What is the Sony KD-65X9005A?
Design and Connections
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Out-of-the-Box – Normal Mode: 110W
- Calibrated – Professional Mode: 180W
- Calibrated - 3D Mode: 270W
Sony KD-65X9005A Picture Quality 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
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.
Sony KD-65X9005A Picture Quality 3D
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.
- 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
Sony KD-65X9005A (X9) 4K Ultra HD TV Review
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.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
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