Review: Sony Bravia XR 4K HDR Full Array Google Smart TV

I was probably one of the last people to get rid of a big, bulky CRT TV and replace it with a flat screen. I didn’t want to send a working TV to the landfill, but eventually I received a new one as a gift. That flat screen worked just fine for years, so I saw no reason to upgrade. However, I do work online from home and was finally convinced a ‘smart TV’ that connects to the internet is the way to go. Still, I was in no hurry…until the Sony Bravia XR 4K Smart TV appeared on my radar.

A Picture is Worth a Billion Words

The list of features and spec’s are impressive, but the picture quality was the first thing to blow me away.

Optimum picture quality is the goal of all TV’s, at least within their class, but Sony truly outdid themselves with the Bravia XR. They tackled colour from multiple angles and went to great lengths to ensure a level of detail that greatly exceeded my expectations.

In fact, I continue to say “WOW” quite often, as different scenes amplify the incredible close-ups, special effects and background scenes. I can actually see it working occasionally, as it quickly adjusts this or brightens that, maximizing the quality even when the source picture isn’t great. It makes everything the best it can be.

For example, skin tones are simply AMAZING on this TV! I marveled at the subtle differences between complexion shades. I realized just how good it was while watching a beach interview, when I noticed the slightest flush of a sunburn on the woman’s face. It wouldn’t have been visible at all on most screens, let alone in a perfect, distinct shade of ‘sunburn red’.

The XR picture experience begins with a special processor that uses “human perspective analysis”, to instantly analyze and optimize countless elements in a flash with full array LED.

My other flat screen picture was quite dark, to a point that night scenes were barely visible. I brightened it as much as possible with the settings, but it didn’t help much. The Bravia’s XR (automatic) Contrast Booster 5 kicked in on the first night scene and visibly brightened it, without losing any colour or bleaching. In doing so, it creates proper depth with contrast and enhances details.

And speaking of details, this TV delivers on those too. The realistic colour palette, enhanced hue, saturation and contrast meet 4K quality to produce a truly realistic, immersive experience. It’s IMAX Enhanced certified as well, signifying optimization for high-fidelity picture and sound.

The whole family is impressed, including the cat. Easy access to cat videos on YouTube (in 4K!) brought nature into our living room with clear, brilliant and realistic colour.

I don’t usually watch movies more than once, but the picture quality of the Sony Bravia XR 4K Smart TV is so astounding I’m rewatching the ones with exceptional special effects. You haven’t seen Star Wars in your living room, until you’ve seen it at this quality on a big screen TV!

Apps

Apps are the stars of smart TV’s! Yesterday’s televisions are now fully-featured tools for today’s home entertainment needs. Their functionality is well beyond anything I ever imagined a TV could be. Access streaming on virtually any platform, including local TV apps like CBC, CTV and Global, in addition to must-haves like YouTube, Netflix, Disney or Amazon Prime Video . You can also add a web browser and other tools you may want.

Even business functionality is expandable through apps. Have you seen special promotions or education videos playing on your dentist’s TV screen in their waiting room? That’s an app!

Sony Bravia Smart TV Apps
Just a few apps that we’ve installed (or were preinstalled) on the Sony Bravia Smart TV, including CBC Gem and CTV.

Explosive Sound

I already had a sound bar/woofer and connected it to the Bravia. However, it’s one of the few flat screen TV’s that comes with great sound on it’s own through Dolby Atmos surround sound.

Gaming

OLED may be the holy grail for gamers, but the Bravia’s 120hz refresh rate and outstanding visuals are more than enough for most players. Plus, the Sony Bravia has some exclusive features for those with PS5 consoles.

Compatibility

Powered by Google, including Google TV, Google Assistant and Chromecast. You can also connect Alexa-enabled devices and utilize Apple AirPlay to stream from your Apple devices. Connect Bluetooth®-compatible devices for wireless entertainment.

Remote Features

If you’ve ever searched for something on a TV using an on-screen keyboard, you’ll understand how tedious it can be to type the search terms letter by letter. The voice option included with the Bravia XR remote control has worked perfectly every time I’ve used it, eliminating the need to enter search terms character by character.

Sony Bravia Voice Remote Control

That said, my only complaint about this TV is the remote control, or specifically the ‘wheel’ of arrows circling the ‘select’ button. It’s really small, with no separation between the arrows. That makes it difficult to press a certain arrow without pressing the one beside it (or the surrounding buttons) at the same time. I have to use my fingernail tip to press it properly.

I do love the buttons that take you directly to the popular streaming apps though. I can switch to Disney Plus, Netflix, Prime Video or YouTube with a push of a button. It’s a vast improvement over having to fire up my laptop and go to the streaming sites individually, so I could access them on the TV with an HDMI cable. One less cable snaking across the floor is a bonus too.

Installation

It took two of my favourite guys to install the corner mount and attach the new Sony Bravia 65″ to the wall. We purchased the largest size that would fit in the designated corner, which left little room to reach the back and attach it to the Kanto Full Motion Corner TV Mount. They did prevail, but you might want to have some help available when it’s time to do the installation. Otherwise, it was very easy to set up.

A Winner in its Class…and Then Some

We did our comparison & review homework and other buyers agree: the Sony Bravia XR 4K HDR Full Array Google Smart TV is easily the best television overall in its price range. In my opinion, it can hold its own in the higher end categories too.

I’m looking forward to enjoying its many features for years to come. With all of this exceptional tech, it’s doubtful an upgrade will be needed any time soon.

This review focuses on the features most appealing to me, but I encourage you to check out the full list of features & specs. No matter what you’re looking for, chances are this TV has it covered.

© Original photos by Melody McKinnon

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