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Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A review

John Archer




  • Editors choice

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Sony 55W905
  • Sony 55W905
  • Sony 55W905
  • Sony 55W905
  • Sony 55W905
  • Sony 55W905
  • Sony 55W905
  • Sony 55W905
  • Sony 55W905
  • Sony 55W905


Our Score:


User Score:


  • Sensational 2D and very good 3D picture quality
  • Distinctive and elegant design
  • Impressive audio quality


  • Very limited viewing angle
  • Sony Entertainment Network Hub menu is cumbersome
  • Minor crosstalk with 3D

Key Features

  • 55in LCD TV with edge LED lighting
  • Triluminos colour system
  • Active 3D playback (4 pairs of glasses included)
  • Local dimming technology
  • Long duct sound system
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £2,399.00

What is the Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A?

So the big question for Sony’s TVs in 2013 is simply this: how do you follow 2012’s multi-award winning Sony Bravia HX853 series? One answer is to go 4K, as Sony will in just a couple of months time with the eagerly awaited launch of its new 55-inch and 65-inch X900 models.

Another more mainstream option, though, is to do what the W905A series (as represented here be the 55-inch Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A) does: introduce a new technology that has the potential to take LCD picture quality to places it has never been before.

Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A - Design

We'll get onto that new technology in a moment, but first thing you notice when you pop the Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A out of its box is that Sony has finally jumped fully aboard the ‘super slim’ bandwagon. The frame round the screen is only just more then one centimetre wide - its slimness exaggerated by the set’s angular aesthetic. Plus Sony has got its catwalk mojo on by introducing a sliver of quartz crystal in the TV’s top edge, angled so that it catches the light with a distinctive bluish hue.

Also notable is the surprisingly small and glinting silver circular desk mount, and an intriguing mirror-finished little rectangle hanging from the centre of the screen’s bottom edge. As well as looking hip, it houses some of the TV’s key electronics, and also adjusts the colour it emits from its bottom side according to what input or what feature you’re using.

In summation, it's a stunning looking TV that would look great in any living room.

Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A - Triluminos

But let's back to that new technology. Sony calls this new tech Triluminos - as named by Sony’s People Who Come Up With Fancy Names For Stuff team. And despite its 'groovy' name, its aim is simple: to widen the colour gamut beyond ordinary TVs so that colours are richer, more intense and more nuanced than ever before. It doesn't aim low.

Sony 55W905

Triluminos works by applying colour filters directly to the LEDs ranged around the screen’s edge – a procedure that should counter LCD’s usual tendency to exaggerate blue tones, as well as expanding the colour gamut along the lines we’ve already described. The only potential downside to the feature is that, since it’s a hardware creation, if you don’t like it, you can’t turn it off…

Sony KDL-55W905A -X-Reality Pro

Triluminos is the most attention-grabbing of the W9 series’ new features, but it’s certainly not the only important one. Another is the set’s use of Sony’s latest X-Reality Pro picture processing system. It reduces the number of processing chips it uses from three to two for enhanced efficiency and cheaper production, and it improves still further the effectiveness of the unique ‘database’ approach that’s served it so well on previous TVs.

This database system lets X-Reality Pro improve the speed, accuracy and overall effectiveness of its video processing. It matches pixels patterns in what you’re watching against a huge library of previously identified pixel patterns, providing a shorthand way for the TV to arrive at the optimum settings for any type of source it encounters.

Without X-Reality, Sony’s processing would have to try to calculate the best response to incoming content from scratch and on the hoof, making it less likely to deliver such – hopefully! – accurate and satisfying results.

Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A - Smart TV

We’ll have a full, in-depth review of Sony's smart TV soon, so we’ll keep things reasonably brief here.

Sony 55W905

Mercifully, Sony has dispensed with its increasingly tortuous Xrossbar Media onscreen menus in favour of a combination of a ‘Smart Hub’ (accessed via the Sony Entertainment Network button on Sony’s latest remote controls) and a graphically rich setup menu GUI. We were pleased to note, too, that the menus run appreciably faster than those of last year’s smart TVs, making the whole experience feel much slicker.

It’s a shame, though, that the Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) lacks structure. It's just a long, 21-row deep, list of icons with no means of filtering apps by type or even changing their running order. Bizarrely, you can establish a vaguely customised running order, but only if you access the SEN via the main TV menu rather than the smart hub! It doesn't scream of clear thinking.

The list of apps is long and varied, and there’s a healthy focus on video streaming rather than filler apps you'll never use. Highlights include Sony Video Unlimited (films and TV on-demand), Sony Music Unlimited (Sony's Spotify rival), Sony PlayMemories, the BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, BBC News, Sky News, Love Film, Netflix, BBC Sport, Sony Entertainment Television, Crackle, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Picasa, and Sony’s 3D Experience channel.

Sony 55W905

Despite the rather cumbersome nature of the main SEN menu, the Sony Bravia KDL-55W905A does have a trio of rather cool tricks up its sleeves. First there's a new and decently sophisticated control and content-sharing ‘TV SideView’ app for iOS and Android; second, a ‘Fast Zapp’ menu that lets you quickly and simply skim through TV channel, radio station and even video on demand content listings while still watching a reduced version of the TV picture; and third, an extra remote control with NFC (Near Field Communication) enabling simple ‘touch and screen mirror’ compatibility with NFC-enabled mobile devices.

And should you rather view content stored on a USB flash drive or other device, USB streaming and DLNA network streaming are present, too.

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.


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 !


May 2, 2013, 10:34 am

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


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 )


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.


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.


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...


May 8, 2013, 5:26 am

mll 0.03 cd/m2?


May 9, 2013, 10:02 pm

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


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.


July 22, 2013, 3:46 pm

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


August 17, 2013, 5:34 pm

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


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.


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!


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.


January 9, 2014, 8:16 am

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


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!


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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