Sony’s Bravia Grasp Collection Z9J 8K TV delivers nice picture high quality, nice seems to be, and nice audio options and efficiency. It is costly—and a few of that, at $7,000—however the larger situation is that it will not play 8K video recordsdata through native USB media or YouTube. And Sony refused to vow us that it will hit the highway.
Design and Options
You will in all probability want a buddy or two to arrange the 75-inch-class mannequin Sony shipped for this evaluation—its delivery weight is 130 kilos. As proven under, Sony reveals three The individuals dealing with it in its setup information.
You may be capable of set it up by sliding, leveraging, tilting, tilting and propping (I did—however it wasn’t straightforward), however why danger it? The Z9J can also be simply over three inches thick, however that is largely attributable to its audio infrastructure—extra on that in a bit.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart TVs, where you’ll find a review of what the competition has to offer, as well as a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
The Z9J is an 8K UHD (7680 x 4320) display with a 120Hz refresh rate, and uses Sony’s proprietary technologies for color and brightness. If the zone counter (video of the little white block traveling up the sides of the display) is to be believed, there’s a full-array backlight with about 400 completely dim backlight zones.
The Z9J may be bulky, but Sony has designed a very clever three-position stand to make sure it stays stable on whatever surface you set it on.
Using different mounting points, you can orient the legs to the sides, so the bottom of the TV is flush against the supporting surface; Place them near the sides, but at an angle to raise the unit off the supporting surface; Or further toward the center of the TV to accommodate the narrower platforms. The illustration on the left shows your options. The TV can also be mounted on the wall.
There are four HDMI ports, one of which supports eARC audio output, and the other supports high-bandwidth 4K UHD/120Hz and 8K UHD/60Hz signals. The two HDMI ports also support HDMI-CEC. Variable refresh rate and auto low-latency mode are also featured.
Audio is also output via an optical jack on the back and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the side of the TV. The one unique to Sony is the two-wire output for the center speaker.
Other ports include coaxial for cables and over-the-air antennas, a 3.5mm RS-232C jack for system integration (marrying external audio for TV control), and an RJ-45 port for Ethernet connections. Wi-Fi connectivity is 802.11ac, and there’s low-latency Bluetooth on board.
Coming back to the topic of audio, the Z9J has seven drivers: four tweeters, two midrange, and a single subwoofer. I refer to them as drivers, but they actually vibrate the display glass, essentially turning it into a giant planar speaker.
The Z9J also supports DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Audio, and Dolby Atmos, which means support for legacy codecs from those vendors as well. As if that weren’t enough, there’s an acoustic auto-calibration routine that will adapt the speaker’s output to the TV’s surroundings.
Calibration makes a noticeable—and mostly fine—difference, but you can revert to the defaults or replay the setup at any time. Finally, the Z9J will “upscale” normal audio to simulated 3D surround. Yes, Sony has its audio chops together.
Other select technologies include Apple Airplay 2, Chromecast, Dolby Vision and HDR10.
User interface and remote control
The Z9J uses the Android TV operating system, which is much better than the Crash Fest of a few years back. If you’re willing to live in the world of Google, you’ll love the interface.
Android TV is easy to browse, and has all the Android features and apps that occupy Google’s vast ecosystem. Sony also provides a comprehensive channel guide that makes it easy to surf the content.
The included remote is the new one we first saw with last year’s model, and most recently, the A90J. It’s big enough. You won’t need to worry that it will get lost in the sofa cushions; It rests comfortably in the hand; And functionally, it matches well with the onscreen interface of the TV. It’s my roundup to say that I like it—I don’t like it as much as the Roku remote, but…
My only minor complaint with the remote is that its four-way rocker/okay button is a bit more difficult to navigate by feel than some of the others—not raised out enough for my taste, and I had to navigate several times. Had to mess around. Regardless, this new remote is far superior to the old remote that Sony shipped with its top-of-the-line TVs a while back. Those controllers weren’t enough for cheap hotel rooms.
Make no mistake, the Z9J delivers the Sony image fans have been looking for. The color is accurate, though not as true as that given by quantum dots. But the image invokes that classy vibe that is part of the Sony aesthetic. You can’t make the color more precise, but you can adjust it to taste with a variety of tweaks.
Processing was great, though by default the Z9J opts for a slightly lower default sharpness than most brands. Increasing said sharpness would produce slightly more noticeable artifacts like Moiré, but only slightly.
As mentioned earlier, zone counters revealed around 400 to 440 backlighting zones, and dimming was handled exceptionally well. You can barely see the transition dim and bright in close proximity. Only light blooms at worst, and Sony’s own contrast video demo handled the Vegas night skyline, much like I’ve seen with any LCD TV, some of the mini-likes used in TCL and Samsung’s latest. Except for LED backlighting.
With the exception of the pyramidal fine-line test pattern, the Z9J sprinted through the Spears and Munsil tests; They showed a higher than normal amount of distortion. That said, convergence lines in that test are exceedingly rare in real-world content and no TV handles them perfectly.
Motion smoothing was excellent, though not on par with the recently reviewed and largely improved Vizio P-Series. Screen uniformity was also excellent, as was viewing from steep angles.
The audio was nothing short of great for a TV at any cost. Those seven speakers and Sony’s various tricks make the Z9J one of the few sets that can hold their own with soundbars and the like. If you’re looking to reduce the footprint of your entertainment setup, it’s no small idea.
Things got sticky when I switched to 8K UHD content. Although the YouTube app is up to date, the Z9J apparently doesn’t support the AV1 codec that’s needed for true 8K UHD playback—resolution options top out at 2160p instead of 4320p. strike one.
Additionally, Sony’s onboard media player can’t play 8K UHD files, meaning HEVC movies I used on other 8K UHD TVs to test were useless. strike two. Whether these deficiencies are hardware limitations or the fault of the Android OS was unclear; Curiously, Sony would not supply an explanation. see below.
Media Player 8K UHD Displays Images, so I had to satisfy myself with them for my initial evaluation. Said 8K UHD images were sharp and had an 8K look. After this article was published, I obtained a laptop capable of 8K distribution and I used it to play Phil Holland’s 12K NYC overview as well as several other 8K UHD videos.
The Z9J can render 8K really well. The details aren’t quite as clear as Samsung’s 8K UHD TVs, but it’s certainly noticeable from 4K UHD. Note that you’ll have to specifically enable 8K on the fourth HDMI port, or you’ll only see 4K UHD.
Sony extensively hypes about XR upscaling of UHD content to less than 8K. This works to some extent with most materials, although it does occasionally induce mild artifacts. In general, I wasn’t as impressed as I was by the upscaling I saw from Samsung’s Q900 two years ago, but Sony’s upscaling makes most 4K UHD look better.
When asked for comment on the future of 8K UHD playback via anything other than the HDMI port, Sony responded, “We’re working with our streaming partners as they develop 8K content and its delivery, and this Will continue to evaluate how to provide the best experience for our customers.”
That comment inspired little confidence on my part as to the Z9J’s 8K UHD future, so I frankly asked him if the Z9J was eligible Should the company choose to implement this for HEVC and AV1 playback. The answer was “We are not able to discuss our 8K processing strategy at this time.” I had to contact Google about Android TV’s 8K UHD capabilities, but have yet to receive a response. Rest assured, we will update this article if more information is made available.
The Z9J is an excellent TV with 4K UHD that any fan of the Sony brand would love to have in their living room. But if you’re willing to part with such a coin to get 8K UHD, I’ll bet you watch Some of it—even if it’s just a YouTube air tour, or something you download from NASA. You can’t with the Z9J, and Sony is curiously silent on whether you’ll be able to hit the road.
You can do all of that today with Samsung’s Q900, which made a splash in my last review, as well as that company’s new QN900 and QN800, though I haven’t reviewed either of those latter models yet Is. But I’ve never known Samsung to fall behind on image quality.
This article was edited on 9/30/2021 To illustrate further experience with 8K UHD video delivered via HDMI.