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Sony KD-65X9005A (X9) 4K Ultra HD TV Review

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Will Sony's X9 pave the way for mass market acceptance of 4K?

by Steve Withers Jul 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM

  • TV review


    Highly Recommended
    Sony KD-65X9005A (X9) 4K Ultra HD TV Review
    SRP: £5,999.00

    What is the Sony KD-65X9005A?

    When we reviewed LG's £23,000 84-inch 4K TV last year, we said that prices would be dropping fast but even we didn't realise quite how fast! A mere seven months later, we have 55- and 65-inch 4K TVs being released by Sony, Samsung and LG and the pricing is already starting to look more attractive for the enthusiast. In the case of Sony, they have just released their new X9 series of 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition) TVs, with the 65-inch version reviewed here costing £5,999 and the 55-inch version setting you back a not unreasonable £3,999. Whilst you're obviously paying a premium for the 4K panel, the X9 also includes all the great features that made Sony's W9 series so good this year. That means you get the X-Reality Pro image engine, the Triluminos panel, NFC One Touch, Freeview HD, built-in WiFi, extensive video-on-demand services and an impressive new remote app. In addition the 4K panel means you get full 1080p passive 3D and Sony has beefed up the sound with front firing magnetic fluid speakers. It all seems very impressive but, in the absence of any real 4K content at the moment, does the KD-65X9005A deliver a good enough performance with high definition content to justify the price premium?

    Design and Connections

    Sony's designers are back on form and with its gloss black finish, glass fronted chassis and open front-firing speakers, the X9005 looks like a giant mobile phone on its side. The design is striking and nicely set off by the chrome circular stand, whilst the build quality is superb. In actual fact, we think it's one of the most attractive TVs we've ever seen and on that basis alone, we would be more than happy for this beauty to grace our living room. If we're looking for things to complain about then the TV can't be swivelled, the glass front is a bit reflective, the lack of speaker grilles mean the drivers are easier to damage and there's very little clearance beneath the panel (only 7cm), which might be an issue for anyone planning on using a soundbar or centre speaker. However these are all minor issues and frankly we think the X9005 is a work of art.

    It's good to see a manufacturer who isn't afraid to buck the trend for size zero TVs and build one with a reasonably deep chassis. The X9005 goes from 5cm deep at the top to over 7cm at the bottom but this allows Sony to install a decent set of front-firing speakers in the chassis, along with subwoofers at the bottom rear. Sony have also included their Magnetic Fluid Speakers, which use a magnetic fluid to replace the traditional damper, resulting in a thinner and lighter construction. The magnetic fluid also eliminates the sound pressures generated by the damper and thus offers much reduced distortion. The speakers occupy an area 13cm wide on either side of the 65-inch screen and there is a 3cm bezel at the top and a 4cm bezel at the bottom. The solid build, 65-inch screen and larger chassis makes the X9005 heavier than a normal LED LCD TV, weighing in at a hefty 44kgs even without the stand.
    Sony KD-65X9005A Design and Connections
    Sony KD-65X9005A Design and Connections

    The X9005 comes with a decent set of connections at the rear, including four HDMI inputs, one of which supports ARC (Audio Return Channel) and two of which are downward facing. A third HDMI input is rearward facing, whilst a fourth HDMI input faces sideways and since it supports MHL (Mobile High-definition Link) that makes sense because it's position makes it easier to connect your smartphone or tablet. There are also three USB ports, one of which is for HDD recording, a CI (Common Interface) slot, an aerial socket, a satellite connector, a headphone jack, an Ethernet port, an optical digital output, a SCART socket, analogue stereo inputs and a combined composite/component video input.

    The X9005 comes four pairs of passive 3D glasses, which have clearly been designed to mimic the look of Sony's current active shutter model. The glasses are very light and comfortable to wear and although they have no shielding at the sides to block out ambient light, this is less of an issue because there's no flicker to distract you. The other obvious advantage of passive glasses is that there's no synching required and there are no batteries to recharge or change. If you have any passive glasses from a RealD 3D cinema, you can also use those, so you shouldn't have any problems getting extra pairs.
    Sony KD-65X9005A Design and Connections
    Sony KD-65X9005A Design and Connections

    The X9005 comes with two remotes, the first of which is Sony's standard model, which is comfortable to hold and has sensibly laid out buttons, covering all the major controls. There are dedicated buttons for accessing the Home page and the smart features (SEN) but the Exit button remains easy to miss and only takes you out one layer, which just mirrors what the Return button does. The second remote is a stripped down version that doesn't even have an Exit button, only basic controls such as On/Off, Home, SEN, Volume, Programme, Return and Options. You can access a more complete virtual remote on-screen but we rarely needed to use it as all the main features can be accessed via the Home page. The real reason for this second remote is that it supports the One-touch NFC (Near Field Communication) feature that allows instant wireless mirroring of your smart device.


    This year Sony have redesigned their menu system and whilst it retains some of the dreaded Xross Media Bar's (XMB) DNA, it's a vast improvement. There is now a central home page from where you can access all the features, devices and menus using one of six options - Featured, History, TV, Applications, Connected Devices and Settings. The first choice isFeatured where you will find various features recommended to you such as movies, TV shows, music and apps. The next choice is History which shows you channels, inputs, devices and content that you have recently accessed. Then there is TV where you can access programmes that you have recorded if you have attached a USB HDD. You can also access the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) from here, although there's also a dedicated button on the main remote control. In addition, there are options for the TV Channel List and areas to add and save favourites. The Applications section gives you access to the SEN (Sony Entertainment Network) page, although again this can be accessed directly using a dedicated button on either remote, and it includes the Video and Music Unlimited pages, PlayMemories and popular apps.
    Sony KD-65X9005A Menus
    Sony KD-65X9005A Menus

    The Connected Devices option obviously allows you to select from any connected devices, although there is also a dedicated input button on the remote which tended to be a faster method. Finally there's the Settings option where you can access the i-Manual, the Display Settings, the Sound Settings, the System Settings, External Input Settings, Network Settings and Digital or Analogue Setup. Make sure you turn off the Light Sensor in the Eco section of the System Settings menu or you will limit the brightness of the panel. In the Display Settings menu there is a section dedicated to Picture setup and here you can select the Picture Mode, with Cinema 1 offering the most accurate starting point. You can also set the Backlight, Contrast and Brightness controls to suit your viewing environment but leave the Colour and the Hue controls at their default settings. There is a setting for selecting the Colour Temperature, which should default to Warm2 if you choose the Cinema 1 picture mode, as well as the Sharpness and Noise Reduction controls, which again can be left at their default settings.
    Sony KD-65X9005A Menus
    Sony KD-65X9005A Menus

    The Reality Creation setting gives you the option to turn it off or set it to Auto or Manual and here there are also controls for Mastered in 4K, Video Area Detection, Resolution, Noise Filtering and Smooth Gradation. Given that everything except native 4K content will be upscaled to the resolution of the panel, there's room for some experimentation here. Finally you can select the Motionflow setting, we'd recommend True Cinema but it's a matter of personal taste and the Film Mode, which can be set to Auto. There is also an Advanced sub-menu where you will find controls for the Black Corrector, Advanced Contrast Enhancer, Gamma, LED Dynamic Control, Auto Light Limiter, Clear White, White Balance, Detail Enhancer, Edge Enhancer and Skin Naturaliser. We would recommend turning most of these features off but a Gamma setting of zero measured best in our tests and an LED Dynamic Control setting of Low resulted in better blacks without introducing unwanted artefacts.

    The 40X9005 also includes an Options menu system that is accessed via a dedicated button on the remote. Sony has an annoying habit of hiding key selections away in sub-menus and this is a good example. You need to use the Options menu to access the Scene Select sub-menu, where you can select from a number of 'Scenes', the most important of which are Game and Cinema. You need to select Game if you want to reduce the input lag and you need to select Cinema to access the Cinema 1 Picture Mode that offers the most accurate out-of-the-box settings. As is usually the case with a Sony TV there are too many unnecessary processing features but we'll cover those in more detail in the test section.


    The X9005 includes an excellent Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) that is well laid out, easy to use and includes both picture-in-picture and audio. This year Sony's Smart TV platform is in centralised on one page which you access by pressing the SEN button on the remote. You can also access the Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) page and the Video and Music Unlimited pages from the Home page. Whilst Sony's smart TV platform might not be as comprehensive as some of the competition, it wisely concentrates on the kind of features that people will actually use such as video-on-demand and catch-up services. We cover Sony's Smart TV System in far greater detail in its own dedicated review which you can find here.
    Sony KD-65X9005A Features
    Sony KD-65X9005A Features

    As part of this smart TV platform, Sony include their Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited on-demand services. These services can be accessed via the SEN menu or the Applications section of the Home menu and are subscription based, giving you access to a multitude of Sony Entertainment created content. In addition to Sony’s Video Unlimited service, the X9005 has numerous video-on-demand services pre-loaded from just about every major provider - Netflix, LOVEFiLM, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Demand 5. For some strange reason despite being available on the PS3, the 4OD and ITV Player catch-up services are still missing from Sony's TV line-up. There's a multitude of other apps available including Sony’s streaming 3D Experience service which has a decent variety of sports, video games and nature clips.
    Sony KD-65X9005A Features
    Sony KD-65X9005A Features

    The X9005 can be connected to your network by either Ethernet or built-in WiFi and provides media streaming capabilities with DLNA compliance. In terms of file support the coverage is excellent and includes MPEG, MPEG2PS, MPEG2TS, AVCHD, MP4Part10, MP4Part2, AVI(XVID), AVI(Motion JPEG), MOV, WMV, MKV, WEBM, 3GPP, MP3, WMA, LPCM, JPEG and MPO. Sony's remote app has had an upgrade and this year is called TV SideView but remains one of the best. TV SideView is freely available for both iOS and Android operating systems and can be used on smartphones and tablets. There is an attractive user interface that offers full control through a simplified or full interface. Other features include providing details on the content you are watching, finding media content spread across various services or devices, messaging about the content you are watching, a full QWERTY touch-screen keyboard and a touch pad cursor.

    Audio Quality

    Sony has put a great deal of effort into improving the sound of the X9005 and we can safely say their labours have been worth it. We can honestly say that the Sony has the best sound of a TV in a long time and there's no doubt that the larger chassis, bigger screen size, solid construction and magnetic fluid speakers have paid dividends. The inclusion of decent sized front-firing speakers, along with two built-in subwoofers, result in an audio experience that has clarity and a high degree of precision. The speakers rendered high frequencies without sounding brittle and the built-in subs helped deliver a surprisingly effective low end, all of which was combined with clear and concise dialogue. The X9005 was capable of going quite loud without distorting but it was also able to remain coherent at low volume levels too. It's good to know that if you want to use the built-in speakers, they are more than up to the task, although we appreciate many people will be using an outboard solution. Given that fact, it might have made more sense to build the speakers as an optional extra, thus reducing the price of the X9005 for those that don't need them.

    Test Results

    To perform a basic setup, alll you need to do is go into the Options menu, choose Cinema in Scene Select and then the Cinema 1 Picture Mode. The majority of the other features default to their optimal setting but there is some room for experimentation with controls such as Reality Creation, LED Dynamic Control (local dimming) and Motionflow. For the purposes of these tests we turned Reality Creation, LED Dynamic Control and Motionflow off and set the Brightness and Contrast to suit our viewing environment. As we discovered previously on the W905, make sure you turn off the Light Sensor in the Eco section under System Settings or it will limit brightness. On the top left is the greyscale performance and whilst it's very good, there was a tiny bit of discolouration from about 50IRE upwards. The reason for this is obvious on the RGB Balance graph, there's a bit too much red and blue and not enough green, which is giving everything a slightly reddish cast. The gamma is tracking almost exactly at our target of 2.3 and overall this is an excellent out-of-the-box performance. It should therefore be easy to calibrate the greyscale using the X9005's two-point white balance control.
    Sony KD-65X9005A Test Results
    Sony KD-65X9005A Test Results

    On the top right is the colour gamut and it's also very accurate, with all the colours close to their targets for the industry standard of Rec.709. The luminance measurements are almost spot on, as are the saturation and hue measurements, with just an over-saturated blue to worry about. The square in the middle of the triangle is D65 which represents the industry standard colour temperature of white and the error in the greyscale is dragging it slightly towards red. Once we have corrected the greyscale, we should see white, cyan and magenta move closer to their target coordinates.

    For these measurements we left everything as before and just used the two-point white balance control to calibrate the greyscale. Aside from that there really was nothing else we could do, so let's hope it's as accurate as the W905. We only needed to drop red and blue a couple notches at 80IRE and up a notch at 30IRE for the greyscale to fall into place. However once we had, the primary colours were all tracking at our target of 100, resulting in DeltaEs (errors) of less than one. This is well below the tolerance level of three, which is the point at which the human eye can no longer distinguish the differences, so we would class this as a reference performance. As before, Gamma was still tracking exactly at our 2.3 target.
    Sony KD-65X9005A Test Results
    Sony KD-65X9005A Test Results

    As a result of calibrating the greyscale, the colour temperature of white is now precisely hitting its target of D65 on the CIE chart above. All the colours now have overall errors of less than three, most less than one. Whilst this is excellent, the results aren't as impressive as they were on the W905, where all the colours measured below one. The luminance measurements are hitting their targets precisely and this is the most important element of colour but there is some under-saturation in green and yellow and some over-saturation in red and blue. There are also some hue errors in red and blue and thankfully the largest errors are in blue, the colour to which our eyes are least sensitive. Unfortunately there is nothing more we can do because Sony don't include a colour management system (CMS) but thankfully the errors are small and weren't apparent when watching actual content.

    This slight colour inaccuracy extended to saturation levels below 100% as well, as can be seen on the graph below. All the tests in the previous sections were conducted at 100% saturation but you will rarely look at a fully saturated image, so how a TV performs at lower saturation levels is just as important. As the graph above shows, the X9005 is under-saturated in red and blue, despite being over-saturated at 100%. The hue of green is also slightly skewed towards yellow, whilst the hue of magenta is slightly skewed towards blue. This performance isn't as impressive as the measurements we got from the W905 but when viewing actual content, the colours looked very good with no obvious errors.
    Sony KD-65X9005A Test Results
    The X9005 had very impressive blacks for a LCD TV and with all the local dimming off we measured black at 0.03cd/m2. The X9005 also had no problems hitting 120cd/m2, resulting in an on/off contrast ratio of 4,000:1. When we measured the ANSI contrast ratio we got an almost equally impressive 2,555:1. The graph above also shows that the backlight uniformity was very good, with no obvious clouding or light pooling on a dark screen. This is impressive because it's always difficult to light a big 65-inch screen evenly and backlight uniformity is often a weakness of LED LCD TVs. Whilst our review sample was very good, it is worth noting that backlight uniformity is often a lottery and there can be quite variances between panels. We can also report a lack of banding or dirty screen effect on our review sample, although again that's no guarantee this will apply to every X9005. The black levels and thus the contrast ratio could be improved by using the local dimming, with black dropping to 0.007cd/m2 in Low mode and zero in standard mode where all the LEDs were turned off. Overall we found that a Low setting on the LED Dynamic Control worked best, delivering deep blacks with an impressive dynamic range without losing detail in dark scenes. The horizontal viewing angles were surprisingly good, with no obvious drop off in contrast as you moved away from centre, which suggests the use of a Multi-domain Vertical Alignment (MVA) panel. However the vertical viewing angle was somewhat limited, whilst this is common with passive 3D TVs because of the polarising filter on the front, it's worth considering if you intend to mount the X9005 high on a wall.
    Sony KD-65X9005A Test Results
    As we mentioned at the start of this review, in the absence of any 4K content the X9005 will be judged primarily on the quality of its video processing and we're happy to report that it acquitted itself admirably in this regard. Ordinarily when we test a TV we're looking to see if it is capable of deinterlacing and scaling standard definition content effectively, whilst delivering 1080p content without resorting to any unnecessary processing. In the case of the X9005, it's scaling everything up to the native 4K resolution of the panel and so we are prepared to accept a certain degree of processing, as long as it is beneficial to the overall image and doesn't cause noticeable artefacts. The X-Reality Pro engine did a great job and the X9005 delivered a superb performance in these processing tests. Kicking off with the standard definition film cadence detection tests, with Film Mode set to Auto, the Sony immediately found and locked on to the PAL 2:2 and NTSC 2:3 cadences, and this was true at both 480/576i and 1080i. A combination of mixed film and video content is always a stern test of a display's cadence detection abilities but the Sony didn’t bat an eyelid with video encoded text over film based material either horizontally or vertically scrolling. Scaling of standard definition signals was also excellent with all the fine detail in the SMPTE 133 pattern resolved without blurring or ringing.

    The X9005's deinterlacing performance was also excellent for both high and standard definition, with jaggies only appearing when the line was at an acute angle in the first test and, in the second, slight jaggies only appeared on the bottom bar of the three moving bars. With a Blu-ray player set to 1080i the X9005 correctly deinterlaced and displayed both the video and film resolution tests to the full 4K resolution of the panel. The Sony also had no problems scaling up 1080p/24 content and whilst the Reality Creation feature used some minor sharpening, it appeared to work well with the 4K panel. The X9005 displayed peak white along with just above reference black with no clipping or crushing and it could also show all the primary colours at very high levels without losing detail. As with last year there are a number of options when it comes to Motionflow, which is Sony's name for their frame interpolation software. The first two choices - 'Standard' and 'Smooth' - use heavy interpolation which results in an overly smooth effect that is best avoided with film-based content. If you choose Impulse you'll see an immediate dimming of the picture and possibly flicker due to black frame insertion. Since the X9005 copes perfectly well pulling down 4 frames at 96Hz the 'Impulse' option seems slightly redundant, especially as 'Clear Plus' uses 4:4 pulldown with a black frame insertion technique that flickers considerably less. However both 'Clear' and 'Clear Plus' do use some frame interpolation which can be spotted if you know what to look for. 'True Cinema' increases the frame rate by repeating rather than interpolating, thus reducing judder, so for film content that was our preferred choice.

    Whilst the X9005 didn't quite hit the very low input lag measurements that we got on the W905, it did manage to get just below 40ms in Game mode, which is pretty good this year. It should certainly be low enough for all but the most hardcore of gamers. We found gaming on the X9005 to be very enjoyable, with the 4K panel and Reality Creation engine delivering the detailed environments of The Last of Us superbly well. However it was with 3D gaming where we had the most fun and found the passive 3D really brought out the best in games likeWipeout. If we sat close to the screen, the experience could be so immersive that at times we even got a sense of vertigo!
    • Standby: 0W
    The following measurements were taken with a full screen 50% white pattern:
    • Out-of-the-Box – Normal Mode: 110W
    • Calibrated – Professional Mode: 180W
    • Calibrated - 3D Mode: 270W

    Sony KD-65X9005A Picture Quality 4K

    The pachyderm in the room as far as 4K is concerned remains the general lack of any native content to actually watch on your new TV. Sony hasn't really helped the situation by announcing that they currently have no plans to launch their 4K player and download service in Europe. They haven't even released their 'Mastered in 4K' Blu-rays here but despite the presence of a Mastered in 4K option in the menu, we remain sceptical of these new discs. Unfortunately we weren't able to get hold of one of them in time for the review, so we we couldn't check the validity of Sony's claims. Thankfully Sony did provide us with a 4K player pre-loaded with some native 4K content, including various travelogue sequences, a short clip from the remake of Total Recall and the trailer for After Earth. Thus providing us the chance to watch some native 4K content on the X9005, as well as compare the scene from Total Recall with our Blu-ray version - which whilst not technically a 'Mastered in 4K' disc was, of course, mastered in 4K.

    Needless to say these looked spectacular, the level of detail was just staggering and anyone who says that the difference between 4K and 1080p isn't that obvious, clearly hasn't made the comparison. The colour palette was exceptional and the motion looked very smooth, whetting our appetites for what we hope will be more 4K in the future. The 4K content provided by Sony was at a resolution of 3840x2160 at 24p and this of course raises another issue because the X9005 uses HDMI v1.4a which limits it to 3840x2160 at a maximum of 30Hz. The various worldwide broadcasters are still deciding on a standard for Ultra High Definition (UHD), which is the name they've given 4K, but with the imminent arrival of HDMI 2.0 it could be 3840x2160 at up to 120Hz. This would mean that the X9005 will be incompatible with any future 4K TV standard and would require a new HDMI board or an external solution. Sony have said publicly that they will support their new 4K TVs and ensure they are future-proof, we will have to wait and see if they're as good as their word.

    Sony KD-65X9005A Picture Quality 2D

    Aside from its 4K panel, the other two big selling points of the X9005 are the X-Reality Pro image engine and the Triluminos panel. Sony's Triluminos technology is essentially an implementation of Color QI quantum dots, which use tiny green and red filters to replace the traditional yellow filter on an LED light source, thus creating a purer and wider spectrum of colours. As we discovered previously with the W905, the Triluminos panel delivered a colour gamut was almost exactly hitting Rec.709 and after calibrating the white balance we had a near-reference picture. We also found that thanks to this technology, the colours appeared purer to our eyes. Since almost all the content you will initially be watching on the X9005 will be upscaled to 4K, the X-Reality Pro image engine is vital in providing an enjoyable experience. As with the Triluminos panel, Reality Creation delivered the goods, perfectly scaling the content to the 4K panel and adding a tiny amount of sharpening to make the lower resolution content look as good as possible.

    Thanks to the combination of the 4K Triluminos panel and the X-Reality Pro image engine, the X9005 produced some genuinely lovely and highly detailed 2D images, with well defined and natural looking colours. The calibrated greyscale also helped here, whilst the excellent blacks and very effective local dimming played their part as well, delivering images with a superb dynamic range. Fine detail was incredibly impressive, as was the motion handling and whilst we turned off all the unnecessary features, the deinterlacing and scaling was superb. As we mentioned in the test section, The X9005 was a great performer, producing some of the best LCD based images we've seen. Whether we were watching standard or high definition content, the results were equally as impressive, with our recently acquired Blu-rays of Evil Dead andTrance both looking fantastic. Whilst it might be true that native 4K content is still some way off, at least you have the comfort of knowing that your standard and high definition content can look incredible in the meantime.

    Video Review

    Sony KD-65X9005A Picture Quality 3D

    If there's one area where the use of a 4K panel offers an immediate impact, it's in terms of passive 3D. There are multiple benefits to passive 3D - cheap glasses, brighter image, no crosstalk and no flicker - but there is also one major disadvantage. With a 1080p TV the polarised filter uses alternate lines, which means that the left eye sees 540 lines and the right eye sees the other 540 lines, effectively halving the resolution. However, with the 4K panel on the X9005, each eye is seeing the full 1080 lines, resulting in some of the best 3D we have ever seen. We tried out a multitude of content, from side-by-side recordings from the BBC's recent 3D experiments to 3D Blu-rays such as Jack the Giant Slayer, The Hobbit and Oz the Great and Powerful. The X9005 didn't put a foot wrong, delivering bright and beautiful 3D images that offered amazing levels of detail with absolutely no distracting artefacts.

    The absence of crosstalk was remarkable, as was the absence of any other distracting artefacts such as flicker, making for a wonderful 3D experience that was both relaxing and highly entertaining. The 65-inch screen also really helped, providing a more immersive sense of three dimensionality. Thanks to the X9005 being able to produce images that were both bright and accurate, the level of depth on display was staggering. We found ourselves noticing details in the backgrounds of scenes from The Hobbit that we had never seen before and the layers of depth in Oz were beautifully rendered by the Sony. The images were bright but thanks to the local dimming and the glasses themselves, the black levels remained excellent. The motion handling was also very impressive and overall we can say this is some of the best 3D we have ever seen. In fact we had to resist the temptation to just watch all our 3D movies again or we never would have got this review finished.


    OUT OF


    • Native 4K panel
    • Excellent black levels and contrast ratio
    • Good backlight uniformity
    • Reference performance post-calibration
    • Very good motion handling
    • Impressive picture processing
    • Reference 3D performance
    • Good off-axis performance
    • Superb design and build quality
    • Lots of video-on-demand content
    • Excellent remote app
    • Plenty of connections
    • Low input lag


    • Lack of 4K content
    • Colour accuracy could be better
    • Calibration controls are limited
    You own this Total 4
    You want this Total 0
    You had this Total 0

    Sony KD-65X9005A (X9) 4K Ultra HD TV Review

    The X9005 is stunning to look at and is easily one of the most attractive TVs we have ever seen. The entire TV is beautifully designed with a lovely gloss black finish, incorporating a single sheet of glass at the front and sitting on a chrome circular stand. The build quality is excellent and Sony hasn't been afraid to use a deeper chassis in order to improve the audio performance. As a result the X9005 has front firing magnetic fluid speakers and the best sound we've heard from a TV in a long time, although making the speakers detachable would make more sense at this price point. There's a reasonable set of connections at the rear and the X9005 ships with two remote controls, one of which includes Near Field Communication (NFC) allowing instant mirroring of your smartphone, and four pairs of passive 3D glasses.

    The X9005 includes Sony's new menu system which is a big improvement, although they still have an annoying habit of burying important picture options under layers of unnecessary menus. By using the Home key and the new menu system, you can easily access most features, whilst the SEN (Sony Entertainment Network) button takes you to all the apps, which are now in one handy location. Sony has wisely concentrated on video-on-demand and catch-up services, with all the major ones covered, although 4OD and ITV Player are still missing. The built-in WiFi makes networking simple, the media player is effective and has excellent file support, whilst the new remote app is very impressive.

    Sony provided some 4K content along with the review sample and needless to say it looked spectacular, perfectly showcasing the new format's potential. However, Sony's decision not to release their 4K player and download service in the UK means that for the foreseeable future there will be a dearth of native content for the X9005. In addition it uses HDMI v1.4 which means it's limited to 4K at a maximum of 30Hz, so if a higher frame rate standard is adopted for 4K the X9005 will be redundant without a hardware upgrade. The new Triluminos panel is certainly capable of a wider colour space but it struggled to reach the DCI specification and was nowhere near Rec.2020, so again if one of these is chosen as the 4K standard the X9005 would be quickly outdated.

    So for the time being the highest resolution source will be upscaled Blu-ray and, thankfully, the X9005 delivered the goods in this area. The out-of-the-box accuracy was very good and, after tweaking the greyscale, the X9005 delivered a reference level of performance. However, whilst the colour accuracy was excellent, it wasn't as good as the W905, especially at lower saturation levels. The video processing was superb with all content, perfectly scaling it to the 4K panel, and the local dimming feature proved highly effective without introducing unwanted artefacts. The native black levels were excellent even without the local dimming engaged and the ANSI contrast ratio was also impressive, with plenty of dynamic range. The horizontal viewing angle was very good, although as is usually case with passive 3D panels, the vertical viewing angle is restricted.

    The picture quality with 2D material was excellent, with accurate images, good motion handling and incredible levels of detail. In fact, you would swear it was 4K at times, at least until you actually compared the picture with native 4K content. The use of a 4K panel and a passive filter means that the X9005 can deliver full 1080p resolution to each eye, resulting in the best 3D performance we have seen. The images were detailed, accurate, bright and completely free of crosstalk or flicker, delivering an incredible experience that also benefited from the larger screen size. The energy consumption was understandably higher than many LED LCD TVs and the input lag, whilst not as low as the W905, was still below 40ms which is good.

    The KD-65X9005A is a fantastic TV, even in the absence of any native 4K content, with the combination of the higher resolution panel and X-Reality Pro image engine managing to deliver superb images from good quality high definition content. For that reason alone the X9005 deserves a recommendation and whilst it will face competition from Sony's own W905, the latter TV doesn't come in a 65-inch screen size or include the magnetic fluid speakers. So for those with a taste for the future and deep enough pockets, the Sony KD-65X9005A 4K UHD TV is definitely worth considering.

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £5,999.00

    The Rundown

    Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level


    Screen Uniformity


    Colour Accuracy


    Greyscale Accuracy


    Video Processing


    Picture Quality


    3D Picture Quality


    Sound Quality


    Smart Features


    Build Quality


    Ease Of Use


    Value for Money




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