Sony X900H TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.6
Updated Feb 15, 2021 at 12:31 pm
Sony X900H Picture
8.1
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense H9G
8.5
Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense H9G
7.8
TV Shows
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense H9G
7.6
Sports
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense H9G
8.4
Video Games
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense H9G
8.1
HDR Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense H9G
8.3
HDR Gaming
Value for price beaten by
: Hisense H9G
7.9
PC Monitor
Value for price beaten by
: LG NANO90 2020
This TV was replaced by the Sony X90J
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

The Sony X900H, also sold as the X90CH at Costco, is a great 4k TV for nearly any type of content. It has a VA panel with an excellent contrast ratio and a full-array local dimming feature that makes blacks look even better in the dark. It's well-suited for bright rooms, as it has decent reflection handling and gets bright enough to easily overcome glare. It displays fast-moving scenes with minimal blur thanks to its quick response time and optional Black Frame Insertion feature. Gamers should be happy with its low input lag, which remains low even when playing in 4k with 10-bit HDR. Unfortunately, the advertised variable refresh rate (VRR) support is not yet functional. Also, its viewing angles are quite narrow, so images look washed out when viewed from the side.

Our Verdict

8.1 Mixed Usage

The Sony X900H is a great TV for mixed usage. Its picture quality is great thanks to its excellent contrast ratio, high peak brightness, and wide color gamut. HDR content also looks good, with rich colors and highlights that pop for the most part. Gamers should appreciate its fast response time and low input lag, although VRR support is currently missing. Unfortunately, it's less suited to watching with larger groups because it has narrow viewing angles that make the image look washed out from the side.

Pros
  • Excellent contrast ratio.
  • Fast response time.
  • Great peak brightness.
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • VRR support not yet active.
8.5 Movies

The Sony X900H is excellent for watching movies. It has a high native contrast ratio, combined with a full-array local dimming feature, that produces deep, uniform blacks. It can also upscale low-resolution movies without issue, and it removes judder from any source. That said, there's some stuttering in low frame rate content because of its fast response time.

Pros
  • Excellent contrast ratio.
  • Good local dimming.
  • Excellent black uniformity.
Cons
  • Some stutter in lower frame rate content.
7.8 TV Shows

The Sony X900H is good for watching TV shows. It has decent reflection handling, and it gets bright enough to overcome glare, so it's well-suited to watching TV in the daytime. It can also upscale lower-resolution content from cable boxes without issue. On the other hand, it's not recommended for wide seating arrangements because its narrow viewing angles make the image look washed out from the side.

Pros
  • Great peak brightness.
  • Decent reflection handling.
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles.
7.6 Sports

The Sony X900H is good for watching sports. It has an impressive response time, making motion look clear in fast-moving content. It also has decent reflection handling and is bright enough to fight glare in well-lit rooms. It's not ideal if you like watching the game with a large group, though, since the image quickly loses accuracy when viewed from the side.

Pros
  • Fast response time.
  • Great peak brightness.
  • Decent reflection handling.
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles.
8.4 Video Games

The Sony X900H is an impressive TV for gaming. Motion looks clear thanks to the fast response time, and it has a remarkably low input lag. If you prefer gaming in the dark, its high contrast ratio and good local dimming produce deep blacks. It also has two HDMI 2.1 ports for advanced consoles, but it doesn't have VRR support or Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) as of yet.

Pros
  • Excellent contrast ratio.
  • Low input lag.
  • Fast response time.
Cons
  • VRR support not yet active.
8.1 HDR Movies

The Sony X900H is great for watching HDR movies. It has a wide color gamut for HDR and gets reasonably bright, although HDR content looks best in dark to moderately lit rooms. Its high contrast ratio produces deep inky blacks, and it has full-array local dimming to further improve black levels. Unfortunately, low frame rate content stutters a bit due to the TV's fast response time.

Pros
  • Excellent contrast ratio.
  • Good local dimming.
  • Excellent black uniformity.
Cons
  • Some stutter in lower frame rate content.
8.3 HDR Gaming

The Sony X900H is great for HDR gaming. Its gaming performance is impressive thanks to its fast response time and low input lag, which stays low even in HDR. It has a wide color gamut and gets bright enough to bring out some highlights. HDR content looks especially good in the dark because of its high contrast ratio. Unfortunately, it can't support a 4k @ 120Hz signal and Dolby Vision at the same time, although 4k @ 120Hz still works with HDR10. It also lacks VRR support at this time.

Pros
  • Excellent contrast ratio.
  • Low input lag.
  • Fast response time.
Cons
  • VRR support not yet active.
  • Can't do 4k @ 120Hz and Dolby Vision at the same time.
7.9 PC Monitor

The Sony X900H is very good for use as a PC monitor. It can display proper chroma 4:4:4, which is important for text clarity, and it has a remarkably low input lag, making for a responsive desktop experience. It also has a fast response time so there's minimal blur behind fast-moving objects like a mouse cursor. Unfortunately, though, it has narrow viewing angles, so the image looks washed out at the edges of the screen if you sit up close.

Pros
  • Low input lag.
  • Fast response time.
  • Decent reflection handling.
Cons
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • 8.1 Mixed Usage
  • 8.5 Movies
  • 7.8 TV Shows
  • 7.6 Sports
  • 8.4 Video Games
  • 8.1 HDR Movies
  • 8.3 HDR Gaming
  • 7.9 PC Monitor
  1. Updated Mar 12, 2021: We've retested the HDR brightness and HDR Brightness in Game Mode with the latest firmware (version PKG6.0414.0055NAA).
  2. Updated Mar 01, 2021: We previously indicated that 1440p @ 60Hz is supported natively, it is not. It only works through a forced resolution.
  3. Updated Mar 01, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  4. Updated Mar 01, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.6.
  5. Updated Nov 26, 2020: Updated the firmware and checked to see if it fixed an issue.
  6. Updated Nov 03, 2020: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  7. Updated Oct 28, 2020: Fixed an error in Input Specifications.
  8. Updated Oct 27, 2020: Retested the TV with a HDMI 2.1 source.
  9. Updated Oct 23, 2020: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  10. Updated Sep 30, 2020: We've retested the X900H's ability to display proper chroma 4:4:4 in all picture modes.
  11. Updated Jul 15, 2020: We've retested the TV's smart features and updated 'Time Taken' values.

Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Sony X900H is a mid-range LED TV that replaces both the Sony X850G from 2019 and the Sony X900F from 2018, and it sits just right below the Sony X950H in the 2020 lineup. It competes with the Samsung Q70/Q70T QLED, Vizio P Series Quantum 2020, and the LG NANO90.

Design
Design
Style
Curved No

The Sony X900H has a sleek design, very similar to the Sony X950H. The metal feet are simple and hold the TV well, although you can't adjust their position to suit smaller tables. The back has some visible screws in the corners, but overall the TV looks nice and should look good in any living room.

Design
Stand

The metal feet slide into the TV itself instead of being screwed on, making setup easier. It has a wide footprint, but there's plenty of space in front for a soundbar without obstructing the screen.

Footprint of the 55 inch TV: 41.8" x 13.2"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x300

The back of the TV looks very similar to the Sony X950H, with the same horizontal brushed texture. There are clips included in the box to tie the cables to the feet for cable management.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.35" (0.9 cm)

The borders are thin and aren't distracting.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.80" (7.1 cm)

The Sony X900H is a bit thicker than most premium TVs we've tested in 2020, but it shouldn't stick out when wall-mounted. The inputs are side-facing, making them easier to access when wall-mounted compared to the Sony X900F.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

This TV has great build quality. It feels well-built and doesn't wobble much, as the metal stand supports the TV well. However, the plastic near the inputs flexes a bit. There are some visible screws where the back panel attaches to the borders, and there's a bit more give in this area, but it isn't very noticeable and shouldn't be an issue for most people.

Picture Quality
8.5
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
4267 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
4786 : 1

The Sony X900H has an excellent native contrast ratio, although contrast may vary between units. It's higher than that of the Sony X950H, as it doesn't have Sony's 'X-Wide Angle' layer, which has the side effect of lowering the contrast ratio. The local dimming improves the contrast a bit, but not by much. That said, blacks still look deep, making it a great choice for dark room viewing. If you want a TV with an even better contrast ratio, check out the Hisense H9G.

8.3
Picture Quality
SDR Brightness
Real Scene Peak Brightness
493 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
367 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
465 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
629 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
560 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
490 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
364 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
459 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
626 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
558 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
490 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.029

This TV has great SDR peak brightness. It's more than enough to fight glare, so you shouldn't have any issues using the TV in a well-lit room. However, the brightness varies a lot depending on the content and small areas are more dim, as seen in the 2% and 10% windows.

We measured the SDR peak brightness after calibration, using the 'Custom' Picture Mode. Local Dimming and X-tended Dynamic Range were both set to 'High'.

If you want an even brighter image and don't mind losing accuracy, we reached 638 cd/m² in the 25% window using the 'Vivid' Picture Mode, with Local Dimming and X-tended Dynamic Range on 'High', and Contrast at max.

7.5
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Full-Array

The full-array local dimming is good. It looks very similar to the Sony X950H, but with less blooming. There's a bit of dimming, though, and some small details are crushed in darker areas. It's good at making highlights in the background pop without being overly distracting; however, it doesn't handle highlights in the foreground as well as the X950H.

7.5
Picture Quality
Local Dimming In Game Mode
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Full-Array

Local dimming in 'Game' mode looks and functions the same as it does outside of 'Game' mode.

6.9
Picture Quality
HDR Brightness
Real Scene Highlight
526 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
292 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
452 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
746 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
691 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
557 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
290 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
447 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
737 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
687 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
556 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.053

Update 03/12/2021: We've retested the HDR peak brightness with the latest firmware (version PKG6.0414.0055NAA). There's a slight drop in the real scene brightness, from 556 cd/m² to 526 cd/m². Overall, the 2% windows are a bit dimmer, while all the other windows are slightly brighter. The ABL result increased from 0.050 to 0.053. The score has been adjusted accordingly.

The HDR brightness is adequate. It gets bright enough to deliver a fairly good HDR experience, especially if you're watching in a dark to moderately lit room, but it doesn't look as punchy in a bright room setting. The overall brightness of scenes is good, as the EOTF follows the target almost perfectly but rolls off toward the TV's peak brightness, meaning that highlights can't appear quite as bright as intended. The brightness also varies a lot depending on the content. If you want a TV with exceptionally high brightness in HDR, check out the Samsung QN85A QLED.

We measured the HDR brightness before calibration, using the 'Custom' Picture Mode, 'Expert 2' Color Temperature, and with Local Dimming and X-tended Dynamic Range set to 'High'.

If you find HDR content too dim, you can make it brighter by using the 'Vivid' Picture Mode, with Local Dimming, X-tended Dynamic Range, and Advanced Contrast Enhancer all set to 'High'. These settings result in a much brighter image, as you can see in this EOTF.

7.4
Picture Quality
HDR Brightness In Game Mode
Real Scene Highlight
669 cd/m²
Peak 2% Window
369 cd/m²
Peak 10% Window
546 cd/m²
Peak 25% Window
775 cd/m²
Peak 50% Window
632 cd/m²
Peak 100% Window
555 cd/m²
Sustained 2% Window
365 cd/m²
Sustained 10% Window
538 cd/m²
Sustained 25% Window
765 cd/m²
Sustained 50% Window
632 cd/m²
Sustained 100% Window
553 cd/m²
Automatic Brightness Limiting (ABL)
0.038

Update 03/12/2021: We've retested the HDR brightness in Game Mode with the latest firmware (version PKG6.0414.0055NAA). The real scene brightness dropped from 688 cd/m² to 669 cd/m². All windows are slightly dimmer but shouldn't be noticeable. The most notable changes are in the 2% peak and sustained windows, both losing roughly 50 cd/m². The ABL result increased from 0.030 to 0.035. The score has been adjusted accordingly.

In 'Game' mode, HDR is somewhat brighter. This is especially noticeable in real scenes. As with 'Game' mode turned off, the brightness varies quite a bit depending on the content.

We measured 'Game' mode HDR brightness after calibration, using the 'Game' Picture Mode with Local Dimming and X-tended Dynamic Range set to 'High' and the Color Temperature set to 'Expert 1'. All extra settings were turned off.

8.1
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.447 %
50% DSE
0.155 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.356 %
5% DSE
0.086 %

Gray uniformity is great, but this may vary between units. The corners are slightly darker but shouldn't be distracting in normal content. There's almost no dirty screen effect at all, and uniformity is excellent in dark scenes.

8.7
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.558 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
1.390 %

The Sony X900H has excellent black uniformity, but this may vary between units. Without local dimming, the entire screen looks a bit grayish, and there's only some faint clouding around the top and bottom edges of the screen. With local dimming enabled, uniformity is much better throughout the screen, and surprisingly, there's very little blooming around the test cross.

5.5
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
23 °
Color Shift
25 °
Brightness Loss
34 °
Black Level Raise
16 °
Gamma Shift
24 °

Like most VA panels, this TV has narrow viewing angles, and unfortunately, it doesn't have Sony's 'X-Wide Angle' layer to improve it. The image loses accuracy fairly quickly when moving off-center, so it's not the best option for large rooms or wide seating arrangements.

7.3
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
5.4 %
Indirect Reflections
0.8 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
4.6 %

This TV has decent reflection handling. It struggles mostly with direct reflections, so it's best to avoid placing the TV opposite bright lights.

8.7
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
1.73
Color dE
1.89
Gamma
2.23
Color Temperature
6460 K
Picture Mode
Custom
Color Temp Setting
Expert 1
Gamma Setting
0

The color accuracy is excellent out-of-the-box, but this may vary between units. There are minor inaccuracies with blue and red, and the white balance is only slightly off. The color temperature is very close to our 6500K target. Gamma is also close to the 2.2 target, but most scenes are too dark and bright scenes are over-brightened.

9.2
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.54
Color dE
1.70
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6509 K
White Balance Calibration
10 point
Color Calibration
No

After calibration, color accuracy is outstanding. White balance, gamma, and color temperature are nearly perfect. However, there are still some inaccuracies with reds and blues, but it shouldn't be noticeable in most content.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

The Sony X900H upscales 480p content such as DVDs well and there are no visible artifacts.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

Upscaling of 720p content like cable TV is great.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content like Blu-rays looks incredible and there are no issues with the upscaling.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

Native 4k content is displayed perfectly.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

This TV can't display an 8k signal.

Picture Quality
Pixels

The Sony X900H has a BGR subpixel layout. It doesn't affect picture quality, but it can affect text clarity when using the TV as a PC monitor. You can read more about it here.

7.8
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
85.71 %
DCI P3 uv
91.40 %
Rec 2020 xy
63.39 %
Rec 2020 uv
70.45 %

This TV has a good color gamut, wide enough for HDR content. It has excellent coverage of the DCI P3 color space used in most HDR content, but coverage of the wider Rec.2020 is just okay. If you want a similar TV with a better color gamut, check out the Vizio P Series Quantum 2020.

7.1
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
76.1 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
31.0 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
66.6 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
26.5 %

The color volume is decent. It displays dark colors well due to its high contrast ratio, but like most LED TVs, it has trouble displaying bright blues.

8.9
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.077 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.095 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.071 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.084 dE

This TV has amazing gradient handling. There's only a little bit of banding in the darker shades of each color, and shouldn't be very noticeable with most content.

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 %

The Sony X900H doesn't exhibit any signs of temporary image retention, but this may vary between units.

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
8.3
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
4.0 ms
100% Response Time
11.2 ms

The Sony X900H has an impressive response time, resulting in very little motion blur in fast-moving scenes. There's a lot of overshoot in the 0-20% transition, though, causing some motion artifacts in dark scenes.

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

The Sony X900H uses Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) to dim its backlight, but because of its high flicker frequency, it shouldn't really be noticeable for most people.

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

This TV has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature to help reduce motion blur. Unfortunately, the backlight's minimum flicker frequency is 120Hz even when playing 60Hz content, which results in some image duplication.

To enable BFI, set Motionflow to 'Custom' and adjust the Clearness slider to your preference.

To activate Sony's X-Motion Clarity Plus feature, which helps to make the image look clearer and brighter in fast-moving scenes, set Motionflow to 'Custom' and adjust the Clearness slider to '1', and the Smoothness slider to '2'.

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

The Sony X900H can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120fps to make motion look smoother, also known as the 'Soap Opera Effect'. Motion looks good when enabled and we didn't notice any issues.

If you want to use motion interpolation on native 60fps content, set Motionflow to 'Custom', with the Smoothness slider set to 'Max' and the Clearness slider set to 'Min'. For native 30fps content, set Cinemotion to 'Auto'.

7.0
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
30.5 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
5.5 ms

Due to the TV's fast response time, there's a bit of stutter when watching lower frame rate content. It's more noticeable with 24fps content since each frame is held on for longer.

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

This TV can remove judder from all sources. For 24p content, it does so automatically, so there's no need to change any settings. To remove judder from 60p, 60i, and content from native apps, set Cinemotion to 'Auto', Motionflow to 'Custom', and the Smoothness and Clearness sliders to their minimum.

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