Latest Sony Bravia 50W950C Android TV review


Sony’s new Bravia Smart TVs are the first ones to come preloaded with Android TV software offering a rich app experience and enhancing the smart TV experience. While some local players offer Android-powered TVs, what you actually get is a customised version of the mobile/tablet Android interface and apps that are scaled to fit the big screen. We’ve used the 50-inch Android smart TV for more than a month to help you make a buying decision.
How does it look like?
The Sony Bravia 50W950C is a sleek looking television with thickness ranging from 12.6mm to 70mm (it varies due to the presence of the ports at the back towards the base) if you don’t include the stand. It has super-narrow bezels at the side and a chrome finish at the top. The overall look is minimalist employing the use of black colour with a matte finish.
There’s a metal strip that enhances the look right at the bottom just below the Sony logo that glows when turned on. The TV should blend in easily with most rooms. You can choose to mount the TV on the wall with the dual acoustic duct subwoofer also hanging below it or place it on a stand that takes support of the subwoofer. The duct has two 10W speakers and dual subwoofers.
At the back, you’ll find ports including 4 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, an ethernet port, digital and analog audio output ports, RF, Composite and component out ports.
What about the picture quality?
The Sony Bravia 50W950C is a full-HD (1080x1920p) TV which should satisfy the needs of most people. This one’s not a 4K panel and although there’s a paucity of 4K content at the moment, some people want a more future-proof TV. In case you’re among them, you should also be ready to pay more especially if you care about the brand name. The Bravia 50W950C has an Edge-lit display that reduces the thickness and cost of the device as it uses fewer LEDs.
However, Sony has deployed X-Reality Pro picture engine and TRILUMINOS display technology (for wider colour space) to offer enhanced picture quality and more vibrant colours. The TV uses Sony’s Motionflow XR algorithm to reduce motion blur with a rating of 800Hz and offer natural looking moving images. We have to say that the picture quality offered by this TV was top notch with good level of detail, vivid colours, balanced contrast levels, deep blacks and wide viewing angles. We tested the TV by connecting it to a Tata Sky+ HD box for HD broadcast content and by playing some HD video clips and movies.
The Bravia TV also offers support for 3D content though it doesn’t ship with 3D glasses.
The Android TV experience
Sony offers a customised Android TV experience complete with an app called Serial AbTak that offers TV shows, music and videos aired on Indian TV channels. There’s also an app that brings notifications form your Android smartphone to your TV in addition to an app for sharing photos and videos form your smartphone to the TV. You also get access to Google’s Play Store that offers app downloads for your TV, Google Play Music and Movies and YouTube. The best way to navigate the smart features of the TV however, is to use voice function.
From searching for the weather, launching an app or finding your favourite video on YouTube, the voice function works really well and recognizes Indian English accent without any hiccups. We did not face any difficulty in searching for hindi songs and movie names.We also used the optional Touchpad remote control which sports a microphone for voice control and a touchpad for smooth navigation and found the experience to be very intuitive.
The TV supports a number of connectivity options and has built-in Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, MHL and Bluetooth support. It also has Google Cast support that works similar to how Google’s Chromecast media streaming stick works; you can cast online content from a smartphone to a tv screen or just mirror it. This feature works seamlessly and is a great addition.
You can also play some games like Asphalt 8 with the help of the touch remote.
While a number of third party apps are available, the catalogue is not that large in India as major video streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu are unavailable in the region. You can still use Plex to stream your content to the TV. Also, you only get 8GB to install apps and games though multimedia can be accessed via USB devices. You can also buy the camera accessory to click pictures and videos or use video chat apps.
Overall, we like the Android-powered smart experience and feel it’s got an edge over Tizen and webOS UIs.
Rich sound
The Sony Bravia 50W950C is also one of the few LED TVs to offer good audio quality thanks to the dual speakers and sub woofers on the separate soundbar. The speakers offer clear sound output and good volume levels coupled with decent bass. This makes watching movies even more enjoyable.
Should you buy one?
At Rs 1,32,900, the Sony Bravia 50W950C is expensive compared to other smart TVs with similar specifications. However, you get a sleek looking television that offers great picture quality, a rich feature set and good audio performance. You also get a large number of connectivity options including Google Cast and Android TV is one of the better smart TV interfaces out there. We’d recommend that you spend a little extra and get the touchpad remote as it also houses the microphone for voice commands. Voice is an integral part of Android TV interface and thankfully, the software’s voice recognition capabilities are optimized for Indian accent.
If you’re looking for the Android TV experience and don’t want to spend a large amount on buying a TV, you can get an Android TV set top box such as the Nexus Player (you can find some others on ebay and Amazon) though keep in mind these are not available officially in India with a cheaper LED TV. You can also look at the much cheaper Chromecast dongle if you only want to stream online content or mirror some of your own content to your TV.


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