Sony Z9F TV First Impressions

As we reported previously, Sony has strictly denounced dual new high finish ‘Master Series’ TV ranges: The LCD-based Z9Fs, and a OLED-based A9Fs.

At a launch eventuality for these new TVs, Sony supposing copiousness of event for fabricated reporters to get a demeanour during how both sets were behaving – including providing conduct to heads with several competitors. Based on those demonstrations, here are my early thoughts on a Z9Fs.

The initial thing to contend is that a Z9Fs’ predecessors, a Z9Ds (reviewed here), were loyal groundbreakers, and still reason adult as superb TVs dual years after their launch. So it’s satisfactory to contend a Z9Fs have flattering vast boots to fill.

The Sony Z9F TVs finally seem to have solved LCD TVs’ observation angle problem.John Archer

In terms of design, a Z9Fs look… OK. Their use of a rarely worldly proceed backlighting complement fundamentally means they demeanour a bit chunkier spin a behind than many complicated TVs, and their large, pointed feet supports demeanour a small clumsy. The Z9F does, though, continue Sony’s new process of providing wire neat channels in a feet for stealing divided your cabling.

What you’re unequivocally meddlesome in, though, is a Z9Fs’ pattern quality. And we can flog things off here with some overwhelmingly good news: Sony unequivocally does seem to have finally burst LCD’s observation angle problem.

I was means to watch proof 75-inch and 65-inch Z9F TVs from radically any angle yet them losing so most as a spirit of tone saturation, contrariety or brightness. Nor was there any pointer of a straight light banding that can mostly spin apparent on LCD TVs when we watch them from down a side.

Side by side comparisons were accessible opposite both one of Sony’s possess X940E TVs and Samsung’s 65Q9FN QLED TVs, and in both cases a Z9F won by a landslide. In fact, a new ‘X-Wide Angle’ visual row pattern Sony’s engineers have come adult with is so good that it honestly puts LCD on a customary with OLED in observation angle terms. The significance of this can't be overstated.

The 65 and 75-inch Z9D models in action.Photo: John Archer

That said, we should highlight that Sony’s observation angle demos featured exclusively splendid content. As a result, there wasn’t most event for me to see if a softened observation angles also equivocate a problem with farfetched backlight lush that direct-lit LCD TVs can humour with when noticed off axis. However, brief off-axis glimpses of white icons appearing opposite black backdrops during a integrate of other demos did advise that X-Wide Angle record competence not entirely solve this lush issue. One of Sony’s on-stand staff reliable this to me verbally, too.

Turning to other aspects of a Z9F pictures, a thing to have in mind is that Sony has shifted concentration from where it was during a integrate of years ago when a Z9D came out. Now, as partial of a new ‘Master Series’ high-end TV promise, Sony is focused on perplexing to broach accurate pictures. An proceed that radically seems to revolve around perplexing to compare a Master Series TVs’ cinema as closely as probable to a cinema of Sony’s much-respected (and widely used in mastering houses) BVM-X300 OLED veteran monitor.

One of a initial impacts of this change in proceed is an apparent slight rebate in rise liughtness compared with a Z9D. With a shot containing a proceed pattern of a sun, for instance, a intent glowed with some-more power on a Z9D than a Z9F. Some rise highlights opposite dim backdrops, such as travel lights opposite a night sky, also looked somewhat some-more blisteringly heated on a Z9D.

This, of course, puts such highlights on a Z9F closer to a approach they demeanour on Sony’s 1000-nit OLED mastering monitor. But also, importantly, a Z9F scores a poignant advantage in rise splendid areas over a prototype when it comes to specular detailing. Where a brightest tools of a ZD9’s images demeanour rather ‘flared out’ and frosty of detail, a Z9F presents them with considerably some-more pointed colour toning and shading details.

This is what a Z9Fs demeanour like with a lights on.Photo: Sony Z9F, Sony

The apparently somewhat toned down rise liughtness of a Z9F also helps it broach a somewhat richer, some-more colourful demeanour to colors in splendid areas, as there’s no backlight ‘bleaching’ outcome going on. The new X1 Ultimate chipset is expected assisting out here too – some-more on this shortly.

The Z9F’s new estimate and backlight controls assistance it to broach generally substantial amounts of shade fact in dim areas. More, certainly, during primarily dim scenes than a Samsung Q9FN was means to imitate with a same footage.

If you’re intuiting a ‘however’ entrance up, though, you’d be right. For during a integrate of a demonstrations we were given, including a conduct to conduct with a Samsung Q9FN, a Z9F’s black spin response seemed inconsistent. On a good side, some sequences containing a unequivocally confidant brew of light and dim calm showed a Z9F’s black spin opening to be higher to that of a Z9D and even Samsung’s Q9FN, generating some-more punch and a clearly extended clarity of abyss and space.

With another exam sequence, however (featuring Elisa on a train in The Shape Of Water), while a Z9F’s tone toning was clearly most closer to that delivered by a X300 anxiety guard than that of a Samsung Q9FN, a dim areas of a pattern (the behind of Elisa’s hair, and murky creases in her jacket) looked richer and deeper on a Samsung. There was a graphic cover of greyness over such areas on a Z9F. And to be clear, this slight greyness was not benefaction on a same pattern noticed on a X300 OLED master monitor.

Also flattering conspicuous was a approach a black bars above and subsequent far-reaching aspect ratio element demeanour significantly greyer on a Z9F than they did on a Samsung Q9FN and (more predictably) a new A9F OLED.

The Sony 65Z9F from a front.Photo: Sony

In a dim bedrooms used for Sony’s demonstrations, this greyness was unequivocally utterly pronounced, and seems tough to explain on a TV with presumably hundreds of dimming zones.

Maybe it has something to do with a new visual pattern used to broach a far-reaching observation angle. Or maybe, some-more likely, it has something to do with a try to furnish tone tones and shade detailing that matches a X300. Or maybe it’s something else altogether – including a fact that a screens we were saying were pre-production models that we had not been means to tinker with. But whatever a reason behind it, a black bar greyness could potentially infer distracting in a dim room sourroundings in a stream form.

One other indicate relating to a black bars is that when a really splendid intent such as a streetlight seemed in a pattern right subsequent to a top black bar, there was transparent justification of backlight lush creeping into a bar from around a light object. Again, though, I’m carefree this emanate competence be addressable once we can play around with a Z9F pattern settings for ourselves.

Getting behind to a good news, as it did on a entrance during January’s CES, Sony’s new X1 Ultimate processor looks to be flattering stunning. Every Z9F pattern we saw during Sony’s countless demonstrations looked phenomenally minute – roughly 8K, sometimes. Colors looked abounding yet also unusually skilfully painted, adding to a clarity of fact and giving objects a reduction and clarification that creates a altogether pattern demeanour as three-dimensional as it’s probable to get yet indeed donning 3D eyeglasses (the Z9Fs do not, to be clear, support tangible 3D playback).

The X1 Ultimate is on with a TV on a right, and off with a TV on a left.Photo: John Archer

The customary energetic operation to high energetic operation acclimatisation offering by a X1 Ultimate processor looks to be remarkably good, too. A conduct to conduct display dual Z9F’s display a same loop of SDR 4K footage where one set had X1 Ultimate enabled while a other had it deactivated was a revelation. The X1 Ultimate pattern was massively richer in color; so most some-more minute it was tough to trust a other pattern was 4K; and most some-more abounding in energetic range. Crucially, though, not a singular one of a X1 Ultimate’s enhancements looked in any approach forced or unnatural. On a contrary, a footage on a X1 Ultimate shade looked forever MORE healthy than a comparatively soft, cleared out images delivered yet a processor’s help.

It was a shame, it contingency be said, that we didn’t have most event to investigate a X1 Ultimate chip using opposite a Sony set carrying a prior X1 Extreme chip. But my sense from a singular (in calm type) footage we were means to see in demo areas where X1 Extreme TVs were beside X1 Ultimate models was that a step brazen with Ultimate is considerable.

One final pivotal aspect of a Z9F’s opening to discuss is a suit handling. The introduction of Sony’s new X-Motion Clarity system, that uses a set’s internal dimming to manipulate a coming of relocating tools of a pattern alone to a rest, delivers formula during slightest as superb as those witnessed on a X900F (where a underline done a debut). In fact, I’d contend a clarity and healthy fluidity of relocating objects on a Z9F looked even improved than it did on a X90oF, presumably due to a Master Series model’s some-more absolute internal dimming complement and video processing.

Add to all a Z9F’s pattern enhancements a change to an Android Oreo intelligent interface which, during initial glance, looks distant some-more accessible than Sony’s prior Android TV efforts, and Sony potentially has something special on a hands. Provided, anyway, that a range’s pricing when it’s announced isn’t too crazy, and that a black spin concerns spin out to be possibly something we can work around, or comparatively tame in standard observation conditions.

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