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Sony X950H TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Updated Nov 03, 2020 at 08:37 am
Sony X950H Picture
8.2
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
8.4
Movies
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
8.4
TV Shows
Value for price beaten by
: Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED
8.1
Sports
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
7.9
Video Games
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
8.3
HDR Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Vizio OLED 2020
7.8
HDR Gaming
Value for price beaten by
: LG BX OLED
8.0
PC Monitor
Value for price beaten by
: Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED
Current deal: The Sony X950H 65” has dropped by $202 on Amazon.com. See all Black Friday deals on TVs.
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

The Sony X950H is a great 4k TV that delivers a stunning HDR experience with its high peak brightness and impressive color gamut. It has a full-array local dimming feature to enhance its already great contrast ratio further, making it a very good choice for dark room viewing. Like its predecessor, the Sony X950G, it has excellent color accuracy out-of-the-box, so you may not need to calibrate it to get the best viewing experience. Its motion handling is impressive, as it has a fast response time and an optional Black Frame Insertion feature to improve clarity. Gamers should appreciate its incredibly low input lag; however, the lack of variable refresh rate (VRR) support is disappointing. Although it has Sony's 'X-Wide Angle' layer, its viewing angles remain mediocre and aren't ideal for wide seating arrangements. On the upside, reflection handling has improved significantly and so has gray uniformity, which is good news for sports fans.

Our Verdict

8.2 Mixed Usage

The Sony X950H is great for most uses. It's well-suited for any type of lighting conditions, as it has a great contrast ratio that allows it to produce deep blacks, and its excellent peak brightness can easily overcome glare. It delivers a great HDR experience and upscales lower resolution content from cable TV well. It has a fast response time and low input lag, but there are no advanced gaming features like VRR. It can display chroma 4:4:4 and is immune to permanent burn-in, making it a very good choice for use as a PC monitor.

Pros
  • Excellent SDR and HDR peak brightness.
  • Outstanding reflection handling.
Cons
  • Mediocre viewing angles.
8.4 Movies

The Sony X950H is great for watching movies. It performs very well in dark rooms thanks to its great contrast ratio, full-array local dimming, and outstanding black uniformity. It upscales lower resolution movies well and can remove judder from all sources. However, low frame rate content like movies can appear to stutter due to the TV's fast response time.

Pros
  • Excellent SDR and HDR peak brightness.
  • Outstanding black uniformity.
Cons
  • Mediocre viewing angles.
8.4 TV Shows

The Sony X950H is great for watching TV shows. It provides good visibility in bright environments, as it can fight glare easily and it handles reflections well. Lower resolution content from cable TV is upscaled well and without any issues, and there's no risk of permanent burn-in even if you watch the same program all day long. The downside is the TV's mediocre viewing angles, which makes it harder to watch while walking around doing chores.

Pros
  • Excellent SDR and HDR peak brightness.
  • Outstanding reflection handling.
Cons
  • Mediocre viewing angles.
8.1 Sports

The Sony X950H is very good for watching sports. Thanks to its high peak brightness and outstanding reflection handling, the TV is easily visible in the brightest lighting conditions. There's almost no dirty screen effect, and the TV upscales lower resolution content like cable sports well. Despite having Sony's 'X-Wide Angle' layer, the viewing angles are mediocre, so it's not the most ideal for watching a big game with a large group of people.

Pros
  • Excellent SDR and HDR peak brightness.
  • Outstanding reflection handling.
  • Impressive response time.
Cons
  • Mediocre viewing angles.
7.9 Video Games

The Sony X950H is good for gaming. Its high contrast ratio and outstanding black uniformity make it a good choice for dark room gaming. Its input lag is low enough for most casual gamers and remains low at all resolutions. Response time is great, so fast-moving scenes look clear. It has a 120Hz refresh rate but lacks variable refresh rate support to reduce screen tearing.

Pros
  • Excellent SDR and HDR peak brightness.
  • Impressive response time.
Cons
  • Mediocre viewing angles.
  • No variable refresh rate.
8.3 HDR Movies

The Sony X950H is great for watching movies in HDR. It has a high contrast ratio that allows it to produce deep blacks, and it has a full-array local dimming feature to improve black level. It has an impressive color gamut and high peak brightness to deliver HDR content with vibrant colors and bright highlights. Black uniformity on our unit is outstanding, so there's no distracting backlight bleed in dark scenes. That said, uniformity can vary between units.

Pros
  • Excellent SDR and HDR peak brightness.
  • Outstanding black uniformity.
Cons
  • Mediocre viewing angles.
7.8 HDR Gaming

The Sony X950H is good for gaming in HDR. It has a fast response time that results in very little motion blur, and it delivers a great HDR experience thanks to its high peak brightness and wide color gamut. Its input lag is low, even in 10-bit HDR mode. Sadly, it doesn't support VRR to reduce screen tearing.

Pros
  • Excellent SDR and HDR peak brightness.
  • Impressive response time.
Cons
  • Mediocre viewing angles.
  • No variable refresh rate.
8.0 PC Monitor

The Sony X950H is very good for use as a PC monitor. It has low input lag and fast response time, resulting in a responsive desktop experience. It supports chroma 4:4:4 at all resolutions and its VA panel is immune to permanent burn-in. However, its viewing angles are mediocre, so the edges of the screen may look inaccurate if you sit up close.

Pros
  • Excellent SDR and HDR peak brightness.
  • Outstanding reflection handling.
  • Impressive response time.
Cons
  • Mediocre viewing angles.
  • 8.2 Mixed Usage
  • 8.4 Movies
  • 8.4 TV Shows
  • 8.1 Sports
  • 7.9 Video Games
  • 8.3 HDR Movies
  • 7.8 HDR Gaming
  • 8.0 PC Monitor
  1. Update 11/3/2020: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  2. Update 7/15/2020: We've retested the TV's smart features and motion interpolation.
  3. Update 7/6/2020: We fixed the settings needed to activate the BFI feature.
  4. Update 6/25/2020: We retested the input lag, and found that it's not affected by the game mode bug we found on the X800H.
  5. Update 6/11/2020: There was a mistake in the way we checked for flicker in other picture modes. We've updated our notes below.

Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Sony X950H is Sony's 2020 flagship 4k LED TV and the replacement of 2019's Sony X950G. It sits right below Sony's Masters series, which includes their OLEDs and the 8k Sony Z8H, and its main competitors are the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED and the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020.

Design
9.0
Design
Style
Curved No

The Sony X950H has a simple, yet outstanding design, with thin bezels and minimal branding. Although the feet look thin, they're fully metal and they support the TV well. We have them set as wide as possible, but they can be moved inwards to accommodate smaller tables.

Design
Stand

The stand is fully metal and supports the TV well, allowing for very little wobble. There are two possible positions for the feet. We set up ours at the wide position, but you can set them up at the narrow position if you have a smaller table. The feet are also interchangeable, so you don't have to worry about putting them on the wrong side.

The stand on the 49" variant is different; it's similar to the one on the Sony X950G.

Footprint of the 55" stand at the wide position: 47.8" x 12.3"

Footprint of the 55" stand at the narrow position: 32.1" x 12.3"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x300

The back of the TV is fairly plain and made of plastic. It has a horizontal brushed texture, and the inputs are facing sideways, making them easier to access when wall-mounted. There are two clips included in the box to tie the cables to the feet, which serve as cable management.

The 49" variant has some downward-facing HDMI ports.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.35" (0.9 cm)

The bezels are very thin and aren't distracting.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.72" (6.9 cm)

The TV is of moderate thickness and doesn't protrude much when wall-mounted. Our unit leans backwards a tiny bit; however, this varies between units.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Sony X950H has a great build quality. Although it's mostly plastic, it feels well-built, and there's no flex on the back panel, except the area where the inputs are located. The metal stand supports the TV well, and there's very little wobble.

Picture Quality
8.1
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
3170 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
3819 : 1

The Sony X950H has a great native contrast ratio, and it gets slightly better when local dimming is enabled. However, it's lower than what we would expect of a VA panel due to Sony's 'X-Wide Angle' layer, which improves viewing angles at the expense of lower contrast. That said, blacks still look deep, making it a good choice for dark room viewing. Note that the contrast ratio can vary between units.

The 49" variant of this TV doesn't have the 'X-Wide Angle' layer and is expected to have a higher contrast ratio.

If you want a TV with a higher contrast ratio, check out the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020.

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

The local dimming is good. In normal content, there's more dimming than blooming around bright objects, but not to the point of crushing small highlights or losing detail. Highlights don't stand out as much and are instead handled a bit more evenly. While there's still some blooming, it's much better handled than on the Sony Z9F.

8.7
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
565 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
880 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
1085 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
847 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
628 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
626 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
867 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
1060 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
842 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
626 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
625 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.031

Excellent SDR peak brightness. Like the Sony X950G, the brightness varies depending on the scene, but overall, it's more than enough to overcome glare even in the brightest lighting conditions. If you want an even brighter TV for outdoor use, check out the Samsung The Terrace.

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

If you don't mind losing image accuracy, you can get a brighter image by setting the Picture Mode to 'Vivid', Local Dimming to 'High', X-tended Dynamic Range to 'High', and Contrast to max. We achieved a peak brightness of 1145 cd/m² in the 10% window with these settings.

8.7
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
980 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
865 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
1176 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
983 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
723 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
694 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
840 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
1156 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
974 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
721 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
692 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.028

Excellent HDR peak brightness. While it varies a lot across different content, the overall brightness is more than enough to deliver a fantastic HDR experience.

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

If you want a brighter image and don't mind losing accuracy, set the Picture Mode to 'Vivid', Local Dimming to 'High', X-Tended Dynamic Range to 'High', and Contrast to max. We achieved a peak brightness of 1185 cd/m² in the 10% window with these settings.

7.6
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
4.625 %
50% DSE
0.162 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.671 %
5% DSE
0.080 %

Gray uniformity is good on our unit of the Sony X950H; however, this can vary between units. There's very little dirty screen effect, which is great for sports fans, but the vignetting at the corners is very visible and can be distracting for some. Uniformity is much better in dark scenes.

6.3
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
40 °
Color Shift
38 °
Brightness Loss
50 °
Black Level Raise
23 °
Gamma Shift
14 °

Mediocre viewing angles. Despite having Sony's 'X-Wide Angle' layer to improve viewing angles, gamma shift still happens fairly quickly when moving off-center. It should be okay for most rooms, but not for large rooms with wide seating arrangements.

The 49" variant of this TV doesn't have the 'X-Wide Angle' layer and is expected to have worse viewing angles.

8.9
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.536 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
1.229 %

Our unit of the Sony X950H has outstanding black uniformity; however, this can vary between individual units. Without local dimming, the entire image looks more grayish, and there's a little bit of blooming around the test cross. With local dimming enabled, uniformity is significantly better, but the blooming is much more noticeable.

9.1
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Glossy
Total Reflections
1.7 %
Indirect Reflections
0.8 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
0.9 %

Outstanding reflection handling. Visibility shouldn't be a problem even in very bright rooms with sunlight. However, the TV's 'X-Wide Angle' layer causes a rainbow effect that some may find distracting.

8.5
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
1.89
Color dE
2.35
Gamma
2.14
Color Temperature
6518 K
Picture Mode
Custom
Color Temp Setting
Expert 1
Gamma Setting
0

The Sony X950H has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy. White balance is good, and the color temperature is very close to our 6500K target. Gamma doesn't follow the target all that well, with most scenes appearing brighter than they should. Note that color accuracy can vary between individual units.

9.5
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.22
Color dE
1.10
Gamma
2.18
Color Temperature
6502 K
White Balance Calibration
10 point
Color Calibration
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
Yes

After calibration, the Sony X950H's color accuracy is exceptional. White balance and gamma are nearly perfect, with only a slight dip in the gamma causing bright scenes to be over-brightened. There's still some inaccuracy with the color blue, which is typical for LED TVs.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

480p content like DVDs looks good and we didn't notice any visible artifacts.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content such as cable TV is upscaled without any issues.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content looks good and there are no noticeable upscaling artifacts.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

The Sony X950H displays native 4k content perfectly.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

The Sony X950H can't display an 8k signal.

Picture Quality
Pixels

The pixels are blurry due to the TV's 'X-Wide Angle' layer. It's very likely that the layer also affects red and green sub-pixels more, as they appear doubled while the blue sub-pixel remains clear.

8.2
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
91.01 %
DCI P3 uv
95.55 %
Rec 2020 xy
67.14 %
Rec 2020 uv
73.16 %

The Sony X950H has a great HDR color gamut. It has outstanding coverage of the DCI P3 color space used in most HDR content; however, coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 is just okay. Using the 'Custom' picture mode, the EOTF follows the input stimulus perfectly, but instead of a slow roll-off towards the TV's peak brightness, it's completely flat, resulting in some clipping in very bright scenes. The 'Game' mode EOTF performs identically, which you can see here.

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

8.1
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
87.0 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
50.0 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
75.5 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
42.6 %

Great color volume. The TV can display dark and saturated colors well due to its high contrast ratio, but like most LED TVs, it has difficulty producing bright blues.

8.9
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.076 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.094 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.067 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.091 dE

Outstanding gradient performance. There's a bit of banding in all colors, although it's most noticeable in greens and grays. Enabling Smooth Gradation can remove most of it, but it can cause the loss of some fine details.

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 X950H shows no sign of temporary image retention, but this can vary between individual 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
4.2 ms
100% Response Time
10.7 ms

The Sony X950H has an impressive response time that results in clear images with very little motion blur. However, just like the Sony X950G, there's overshoot in the 0-20% transition, causing some artifacts in dark scenes.

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

Update 06/11/2020: There was a mistake in the way we checked for flicker. The "Standard", "Vivid", and "Cinema" modes flicker at 120Hz by default, but this is because Motionflow is enabled by default in those modes. Disabling it resets the flicker to 720Hz.

The Sony X950H uses Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to dim the backlight, and there's 720Hz flicker in all picture modes unless Motionflow is enabled. This is a very high flicker frequency, and we don't expect it to bother most people.

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

Update 07/06/2020: We previously mentioned that to activate the BFI feature, the 'Clearness' slider can be set to either '1' or '2', according to your preference. However, 'Clearness' and 'Smoothness' sliders must be set at '2' for it to work. The text and the settings page have been updated.

The Sony X950H has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature to reduce motion blur. To enable it, set Motionflow to 'Custom' and set the Clearness and Smoothness sliders to '2'. Note that the Clearness slider needs to be higher than minimum, and when set higher, it decreases the backlight's brightness and changes its amplitude.

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

Update 07/15/2020: We've retested the motion interpolation with different content, and noticed a good amount of artifacts in scenes that have a lot of movement. This is likely due to the TV continuing to interpolate during intense scenes, whereas other TVs tend to stop.

The Sony X950H has a motion interpolation feature that can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120fps. It performs well and we didn't notice any artifacts in our tests. To interpolate 60fps content, Motionflow must be set to 'Custom', with the Smoothness slider set to'Max' and the Clearness slider set to 'Min'. To interpolate 30fps content, Cinemotion must be set to 'Auto'.

6.9
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
30.9 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
5.9 ms

Due to the TV's fast response time, low frame rate content can appear to stutter. If it bothers you, enabling Cinemotion can help.

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 X950H can remove judder from all sources. For 24p content, there's no need to change any settings. For 60p content and native apps, set Cinemotion to 'Auto', and Motionflow to 'Custom', but leave the Smoothness and Clearness sliders at 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
No VRR support
1440p VRR Maximum
N/A
1440p VRR Minimum
No VRR support
VRR Supported Connectors
No VRR support

Unfortunately, the Sony X950H doesn't support any variable refresh rate technologies. If you want a similar TV that has VRR support, check out the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED.

Inputs
8.2
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
19.3 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
85.7 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
19.2 ms
4k @ 60 Hz
19.1 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
19.0 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
19.1 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
85.6 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
78.3 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
10.8 ms
1440p @ 120 Hz
N/A
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1440p with VRR
N/A
4k with VRR
N/A
8k with VRR
N/A
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
No

The Sony X950H has great low input lag when in 'Game' or 'Graphics' mode. It's responsive enough for most casual gamers, but it's a bit too high for competitive gaming. While you can use motion interpolation for gaming, it increases the input lag significantly and it isn't recommended.

If you want lower input lag for gaming, check out the Sony X900H.

9.2
Inputs
Supported Resolutions