X900F can flicker its backlight at 120Hz, which makes motion look clearer by reducing persistence blur. Unfortunately, it can't flicker at 60Hz, so 60Hz content will have visible duplications in its motion, but some may find it preferable to no flicker. On Sony TVs, BFI is activated by setting "Motionflow" to "Custom" and increasing the "Clearness" slider.

Sony has implemented a new BFI mode on "Clearness = 1", which they call "X-Motion Clarity". When in this mode the real scene brightness decreases by about 60 nits compared to with no flicker("Clearness = 0"), but as the brightness of the screen decreases its flicker becomes more severe, similar to how a TV with PWM dimming behaves. When this is combined with local dimming, dimmer zones of the screen will have clearer motion than brighter zones. This is different from the flicker behavior in "Clearness = 2" and Max, where zones of different brightness will have similar flicker and motion clarity. We recommend "Clearness = 1" when users want clearer motion but don't want to sacrifice too much screen brightness. Note that none of these 'Clearness' settings affect the input lag in the 'Game' picture mode.

Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

The TV has a 120Hz panel, and its processing can interpolate lower frame rate content to 120fps to match the panel. This optional feature is also called the "soap opera effect". It produces smoother-looking motion but can look unnatural to some people, and also adds small artifacts in its processing that can be a problem to some.

6.8
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
31.5 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
6.5 ms

The TV is decent at showing low frame rate content smoothly (like movies and 30fps video games), but the TV's fast pixel response time can make motion look a little stuttery, especially in wide panning scenes, because the frame stays static for 31ms. 60fps content looks smoother because the frames are on screen for a shorter amount of time.

10
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
Yes

The Sony X900F can display 24p movies without judder no matter which sources they're playing from. To achieve this for every source including the native Netflix app, you need to set (from the Motion tab in the picture setting) the 'Motionflow' to 'True Cinema' and set 'CineMotion' to 'High'. This isn't needed for direct 24p sources.

0
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
HDMI Forum VRR
No
FreeSync
No
G-SYNC Compatible
No
4k VRR Maximum
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
No VRR support
1080p VRR Maximum
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
No VRR support
1440p VRR Maximum
N/A
1440p VRR Minimum
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors
No VRR support

The TV doesn't support a variable refresh rate. If you need a TV that supports variable refresh rate technology, check out the Samsung Q70T.

Inputs
7.0
Inputs
Input Lag