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Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A - Picture Quality and Conclusions

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Editors choice
Sony 55W905

Summary

Our Score:

10

User Score:

Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A - Upscaling

When dealing with standard definition, for the most part the Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A upscales even pretty ropey-looking standard def material very well, adding plenty of detail and sharpness while also – thanks, no doubt, to the cleverness of the X-Reality Pro engine – keeping noise low.

We did feel that the Live Colour feature tended to make standard definition pictures look a bit noisier, but many users may find this a worthwhile compromise in return for Live Colour’s richer colours.

Sony 55W905

Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A - 3D Picture Quality

Next on our checklist is 3D – an area that’s caused Sony a little embarrassment in the past. Sony has introduced passive 3D for the first time elsewhere in its 2013 range, but the Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A sticks with the active format – which makes it a very pleasant surprise to discover four pairs of active shutter glasses included free with the TV.

These light glasses use our preferred (as it’s more stable) RF connection with the TV, and cover your field of vision well. Registering them to the screen for the first time is a bizarrely complicated procedure (it took two visits to the TV’s ‘i-Manual’ before we got it to work), but you only have to do it once.

Once registered you're rewarded with a very enjoyable 3D experience. The Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A extreme contrast performance helps it deliver a strong sense of depth and space, and colours look phenomenally intense despite the effects of the active shutter glasses. This is especially true with Live Colour active - an area where the feature is genuinely useful.

Detail levels are extremely high with 3D Blu-rays too, with our only complaint being the appearance of a little low-level crosstalk over some starkly contrasting objects in the mid to distant background. To be clear about this, though, the crosstalk is far too subtle to become a really defining part of your 3D experience.

Sony 55W905

Overall, so long as you’re judicious in your use of Sony’s Triluminos tech and motion processing, the 55W905 delivers pictures that are groundbreaking good, building on the already spectacular foundations laid by the HX853 series last year.

Sony KDL-55W905A - Viewing Angle Issue

There is, though, one fairly significant flaw we need to warn you about. For the 55W905’s viewing angle seems exceptionally limited, even by LCD’s usually uninspiring standards. Even if you watch from as little as 20-25 degrees off axis, the screen black levels start to take a hit, with greyness creeping gradually in from the side of the screen opposite to the one you’re sat on, so that you can have half of the image looking greyer than the other half.

This is definitely something you need to think about if your room layout routinely finds you or other members of your family watching from a significant angle.

Sony KDL-55W905A - Great for Gaming

If you’re a gamer, meanwhile, we’ve got some brilliant news for you. Using the game preset with as much picture processing turned off as we could find, the 55W905 delivered an input lag measurement of just 7ms – the lowest figure we’ve ever recorded from a domestic television. The only catch is that if you game on a 55W905, you won’t be able to blame your TV for your rubbishness at Call of Duty…

Turning finally to the 55W905’s audio, we’ve got another potentially important new feature to discuss. Or two, actually. First, Sony has introduced a new long duct speaker system, whereby a 1.2m-long duct built into an isolated speaker box at the bottom of the set’s rear helps the set produce more bass than most skinny TVs. What’s more, the resulting sound is directed straight towards the viewer via an angled ‘wing’ hanging below the speaker outlet, rather than the sound just firing downwards as usually happens.

Sony 55W905

Second, there’s Sony’s Signal-to-Sound architecture, which uses processing derived from Sony’s specialist audio division to – and we quote – ‘restore, optimise, and refine audio signals for vibrant music and dialogue that adds an extra thrill to your viewing’.

What this all adds up to in is a superior audio performance. Not something you can put in the same class as the audio we’ve repeatedly heard coming from Sony’s upcoming new 4K screens, with their magnetic fluid speakers, but certainly there’s more dynamism, range, bass, clarity and distortion-free power than you hear from the vast majority of modern TVs.

We were also struck by how accurately the sound seemed to be placed on the screen, thanks presumably to the way the audio is reflected out forwards rather than firing downwards.

Verdict

The Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A is another TV triumph for Sony. Its Triluminos system lets it build substantially on the already outstanding picture quality of last year’s brilliant HX853 series, while its audio performance and multimedia features are also both far more advanced than they were on 2012’s Sony TV models.

It has to be said that there’s certainly still room for improvement with Sony’s Smart TV interface, and the set’s extremely limited viewing angle could be an issue in some living rooms. Viewed from its optimal position, though, it represents another genuine step forward for LCD picture quality, making it a mighty fine consolation prize if you can’t quite afford one of Sony’s upcoming 4K TVs.

Update 02/05: Due to an editing error this TV was originally given 9/10. It has since been changed to 10/10 to better relfect the reviewer's intentions.

Now read Trusted Reviews Best TVs 2013

Overall Score

10

Scores In Detail

  • 2D Quality 10
  • 3D Quality 9
  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Sound Quality 9
  • Value 8

Rupesh Patre

May 1, 2013, 8:42 pm

Excellent review. Not to mention its the first review I've found of the 55W905A. X-Reality Pro Engine looks great . Looking forward to demo it. Only thing I'm unsure about is the remote control.

EX401

May 1, 2013, 9:55 pm

It comes with the standard Sony remote control too, that's just a mini basic one for users who don't want all the functions all the time.

James Brady

May 2, 2013, 6:25 am

Great review, 7 ms of input lag is just amazing !

D_S

May 2, 2013, 10:34 am

Yesterday 9/10, today 10/10 how can you can You explain it? ;)

Grammy919

May 2, 2013, 12:24 pm

That is a Great Review, but what is with the Points:
1. DSE ( Dirty Screen Effect)
2. Clouding or Flashlights
And what for settings use for the Review?
( sry for bad english :D )
Ty

andyvan

May 2, 2013, 1:21 pm

We've added update to end of this review. I made a mistake when uploading the review from our tester and put the wrong score on. Apologies for the confusion.

Rupesh Patre

May 2, 2013, 7:23 pm

Does the 55W905A have a 4oD and ITV player apps? Shame it doesn't have a Spotify app.

Joephus

May 3, 2013, 1:42 am

Hey TrustedAndy, you should maybe add more insight to the Triluminous technology and how it is powered using quantum technology.
"Triluminos uses blue LEDs, but instead of coating them with a yellow phosphor, the blue light from the LEDs passes through the Color IQ optical element containing red and green quantum dots. So the blue LEDs have two functions: create blue light, but also energize red- and green-emitting quantum dots so they in turn can create red and green light. About two-thirds of the light created by the blue LEDs is used to excite the QDs.

ooey

May 5, 2013, 12:30 pm

When (if?) the 40 inch version drops under £1000 I am getting this! This may be next year, unfortunately...

Turrican4D

May 8, 2013, 5:26 am

mll 0.03 cd/m2?

steve

May 9, 2013, 10:02 pm

Just in quality of picture, how does it stack against the Philips 46PFL9707?

Anukul

May 11, 2013, 6:42 pm

gamers rejoice

mieke dier

May 14, 2013, 4:50 pm

7 ms input lag? Finally, after all these years a led tv came out that can actually compete with a cheap lcd monitor. If only it would be 60 inch and cheaper.
It must be really impressive to play battlefield 3 on this tv.

marco

July 22, 2013, 3:46 pm

what about settings for dark room bd viewing??
gamma is better left on "0" or lower? thx

Gaza

August 17, 2013, 5:34 pm

How can you give a 10/10 score when there are cons?

andyvan

August 17, 2013, 7:40 pm

No product is ever perfect. For us, a 10/10 means the product sets an outstanding reference: as good as you could possibly get within reason.

JasonB

August 22, 2013, 2:08 pm

"there’s certainly still room for improvement" and an overall 10/10!!

I guess the perfect products get 11/10.

Habeeb Hashim

October 14, 2013, 10:17 am

Hi, thinking of replacing an old 46" Philips with a new set. Here in Singapore, we get the KDL-55W904A and also a KDL-55W954A. Are these the same as the W905A reviewed here? Can anyone tell me what the difference between a W904 and a W954 is?
Also, if the 4K KD55X9004A is within budget, should I go for that or save the cash. My normal use is satellite TV and movies streamed through a NAS. Some occasional gaming of Final Fantasy type games on the PS3. Would appreciate any inputs. Thanks!

MackinsVII

November 15, 2013, 8:02 pm

This TV is absolutely amazing, it's perfect! I mainly use it for gaming and the input lag being so low really makes a difference, I've been knocking seconds off my lap times on Most Wanted. The quality of the display is mind blowing too. As for the viewing angles, there is no problem at all, you'd have to have an odd shaped room to be sitting wide enough for it to affect the viewing.

shameer

January 9, 2014, 8:16 am

let me knew about this screen vessel mount 400x400 or 600x400..???

Zubenubi

January 9, 2014, 4:58 pm

Had mine for a week now. Did look at the 4K TV's but couldn't justify the £3k+ price tag with no real content to watch. Upgraded from a 42" Panasonic plasma that cost £1,500 6 years ago. The picture is amazing with just a little ghosting sometimes visible. Watched Hugo in 3D last night and bar the fact I hate 3D glasses (and I wear glasses!) was really impressed. Also, unlike the reviewer, got the 3D glasses to work out of the box without any issues. What I do disagree with the review is that the sound quality is appalling. Really tinny even with the bass turned up. With the old Panasonic, you could easily watch TV and not worry too much about the sound unless you were watching a film. With the Sony and I guess all these ultra thin screens, you'll need a sound bar or surround speakers. So am using my old Panasonic DVD £250 surround system which works very well. Just got to save up now for the Sonos sound bar and sub!

Kenny

March 20, 2014, 8:01 am

I have Xbox One and BF4 and the game looks amazing and plays very naturally on this TV. I cannot get over how good the picture is and how rich all the colors are...

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