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Sony KD-55XD9305 review

 Review: March 2016  
 

Last updated July 2016

Rating: 2 stars

In a nutshell: The Sony KD-55XD9305B is Sony's top 55-inch TV for 2016. Picture quality from this 4K HDR TV is as good as anything we've seen from Sony, thanks to the new Slim Backlight Drive, Triluminos display technology and X1 processor. The TV comes with Android TV, Netflix 4K, and built-in Freeview HD and Youview support. It's an outstanding television in many ways, but our users are reporting a variety of problems. See below for details.

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Sony Bravia KD-55XD9305B
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Introduction

Last year Sony was the last of the big four manufacturers to launch its TV range, but this year it's quick off the mark, and the XD93 is the first model to arrive in the shops. It's not quite Sony's flagship TV for 2016, as that position is taken by the XD94, but as that is only available in a 75" size, it's not one that's likely to be selling in any numbers. The XD9305 is available in a more realistic choice of 55" and 65", and here we're reviewing the 55 inch model.

Design & looks

The Sony XD93 is a good-looking television, with a new look for 2016 that's refreshing and stylish. The screen itself is an incredibly thin 36mm, giving it a razor-like profile, and the bezel surrounding the screen is sleek and narrow too.

New for 2016 is the "silver slate" stand, which is a brushed metal wedge-shaped stand, giving the screen a much more sturdy feel than last year's slightly flimsy feet. The stand also incorporates a lift-off panel for some neat cable management, which is also welcome.

There are discreet and handy control buttons on the back of the screen for power, volume control, and input source selection. An illumination LED below the screen completes the look.

Picture quality

The XD9305 is the first TV to feature Sony's new Slim Backlight Drive, and we were keen to see how well this performs. The answer is very well indeed.

The Slim Backlight Drive is an LED edge-based lighting system that Sony claims is able to reproduce much of the effect of a full array direct backlighting system. That sounds almost too good to be true, but in practice, it really does seem to live up to the hype, delivering truly impressive blacks, with very high brightness levels, and a dynamic range that's close to OLED quality.

The backlighting system is aided by a high quality VA-type panel and Sony's Triluminos technology. It uses Sony's X-tended Dynamic Range PRO system to amplify the dynamic range of each frame. And at its heart is the 4K X1 processor with HDR capability. HDR enables greater peak brightness with a wider colour spectrum and higher dynamic range, revealing levels of shadow detail that are normally hidden. The result is that this UHD display delivers stunning levels of crisp detail, and with virtually no motion blur in evidence either.

There's some loss of colour saturation when viewing the screen from an angle of 45°, but it's not as marked as in many of Samsung's PSA screens. We'd say that it's about as noticeable as in Samsung's Series 8 televisions from last year - in other words, broadly acceptable.

This TV performs at its best with native 4K source of course, but for most of us in the real world, much of what we watch is still HD. The X1 processor does a good job of upscaling HD material, and watching HD input on this TV gives quite acceptable results. We'd avoid watching lower quality SD channels, however, as no amount of processing can create a good result on a screen this big.

3D

Although the 3D format seems to be dying, there's still some demand for watching 3D on a big screen, so it's good to see that Sony is continuing to support the capability, at least on its premium models. The XD93 range includes support for Full HD active 3D.

Audio quality

It's rare to find top quality audio on a modern flatscreen TV. The KD55XD9305 lacks the outsize speakers of the previous X93C model, opting instead for more conventional speakers that are placed out of sight. With Clear Phase stereo speakers incorporating separate subwoofers, there's more power here than in most TVs, and noticeably more bass, but the TV would still benefit from the optional subwoofer that plugs into the TV's headphone socket, or better still a dedicated home cinema kit.

Android TV

Sony made the switch to Android TV in 2015, and spent most of that year desperately releasing updates to fix the multitude of bugs that were present. It seems that some of these are still present. Be prepared for some teething problems, and be aware that you're taking a risk in choosing Android TV.

Having said that, Android TV offers significant advantages over other Smart TV systems. It gives you access to Google Play apps from your TV, and you can download videos, music and other content directly from your TV. YouTube and Netflix are probably the best ways to access 4K content at present, and 4K Blu-Ray will be here very soon.

Android also provides features such as Google Cast, which lets you mirror content such as videos or photos from an Android phone. The TV SideView app lets you use your Android phone or tablet to control the TV.

Catch-up TV is provided courtesy of Youview. A user-friendly 7-day windback with content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5 is displayed alongside future programmes in the Electronic Programme Guide.

Connectivity

Connectivity options are comprehensive. The TV supports Wi-Fi and ethernet connections to your home network, and Wi-Fi Direct is also supported. HDMI support is generous, with 4 connections included, plus 3 USB ports and a very full range of legacy AV connections, including SCART. Freesat with Youview functionality is present, as already noted.

We already mentioned that the headphone jack doubles as a subwoofer output, and there's a digital audio output for connecting to an external speaker system, in addition to HDMI.

The sales package includes a voice-activated remote control.

Conclusion - buyer beware

In many ways the Sony KD-55XD9305 deserves a 5 star rating, but the fly in the ointment remains the Android operating system. Sony doesn't seem to have been able to iron out all the problems that plagued its TV range last year. Some of our users are also reporting problems with screen vignetting - a dark edge to the picture. These problems are unacceptable in such an expensive product, and we've decided to downgrade our rating to reflect that.

Instead, we recommend the Samsung UE55KS8000 or Panasonic TX-58DX802B.


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User questions

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Please don't ask a question that has already been asked. Duplicates will be removed.

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Can somebody take a picture and show us how bad the screen vignetting is?

Asked by dave from UK on 12th Nov 2016

There is a new firmware for this TV available as of two days ago..

Asked by dave from UK on 9th Nov 2016
...download, install and report if anything improved.

Does HDR functionality work across each picture mode and in particular 'game' mode? Do you also have any information about the amount of input 'lag' in different picture modes?

Asked by Will from Uk on 27th Oct 2016
I'm looking to buy a TV specifically for HDR gaming. Input 'lag' is the time taken between pressing a button and the relevant action occurring on screen.

Any help or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Reply by matt from england on 22nd Nov 2016
Hi will... i got this tv a few weeks ago if you want it for gaming avoid it im gutted i spent n this tv and the input lag is terrible with 4k hdr.

Reply by tim from uk on 29th Nov 2016
hI matt

can you tell me exactly why its bad for hd gaming..

just got a PS4 Pro and this was the tv recomended in the ps4 pro literature..

really interested in your thoughts/experience mate

cheers
tim

See all 8 questions

Sony KD-55XD9305 user reviews

Love this product? Hate it? Please share your experiences to help other people choose the product that's best for them. Please do not review this product if you have not used it, and please ask questions in our User Questions section above. Please do not use swear words or offensive language, and please, no advertising!

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Average rating from 12 reviews:

Reviewed by S Howells from United Kingdom on 22nd Mar 2017
Mine was purchased on 19 November 2016 but died yesterday- 20 March 2017 just after its 4 month birthday. I am gutted.
Asked for a refund but was told my John Lewis right to refund ended after 90 days. Asked for right to refund before 6 months under Sale of Goods Act only to be told we have to have a Sony engineer examine it and admit it was inherently faulty. :(
Rating:

Reviewed by Richard Jusrice from UK on 18th Feb 2017
Hi Great TV for colours and HDR viewing.
Our problem is that the HTC790 soundbar and TV are not talking...!!! Firmware has been updated worked for a week then stopped? System is two weeks old...
Rating:

Reviewed by G.Bearman from UK on 30th Jan 2017
Whilst the HD picture is very good, I wish I had not bought the XD93,The sound is poor & requires a Soundbar, There is no FREESAT despite being told by Sony Reps it has it. The set is troublesome and constantly requires a reboot, as sometimes it will not switch off or on. The YouView is an annoyance that slows TV down, best not to enable You View, The inputs are difficult to access being designed it seems for left handers, like most TVs except Samsung. At the moment I am trying to discover how to download APPs for catch up Channels 4 & 5 as I will not enable You View again. I made the mistake of paying £1800. Best to avoid buying a TV when they are first released in April at rip-off prices.
Rating:

Reviewed by purecain from uk on 3rd Jan 2017
I have the model under this without the new back light system. people may see vignetting on a blank screen as you can see the area of control with the edges mainly controlled by the edge lit led lighting system. when a picture is displayed the tv configures both lighting systems and vignetting will disappear.

for those looking for a panel to game on, I use mine as a dedicated pc monitor. in game mode and graphics mode the lag is amazing. I tested my tv and anything over 50ms is noticeable to the human eye. the response was around 25ms which is amazing again for a 55inch tv. Samsung must be bribing all the reviewers because in a side by side comparison with all the top Samsung models the picture quality was leaps and bounds better on the sony. I went to buy a Samsung panal for their 20ms response time. the picture is terrible in comparison. go and see for yourself.
so as long as you use game mode there is an amazing response time.
I'm a high end hardware expert and for anyone looking for a gaming panal, this is it!!!!
don't listen to noob reviews from people who either have a faulty set or have simply configured it wrong. my tv is the model below this without the centre lighting system. it didn't make enough of an improvement when actual images were being displayed. the quality is already very high in hdr 4k.
and remember these tvs are hdmi 2.0 so 60fps @4k and 100fps@1920x1080.
Rating:

Reviewed by P Marsden from UK on 19th Dec 2016
Had the TV less than 6 months - it simply stopped working. Sony customer service awful. Waited 8 days for an engineer to come out. He plugged it in and said no there's nothing (strangely that is what we had done) and it will have to go into the workshop - it's likely to be a circuit board which "go" on these TVs. We are now left without a TV for Xmas period (a repair won't be done in time) and Sony say there's nothing they can (WILL) do. I have never been so disappointed with a Company's service.
Rating:

Reply by S Howells from Uk on 22nd Mar 2017
Ours stopped working (completely dead and nothing wrong with power cable as tested by electrician friend) after 4 months and we are waiting for a Sony engineer to come on the weekend.
We believe it was inherently faulty but have to prove this.
Can you tell me whether they repaired yours and if it has been ok since then?
Thank you

Reviewed by David from UK on 6th Nov 2016
Bought the Sony 65xd9305 from Currys because it demo'd well instore compared to the Panasonic 902b and Samsung 8000 screens. However the tv was delivered with a bent screen. Didn't really notice until I'd set it all up. Picture quality was really disappointing when viewing standard def and to some extent HD content. My current 2 year old 55" Samsung easily runs circles around it. Currys have said that this may be due to the screen being bent and have agreed to replace it. But I'm in a quandry whether or not to go with another brand because if the picture quality in SD/HD is the same on the new set I'd be pretty cheesed off.
Rating:

Reply by David from UK on 25th Nov 2016
Quick follow up to my original post. Second TV turned up and this time I asked the driver to open the box and check before I accepted delivery. He took one look and told me it was bent. Seems to be a theme occurring here. The TV is very thin and is more susceptible than most to mishandling. The driver assured me the TV had been stored correctly during transportation and then his mate comes around the corner with it upended on a sack trolley! I went back to the Currys store to receive a refund. The sales staff informed me they had received numerous complaints about KnowKnow, (their delivery company). The trouble is the drivers/mates can be handling a washing machine one minute and the next picking up delicate electronic kit which inevitably gets treated in the same way.

Reviewed by fbartling from theNetherlands on 3rd Aug 2016
I,ve had this flatscreen tv now since 29072016,
and it has the best picture quality I,ve seen
yet.
I did check what the competition had to offer too,
but in the end the Sony pulled me over,having a far
more crisp picture quality.
My former tv was an 8 year old plasma screen that started
to darken,so this screen was quite a revelation to me
such was it,s brightness.

Rating:

Reviewed by Gary from UK on 7th Jul 2016
I have just bought the 55" model and am seeing vinietting (dark shadowing) around the sides. Also screen zone dimming is nowhere near refined as I expect. I watched an episode of House of Cards and found the dimming and lighting of different parts of the screen very distracting.
Rating:

Reviewed by mr doney from united kingdom on 26th May 2016
Bought this model kd65xd9305bu in the united kingdom from a sony shop that think every one that buys a tv knows nothing so they can blind you with total rubbish to get rid of you. this tv cost 2800 it replace there first curved tv that was a diamond in every respect but did not have HDR for the new blu-ray format the colours looked wrong and very dark picture hence reason to change, the new 2016 curved set did not have the picture quality from the 2014 model looked very cheap for a high price. This new set has a stunning picture on hd roof arial and sat and ultra hd with HDR from new Panasonic ultra hd blu ray player as sony don't have one for sale yet. the sound is very clear for a very thin set but sony sub needed to bolster bass etc.
now for the BAD bits, new firmware update applied to record tv whilst away from set or on other channel, what a total mess this update is, the recordings just stop at will can be 30 seconds or 10 minuets into a program or if your lucky it may go near to the end of that program anywhere from 5 to 10 minuets short, the picture has loads a very huge bursts of digital blocking in recording that's not in the live program when it blocks it stutters, and may carry on a bit and then freeze also the lip sync is out and sub standard, is this down to google if so what are sony doing putting this in there sets its madness, as for youview don't bother clicking on the app once in its a nightmare trying to come back out you have to go back into system navigate through that and disable it after watching a very substandard itv picture it looks like old vhs video / no hd / no recording 2800 to watch itv catch up in vhs quality then it makes it difficult to exit and go back to digital roof arial or sat dish if you want to go back to youview you will have to register again etc as it wants to lock you into it what total rubbish so its a total waste of time, on the 65inch curved set from 2014 it was a 99 percent perfect set for me with perfect recordings. now for google apps installing them is fine but waiting for them to fully load and just try to come back out of them, lock ups by the bucket load you may even need to turn tv off and on again to get response from tv, now for using from a sat dish tuner you touch the guide button to be presented with a sort of tv guide that is all but blank no listings for any channel but if you click on say bbc one you then get sent to the channel with no idea whats on there but if you now press the guide button in the channel list there is listings for only whats on now and next then totally blank as are all other channels. this tv may have a fantastic picture for blu-ray etc but for 2800 this set is a disaster on a large scale, how is it not any reviews pull this up or are they just interested in the picture quality and sound with there testing equipment but fail to do a full review to stop those like me wasting all but 3000 on a banger of a set, as for help from sony shop by staff that talk down to the customer giving lame answers just to get you moved on never never again, now waiting on sony themselves to get back to me, lady was very nice person from another country so that was difficult for both of us I could tell she was reading answer,s from a computer screen. she was doing her best but did not know what digital blocking was and several other basic terms I am 59 and been interested in tv,s etc since leaving school, made valve amps from kits good soldering skills needed for that and understanding of parts etc so to be treated like I know nothing buy the local sony store is a insult and I am no further on as they just give any reason to avoid being helpful, they know there,s problems with the google side of the set just how can sony think that I will ever buy another from them, maybe that's why they are not the biggest but one of the smallest tv makers now leaving Samsung , lg to build the best sets what a shame from what sony used to be and all the great inventions they have come out with, I cant see many more years of there being a sony brand, maybe just the games console side its about the only thing that makes them any money now so very sad.
Rating:

Reviewed by Ed from Netherlands on 19th May 2016
Last week I've received the 55X930D and the Panel is bend.
Returning it this week to the store.
Rating:

Reviewed by G.Bearman from UK on 14th May 2016
Picture very good, but many user problems. Inputs are designed for left handers, I find Menu system far too complicated much prefer Samsung being very user friendly at least my previous H6700 was. Why no Standby light , can not obtain Freesat. Retailer says Sony told him the XD93 sold in the UK is a German model and consequently will not accept Freesat. Do not like Youview but will have to enable to obtain Catchup. All inputs should be on right hand side.
Rating:

Reviewed by John from UK on 12th Apr 2016
Finally got my 55inch set from John Lewis...massively disappointed with this "leading edge" technology screen from Sony...the whole area around the screen edge is like a vignette...shading to dark around the whole screen and most evident of course when screen is generally light colours...how sad that Sony decided to adopt this new technology screen...for me its back to JL for the LG OLED or even the older Sony. How can a manufacturer make such a mistake?!? I realise not everyone will notice this, or will learn to live with it...but this is not good technology.
Rating:


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