Sony KD-65X9005A review

Sony ups the ante in the 4K arms race

Sony KD-65X9005A
Editor's Choice
Sony KD-65X9005A

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The KD-65X9005A is much more than just another large screen telly. The poster boy for a new generation of broadcast technology, it delivers a picture experience quite unlike conventional Full HD screens.

Image quality with native 4K content is simply astonishing, both in terms of absolute fidelity and image depth. But perhaps the biggest surprise is just how beneficial its panel density is with Full HD too.

Upscaling is extremely effective, and with Blu-ray (particularly Mastered in 4K discs), it simply shines. There's been considerable debate as to whether the 4K at this screen size is an appreciable advantage in the average home. Well we can confirm it most definitely is. Debate closed.

We liked

The KD-65X9005A impresses even before it's powered up. The set has a beautiful design that accentuates its upfront sound system.

Image quality is similarly sublime. Pictures have a smoothness and clarity which is unrivalled. The good news is that it upscales Full HD sources with equal aplomb.

The set's Passive 3D picture performance is also a revelation, both with broadcast 3D and from Blu-ray. The set even has a kick-ass sound system, so there's no need to worry about adding a soundbar just to keep things coherent.

We disliked

The cheapo remote rather undermines the KD-65X9005A's imperial nature. It's a shame Sony couldn't come up with something a little more substantial than this plastic wand to keep things under control.

Timing hasn't really helped this 65-incher, as the new HDMI interface isn't yet ready for primetime, which has implications if and when the Blu-ray standard gets an overhaul to accommodate 4K content.

As it stands, the set is limited to 4K at 30Hz; HDMI v2 is expected to support 4K up to 60Hz. Will this prove significant in the long term? It's difficult to say, although we think it's unlikely that high framerate 4K is going to become the norm anytime soon.

Final verdict

The KD-65X9005A is flat-out the most exciting big-screen TV released this year. With stunning design and advanced picture processing, this 4K debutant impresses with photographic-like image quality, the best consumer 3D we've ever experienced and a top class sound system.

As the harbinger of a new era of broadcasting, it's also surprisingly relevant to today's TV world.

Also consider

Rival 4K screens are thin on the ground at present, although we know that LG, Samsung and Toshiba have all vowed to launch rival products by the end of the year.

The KD-65X9005A's most immediate rival though has to be Panasonic's reference grade TX-60PZT65. This NeoPlasma is the last word in Full HD image quality, and native 4K content aside, gives this big Sony a great run for considerably less money.

Steve May
Home entertainment AV specialist

Steve has been writing about AV and home cinema since the dawn of time, or more accurately, since the glory days of VHS and Betamax. He has strong opinions on the latest TV technology, Hi-Fi and Blu-ray/media players, and likes nothing better than to crank up his ludicrously powerful home theatre system to binge-watch TV shows.