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Sony KDL-55X9005A: 3D, Sound and Verdict

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Sony 55X9005A


Our Score:


User Score:

Sony KDL-55X9005A: 3D Picture Quality

The Sony 55X9005A is pretty much stunning with 3D content. So long as you keep your vertical viewing angle somewhere below 13 degrees above or below the screen, at any rate, so that the image remains blissfully free of crosstalk ghosting noise.

Detail levels with 3D Blu-rays look excellent, with the clarity underlined again by the subtlety and accuracy of Sony’s colour engine. The clarity and detail on show also proves once and for all that people who used to claim that you got a full HD resolution on passive 3D HD-resolution TVs were simply wrong.

Seeing a genuine full HD 3D Blu-ray picture without the ghosting, flickering and reduced brightness associated with the full resolution active 3D system is a revelation, helping to make the experience much more natural and relaxing.

Obviously resolution hounds may well be drawn to the idea of the active 3D engines sported by Samsung and Panasonic’s 4K TVs, as these upscale full HD 3D images to 4K ones. And it must be said that the results of this upscaling can be pretty incredible at times in terms of making the 3D world seem denser and more ‘real’. But purists may well prefer the Sony’s less ‘interfering’ approach.

Sony 55X9005A

Sony KDL-55X9005A: Sound Quality

Aside from some esoteric, mega-expensive Bang & Olufsen models, we’re struggling to think of any flat TVs that have worked as hard as Sony’s 4K TVs to deliver a superior audio performance. The whole design of the TV has been built around the desire to equip a forward-facing, six-driver audio system, and the results speak volumes. Literally.

The soundstage the set produces really is gorgeous. Its large main drivers produce a gorgeously open mid-range while also helping the set achieve bass levels far beyond anything typically heard from the flat TV world. Also the volume levels you can achieve without the cabinet or speaker drivers succumbing to distortion or ‘plateauing’ is remarkable – indeed, the set’s audio actually becomes more satisfying the louder you run it.

The set’s handling of treble information is exceptionally deft too, ensuring there’s no sense of a bass bias in the audio presentation while also avoiding that sense of harshness when the going gets tough that’s apparent with almost all other flat TVs when you push them hard.

Finally, the fact that the speakers fire forwards means you never experience that swallowed, guttural sensation so common with the usual down-firing speaker systems.

Other Things to Consider

Gaming on the 55X9005A is a delight – so long as you choose the Game picture option and additionally make sure you’ve turned off as many other processing options as you can. Do this and while still enjoying exceptional resolution and colour performance you also only have around 30ms of input lag to worry about – a low enough figure not to impinge upon your gaming skills to any serious extent.

Sony 55X9005A

Should I buy a Sony KDL-55X9005A?

In an ideal world, you should think about trying to afford and accommodate the 65-inch Sony 65X9005A instead of the 55X9005A, simply because the larger screen size gets slightly more impact from the native 4K resolution.

If you can’t get up to the 65X9005A’s 5K asking price, though, the Sony 55X9005A is still a startlingly brilliant TV for its £3,300 price, and in our opinion it is still big enough to reveal 4K’s benefits without requiring that you sit with your nose pressed up against it.

The only real rival for a set of the 55X9005A’s qualities would be the Samsung UE55F9000. This can be found for around £3,000 – slightly cheaper than the Sony – and if anything both its 4K/UHD and upscaled pictures look a bit crisper than those of the Sony. Samsung’s current Smart TV system is the most comprehensive around right now too. However, the X9005As deliver compellingly richer colourscapes and their audio is in a whole different league.


While we’d urge you to go for the Sony 55X9005A’s larger 65-inch sibling if you can afford to, in order to get more impact from the new 4K resolution, we still maintain that 55-inch is big enough to exhibit 4K’s pictorial advantages. And with its excellent local dimming system, Triluminos colour technology and blistering audio system, no 55-inch TV is better positioned to deliver a suitably next-gen performance right now than the 55X9005A.

Next, take a look at our round-up of the very best 4K TVs

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • 2D Quality 9
  • 3D Quality 10
  • Design 9
  • Smart TV 8
  • Sound Quality 10
  • Value 9

Jimmy Ireland

November 26, 2013, 2:00 pm

Ugly as sin though. And I don't get one of the 'cons' being that there is no content yet. Not the TVs fault and it applies to every 4k TV on the market.

Andy Race

November 26, 2013, 3:04 pm

Still nearly two and half grand over what I'd class as affordable I'm affraid. When HD first came out I can remember forking out over £2k for a 720p 42 inch Samsung plasma. I won't make the same mistake again.


November 26, 2013, 4:32 pm

Thanks for the very good review but you are completely wrong when it comes to 3D on the 55". You are not getting full HD 3D, You are only getting 540P each each not 1080p.

Because of this you can see the black lines and they are far too many jaggies and a lack of detail in its 3D image.

I own the 55" and I am thinking of returning it because i feel like I've been kicked in thr balls by Sony. They have been very naughty in advertising this as full HD 3D when its not.

540P on a 4K TV is absurd.

please respond. Cheers


November 26, 2013, 5:52 pm

Has to be in the eye of the beholder, I love how it looks..

Geoff Richards

November 26, 2013, 6:00 pm

Can I clarify this claim for a second? Is it the case that 1080p 3D content (like a Blu-ray) is actually 540p per eye.

From what I was able to research it sounds like you need 4K 3D content to get 1080p per eye, because passive polarised 3D glasses reduce the resolution by half.

But then I also found this on Sony's support forum, claiming 1080p per eye...

I'm not an expert though. Just seeing what I can find.


November 26, 2013, 6:11 pm

only the 65" is Full 1080p per eye, the 55" is 540p. And it makes a massive difference. I'm so tempted to return my 55 for the W9 and save the cash.


November 26, 2013, 6:56 pm

here is the shocking prove. www.youtube.com/watch?v=4znn0y...

Geoff Richards

November 26, 2013, 9:46 pm

That's a bit concerning. I guess when they say "Every picture setting including resolution for 3D was optimized for each model." they think 540p is acceptable on a 55 (or that people wouldn't notice?) while the 65 is big enough that it warrants 1080p per eye.

I really can't think of a (good) technical reason to do that... but vote with your wallet. :)


November 27, 2013, 3:41 am

Just so you know Sony does have a true 2.0 HDMI. Intact they are the only one that does. Also if you'd doesn't you can call Sony and have someone come to your home and PR one in for free


November 27, 2013, 9:53 am

Hmm, 'PR one in for free'? I don't follow at all, and your statement is untrue. Panasonic is the only company to have true HDMI 2.0 and so as we're aware an update for Sony's 4K TVs hasn't come out yet.

Karl Rainer

November 27, 2013, 10:01 am

With no 4k movie content available or streaming in the UK, and sub par 1080i/p motion (which will be most peoples primary source material) and black levels that don't compare with the best plasmas such as the panny vt65 or zt60, i don't see how this could be worth buying at least for now. Also the benefit of 4k at most peoples viewing distance of 9 foot plus would be small on a 55". Maybe wait for OLED to come down.


November 27, 2013, 12:13 pm

It might apply to all 4k TVs, but it's still worth pointing out that despite the huge cost, you can't fully use it's capabilities.

It's like making a super-efficient car that runs on hydrogen and gets great reviews, but it's a bit moot if you can't buy the fuel for it.


November 27, 2013, 12:53 pm


The Panasonic WT600 is the only TV to have full 2.0 HDMI compatibility. Sony plan to upgrade their sets to 2.0 later this year with a firmware update but it will only be 2.0 Light. It will only be able to pass 8 bit color at 60Hz 4k, as apposed to full 36 bit.

TBH most people wont notice but it kinda defeats having a wider color gamut when it cant be used to its full potential.


November 27, 2013, 1:00 pm

Like I say I have this set in 55" and you are right about the motion, As its only 100Hz its motion and response time are well below average for top end TV's. Its a disgrace to be honest for a TV costing over 3 grand. The first thing I noticed was how fine details get blurred out with any kind of movement.

Sony advertise this set as 800Hz which is the same as its younger brother the W905 but that's just an advertising ploy. The real figures are 100Hz on the X9 and 200Hz on the W9 and the W9 is much much better in this regard.

As for the black levels yeah the plasma's are always going to win that battle but the X9 is no slouch. It has the best blacks I've seen on an LED TV and Ive owned most. The great thing about this set is its ability to hold its black level even off axis as the viewing angles for an LED are excellent. Add a little ambient lighting on an evening and the blacks are jet black.


November 27, 2013, 1:02 pm

I do think the review needs to be corrected regards to 3D as they has already been enough people buy this TV thinking its full 3D HD only to get it home and find an image full of black lines and jaggies.

Don't get me wrong its still brilliant for 3D, Its so every to watch and has great depth but its not pristine and full resolution unlike its big brother, That beast is a whole different story, I just wish I had the space for one.

Grandad Doug

January 7, 2014, 5:00 pm

I bought one of these TV's just before Christmas. I think it is brilliant and I'm still slowly learning all it's tricks. I have not had a 3D TV before, so I'm new to the picture quality. That said, it seems very good to me. The one big problem I have with it, is using BBC i-Player, which to be totally honest is absolutely un-watchable. It buffers for minutes and then plays for a few seconds! I thought it was by broadband speed but my PC, my laptop, my tablet and even my HD-mobile, will all play BBC i-player content though the same broadband connection perfectly, with no buffering at all! I've even hard-wired the TV to the router and still have the same problem. YouTube content, even 4K, plays OK with an initial buffer, but then nothing. So it really does look as if it's just BBC i-Player on this Sony TV that has the problem! I then asked Sony 4K support, what was wrong. Their response is that they have raised the issue with BBC i-Player tech support and are awaiting their reply. In the mean time, i-Player continues to be un-watchable! Ha anyone else had this problem or know how to resolve the issue?

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