Sony X9300E

NEW PRO­CES­SOR TECH DOES JUS­TICE TO 4K HDR, BLU-RAYS AND EVEN DVDS IN THIS STUN­NING LED LCD PANEL

Australian T3 - - SELECT -

From $3,999, sony.com.au

Last year’s Sony Bravia X9300D was im­pres­sive. The pow­er­ful X1 pro­ces­sor, su­perb colours and pic­ture qual­ity, ul­tra thin de­sign and user-friendly An­droid TV op­er­at­ing sys­tem made it a must-see model. Now, Sony is back with its lat­est flag­ship LED TV, the KD-65X9300E.

A lot of talk has sur­rounded the re­lease of Sony’s A1 OLED television (a set that’s out in the UK and US, but still await­ing re­lease in Aus­tralia), but if you don’t care enough about self-light­ing pix­els to wait, its new X9300E 4K HDR TV is as good as it gets when it comes to LCD/LED dis­play tech­nol­ogy.

A next-gen pro­ces­sor is just the first part of the X9300E’s im­prove­ments over last year’s model, with back­light­ing, pic­ture qual­ity, de­sign, com­pat­i­bil­ity, up­scal­ing and menu sys­tem get­ting sig­nif­i­cant up­dates. All of this ac­counts for its high price tag, though there’s no deny­ing that the crafts­man­ship and tech­no­log­i­cal smarts be­fit a high-end piece of kit.

Sony’s opted to go with An­droid as its op­er­at­ing sys­tem, and the main screen rec­om­mends TV shows and movies at the top of the screen, usu­ally filled with stuff that you can rent or pur­chase from the Google Play Store. Be­low you’ll find sec­tions for apps, games and gen­eral TV set­tings – fa­mil­iar for any­one used to An­droid phones.

When it comes to 4K HDR video, the X9300E is ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing ut­terly in­cred­i­ble im­ages with com­mend­able, if not class-lead­ing, black lev­els. An LED panel is al­ways go­ing to be out­doen by a proper OLED dis­play, but the new Slim Back­light Drive+ comes close thanks to lo­cal dim­ming tech­nol­ogy

Colour man­age­ment is ex­cep­tional. This is thanks to the com­pany’s cel­e­brated Tri­lu­mi­nos en­gine, which never fails to pro­duce ex­cel­lent light con­trol and terrific mo­tion pro­cess­ing. On top of its HDR10 ca­pa­bil­i­ties, the X9300E also boasts full Dolby Vi­sion sup­port.

Net­flix’s Marco Polo shows spec­tac­u­lar re­sults. While it’s hard for us to gauge how the 12-bit Dolby Vi­sion con­tent looked com­pared to reg­u­lar 10-bit HDR, it was nev­er­the­less vivid, with terrific con­trast that al­lowed us to peer into dark ar­eas and pick out a num­ber of fine de­tails that would oth­er­wise have been lost.

4K Ul­tra HD Blu-ray movies look in­cred­i­ble too, and if you get close enough you’ll see pores and im­per­fec­tions on an ac­tor’s face, or in­di­vid­ual hairs on an­i­mals. Fast & Fu­ri­ous 6 on Ul­tra HD Blu-ray also im­pressed, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the Lon­don-set night chase, show­ing off de­tails deep within the dark­ness.

You’ll also be im­pressed by how games look. We tested WipEout Omega Col­lec­tion on a PS4 Pro run­ning the game in 4K HDR. Colours were ex­cep­tion­ally bright­ness, and the ship’s dramatic lines re­ally pop, giv­ing the game had an al­most three di­men­sional ap­pear­ance.

Then there’s the up­scal­ing, which boosts any video source to near HDR qual­ity. It does this by in­tro­duc­ing HDR’s wider colour pal­ette to SDR video, smartly ap­ply­ing more colour def­i­ni­tion and vi­brance to any non-na­tive HDR con­tent. It’s some­thing spe­cial, and one of the best TVs of the year.

ABOVE

Large speak­ers are hid­den at the rear of the panel, and they sound a lit­tle muddy - get a sound­bar in­stead. ABOVE RIGHT

All ca­bles run out the back of one of those legs, keep­ing clut­ter to a min­i­mum.

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