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For the majority of your viewing time the 65S8505C's pictures are up there with the best the TV world has to offer right now. But Sony's curved set also feels a little flatter during dark scenes than I might have hoped based on my experience with some of Sony's 2014 TVs.
First impressions, though, truly are dazzling.
The extra brightness Sony has been able to achieve combines with the extreme vibrancy and subtlety of the Triluminos colour technology to deliver a gorgeously dynamic but also exquisitely nuanced and expressive colour palette. It's the sort of thing that would have your eyes sighing with pleasure...if they were capable of such a thing.
The precision and range of the 65S8505C's colour performance also helps the set deliver outstanding impact from its native 4K pixel count. Detail levels from native 4K/UHD content look nothing short of incredible, especially given the large size of screen they're appearing on, maximising the return on the considerable investment you've made in the next generation of TV picture resolution.
Just as impressive, though in a different way, is how well the the 65S8505C upscales HD material to its native 4K curved screen.
The X1 processor proves superb at recognising the type of HD content being received and quickly applying the best picture settings accordingly, resulting in a stellar combination of enhanced detail and sharpness that doesn't suffer the loss of colour naturalism often seen with upscaling engines.
I would recommend, though, that you shift down the Resolution element of the upscaling engine, as this can cause some video noise using the out of the box settings.
More good news concerns the way the outstanding sharpness and detail of the 65S8505C's pictures doesn't reduce during action scenes. This is because the motion processing provided via the X1 chipset is powerful enough to reduce - even remove, if that's your wish - judder and blur without leaving the picture looking processed or affected by unwanted side effects.
Contrast and black level
With the intense brightness and colours to bounce off, it initially looks as if the 65S8505C's black colour reproduction is decent too. Certainly where a dark area appears amid a predominantly bright image the sheer verve of the bright areas creates the impression of good blackness in the dark area.
When I shifted to predominantly dark scenes, though, especially if I was also watching the TV in a dark room, it became apparent that the 65S8505C's black level performance isn't actually as good as I'd initially hoped.
For starters, there's a grey mist hanging over dark scenes that no amount of tinkering with the TV's settings can completely shift. Reducing the backlight a lot helps, but also, of course, leaves the picture looking much less bright and dynamic. Setting the TV's Advanced Contrast Enhancer can reduce the impression of greyness too, but it, too, has a nasty side effect. Namely that it turns off its backlight system during extremely dark shots before switching the lights back on when some bright content re-enters the image.
The moment where the backlight turns off is quite noticeable, and the moment when it flicks back on, with a perceptible flash, is REALLY noticeable. Which means, of course, it can distract you from what you're watching.
What's particularly strange about this issue is that Sony has made a point of demonstrating on previous generations of its TVs how it doesn't like the idea of shutting the backlight off, for exactly the reasons now evident on the 65S8505C.
Given that I've seen better black levels and backlight handling on older Sony TVs as well as one or two of its 2015 models (such as the brilliant 75X9405C), it seems as if the combination of higher brightness and the curved screen have forced Sony's engineers to make compromises in a key picture quality area where they've previously excelled.
Something to reflect on
One other issue with the 65S8505C worth noting is that a combination of a rather glassy finish and the curved shape can cause reflections of bright objects in the room to be distorted across more of the screen than would be the case with flat TVs.
While there's room for improvement with its backlight performance, though, the 65S8505C is easily good enough overall to deserve this section of the review to go out on a high.
The 65S8505C does a mostly excellent job of bringing the third dimension into your living room, putting its brightness, colour precision and remarkable upscaling and detailing to great use with 3D Blu-rays to create bright, vibrant, depth-rich 3D worlds that feel almost as tangible as real life.
There is occasionally some crosstalk ghosting noise, and you need to use Sony's motion processing on quite a high level to take out the extra judder that starts to creep in with 3D content.
But with the curved screen adding a touch more depth to your 3D experience, this is definitely one of those times when I'd recommend that you invest in some 3D glasses.
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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.