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Sony X95K mini LED TV Review Should you buy it?

With all the excitement around Sony's QD OLED Television, it might be easy to forget the company has a full lineup of Televisions to consider in 2022. So with that in mind let's take a look at Sony's flagship 4K mini LED Television.


This is our review of the Sony X95K Television which is the company's best 4K mini LED backlit Television, yes mini LED. This is Sony's first crack at mini LED backlighting and I know there are a lot of questions about

  • What it looks like?

  • How many zones?

  • How's the blooming?

  • How bright is it?

Some of you might have less detailed questions like

  • Does it look awesome and should I buy it?

All of these are valid questions and I'm here to answer them. Fair warning though, the devil is in the technical details so we're going to talk about trade-offs preferences when less is more and when more is just more trouble than it's worth and In the end we'll see where the X95K might land in the ranking of the many excellent Televisions that  I expect to see on shelves in 2022.

Before I get down to business, I want to know if you have to pick a brighter HDR highlights with slightly more Blooming or Dimmer HDR highlights with slightly less Blooming. Which do you pick let me know about that down in the comments.

So a little back story in case you missed the A95K review, To review the X95K and the A95K, I flew down to Sony's HQ in San Diego and the reason I mentioned this is because I tested both Televisions in both a rather dark room at Sony's office building and in a loft in downtown San Diego which was at times soaked with Sun. So I got a chance to properly measure the Television in a light controlled space and also get a feel for how it does during the day with the drapes pulled back and Sun flooding the room. After a factory reset and confirmation that the firmware update was about the same as what the Televisions will update to when buyers set them up at home.

Looks and Display

What does the Television look like? Well it looks like Sony slimmed down the feet for the Television, So they look a bit more spelt and you can position the feet toward the ends or toward the centre if you have a narrower media stand. The X95K also got an updated remote like the A95K though it has a black brushed metal face instead of a deep bronze but the same grippy plastic backing. It also has a little speaker on the back for Sony's new finder function which emits a beeping sound when you ask Google Assistant to find your remote or you can use the power button on the back of the Television to activate it, The remote is also backlit. The back of the Television features plastic panels for concealing the connection bay and to help with cable management and also like the A95K it's got a connection bay for an included Bravia Cam which was not ready for me to test when I visited. So I'll just have to test it in a month or two when the X95K shows up on my home turf.


The X95K offers four HDMI inputs, two of which support 4K 120 hertz and variable refresh rate which yes will function right out of the box. Force an update on your older Televisions if you haven't already just to be sure. Anyway as is the case with all Bravia Televisions an ATSC 3.0 tuner is built into the Television for access to what is being called next gen Television.

The X95K runs Google Television and it runs it very well. The user menus are easy to access and navigate and otherwise daily use of the Television feels great because the Television is responsive and doesn't seem to have any issue loading up apps. And Since it is a Google Television, Chromecast is built in but the X95K also supports Airplay 2 and Homekit. I will say that when the Bravia Cam is active I think that's going to add quite a bit to the discussion it's meant to offer a bunch of features some of which may actually be useful some of which might be considered dubious. So I'll look forward to digging into that when the time comes.


Now before I get into how this Television was built, how it operates and how that all translates into picture quality; I did want to mention that Sony's anti-glare system was predictably effective during the time I used it. I didn't run it through any stress tests for instance, I didn't shine a bright light bulb directly behind my head to see how annoying the reflection was but the Television handled the light beaming in through the windows pretty well and I never found myself frustrated by glare.


Okay it is now time for our numbers for nit nerd segment where I get into some of the measurement data I got while testing this Television. If you don't care about this part feel free to skip to the next section where I'll get to how the Television looked with real world content viewing just as I will with all Televisions this year. I put the Television into its custom picture preset mode and while I did cycle the peak brightness setting through all its available options off, low, medium and high; I took the results from the medium setting as a sort of baseline for the Television's performance.

After some pretty minor adjustments to the two-point white balance here's what I got.

The peak brightness in HDR hovered just under the 1500 nit mark and like most Televisions it grew as it approached a 10 window size and then Dove down as the white window got larger.

Also Read: What is the difference between LCD, LED and Plasma Television

When I ran the peak luminance stability test, it hung out right at 1400 NITS for about 30 seconds solid without significantly dimming at which point I just moved on without any adjustment to the white balance.

The grayscale errors were already ridiculously low and dropped to below perceivable error with only minor adjustments and when I checked color, I saw similar accuracy with HDR colors also peaking at about 1400 NITS which is pretty impressive.

P3 color gamut coverage was at about 95 and BT 2020 coverage was very good but not as good as I was expecting and to be perfectly honest here, I'm looking forward to testing this Television again later this year but I got about 72 and I'm looking forward to seeing what Samsung's Neo Q LED, LG's QNED and TCL's own mini LED Q-LED sets come in at later this year for comparison.


Peak specular highlights and HDR on this Television were fan freaking-tastic. Outside of the test patterns I think the Television was exceeding 1500 nits pretty handily, that's Sony's processing coming into play. In my experience Sony's chip doesn't game peak brightness readings when it recognizes a test pattern the way some other Televisions do so.

When it came time to watching Television I was very dazzled by HDR highlights. Average picture level on the Television was also excellent. It has a very high brightness image that frankly I think punches well above most of the other mini LED Televisions.

So now comes the kind of challenging part of this review and I'm going to be pretty transparent with you here. Sony has a Television design and engineering philosophy that it is very comfortable with and for the most part I tend to agree with their decision making. However what I'm starting to learn as I compare all these mini LED backlit Televisions is that there are always going to be trade-offs to make and in the end which trade-offs a Television brand makes is going to appeal to the varying preferences of individual viewers.

Now those of you who have read my posts for a while know that, I found Sony Televisions tend to have better performance using fewer backlight dimming zones than some other Television brands that go for like maximum backlight dimming zones. In other cases there are premium Television makers who use more backlight dimming zones very effectively and as a result get deeper black levels and less blooming around bright spots on otherwise dark backgrounds.

In fact last year I was pretty critical of the Sony X90J because not only did it not use many LED backlights while much of the competition was, I felt like it's black level suffered a bit and there was more blooming than I wanted to see on a Television of its calibre.

So now Sony is using mini LED backlights and this is the top of the line 4K LED set.

So how does the X95K perform in terms of brightness, black levels and blooming mitigation?

On the whole I think Sony has made a pretty smart call. The blooming on this Television is pretty minimal. I stress tested the X95K with bright white captions down in the black letterbox bar area which some might say is a little unfair but hey I watch in the dark with captions on all the time, so it's real for me. Now there is a little blooming which is always to be expected to some degree and there is a little more blooming than you might see on say a Samsung QN90A though not by much.

On the other hand though the X95K's average picture level was brighter and its peak highlights were also brighter than a Samsung QN98. Now I did not have enough time to sit and count the dimming zones on the X95K but I will go ahead and do that when I get the Television up here in Techronicle office and do some more testing however as I've learned over the past three years or so, more dimming zones doesn't always mean better performance.

Also Read: Samsung QD-OLED TV The best Television in the world from Samsung

Could the X95K have better performance with more dimming zones? It's possible but I have some doubts, I mean at some point you run into the law of diminishing returns adding zones may add more precise backlight control but no amount of backlight control can correct for the fact that there will always be some level of blooming on an LCD based Television.

The Good Points of Sony X95K

We go back to what is your preference? Do you want higher Specular highlights and higher average picture level or do you want to sacrifice some of that for less blooming and slightly better measurable black levels?

Personally I find myself tending to live in the former camp, however I recognize that what some folks want is the latter. They want an LCD Television that gets as close to OLED performance as possible in the blacks while being notably brighter than OLED. I mean let's be honest that kind of Television is what Samsung has been chasing for the past few years and it's because we asked for it. So what little sacrifices to blooming mitigation the X95K may make, it does it in favour of brighter overall picture and more high impact specular highlights. I'm going to say like 90 percent of the content that folks watch, I don't think the blooming is going to be an issue and when it can be seen you really have to go looking for it.

So going forward, this year I'm going to try to show you exactly what I'm talking about when we drill down deep into these Televisions performance particularly when we're comparing two very high performance Televisions. Where the question isn't so much, which Television is better but which Television serves your particular preferences. Which Television does what thing better because when I stand back and stop literally picking knits there's no denying that the X95K is an extremely impressive Television.


To be perfectly frank it was really hard to have the Sony A95 QD OLED in one part of the room doing its thing while the X95K was in another part of the room doing its thing. There's a lot to like about both of them. What I kept coming back to on the X95K was that it had similar color saturation, similar color accuracy, impressive black levels and shadow detail, great depth, I mean really great depth to the picture that's probably what struck me the most and exceptionally dazzling HDR highlights. I think the brightness capability of this Television really helps serve to add depth to the overall contrast and so the realism of the images came off as superior to what I've seen on most of the mini LED backlit Televisions I reviewed last year.

So overall fantastic picture, the race for the best mini LED backlit Television is definitely on and it is going to be a super tight one this year. Samsung, Sony, LG, TCL between the performance and the variants in prices it's going to be a super fun time getting these Televisions in various versus posts to see which ones come out on top.

But no surprise I suppose the X95K is going to be a serious contender.

What are the Cons of Sony X95K?

So what's the bad stuff? Well it's an LCD Television and as such the off-angle viewing experience takes a bit of a hit when you sit dead on the color. Contrast and Saturation is excellent and then the further you travel off to the side, the more those factors tend to drop off. Also as some have already complained about on the A95K, you're getting just two inputs with 4K 120 and VRR capability one of which is the E-ARC port which may be a limiting factor for a few of you out there.

Also Read: The 2022 Infinix X3 43 inch Smart TV Full Review, The best budget TV at $265?

So what else? Honestly I wasn't able to unearth much. Else so far, motion looks super smooth especially cinematic content, almost no judder and if you want motion smoothing, I think Sony is giving users the best level of variable control to get smooth picture without sapping the image of its realism.

Honestly I think this is a Television that's going to need to be on the test bench for at least a week of heavy use and I definitely want to use it for a full month and compare it to other Televisions to get into exposing what few limitations it may have. I mean no Television is perfect and I think we'll find a few flaws when we've had a chance to dig in even deeper but on the whole the X95K is every bit the premium Television I was hoping it would be.

How is the Sound Quality of Sony X95K? 

When it comes to sound quality, I have a feeling that Sony is going to leave most of the competition in the dust. The X95K sounds pretty incredible. The fidelity has been improved pretty dramatically over last year's X95J. The X95K sounds more open and less boxed in and has even more bass support than before. Sure it'll make a great centre channel if that's the job you give it but it stands up really well all on its own. With great sound positioning around the screen and good virtual surround sound effects as well as for gaming. Once again as I suggested with the A95K, I think it will be excellent for playing video games. The addition of variable refresh rate is a nice ad and when I get a chance to test input lag, I think we'll find it to be competitive if not the lowest you can get.


Will it be the most advanced gaming Television option on the market? No absolutely not; but for the vast majority of folks, playing games on consoles it's going to offer an awesome experience thanks to its excellent picture quality and sound quality.


So my takeaway on the X95K, at this point it's easily in contention for one of the best 4K LCD based Televisions you can buy this year and I think the race for that title is going to be the tightest it has ever been really. I think things are getting so close now that we're going to have to start talking more than ever about personal preferences but I can say for sure that the X95K is going to make that discussion super interesting. Thanks as always for reading everyone as is usually the case this time of year pricing and ship dates for 2022 Televisions isn't out this early, we will update the post once the price is out. So with that in mind how much do you think the 65 inch X95K should cost? Let's talk about that down in the comments. Don't forget to subscribe to our RSS feed and do share this post with your friends as well who might be thinking of buying a new Television.

 Also Read: Why do we see Random Codes or Number on Screen while watching TV (Hindi)

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