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.
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.
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.
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