Last year Sony returned its TV lineup to South Africa, and today the company dumped a whole lot of its new Bravia XR sets right into our lap. Stuff was at the launch today in Johannesburg, which was a subdued affair involving a handful of people and a selection of truly impressive TV tech.
We got to experience several different aspects of Sony’s TVs. There are ten different models launching into the country — of those, four are the headliners. These are the Bravia XR sets, with two OLED and TV of Sony’s Full-Array models being part of the company’s so-called “cognitive intelligence TVs” lineup.
Bravia XR is better?
See, Sony’s touting its new Cognitive Processor XR, which does all sorts of fancy things. Using image recognition, it’ll intelligently adjust the sound output from your TV so it sounds like it’s coming from whoever is talking onscreen. It tweaks colour profiles based on the human eye, which is a pretty neat trick. It’s not quite spectacular, but Sony’s screens look great. And it also enables 120Hz and some serious intelligent motion smoothing for speedier scenes where there’s sometimes a spot of blur.
How do we know this? We saw them in action, demonstrating the way Sony’s XR TVs smooth out scenes to keep what’s onscreen as crisp as possible. Acoustic Surface+ audio, which borrows a little from LG’s Crystal Sound tech, makes use of the screen to pump out directional sound, and there are sensors inside that help to enable Dolby Atmos features in the home. Then there were also various smart functions, enabled by Sony’s reliance on a slick Android-based operating system. All of the company’s sets have the equivalent of a Google Nest Hub built-in, capable of doing everything your Google hardware might.
We’re reserving final judgement of these new Bravia XR sets until we’ve had a bit more hands-on time. Initial impressions are very good, however. The audio and picture quality are top-notch, based on our brief encounter with Sony’s OLED and Full Array panels. And then there’s the matter of price.
There are ten TVs in all launching. The top-end sets are the Sony Bravia XR A80J (OLED) and X90J (Full Array models. The Sony Bravia XR A80J arrives in two sizes: 65in (R58,000) and 77in (R80,000) and are absolutely amazing for gaming, supporting up to two consoles at 120Hz. The X90J also arrives in two sizes: The 65in is R33,000 and the 75in is R44,000.
There are another six sets landing in South Africa. There’s the X80J (55in — R19,000, 65in — R24,000, 75in — R36,000), the X85J (55in — R22,000, 65in — R30,000, 80in — R61,000). These don’t have Sony’s AI-powered wizardry, but they’re also no slouches. We’ll have reports from the trenches as soon as our Bravia TV turns up in the office.