Sony KD-43X8305C – Sound Quality
The KD-43X8305C’s audio is more average than its pictures. There’s hardly any bass to speak of, which leaves action scenes sounding thin and harsh. The mid-range doesn’t have all that much room for manouevre either, helping to bring the harshness during loud scenes to almost wince-inducing levels and reducing the amount of detail and vocal clarity when the TV is pushed hard.
In addition, the speakers give up the ghost completely at times, displaying nasty crackling and distortion.
To be fair, the KD-43X8305C doesn’t sound worse overall than most budget TVs. But we’d have expected a little more from a brand as typically strong with TV audio as Sony.
Other Things to Consider
As well as being unwieldy to use, the Android TV engine results in the KD-43X8305C running frustratingly sluggishly at times. In fact, it even suffered a couple of full “unplug and reboot” crashes during my tests.
If you’re not lucky enough to have fast broadband, you’ll also need to brace yourself for seemingly frequent and very long-winded software updates during which you won’t be able to use the TV.
In better news, I measured the KD-43X8305C’s input lag – the time it takes to produce its pictures after receiving data – at around 27ms on average. This is an excellent result for a 4K UHD TV, and it even dropped to as low as 9ms with some of my measurements.
Finally, the KD-43X8305C did a passable job of handling HDR content during my tests. Surprisingly, it delivered greater punch and brightness of colours when fed an HDR signal. Although black levels were nowhere near as deep as those you get with Samsung’s SUHD TVs, Sony’s set did at least avoid the distracting backlight clouds and edge luminance witnessed on some other LCD HDR TVs we’ve seen.
I’ve mentioned the HDR issues here, rather than in the main picture quality section, because there’s still some doubt over how “official” and finalised the KD-43X8305C’s HDR functionality is. So it’s more of a point of interest than a definite part of the review.
Related: Best 4K TVs 2015
Should you buy the Sony KD-43X8305C?
There are precious few 4K UHD TVs out there that can be bought for £650, especially a brand name as trusted as Sony. So this is enough in itself to give the KD-43X8305C appeal – especially when you consider, too, that you’re getting Android TV for your money.
However, the KD-43X8305C doesn’t deliver as fully on the impact of its 4K resolution as TVs further up the price scale, and this includes Sony’s other models. As a result, it might be worth saving up for a Samsung JU7000 series or a Panasonic CX700 series. Or maybe even a Sony 65X8505 or 75X8505, with their direct LED lighting – although these Sony options will involve a bigger step up in both size and cost.
Despite including the Android smart TV platform and Sony’s X1 processing engine, the KD-43X8305C is comfortably Sony’s cheapest 4K TV to date. Unfortunately, it’s a relatively average performer by Sony standards, only partially unlocking the potential of its 3,840 x 2,160 pixel count.
Score in detail
Smart TV 7
Image Quality 7
Sound Quality 6