A few weeks back, I got my hands on the latest Sony TV range with the new Bravia XR 4K OLED Android TV. I spent a couple of weeks with the product, getting to grips with its Android TV firmware and new XR display technology.
It’s been a bit tricky over the past decade to keep track of how many times Sony has announced its exit from the South African market across various segments under its brand. Whether it be their TV division, mobile or Sony Television Network, it’s not been an easy ride for the consumer to keep up. A few years back, Sony exited the TV market only to be reintroduced in 2020 and then not being all that readily available across the country. However, at the end of 2021, the brand once again announced its relaunch on the South African shores with its new Sony XR TV series.
The Sony Bravia XR 4K OLED TV measures around 1448x836x53mm without the feet attached and 1448x859x330mm when they are connected. There is a very thin bezel around the display, which measures around 10mm on all edges. This gives it a 94.8% screen-to-body ratio.
In terms of its connectivity, there are two areas on the rear that has ports. The first is an easy-to-reach panel on the right-hand side, with a longer panel on the centre housing additional ports. The panel on the right features an HDMI port, two USB ports, speaker-in, video-in and remote IR ports. Then, there’s also a power button right at the top of this.
The main panel features the rest of the ports. This includes an antenna input, LAN port, digital audio out, RS remote input, x3 HDMI ports and another USB 3.0 port. This is quite an impressive number of ports overall, so most users should be covered for a wide variety of inputs and outputs.
There are two elements to the Sony Bravia XR 4K OLED TV (if you exclude the feet). The first is the panel itself, which is an ultra-thin screen. While it is extremely thin, it doesn’t flex much at all, which provides some peace of mind that it won’t easily break under a bit of unwanted pressure.
The second portion is the control box, where the motherboard and other internals are housed. This creates a rectangular attachment look on the rear. That said, it, too, isn’t all that thick at just 53mm.
It’s an impressive design, whichever way you try and present it. It has a titanium black aluminium finish, with a thin bezel, thin screen and lightweight build that ticks all the boxes. Quite brilliant actually.
Screen and Display
As the model name suggests, the Sony Bravia XR 4K OLED TV unit received for review had a 65” screen (or 64.5” to be precise). Further to this, it has an LG-manufactured OLED panel powered by the Sony Bravia technology. With a 30-bit colour display, it has over 1 billion colours.
For its display, it has a 4K display, which equates to 3,840×2,160px resolution, or 2,160p. This makes it an Ultra HD display. Additionally, the panel also features Dolby Vision support, HDR10 and HLG enhancements, as well as a 120Hz refresh rate. It has a viewing angle of 178° in both vertical and horizontal angles. It has a very reasonable 68ppi pixel density, which is great for its size.
Given its OLED panel, the picture quality is quite uniform. Its viewing angles are great, and the contrast is brilliant with its single pixel dimming, making blacks really black. Where it does lack compared to other high-end models is that it isn’t as bright. However, it makes up for this in almost every department.
Being a 65” screen TV, I was sceptical about whether I would be able to install it by myself. With my wife out of commission due to a recent knee op, it needed to be a one-man job. Thankfully, it wasn’t all that complicated in the end.
Once you’ve undone the fastenings on the box, you can simply lift it off from the base and place it to the side. The TV then is still able to stand upright within the base, despite its size, making it easy to lift and place on the couch for assembly.
That, too, wasn’t an issue. The panel itself weighed 22.3KG. You’ll then need to install the feet, which is done in two steps. Firstly, you’ll screw the two sections together by means of two screws per foot. Once you’ve completed this task, you can then simply slide the feet into the housing underneath the TV. This adds roughly another KG to the overall weight, now at 23.2KG.
Although a tad bit trickier to manoeuvre, it’s still within reason to lift and place the TV onto the stand. Thereafter, all you then need to do is plug in the power cord and proceed to the onscreen setup.
There are two main ways in which to setup Android TV. The first of these is from scratch using the onscreen prompts. This includes connecting to the WiFi, signing into your Google account and more. The second option is much simpler using the link and code on the TV and completing the installation via your Android smartphone, which is then copied over to the TV and you’re good to go.
Thereafter, you can fine-tune your settings, from the screen brightness, contrast, dynamic range, audio mode and much more. You can also download all the relevant apps you may need that aren’t already preloaded (YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.). Thankfully, it will also offer Disney+ app installation once it lands in South Africa, something that isn’t yet available on non-Android TVs.
Sony Bravia XR 4K OLED TV Performance
The performance of the Sony Bravia XR 4K OLED TV is quite smooth for the most part. Opening apps is a breeze while switching between them in a minimalist multitasking mode is also fairly easy. You can then switch back to a previously opened app and continue where you had left off.
The TV is powered via ARM ARMv8 chipset under the hood. This includes a 1.80GHz single Processor with 4 Cores. It is bolted onto an MT5895 motherboard, which has 2.9GB RAM. Further to this, it also features the Cognitive XR processor for that crystal clear visuals. This makes the overall performance quite satisfactory for the most part.
However, where the TV lets itself down a bit is the lack of customisation on UI. While it runs Android TV 10, it is fairly rigid. While you can select a few apps to display on the top bar, you can change the layout of the summary and suggestion view, where you can see viewing suggestions per app. It’s quite a frustration, especially when you consider there are one or two apps that you wouldn’t ever use but are stuck with it on the main menu.
However, being an Android TV, it makes streaming from your mobile through Chromecast a breeze. This has always been one of my favourite features when it comes to Android TV browsing. You can search for and select content to play via your Android smartphone, and thereafter control the viewing with volume, play/pause, skip to next and more. Integrating this to the Google Home app and the control becomes even easier to manage as part of an ecosystem.
The OLED panel is also a joy to watch. The 4K resolution, high contrast viewing on the 65” panel is quite the experience. Additionally, with certain apps, as well as your console, supporting HDR mode, it makes the lighting effects quite brilliant. There’s very little to fault when it comes to the viewing experience, whether it be movies, series, sports or gaming. It really is quite amazing.
The Sony Bravia XR 4K 65” OLED Android TV is a very good unit. It looks good, has great visuals, a decent set of features and an easy-to-use Android TV firmware. While it lacks a bit of UI customisation and is quite the investment (R55,999), there’s very little in the way of faults when it comes to your overall viewing experience.
Sony Bravia XR 65” OLED Android TV
If you enjoy watching TV, then you’ll enjoy the Sony Bravia XR 65” OLED Android TV. It looks good, while having an even more brilliant visual display. Watching movies, series and sport, as well as playing games on this unit is sheer joy.