Sony KDL-47W805 review

This TV enjoys strong features and pretty looks and costs much less than the imperious W905 series

Sony KDL-47W805 review
The Sony KDL-47W805 uses passive 3D

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

The Sony 47W805 is a seriously promising TV. Its design is cute, its specification list looks strong with its video-friendly online TV service and potent picture processing, and most important of all it shares a stable with Sony's imperious W905 models.

We have no doubt, either, that many users - especially families - will feel drawn to the television because it's Sony's first to use passive rather than active 3D technology.

However, there's a slight lack of sophistication about the interface employed for accessing the Sony 47W805's multimedia services, and more alarmingly the TV's mostly robust picture quality is let down by a number of difficulties when it comes to showing dark scenes convincingly.

We liked

The Sony 47W805 is a pretty TV thanks to its Sense of Quartz design, and it's well connected with its four HDMIs, three USBs and built-in Wi-Fi. Bright content looks punchy and crisp, and the set's online services include an impressive amount of video sources.

We disliked

The interface for accessing Sony's online content is a bit basic by this year's standards, and the TV's contrast performance is a real disappointment compared with the glories found elsewhere in Sony's range.

Final verdict

Excitement levels were extremely high for the Sony 47W805, since we fully expected it to deliver much of the performance quality of Sony's W905 series for a much lower price.

However, while it retains many of that television's features bar Triluminos, it doesn't deliver anywhere near as much picture or sound quality. In fact its contrast performance is so average it's hard to believe it's coming from the same brand as the Sony 55W905.

We guess this flawed contrast issue might not be too big a deal if you don't tend to be the sort of person who watches films seriously. But if you do consider yourself a bit of a movie buff, we're pretty confident that the Sony 47W805's difficulties with dark scenes will annoy you from time to time.

Also consider

A great alternative to the Sony 47W805 would be Panasonic's P50GT60. This TV costs £100 or so more, but as well as giving you an extra three inches of picture the quality of that picture is also sensational, especially when it comes to contrast - the thing the Sony 47W805 struggles with the most.

Panasonic's new My HomeScreen smart TV interface is a work of personalised genius too, though Panasonic's online platform isn't nearly as video-rich as Sony's.

Another option would be Samsung's UE46F7000. This is a bit costlier and an inch smaller, but its picture quality is outstanding, and its smart interface is in a different league.

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.