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Sony Z9F vs Z9D Review (XBR65Z9F vs XBR65Z9D, XBR75Z9F vs XBR75Z9D)

Sony Z9F vs Z9D Review (XBR65Z9F vs XBR65Z9D, XBR75Z9F vs XBR75Z9D)




The Sony Z9D is the flagship model of Sony’s 2016 4K HDR LED TV lineup with great performance parameters particularly peak brightness. In 2017, there was not a successor released and the eventual release of the Sony Z9F ended the long wait. As the successor of the Z9D, the Somy Z9F brings some improvements and new technology expected to make its picture quality and performance better. On the market, the Sony Z9D comes in 3 screen size options including a 65 Inch (XBR65Z9D), a 75 Inch (XBR75Z9D), and a 100 inch (XBR100Z9D), while the Sony Z9F lacks the bigger screen 100 inch and only comes in 2 screen sizes including a 65 Inch (XBR65X9F) and a 75 Inch (XBR75Z9F). The Sony Z9D actually has been discontinued by the manufacturer, but some merchants still sell this unit. Which one is cheaper between them depends on the screen size. For the 65 Inch model (XBR65Z9F vs XBR65Z9D), the Sony Z9D is lower priced while for the 75 inch model (XBR75Z9F vs XBR75Z9D), the Sony Z9D is more expensive. Of course, their prices are not fixed and could still change at any time.

Sony Z9F vs Sony Z9D Key Specs

Specs and Features Sony Z9D Sony Z9F
Size Available 65 Inch (XBR65Z9D), 75 Inch (XBR75Z9D vs XBR75Z9F), 100 Inch (XBR100Z9D) 65 Inch (XBR65Z9F), 75 Inch (XBR75Z9F)
Panel Type VA Panel VA Panel with X- Wide Angle
Resolution 4K (2160 x 3840) 4K (2160 x 3840)
LED Backlight Direct LED LED Backlight
Local Dimming Master Backlight Drive (Full Array Local Dimming with Discrete LED Control) Full Array Local Dimming
Image Processor 4K HDR X1 Extreme 4K HDR X1 Ultimate
Clarity Enhancement 4K X Reality Pro, Dual Database Processing 4K X Reality Pro, Dual Database Processing, Object Based Super Resolution
Contrast Enhancement Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object-based HDR Remaster, X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 16X Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object-based HDR Remaster, X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 16X
Color Enhancement Live Color Technology, Precision Color Mapping, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR, TriLuminos Display Live Color Technology, Precision Color Mapping, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR, TriLuminos Display
Motion Control Motion Flow XR1440 (native 120 Hz) X-Motion Clarity
Native Refresh Rate Panel 120 Hz 120 Hz
3D Technology Yes (active) No
Smart TV Platform Android TV 6.0 version Android TV8.0 version
Audio Output 10 watts x 2 10 watts x 2
Speaker Type Bass Reflex Speaker (XBR100Z9D : Long Duct Speaker) Bass Reflex Speaker
HDMI Ports 4 (1 outside, 3 center) 4 (1 side/3 bottom)
USB Ports 3 (Side) 3 (2 side, 1 bottom)
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Features and Technologies of Sony Z9D and the Sony Z9F

Similar to the Sony Z9D, the Sony Z9F also comes with a VA panel with a Direct LED backlight and an excellent Full Array Local Dimming feature with hundreds of dimming zones. Ufortunately, Sony doesn’t clearly reveal what the number of dimming zones is for each.  So we don’t actually know if the Sony Z9F has more dimming zones than the Sony Z9D, or less dimming zones or the same. But for sure, the Z9F is powered by a more powerful processor to drive its local dimming algorithm, making its lighting control better than the Sony Z9D predecessor.  Although the Sony Z9F brings improvement in almost all aspects over the Z9D, it does lack 3D technology. Since 3D technology is not very popular, in the last year a number of manufacturers have lost interest in 3D technology.

The difference between Sony Z9F and Z9D

Image Processor

One of major improvements brought by the Sony Z9F over the Z9D is the picture engine. As we see on the comparison above, the Sony Z9D is powered by 4K HDR X1 Extreme while the Z9F is powered by 4K HDR X1 Ultimate. In addition a number of technological advances are embedded in X1 Extreme such as Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Precision Color Mapping, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR, Object-Based HDR Remaster, and Dual Database processor — there is also a new technology called Object Based Super Resolution embedded in X1 Ultimate. Performance of the newer processor is claimed to be two times more powerful than the older processor especially in reducing color banding, controlling lighting, Up-scaling non 4K content to 4K resolution and converting non-HDR to HDR content. Not just that, the X1 Ultimate smart TV performance is more responsive and faster.

X-Viewing Angle

One of the new technologies introduced for the Sony Z9F is X-Wide Angle technology. It is the technology designed to improve side viewing angle coverage. Although both the Sony Z9D and the Z9F use VA Panel technology, and with this technology behind it the Z9F has a wider viewing angle than the Z9D, but it’s still not as good as an IPS panel. And this technology makes the contrast ratio of the Z9F  not as strong as other VA TVs.

The Level of X-Tended Dynamic Range Pro Technology

For improving the brightness level, both the Sony Z9D and the Z9F are each powered by X-Tended Dynamic Range Pro technology. But their feature level is different where the Z9D is powered by X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 16x while the Z9F is powered by X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 16X. Although the Sony Z9F is a newer model, the level of technology is lower. This indicates that the dimming zones of the Z9F is not more than the Z9D, and might be even less. This doesn’t mean performance of the Z9F in producing peak brightness is worse than the Z9D. This is because the performance of the processor drives the dimming algorithm of the Z9F and is more powerful than the Z9D.

Motion Clarity Technology

The other difference between them is their motion clarity technology. We can see on the comparison above, that the Sony Z9D is powered by MotionFlow XR1440 while the Z9F is powered by X-Motion Clarity. There is an improvement in the algorithm used by X-Motion Clarity over MotionFlow XR when it comes to inserting a black frame. With X-Motion Clarity Technology, the Sony Z9F should be able to produce smoother and clearer motion than the Z9D.

Smart TV Platform

The other major difference between the Sony Z9D and the Z9F is the version of Smart TV platform. For this case, the Sony Z9D features Google Android TV version 6.0 (called Marshmallow), which is the 2016 version of Android TV. Meanwhile, the Sony Z9F features the newer version of Android TV version 8.0 (called Oreo). There are some improvements brought by the Oreo version over the Marshmallow version, particularly on the User Interface, making navigation easier than the older version. Additionally the smart TV performance of the Z9F is faster and more responsive than the Z9D, but this is due to its faster chipset.

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Sony Z9F vs Z9D Performance

Picture Quality

Black Level

Like most TVs with a VA panel, the Sony Z9D has a strong native contrast ratio, so it can produce deep blacks. Its local dimming works excellently to boost the contrast, making it able to outperform most  VA TVs in producing black when local dimming is activated. The result is performance in a dark room that is outstanding — particularly in producing dark scenes.  In other words, dark scenes displayed on screen look excellent with black that’s really black. With HDR content, it’s able to show shadow detail of HDR images excellently as their creators intended. Although not as great as an OLED TV, the Z9D is a great TV for producing dark scenes and its performance in a dark room is better than most VA TVs with a VA panel. Although the Sony Z9F comes with a VA panel, its native contrast ratio is very low for VA TVs. Nevertheless, it’s still better than an IPS TV. Fortunately it has an excellent local dimming able to boost its contrast ratio up to two times, so with the local dimming enabled its contrast ratio is acceptable. It’s still lower than the native contrast ratio of most VA TVs. The result when set in a dark room, is the performance of the Z9F is not as good as the Z9D, or even most TVs with a VA panel particularly in producing dark scenes. But even with this, its performance is still better than an IPS TV. With HDR content, the black level produced is lower than 0.03 nits which means it is able to show shadow detail of HDR images like what is recommended by the UHD alliance. Overall performance of the Z9F in a dark room and when producing dark scenes is far below the Z9D and even not as good as most TVs with a VA panel, but it’s still acceptable for most people. The low native contrast ratio produced by the Z9F may be due to the X-Wide Angle Layer technology embedded.

Winner: Z9D

Peak Brightness

In terms of the peak brightness produced by each, both Sony Z9D and the Z9F have extraordinary peak brightness. With SDR content the Sony Z9D can provide more than 700 nits which means all content can be shown very brightly on screen, even when set in a dark room. When showing a small bright object on a dark background, the local dimming is very effective to brighten the small bright window brighter than 1500 nits, making highlights look excellent. What’s offered by the Z9D in producing peak brightness is the best of its time. On the other hand, the Sony Z9F can do a better job. With real scenes, the peak brightness reached by the Z9F is even two times of what’s achieved by the Z9D. Additionally, when showing highlights, the Z9F can show them a bit brighter than the Z9D.

With HDR content, the peak brightness is even brighter than with SDR content. With real scenes, peak brightness reached by the Z9D is close to 1400 nits, making HDR images displayed on screen look very bright, even in a bright room. On the other hand, the peak brightness reached by the Sony Z9F is even brighter than 1600 nits and this time, there is no TV that can match its real scene brightness. Additionally, the local dimming is also very effective to brighten the small window size, makes small bright objects be shown above the rest and brighter than 1600 nits. The result is the highlight of HDR images looks excellent on screen like what the movies creator’s intended. As you might know, to show HDR images as their creator intended, a TV must be able to show them at 1000-4000 nits of the brightness range. The other excellent performance offered by each, since they have hundreds of dimming zones, when showing a small bright object in a dark room, a blooming or unwanted adjacent light around the bright object can be well-minimized. Overall and although the Z9F is better in producing peak brightness, performance of the Z9D is outstanding.

Winner: Z9F

Color Reproduction

Both the Sony Z9F and the Z9D each have a wide color gamut. Compared between them, the Z9F can produce a wider color gamut than the Z9D. The color coverage of the Z9D in DCI P3 is more than 93% which means it is wide enough to show color of HDR images mastered in DCI P3 looks very accurate. There are only some colors like deep green that can be shown as saturated as other colors. But overall, color of HDR images can be shown fairly accurate. Additionally, its color coverage in Rec.2020 is also brighter than 70% which means it is still wide enough to show color of HDR images mastered in Rec.2020 fairly accurate. Since the Sony Z9F can produce a wider color gamut, this makes some colors can be shown more accurately than the Z9D. Additionally the Sony Z9F has better color volume than the Sony Z9D. This is more due to the color gamut of the Z9F being wider than the Z9D. Overall, they can show a wide color gamut at any level of the brightness range and combined with their wide color gamut, this makes color of HDR images hown fairly vivid and accurate. But even so, what’s offered by the Sony Z9D and the Z9F may be excellent, but its still worse than OLED TVs and the Samsung QLED TV particularly the Q7 Series and above. In terms of color gradient, the Sony Z9F may have a bit smoother color gradient than the Z9D. Although the color gradient of Z9D is also excellent. Their color gradient is even better than competitors like the Samsung Q9FN or other OLED TVs. Overall the color gradient of images displayed on screen looks very smooth with almost no color banding visible, particularly when showing HDR content. Some little imperfections may be visible and should not be a problem.

Winner: Z9F

Side Viewing Angle

The use of X-Wide Angle layer technology means the Sony Z9F can not produce a black as deep as the Z9D, but this makes its side viewing angle coverage is better than the Z9D. On the screen of the Z9D, color shift started at less than 20 degrees off center and front while on the screen of the Z9F, color will start to shift at more than 25 degrees.  While the Z9D can maintain its peak brightness at up to 40 degrees, the Z9F can maintain its brightness at a wider angle, even more than 50 degrees. Their performance to maintain black level is almost similar where the black level will look degraded at more than 30 degrees. Although the Z9F has better side viewing angle coverage than the Z9D, overall their side viewing angle is better than most VA TVs, particularly in maintaining black level. As you might know, on the screen of most TVs with a VA panel, the black level usually starts to be degraded at less than 15 degrees off center and front. Nevertheless what’s completely offered by the Sony Z9D and the Sony Z9F is worse than an IPS TV or OLED TVs.

Winner: Z9F

Motion Handling and 24p Playback

When playing fast moving images, the Sony Z9F can do a better job than the Z9D in handling motion trail. This is because the pixel response time of the Z9F is far lower than the Z9D. The pixel response time of the Z9F is excellent, even when comparing to the best LED TVs. The result when playing fast moving images like sports and fast movies, is the picture produced looks very clear and smooth with almost no blur visible. Following a fast moving object, there is only a short faint trail where most people may not notice this. On the other hand, the pixel response time of the Z9D is worse than most TVs. The result when playing fast paced content is a faint trail following fast moving objects that looks longer than the Z9F. Of course, blur is not just a trail caused by pixel response time. There is also duplication caused by persistence that makes blur, particularly when playing 60fps content. So blur that may visible on screen, it is likely caused by persistence, particularly for the Z9F. To dim their backlight, both use a PWM dimming system with 720 HZ of dimming frequency. Since it uses a very high frequency, this makes backlight flicker almost invisible on the screen. Even so, the less visible flicker can cause duplication and then become more visible. For minimizing blur caused by persistence, both equally have an optional BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode that will flicker the backlight at a lower frequency. For the Z9D, the lowest possible frequency is 60 HZ while for the Z9F, the lowest possible frequency is 120 Hz. This feature is very helpful to clear-up motion, particularly when playing 60 fps content. Since the Z9D can flicker the backlight at 60 Hz, motion will look clearer on its screen than on the screen of the Z9F that uses a 120 Hz frequency. On the other hand, a lower frequency of flicker makes backlight flicker more noticeable.

When playing 24p movies, the Sony Z9F can do better a job than the Sony Z9D. The Sony Z9D can show movies judder-free only if the source is native 24p video like Blu-Ray or DVD movies and 24p videos from streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, and others. When the source is 24p movies via 60i signal like movies from satellite TV or via 60p signal like movies from streaming devices, it can not remove judder completely. On the other hand, the performance of the Z9F for playing 24p video is great. This means that no matter the frame rate of the video source, all can be shown clearly and smoothly judder free.

Winner: Z9F

Input/Output

For their connectivity, both the Sony Z9D and the Sony Z9F are equally equipped with 4 HDMI ports where all support CEC and HDCP 2.2. Additionally they both have 1 port that supports ARC (Audio Return Channel) that is on HDMI 3. The advantage of the Z9F, all the HDMI ports support HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth while on the Z9D, there are only 2 ports that support HDMI 2.0 (HDMI 2 and 3). Additionally, both also have 2 USB ports where 2 ports are for USB 2.0 (USB 2 and 2) and 1 port is USB 3.0 (USB1). In addition to the USB and HDMI ports, both also have 1 RF In, 1 Ethernet In, 1 Digital Audio Out (optical), 1 Analog Audio Out (Mini Jack), a built-in Wi-Fi and also built-in Bluetooth. The difference between them is about the Composite in and Component in where the Z9D has 2 Composite In (AV In) and 1 Component In while the Z9F doesn’t have a Component In and has only 1 Composite In.

In terms of input lag, the Sony Z9F has better input lag than the Z9D in “PC” and “Game” mode. No matter the resolution of the source, the input lag of the Z9F is about 21 ms. This is certainly low enough to play any game responsively without lag, even for fast paced content. On the other hand, although not as low as the Z9F, the input lag of the Z9D in 4K resolution is also fairly low to make playing games feel responsive, even for fast paced games. But with 1080p inputs, the input lag is too high and only comfortable when playing casual games. While playing fast paced games, the 1080p input lag may cause disappointment for most gamers.

Winner: Z9F

Smart TV

As mentioned above, both the Sony Z9D and the Z9F have the same smart TV platform which is Google Android TV. The difference is in which version where the Z9F comes with Android TV version 8.0 Oreo and the Z9D comes with Android TV version 6.0 Marshmallow. On the newer version, there are some performance upgrades to make it run faster and better than the previous version. Additionally, on the Oreo version, the main page has some adjustments. On the Marshmallow version, the quick access buttons such as inputs and settings are located at the bottom of the screen page; on the Oreo version, they are moved to the top right of the screen page. Overall the main screen page of the Oreo version is better organized than the Marshmallow version making navigation and search easier.  While the user interface of the Oreo version has been upgraded over previous versions, the settings menus are not much changed. Not just that, the Smart TV performance of the Z9F is faster and more responsive than the Z9D. This is more because the Z9F is powered by a faster chipset than the Z9F. When talking about apps provided, there are many preinstalled apps such as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Video, Web Browser, Games, ChromeCast, Live TV, and much more. The excellent apps store is called Google Android TV. As you may know, it’s endorsed by thousands of developers that make apps, games and content.  But even so, since the versions are different, some apps may work on the Z9D but not on the Z9F and vice versa. The other interesting thing offered is in how they support Google Home and Google Voice Assistant. Google Home allows you to monitor and control your compatible devices such as a Refrigerator, Washing Machine, Air Conditioner and more. Not just that, they also support Amazon Alexa. And the Google Voice Assistant makes voice navigation far better.

For the controller, both are equally equipped with Sony Voice Remote. Overall their remotes are similar. A small difference is the symbol for the voice navigation buttons. Each remote is rather large and has a lot of buttons. In addition to some basic buttons like Number Buttons, Volume Buttons and Input Button, they also have quick access buttons for common settings and two dedicated buttons for Netflix and Google Play Store. On the top of the remote there is a direct access button to Google Voice Assistant. As mentioned, since each supports Google Voice Assistant, voice navigation is far better. In addition to  controlling some basic functions like change channel and change input, each remote also accepts some  complicated voice commands. Additionally, each remote supports CEC menu which means it can act as a universal remote, allowing you to control basic functions of other CEC compatible devices connected to your Sony TV via HDMI ports.

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Summary

Performance Sony Z9F Sony Z9D
Picture Quality (4.2/5) (4.2/5)
HDR (4.3/5) (4.2/5)
Motion Handling (4.3/5) (3.9/5)
Inputs (4.6/5) (4.3/5)
Sound Quality (2.9/5) (3.1/5)
Smart TV (4.1/5) (4/5)

Conclusion

As discussed above, overall the Sony Z9F is better than the Sony Z9D. The Sony Z9F black level might not be as deep as the Sony Z9D which means its performance is inferior to the Z9D when used in a dark room, but overall its performance in a dark room is still acceptable. Except for black level, the Sony Z9F is superior on almost all other aspects of picture quality. It has a brighter peak brightness in HDR, far brighter peak brightness in SDR, better color gamut, color volume, and color gradient. Except in a dark room, the picture quality and HDR performance of the Sony Z9F is better than the Sony Z9D. It also has wider viewing angle coverage than the Z9D, making the picture displayed look more consistent even when viewed from the side. The Sony Z9F also has a significantly lower pixel response time which means it can do a better job in handling motion blur. In minimizing blur caused by persistence, particularly when playing 60 fps, the performance of the Z9F is not as good as the Z9D since the lowest dimming frequency is 120 Hz while the Z9D is able to flicker the backlight at 60 Hz. The other advantage offered by the Z9F is it has lower input lag that make it better for games.  Additionally it comes with a newer version of Android TV where there are some upgrades and improvements to make its navigation easier and its performance faster.  On the other hand and although not as good as the successor Z9F, the performance and picture quality of the Z9D is also excellent. It even has a better contrast ratio to make it better when viewed in a dark room. The other advantage of the Z9D, it’s able to flicker its backlight at 60 Hz. This is very useful to minimize blur caused by persistence particularly when playing 60 fps content like sports and video games. But this is just optional because some people may feel more comfortable with flicker-free.

So which is better choice for you? Considering the picture quality and performance offered by each, as long as you don’t often watch TV in a dark room, the Sony Z9F is a better choice. Let alone for the 75 inch model, the Z9F is lower priced than the Z9D. But for the 65 inch model, it is more expensive than the Z9D. Although it is more expensive, what’s offered by the Z9F is in accordance with the money you spend. Now the decision is yours. If you want to buy a 75 inch model, the Z9F is certainly a better choice. But if you want to buy a 65 inch model, although the Z9F is still a better choice, the Z9D is also not a bad choice considering it has an excellent picture quality and HDR performance. And that is most important, where you can save money and have the TV of your dreams.

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Sony Z9F vs Z9D Review (XBR65Z9F vs XBR65Z9D, XBR75Z9F vs XBR75Z9D)

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