Televisions now are nothing like the stupid idiot boxes they used to be. Even as content made for televisions become dumber by the day, the actual devices are gaining their own level of intelligence, even though artificial. The Sony BRAVIA 55X90J is a testament to this evolution.
The BRAVIA 55X90J is part of the latest series of televisions from Sony that touts their extra smartness, powered by the XR Cognitive Processor. In simple terms, these TVs have sensors that calibrate picture quality and sound based on an range of elements and depending on the focal point of the picture, which of course keeps changing. And the best thing is that you don’t need to be bothered about it and the tech just happens in the background.
The Sony BRAVIA 55X90J is a slim television that does not look out of place in any living room. The bezels are there, but without eating into the screen. Set up is easy, as you would expect in a Google television and since this works with your phones for a lot of things, adding password and setting up new apps is easier.
The first episode of The Kingdom on Netflix has a scene where a boy enters an attic holding a lamp to help another teenager. The light here is playing on the screen like a silk curtain in the wind. It moves from one surface to the other, falls on one face and the next… the dark always lurking in the background.
This is also the kind of scene that showcases the power of a full array LED 4K panel like the one the 55X90J has. The entire screen is illuminated uniformly but with the ability to brighten up precise sections, even as the blacks are deeper and layered when needed. If the wallpapers that keep flicking on the screen don’t impress you, it will take you just one movie streamed on 4K to make you a fan. Then this display can do up to 120Hz in 4K if you are planning to buy a PlayStation this year.
Powered by Dolby Atmos, this Bravia also has the audio quality to match the stunning pictures. If the screens revel in the right amount of contrast, then the XR Surround adds the layers in audio that take your viewing experience to a level close to what you are missing these days with the theatres shut. In fact, the music quality is good enough for the TV to have become my Spotify and YouTube Music player in the living room during the review period. Also, I am not sure I have reviewed another TV that has confidence to offer you a full equaliser along with the preset modes.
The Sony BRAVIA 55X90J might be an Android TV, but the Android here is the base on which Sony has built something much more intuitive and useful. The Home button on the remote takes you to this screen where the TV is curating everything from shows that you are currently watching to shows you might not know about since they are on apps you don’t have. This screen was resulted in me catching up on some movies I left midway and downloading apps on which I encountered interesting shows and movies. Given that internet television, these days is akin to the shortwave tuning we did on our radios decades ago, trying to catch some voices from a distant land, this handheld discovery of new content is much appreciated.
The remote has buttons for YouTube and YouTube Music as well as Netflix and Amazon. It also has a mic button so that you can ask Google Assistant for anything. In fact, the TV has outsourced most of the search to Assistant. For instance, there is no Google Play app. Instead, you just go to the app section and search for the app you want. A bit confusing, but it makes sense after a while. Also, there is a lot of smartphone learning coming into this TV. For instance, you can long press the home buttons to open up what is like a control centre, which is different from going to the settings per se and much more easier. The source button let me switch to the Apple TV and also recently played apps. You can also dock favourite apps here, which is a feature I loved. Also, this TV works along with Apple’s HomeKit and AirPlay so can be seamlessly integrated to the Apple ecosystem also if that is what is you prefer like me.
Then there are these small touches that take this telly to a whole new level. For instance, I could get the TV to show me the time every hour —very useful if you are binge-watching on weekends. Also, there is the stunning Living Decor mode where the screen plays 4K videos from different locales with audio, like the murmur of water in a rainforest, which takes your living room to a whole different plane, especially when you are unable to step out and enjoy the outdoors much.
The Sony BRAVIA 55X90J is clearly a luxury television for your home that leaves nothing to chance and plugs the 70mm gap left in our lives with cinemas suddenly becoming a distant dream. It is one of the best displays in the business with software that knows how you think. Priced at Rs 1,49,990, Sony shows that it is still possible to offer premium features at a time when prices of 4K televisions are falling every coming year.