A Review of the Sony X930C 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV (2015 Model) – XBR65X930C
The XBR-65X930C from Sony is without a doubt one of the two or three best-non OLED 4K TVs on sale today. Along with its slightly larger cousin the XBR65X940C, it’s almost perfectly matched with Samsung’s JS9500 SUHD 4K TV model. What this means is that this is a 4K TV with virtually unmatchable 4K picture quality, exquisite contrast thanks to its HDR-enhancement technology and some of the best color rendering to be found today. In terms of color in particular, this TV may possibly be rivaled only by its cousin the Sony XBR75X9405C.
Coming with a 65 inch TV screen (as opposed to the 75 inch display of the XBR75X940C), the XBR-65X930C delivers a blend of intensely powerful high resolution magnetic fluid speakers, exquisite display technology and fully modern connectivity. Furthermore, as one of the two flagship TVs for the entire Sony 4K TV line, the XBR-65X930C, offers a pile of highly advanced and innovative new technologies like next-generation phosphor-enhanced Triluminos Color, HDR-compatibility, Full-array LED backlighting and some of the best 4K and HD image scaling and processing technology in current existence thanks to its X1 Processor engine.
In essence, except for LG’s 4K OLED TV models, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better 4K TV on the market if you look beyond the Sony XBR-65X930C (or its cousin the XBR75X940C).
Let’s begin with the heavily redesigned new smart TV platform of the XBR-65X930C. This comes to us courtesy of Android TV from Google and is something that this model shares in common with most of the other Sony 2015 TVs. Android TV offers a whole array of technologies that are aimed at maximal ease of use, interactivity and access to a massive range of apps and content features. This content could include 4K streaming video, HD and SD video and of course a pile of audio media that will sound incredible on this TVs massive speaker array (more on these later down). Furthermore, thanks to Android TV’s presence, users of the XBR-65X930C also get much easier access to the Google content network and its huge array of video, audio and app options.
Next up, the XBR-65X930C comes with a whole pile of image enhancement technologies that are what make it one of the finest 4K TVs on sale right now. These include Triluminos Display color enhancement, a beautifully powerful HD-to-4K upscaling engine and some of the best contrast on the market, contrast which is ready for HDR as of this summer’s firmware updates for this model –and the XBR75X940C. What also works in this TV to make these other technologies work even more intelligently for some superb precision is the XBR-65X930C’s X1 Processing engine, which is also used to power this TV’s amazingly good HD upscaling engine and to precision-tune brightness control in the TV’s full-array LED backlighting system.
And speaking of that LED backlight, it’s also an integral part of the XBR-65X930C’s brightness and nearly unbeatable contrast levels. The HDR-capability of this TV stems largely from the full-array LED backlight and also partly from some extremely sharp, precise contrast enhancing local dimming technology, which can reduce lighting almost down to the pixel level, creating a play of light and dark on the screen that looks nearly as good as what you’d find in an OLED TV. For an LCD/LED TV, this is one of the best compliments that can be given to it.
Finally, there is the sound system on the XBR-65X930C. The magnetic fluid speakers on this model are even better than the giant speakers on last year’s Sony Bravia 4K TVs and they have to be heard to be believed. This is one of very few 4K TVs on sale today that delivers a level of sound quality which almost eclipses that of its visual capabilities.
4.4 - 12 Reviews
Bad is a word that an owner of the Sony XBR-65X930C would hardly know. This TV pretty much has it all and along with its nearly identical cousin the XBR75X940C sits at the very top of what Sony has come up with so far in 4K entertainment. With that in mind, the following minor deficiencies are nothing close to being deal breakers in a normal sense.
First of all, the TV is bulky. Sony has thrown the idea of minimalist ultra-thin design out the window and replaced it with robust power thanks to those giant side-mounted speakers. Thus, in exchange for some of the best TV sound in existence today, you get a design that’s several inches thick at the base and tapers up to a little over an inch of thickness at the top. Furthermore, in consequence, the XBR-65X930C is certainly heavy for a 4K TV of its size.
Another minor deficiency is the refinement of the Android TV smart TV platform. Android TV is definitely a winner but it still needs a bit more refinement to be as smooth and user-friendly as the webOS 2.0 and Tizen operating systems on the 2015 LG and Samsung models.
Aside from these two minor weaknesses, the XBR-65X930C is pretty much as ideal a 4K TV as you can get with today’s technology.
How can we not recommend the superb technology and design of the XBR65X930C from Sony. This 4K TV has the best of almost everything, works as well as or possibly slightly better than Samsung’s SUHD models and also costs almost $2000 less than its Samsung rival the 65 inch JS9500. Thought it is comparable to the JS8500. The XBR65X930C is an absolute winner for any serious home entertainment system.
Screen size: 65 diagonal inches
Smart TV: Yes
HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
Refresh Rate: 120Hz native refresh rate (MotionFlow 1200)
Screen Lighting: edge-lit LED backlighting with Local dimming
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
Remotes: Sony touch pad remote, conventional button remote and iPhone App remote
Connectivity: 4 HDMI 2.0 ports, 3 USB ports, Ethernet, RF connection, Audio Output, Component video, 2 x Composite video, MHL (HDMI port 2) Bluetooth.
Sound: 12.5 W + 12.5 W + 12.5 W + 12.5 W + 20 W + 20 W full range speakers with S-Force Front Surround and S-Master sound. Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Plus included
Dynamic Contrast Ratio: over 1 million
Other Display Features: Triluminos Display with local dimming and Dynamic Backlight Control
TV weight without/with stand: 104.28 lb lb / 105.82 lb
Dimensions: 34.29 x 67.17 x 3.54 inches without stand/ 35.87 x 67.17 x 11.50 inches with stand
Processor: 4K Processor X1
As far as highlights go, we’ll start with the most visible and obvious of them all, the giant and incredibly powerful sound system that is the dominant physical characteristic of the XBR-65X930C and its cousins. Sony, at least for some of its best 4K TVs decided to completely break with the ultra-thin and minimalist lead taken by most of the other major manufacturers and simply take advantage of this liberation by giving buyers of this TV a sound system that’s virtually unrivaled. Even Sony’s own 2014 4K Bravia TV models with gigantic speakers don’t match the XBR-65X930C in terms of sound quality. This is because this year’s speakers are even better than what was available last year.
The new magnetic fluid sound system of the XBR-65X930C has been beefed right up to be better than ever before by offering four 12.5 watt speakers and two 20 watt versions all right inside the TV’s body. In comparison to the dual 10 to 20 watt setup most other 4K UHD models offer, Sony’s sound system is huge. Furthermore, this sound system is one of the few which has been rated so well that it’s actually good enough for compatibility with Hi-Res Audio playback, offering complete FLAC support and the capacity to play WAV files of as many as 96KHZ at 24-bit resolution. This is a level of sound quality you won’t find inside of almost any other non-Sony 4K TV.
Next up are the TV’s Android Smart features. These include a whole array of interactive capabilities like Google Cast support, compatibility with any networked Android device and access to the enormous Google content network, with its thousands of apps and other media resources. All of this is possible specifically because the XBR-65X930C comes with Google’s own Android TV technology.
On the other hand while the Android TV platform of the XBR-65X930C is a definite improvement over last year’s Sony smart TV platform technology, it’s also not quite as smooth as LG’s webOS 2.0 or Samsung’s Tizen operating system. As a whole it still needs a bit more fine tuning and streamlining to really be top-notch and we’ll be waiting for this in the next generations of Sony’s 4K TVs or maybe in updates to Android TV that come along down the line in this and other models.
Finally, moving into the strongest aspects of the XBR-65X930C, we hit the visual specs of this TV. We’ll cover these in greater detail down below but sufficed to say that they are highlights all by themselves. The core combination of Z-Tended Dynamic Range Pro, Triluminos Display color and the X-Reality Pro HD upscaling engine, all run with precision smoothness by Sony’s 4K Processor X1 chip technology, combine to produce levels of contrast, color richness and visual beauty that are so good, they almost look like 3D with native 4K content. Even HD content gets upscaled to spectacular new levels of clarity that beat even the incredibly impressive 4K upscaling of last year’s Sony Bravia TVs.
4.4 - 12 Reviews
What we’d said about the XBR75X940C’s image quality also applies perfectly to the XBR-65X930C. It’s almost perfect. These two TVs take the bar for how good an LCD/LED display can be and raise it even higher than we would have thought possible previously. Even Samsung’s SUHD JS9500 flagship 4K TV just barely matches these two models in terms of overall quality and in some ways, the XBR-65X930C even beats its Samsung counterpart, particularly in color quality in our opinion. And as far as contrast precision and dynamic range go, the XBR-65X930C is, along with its X940C cousin, as close as LED/LCD can get to matching OLED technology so far.
The contrast levels and preciseness are something that have to be seen to be believed in this TV. Deep rich black level performance and response work spectacularly thanks to Sony’s fine-tuned manipulation of the full-array LED backlight panel and even very small, fine points of color and light can almost perfectly be outlined in a sea of deep dark tones in a way that’s only marginally inferior to what OLED can provide. LED/LCD TVs have a very difficult time of pulling this off and the fact that the XBR-65X930C can do that speaks extremely well of Sony’s engineering technology.
This model is, along with the X940C, one of only two Sony 4K TV’s with HDR capability thanks to its internal contrast enhancements and X-Tended Dynamic Range Pro technology.
Additionally, the XBR-65X930C manages to deliver a color gamut that is both very rich and also highly subtle when it needs to be. Triluminos Display is what’s mainly behind this massively augmented color range and Sony claims that their latest version of Triluminos color is 150 times better than it was in 2014’s Bravia 4K TV models. This is the case because Sony now uses phosphor technology to enhance the color spectrum provided by its LEDs and display instead of the quantum dot nanocrystal film technology used by Samsung. The effect created is arguably even better than that found even in Samsung’s SUHD 4K TVs, all of which come with quantum dot nanocrystal color.
In terms of connectivity, the XBR-65X930C comes with pretty much all of the usual characters for a brand new 4K UHD TV. You’ll get your standard four HDMI 2.0 ports, three USB ports and a number of audio and analog connectivity ports of varying usefulness. The HDMI connections on the TV are fully compatible with HEVC, VP9 and HDCP 2.2 Content copy protection, as is the TV itself for streaming content.
For internet connectivity, there is an Ethernet port and built-in Wifi, both of which will be crucial in delivering the full spectrum of web browsing and app-related smart TV features on the XBR-65X930C.
While nearly identical to its larger cousin the XBR75X940C in virtually every spec except for screen size, the XBR-65X930C costs much less for having shaved off those 10 inches of display space. Instead of retailing for $6,999, it’s going for $3,498.00 on Amazon.com right now. A comparable product that is about $1,000 less for the same size is the Sony x850C.
4.4 - 12 Reviews
This TV comes with very, very little in the way of ugly baggage. Basically, it’s only real flaws are an Android TV platform that still needs to be refined further for truly serious smoothness and ease of use and a physical design that’s possibly a bit bulky and heavy for some users’ tastes.
• Absolutely gorgeous Triluminos color
• Almost OLED-like contrast control
• Outstanding 4K upscaling
• Major Android TV connectivity
• Superb full-array LED backlighting
• The best sound on the market
• Bulky body design due to speakers
• Android TV could be refined further