Sony’s Master Alternation TVs are advised to action boilerplate consumers the aing examination acquaintance to the company’s able arrive monitors, like the BVM-X300. That’s a aerial bar, because the 30-inch OLED BVM-X300 costs about $30,000. Still, the Master Alternation tries to arise as aing as it can for about a tenth the price, while accumulation actualization like Android TV with hands-free Google Abettor articulation control. The band is breach into the OLED-based A9F and the LCD-based Z9F. At $3,499.99 for the 65-inch XBR-65Z9F LCD we tested, it offers one of the brightest pictures we’ve apparent and a advanced blush range. It’s an absorbing TV that offers solid antagonism to added flagship LCDs like Samsung’s Q9FN series, admitting if you’re arcade in this bulk ambit you should accept at atomic one eye angry adjoin OLED models.
The Z9F embodies the aforementioned stark, minimalist architecture Sony uses for its smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. It looks appreciably apparent at aboriginal glance, with a flat, black, textured metal bezel 0.6 inches advanced on the abandon and top and 0.8 inches advanced on the bottom. Apart from the Sony logo in the centermost of the basal bezel, aloof aloft an indicator ablaze belted by two microphone holes, the Z9F could be mistaken for a actual well-made, graceful account TV. Two V-shaped atramentous metal legs abutment it, positioned a the abandon of the awning for adherence (so accomplish abiding the apparent you set it on is advanced abundant to authority both legs).
An HDMI port, two USB ports, a 3.5mm anchorage for analog video input, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and two 3.5mm ports for an bittersweet receiver and blaster sit on the aback of the TV, adverse left. Three HDMI ports, a USB 3.0 port, an Ethernet port, an optical audio output, an antenna/cable connector, and a 3.5mm anchorage for RS232 controllers face down, erect to the side-facing ports. A multi-purpose ability on and plus/minus ons sit on the lower larboard corner; the ability on can be captivated bottomward to about-face the TV off, or broke to about-face amid functions like aggregate control.
Sony continues to be adequately bromidic with its on-filled remotes. The Z9F’s alien is a 7.9-by-1.9-inch (HW) atramentous baton covered with blur ons. A annular aeronautics pad sits in the average of the, amidst by card ons. Power, Input, Google Assistant, Google Play, and Netflix ons sit aloft the aeronautics pad, forth with a cardinal pad and four blush ons. Volume, channel, and playback controls sit beneath the aeronautics pad. The pad itself has baby elastic nubs to accomplish it easier to acquisition beneath the thumb, but best of the remote’s ons feel actual agnate and crave you to attending at them to apperceive what you’re pressing.
The Z9F is an Android TV, which agency it’s adequately loaded with apps, services, and features. The Google Comedy app abundance for Android TV is abounding with big alive video names, like Amazon, Crunchyroll, Google Comedy TV & Movies, Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV, and YouTube, forth with affluence of channel-specific apps and alike video players for bounded media on networked accumulator or acquainted into the TV’s USB ports. It has some able options for music, including Google Comedy Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Spotify, and Tidal. There are alike Android amateur if you appetite to brace a Bluetooth ambassador with the TV (though we still acclaim a committed d arrangement if you absolutely appetite to comedy amateur on your TV).
As an Android TV device, the Z9F supports Google Cast. This agency the TV acts as if a Google Chromecast Ultra is acquainted into it, absolution you beck agreeable from your smartphone or tablet, or beck Chrome tabs from your PC.
On top of all of the altered alive options the Z9F offers, it additionally actualization Google Assistant. We’ve apparent Google Abettor on antecedent Sony Android TVs, but the Z9F takes it a footfall added by activity hands-free. A far-field microphone arrangement in the TV lets you say, “Hey Google,” afterwards which you can ask Google Abettor for annihilation after alike affecting the alien (which usually holds a breach microphone that enables articulation abettor features, like on earlier Sony Android TVs and Amazon Fire TV devices). This is actual useful, aing the Android TV-powered Nvidia Shield TV and the Amazon Fire TV Cube as one of the few hands-free articulation assistant-connected TV devices.
Google Abettor can accommodate advice like acclimate reports, sports scores, accent translation, assemblage conversion, and accepted trivia, with argument and acknowledging cartoon actualization on the TV. It additionally lets you anon ascendancy the TV with articulation commands, like adjusting aggregate and switching inputs. Besides the TV function, Google Abettor can ascendancy a array of acute home accessories like affiliated lights, locks, and thermostats. Of course, you can additionally use articulation chase to attending for movies, music, and shows. That all of these actualization can be acclimated after affecting annihilation is a absolutely acute angle (and the acumen the Alexa-equipped Amazon Fire TV Cube becoming our Editors’ Choice for media streamers).
The Z9F is an ultra aerial analogue (UHD, or 4K) TV that supports HDR in both HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats.
We analysis TVs application a Klein K-10A colorimeter, a Murideo SIX-G arresting generator, and SpectraCal’s CalMAN software application alignment based on Imaging Science Foundation’s arrangement techniques. Out of the box, in Custom approach (Sony’s adopted cinema approach if you don’t accept the TV professionally calibrated), the Z9F shows a aiguille accurateness of 680.47cd/m2 with a abounding acreage white arrangement and a blindingly ablaze 1,677.49cd/m2 with an 18-percent field. Atramentous levels aren’t absolutely as absorbing with 0.12cd/m2 application the absence settings and 0.06cd/m2 with atramentous accessory set to High, but the console still after-effects in a actual aerial 27,958:1 adverse ratio. It’s bigger adverse than the Samsung Q9FN, but like all LCD TVs, it can’t blow the absolute atramentous levels and “infinite” adverse of OLED models like Sony’s A1E (and apparently Master Alternation A9F) and LG’s E8P. OLEDs can’t ability the aiguille accurateness of high-end LED-backlit LCDs, but they handle atramentous far better.
Color achievement is a bit abstract out of the box. The aloft blueprint shows P3 blush levels as boxes and abstinent blush levels as dots. The Z9F shows a hardly air-conditioned but still adequately authentic white akin and reds and dejection that hit P3 levels, with blooming advancing up a bit short. Cyans run a bit cool, but the big abruptness is how balmy yellows lean, to the point of an absolute yellow-red tint. The Samsung Q9FN charcoal the best absorbing TV we’ve apparent in agreement of blush achievement yet, hitting the abounding P3 blush area with arresting accurateness out of the box. LG’s E8P additionally performs admirably, but with a tiny bit beneath ability adjoin red and actual hardly warmer (but not to the admeasurement of the Z9F) yellows.
Professional arrangement can be an big-ticket action that requires high-end accessories and training, but it doesn’t charge to be time-consuming on the Z9F. Sony has added abutment for automated arrangement on the Z9F and A9F TVs. This lets calibrators (or anyone with admission to a colorimeter and SpectraCal’s CalMAN software) download an Android TV app that serves as a arresting generator, affix their computer to the TV and the colorimeter to the computer, and go through a abounding white antithesis and blush arrangement action with alone a few clicks and a few account of watching the awning change. This is a adequately new affection that has additionally been formed out to high-end LG and Samsung TVs, and could eventually accomplish able arrangement added economical.
Out of the box, in Custom account mode, the Z9F’s able adverse achievement comes through able-bodied back assuming BBC’s Planet Earth II. Sloth fur and timberline bark, both aphotic and ablaze in blush and beneath absolute sunlight and shade, get affluence of accomplished arrangement detail. The hardly anemic greens in affiliation to reds and dejection accord baptize and plants a hardly warmer actualization than we’d prefer, but they still attending abundantly natural.
Deadpool looks actual acceptable on the Z9F, with the appellation character’s red apparel attractive well-saturated and the bark tones of the gunmen actualization natural, after any bluish or amethyst cast beneath the actual air-conditioned clouded lighting of the aperture gunfight. The afire lab action arena after in the blur shows affluence of detail in balanced, aphotic caliginosity adjoin the ablaze yellows and oranges of the flames. Some ablaze blossom can be apparent in the letterboxing with bounded concealment enabled, but it’s adequately humble and alone absolutely comes out in moments with lots of extremes of ablaze and dark.
The Z9F’s accomplished adverse makes the affair scenes in The Abundant Gatsby looks excellent. Aphotic apparel and beard get affluence of adumbration detail after attractive addled or done out, and highlights absorb their own able capacity while attractive actual bright. Bark tones arise accustomed adjoin the extremes of ablaze and dark, alike back the ablaze is clashing amid harsh, air-conditioned white and balmy amber.
Input lag is the bulk of time amid back a TV receives a arresting and the awning updates. In Custom mode, the Z9F shows a actual aerial 99.2ms ascribe lag with a 1080p 60fps lag tester. However, Bold approach cuts that bottomward to a abundant added reasonable 22.1ms, putting it aing abundant to the 20ms beginning we use for because a TV to be actual acceptable for arena video games.
You can comedy amateur on any TV, of course, but aggressive gaming demands a actual acknowledging account with low ascribe lag. Our account of the best TVs for gaming shows some added options with alike lower ascribe lag, including the Samsung Q9FN (15.6ms). If you appetite a awning that does bigger than about 12-14ms, though, you charge to about-face to a committed gaming monitor.
Under accustomed examination conditions, in the Custom account mode, the 65Z9F consumes 191 watts. Setting Ability Saving to Low reduces that to 164 watts after appreciably concealment the screen. Setting Ability Saving to Aerial dims the awning significantly, to the point area it’s not adequate to watch.
Sony’s Master Alternation TVs are visually and technically absorbing flagship models with prices to match. The LCD-based Z9F has one of the brightest panels we’ve seen, for accomplished adverse performance, admitting its blush accurateness out of the box isn’t absolutely as spot-on as we’ve arise to apprehend from TVs in this bulk range. Blush can be bigger with calibration, but that’s addition advance to accomplish on top of the 65-inch model’s $3,500 bulk tag, alike if the abutment for automated arrangement makes the action faster for the calibrator. Hands-free Google Abettor abutment and the able Android TV belvedere are abundant boons, however.
If you appetite a big-screen flagship TV about the aforementioned bulk as the Z9F, the Samsung Q9FN actualization absurd blush ambit and accurateness and able contrast, alike if its acute TV belvedere isn’t about as able as Android TV, and Samsung’s Bixby articulation abettor is both beneath advantageous than and not hands-free like Google Abettor is. If you can absorb a bit added for the best picture, an OLED TV like LG’s E8P and Sony’s A1E are both accomplished choices. We attending advanced to testing Sony’s OLED Master Alternation A9F TV in the approaching to see how it endless up adjoin its antecedent and LG’s offerings, as able-bodied as its LCD counterpart.
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