Sony XBR-X900H TV review: Excellent picture now, ready for the future

The XBR-X900H is the best-performing midpriced Sony TV I’ve tested in years, with excellent contrast and brightness, accurate color and plenty of punch with HDR. Add to that a solid smart TV system, sleek styling and cutting-edge features and you’ve got a great television for anyone who values Sony’s brand but doesn’t want to pony up for one of its OLED TVs.

Like

  • Excellent overall image quality
  • Best-in-class connectivity
  • Available in an 85-inch size
  • More affordable than equivalent Samsung

Don’t Like

  • More expensive than competing TVs with similar picture quality

The key to this TV’s image quality, as with all LCD-based sets that perform well in my side-by-side tests, is well implemented full-array local dimming. It improves black levels and contrast by illuminating different areas of the screen separately as needed. In some crucial ways, such as reducing stray illumination with HDR, the X900H beat the similarly equipped TCL 6-Series in those tests, but in other ways the TCL won out, with superior brightness and contrast overall. The Sony also costs more than the TCL, so it’s not my top recommendation for people who want the best image quality for the money. 

There are lots of good

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2020 Land Rover Defender 110 review: Tough guy’s got a softer side

It’ll take you just about anywhere.


Steven Ewing/Roadshow

“I never drove it on pavement.” That’s the first thing Emme Hall told me when she got back from testing the 2020 Land Rover Defender in Africa earlier this year — you know, back when traveling was still a thing. Indeed, Emme’s weeklong safari through Namibia put the Defender’s impressive off-road chops in the spotlight. But as I discovered over the course of a few days at home in Los Angeles, the Defender’s a damn fine SUV for urban life, too.

Like

  • Unstoppable off-road ability
  • Classic style with a modern touch
  • Lots of room for passengers and cargo
  • Punchy 3.0-liter mild-hybrid I6

Don’t Like

  • New infotainment tech is still touch-and-go
  • Vague steering feel
  • Poor fuel economy

Of course, I’m printing that alongside a bunch of photos of a dirty Defender that were clearly shot at an off-road park. But like, how could I not off-road this thing? I’ll let Emme’s first drive review get into the nitty-gritty details about how Land Rover’s new SUV handles the rough stuff, though I will say the Defender had no trouble handling the same tricky trails I recently drove in a Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel, and

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4 dates the IRS could send a second stimulus check and who could get it first

Did you know? Different groups will get their stimulus checks at different times.


Sarah Tew/CNET

It’s now been six months since we heard the first whispers about the economic need for a second stimulus check this year. And in a topsy turvy week that threw negotiations into chaos over an overarching stimulus bill, there is once again a sense of urgency to approve of more coronavirus relief aid, including another payment of up to $1,200 per qualifying individual.

To people counting on another stimulus check and other funding, the prolonged uncertainty doesn’t help. There are over 25 million people collecting unemployment benefits of some sort, with millions of people facing long term or permanent job loss.

“We’re at the table. We want to continue the conversation. We’ve made some progress. We’re exchanging language. So we’ll see how we connect,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday about another attempt at passing a bill, The Washington Post reported

“We’re gonna tackle this again. The timing is uncertain based on the proximity to the election,” Senate Majority Leader McConnell said, according to the Washington Post.

President Donald Trump’s sudden on-again, off-again support for a bill while being hospitalized and

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Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite review: Capable streamer, cheap price

Roku is the biggest name in streaming hardware, with seven different streamers available right now, and even more TVs and soundbarsAmazon has been gunning for Roku’s slice of the pie ever since the first Fire TV appeared. But what Amazon hasn’t had is an ultracheap option, until now. The $30 Amazon Fire TV Lite is the company’s latest attempt to compete with Roku’s cheapest player, the Roku Express. If you wanted an ultracheap Amazon streamer for the price of a DVD, it’s finally here.

Like

  • Dirt-cheap
  • Includes Alexa voice remote
  • Wide range of streaming apps
  • Integrates well with Echo speakers

Don’t Like

  • Voice commands don’t work with every app
  • More complex menus than Roku
  • HDR without 4K is kinda pointless

Amazon released not one but two new streamers at the same time — the other was the updated $40 Fire Stick — but I would argue that the Fire Stick TV Lite is the better deal. The main difference is that the more expensive Stick has a different remote with power, volume and mute buttons to control your TV. If you’re only using this streamer on a cheap TV anyway, it’s worth saving the money, unless you

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