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Sony KD-55X9005A review

Awesome 4K and great Blu-ray upscaling, but it's audio and 3D that make this 4K TV shine

Our Verdict

One of the best performers with Blu-ray, let alone 4K, the KD-55X9005A is a standout winner with 3D, too.

For

  • Pin-sharp 4K pictures
  • Great Blu-ray upscaling
  • Clearer passive 3D
  • Excellent built-in audio

Against

  • Wide footprint
  • Some motion blur
  • Average remote
  • SD upscaling struggles

Ultra HD is an expensive hobby. However, after a year or so of extortionate five-figure sums being bandied around, the new 4K format is finally beginning to slip from the bracket marked 'footballer' to one with a slightly less salubrious 'AV enthusiast' tag.

At the vanguard is this 55-incher, which has received an almost immediate price drop from £4,000 to £3,299, thanks to Toshiba's decision to sell its own 58-inch attempt at 4K for a mere £2,999.

Ratings in depth
Design - 4 out of 5
Features - 5 out of 5
Performance - 5 out of 5
Usability - 4 out of 5
Value - 5 out of 5

With a screen that measures 55-inches in the diagonal, the KD-55X9005A is just about big enough - in our humble opinion - to make the best of Ultra HD sources (not that there are many of them). However, the KD-55X9005A has got something that rival Ultra HD TVs don't have; amazing speakers.

Boasting a 2.2-channel sound system - with two subwoofers on the rear and what Sony calls its Magnetic Fluid Speakers on each flank - the KD-55X9005A is quite something. It takes us back to the early days of flatscreen TVs, when clip-on speakers were common, and underlines that sound is at least as important as resolution in any attempt at high-end home cinema.

However, from a visual point of view we're not convinced that it works.

Firstly, why are there no grilles on the speakers? The inner rims - all done out in shiny gloss black plastic - tend to catch the light and can be a tad distracting. There's also the strong possibility that anyone with the money to spend on this telly will already have a better sound system at home.

sony KD-55X9005A

We're also a little worried about the width they add to the already rather large footprint of the KD-55X9005A; though the bezel on the top and bottom measure just 23mm, they stretch to 127mm on each end. It makes the entire product stretch to 146cm, which is 22cm wider than Sony's non-4K range-topper, the 55-inch KDL-55W905A.

Certainly don't plan to swap-out even a 50-inch telly installed in a corner for the KD-55X9005A - it's so much wider. It's also worth considering that the KD-55X9005A has a completely circular stand that increases the depth from around 100mm (it's 58mm without the bulging subwoofers) to 405mm. The KD-55X9005A is beautiful, but it's big.

Aside from its headline-grabbing 3840x2160 pixels - which create about four times the resolution of a regular Full HD telly - the KD-55X9005A uses a Sony-tweaked LED panel called Triluminos.

However, in the absence of any native Ultra HD fare, the KD-55X9005A's key technology is perhaps its 4K X-Reality PRO upscaling.

But things are looking up for Ultra HD fans. Although our review sample of the KD-55X9005A came with a mini-computer that hosts Ultra HD clips, the company also sells its stop-gap Sony FMP-X1 4K Ultra HD Media Player for the brand's X900A Series of Ultra HDTVs, though it's only sold in the US (for US$699, which includes 10 pre-loaded films in 4K).

Sony looks to be covering all bases with its recent announcement that its Video Unlimited service - available on the KD-55X9005A through its Sony Entertainment Network - will soon stream native 4K content.

Besides, the wider AV industry soon seems set to welcome a new Blu-ray format at January's CES exhibition in Las Vegas. Blu-ray Ultra, per chance? If it does come, the owners of the KD-55X9005A will be in pole position.

sony KD-55X9005A

Also available

The 55-inch KD-55X9005A we have in our glare is surely as close to an everyman TV as Ultra HD gets at the moment.

At £2,300 it's got a big price tag, but consider the alternatives: Sony also sells the 65-inch KD-65X9005A, for £6,000, and the quite disgustingly big 84-inch Sony KD-84X9005. That particular slice of opulence will set you back £25,000 - and you'll need to add the world's biggest living room, too. Relatively speaking, the KD-55X9005A is a compromise product par excellence.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Digital TunerDVB-C (MPEG4), DVB-T (MPEG4), DVB-S2
Video Signal Standard4K UHDTV
Number of HDMI Ports4
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyBRAVIA X9005A
3D Type3D
EU Energy LabelB
Smart TVYes
Brand NameSony
Screen Size139.7 cm (55")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)34.50 kg
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
Operating Power Consumption279 W
Standby Power Consumption400 mW
Dynamic Contrast Ratio1,000,000:1
RMS Output Power65 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
HDMI VersionHDMI 2.0
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand778 mm
Width with Stand1463 mm
Depth with Stand405 mm
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Number of USB Ports3
3D TechnologyPolarized
Energy Consumption per Year215 kWh
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
3D Glasses RequiredYes
Motion Interpolation TechnologyMotionflow XR 800
Height749 mm
Width1463 mm
Depth100 mm
ColourChrome
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse, NICAM
Product SeriesX9005A
Maximum Resolution3840 x 2160
FeaturesMobile High Definition Link (MHL), Web Browser, Ambient Lighting, Sleep Timer, Picture and Picture (PAP)
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelKD-55X9005A
Product NameX9 4K Ultra HD TV
Product LineBRAVIA
Manufacturer Part NumberKD-55X9005A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information4K Ultra HD. A revolution in resolution

Meet the next generation of picture quality - the 4K resolution TV. It's a viewing experience that's hard to describe, like your first trip to the cinema. Just let the pictures wash over you and see for yourself.

A giant leap in picture quality

With four times the detail of a Full HD TV, 4K Ultra HD TV images possess such depth and clarity it feels like you're looking through a window. The screen displays over 8 million pixels for a level of realism you'll almost want to reach out and touch.
Package Contents
  • X9 4K Ultra HD TV
  • Remote control
  • Batteries
  • AC power cable
  • 4 x 3D Glasses
SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)33.10 kg