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Sony XH95 (XH9505) TV: Is this Sony’s best-value 2020 4K TV?

Tom Bruce Matt Breen
22 Jan 2021

Everything you need to know about Sony’s mid-range XH95 4K LCD TV

Pros 
Dynamic LED backlighting
Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
Packs Sony’s most powerful processor
Cons 
No HDR10+
4K capped at 60Hz
No VRR or ALLM for gaming
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Sony has unleashed so many new TVs in 2020 that it’s genuinely hard to keep up. There are ten series in total and, if you tot up the different panel sizes, you’ve got almost 30 unique TVs to contend with. Right now, though, we’re focusing on the Sony XH95 4K LCD, otherwise known as the XH9505.

The follow-up to the Sony XG95 we reviewed in 2019, the XH95 is Sony’s top-end 4K LCD TV in 2020. The Japanese goliath still has OLED and 8K models that outrank the XH95, but they’re significantly more expensive. The XH95 starts at £1,199 for the 48in variant, so in terms of price it’s a mid-range TV, yet the XH95 packs in several flagship features, such as Sony’s X1 Ultimate processor, that you’d otherwise need to spend a lot more to get.

For a quick overview of the specifications, you can take a look at our key specs table below. After that, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about the Sony XH95 and highlight its closest rivals to help you decide if it’s right for you. Could it be the best-value 4K LCD TV of 2020? Read on.

READ NEXT: The best 4K HDR TVs you can buy

Sony XH95: Key specifications

Screen sizes available:49in KD-49XH9505,
55in KD-55XH9505,
65in KD-65XH9505,
75in KD-75XH9505,
85in KD-85XH9505
Panel type:VA-type LED-lit LCD (local dimming)
Resolution:4K/UHD (3,840 x 2,160)
Refresh rate:60Hz (2160p), 120Hz (1080p)
HDR formats:HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Audio enhancement:Dolby Audio, Dolby Atmos, DTS Digital Surround
HDMI inputs:HDMI 2.0b x 4
Streaming services:Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies, Rakuten TV, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5 etc.
Tuners:DVB-T/T2, DVB-C, DVB-S/S2
Wireless connectivity:Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2
Smart platform:Android 9.0 Pie

Buy now from Currys PC World


Sony XH95: What you need to know

If you want the best that Sony has to offer in 2020, but aren’t interested in OLED or 8K - and the price jumps that come with them - then the XH95 is definitely the TV for you. The XH95 uses a VA-type LED-lit LCD panel which has a 4K/UHD resolution (3,840 x 2,160) and uses local dimming to control the backlighting. HDTV Test’s XH95 review confirms that the backlighting consists of 48 separate dimming zones, so on that front, there’s no change from last year’s XG95.

The XH95 is available in five sizes: 48in, 55in, 65in, 75in and a gargantuan 85in – but there are other differences besides the panel measurements. With the exception of the 48in model, all of the XH95 variants come equipped with Sony’s X-Wide viewing angle layer, a technology that – you guessed it – improves the viewing angles of the TV. Since it’s missing this feature, the 48in XH95 is best-suited to living rooms in which the sofa or chairs are directly in front of the TV, as contrast and colours will fade more dramatically when it’s viewed at an angle.

As for audio, the 48in model gets a basic ‘Bass Reflex Speaker’, while the 55in, 65in and 75in models get the full ‘Acoustic Multi-Audio’ treatment, which includes a pair of ‘Sound Positioning Tweeters’ on the upper rear of the TV and a pair of ‘X-Balanced Speakers’ on the underside. One exception to the rule is the 85in XH95 which seemingly does away with the X-Balanced Speaker drivers, presumably in favour of a pair of larger full-range drivers. All models support Dolby Digital Audio, Dolby Atmos and DTS Digital Surround.

Sony has kitted out the XH95 range with its top-end X1 Ultimate Picture Processor. This is Sony’s most advanced TV processor to date, and can also be found inside its 2020 flagship 8K ZH8 as well as its various 4K OLED TVs, such as the A9 Master Series.

According to Sony, the X1 Ultimate is “twice as fast” as its previous high-end processor, the X1 Extreme. This means that upconversion from lower resolutions to 4K should be superior compared to the XG95 – or any other 2019 Sony TV, for that matter.

On the Sony XH95, you’ll be able to watch 4K HDR content in the Dolby Vision, HDR10 or HLG formats, but not HDR10+. The lack of HDR10+ isn’t a huge blow, however, as you can still get the benefit of dynamic HDR playback with Dolby Vision across a massive library of titles on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus. There are plenty of other services to choose from too, from YouTube to Rakuten TV, plus the usual menu of free UK catch-app apps. The only streaming service of note that’s currently unavailable through the XH95’s Android TV OS is Now TV.

There is one major downside to the XH95, and that’s its lack of HDMI 2.1 support. It has four HDMI 2.0b inputs, and the only HDMI 2.1 feature on offer is eARC. The XH95 still has a ‘Game Mode’ that reduces input lag but, in the absence of ALLM support, this has to be engaged manually. The XH95’s refresh rate is also capped to 60Hz for 4K content and only manages 120Hz at 1080p and lower resolutions. Crucially, it also lacks support for Variable Refresh Rate. Sony is set to release its next-gen console, the PlayStation 5, at the end of 2020, so these omissions are especially disappointing – you’d think that it would want to ensure its top-end 4K LCD TV is fully HDMI 2.1-ready. Perhaps we’ll see these gaming-specific features rolled out in the 2021 TV lineup.

Buy now from Currys PC World


Sony XH95: Price and competition

As mentioned, the cheapest Sony XH95, the 48in model, is available to buy now for £1,199. You can pick it up from various UK retailers, including John Lewis and Currys PC World. £1,199 is actually a pretty reasonable price, considering the equivalent model from 2019, the 48in XG95, launched for £200 more. All of the sizes are better value, in fact. Take the 65in XH95: it’s been launched at £1,999, £500 less than the £2,499 65in XG95 we reviewed in 2019. That said, you can still make some hefty savings on last year's 65in XG95 model, as it’s now retailing for £1,300 – a full £1,200 off its launch price.

The XG95 is up against some fierce competition. Samsung’s Q80T 4K QLED, available from £1,299 (49in), is another promising mid-range 4K LCD TV which has made its 2020 debut. All the Q80T models have quantum dot technology that enhances image contrast and colour vibrancy and – excepting the smallest 49in variant – they support HDMI 2.1 features such as VRR, ALLM and have refresh rates of up to 120Hz at 4K. That said, none of the Q80T models benefits from Samsung’s prized Ultra Wide Viewing Angle, whereas all the Sony XH95 models from 55in and up have an X-Wide viewing angle layer.

With its 48in CX OLED, LG also has a very promising horse in the 2020 4K races. Available from £1,499, the LG CX OLED has super-smooth 120Hz refresh rates, and a clutch of gaming-friendly features including VRR, G-Sync, FreeSync and ALLM. If it’s anything like the LG C9 OLED, its panel will serve up impeccable levels of contrast and accuracy. At just shy of £1,400, it’s great to see OLED beginning to edge down in price and really give mid-range LCD TVs something to worry about.