Monday, March 9, 2020

Sony X950H vs X950G Review (XBR85X950H vs XBR85X950G; XBR75X950H vs XBR75X950G; XBR65X950H vs XBR65X950G; XBR55X950H vs XBR55X950G)

Sony X950H vs X950G
Sony X950H (55"; 65"; 75") TV design vs X950G Photos: sony.com
The main Sony X950H vs X950G difference is arguably the expansion of the X-Wide viewing angle technology to more models in this year's Sony X950H series in comparison to the last year's X950G. Nevertheless, it should be said that not the entire X950H range is covered. Specifically, the optical layer used for improving the viewing angles, which are rather limited on a TV with VA-type of LCD panel, is utilized by the 55-inch XBR55X950H, 65-inch XBR65X950H, 75-inch XBR75X950H, and 85-inch XBR85X950H class models but not on the 49-inch XBR49X950H class. In comparison, the X950G series uses the X-Wide angle technology only in the 75-inch XBR75X950G and 85-inch XBR85X950G class whereas the 55-inch XBR55X950G and 65-inch XBR65X950G class omit it. These two models, as well as the 49-inch XBR49X950H, therefore exhibit raise in the black level and shift in colors very early on (as you move off-axis). The X-Wide technology on the remaining models increases the angle at which the picture starts to noticeably degrade, so you'll have more freedom in terms of where you sit, but the optical layer used for achieving this affects the native black level which is not as deep as you'd expect from a VA-type of LCD panel (when viewed on-axis). In other words, not only the viewing angles on the 55-inch and 65-inch X950H TVs (as well as the 75-inch and 85-inch class TVs from both series) come closer to those on an IPS-type of LCD panel, but so is the contrast ratio because IPS (In-Plane Switching) is known for having relatively wide viewing angles but low contrast ratio. Conversely, VA (Vertical Alignment) deliver deep black levels but narrow viewing angles (provided there is no optical layer). Nevertheless, the local dimming technology (on a full-array backlight) that all models in the X950H and X950G series have is able to largely (albeit not entirely) offset the aforementioned reduction in contrast ratio so the black level can still appear to be relatively deep.

Sony X950H Sony X950G
49" 55" 65" 75" 85" | 55" 65" 75" 85"
Full-array backlight Yes, with local dimming
X-Wide Angle No Yes No Yes
Acoustic Multi-Audio No Yes, 2 sound-positioning tweeters
bi-amp control No Yes No
X-Balanced speaker No Yes No
Audio Power Output 20W (10W x2) 30W (10W x2 + 5W x2) 20W (10W x2)
Ambient Optimization Yes, with Acoustic Auto Calibration No
Premium Blade Stand No Yes, dual-position No
Metal Blade Stand Yes No Yes
HDMI inputs 1 side + 3 bottom 4 side 1 side + 3 bottom
USB ports 2 side + 1 bottom 2 side 2 side + 1 bottom

Except for the 49-inch class XBR49X950H model, the Acoustic Multi-Audio feature can be found on all remaining TVs from the X950H and X950G series, meaning they all have two sound-positioning tweeters at the back so that high tones are aligned to match the action on the screen. There is a difference, however, in terms of how precisely this can be done, due to the 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch X950H models having a bi-amp system which allows the tweeters to be controlled separately from the main speakers. As a result, these three TVs have an advantage over the 85-inch class X950H model in terms of fully utilizing the sound-positioning tweeters. Given the 49-inch class X950H TV doesn't have tweeters, this is not applicable to it. All TVs in the X950H and X950G series have 2 full-range speakers (of the bass-reflex variety). It should be said, though, that they don't all have the same shape. For example, the 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch X950H TVs utilize the X-balanced speaker which is designed to bring the benefits of a conventional round speaker to approximately 70mm thin TVs, so it resembles an oval speaker but without compromising the sound quality, though. The full-range speakers are 10 Watts each, whereas the tweeters: 5 Watts each, meaning the total audio power output on the 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch X950H TVs is 30 Watts. In comparison, the 49-inch and 85-inch X950H models, as well as the X950G series have 20 Watts of audio power output.

The X950H has Ambient Optimization technology for adjusting both the picture and sound based on the TV surrounding. There is a light sensor on the X950H, which allows the picture brightness to be altered automatically depending on the ambient light conditions. The X950G also has a light sensor but it lacks the Ambient Optimization technology. In terms of speaker equalization, the Acoustic Auto Calibration uses the built-in microphone on the X950H's remote so you should perform the initial setup from where you'd normally sit in order for the distance between the TV's speakers and your position to be correctly detected. Then, the speakers are equalized for the acoustics of your room, and any sound reflections from surfaces or objects that can negatively impact the sound quality are corrected. Even the design and location (at the screen edges) of table top stand on the 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch X950H TVs are purposefully done so that they don't create such sound reflections - hence the stand is "noiseless", as Sony calls it.

The 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch class X950H TVs utilize the "Premium Blade Stand" (in Sony terms). That stand is different from the "Metal Blade Stand" the 49-inch and 85-inch class X950H TVs have. The latter is similar to the stand used by the last's years X950G not only in terms of the form but also color since it's dark silver. The "Premium Blade Stand", on the other hand, is dark chrome. There are two ways the feet of the "Premium Blade Stand" can be mounted: the wide setting provides a discrete overall look but the mounting surface has to be slightly wider than the TVs in the 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch class X950H because the feet are at the TV's outmost edges. Alternatively, if your TV cabinet isn't wide enough you can try using the narrow mounting setting which takes up less space than the corresponding models from the last year's X950G series which lack the dual-positing mounting ability. The 49-inch and 85-inch X950H cannot adjust the mounting position of the feet, either.

All the connections (i.e. 4 HDMI, 2 USB, an Ethernet port, a RF input, a composite video input, a RS-232C input, a digital audio output, and a headphone output) are side-facing on the 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch X950H TVs. In contrast, the 49-inch and the 85-inch X950H models, as well as the X950G series, have some of their connections facing downwards. Specifically, this is the placement for 3 of the 4 HDMI inputs, 1 of the 3 USB ports, the Ethernet port, the RF input, and the digital audio output. The remaining connections (i.e. headphone output, composite video input, RS-232C input, 1 of the 4 HDMI inputs, 2 of the 3 USB ports) are side-facing.

Check availability and pricing on Amazon.com for the Sony X950H and X950G (affiliate links to the 85-inch class TVs from each series; As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

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