Sony Bravia 65Z9D 4K HDR Android TV review: A treat for the eyes

The last time we reviewed a Sony Bravia TV, we were almost certain that the company couldn't make things any better than it had already done. That particular model, Bravia X93D, boasted best-in-class design, impressive display and just about everything a user could ever want in a smart TV. Interestingly, this has been the case with pretty much every Sony Bravia TV that we've come across. Sure, like other Sony products, they are a tad overpriced as compared to the competition, but the Bravia TVs still offer attractive features in a great-looking design. And nothing seems to have changed with the newly launched Bravia KD-65Z9D.
Having priced it at hefty Rs 5,04,990, Sony launched the 65Z9D in India last week. The company claims that it's among the best 65-inch 4K HDR televisions available in the country right now. That said, the KD-65Z9D isn't exactly a new model and has been already launched in the US and other countries a while back. With the 65Z9D, Sony has stuck with the evergreen slim profile while tweaking the back panel a bit.
We tested the Sony Bravia KD-65Z9D for a few days, using it to play 4K videos, enjoy video games and watch streaming video content. So what exactly is this new 4K HDR TV all about? Read the rest of our review to find out.
If you are familiar with the design of Sony's Bravia line-up, the appearance of the KD-65Z9D might come as a surprise. It's a thicker than other Bravia TVs. At about 78mm (thickest point), it's nearly as thick as about 10 Sony Xperia XZ smartphones stacked together.
The TV's sides are covered with premium-looking gold bezels, imparting it an elegant appearance. Sony's website says that the gold finish 'helps keep your focus on screen,' but we strongly disagree. As seen on other Bravia TV models, the 65Z9D also has Sony's logo right below the display, along with a sleek bar that glows every time the TV is switched on. Nonetheless, it's evident that Sony has worked hard on the design.
There's also a unique 'grid-like' pattern across the entire back panel. As per Sony, it "downplays the lines of the various parts and creates a visual complement to its surroundings." However, the design would only matter if the unit is not mounted on a wall. So most of the time, it won't be visible anyway.
While we have had mixed reactions about the design ethos of the Bravia 65Z9D, we found its audio output to be really impressive. As in the Bravia X93D 3K HDR, this one, too has speakers hidden underneath the display panel. The two 10 watt speakers direct audio downward from the surface. Having Dolby Digital support, the speakers are quite loud and have a clear audio output.
It is also possible to hide the clutter of cables behind the TV. Sony Bravia 65Z9D comes with a back cover that mounts over the area where wires are generally visible. The mount itself attaches with the back panel using magnets. It's quite easy to install. Reaching out for the power and volume buttons is easy as they are placed on the lower-left corner of the back panel. But if you want to use an external storage device you might face difficulty, especially when the TV is mounted on the wall. Sony Bravia 65Z9D hides all its USB and HDMI ports in a small section at the back panel, which stays covered. It requires you to remove the cover each time if you want to attach an external source. There are few other sections as well, but you would need a screwdriver to access them. For connectivity, the Sony Bravia 65Z9D features HDMI, USB 3.0, Audio output, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth, Video inputs among others.
Display has always been a strong suit of Sony Bravia TVs. Its video and image processors are considered to be better than most in the market. During our testing, we found the display to be better than Samsung's SUHD 4K TV, which we recently reviewed. 4K HDR video rendering is stutter free and colour reproduction is the best we've seen so far. There are visible bezels surrounding the screen panel but the immersive 65-inch 4K Ultra HD resolution display is enough to make you forget everything else. The HDR (High Dynamic Range) features a wider colour spectrum, delivering enhanced and bright images.
Sony's Triluminos display technology helps in reducing digital noise from 4K videos and shows contrasting shades with deep and saturated colours, using Advanced Contrast Enhancer technology. There are other technologies (e.g. object-based HDR remaster, 4K X-Reality Pro and X-tended Dynamic Range Pro) that work behind the curtains to make the resulting images and videos even better.
Sony Bravia 65Z9D comes with different viewing modes such as Vivid, Standard, Custom, Theater Pro and Sports. In addition, the refreshed frame rates make the video flow smooth and glitch free.
At the heart of the display is a Sony 4K HDR X1 Extreme processor. It is claimed to have 40% more real-time image processing capability than the previous 4K Processor X1, which is used in the company's X93D 4K HDR and other TVs. The Red, Green and Blue colour levels are bright and life-like. The TV also supports 3D images with a more natural depth of field.
Sony's high-end Smart TV have largely always been smooth and lag-free in general performance. The Bravia 65Z9D handles all apps without any issues and everything from games to video streaming works as it should.
Like any other Android smartTV, Sony Bravia 65Z9D comes with Google Play Store for accessing a plethora of apps, games, movies and TV shows. Initial configuration and account setup is quite easy. There's 8GB of in-built storage and the TV comes with some preloaded apps like Opera browser, Serial Ab Tak, Opera TV and more. It also has Sony's own apps like Albums, Music and Videos.
You can access system preferences, add parental lock to the TV, access wireless connectivity settings and more. The interface overall is clean, simple and based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
As mentioned above, the Sony Bravia 65Z9D is arguably one of the best TVs we have come across lately. While the display quality has always been one of the key focus points of the company's TV line-up, the design on this one is a bit different but still elegant. The sound and overall interface get a thumbs up from us. So if you have a budget of about Rs 5,00,000, Sony Bravia 65Z9D is definitely worth buying.
But for those who want to look at some cheaper alternatives, there are numerous options from Samsung and LG available. Samsung, known for its Super Amoled display tech, has its KS9000 Series 9 65-inch SUHD smartTV available at Rs 4.4 lakh. It is a bit thinner than the Bravia and looks equally good. LG, too has a 65-inch 4K 3D smartTV with OLED display available at a price of Rs 3.5 lakh.

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