The Sony X90L is a mid-range 4k TV released in 2023. It replaces the Sony X90K and sits above the entry-level Sony X85L and budget models like the Sony X77L/X77CL. Unlike the higher-end Sony X93L, it doesn't feature a Mini LED backlight but instead has a full array local dimming backlight. It offers a great selection of features typically found on higher-end Sony TVs, including hands-free voice control, the S-Center speaker input, and an ATSC 3.0 tuner for up to 4k broadcast support. It's powered by Sony's Cognitive Processor XR, designed to improve overall image processing and upscaling. It has HDMI 2.1 bandwidth and variable refresh rate (VRR) support for gamers, so you can take full advantage of the latest consoles. It's available in a wide range of sizes, from 55-inch to a massive 98-inch model, so there's something for everyone.
The Sony X90L is a great TV overall. Thanks to its high peak brightness, it's great for watching shows or sports in a bright room. It looks fantastic in a dark room for gaming or watching movies in HDR thanks to its high contrast ratio and full array local dimming feature, and it gets bright enough to bring out bright specular highlights in HDR. Thanks to its low input lag and quick response time, it's great for gaming, and it supports advanced gaming features like VRR. It has a narrow viewing angle, so it's not a good choice for a wide seating arrangement.
The Sony Bravia X90L is a very good TV for watching shows in a bright room. It's bright enough to easily overcome glare, so even though it has just decent reflection handling, it's bright enough that you won't struggle to see it in a bright room. The built-in Google TV smart interface has a huge selection of streaming apps, so you can easily find your favorite shows. The only significant downside to this TV for watching shows is its viewing angle. The image degrades rapidly when viewed off-center, so it's not a good choice for a wide seating arrangement.
The Sony X90L is a good TV for watching sports. It gets very bright, so glare isn't an issue in a bright room despite its just decent reflection handling. Overall, it has excellent motion handling, with a quick response time that ensures you can make out the action. Lower-resolution content is upscaled well, which is great for watching cable sports channels. The only significant downside to this TV for watching sports is its narrow viewing angle. It's not well-suited for a wide seating area, as the image degrades rapidly as you move off-center.
The Sony X90L is a great TV for playing games. It has low input lag, ensuring a responsive gaming experience, and thanks to its quick response time, motion looks smooth. It supports advanced gaming features like 4k @ 120Hz gaming, and it supports VRR to reduce screen tearing. It's especially good for PS5 gamers thanks to a few extra Sony features, including Auto HDR Tone Mapping and Auto Genre Picture Mode.
The Sony X90L is an impressive TV for watching movies in a dark room. It has a very high native contrast ratio, ensuring blacks are deep and uniform in dark scenes. Its full array local dimming feature helps deliver bright highlights even next to dark areas of the screen, but there's some distracting blooming around bright highlights. It supports Dolby Vision HDR and has superb PQ EOTF tracking, so you'll enjoy the best HDR experience knowing that it respects the content creator's intent.
The Sony X90L delivers an impressive HDR gaming experience. Overall, it delivers a great gaming experience with low input lag and a quick response time to reduce motion blur. HDR looks incredible thanks to its high contrast ratio, high peak brightness, and wide color gamut. Bright highlights in games stand out well, and there's no noticeable impact on picture quality from switching to the 'Game' Picture Mode.
The Sony X90L is a very good TV overall for use as a PC monitor. It has a quick response time and low input lag, resulting in smooth motion with little blur and a responsive gaming experience. It also supports some advanced gaming features for PC gaming, including 4k @ 120Hz support and VRR support to reduce tearing. Unfortunately, there are some distracting uniformity issues, so it's not ideal for desktop use or for browsing the web, and it has a narrow viewing angle, so the sides of the screen fade and look inaccurate compared to the center, especially if you're sitting very close to the screen.
We bought and tested the 65-inch Sony X90L, and these results are also valid for the 55-inch, 75-inch, 85-inch, and 98-inch models. The larger sizes are expected to have more dimming zones and slightly better local dimming, but unfortunately, no information is currently available on the number of zones on the larger sizes.
There's also a warehouse variant of this TV, the Sony X90CL, available in 55-, 65- and 75-inch sizes. It performs the same but has a backlit remote and a longer warranty. The European versions of this TV perform the same, but you can also place the stand in a narrow position, which isn't available on the U.S. model.
|Size||Model Number||Costco Model|
Our unit was manufactured in July 2023; you can see the label here.
The Sony X90L delivers outstanding picture quality and the same great picture and motion processing that Sony TVs are known for. There are mid-range models from cheaper brands like the Hisense U8H and the TCL QM8/QM850G QLED that deliver more nits and less blooming for a similar price point, but the overall experience with those models isn't as solid and well-rounded. If you want a great TV that performs well in almost all ways, Sony TVs are usually a safe bet, and the X90L is a solid addition to Sony's lineup and a great upgrade for any living room.
The Sony X90L/X90CL is a noticeable improvement over its predecessor, the Sony X90K. The X90L gets a lot brighter, especially in HDR, so bright specular highlights stand out better. The X90L also has a much better local dimming feature, resulting in significantly less blooming around bright areas of the screen, deeper blacks, and smoother (but still not great) zone transitions.
In some ways, the TCL QM8/QM850G QLED is better than the Sony X90L/X90CL, but the Sony delivers a better experience overall. The TCL gets much brighter in both SDR and HDR and has better reflection handling. The TCL has a Mini LED backlight with a far greater number of dimming zones, resulting in less blooming around bright objects. On the other hand, the Sony delivers a more polished experience overall, with a more accurate picture that better respects the content creator's intent, and better motion and picture processing, especially when dealing with low-quality or low-resolution content.
The Hisense U8K is better than the Sony X90L/X90CL. The Hisense is brighter than the Sony with much better reflection handling, so it looks better in a bright room. It also has better contrast, black uniformity, and local dimming feature, so the Hisense looks better in a dark room. The Sony has the edge in response time, upscaling, and HDR gradient handling, although the Hisense also has good image processing. However, the Sony is the more stable TV overall, as the Hisense is a bit buggy.
The Sony X93L/X93CL is much better than the Sony X90L/X90CL. The X93L has much better reflection handling, so it's a better choice for a bright living room. The biggest difference is the X93L's Mini LED backlight, which delivers much deeper blacks, significantly less blooming around bright objects, and significantly improved zone transitions with no flicker as bright objects move across the screen.
The Sony X95K is better than the Sony X90L/X90CL. The X95K has significantly better reflection handling, so it's a better choice for a bright living room as there's less glare from bright lights or windows. The biggest difference is the X95K's Mini LED backlight, which delivers much deeper blacks, significantly less blooming around bright objects, and significantly improved zone transitions with no flickering as bright objects move across the screen.
The Sony X90L has a premium design that looks great in any room. The bezels are thin and aren't distracting at all, and the minimalist design of the feet looks great and doesn't take up much space.
The Sony X90L has diamond-shaped metal feet that hold the TV very well. The feet can be mounted either in the normal position shown here or in a raised position (as shown here) to leave room for a soundbar. In Europe, there's a third option to mount the feet in a narrow position, but the U.S. models don't have this option. It's confusing, as the back of the TV still shows the arrows for the narrow position, but the bottom of the TV lacks the necessary mounting points.
Footprint of the 65-inch model: 47.2" x 13.6"
With the feet mounted in the normal position, there's about 1.8" between the table and the first row of pixels. Mounting it in the raised position increases this to about 3.3", so most soundbars fit without blocking any portion of the screen.
Sony TVs are usually well-built, and the Sony Bravia XR X90L is no exception. There's some flex on the back panel, but this is pretty common and doesn't cause any issues. It's a well-built TV made of premium materials.
The Sony X90L has excellent contrast, resulting in deep blacks even when bright highlights are close-by. Unlike the Sony X93L, this model doesn't have a wide-angle filter, so the native contrast is much higher. The full array local dimming feature is extremely effective at boosting contrast, but it's not as good as the Mini LED backlight on the X93L.
The blooming performance of this TV is good overall. There's some noticeable blooming around subtitles and bright lights in otherwise dark scenes, but it's surprisingly good considering the relatively large size of each dimming zone. Sony's algorithms do a good job averaging bright highlights across multiple zones, so the blooming isn't as harsh, without too much bleeding into dark areas.
Although the algorithms do a good job averaging out bright highlights to reduce blooming, they're not very fast and struggle to keep up with fast-moving objects. It causes the leading edge to appear dark, as the lighting zones aren't turning on quickly enough, and a longer bloom trail behind them. With slower highlights, there's noticeable flicker as they move across the screen.
There's no difference in dark scene performance in the 'Game' Picture Mode.
The Sony X90L gets impressively bright in HDR, a significant improvement over the Sony X90K. Bright highlights stand out well, and real scenes are bright and vivid. Small highlights are almost as bright as the higher-end Sony X93L, but with most real content, the X93L is brighter.
These measurements are after calibrating the HDR white point with the following settings:
Switching to the 'Game' HDR Picture Mode results in roughly the same peak brightness in HDR.
These measurements are after calibrating the HDR white point with the following settings:
This TV has fantastic PQ EOTF tracking, ensuring that most HDR content is displayed at or close to the brightness level intended by the content creator. Near-black scenes are slightly raised, so some shadow details look a bit washed out.
The Sony X90L has superb peak brightness in SDR. It's bright enough to easily overcome glare even in a very bright room.
These measurements are after calibration, with the following settings:
The Sony X90L has an impressive color gamut in HDR, so HDR content looks vivid and life-like. It has fantastic coverage of the commonly-used DCI-P3 color space, as well as decent coverage of the Rec. 2020 color space. Tone mapping is good in both color spaces, but saturated greens, blues, and reds are slightly off in the Rec. 2020 color space.
The color volume is excellent. Dark, saturated colors look great thanks to the high contrast ratio, and bright colors are vibrant and stand out well.
With just a few settings changes out of the box, the Sony X90L has impressive SDR accuracy. There are a few slight issues with the white balance, but it's decent overall, and the colors are excellent, with no noticeable issues. The color temperature is nearly perfect, and gamma is very close to the 2.2 target used for a moderately-lit room.
The Sony X90L is very easy to calibrate, and the results after calibrating it to a D65 white point are fantastic.
You can see the full settings used for our calibration here.
Unfortunately, the gray uniformity is just decent on this TV. The corners are slightly darker than the center, but this isn't noticeable with most real content. The bigger issue is the noticeable dirty screen effect in the center, and there are dark vertical columns across the entire screen. The uniformity in near-dark scenes is much better and looks good overall.
The black uniformity of this TV is just decent. With local dimming disabled, the entire screen is bluish, but there are no noticeable hot spots or backlight bleed. With local dimming enabled, black areas of the screen are much deeper, but due to the relatively large size of the dimming zones and the way the algorithms spread highlights out, there's some noticeable blooming.
Unfortunately, the viewing angle of this TV is sub-par. It's not well-suited for a wide seating arrangement, as anyone not sitting directly in front of the TV will see a faded image with colors washed out.
The Sony X90L has just decent reflection handling. Unlike the Sony X93L, there's no rainbow effect across the screen, but bright highlights are more diffused, which can make them more distracting.
This TV has great gradient handling in HDR. There's some light banding in bright shades of blue and green, but everything else looks excellent.
The Sony X90L does a great job smoothing out low-quality content, but it's slightly worse than most comparable Sony TVs like the Sony X93L. Still, macro-blocking and pixelization issues are smoothed out well, and there's very little loss of fine details.
The Sony X90L has superb sharpness processing capabilities. Low-resolution content is upscaled well, and lines are sharp with very little over-sharpening. Fine details in busy scenes are easy to make out, and hardcoded text looks great.
These results are with the following processing settings:
This TV uses a BGR subpixel layout. It doesn't affect picture quality but can cause blurry text in some applications when using it as a PC monitor. You can read more about it here.
The Sony X90L has a great response time. Video games and sports look great, with minimal motion blur behind fast-moving objects. There's more noticeable black smear behind dark objects and in shadow details due to the TV's slow 0-20% response time.
This TV uses pulse width modulation (PWM) at all backlight levels. It always flickers at 720Hz, which is high enough that it'll only bother you if you're extremely sensitive to flicker.
There's an optional backlight strobing feature, commonly known as black frame insertion, which you can enable to improve the appearance of motion. This TV can only flicker at 120Hz, which causes image duplication with 60 fps content. The backlight flicker pattern is very unusual, flickering at both 120Hz and an underlying 720Hz pattern similar to the Sony X90K.
This TV can interpolate lower-frame-rate content up to 120 fps. Sony's motion processing is generally pretty good, but like most TVs with motion interpolation at max, there are noticeable halos and artifacts around fast-moving objects.
This TV's response time is slow enough that there's just a bit of stutter. It's still noticeable when watching slow panning shots, but it's decent overall.
This TV removes judder automatically from 24p sources, like a Blu-ray player or an external streaming device with a 'Match Frame Rate' feature. For 60Hz sources, like a cable box or the TV's built-in apps, Motionflow has to be enabled, with CineMotion set to 'High' and both sliders at 'Min' for judder-free playback. This combination of settings removes judder without adding any soap opera effect.
The Sony X90L supports variable refresh rate technology to reduce screen tearing in games.
This TV has superb low input lag in the 'Game' Picture Mode, ensuring a smooth and responsive gaming experience.
Like the Sony X93L, this TV supports most common formats except for 1440p. All supported formats also display chroma 4:4:4 or RGB signals properly, ensuring text is clear and easy to read when using it as a PC monitor. HDMI ports 1 and 2 are limited to HDMI 2.0 bandwidth, so they don't support 4k @ 120Hz.
This TV can support almost everything the PS5 has to offer. Since this TV doesn't support 1440p @ 120Hz signals, it doesn't work with that format from the PS5. Like almost all mid and high-end Sony TVs, it also offers a few Sony-exclusive features for the PS5, including Auto Genre Picture Mode and Auto HDR Tone Mapping.
The Sony X90L can nearly take full advantage of the Xbox Series S|X consoles. Like most TVs, it only supports Dolby Vision gaming at 60Hz, not at 120Hz, though.
HDMI ports 3 and 4 support the full 48 Gbps bandwidth of HDMI 2.1, while HDMI 1 and 2 are limited to HDMI 2.0 bandwidth. However, because HDMI 3 is an HDMI 2.1 and eARC port, you lose an HDMI 2.1 slot if you connect a receiver, so you can only use HDMI 2.1 bandwidth on multiple devices simultaneously if the receiver also supports it. Also, the tuner supports ATSC 3.0, allowing you to stream over-the-air channels at up to a 4k resolution.
The Sony X90L supports eARC, which lets you pass high-quality, uncompressed audio to a compatible receiver through an HDMI cable. It supports all major audio formats, so you don't have to worry about compatibility with external sources.
The Sony X90L's frequency response is decent. Like most TVs, it lacks deep bass or rumble, but the sound profile is well-balanced at moderate listening levels, and dialogue sounds good. It also gets loud enough even for a moderately-noisy environment.
The stand position impacts the overall sound profile, and lifting the TV to the raised position reduces the bass response of the TV. The low-frequency extension (LFE) in the raised position is at 119.87Hz.
The Sony X90L has good distortion handling. There's very little noticeable distortion at moderate listening levels, and it's decent even at max volume.
The Sony X90L has the same Google TV smart platform as past Sony models like the Sony X95K. Oddly, it runs the older Google TV 10 version instead of the newer version 11 release already included on some older Sony models like the Sony X85K. The differences between versions 10 and 11 are minor, though.
Unfortunately, like most TVs on the market, there are ads throughout the entire Google TV interface. You can opt out of personalized ads, but this doesn't change the number of ads you'll see; they just won't be personalized to match your search and viewing history.
The Google Play Store has tons of apps available to download, and they run very smoothly. It has Google Chromecast built-in, meaning you can cast content from your phone. You can also connect the Bravia webcam for video calls.
The included remote is small, as it doesn't have a numpad. There are mics in the remote and built into the TV, and they let you ask it to search for content, change settings, and open apps. The remote included with the Sony X90L isn't backlit, but the Costco variant Sony X90CL is.
There's a single button on the bottom of the TV near the center and a switch to enable or disable the mic. With the main button, you can power the TV on or off, change channels, adjust the volume, or switch inputs.