Sony KD-55XD9305 review
|Review: March 2016|
Last updated July 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Sony KD-55XD9305 features include:
- 55 inch UHD LED-backlit screen
- 3840 x 2160 resolution
- HDR (High Dynamic Range)
- Triluminos display
- X-tended Dynamic Range PRO
- Slim Backlight Drive / Edgelit LED
- 4K X-Reality PRO processing engine
- Advanced contrast enhancer
- Motionflow XR 1000 Hz
- Active super-resolution 3D
- 24p True Cinema
- Picture modes: Vivid, Standard, Custom, Cinema Pro, Cinema Home, Sports, Animation, Photo-Vivid, Photo-Standard, Photo-Custom, Game, Graphics, HDR Video
- Freeview HD and YouView
- Android 5.0 TV
- Audio: Clear phase speakers, 3D surround, 7.5W x 4 power output
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Ethernet (LAN), screen mirroring, HDMI x 4 (PC input x 1), USB x 3, hybrid headphone/subwoofer output, component in (Y/Pb/Pr), composite in (AV), digital audio out, analogue audio input x 2, PCMCIA, SCART, RF In (Terrestrial / Cable), CI+ slot
- RMF-TX200E voice remote control
- Energy efficiency class: B
- Typical power consumption: 134W - 217W
- Size without stand (WxHxD): 123.9 x 71.7 x 3.6 cm
- Size with stand (WxHxD): 123.9 x 76.9 x 26.1 cm
Sorry - questions and comments on this page are now closed.
Does the TV support 3D 24p playback?
Asked by Michael
on 19th Sep 2017
I have heard that, while the TV supports 24p, the 3D is locked to the higher refresh rate causing the weird smoothing issue. So I am curious to know does the TV support 3D 24p playback?
Can somebody take a picture and show us how bad the screen vignetting is?
on 12th Nov 2016
There is a new firmware for this TV available as of two days ago..
Asked by dave
on 9th Nov 2016
...download, install and report if anything improved.
Sony KD-55XD9305 user reviews
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