Sony Bravia XR Z9J Master Series 8K HDR TV

MSRP $6,500.00

“The Z9J is one of the best TVs ever made.”

Pros

  • Incredible brightness
  • Excellent backlight management/black ranges
  • Spot-on shade
  • Superb movement
  • Great sound

Cons

  • Lacks high-end gaming options
  • Very costly

The Sony Master Series Bravia XR Z9J is likely one of the most aspirational TVs you should purchase as we speak. Sure, LG has its $30,000 Z9-Series 8K OLED TV, however amongst LED/LCD TVs, the Sony Z9J is the most costly commercially accessible TV you should purchase. With a avenue value of roughly $6,500, the 75-inch Sony Z9J makes Samsung’s $2,600 flagship 75-inch 8K Q900R appear like a funds purchase by comparability.

Do you want the Z9J? No. Do you need the Z9J? Yes. Will you ever personal one? I doubt it. Here’s the factor, although: None of that basically issues.

Allow me to clarify.

Pure Sony flex

Streaming options on the Sony Z9J .Dan Baker/Digital Trends

The Sony Master Series Z9J is the successor to a lineage of Z-series TVs which have represented the most effective that Sony could make. When we speak about “setting the bar,” that’s what the Z-series is supposed to do. If the Z9J might converse on Sony’s behalf, I think about it will say one thing like, “Hi. I’m the Z9J. I’m the best LED/LCD TV that Sony has ever made and I’m the best LED/LCD TV that money can buy. Sony knows TV engineering better than any other brand and I’m the proof.”

That Z9J — such a blowhard. But does it have the chops to again up these claims? For essentially the most half, sure it does.

While the Z9J doesn’t fairly obtain TV nirvana (for an inanimate object, it appears to have an excessive amount of sense of self), it comes very shut. I’ve reviewed TVs that may get brighter, TVs that may get blacker, and TVs which have extra superior gaming options, however on steadiness, the Sony Z9J bests all of them with the precise … properly, steadiness of efficiency in all essentially the most vital areas. Perhaps extra importantly, although, the Z9J is simply enjoyable as hell to look at.

Oh, and the truth that it’s an 8K TV? That’s only a bonus.

So, how does Sony do it?

The XR processor is vital to the Z9J’s excellent efficiency.

Sony Bravia XR Z9J particulars

While we reviewed the 75-inch XR75Z9J mannequin, our overview additionally applies to the 85-inch XR85Z9J mannequin.

Screen Size Model Number  MSRP
75-inch

XR75Z9J

$6,499
85-inch XR85Z9J $8,999

Again with the processor

Image of colorful stripes on the Sony Z9J .Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Sony’s newest era of picture processing chips is known as Cognitive Processor XR. For the sake of brevity — and little question a lot to Sony’s chagrin — I’ll subsequently consult with it extra merely as “the XR processor.” This processor is vital to the Z9J’s excellent efficiency. In some methods, I get the way it works, and in others, I’m utterly baffled. Look, I’m not an engineer, I simply play one on TV.

What I perceive is that the processor is meant to grasp how the human eye/visible system works after which actively maximize a TV’s efficiency through the use of cognitive intelligence and executing a bajillion processes per second. It’s not nearly how briskly this processor could make selections, it’s about how significant these selections are. For instance, if we have now a picture of a cheetah nestled within the grassy plains of Africa on the display screen, with the cheetah within the foreground and the grasses within the background, the XR processor will probably pour its energy into resolving effective element within the cheetah’s coat for each body by which it seems slightly than attempt to add element to a blurred-out background of grass. That’s good decision-making.

Another solution to specific the significance of this TV’s processor: If the Z9J had been a automotive, the XR processor can be its engine. Several different manufacturers construct TVs utilizing lots of the identical elements as discovered within the Sony Z9J, however they don’t appear like the Z9J as a result of they don’t have the Z9J’s engine. In different phrases, you could possibly construct the shell of a McLaren 720S to spec, proper all the way down to the wheels, tires, mirrors, seats, and steering wheel — and it will look precisely like a McLaren 720s. But toss a Toyota Camry engine below the hood, and that automotive has zero hope of performing something remotely like a McLaren 720s.

Since I’m now dug into this automotive metaphor, let me go forward and beat it to dying. If I had been to slap a McLaren 720s engine into our 720s-looking shell however give the automotive a Chevy Malibu drivetrain and suspension … properly, you get it. It nonetheless isn’t going to carry out just like the McLaren 720s. Likewise, Sony’s XR processor wants another premium mechanics with a view to pull off its magic. That brings us to the backlight system.

Proven backlight system

Beautiful starry sky over top of a bridge on the Sony Z9J TV.Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Sony used to name its fancy backlight system “Sony Backlight Master Drive.” That’s advertising and marketing converse for Sony’s Secret Sauce lighting system. While LG, Samsung, and TCL are touting mini-LED backlighting programs, Sony is sticking with a tried-and-true system that is still a thriller to all who’re unable to bodily decide it aside and analyze it — it simply ditched the flamboyant title. Ask Sony what’s happening behind the scenes and it’ll reply with one thing alongside the strains of, “We’re not saying, but it looks great, doesn’t it?”

Fair sufficient, Sony. You received’t say. And you’re proper. It does look nice.

HDR imagery, each in HDR10 and Dolby Vision, appears to be like spectacular.

I don’t know the way it’s that Sony can use a fraction of normal-sized LEDs with far fewer dimming zones than the competitors and in some way give you a TV that appears higher than TVs with rather more spectacular specs on paper, however the firm pulls this trick off 12 months after 12 months. The result’s wonderful backlight management with minimal blooming and halo results, wonderful black ranges, very spectacular shadow element, and really spectacular brightness — all the place it counts. HDR imagery, each in HDR10 and Dolby Vision, appears to be like spectacular.

That leads us again to the XR processor. The backlight system does what it does when it must do it because of clever decision-making by the XR processor. At least, that’s what I believe is occurring. In the tip, what I see is a shocking TV, and since Sony is so secretive about its method, all I can do is make an clever guess.

Masterful shade

Colorful image of a large event on the Sony Z9J's display.Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Since it isn’t sufficient for me to easily state that the Z9J has impeccable shade copy, I take advantage of a Spectracal C6 colorimeter profiled to an X-rite i1 Pro spectrometer and Calman Ultimate software program to measure TV efficiency. In the realm of shade, the Z9J is an exemplary performer. I’ve solely seen two different TVs with out-of-box shade accuracy that may stand as much as the Z9J, and each of these TVs had been additionally made by Sony (the A90J and A80J).

Impeccable movement

Burning firewood imagery on the Sony Z9J TV.Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Historically Sony’s robust swimsuit, cinematic and clean movement with a minimal of artifacts is likely one of the Z9J’s extra admirable efficiency attributes. There’s a effective line between abating movement blur and introducing heavy-handed movement smoothing that makes a picture look synthetic or invokes what I take into account to be the dreaded “soap opera effect,” and I’ve but to see a model tread that line as deftly as Sony does. Although to be candid, a lot of Sony’s premium TVs carry out simply as admirably on this class at a a lot lower cost.

Superior upscaling

Since there may be treasured little 8K content material to take pleasure in (thanks, YouTube, for providing some spectacular 8K footage to take pleasure in on 8K TVs, albeit extremely compressed), it’s necessary that any 8K TV be able to upscaling 4K, 1080p, and 720p materials to 8K decision with out making it look worse than it will in its native decision. While I really feel that almost all TV producers supply strong upscaling, I’ve handy it to Sony for being a lower above the competitors on this space. Images merely look cleaner on Sony 8K TVs, regardless of the unique decision. But no TV is a miracle-worker, and I preserve that no TV 75 inches or above appears to be like good reproducing 720p cable or satellite tv for pc content material.

Stellar sound

Closeup on the bottom on the Sony Z9J's screen.Dan Baker/Digital Trends

For those that frequently learn my TV evaluations, I’ll sound like a damaged report right here. I believe a premium TV just like the Z9J deserves an equally premium sound system. Really, a TV solely must not sound horrible to be satisfactory in my e book. After that, a formidable, immersive audio expertise is greatest delivered by a top quality soundbar (we have now various wonderful ideas for the most effective soundbars you should purchase), or higher but, a multi-speaker audio system pushed by an A/V receiver (an admittedly dying breed of sound system).

All that stated, the Sony Z9J delivers a surprisingly satisfying audio expertise, with punch, grunt, readability, and musicality. It is likely one of the best-sounding TVs you should purchase. And it must be on the value.

Performance metrics

In SDR with no changes to the customized image mode (auto native dimming set to medium and peak luminance set to off). I measured 389 nits peak brightness from a ten% window. With auto native dimming set to low, I measured 431 nits, and with that setting at excessive, I received 381.

With auto native dimming fastened at medium and peak luminance set to low, I received 784 nits. With peak luminance at medium, I received 1422 nits, and set to excessive, I received 1902 nits. That’s for SDR, people. That is an insanely vibrant SDR picture. You shouldn’t take this TV exterior, however you could possibly take this TV exterior and nonetheless see it in full solar.

For HDR, I received variances relying on the place the auto native dimming setting was at, however the superior distinction setting had an enormous impact on the TV’s brightness output. Set at medium, I received 2,500 nits peak brightness. Impressive.

I reckon the Z9J might be able to pushing 4,000 nits peak brightness in small HDR highlights.

Just for grins, I went to Vivid mode, and it zoomed as much as 3,600 nits. Wow.

Consider this: Measuring a ten% white window take a look at sample isn’t a good measurement of real-content efficiency. I reckon the Z9J might be able to pushing 4,000 nits peak brightness in small HDR highlights.

Is there something it will probably’t do?

Caleb Denison playing a video game on the Sony Z9J.Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Given the mountain of reward I’ve heaped on the Z9J, it’s honest to ask what its weaknesses is likely to be. It has just a few.

First, the Sony Z9J isn’t your best option for avid gamers who need the newest options supported by next-gen gaming consoles just like the Xbox Series X/S or PCs with hot-rod graphics playing cards just like the RTX-3000 sequence. At the time of writing, variable refresh price (VRR) shouldn’t be but supported (no less than not within the U.S.) and firmware updates for VRR assist in markets exterior of the U.S. have obtained a lower than heat reception. Auto low-latency mode was solely lately supplied (type of) in a firmware replace and is reportedly buggy.

While I don’t see hardcore avid gamers going for the Z9J with so many different stellar gaming TV choices accessible at a fraction of the price, I believe anybody who pays this a lot for a TV ought to get every part. All the bells and whistles. The Z9J falls brief on this regard.

Car video game on the Sony Z9J.Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Truthfully, although, I believe the Z9J’s best weak point is that it will probably’t be loved by very many individuals’s houses. To say it’s cost-prohibitive is a gross understatement. Thankfully, I count on the Sony X95J goes to get 95% of the way in which towards the Z9J’s efficiency at a way more approachable value (comparatively talking, after all — it’s nonetheless fairly costly). Does the Z9J actually must be so expensive? Such is the cruel actuality with luxurious merchandise, I suppose.

Why I like it

Sony Z9J TV with an image of multicolor, glittery swirls on screen.Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Until I noticed the Sony Z9J, I’d have advised you the TV I’d purchase this 12 months can be both the LG G1 Gallery Series OLED or the Sony A90J OLED — and it will be a troublesome name between the 2. Now that I’ve seen this TV, I’m simply undecided. No TV has tempted me away from OLED just like the Sony Z9J. I believe it’s the HDR brightness punch and the way in which the picture appears to leap off the display screen and into my room in a method I’ve simply not seen from OLED. Don’t get me flawed, OLED remains to be the king of distinction because of its excellent black ranges, however the Z9J performs so properly that I don’t must work too laborious to forgive it for struggling a bit within the black stage division. It’s simply so good.

I spent hours merely watching it as a result of it was such an unimaginable delight to behold.

The best endorsement I can provide this TV is that I spent hours merely watching it as a result of it was such an unimaginable delight to behold. Sure, I most likely ought to have been doing different work, however I gave myself a move and watched for pure enjoyment as a result of I knew it will be one other 12 months or so earlier than a TV just like the Z9J crosses my testing room once more.

After all these hours spent watching, I’m left wanting to look at it some extra. I’ve stated that about treasured few TVs in my life.

Our take

Is there a greater different?

In phrases of image high quality, I really feel solely the LG C1 and G1 OLED TVs, the Sony A90, or the Samsung Q900R can maintain a candle to the Z9J, and for quite a lot of totally different causes. Sadly, although, the blanket reply to this query is sure, as a result of the worth of this TV is unattainable to justify.

How lengthy will it final?

The Z9J is held again solely by its lack of assist for some options related to HDMI 2.1, and people are relegated to superior gaming considerations. In phrases of product high quality and relevance, the Z9J will nonetheless be talked about 5 years or extra from now, simply because the Z9D is as we speak. Sony affords a one-year elements and labor guarantee towards defects on TVs used for in-home functions.

Should you purchase it?

If you may have the means, knock your self out. The Z9J is a stellar TV. Just you’ll want to invite me over for a watch social gathering.

Editors’ Recommendations



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