Sony Bravia XR Z9J Grasp Sequence 8K HDR TV

MSRP $6,500.00

“The Z9J is among the finest TVs ever made.”

Professionals

  • Unimaginable brightness
  • Glorious backlight management/black ranges
  • Spot-on colour
  • Very good movement
  • Nice sound

Cons

  • Lacks high-end gaming options
  • Very costly

The Sony Grasp Sequence Bravia XR Z9J is among the most aspirational TVs you should purchase as we speak. Certain, LG has its $30,000 Z9-Sequence 8K OLED TV, however amongst LED/LCD TVs, the Sony Z9J is the most costly commercially obtainable TV you should purchase. With a road value of roughly $6,500, the 75-inch Sony Z9J makes Samsung’s $2,600 flagship 75-inch 8K Q900R appear like a price range purchase by comparability.

Do you want the Z9J? No. Would you like the Z9J? Sure. Will you ever personal one? I doubt it. Right here’s the factor, although: None of that basically issues.

Enable me to clarify.

Pure Sony flex

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

The Sony Grasp Sequence Z9J is the successor to a lineage of Z-series TVs which have represented one of the best that Sony could make. After we speak about “setting the bar,” that’s what the Z-series is supposed to do. If the Z9J might communicate on Sony’s behalf, I think about it could say one thing like, “Hello. I’m the Z9J. I’m one of the best LED/LCD TV that Sony has ever made and I’m one of the best LED/LCD TV that cash should buy. Sony is aware of TV engineering higher than another model and I’m the proof.”

That Z9J — such a blowhard. However does it have the chops to again up these claims? For probably the most part, sure it does.

Whereas 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 stability, the Sony Z9J bests all of them with the precise … effectively, stability of efficiency in all probably the most vital areas. Maybe extra importantly, although, the Z9J is simply enjoyable as hell to observe.

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

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

Display screen Dimension Mannequin Quantity  MSRP
75-inch

XR75Z9J

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

Once more with the processor

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

Sony’s newest technology of picture processing chips known as Cognitive Processor XR. For the sake of brevity — and little doubt 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 fully baffled. Look, I’m not an engineer, I simply play one on TV.

What I perceive is that the processor is meant to know 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 now have a picture of a cheetah nestled within the grassy plains of Africa on the display, with the cheetah within the foreground and the grasses within the background, the XR processor will seemingly pour its energy into resolving superb element within the cheetah’s coat for each body through which it seems fairly than attempt to add element to a blurred-out background of grass. That’s good decision-making.

One other method to categorical the significance of this TV’s processor: If the Z9J had been a car, the XR processor can be its engine. A number of different manufacturers construct TVs utilizing most of the identical parts 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 right down to the wheels, tires, mirrors, seats, and steering wheel — and it could look precisely like a McLaren 720s. However toss a Toyota Camry engine below the hood, and that car has zero hope of performing something remotely like a McLaren 720s.

Since I’m now dug into this car 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 car a Chevy Malibu drivetrain and suspension … effectively, 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 to be able to pull off its magic. That brings us to the backlight system.

Confirmed backlight system

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

Sony used to name its fancy backlight system “Sony Backlight Grasp Drive.” That’s advertising and marketing communicate for Sony’s Secret Sauce lighting system. Whereas LG, Samsung, and TCL are touting mini-LED backlighting techniques, Sony is sticking with a tried-and-true system that is still a thriller to all who’re unable to bodily choose it aside and analyze it — it simply ditched the flamboyant identify. Ask Sony what’s happening behind the scenes and it’ll reply with one thing alongside the traces of, “We’re not saying, nevertheless it appears nice, doesn’t it?”

Truthful sufficient, Sony. You gained’t say. And also you’re proper. It does look nice.

HDR imagery, each in HDR10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient, appears spectacular.

I don’t understand how it’s that Sony can use a fraction of normal-sized LEDs with far fewer dimming zones than the competitors and one way or the other give you a TV that appears higher than TVs with far more spectacular specs on paper, however the firm pulls this trick off yr after yr. The result’s wonderful backlight management with minimal blooming and halo results, wonderful black ranges, very spectacular shadow element, and actually spectacular brightness — all the place it counts. HDR imagery, each in HDR10 and Dolby Imaginative and prescient, appears 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. A minimum of, that’s what I feel is occurring. Ultimately, 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 colour

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

Because it isn’t sufficient for me to easily state that the Z9J has impeccable colour copy, I exploit a Spectracal C6 colorimeter profiled to an X-rite i1 Professional spectrometer and Calman Final software program to measure TV efficiency. Within the space of colour, the Z9J is an exemplary performer. I’ve solely seen two different TVs with out-of-box colour 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 Developments

Traditionally Sony’s sturdy swimsuit, cinematic and easy movement with a minimal of artifacts is among the Z9J’s extra admirable efficiency attributes. There’s a superb 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 “cleaning soap opera impact,” and I’ve but to see a model tread that line as deftly as Sony does. Though 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 valuable little 8K content material to get pleasure from (thanks, YouTube, for providing some spectacular 8K footage to get pleasure from on 8K TVs, albeit extremely compressed), it’s vital that any 8K TV be able to upscaling 4K, 1080p, and 720p materials to 8K decision with out making it look worse than it could in its native decision. Whereas 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. Pictures merely look cleaner on Sony 8K TVs, regardless of the unique decision. However no TV is a miracle-worker, and I preserve that no TV 75 inches or above appears 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 Developments

For many who commonly learn my TV evaluations, I’ll sound like a damaged report right here. I feel a premium TV just like the Z9J deserves an equally premium sound system. Actually, a TV solely must not sound horrible to be satisfactory in my ebook. After that, a formidable, immersive audio expertise is finest delivered by a high quality soundbar (we now have various superb options for one of the best 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 mentioned, the Sony Z9J delivers a surprisingly satisfying audio expertise, with punch, grunt, readability, and musicality. It is among the best-sounding TVs you should purchase. And it needs to be on the value.

Efficiency 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 bought 381.

With auto native dimming mounted at medium and peak luminance set to low, I bought 784 nits. With peak luminance at medium, I bought 1422 nits, and set to excessive, I bought 1902 nits. That’s for SDR, of us. That’s an insanely shiny SDR picture. You shouldn’t take this TV outdoors, however you could possibly take this TV outdoors and nonetheless see it in full solar.

For HDR, I bought 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 bought 2,500 nits peak brightness. Spectacular.

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

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

Contemplate this: Measuring a ten% white window check 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 might probably’t do?

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

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

First, the Sony Z9J isn’t your best option for players who need the most recent options supported by next-gen gaming consoles just like the Xbox Sequence X/S or PCs with hot-rod graphics playing cards just like the RTX-3000 sequence. On the time of writing, variable refresh fee (VRR) isn’t but supported (at the very least not within the U.S.) and firmware updates for VRR help in markets outdoors of the U.S. have acquired a lower than heat reception. Auto low-latency mode was solely not too long ago provided (form of) in a firmware replace and is reportedly buggy.

Whereas I don’t see hardcore players going for the Z9J with so many different stellar gaming TV choices obtainable at a fraction of the price, I feel anybody who pays this a lot for a TV ought to get every little thing. All of the bells and whistles. The Z9J falls quick on this regard.

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

In truth, although, I feel the Z9J’s biggest weak point is that it might probably’t be loved by very many individuals’s houses. To say it’s cost-prohibitive is a gross understatement. Fortunately, 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 need to be so dear? 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 Developments

Till I noticed the Sony Z9J, I might have instructed you the TV I might purchase this yr can be both the LG G1 Gallery Sequence OLED or the Sony A90J OLED — and it could be a tricky name between the 2. Now that I’ve seen this TV, I’m simply unsure. No TV has tempted me away from OLED just like the Sony Z9J. I feel it’s the HDR brightness punch and the way in which the picture appears to leap off the display and into my room in a means I’ve simply not seen from OLED. Don’t get me improper, OLED remains to be the king of distinction because of its excellent black ranges, however the Z9J performs so effectively that I don’t need to work too arduous to forgive it for struggling a bit within the black degree 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. Certain, I most likely ought to have been doing different work, however I gave myself a go and watched for pure enjoyment as a result of I knew it could be one other yr or so earlier than a TV just like the Z9J crosses my testing room once more.

In spite of everything these hours spent watching, I’m left wanting to observe it some extra. I’ve mentioned that about valuable few TVs in my life.

Our take

Is there a greater different?

By way 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 a wide range of totally different causes. Sadly, although, the blanket reply to this query is sure, as a result of the worth of this TV is unimaginable to justify.

How lengthy will it final?

The Z9J is held again solely by its lack of help for some options related to HDMI 2.1, and people are relegated to superior gaming issues. By way 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 presents a one-year parts and labor guarantee in opposition to defects on TVs used for in-home functions.

Must you purchase it?

If in case you have the means, knock your self out. The Z9J is a stellar TV. Simply make sure to invite me over for a watch occasion.

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