Phones may account for most of the electronics market, but TVs are what most of us start our journey in tech with. From CRTs to OLEDs, that’s the journey so far, and things have taken a positive turn in 2016.
Interestingly, we didn’t start the year on a high note. It seems they kept the best for the last. Fair warning, the best performer this year is mighty expensive. However, it is indeed refreshing to see TVs become relevant again.
The credit for that goes to HDR technology. Unlike the regular resolution updates, HDR actually makes a difference. It improves the contrast ratio of a TV, making blacks darker and whites whiter.
The technology is far from reaching the mass market yet, but we can’t wait for it to do so.
Our competitors include everything from LeEco’s Super3 TVs to Panasonic’s Shinobi series, Samsung’s newest AMOLEDs, and more. Unfortunately, LG’s OLED E6 wasn’t available for this issue, forcing us to leave it out.
Our winner is the best at presenting natural and vibrant colours. It’s a 65-inch TV that was launched no more than a month ago.
Zero1 Winner: Sony 65-inch Z9D 4K HDR TV
LCDs have traditionally been behind OLEDs. In our tests, LG’s OLEDs have steered past its competitors quite easily. However, we noticed burn in issues on the OLED E6 this time, which lost it a lot of points.
Sony, on the other hand, has silently worked towards achieving better colours using a technology it calls Backlight Master Drive. Also known as Focused Lightbeam technology, this allows Sony to control individual lights in the backlight array. Thus, the TV has over 500 dimmable zones.
As a result, the Sony Z9D achieves a contrast ratio of 1110:1 at 50 percent brightness, and in a reasonably lit room. It also has a white point reading of 6300K, which is as close to the ideal 6500 as it gets. This results in a very wide colour space, and true-to-life, vibrant colours.
If that wasn’t enough, Android TV is actually a tad faster on this TV than on other Sony TVs that we’ve reviewed. The interface seems faster, although folders still take some time to load. In addition, Sony has added a new Discover feature that does what the name suggests.
It costs over Rs.5 lakh, but that seems to be the price of quality today.
Runner Up: Sony X9350D 4K HDR TV
Sony decided that even with HDR, TVs are just not what they need to be. And to be honest, we do agree. That’s why the Sony X9350D employs four 12.5 Watt speakers, along with two 20 Watt woofers. Sony’s goal is to manage not only the volume, but also quality of audio.
While the audio is better than other premium and thin TVs, better detail would have perhaps won this TV the top prize.
The Sony X9350D produces good contrast ratios and is quite bright. While audio is its USP, the TV excels in picture quality as well. Contrast ratios are high and the colour space is pretty wide too. The TV comes with Netflix pre-installed and 720p and 1080p content is upscaled quite well.
Android TV is kind of a weakness, though. The TV is slow and you’ll have to deal with the constant loading screens when switching between apps and navigating around.
Sony’s “wedge design” allows a slim form factor at the top and is thicker near the bottom. This of course is to accommodate the speakers, and it gives the TV an unique look, which would fit any media centre.
The Sony X9350D also costs about half of the Z9D, which means you get to save a ton of cash. Still, Rs.2,84,900 is not something all of us can afford, but if you can afford this one, it’s a very good television to buy.