Here are Gizmodo we're not exactly subtle about the fact that we froth John Wick.
So when Sony offered up the chance to test out its new X9500G 4K LED overnight around the same time as the release of John Wick 3, I knew what I was morally obliged to do.
Parabellum means “prepare for war”—and war is what you get in the third instalment of the John Wick franchise. This action-packed, balls-to-the-wall pistol opera doesn’t give the audience a moment to breathe.
The X9500 series is the crown jewel of Sony's 2019 LED range.
While it isn't going to be on the same level as a QLED or OLED TV, what makes it interesting is that it its injected with X1 Ultimate processor.
While it's not as hardcore as its bigger X1 Extreme sibling, it still does an admirable job combining Object-based Super Resolution, Object-based HDR remaster, Super Bit Mapping and Dual database processing to make for a shiny 4K HDR viewing experience.
Other primary features include a full array local dimming backlight, X-Motion Clarity (a necessity for John Wick, obviously), Android TV with Google Assistant integration (including the new always-listening voice controls which is a first for Sony TVs), X-Wide Clarity to minimise colour change for side-viewing and Sound-From-Picture Reality so action and audio will be aligned (again, here for it with John Wick).
Throw is Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos in for good measure and we are ready to GO.
What's good about it?
I'm still a big fan of Sony's TV interface. It's sleek, easy to use, customisable and intuitive.
While I love my NVIDIA shield, I feel like if I had a Sony TV I would increasingly find less use for an external piece of hardware.
And thanks to the Google Assistant I was able to get to my important John Wick content without having to press a button. But we'll get to that.
As someone with multiple streaming services under my belt, this is a much-appreciated feature.
Holding down the middle button between the direction controls of the remote brings up the option to add to 'play next'. This means that you don't even have to open a specific app (Stan, Netflix, etc) to launch the show you want. For example, you can just add Billions (or John Wick) and then open it directly from the home portal.
This feature is helped greatly by the recommendations that get aggregated on the portal, which are based on the profiles that are currently logged into your streaming apps.
Even without the god-tier Sony processor or an OLED panel, this bad boy did a really great job at keeping both 4K and non-4K streaming content looking sharp. Even on a hotel internet connection.
The same goes for the action sequences. Movement was fluid and there was no noticeable latency despite the aforementioned streaming circumstances. It's difficult to be able to show this, so here's a picture of John Wick's car which I can assure you was driving fast.
While watching Keanu Reeves at an angle isn't ideal, the X9500G still looked good when I wasn't drooling from a dead-centre position. Colour and clarity were still on point.
Okay, so I did have to fire up a few other pieces of content other than John Wick. A travesty, I know. But I had to test that upscaling.
And I'm happy to report that it did a pretty good job. Despite the weird 360p resolution that sticks smart TVs, Killing Eve was watchable enough.
This was not ideal, of course, but is also wasn't bad enough to turn it off in disgust. The fact that I was testing on a 55-inch LED probably helped the situation.
And when I fired up my daily yoga workout on YouTube, the quality was great.
What's not so good about it?
Picture Mode Options
While I get that this isn't one of Sony's top of the range units, I would have liked to have seen more picture modes injected into the X9500G.
You'll only find Standard, Cinema, Vivid and Custom.
No Game Mode
Again, perhaps this is a bit much to expect from a non-OLED offering, but as a gamer who has seen what a massive difference game mode makes across a variety of TV brands, it's becoming increasingly essential for modern games.
Voice Control Could Be A Bit Snappier
While I enjoyed the use of voice control, and have certainly experienced worse, it wasn't quite fast enough.
When its more convenient to just use the remote instead I question the point of including it as a feature.
While the X-Wide Clarity made for a pleasant side-viewing experience in a darkened room, the glare was quite brutal when I had the lights on. The same even went for watching on-centre at times. And this is where I really did miss an OLED or QLED panel.
I wasn't able to test this in natural sunlight due to the sun being mostly blocked by a building, but the hotel lights still give you a really good idea of how the viewing experience is impacted.
It's worth noting that I only spent a night with the X9500G, so these are all just first impressions. And that's why I won't tell you if you should buy one or not.
But for a mid-range offering that I used for a handful of hours for John Wick purposes, I was quite impressed.
Sony's X9500G comes in 55, 65, 75 and 85-inch variants and starts at $2,699. The 85-inch version will be available in July, with the rest of the series being on sale now. You can find out more over on Sony's website.
The author checked out the X9500G during at overnight stay at the QT in Sydney as a guest of Sony.