The Sony X950G is an impressive 4k TV with great picture quality. It can display deep blacks in a dark room thanks to the high native contrast ratio and full array local dimming support. It can get very bright and delivers great HDR performance full of bright, vivid highlights. It has excellent motion handling, due to a nearly-instantaneous response time that makes the image look crisp and leaves fast-moving objects with very little blur trail. The input lag is very low, which makes it an excellent choice for gamers that are looking for a very responsive TV. Unfortunately, just like most VA panels, it has narrow viewing angles and those seated on the side will not experience the same great picture quality.
We've tested the 55" model of the X950G, which does not incorporate the 'X-Wide Angle' technology; we expect the 75" and 85" to have better viewing angles at the expense of contrast ratio.
The Sony X950G is an upper mid-range TV, and a small upgrade to last year's very popular X900F. In Sony's lineup, it sits between the still-current X900F and the high-end Sony Z9F and Sony A8G. We expect the X950G's chief competitors this year to be the Samsung Q70R, the LG SM9000, and the Vizio P Series Quantum 2019.
The Sony X950G has a very good design that resembles that of the Sony X900F. The stand is fairly large and supports the TV very well, allowing very little wobble. Unfortunately, you cannot reverse the legs so that they take less space. The back of the legs are hollow, allowing you to hide the cables when the TV is placed on its stand. Some of the inputs are on the side, but some are facing downwards and might be hard to reach when the TV is wall-mounted. The build quality is great, and the TV feels very sturdy.
The stand is made of metal and plastic. It provides great support to the TV and prevents most wobbling. The legs are similar to the Sony X900F, but they cannot be reversed. Just like many 2018 Sony TVs, the backs of the legs are hollow and can be used to guide cables.
Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 40.0’’ x 10.6’’
The X950G has thin borders, almost identical to the X900F. They are very plain and look good.
The Sony XBR55X950G has average uniform thickness, very similar to the Sony X900F. It will not protrude much if wall-mounted.
The operating temperature of the TV is quite cool and uniformly spread across the screen. There should be no issues.
The Sony X950G has great picture quality with deep blacks in a dark room and bright HDR highlights. The native contrast ratio is lower than the X900F, but the local dimming feature works very similarly. It can get very bright, brighter than the X900F, but can’t reach the levels of the Sony Z9F. It has a wide color gamut and can deliver a great HDR performance with rich colors and bright highlights. The X950G has outstanding gradient handling and is free from temporary image retention. The out-of-the-box calibration accuracy of this TV is one of the best we have measured so far.
The X950G has excellent native contrast ratio, but a slightly lower than the one on the X900F. The TV is able to produce deep blacks in a dark room. With Local Dimming enabled, the contrast ratio improves slightly.
The 75’’ and 85’’ models have the new 'X-Wide Angle' technology that enhances viewing angles at the expense of contrast ratio, like we saw on the Z9F. We expect those models to have a lower native contrast ratio.
The Sony X950G has decent local dimming, very similar to the X900F. When viewed in a dark room, you might notice the different local dimming zones when a bright object crosses from one dimming zone to another. It is noticeable, but not as distracting as on the Vizio P Series Quantum.
If you watch movies with subtitles, you might notice some blooming around them, especially in HDR. You should adjust (or even turn off) Local dimming if you find this distracting.
For our side-by-side comparison, Auto Local Dimming was set to 'High,' and X-tended Dynamic Range was set to 'High.'
The Sony X950G has excellent SDR peak brightness, better than the X900F, but not as good as the Z9F. The brightness varies depending on the scene, and this might become bothersome for some people. Nonetheless, the fluctuation is not as evident as it is on Vizio P Series Quantum, and it can be removed entirely by disabling X-tended Dynamic Range.
We performed our measurements after calibration with Picture mode set to ‘Custom,’ Local dimming set to ‘High,’ and X-tended Dynamic Range set to 'High.'
The menu option that controls the brightness is Brightness.
This TV has remarkable HDR peak brightness, very close to the Sony Z9F and the Vizio P Series Quantum, and slightly better than the Samsung Q9FN. Just as in the case of SDR, the HDR peak brightness varies significantly depending on the scene, and this could bother some people.
If you find HDR content too dim, you can raise the Contrast and Gamma to your liking. If it is still too dim, increase the Contrast Enhancer setting to your liking.
We performed our measurements without calibration with Picture mode set to ‘Custom,’ Color Temp set to ‘Expert 2,’ Local dimming set to ‘High,’ and X-tended Dynamic Range set to 'High.'
The Sony XBR55X950G has decent overall gray uniformity, very similar to the X900F. The corners and the edges of the screen are a little darker than the rest, and this might be noticeable in panning shots of a mostly uniform color, like a soccer field or a hockey arena.
In darker scenes, the uniformity is significantly better and you will have no issues with it. In either case, it is unlikely that you will notice any dark spots (DSE) on the screen.
There are disappointing viewing angles on the X950G, which are almost identical to X900F. Black rise and gamma shifts quickly when moving off-axis, making the image inaccurate. At slightly larger angles, colors shift and start to wash out, contributing further to the deterioration in picture quality.
In the larger 75’’ and 85’’ models Sony has added the 'X-Wide Angle' technology that we initially saw on the Z9F to help improve viewing angles. We expect these models to behave like the Z9F, where the viewing angles are better than most VA TVs, but not as good as most IPS TVs, at the expense of lower contrast ratio. This is explained here.
The X950G has very good black uniformity, slightly better than the X900F. With local dimming disabled, there is very little clouding across the screen. With local dimming enabled, there is slightly noticeable clouding around the test cross.
The X950G has remarkable out-of-the-box color accuracy. The White Balance dE is so low that errors are only noticeable with the aid of a colorimeter. The color dE is also very low and the color temperature is almost spot on the 6500K target. Finally, the gamma follows our curve very well, so scenes will have just the right brightness. The Picture Mode that gave us those great results is ‘Custom.’
This TV has outstanding accuracy after calibration. White balance and color dE are nearly perfect, and any remaining imperfections are almost impossible to notice. Gamma continues to track our curve and remains flat at 2.19, and the color temperature continues to be close to 6500 K. Calibration was performed in the 'Custom' Picture Mode.
You can see our recommended settings here.
The X950G has a very good, wide color gamut. The EOTF follows the input stimulus almost perfectly, but flattens abruptly at the TV's peak brightness. This might cause some clipping in very bright scenes. The Game EOTF also follows the curve perfectly, which is great.
If you find HDR content too dim, set the Contrast and Gamma to their maximum values. If this does not fix things, then you can try setting Contrast Enhancer to 'High' to boost the brightness across all scenes.
You can see our recommended settings for HDR here.
This TV has decent color volume. P3 coverage is good, but unfortunately, the X950G cannot produce saturated colors well and cannot fill out the entire gamut well. Coverage of the Rec 2020 color space is only mediocre.
The X950G has excellent gradient performance, among the best we have measured on 4k TVs. There is an almost imperceivable amount of banding in dark green and in medium gray, but the TV gives you the option to correct this if you set Smooth Gradation to ‘Low’ at the expense of some loss of some fine details.
There is no temporary image retention on this TV.
We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
The Sony X950G has excellent motion handling. The response time is fast, without significant overshoot, and the image is crisp with just a little blur behind fast moving objects. The X950G uses PWM to dim the backlight, but the flicker frequency is very high and it is unlikely that anyone will be bothered by it. It has an optional black frame insertion (BFI) feature that reduces the flicker frequency to help further reduce motion blur and the TV can interpolate up to 120Hz. The TV can remove 24p judder from any source.
The Sony X950G has a very fast response time that only leaves a small blur trail behind fast moving objects. There is not much variation in the various pixel transition times, and this results in a clear image. There is, however, some slight overshoot in the 0%-20% transition, but significantly less than the overshoot on the X900F or the Z9F.
Just like the Sony Z9F and the X900F, the X950G can reduce the flicker frequency of the backlight to 120 Hz, so as to reduce motion blur. To do this set Motionflow to 'custom,' and adjust the Clearness slider to your liking.
Sony's 'X-Motion Clarity ' feature is also implemented on this model. The feature aims at producing a clearer picture without significant loss in brightness. You can read about it here. Also, here you can see the effect of the various Clearness settings on the backlight.
The Sony X950G can interpolate lower fps content up to 120Hz. This will introduce some Soap Opera Effect, which might bother some people. At 120Hz, you might notice some artifacts, but in general, Sony has one of the best interpolation implementations. Also, if there is too much motion, the TV will stop interpolating, thus avoiding the creation of artifacts.
To enable interpolation, set Motionflow to 'Custom,' adjust Smoothness to your liking, and Clearness to 'Min' if you do not want BFI. Cinemotion had to be set to 'Auto' for 30p to interpolate.
Just like most TVs with a fast response time, the X950G will have stutter. This will mostly be noticeable in slow panning shots in 24p movies and might bother some people. You can use motion interpolation to mitigate this.
The Sony X950G can remove judder from all 24p sources just like the Z9F or the X900F. The TV can remove judder from a 24p source, like a Blu-ray player, automatically and there is no need for any additional settings. To remove judder from sources like a cable box or native apps, you must set Motionflow to 'Custom,' Smoothness to 'Min,' and CineMotion to 'Auto.'
The Sony X950G has an excellent 120Hz refresh rate but does not support any variable refresh rate technologies like FreeSync.
The Sony X950G has excellent low input lag in most common resolutions and ranks first among the best Sonys we have measured so far. It supports most common resolutions and refresh rates without issue, except 1440p @ 120Hz, which might disappoint some Xbox One S/X owners.
The Sony X950G has some of the lowest input lag we have measured on Sony TVs so far, lower than even higher-end models like the Z9F. The input lag is low across all supported resolutions. Input lag outside of game mode is significantly higher. Both Game mode and Graphics mode have the same low input lag and both support proper chroma 4:4:4.
The X950G, just like the Z9F, supports HDMI 2.0 full bandwidth on all 4 HDMI ports. Most common resolutions and refresh rates are supported, except 1440p @ 120Hz, which might disappoint Xbox One owners.
Just like the Z9F, the X950G DTS will not passthrough over ARC.
Sony added a pair of speakers at the top of the TV to help with sound positioning which, unfortunately, is something we do not measure at the moment. This addition did not help improve frequency response or distortion. The TV can get decently loud, but not loud enough for places with a lot of ambient noise like large, crowded environments. Dialog is clear and intelligible but the TV lacks thump and punch to its bass. For better sound, dedicated speakers or soundbars are recommended.
The frequency response is mediocre. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 101Hz is a sign of a bass that can not deliver thump, rumble, or punch, which is important if you enjoy bass-heavy movies or video games rich in sound effects. However, the spike at around 200Hz slightly compensates for this, making the sound just a little fuller. Above 200Hz, the response is better, producing clear and intelligible dialog, but it is lacking a bit of airiness and brilliance due to the dip above 10KHz. The X950G can get decently loud without producing too much compression or pumping artifacts.
The distortion performance is poor. The overall amount of THD produced at 80dB SPL is within decent limits, but becomes excessive after the 4.5kHz area. Just like most Sony TVs, there's a jump in THD under maximum load, however, this is not very noticeable with normal content.
The Smart features of the Sony X950G are great and deliver the best Android TV experience we've had up until now. The TV runs Android TV Oreo 8.0 that makes content very easy to find. The main interface is one of the fastest we have encountered and gives you access to the excellent Google Play Store. The remote has been upgraded, allowing you to quickly choose the action you wish to perform, and the TV feels like it's kept most of the good features found on past models but has improved on the ones it was lacking, like HDR YouTube playback.
The Android 8.0 interface is well organized, easy to use, and is a significant improvement over previous Sony TVs. It runs very smooth on the upgraded MediaTek SoC, but the complex interface can be somewhat confusing to beginners. Finally, the new customizable quick menu is a welcome addition.
The X950G has no ads, but it does have suggested content. However, you can remove all channels from the home screen using the Customize Channels menu if you wish.
This TV gives you access to the Play Store, which has an abundance of apps you can choose from. The included native apps are fast and easy to use.
Unlike the X900F, high bandwidth/resolution videos on YouTube play smoothly. There is a bug with YouTube in that the color space has to be adjusted for HDR YouTube videos. This color space setting remains unchanged when you switch to SDR videos, so you must remember to adjust it manually each time.
The remote control is plastic with a metallic tint. It has better button placement and it is thinner than that of the Z9F. The buttons have a good click and the remote works great with the new quick menu.
There is a built-in mic that offers direct access to Google Assistant and allows you to give voice commands to the TV. The TV will answer or act accordingly if you ask something like 'What is the time,' 'How's the weather in Montreal?', 'Change to HDMI 1,' or 'open YouTube,' but it cannot respond properly to commands like 'Search Netflix for Marco Polo' or 'Change brightness to 5.'
The remote app isn't that great and lags quite a bit when used as a replacement remote. The pressing of a button might take some time to register. On the upside, it can remotely launch apps, change inputs, and can stream media from your mobile device. You can also access the TV's Google Assistant from your phone.
We tested the 55" Sony X950G (XBR55X950G), and for the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 65" (XBR65X950G) as well. The 75'' (XBR75X950G) and the 85'' (XBR85X950G) models have Sony's new 'X-Wide Angle' technology, which improves viewing angles at the expense of lower contrast ratio. As we have not tested those models, we can not be sure how they perform in contrast and viewing angles, and our only insight comes from the results of the Sony Z9F, which incorporates this technology.
The European variant of the TV is also known as the XG9505, and we expect it to offer the same performance. There is also a 49" XG90 variant in Europe which we expect to have similar performance, but with a 60Hz panel.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Sony X950G 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.
|Size||US Model||EU Model||'X-Wide Angle'|
The 55" X950G we tested was manufactured in Jan. 2019.
The Sony X950G is a great TV, with great picture quality and some welcomed improvements over the 2018 models.
The Sony X900F and the Sony X950G both have very similar performance. The X950G has lower input lag, which is good if you play video games or use the TV as a PC monitor. The X950G is brighter than the X900F, but the X900F has marginally higher native contrast ratio, although neither of these differences are noticeable under normal conditions.
The Samsung Q8FN is marginally better than the Sony X950G. The Samsung Q8FN has better reflection handling and better BFI implementation. Also, if you are a fan of gaming, the Samsung is loaded with gaming goodies like auto low latency, low input lag with motion interpolation in game mode, and FreeSync variable refresh rate support.
The Sony Z9F is slightly better than the Sony X950G. The Sony Z9F has better local dimming, which is great for movies and wider viewing angles thanks to the 'X-Wide Angle' technology; something which the X950G offers only at the larger models. On the other hand, the smaller models of the Sony X950G have higher contrast ratio, due to the lack of the 'X-Wide Angle' panel.
The Vizio P Series Quantum is somewhat better than the Sony X950G. The Vizio has better local dimming and higher contrast ratio which, along with the wider color gamut, is great for movies and HDR content, especially in a dark room. Also, the Vizio has a faster response time and slightly crisper fast-moving content. On the other hand, the Sony X950G has better smart features, which is great if you use them often.