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TVs are in a good place right now when it comes to gaming. Most manufacturers are incorporating options like HDMI 2.1, HDR is getting good, and the game modes are great at eliminating input lag. That leaves most people in a situation where they will have a hard time going wrong. And although if you ask which TV to buy to play with, you are likely to hear the same answer from many people. What if your budget is a few hundred dollars less than the LG C1? Well that’s where alternatives like the Sony Bravia X90J come into play.
The X90J is now available for around $ 1,100 as a 50-inch model. You can get the 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch ones for around $ 1,300, $ 1,500, and $ 2,400, respectively. This is an LCD TV that uses a VA panel, which means you sacrifice some viewing angles for a fast refresh rate. It also uses Google TV, which is the latest version of Android for televisions. And I’m a huge fan of that because it feels like a modern operating system that also has support for almost all video platforms. You can even install apps like Steam Link or Moonlight from the Google Play Store to stream games from a local PC.
I tested the 65-inch model, which uses Sony’s XR processor. It is a nice and responsive TV that is capable of delivering a sharp picture. Let’s talk about it.
Sony’s Bravia X90J looks great
The X90J incorporates many of the most important features of a gaming television. It has an excellent 5500: 1 contrast ratio, which offers a rich image, especially in a darker space. Fortunately, Sony also combined that with decent HDR performance. This TV can get over 700 nits in peak brightness, which is better than many other TVs in this range. It’s still not the 1,000 nits that are considered the high-end standard, but again, it’s fantastic in dark spaces.
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The set also has strong local dimming zones. This is not like some more expensive TVs where you have dozens of zones, but a high luminance object only has a slight bleed on a dark background. At least, that’s the case if you agree with television. The lighting in the area is much more noticeable from an angle, but that’s typical for a VA panel.
Contrast, local dimming, and HDR are essential for a great picture, and the X90J has HDMI 2.1 to allow you to reach the full potential of the new generation of consoles. This means that you can get 120Hz at 4K from an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. But you will need to use the HDMI 3 or 4 ports. And that’s a bit frustrating because the HDMI 3 input is also the audio return channel, so You can end up dedicating it to a surround device or sound bar.
Also, it is important to note that Bravia does not yet support Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) like FreeSync. Sony plans to add that in a firmware update, but I would recommend not taking a company at its word for that sort of thing. If VRR is important to you, choose a different set for now.
Easy to set up
Another key to why I like the X90J is that it is easy to set up, it comes with an image that looks freshly calibrated. With a few simple contrast and brightness changes depending on your room, you’re ready to go without spending hours fiddling with settings.
The Sony TV has great color accuracy, but more importantly, it makes it really hard to screw it up.
I also appreciate the Google TV interface. It’s easy to navigate and Sony does a good job of not burying the settings.
The reality is that the Sony X90J is a great TV. The image is excellent and easy to use. Its shortcomings include a lack of VRR at the moment, an overly reflective screen in bright rooms, and a mediocre speaker array. But overall, I really like it.
The problem is that it is in a difficult place in the market. Sure, an LG C1 is significantly more expensive: $ 700 more in 65 inches. But you can get a Samsung Q80A for around $ 1,400 at 65 inches or a 65-inch TCL 6-Seriers for $ 1,300. And Sony doesn’t completely outperform either of them, even if it could probably rise to the top in a showdown between the three.
But I would recommend the X90J as long as you care for a fairly long list of caveats. If you don’t need VRR, you want Google TV built in, you don’t mind the speakers disappoint, you mostly use a TV in a darker room, and you want something that lasts, then the X90J is the choice for you.
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