India has a special history with Sony since the early 80’s, the dawn of the colour TV in India. It’s no surprise then that the brand enjoys unequivocal premium, at least in terms of image. That in turn, allows them to get away with premium pricing too. But with the competition really getting cut-throat, Sony has to pull one out of the magic hat.
The X75H is their newest line-up of entry-level 4K televisions that also incorporate the X1 4K processor, Triluminos display and support for HDR, though not Dolby Vision. No one said you can have it all!
Being an Android TV in its stock form helps the Sony to keep things simple and straight. After the initial set-up which was a lengthy process involving both firmware and app updates, it’s a familiar experience as with most other Android TVs. Using any Android smartphone, you will up and running in a few minutes streaming your favourite shows. In terms of design, the X75H bucks the trend of slimmer top and side bezels with a slightly thicker bottom bezel for an even look throughout. They are still slim enough to not be a bother and anyway, the star here is going to be what’s packed between the bezels. The stands are the now common chicken-feet type and they work well but installing them on your own is a bit more time consuming than others and you might have to refer to the attached leaflet.
A long-ish remote only has hotkeys for Netflix and Google Play, which is a bit of a letdown since YouTube, Prime Video, Hotstar and even Zee5 shortcuts are being offered by its competitors. A dedicated Apps key though takes you quickly to the app screen and the interface is snappy enough with no lag in commands or moving around through various apps.
Where the Sony differs from the rest is in its multitude of picture settings and while it is a tweaker’s delight, for the novice, it means getting the best picture might be a bit of a learning curve. You could of course, still get a very vivid picture by just using one of the factory presets, but with the X1 processor built-in, you can fine-tune the colours, contrast and motion processing until the next SRK release and still be working on it. There’s no Dolby Vision but you do get HDR and HLG support, some sacrifices you have to make for a starter Sony. A lot of the settings interplay between contrast, colour and brightness so experimenting is key and this means spending time analysing a critical movie clip, playing it on loop and looking for subtle differences. For example, Reality Creation has controls sharpness, resolution and noise reduction all of which are inextricably linked to each other and it takes a few repeated demos to understand how each of the parameters affects the picture quality. The Advanced contrast enhancer adds brightness while Live colour on High overcooks the colours, where reds almost turn to orange. All make very slight changes so use as per taste, but always start with the minimum or ‘off’ setting and only add if required. Kind of like salt to cooking. But once you do get everything right, the picture quality is stunning and honestly, head and shoulders above any of the more affordable options that may appear to be offering similar specs.
Tanhaji with its elaborate costumes, engravings on artillery and weapons and the colour corrected skies make for a great test for detail, clarity and motion smoothness and the Sony X75H passes all with flying colours, literally. Colour consistency is great off-axis too so you can have a much wider seated audience too, unlike some of the recent panels we have tested. On-axis, the picture quality with the right settings is simply amazing and you won’t even need a 4K input signal to appreciate it. Even 1080p looks stunning with cinematic depth of field to the video that makes it a truly immersive experience and appreciate the intricacies of film-making. You’ll be looking at production design, make-up and cinematography a lot more closely than while watching casually on other TVs in the segment. The X75H makes you want to invest yourself into the material with its smoothness of motion and pitch-perfect colours. Mind you though, it’s easy to overcook things and make even 24fps films look like soap operas shot at 30fps, so you have to use the motion processing judiciously.
Although being offered at an attractive inaugural price, the X75H is still twice as expensive as the current competition from China. But it justifies its inflated price tag by way of its excellent picture quality that shows why Sony is still boss when it comes to televisions. The difference will be appreciated only by those who like to truly enjoy the content they consume and if you’re one of those who can watch Inception on a laptop and feel satisfied, this additional outlay might not make sense. But even while being at the entry-level of what Sony 4K has to offer, the X75H is a brilliant insight into what Sony does best - make great TVs!