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You’re looking at a Sony X93L review that’s about to have a little talk with your wallet. The discussion will touch on longevity, performance, smart TV features, and value. These are the metrics we’ll use to figure out if the Sony X93L Mini-LED TV is worth its asking price.
Sony X93L review: The concept behind the product
The Sony brand marks 2023 by taking the fight to its competition with eye-catching deals. This is where the X93L comes in to offer premium features at a slight ‘discount’. Choosing the X93L over comparable models from Samsung or LG can save you a few hundred dollars. So, what are some of the ways that Sony manages to undercut competing TV sets with similar specifications?
For starters, the X93L has plenty in common with the Sony X95K from 2022. The X95K was the flagship product line that served as an introduction to Sony’s Mini-LED lineup. At a glance, the X93L and X95L look identical (they have the same chassis). The similarities go further, extending to hardware specifications and some aspects of picture quality. So why not just get last year’s model for less money?
A little legwork shows that there isn’t much of a difference between the pricing of the X95K and the X93L. Still, the newer model has extra features that could justify the small price difference. One of those differences is a game dashboard that offers easy access to the settings that enhance your gaming experience. The 2023 model is also brighter, with better reflection handling and HDR highlights.
Build and design
Metallic edges and gun-metal bezels frame the screen of the Sony X93L. A pair of metal legs only adds to the sleek, edgy look of the panel. You can attach the legs in three different positions, and each position has its height clearance. Placing the TV legs at the corners gives you a three-inch height clearance. Putting the TV feet close together only gives you a height clearance of 1.8 inches.
The back panel is just as stunning, with a checkerboard texture that frames a column of side-facing ports like armor. This design choice may remind you of the surface of a grenade, especially when you look at the inputs from the side.
A blend of metal and sturdy plastic forms the chassis of the Sony X93L, so the build quality of the TV is pretty solid. You should expect many years of service from the display.
Connectivity and controls
Only two of the four HDMI ports support 4K/120 content, which is odd for a premium TV. It doesn’t help that one of the high-speed ports also doubles as the eARC port. This oversight may inconvenience households with multiple gaming consoles and a sound system. In addition to the HDMI ports, the X93L comes with:
- A digital optical audio output
- Two USB ports
- Composite port
- An Ethernet jack
- RF connector for cable/antenna
- A connector for an IR receiver
Along with physical connections, the TV comes with the requisite Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. You’ll need Bluetooth to connect wireless headphones because the TV lacks a physical 3.5mm audio jack.
Lastly, the back panel has two buttons that sit among the different ports. There’s a multi-purpose button that you can use to power the TV, choose an input source, or adjust the volume. The second button is a switch that enables or disables the far-field microphones inside the TV.
Sony X93L review: Google TV
This Android-based platform has a large selection of streaming and productivity apps. The OS also boasts a user-friendly layout and smooth navigation. You also get perks like:
- Support for Alexa
- Hands-free option for Google Voice Assistant
- Compatibility with Apple Airplay
- Chromecast allows you to channel content from your Android device to the TV
- Google TV can transform the Sony X93L into a control hub for compatible smart home devices
The Google TV platform also anchors Sony’s gaming dashboard. This module provides quick and easy access to your game settings.
The Sony gaming toolkit
One of the menu items on the gaming dashboard lets you enable or disable VRR. You can also change the screen resolution, which has the effect of adjusting the screen size when you want to use a smaller portion of the TV. As a bonus, the dashboard lets you adjust the crosshair to your liking. These are just a few of the settings you can adjust on the gaming menu.
It’s rare to find a flat-screen TV with internal speakers that deliver good audio. The X93L is one such rarity, with a total of six speakers distributed all through the panel. This configuration produces a big sound stage that tries to mimic surround sound.
A pair of tweeters and a pair of mid-range drivers do a decent job of creating treble and mid-range audio. The internal subwoofer makes a good attempt at producing bass frequencies, but it is no substitute for an external subwoofer.
Sony X93L review: Hardware and picture quality
The X93L is a 120Hz VA panel with 4K resolution and a Mini-LED backlight array. The backlight array comes with hundreds of dimming zones that contribute to the impressive contrast ratio of the display. Sony’s processing technology then steps in to control the dimming zones with precision. The result is an accurate, vivid execution of fine detail in bright and dark scenes.
In addition to a bright backlight, the Sony X93L panel has a wide color gamut. The resulting color palette has enough material to recreate colors that match the videographer’s cinematic vision. This means that the panel creates hues and shades that are true to life. Skin tones look realistic in bright scenes and dim lighting. The native brightness of the panel only increases the nuance, highlight, and shadow of individual colors.
Brightness, reflection handling, contrast, and HDR
The X93L reaches sustained peak brightness levels of 1,000 nits in HDR and 350 nits in SDR. These numbers mean that the TV works flawlessly in a bright room. The panel is also powerful enough to render HDR content with brilliant, vivid highlights.
It gets better, with the panel achieving black levels that are close to OLED-level darkness. However, viewers will notice some light bleedthrough in dark scenes with bright regions. This minor drawback doesn’t take away from the display’s ability to execute stark contrast. The result is detail that stands out, even in dim scenes and dark sections of an image.
Screen uniformity tends to vary from one TV set to another, but the X93L should be pretty even. Some people may notice slight clouding at the corners of the screen.
You will notice a loss of contrast, brightness, and color accuracy as you move from the center of the TV. This is a drawback that you should expect to endure with most VA panels.
The X93L has nimble pixels that change colors in less than 8ms, which guarantees minimal motion blur. However, dark objects that fly across the screen may leave a trail as they move across different dimming zones.
An input lag of 9.2 milliseconds is a little slow for a premium TV, but only professional gamers would notice. A lag of 9.2ms is still fast enough to deliver a smooth and responsive gaming experience.
Support for gaming consoles
High-end Sony displays have native support for the latest Xbox and PlayStation consoles. Gamers get to experience beautiful HDR visuals and support for 4K/120 content. The Sony X93L also offers VRR support to prevent screen tearing for PC and console games with lower frame rates.
- Beautiful design, sturdy build, and neat cable management options
- This TV is bright, both in SDR and HDR
- Good color reproduction, accurate tone mapping, and impressive HDR highlights
- Native support for PS5
- Good sound quality
- Hands-free option for Google Assistant
- Image quality degrades when you view the Sony X93L from the side
- Two HDMI 2.1 ports may not be enough for heavy gamers
- Noticeable light blooming in images with a mix of dark and light sections
Sony X93L review: Tradeoffs that you can live with
The Sony X93L enters the market offering an asking price that undercuts similar TV sets from other high-end brands. All the buyer has to tolerate is fewer HDMI 2.1 ports than the competition. You also get brilliant, realistic HDR highlights at the cost of a degree of light bleedthrough.
Everything else remains top-tier; which means that you get a TV with great picture quality and a durable chassis. After covering the basics, the X93L proceeds to show off with a large collection of bells and whistles. The Google OS has every utility, streaming app, and smart TV feature you could think of.
Simply put, this Sony X93L review reveals a premium TV that comes close to mimicking OLED-level or QLED-level performance. Click here to learn more about this television.