Hefty price for this model, but otherwise excellent

Overall, the Sony 65X9300D looks very impressive with its ultra-thin bezel.
Overall, the Sony 65X9300D looks very impressive with its ultra-thin bezel.PHOTO: SONY

For a 65-inch TV set, the Sony 65X9300D is remarkably slim, especially the top half.

Only LG's Oled TV sets can boast of a thinner side profile.

It gets thicker near the bottom to accommodate the connectors and internal electronics. But, overall, the X9300D looks very impressive with its ultra-thin bezel.

A minor grouse: Only one of the TV set's four HDMI ports is located conveniently at the side, along with the USB, component video and LAN ports. The other three are not as accessible as they are found near the middle of the set.

Sony says the X9300D has a new slim backlighting system that reduces the blooming effect created by bright objects in a dark background.

To me, the TV produces very good blacks for an LCD TV. It is not quite as deep as the blacks on an Oled TV, but it fares well against other TV sets that use edge-lit backlighting systems.

This model has a bewildering number of preset picture modes, including some that appear to be calibrated for viewing photos.

I would recommend using the Standard or Cinema modes as a starting point and adjust the settings to your preference.

Overall, images look bright and accurate, though they become slightly washed out when viewed from the sides. The glossy screen was reflective, but not distracting, even in a well-lit room.

Sony has decided not to follow the Ultra HD Premium labelling, though the X9300D technically satisfies the requirements. It supports the HDR10 format, but not the Dolby Vision format.

When you play an Ultra HD Blu-ray movie, the TV will automatically change the picture settings to HDR mode.

In this mode, the screen brightness is set to maximum. I recommend lowering this by a few notches if you are viewing in a dark room. HDR mode also turns off unnecessary features such as contrast enhancer and noise reduction.

Sony has ditched the huge front-facing speakers that hung at the sides of last year's models. The sound from the X9300D was adequate, but could be better.

The X9300D is powered by the Android TV platform, giving it a solid library of Android TV apps, compared with the limited offerings on other smart TV platforms.

You can also sideload other Android apps that are not in the TV set's Google Play Store, though they may not work properly because the TV set lacks features such as a touchscreen or an accelerometer. For Android TV games, you will likely need a separate game controller.

Android TV does not have a native browser, so Sony has preloaded the Opera browser, which comes with its own TV-optimised app store.

The included TV remote control feels cluttered and the directional buttons for navigating the Android TV interface are too small. It could do with fewer buttons, like the rarely used Google Play button.

Vincent Chang

•Verdict: At $8,999, the X9300D is one of the most expensive LCD TV sets in the market. Unless you get a steep discount, this Sony TV is too pricey to recommend, despite its slim build and excellent picture quality.

TECH SPECS

PRICE: $8,999

PICTURE FEATURES: Maximum resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, HDR, 3D support

AUDIO FEATURES: 30W output

OPERATING SYSTEM: Android TV (5.1)

CONNECTIVITY: 4 x HDMI 2.0a, 3 x USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi Direct

RATING

FEATURES: 4/5

DESIGN: 4/5

PERFORMANCE: 4/5

VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5

OVERALL: 3/5

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2016, with the headline 'Hefty price for this model, but otherwise excellent'. Print Edition | Subscribe