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Sony Bravia KDL-46Z5500 46in LCD TV review

John Archer

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Reviewed:

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Sony Bravia KDL-46Z5500 46in LCD TV
  • Sony Bravia KDL-46Z5500 46in LCD TV
  • Sony Bravia KDL-46Z5500 46in LCD TV
  • Sony Bravia KDL-46Z5500 46in LCD TV
  • Sony Bravia KDL-46Z5500 46in LCD TV
  • Sony Bravia KDL-46Z5500 46in LCD TV
  • Sony Bravia KDL-46Z5500 46in LCD TV

Summary

Our Score:

8

With Sony just announcing that it's willing to give you a 'scrappage' value on your old duffer of a TV if you trade it in for a new Bravia, today seems the perfect time to check out a set from the Japanese megacorp's latest TV range: the 200Hz-sporting, 46in 46Z5500.

If you're thinking that it doesn't seem all that long since Sony seriously started pushing its previous 200Hz screens, the Z4500 range, you'd be right; the brand's (in)famous Kaka/zoetrope campaign only really kicked into full swing in the first quarter of this year. But don't worry; Sony isn't rushing its second generation of 200Hz TVs out because of any major problems with the original TVs - honest!

In fact, as proof of this, the Z4500 range is continuing to run alongside the new Z5500 range, as a cheaper alternative. The idea with the 46Z5500, then, is to deliver a step-up 200Hz experience. Something that it seeks to achieve in a number of potentially significant ways.

The most instantly obvious sign of the 46Z5500's relatively high-end status can be seen in its design. For starters, its bezel is impressively thin; barely an inch across on the top, left, and right sides, and only a couple of inches along the bottom edge.

The bezels's shiny, slightly opaque finish atop a deep grey colour is also striking. Plus, of course, there's the trademark (deactivatable!) illuminated Sony logo along the bottom edge.

The 46Z5500 also improves on Z4500 models by providing four HDMIs rather than three, and by making its Ethernet port able to access Sony's (currently rather limited) AppliCast online service, as well as material stored on a DLNA PC. The Z4500's Ethernet port didn't offer any online functionality.

Fans of mother nature, meanwhile, will be pleased to hear that the Z5500 series are claimed to consume as much as 35 per cent less power than their older siblings, and even sport an energy-saving 'picture off' option if you're listening to MTV or something that doesn't really need pictures. Trees will be gratified to note, too, that the Z5500's instruction 'manual' is actually tucked away within the TV's onscreen menus, rather than being splashed across loads of tree-munching sheets of paper.

If you're more interested in picture quality than saving the planet, the 46Z5500's most important improvement over the Z4500s is its Bravia Engine 3 video processing. I've found BE3 to be a large leap forward over the Bravia Engine 2 system sported by the Z4500 models, particularly when it comes to processing speed and suppressing noise, so it will be interesting indeed to see how BE3 ties in with the 200Hz engine.

Shellyf7b

August 25, 2009, 12:40 pm

What a pity; another decent sounding Sony ruined by backlight bleed.





My 3 year old 40W2000 has the same issue and it certainly is off putting, I would have thought that Sony could have sorted out their factory/QC by now, but apparently not.





Think I'll upgrade to the Panny 50V10 plasma instead; and on that note any chance of a review of the 50" TR?

Gary 11

August 25, 2009, 1:36 pm

The only thing the review lacked was with regard to input lag.





The new W5500 range have more input lag than the previous 4000+ range, can you comment if the Z5500's input lag is worse the the Z4500 ?

colin

August 25, 2009, 2:15 pm

what a shame still got backlight bleed their tvs were always the ones other manaufacturers aspired too thought they used samsung panels and their tvs dont have this problem although i did hear Sony were looking at using LG panels maybe they are looking at using the LG led panels in future new models which I hear are in THX approved LG sets

Techno22

August 25, 2009, 4:28 pm

If motion flow has to be turned off because of a cricket ball then, in my opinion, the set is not up to standard, and should not be on the market.


After paying that kind of money for a TV set I would be sick at the idea of having to turn things on and off depending on the picture content.


What about the good old days when you set your contrast and brightness when you installed the TV and just sat back and enjoyed the content thereafter.


Just how much has technology really moved on?

davidcrofter

August 26, 2009, 1:22 am

Oh dear ... yet another instance showing up the flaws of LCD - seems no matter how much money you throw at these panels with fancy (and expensive) processing tricks (which you will no doubt start toning down/turning off) LCD still cannot come up with a TV Experience to match Plasma.

Max

August 26, 2009, 7:52 am

I wonder whether Sony would consider moving their entire line to HCFL (other than LED based ones) as that TV didn't suffer from inconsistent backlight issues...

KRISHNAMURTHY SUBBIAN

February 11, 2010, 1:09 am

We bought the above model recently and found it to give a decent performance. We are not noticing any problems except lack of DivX support and bluetooth. Motionflow does work reasonably well in sports programs and racing.

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