The Sony X900F is the mid-priced model of Sony’s 2018 4K HDR TV lineup and it’s also the successor of the Sony X900E, one of the best mid-priced TVs for 2017. In addition to its predecessor having several screen sizes including 49 inch (XBR49X900F vs XBR49X900E), 55 Inch (XBR55X900F vs XBR55X900E), 65 inch (XBR65X900F vs XBR65X900E), and 75 inch (XBR75X900F vs XBR75X900E), the X900F series also comes with an 85 inch screen size (XBR85X900F). When I was writing this comparison in reviewing the same screen sizes, the newer model X900F was hundreds more than the predecessor X900E. This might be caused by the price of the X900E being dropped and when first released the X900F was priced hundreds more than the X900E. So as a newer model, what additional technology and features are offered by the X900F and what are its advantages over the predecessor X900E?
Technology and Features of the Sony X900F and Sony X900E
For the display panel there are not many changes. Both use a VA panel with a Direct LED backlight and Full Array Local Dimming. This makes both of them produce a deep black level and excellent black uniformity, but the use of the VA panel makes viewing angle coverage poor. There are some small differences with the technology supporting them. For the picture engine, there is a small improvement where the Sony X900F comes with a 4K HDR X1 Extreme engine and the X900E uses the 4K HDR X1 Engine. As you might know, last year the X1 Extreme engine was only used by the top model X930E and the Sony OLED A1E series. The difference between these engines is the technology embedded where there is some additional technology embedded on the X1 Extreme including Precision Color Mapping and Dual Data Base Processing, and the 4K HDR X1 does not have these technologies. In terms of brightness there is a small improvement, where the X900F comes with X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 6X and the X900E comes with X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 5X. For improving the rendition of color, the Sony X900E and the Sony X900F each use a TriLuminos Display that is improved with a number of Sony technologies such as Live Color technology and Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR. Additionally with the HDR technology, there is also a small improvement about HDR formats supported by each. The X900E only supports HDR 10 and the HLG format. With default firmware the Sony X900F can support HDR 10 and HLG only, but it can be upgraded to support Dolby Vision in future.
|Technology Embeded||4K HDR Processor X1 (New)||4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme|
|Dynamic Contrast Enhancer||Yes||Yes|
|Precision Color Mapping||No||Yes|
|Dual Data Base Processing||No||Yes|
|Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR||Yes||Yes|
|Object-based HDR Remaster technology||Yes||Yes|
A small difference is also in their motion clarity technology. As a newer model, the Sony X900F comes with a new feature named “X-Motion Clarity”, while the X900E comes with Motion Flow XR960. Basically both have technology based on the same native refresh rate panel of 120 Hz. For connecting with other devices, both are equipped with 4 HDMI ports and 3 USB ports for their major connectivity and have other inputs/outputs like Ethernet, RF In, Composite IN, and others. For their smart TV platform, just like the predecessor X900E, the Sony X900F also comes with Google Android TV with the X900F having version 7.0 and the X900E comes with version 6.0. For the sound equipment, both are equipped with a 2.0 channel speaker system with 20 watts of total sound output and a “Bass Reflex” speaker type.
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Sony X900E vs X900F Key Specification
|Specs and Features||X900E||X900F|
|Size Available||49” (XBR49X900E), 55” (XBR55X930E), 65” (XBR65X930E), 75” (XBR75X930E)||49” (XBR49X900F), 55” (XBR55X900F), 65” (XBR65X900F), 75”(XBR75X900F), 85” (XBR85X900F)|
|Panel Type||VA Panel||VA Panel|
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|LED Backlight||Full Array Direct LED||Full Array Direct LED|
|Local Dimming||Yes (Full Array Local Dimming)||Yes (Full Array Local Dimming)|
|Extended Dynamic Range Pro||Yes (5X)||Yes (6X)|
|HDR (High Dynamic Range)||Yes (HDR 10 and HLG)||Yes (HDR 10 and HLG), Dolby Vision with an upcoming software update|
|Image Processor||4K HDR Processor X1||4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme|
|Picture Engine||4K X Reality Pro||4K X Reality Pro|
|Motion Control||Motion Flow XR960 (native 120 Hz)||X-Motion Clarity|
|Smart TV Platform||Android TV Version 6.0||Android TV Version 7.0|
|Speaker Type||Bass Reflex Speaker||Bass Reflex Speaker|
|Audio Output||10 W + 10 Watt||10 W + 10 Watt|
|HDMI Ports||4 (3 Side, 1 Rear)||4 (1 side, 3 bottom)|
|USB Ports||3 (side)||2 (side), 1 (bottom)|
|Price||See today’s price||See today’s price|
The Sony X900F vs the X900E Performance
With Full Array Local Dimming, both the Sony X900F and the X900E have an excellent native contrast ratio. Although there was a slight decrease in the contrast ratio of the X900F compared to the X900E, but on the other hand its full array local dimming works a bit better than the predecessor. Basically their local dimming effectively works to boost the native contrast ratio. The result is that both have quite a strong native contrast ratio to produce a deep black that certainly also makes darker colors look more accurate. Combined with its good black uniformity, this makes their performance excellent in a dark room. If you often watch movies in a dark room, both of these series might be a good choice for you. Not just that, both of them can produce a black level lower than 0.02 nits which means it is excellent for revealing detail of images in dark scenes when displaying HDR images. The result is shadow detail of HDR images looks excellently just as intended. As you might know, to show shadow detail of HDR images just like intended, particularly for HDR 10 images, an HDR TV must able to reach a black level darker than 0.05 nits, with lower than 0.02 nits, this TV does a great job when showing shadow detail of HDR images.
While there is a decrease on the contrast ratio of the Sony X900F compared to the predecessor, in terms of peak luminance there is a small improvement over the X900E. Peak brightness reached by the Sony X900E is still lower than 900 nits, whereas peak brightness reached by the X900F is almost close to 1000 nits. Basically their peak brightness is quite bright to deal with the glare and combined to its great reflection handling, this means both of them can do a great job when set in a bright room. Additionally when playing HDR, the local dimming is also effective to brighten the small area of windows, making highlights of HDR images to be shown brighter and looks excellent. Even so, the X900F has a brighter peak luminance than the predecessor, this means it can show highlights of HDR images brighter than the X900E. Unfortunately since HDR images are usually mastered in 1000 – 4000 nits of brightness range and since their peak brightness is still lower than 1000 nits, this means that both of them are not able to show highlight of HDR images at a native brightness range where they are mastered. But once again, for a mid-range TV, what’s offered by the Sony X900E and the X900F is still great.
Regarding color performance, their performance is also similar. Although not as wide as some other TVs like the Samsung Q7F and the LG OLED B7A, they still support a wide color gamut. This means that almost all colors of HDR images displayed on screen can be well represented, making colors of HDR images look accurate. Like most other modern TVs available on the market, both underperform when showing green. Overall the color of HDR images will look fairly accurate. On the other hand, both the Sony X900F and the X900E have a similar color gamut. Overall their color volume is decent. They might not be able to show their wide color gamut at extremely bright colors and extremely dark colors as good as at moderate brightness, but except for the extreme ends of their brightness range, both can show their wide color gamut well. This means the color will only look less accurate at extreme bright and dark colors, and except for these conditions, the color of HDR images will look fairly accurate. For color performance, the use of the X1 Extreme engine on the X900F where there is the Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR technology embedded means it can produce a better color gradient than the predecessor, X900E. On the screen of the X900E, small imperfections are still visible on dark green and blue, while on the screen of the X900F, these small imperfections can be reduced. Nevertheless overall their color gradient is excellent and still better than most other TVs.
Overall there’s not much improvement in the picture quality offered by the X900F and as a newer model to the predecessor X900E, there is a small decrease in the native contrast ratio. Even with this, the local dimming of the X900F works better, making black uniformity better than the X900E. Additionally better local dimming performance also means the X900F has a brighter peak brightness than the X900E. Another improvement offered regards their color gradient. All of these improvements certainly make the picture displayed on the screen of the Sony X900F look better than the X900E, particularly when showing HDR images.
Unfortunately since both the Sony X900E and the X900F use a VA panel, this means they have a poor side viewing angle coverage. This means the picture displayed on screen will look excellent only if viewed from the center and front. While when viewed from the side, even at less than 20 degrees off center and front, the black level and colors will be degraded. This means the picture doesn’t look as good as when viewed from the front and center. And the wider the angle you view from, the picture get worse. If you often watch TV with a group of family and friends where they’re watching TV from multiple viewing angles, these TVs might not be suitable for you.
Motion Handling and 24p Playback
In terms of motion handling, then Sony X900F has a lower pixel response time than the X900E. Essentially their pixel response time is excellent for handling motion blur. And optimized by X-Motion Clarity technology for the X900F and Motion Flow XR960 for the X900E, the result is that there is almost no motion blur visible when playing fast paced content like sports and fast movies. The result is almost no motion blur following a fast moving object. What’s offered by them might not be as excellent as an OLED TV, but for LED TV they are among the best. Since both use PWM to dim the backlight, this means their backlight equally does flicker, even at maximum backlight, as the flicker of their backlight will still be present. Even so, since they use 720 Hz of flicker frequency which certainly is very fast, this makes the flicker not visible for most people, so this should not be a problem. When used to play movies, no matter the frame rate of the source, both series will do a great job. This means that whether the source is 24p video like Blu-Ray or DVD movies, 24p via 60i signal like movies from satellite TV, 24p videos via 60p signal like movies from streaming device, or 24p videos via native apps like Netflix or others, all of them are shown clearly on their screen without judder. To remove the judder without adding a “soap opera effect”, you just need to set the “Motion Flow” to “Tru Cinema” and set “CineMotion” to “High”. Since both of these, the Sony X900E and the X900F have a 120 Hz native refresh rate panel, this means they are able to interpolate both lower frame rate contents 30 fps and 60fps fairly well without a strong “Soap Opera Effect”.
For their major connectivity, both the Sony X900F and the X900E are equally equipped with 4 HDMI ports and all of the ports are support HDCP 2.2. Their HDMI ports that support HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth are HDMI 2 and 3 while the port that supports ARC (Audio Return Channel) is HDMI 3). A small difference is about where their HDMI ports are located. On the X900F, 1 port is located at the side and 3 ports are located at the bottom while on the X900E, 3 ports are located at the side while 1 port is located at the rear. Additionally both the Sony X900E and the X900F are equipped with 3 USB ports where 2 ports are USB2.0 compatible and 1 port is USB3.0 compatible. All USB ports of the X900E are located at the side while for the X900F, 2 ports are located at the side and 1 port is located at the bottom. In addition to USB and HDMI ports, both are equipped with 1 RF In, 1 Ethernet In, 1 Digital Audio Out (optical), and 1 Analog Audio Out (mini jack).The difference between them is the Composite in and Component in where the X900E is equipped with 2 Composite In (AV In) and 1 Component In, and the X900F is only equipped with 1 Composite In (AV In) and is not equipped with a Component In. Regarding input lag in PC and Game mode, this depends on the source. At 1080p inputs, the Sony X900E has a lower input lag than the X900F and its input lag is fairly low for playing any game. For the X900F, its input lag is only acceptable when used for playing casual games, while when used to play fast paced games, this might be a bit too high. Otherwise with 4K input, the Sony X900F has lower input lag which makes it more acceptable le when used to play 4K games rather than the X900E, especially for fast-paced games. But even so, they are not as low as the X900F, the input lag of X900E is still quite low and should work to play fast paced 4K games.
For their smart TV platform, both the Sony X900F and the X900E equally feature Google Android TV for their smart TV platform. What differentiates them is the X900E comes with Android TV version 6.0 while the aX900F comes with a newer version which is version 7.0. As the newer version, Android 7.0 comes with some additional smart features and improvements. Even so, the user interface is still not as simple as other platforms. This will make navigation a bit confusing, particularly for new users. To see everything on its “Home Screen”, you need to do a lot of scrolling. Additionally their performance is inconsistent. When you are opening the menus, sometimes it opens quickly with smooth animation, but at other times before opening, there is a lag for a few moments and it has choppy animation. Nevertheless the navigation as a smart TV platform, it’s strengths are with the “Google Play Store”. As you might know, the Google Play Store is powered by lots of developer apps, content, and games, and it’s a lot more than what’s provided by the apps store of other platforms.
For the remote, both use “Sony Voice Remote”. The remote is large and has a lot of buttons. In addition to the standard buttons such as “Number Buttons” and navigation buttons, there is also two dedicated buttons for accessing the Google Play Store and Netflix. The remote is also equipped with a built-in microphone and supports “Google Assistant” which offers a lot of features for their voice control, making it convenient when navigating with your voice. The remote works together with IR blaster and their remote can be used to control some functions of other devices connected on your TV via the HDMI port.
>> Please click here to see today’s price for the X900E <<
>> Please click here to see today’s price for the X900F <<
|Performance||Sony X900E||Sony X900F|
As a newer model, the Sony X900F comes with some improvements in design and technology compared to the X900E. In terms of design, the striking difference is with their stand where the stand of the X900F is much wider than the X900E. In term of technology, the striking improvement is with their picture engine where the X900F is now powered by the 4K HDR X1 Extreme Engine and the X900E is powered by the 4K HDR X1 Engine. Additionally the X900F now is powered by X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 6X while the X900E has X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 5X. The other improvement brought by the X900F, that with an upcoming firmware update it can be updated to support Dolby Vision. In terms of performance and picture quality, the X900F may offer a brighter peak brightness and slightly better performance of other features, but the improvement is not very significant.
So which is a better choice for you? Actually the X900E has been discontinued by the manufacturer but some merchants still sell it — so if the price has dropped to the point where you can’t resist you might as well pick it up. On other hand the Sony X900F is newer which may make its price still high, so it’s not surprising if with the same screen size, the X900F is priced more expensive than the X900E. Now the decision comes back to you according to your preferences for picture and design. If you don’t mind spending more, the X900F might be a better choice for you. In addition it being a newer model, it also offers better picture quality and has some additional features compared to the X900E. But if you want a lower priced TV, the Sony X900E is not a bad choice since its performance is not far behind the X900F. Nevertheless if you want an X900F with the cheaper price, you can wait for a few months so its will price drop.
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