Sony's first 8K TV makes Samsung's look cheap

Credit: Sony

Australia finally has its second 8K TV in the form of Sony’s new Master Series Z9G 8K LED TV.

Announced and shown off at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, the Z9G is a behemoth of a TV that pushes the capabilities of Sony’s X1 Ultimate to its limits. 

In addition to Sony’s own X1 Ultimate processor, it’s also got the same suite of technologies you’ll find in the company’s best OLED TVs. The Z9G supports every HDR standard under the sun (HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision & HDR10+) and enhanced color accuracy via Sony’s Triluminos & X-Wide Angle tech. 

There’s also motion smoothing via Sony’s X-Motion Clarity feature for better sports playback, plus a dedicated Netflix Calibrated Mode that summons up metadata for select Netflix original. This feature isn’t new for the Z9G, but it does allow you to see things as the creator intended. Like the Foxtel Now Android TV app that’s still available to Sony TVs, it’s a little something extra that separates them from even other Android-based TVs. 

Credit: Fergus Halliday, IDG

The Z9G also features a Backlight Master Drive with ultra-dense LED modules that are independently controlled, delivering unprecedented contrast with punchy brightness and pitch blacks. In order to get the most out of this system, the Z9G uses the saved energy to intelligently boost the brightness in the areas where it needs to be boosted.

That said, since it relies on an LCD panel, the Z9G doesn't feature the Acoustic Surface audio found in many of the company's other premium TVs. Instead, it incorporates four front-facing speakers: two on the bottom and two on the top. It’s Dolby Atmos-enabled and, if you own a surround-sound system, you can also configure it to be the center speaker in a larger AV setup. 

Unfortunately, Like Samsung and LG's 8K offerings, the Z9G is stuck relying on upscaling in the absence of 8K content. Sony demonstrated the unit to us with some properly-mastered 8K sample content before moving on to show us examples of FHD and 4K upscaled content. The latter, obviously, looked a little better but we were reasonably impressed by how little of a gap there appeared to be between the two. 

Credit: Fergus Halliday, IDG

Even testing the Z9G with stuff like a docked Nintendo Switch, which natively outputs at 1080p, proved surprisingly fruitful. Though games like Fire Emblem: Three Houses came off a little rougher, I’d be hard pressed to think of a TV that provided a better big-screen Switch experience. 

Credit: Fergus Halliday, IDG

Of course, the caveat here is that the Z9G is also Sony’s most expensive TV.  

In Australia, the 85-inch Master Series Z9G 8K LED TV starts at $26,399. That’s a huge difference in price compared to the only other 8K TV that’s already on the Market: Samsung’s QLED Q900

Now, with Samsung’s Q900 weighing in at a starting price of $9999 for the 65-inch model while the 82-inch Q900 comes in at AU$17,999. Neither TV can really be called affordable but there’s something to be said for the premium that Sony are charging here.

Is the Z9G 8K TV pretty to look at? Absolutely. Is it the best TV Sony are selling right now? Probably. Is it $10,000 better than Samsung’s 8K TV? I’m not so sure. 

Sony say their Z9G 8K TV is available through the Sony online store now and will be available at select Harvey-Norman retail locations later in the year. 

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Fergus Halliday
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