If you are looking for a 55-inch TV from a premium brand then the Sony Bravia KD55XD80005 is currently the best deal we’ve come across. It has traveled down in price massively. We would expect it to retail at just over a grand but, with about a third of the price being knocked off, it is now available for the mid-range price of £800 from several retailers.
There have been a couple of niggles reported, such as difficulty putting the TV into game mode and recording live TV, but in the grand scheme of things these seem fairly minor. If your main aim for this TV is to watch programmes, rather than playing Xbox or Playstation, then this TV should be top of your list.
As you would expect with Sony, the build quality of the TV is first class. The bezel around the television is super thin at 1.1cm and is made from a metal alloy that gives a premium look (no flimsy plastic casing here). In profile it is only 4.4cm, excluding the power brick bit that’s hidden at the back. The stand is fairly sturdy on the 55-inch model. It also has a cable management system that allows you to clip the wires around the back and run them through the stand to keep them out of sight.
Reviewers have also commented that the TV fits very closely to the wall if you wish to mount it.
The picture quality on this model is simply excellent. It features all the latest TV developments – 4k/UHD, upscaling and HDR. We will go into all of these in a second but the real stand out feature of this TV is that it has a 10-bit panel. Most TVs on the market nowadays are 8-bit, which means they can show about 16.8 million colours. This might seem like a lot, but the human eye is able to distinguish between many more shades – but 10-bit panels can more than cater to this as they are able to produce over a billion colours!
As you would expect from a TV of this price it has 4k/UHD (which are basically interchangeable terms to mean it packs in twice as many pixels as a standard HD television) which really comes into its own on a TV this size.
While 4k may be limited to a few shows, Netflix (who incidentally recommend this TV) and other providers are really embracing the new technology and we expect 4k to become the standard in 2017. The KD55XD8005 also features Sony’s X-Reality Pro technology that upscales HD content to 4k. It’s not quite the true 4k experience but it’s still enough for you to realise that everyone on TV is ten years older than you thought.
There are a couple of other Sony exclusives thrown in; Trilumious tech gives the TV a wider colour palette to choose from and Motionflow XR 400Hz helps the TV to handle fast motion so that it doesn’t suffer from any blurring during action movies and fast moving games that some cheaper TVs are often affected by.
It also has HDR. In layman terms, this makes darks darker and lights lighter. This may not sound like much but it really makes the picture pop, particularly in night scenes or scenes with bright light. The picture below gives an idea of the difference. There is a potential negative. Some users have complained of light bleed – i.e. the edge of the TV is brighter than the rest of the screen. Other reviewers have found this not to be noticeable. On viewing the TV we didn’t notice any, but this could vary on a model by model basis.
NOTE: If you go for the 43-inch model you will get an even better picture as it uses a VA rather than IPS panel. However, the trade-off is you might not be able to feel the full UHD benefit that you get with larger TVs.
The sound is actually quite good for such a thin TV and the built-in speakers are more than adequate if you just plan to watch the soaps. However, while it does a fairly good job of imitating surround sound it doesn’t come close to a proper sound system. If you’re shelling out for this TV then we would really advise buying a soundbar to get the full home cinema experience.
Smart TV Features
The KD55XD8005 is described as an “Android TV” – but what does this mean in practice? Basically, the TV uses Android technology, like you see in most smartphones, to power the software on the TV. It also means that it also includes the google play store, voice search and probably most importantly Google Cast that allows you to mirror what’s on your phone onto the TV. This is fairly simple if you have an android device. If you’re using an iPad or iPhone it can be a little bit more restrictive. You can’t just cast anything to your TV, but many popular apps like Netflix, Spotify and Youtube have support for Chromecast in their own apps. For this reason, we’ve never really found it to be a practical hardship to mix the two brands.
Android TV is a really nifty system that we find simple to us. It also comes with 16GB of storage meaning you will be able to install apps to your heart’s content. You can also install Kodi on it if that’s your bag (wink, wink). Lastly, it also has YouView built-in. It’s a bit marmite, and we’ve never really been a fan of the YouView service, but it does mean you get the 4 big catch up on demand services right out of the box and if it’s an interface you are already used to it will make the jump to a new TV very easy.
Connection to wifi and setup take around 5 minutes. It has 4 HDMI inputs, It does not have any 3D capacity, but we’re all over that 2015 fad by now right?