It doesn’t seem long ago that I was introducing the 2016 televisions, but that time has rolled around again! We’re starting off with a change of pace this year, as Sony usually releases much later in the season. However it’s first out of the gate with its 4K HDR KD55XE9005…
Straight out of the box the XE9005 screams Sony, with beautiful crisp lines along the stylish signature gun-metal bezel, a beautiful piece of furniture in any home. Although I expect nothing less from Sony, it has continuously impressed me for a number of years. From an aesthetic point of view they really hit the nail on the head. Sony seem to be very proud of its “slice of life” design motto, taking pride in to every nook and cranny of the set. A closer look and you will notice a slim silver accent surrounding the set which gives it a sense of style. You wouldn’t be the first to take a quick glance and think it looks very similar from the outside as its brother from 2016, and other than a stylish new stand, you would be right. But the end of the day, why fix what’s not broken?
The new stand itself is a two piece brushed solid metal structure that’s reassuringly heavy, and while proved to be one of the more difficult stands to piece together, once complete I think it looks just fantastic. Kudos to Sony for sticking with a central design, as I’ve had just about enough of full length stands. Around the back they do seem to have eased off the ‘design throttle,’ so to speak. Not that many would care to have a look round the back of my TV set, but each to their own. There was an awful lot of plastic, a trait I imagine is put in to use to keep down total cost, which will definitely not be a problem for any prospective customer.
As you would expect the set features all the right connections, a total of 4 HDMIs, 3 on the side and 1 on the rear; each one HDCP2.2 certified and ready to handle anything you could throw at them. For those looking to upgrade the sound, there is the option do so via HDMI ARC and of course good old fashioned digital optical. And finally 3USB inputs.
Powering up the XE9005, it greets me with all the usual set-up procedures and makes a small song and dance about the Android interface, which I will mention later on. The set up was incredibly fast and straight forward, literally anybody can work their way though it. The Sony Android user interface is back, and it works very, very well. With a very clear and concise user interface featuring every application you could require, BBC iPlayer, ITV player, All 4, 5 On demand, Netflix, Amazon, and Google Cast built-in, as well as YouView, giving the option to hop on to your program guide and go back a week on what you have missed… a brilliant service!
For a sound test I set the XE9005 up with our OPPO UDP-203 4k Blu-ray player and tuned in using a traditional aerial, nothing fancy. Sony have always strived to squeeze the absolute maximum amount of contrast detail out of their sets. While they are not always successful from looking at their first offering in 2017, I certainly believe they are heading in the right direction using a technology coined X-tended Dynamic Range Pro. The Sony sets use a very precise backlighting algorithm promising a 3x brighter image than other LCD LED screens. Quite a tall claim, but I was extremely impressed with the level of detail achieved from a television at this price point.
I wanted to push the XE9005 to the limit, so opted to test its capabilities with The Revenant in 4K. It’s a dark gritty movie with plenty of challenging scenes. The XE9005 dealt with these scenes incredibly well. I was seeing aspects of detail in trees and textures of clothing I’ve never noticed on my own television before. Using the contrast of the characters white, pasty, tired and dehydrated faces against the thick fur coats really put the Sony though it’s spaces. But not once was I greeted with a black smudge, each scene was complimented by the last, to the point where I had stop my self watching the movie and get some work done! I was totally engrossed.
The infamous bear fight scene appeared a little demanding of Sony, the fast movements against the vertical lines of the trees was causing some motion issues, a trait I’ve never had before with Sony products. After a small amount of tinkering with the motion flow options I was manage to enhance the image, but it was still by no means perfect. I’m hoping its bigger brother the 9305 will be a considerable step up but I was still blown away with the overall image.
The KD55XE9005 is incredible for its price, taking into consideration it’s only been available for just a few weeks. I believe this will be very strong performer this year and should certainly be on your television checklist. With its fantastic price and incredible contrast levels this is certainly going to take some beating.
Author: Garrett, Plymouth store