I tested Sony’s X90K and it’s a great 4K TV for PS5, but no match for mini-LED

Sony XR-65X90K TV on TV stand showing Google TV interface onscreen
(Image credit: Future)

Sony’s X90K series TVs are the company’s mid-range 4K LCD models for 2022, slotting in between the high-end X95K and more entry-level X85K and X80K series sets. A big difference between the X95K and X90K models is Sony’s use of a mini-LED backlight on the former, with the X90K instead using a regular LED backlight with full array local dimming – an advanced feature not found on the X85K and X80K TVs.

Sony sent us a 65-inch version of its X90K series set, and I’ve been running some initial tests to get a sense of what it's capable of while also using it as my main TV for casual viewing. Last year’s version of this set, the Sony X90J series, currently sits on our list of the best 4K TVs, so I was very eager to unbox it and find out how it compares.

What’s immediately clear is that the X90K is a great value: Sony was initially charging $1,499 in the US for the 65-inch model, and that price has since dropped to $999 /  £1,299 / AU$2,295. These are on a par with Black Friday deals, people!

For the price, Sony provides quite a lot here. The X90K series uses a XR Triluminos Pro panel for enhanced color reproduction along with its Cognitive Processor XR and XR 4K upscaling. Sony’s video processing has traditionally been first-rate, and that advantage was immediately clear upon viewing images with the X90K.

Dolby Vision support is onboard (alas, no HDR10+) and there are IMAX Enhanced, Dolby Vision Day and Night, and Netflix Adaptive Calibrated picture modes. On the smart front, you get Google TV with Google Assistant, along with support for AirPlay 2.

Gamers will be glad to know that the X90K series is one of Sony's Perfect for PlayStation 5 series, with its dual HDMI 2.1 ports supporting 4K 120Hz video input, along with VRR and ALLM. Perfect for PS5 TVs also feature Sony’s Auto HDR Tone Mapping, which optimizes the HDR setting for the game console input upon initial setup.

 Here’s a full list of X90K series TV features:

  • 55-, 65-, 75-, 85-inch screen sizes
  • Cognitive Processor XR
  • XR Triluminos Pro
  • XR 4K Upscaling
  • Dolby Vision, IMAX Enhanced, and Netflix Adaptive Calibrated picture modes
  • Google TV with Google Assistant
  • AirPlay 2
  • Perfect for PlayStation 5
  • Dual HDMI 2.1 inputs with 4K/120Hz, VRR, and ALLM
  • ATSC 3.0 tuner
  • Acoustic Center Sync to synchronize TV’s speakers with select Sony soundbars
  • Multi-position stand with low-profile setting and raised setting to accommodate a soundbar
  • Optional Bravia cam for video chats

Sony XR-65X90K TV on stand showing soundbar beneath

The multi-position stand in its raised setting provides plenty of clearance to accommodate a soundbar. (Image credit: Future)

Our review of Sony’s 65-inch X90K series 4K TV is in the works, but while you’re waiting, these are some key takeaways from our initial round of tests that should provide a good idea of what performance level you can expect.

Good brightness and contrast 

The 65-inch X90K displayed an average light output: we measured 964 nits (on a 10% white window) in the standard HDR picture mode, and 450 nits in Cinema HDR mode. While that brightness level will be fine for most viewing environments, and is on par with the best OLED TVs, high-end LCD sets that use a mini-LED backlight like the Samsung QN95B can deliver more than twice that amount. Even budget mini-LED-backlit models such as the Hisense U8H can output almost 1,800 nits in its Theater HDR mode.

As with other LED-backlit LCD TVs that have full-array local dimming, the Sony X90K is capable of completely shutting off its backlight zones to achieve a full black and thus “infinite contrast.”

Wide color gamut 

When we measured the X90K’s coverage of DCI-P3, the color gamut used for mastering movies for digital cinema and 4K Blu-ray disc, with Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software, it checked in at 95%. That’s a bit less than the 97% we measured on the Hisense U8H mini-LED model and the full coverage on Sony’s own A80K OLED TV. Even so, that level of performance is typical for LED-backlit models, and I can’t say that the 4K/HDR images I viewed were visibly lacking when it came to color richness.

Low input lag 

With its HDMI 2.1 features and Perfect for PlayStation 5 designation, the X90K is well-equipped for gaming, and the very good 13.8ms input lag we measured in Game mode confirms it’s more than ready for it. There are other TVs that do a bit better on this parameter, but not by much. Otherwise, there are no game-specific picture settings beyond Sony’s preset and the Auto HDR tone mapping that kicks in when you attach a PS5.

Sony X90K: The budget PS5-friendly Sony TV of your dreams? 

With Black Friday TV deals now happening, the 65-inch X90K looks like a great option for gamers on a budget. You’ll have to spend twice as much to step up to the company’s X95K model with a mini-LED backlight, which will likely deliver better brightness, but otherwise seems to duplicate many of the same features of the X90K. 

We’ll be diving much deeper into this Sony TV’s performance for our full review, so keep an eye out for it.

Al Griffin
Senior Editor Home Entertainment, US

Al Griffin has been writing about and reviewing A/V tech since the days LaserDiscs roamed the earth, and was previously the editor of Sound & Vision magazine. 

When not reviewing the latest and greatest gear or watching movies at home, he can usually be found out and about on a bike.