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Sony KDL-46W905A review

 Review: July 2013  
 

Last updated August 2013

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: The Sony KDL-46W905A is our choice for best 46-inch TV of 2013, thanks to its design, and superb picture quality with Triluminos colour.



 

Design & looks

Sony's W9 series TVs look completely different to last year's flagship models. Gone is the heavy base and monolithic, macho styling, and in comes a more futuristic, airy look, with a circular chrome finish stand.

The W9 is modelled on a "Sense of Quartz" design and features cut-glass edges. A narrow matte black bezel sets off the display, and a so-called "intelligent core" below the screen gently illuminates with a colour dependent on the input source. The screen can be swivelled on its stand up to 15 degrees left or right.

The TV is supplied with a normal remote control and a second "One Touch" remote with a stylish bevelled design. This uses NFC mirroring so that by touching the remote to an NFC-enabled Sony smartphone you can display photos, videos, music, games and apps from your phone on your TV.

Picture quality

This is Sony's flagship model for 2013, excluding the 4K X9 range, which is out of reach of most people's budget. You'd expect it to be good, and it is. The 46 inch model in particular is an excellent choice for a family TV.

The headline feature of the W905A is Sony's Triluminos technology. Triluminos backlighting uses separate LEDs for red, green and blue in order to produce a brighter and more uniform light that captures the true colours of the source. Sony claims that this results in more realistic colours, particularly reds, greens and blues, and more natural skin tones. Certainly colour reproduction looks good, with vivid, richer colours in the default setting. With some adjustment very natural-looking colours can be obtained, which is unusual for an LED TV. The effect is enhanced if you use it with a Triluminos-compatible Blu-Ray player, such as the Sony BDP-S4100 with a specially-mastered Blu-Ray disk.

With Local Dimming, the TV reaches new heights in dynamic range. Black levels are good, and the TV performs flawlessly in well-lit rooms, thanks to the brightness of the LED backlighting. In dark rooms, contrast levels do suffer a little when compared with plasma screens. There's also a slight issue with viewing angles. If you sit off-centre, you'll notice blacks becoming grey and colours fading.

Sony's X-Reality PRO processing engine does an excellent job of displaying input from a variety of sources, from high quality Blu-Ray down to upscaling standard definition broadcast material. When it comes to motion, Sony's Motionflow processing performs brilliantly, smoothing everything realistically without introducing any unnatural artifacts. The panel is fast, with an effective 800Hz response time, making motion blur a thing of the past. In Game Mode, input lag is very low, so this TV is perfect for gaming.

Taking everything together, the W905A doesn't disappoint. Pictures are vivid, sharp and simply pop out of the screen. It's one of the best LED TVs on the market, with only the narrowish viewing angles counting against it.

3D

As with 2D, 3D picture quality is excellent. In fact, the 3D performance is better than excellent - it's outstanding. The use of active shutter glasses ensures that you get full 1080p high definition resolution, and the 800Hz response rate ensures that there's almost no "crosstalk" or ghosting effect when watching 3D. Four pairs of 3D glasses are included with the TV.

The 3D is compatible with Simul View, which offers full-screen viewing for each player in 2 player games.

Audio quality

The audio quality of the W9 is better than average, but it's not quite as good as last year's HX-853 with its integrated soundbar. The rear-mounted long duct stereo speaker delivers a maximum of 10Wx2 output, which is typical for a flat panel television. Mid-range delivery is good, so vocals are nice and clear, but as usual bass output is weaker than we'd like, especially from a flagship TV, and we'd recommend the addition of a dedicated soundbar, or even better, a 5.1 surround system.

Smart TV

Sony's Smart TV system lets you connect to the internet so you can browse the web, catch up with Facebook and Twitter and stream movies and music to your TV. It's been updated for 2013 with nicer menus. Services include the BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, YouTube, Netflix and LoveFilm.

You can add an optional camera and microphone if you'd like to use your TV for Skype calls over the internet.

Sony's Smart TV is very good, but it's definitely lagging behind Samsung, both in terms of content and in ease-of-use.

Connectivity

The range of connectivity options on offer is excellent. Wi-Fi and ethernet are a must for smart TV, and they're both here, including Wi-Fi Direct. Likewise, there are no fewer than 4 HDMI connections, plus a good spread of SCART, component and composite options. You can plug in some headphones or a USB device too.

Both Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners are included, and the TV also has the benefit of NFC display mirroring with compatible smartphones.

Conclusion - Sony's ultimate TV?

The W905A is the best TV we've reviewed from Sony. 2D and 3D picture quality are near perfect, with just the relatively narrow viewing angles counting against it. The design is beautiful, the Smart TV is very good, although Samsung has the edge here, and the range of connectivity options is excellent too. Triluminos is a feature that delivers a little extra. It's probably even better than Samsung's Series 8 UE46F8000 TV.

Now that it's been on the market for a couple of months, the price has fallen, making it good value compared to Samsung's Series 8. The Samsung may have the edge when it comes to Smart TV, but in other respects we prefer the Sony.


Sony KDL-46W905A features include:

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Average rating from 5 reviews:

Reviewed by J from UK on 8th Jun 2015
Great picture in 2d & 3d , was very pleased until 12.5 months stopped working -2 flashing red lights , lucky had extended warranty , taken over 3 weeks for repair - new power board , also sony don`t allow in home repairs - have to be taken away by repair agents unlike samsung panasonic etc. so great when it works have bought replacement & will sell now.
Rating:

Reviewed by AGELIDIS VASILIS from GREECE on 7th Jan 2014
The best TV Family ever!!!!!! in 2013
Rating:

Reviewed by Paul from UK on 22nd Dec 2013
Out of the box, I found the picture was dull, flat and cold. Most online forums advise to set to Cinema for accurate colours, but this made the picture even duller, like watching on a foggy day. Yuck.

I chose Vivid mode, and it was like the sun coming out from behind a cloud! A bit too bright, but turning down the backlighting and contrast fixed this. There's still plenty of shadow detail, although a top-end plasma might do better.

Next I disabled Reality Creation and a sense of depth appeared. There is some loss of sharpness, but it's definitely an improvement in my opinion.

I also switched motion to Clear to avoid the soap opera effect. Basically I switched off most of the "clever" smoothing and sharpening processing.

Colours are still too cool, but these can be fixed by playing with the colour settings.

Finally, I have a wonderful TV that can match a plasma for vividness, detail and colour balance, although purists may find the colours too saturated.

I am enjoying Lovefilm too and the 3D stuff keeps the kids amused.
Rating:

Reviewed by Simon from UK on 18th Dec 2013
A truly excellent television bought as an early xmas present! Brilliant at playing back DVD's. haven't tried Bluray or 3D yet, but I imagine they will be stunning. The level of details is amazing and there is no motion delay like you see on cheaper sets. Viewing angle isn't a problem on mine.

Smart TV is amazing. I read that Samsung is better, but I really can't imagine how! This does everything I want and is really easy to use. I like the second remote too.

Only one issue/ SOund quality is not as good as mu old TV, but I understand this is common on modern flatscreens. Use a soundbar for better results.
Rating:

Reviewed by Ad from Deutschland on 3rd Jul 2013
The image is simply awesome!! 5 Stars! Super!
Rating:

Reply by dean from uk on 6th Apr 2014
Sounds like a great TV ad what's the 3d picture quality. Like on it


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