Sony KD-65X8505C review

Nice picture, fair price, messy smarts

Sony KD-65X8505C
Nice picture, fair price, messy smarts

TechRadar Verdict

The 65X8505C is far from perfect. A couple of surprising - given the Sony branding - backlight and excessive sharpness issues together with merely average audio performance, uninspiring 3D and a currently cumbersome Android TV smart system take some of the gloss off things. But this well-priced 65-inch UHD screen is still good value enough to be worth a look.


  • +

    Excellent contrast and colour

  • +

    Very sharp 4K/HD pictures

  • +

    Skinny frame design

  • +

    Good connectivity


  • -

    Clumsy adaptive contrast

  • -

    Over-eager upscaling engine

  • -

    Android TV is marmite

  • -

    Uninspiring 3D

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Much as we may have loved the recently-tested Sony 75X9405C TV, it's just not going to be an option for most households. Partly because of its £7,000+ price, and partly because of its sheer enormity. Its already colossal 75-inch screen is joined by rows of extremely large (by TV standards) speakers down each side.

Cue the Sony KD-65X8505C: a new TV that still delivers a native 4K UHD resolution, a really big screen, Sony's Triluminos colour technology and Sony's new X1 video processor but from within a much more svelte form and at a far less eye-watering price of £2400.

The frame around the 65X8505C's 65-inch screen really is startlingly slim.

The left, right and top edges are little more than one centimetre across, while the bottom edge only expands things to around two centimetres.

Where have all the speakers gone?

While this narrow frame will make the 65X8505C a much more practical solution than the 75X9405C for typical households, though, it does mean there's no room for a sound system to rival the incredibly powerful one inside the larger set.

Though I suspect that many people prepared to invest more than two grand in a 65-inch TV may well already have or be prepared to install a separate audio system anyway.

A more concerning shortcoming of the 65X8505C's design is the way it sits slightly unstably on its metal bar-style desktop stand. But then I guess most grown ups aren't in the habit of giving their TVs a hefty shove all that often, while naughty kids are unlikely to be strong enough to do any serious damage.

Sony KD-65X8505C

The set is well armed with connections. Its four HDMIs are all built to the latest v2.0 4K-friendly specification (supporting 4K up to 60 frames per second) and HDCP 2.2 handshaking support, with one also compatible with MHL mobile device protocols.

There are three USBs for multimedia playback and recording from the TV's tuners to USB HDDs, plus you get the now inevitable integrated Wi-Fi and RJ45 network connections.

Talking to tablets

The 65X8505C additionally supports direct media sharing with phones and tablets, especially Android-based phones and tablets.

In fact, this compatibility even stretches to integrated support for Google ChromeCast thanks to the 65X8505C's carriage of the new Android TV smart platform.

Sony KD-65X8505C

Built on the Android 5.0 Lollipop system, it's easy to see why Android TV would appeal to Sony - and plenty of other TV manufacturers, come to that.

After all, Android is a relatively open platform with an already vast array of apps and huge community of app developers, so you can see the appeal for a TV brand in being able to bolster their smart TV content via such huge 3rd party support.

However, in practice Android TV seems to me to be substantially flawed as a smart TV platform.

It's clunky and dictatorial with its presentation, it doesn't support any significant customisation, it seems to cause speed problems with TV's wider operating systems, it's buggy, it doesn't actually currently carry as many TV-friendly apps as you might expect, and actually even its ability to deliver huge volumes of apps doesn't really fit well with a television (versus a smartphone or tablet) user experience.

Smarter smarts

Fortunately the 65X8505C doesn't rely just on Android for all its smarts.

It also carries Sony's own, much slicker, Discover menu system (which includes an easily customisable 'shelf' where you can put just your favourite apps) and will soon add a YouView system delivering compatibility with all the UK's key broadcasting catch-up services. Which is handy given that not a single one of these catch-up services is currently supported in Android TV.

The 65X8505C carries a pretty serious array of picture quality features, headlined by its use of Sony's Triluminos technology for delivering a wider colour gamut, and Sony's new X1 video processor chip.

Sony KD-65X8505C

This is substantially more powerful than its X-Reality Pro predecessor, and includes such potentially important tricks as a much more sophisticated colour rendering system, improved noise reduction routines, supposedly improved upscaling of HD sources, and the inclusion of today's 4K UHD sources in its picture database.

The database solution

This database is used to quickly identify what sort of source content the TV is receiving and apply a series of pre-defined picture processing attributes to it, the idea being that this 'shortcuts' the video processing requirement to deliver more accurate, effective results in real time.

There is one area where the 65X8505C's picture specification falls significantly short of that of the 75X9405C, though: it uses an edge LED lighting system rather than the direct one (where the lights sit behind the image) used by the bigger model.

This means it won't be able to deliver light to its pictures on as local a basis as per the 75X9405C, and so likely won't be able to match it where contrast is concerned.

Certainly it's noticeable that the 65X8505C doesn't join the 75X9405C in offering X-Tended Dynamic Range Pro technology, where the TV can redistribute its power to those areas of the image that need it most - the brightest parts - to make dark scenes look more dynamic.

HDR no, 3D yes

The 65X8505C doesn't join the 75X9405C in offering support for high dynamic range (HDR) pictures, which underlines the fact that this step-down set can't match the larger model for brightness and contrast.

Still, the 65X8505C is the best part of five thousand pounds cheaper than the 75X9405C, so a bit of compromise beyond just its 10-inches smaller screen is only to be expected.

The 65X8505C is one of an increasingly rare brand of TV this year in that it supports 3D playback.

It opts for the active system rather than the passive one, but sadly Sony doesn't provide any free 3D glasses with the TV, leaving 3D fans needing to cough up extra cash for each pair of glasses they need.

One last element of the 65X8505C's feature configuration worth mentioning is its wealth of set up options. These include such welcome tricks as colour management (including, intriguingly, a setting for the new BT2020 colour standard as well as the older sRGB and Rec709 ones), Sony's LiveColour system for 'expanding' the colour range of today's content, many settings for Sony's Motionflow processing system, and even the ability to tweak the way the TV's 'Reality Creation' 4K upscaling engine works.

The latter is something precious few rivals let you get involved with.

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.