Sony have just dropped their brand new LED LCD range, and from my time with it I had to say that it's pretty damn impressive. In addition to offering beautiful display, it includes Smart technology that is a game changer when it comes to user experience.
TV connoisseurs may argue that OLED is still the superior display technology, but without a side-by-side test it's difficult to definitively say. Although OLED may still be the benchmark, the X9300E is stunning and a definite contender in the market.
The series features Slim Backlight Drive+ which allows local dimming, which provides a more precise and higher contrast. The 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme results in a really sharp, hyper real image quality and the upscaling capabilities make a real noticeable difference for non-HDR content.
From a design perspective, Sony has opted for sleek minimalism.
The thin borders look and feel high quality and it's supported by a center stand that offers a sturdy and pleasing aesthetic. The system does has a swivel mounting option that can be installed close to the wall, with an impressive range of motion — so you can enjoy from multiple directions within the home.
More observant watchers may notice a narrow viewing angle. There is certainly a contrast and those sitting to the side will have a lower viewer quality to those watching on-center. But it isn't so overt that it's a distraction — the quality is still fine.
When it comes to sound, rather than combining the range with soundbars, there is an in-built three speaker system that omits a surprisingly crisp quality.
The distraction-free trend continues with the cable management system, which is hidden in the stand — leaving only a subtle trail from one hollow leg to the power socket.
When it came to testing the display, Planet Earth 2 in Ultra HDR 4K was nothing short of a revelation. It's safe to say that this is exactly how this kind of content is supposed to be viewed. The whites, blacks and colours popped spectacularly. Similarly, the WipEout Omega Collection was a pleasure to play. It was more vibrant than playing on a regular monitor without HDR, and much sharper too. Absolutely nothing was lost in the high speed moments.
It's important to remember that if you don't have a great internet connection and want to take advantage of the 4K HDR on offer, you'll need to factor in either a 4K Blu-ray player, PS4 Pro or Xbox One S into your budget. Otherwise, you might not get the image quality that you're after. The last thing you want while streaming a show capable of 4K HDR is for it to show a 720p image. Using pocket Wi-Fi at the time, it made Chef's Table a bit of a let down.
If you are using a PS4 Pro, you'll need to fight that instinct to plug your HDMI cable into port 1. 4K HDR will is only supported on ports 2 or 3. After swapping the cables around I noticed an immediate difference.
While the new Bravia range is a pleasure to watch, what really makes it stand out is its Smart TV offerings. And this is where you're really going to see it competing against the OLED systems in market that have a stronger display offering.
If you're someone who places more value on convenience and a streamlined system, this may be a major selling point for you.
Fans of voice control will be thrilled with the Google Assistant offering, which is a mere click away. Simply stating "watch Star Wars" will bring up an array of viewing options across the apps you have installed on the TV. It's fast, intuitive and easy to use.
For those who prefer kicking it old school, they will find an enjoyable clicking experience. In addition to having dedicated buttons for Netflix and Google Play, the Home button delivers all of your apps directly to your eyeballs so you can jump between them at will.
I personally found that switching between the PS4, Blu-ray player and apps such as Ten Play and Netflix to be quick and smooth. You're not going to be a slave to slow loading times. This is perfect for people like me who switch between tasks and apps constantly during my down time.
Interestingly, I found that unlike my older model Sony W850B at home, the X9300E remote wasn't compatible with the PS4. This probably won't be a big deal for most punters, but this was a feature that I always enjoyed in the past.
OLED fans may find a bit of disconnect when it comes to pricing as Sony's latest offerings are marked somewhat higher. The lower end 49" coming in at $2,499 and the top end 65" at $5,299. For the really serious amongst you, the big daddy 75" X9400E is $8,999.
That being said, the X9300E is a beautifully versatile piece of hardware and the Smart TV features surpass anything currently in the market. With the 2017 Bravia collection you will find the future of television. If this where where your priorities lie, it may just be worth your dollars.
The author reviewed the X9300E at the Park Hyatt Sydney as a guest of Sony