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Sony 2023 Bravia XR TV hands-on: Bigger, brighter and even better looking

We're getting major updates to Sony's high-end full array LED, OLED and Mini LED offerings.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Back at CES, most of the big TV makers like LG and Samsung announced their upcoming high end TVs. But one major company was missing: Sony. Now it’s finally ready to show off its latest flagship sets, and after getting a chance to see them in person, I can say it was worth the wait.

Sony’s 2023 line of Bravia XR TVs, are all powered by the company’s Cognitive Processor XR. That means they share the same underlying tech and processing including support for stuff like Sony’s XR Clear Image tech, which allows for adaptive noise reduction, auto HDR tone mapping and more.

For 2023, Sony is trying to take as much of the guesswork out of setup as possible by making its TVs look great right out of the box in the standard video or cinematic modes. That means you shouldn’t have to fuss around with various settings or need to get your TV professionally calibrated. Granted calibration is still the way to go if you want to get the very best image quality, but for people who don’t have a colorimeter at home or don’t want to pay someone else to do it – which I think is pretty much everyone – this is a welcome upgrade.

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Sony has also made a few design tweaks including new tweeters that are built into the frame of select models. While you can’t really see them, they help deliver richer and more expansive audio, particularly when paired with one of the company’s high-end soundbars with center sync audio. Sony is also introducing an updated stand for most of its new sets, which allows for a bit more flexibility when trying to accommodate external speakers and soundbars.

The new Eco dashboard in Sony's 2023 Bravia XR TVs makes it easy to turn on and adjust power-saving settings like brightness, idle power off times and more.
The new Eco dashboard in Sony's 2023 Bravia XR TVs makes it easy to turn on and adjust power-saving settings like brightness, idle power-off times and more. (Sam Rutherford/Engadget)

Finally, Sony also added new Gaming and Eco dashboards, so it’s easier to find and adjust various settings. For gaming, you have options like VRR, motion blur reduction and more. And for FPS fanatics, there’s even a setting for adding a permanent crosshair to the middle of the screen, complete with various reticle choices. Alternatively, the Eco Dashboard includes a simple walkthrough to help you choose power-saving settings, including a happy little tree that grows when you do things like reduce the brightness or enable shorter idle power-off times.

While Sony hasn’t released exact pricing just yet, the X90L will likely be the most affordable of the bunch, as it’s positioned as the entry-level option in the Bravia XR family. It’s the replacement to last year’s X90K, and sports a full-array LED panel with improved Clear Image upscaling and significantly reduced blooming. And while Sony doesn’t publicly disclose the exact number of dimming zones, the company says the X90L has up to 60 percent more dimming zones while also being up to 30 percent brighter than before.

While it's a mid-range TV overall, the new X90L is poised to be the entry model in Sony's high-end Bravia XR TV family. And with the largest model going up to 98 inches, it's also the largest.
While it's a mid-range TV overall, the new X90L is poised to be the entry model in Sony's high-end Bravia XR TV family. And with the largest model going up to 98 inches, it's also the biggest. (Sam Rutherford)

This model is also getting a new aluminum bezel instead of the plastic one on the X90K, and with the addition of a massive new 98-inch model, the X90L is the biggest TV in Sony’s 2023 Bravia XR lineup.

Next, when it comes to OLEDs, we have the A80L and A95L. Not only do both models boast improved contrast, when viewed side-by-side with rivals like the LG C2, I noticed Sony’s OLEDs definitely did a better job at preserving details in shadows. The A95L was particularly impressive thanks to its QD-OLED panel and Cognitive Processor, with Sony claiming brightness that's now two times higher than last year's model. This is big because for a long time, the brightness of OLED TVs has generally lagged behind that of more traditional LED sets. But now, Sony says the A95L is brighter than basically all but the most high-end LED rivals. And as someone who loves the super vibrant colors you get from OLED displays, the A95L might be my favorite of the entire line.

Thanks to a new QD-OLED panel, Sony claims the A95L is two times brighter than last year's model.
Thanks to a new QD-OLED panel, Sony claims the A95L is two times brighter than last year's model. (Sam Rutherford/Engadget)

Speaking of high-end, Sony’s X93L and X95L are the company’s two super premium flagship options. Both sets feature Mini LED displays with the main difference being that the X93L doesn’t come with Sony’s XR Clear Image tech. Meanwhile, the X95L offers similar peak brightness with 30 percent more local dimming zones. The downside is that the X95L is only available as an 85-inch model, so if you need something smaller, you’ll have to go with the X93L.

That said, when I compared the X93L and X95L to one of Sony’s super expensive reference monitors in a room with typical lighting, both did a great job of preserving details while also delivering extremely accurate colors. In certain scenes, Sony’s TV’s almost made rivals like Samsung’s QN90B look washed out. Admittedly, things like film grain were a bit more noticeable on the X93L because it doesn’t have Clear Image tech, but for film aficionados who really care about watching movies that look as close as possible to what the director intended, these are the sets to get.

The X95L is the new flagship set for Sony's entire Bravia XR TV family.
The X95L is the new flagship set for Sony's entire Bravia XR TV family. (Sam Rutherford/Engadget)

After seeing the new TVs, regardless of what type of panel you prefer, all of Sony’s upcoming Bravia XR sets look fantastic. You get way more local dimming zones on the X90L line, while the two times higher brightness on the A95L is absolutely stunning. And with Sony adding larger screen options to basically all of its models, it should be even easier to find the right-size display for your room.