Sony Bravia KDL-55X4500 review

Sony's 55" LED LCD TV is pricey, but frequently spectacular

Sony Bravia KDL-55X4500
This is Sony's biggest TV and packs some high-tech picture processing and RGB LED local dimming

TechRadar Verdict

Mostly stunning pictures, but this bigscreen struggles on the value front


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    Great HD pictures

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    Decent SD too

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    RGB LEDs


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The Sony Bravia KDL-55X4500 has an interesting trick up its LED sleeves that's not matched by any of the other LED models: RGB dimming.

The technology for this is much more expensive versus the white dimming found on the Sharp LC-52LE700E LED TV. But the reward for your money promises to be a wider colour gamut.

Also, if 55 inches is a little too big, then you might want to consider looking at the smaller set in the range, the KDL-46X4500.

Sony has also gone to town with the KDL-55X4500's design – especially in the way a pair of pole-style speakers have been integrated into the middle of a transparent section of the set's outer bezel. You can even go for speaker grilles in Obsidian Black or Ruby Red if you really want to push the design boat out.

It's a pity, perhaps, that the KDL-55X4500 has a pretty big rear end by today's svelte standards. But if the set produces good enough pictures, a few centimetres of rear depth really shouldn't matter much in the greater scheme of things.

The KDL-55X4500, surprisingly, doesn't carry Sony's latest Bravia Engine 3 video processing system, only managing to offer its previous incarnation, BE2, instead.

But it does keep up to speed with Sony's latest TVs in connection terms, thanks in particular to four HDMIs, a USB port able to play multiple format AV files, plus an Ethernet port that lets you stream in files from your PC.

Ebony and ivory

At times, the KDL-55X4500's pictures look nothing short of sublime. For starters, as usual with a direct LED TV, it produces terrific black levels that enable it to show dark scenes with total conviction and bags of detail.

What's more, since the screen employs local dimming, you can enjoy the terrifically cinematic spectacle of crisp whites sitting in the same frame as rich, deep blacks.

The Sony's pictures are also stunningly crisp and sharp when showing HD, and it was a relief to find this quality remaining when the picture gets moving, thanks to a combination of a decent innate response time and an effective 100Hz processor.

Standard-def pictures are upscaled to the screen's full HD resolution rather well too, considering how vast the set's panel is, and as we'd hoped would be the case, the RGB dimming delivers a colour gamut of truly immense range and subtlety.

Being picky, we might say that the range of hues is a bit too extreme and that the ultra rich tones can look a little unnatural.

Other small complaints concern the KDL-55X4500's pictures losing contrast if watched from much of an angle; really bright parts of the image appear a touch bleached out and there are noticeable, but very minor, traces of backlight inconsistency.

However, we should stress right away that these flaws only make their presence felt should you, mistakenly, leave the backlight set higher than its level 5.

However, with some loud and clear, if fractionally bass-light, audio partnering its often stunning pictures pretty well, the KDL-55X4500 is only ultimately let down by its hefty price tag.

And with the RGB dimming arguably overcooking colours to a point of discomfort, we can't help but feel a little as if we're paying heftily for a feature we didn't necessarily need.

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John Archer
AV Technology Contributor

John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.