Sony KD-65XF9005 Review: Setting the bar excessive for the remainder of 2018&#zero39;s TVs Review

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What is the Sony KD-65XF9005?

The 65-inch Sony KD-65XF9005 is basically a brand new mid-range 4K HDR TV with high-end aspirations. Crucially it continues the weird (for a mid-range TV) direct backlighting method that made final yr’s XE9005 vary so critically and commercially profitable.

It additionally, although, delivers vital new image enhancements – regardless of costing basically the identical as its predecessor. The result’s a TV that rival mid-range 2018 wannabes will severely wrestle to beat.

Related: Best TVs to buy

Sony KD-65XF9005 – Design and construct

The 65XF9005 is one thing of an oddball aesthetically. Its darkish gray, gently textured display screen body is engaging sufficient, and robustly constructed. But it’s mounted on elongated silvery ft that jut out at similar to extreme angle that they’re virtually comically distracting.
The positioning of those ft additionally means you’ll want a reasonably lengthy piece of furnishings to relaxation the TV on. Unless you wall-hang it, in fact.

While the Sony 65XF9005’s ft would possibly look clumsy, they do not less than harbour a considerate secret: they function channels into which you’ll be able to tuck all of your cabling.

Accompanying the 65XF9005 is a moderately uninspiring distant management. It’s only a usually plasticky, button-heavy affair of the type you would possibly anticipate to see with a funds TV moderately than a mid-ranger. The means a very powerful buttons are clustered in a moderately random circle across the choose button is unhelpful, too.

Sony KD-65XF9005 – Setup

The Sony 65XF9005 is remarkably straightforward to construct for a TV that hides all of your cabling away. Each foot simply attaches to the display screen by a few screws, and that’s it.

The preliminary set up course of is a little more long-winded than some, with a number of phrases and circumstances to learn. But I suppose you’re guided via every thing straightforwardly sufficient.

The set did ‘hold’ on the ‘checking for updates’ stage, although, requiring me to skip again and check out once more. This kind of factor is all too frequent with the Android TV working system on the 65XF9005’s coronary heart.

Sony tends to ship its TVs with extra useful presets than most TV manufacturers. It’s subsequently no nice shock to search out the 65XF9005 delivering wonderful footage proper out of the field. That stated, there are a few setup options value not less than having a play with.
For occasion, when you’re watching HDR content material that accommodates a number of excessive distinction, attempt turning the Adaptive Backlight to Medium moderately than High. This marginally reduces black-level depth, but additionally reduces backlight ‘blooming’ round brilliant objects.

You may also wish to flip off the Film mode movement function, and experiment with all of Sony’s separate Motionflow settings.

Personally I believed the default Standard Motionflow setting labored very effectively. But when you don’t thoughts shedding 100 nits or so of brightness, you can even get enjoyably clear judder-reducing outcomes by selecting the Custom setting and setting ‘Cleanness’ to 1 and ‘Smoothness’ to 2.

The solely Motionflow setting to keep away from is Clear, as this makes the image too darkish – not less than for convincing HDR.

One different setting level to contemplate is that every one image presets apart from True Cinema apply automated HDR up-conversion to standard-dynamic-range sources.

Sony KD-65XF9005 – Features

The 65XF9005 makes use of direct backlighting, the place the LEDs sit immediately behind the display screen. Separate zones of those lights can output completely different gentle ranges concurrently, for enhanced distinction. This instantly offers the set a major benefit over virtually all mid-range rivals, which have a tendency to make use of much less exact edge LED lighting.

The XE9005 vary took the identical direct lighting method, however Sony claims that the XF9005 fashions have extra individually controllable dimming zones. This ought to result in diminished backlight clouding round brilliant objects.

The 65XF9005 can be brighter than its 2017 predecessor. I measured peak brightness from a 10% white HDR ‘window’ at round 1000 nits – 200 nits greater than the XE9005 sequence. This is a large enough distinction to probably rework HDR playback.
The 65XF9005 deploys Sony’s premium X1 Extreme processor moderately than the usual X1 system used within the XE9005 vary. The X1 Extreme chip is allegedly 40% extra highly effective than the older X1, and introduces 4 key enhancements.

First, it helps Dolby Vision HDR. Or moderately, it can help HDR when Sony lastly rolls out the mandatory firmware replace. The US launch of this DV firmware prompted a couple of points that Sony needs to iron out earlier than releasing it right here. Until that course of is full, the 65XF9005’s HDR playback covers the HDR10 and broadcast-friendly HLG codecs.

The X1 Extreme processor additionally carries a singular dual-database system for enhanced 4K upscaling of non-4K sources. Plus there’s a Super Bit Mapping system for tackling the color striping difficulty that may have an effect on many rival HDR TVs.

Finally, the X1 Extreme processor is chargeable for Sony’s spectacular SDR-to-HDR up-conversion.

Sony has launched one all-new image function for the XF9005 sequence: X-Motion Clarity. This is designed to allow you to use acclaimed black body insertion expertise to enhance movement copy with out the standard accompanying discount in brightness. It works through the use of the TVs’ direct LED backlight and native gentle controls to spice up brilliant image areas, compensating for the brightness misplaced by inserting black frames.

As I discussed briefly earlier, the Sony 65XF9005 relies on Google’s Android TV system for many of its sensible options. This, for me, is just not an excellent factor. The Android interface is cluttered and just about unattainable to customize. It makes little effort to prioritise content material most individuals actually wish to watch on a TV, both. Nor is it as subtle as most fashionable sensible methods at making suggestions based mostly in your viewing habits.
It’s runs barely sluggishly on the 65XF9005 too, and this sluggishness extends to the TV’s setup menus.

Using Android TV does not less than provide you with built-in Chromecast help, I suppose. Also, Sony intends to replace the present Android 7 system to the supposedly much-improved Android eight when it’s obtainable. Fingers crossed that makes issues higher.

The 65XF9005’s connections are as you’d anticipate for its cash. Four HDMIs and three USBs paved the way, with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi readily available for community connectivity. The HDMIs are v2.zero fashions; we seemingly gained’t see TVs with the most recent v2.1 specification till 2019.

Sony KD-65XF9005 – Performance

In most methods the 65XF9005 delivers a considerable step up in image high quality over its already robust predecessor.

For starters, the set’s further 200 nits of brightness helps it ship HDR with way more dynamism and impression. Bright highlights of HDR photographs – reflections on metallic, direct daylight, gleaming eyes, automobile headlights and so forth – have way more of that stand-out punch we’ve come to anticipate from the HDR format.

The 65XF9005’s further native brightness means there’s extra element within the brightest HDR areas too. As Peter arrives in a dazzlingly brilliant Neverland in Pan, for example, you may clearly distinguish the glowing ball of a solar subsequent to a floating island, moderately than simply the final washed-out glow that much less spectacular HDR TVs present.
Using the X1 Extreme chipset is likely to be contributing to the diminished clipping of element in peak brilliant areas too, by offering improved HDR tone mapping (the method of adapting supply photographs mastered to a better stage of brightness than a display screen can natively handle to one thing it might probably really present).

It’s not simply brightness peaks that look extra convincing on the 65XF9005 than they did on the XE9005 fashions, although. The display screen may also cope higher with increased ‘baseline’ HDR brightness ranges, similar to these seen throughout daylight sequences on the Planet Earth II 4K Blu-ray. This makes brilliant HDR scenes, particularly exteriors, look way more pure and lifelike. Exactly as they need to with HDR.

The 65XF9005’s further brightness and enhanced processing additionally transforms its color efficiency. Colours from 4K Blu-rays look considerably extra vibrant, but additionally richer in tonal subtleties. This helps footage look extra three-dimensional, stable and genuine, too.

The brightest and darkest colors within the picture all look extra genuine and balanced than they did on the XE9005 sequence. This once more is right down to a mix of the X1 Extreme’s enhanced video processing and the best way the additional brightness unlocks extra of HDR’s native color quantity potential.
Backing up the Sony 65XF9005’s wonderful color efficiency is a few really excellent 4K readability. You’re jaw-droppingly conscious of the distinction all these pixels could make to an image’s sharpness, element and depth. Especially as there’s no trace of noise or color bleed to cut back the excellent texture and readability.

The stellar ‘4Kness’ of the image can be enhanced by the 65XF9005’s superlative motion-handling. The new X-Motion Clarity system is a revelation, lowering judder and blur with out producing distracting unwanted effects, or leaving the picture wanting unnaturally easy. And sure, except for the ‘Clear’ Motionflow setting, black body insertion’s advantages are certainly delivered with out closely compromising brightness.

The Sony 65XF9005 continues to outperform the mid-range competitors with its playback of non-4K, non-HDR content material. The X1 Extreme’s twin database upscaling engine provides thousands and thousands of pixels to HD sources with virtually bewildering accuracy and believability. It additionally identifies and takes out supply noise as if it was as straightforward as choosing bricks out of sand.

Maybe much more exceptional is the X1 Extreme processor’s conversion of SDR sources to HDR. Other TV manufacturers provide SDR-to-HDR conversion too, however none can match the persistently genuine colors and remarkably pure gentle ranges Sony’s conversion system delivers.

If you’d moderately watch SDR photographs of their native type, that’s potential by way of the True Cinema preset. And the outcomes nonetheless look beautiful. Maybe even higher in relation to backlight uniformity in darkish scenes. Overall, although, whereas purists might disagree with me, I feel the HDR up-conversion is simply too good to withstand.
The last key side of image high quality to cowl is the 65XF9005’s distinction efficiency. This key image high quality factor is commonly my first port of name, however I’ve left it to the tip right here as a result of it’s a bit difficult.

For nearly all of your viewing time the 65XF9005’s distinction efficiency is excellent. Its direct lighting and native dimming ship a splendidly punchy HDR mixture of a few of the deepest black ranges I’ve seen on an LCD TV, and actually intense brilliant whites and colors.

It’s a pleasure to expertise such excessive distinction with out having to fret in regards to the distracting bars of sunshine air pollution working proper down or throughout the display screen round stand-out objects that you just get with edge-lit LCD TVs.

Sony’s light-management is sweet sufficient, too, to make sure that even the darkest image areas nonetheless include element. They rarely look hollowed out or distractingly greyed over.

‘Hardly ever’, although, isn’t fairly the identical as ‘by no means’. Even the direct-lit 65XF9005 isn’t completely resistant to backlight clouding points.

Often when a really brilliant HDR object seems in opposition to a really darkish backdrop – particularly if that brilliant object is kind of small – undesirable gentle ‘blooms’ might be seen spreading across the brilliant object for as a lot as a few inches. This means that whereas the 65XF9005 might have extra dimming zones than its predecessor, there nonetheless aren’t all that lots of them in contrast with the very best high-end direct-lit TVs.
You ought to take notice, too, that the impression of the blooming turns into considerably worse if it’s a must to watch the TV from a lot of an angle. Either vertical or horizontal.

Before anybody will get too deflated by any of this, nevertheless, it’s value reflecting that the kind of excessive picture content material that exposes the 65XF9005’s backlight shortcomings is fairly uncommon.

Also, for the overwhelming majority of the time, even when the clouding seems, it’s adequately subtle to go by kind of unnoticed. Especially when you hold a little bit gentle in your room moderately than watching in full darkness.

If you’re pondering the 65XF9005 is likely to be an superior gaming monitor, in most methods you’d be proper. Its formidable color, distinction and detailing ship spectacularly impactful gaming graphics. The solely difficulty is that enter lag is barely increased than I’d like, coming it at round 38ms on common when utilizing the Game preset.

Apart from its A1 OLED, Sony hasn’t impressed a lot with its TV sound high quality of late. The 65XF9005, although, is a nice step in the best route. It doesn’t have sufficient bass to be actually excellent, nevertheless it does ship a large, well-controlled, clear sound stage. This is backed up by an unexpectedly potent and expansive mid-range, inside which voices sound clear and convincing.

There’s a number of element within the combine too – and this solely very often sounds even barely harsh.

Why purchase a Sony KD-65XF9005?

It’s at all times difficult to solid judgment on the primary TVs we see in any given yr, as there’s little or no context.

In the 65XF9005’s case, although, regardless that it’s the very first 2018 mannequin to come back our means, its uncommon mixture of a direct lighting array, native dimming and Sony’s X1 Extreme processing make me assured that it’s going to nonetheless be an actual contender by the point the Christmas gross sales come round.

In phrases of competitors, we’re taking a look at 2017 fashions proper now. One can be Sony’s own 65ZD9. This makes use of an unprecedented variety of dimming zones to ship the very best distinction we’ve seen from an LCD TV so far. It’s fantastically brilliant and vibrant with HDR footage, too. It launched at £4000, however now you can get it for £2700.

Another possibility can be the Samsung 65Q7F. This massively brilliant, sharp, colour-rich set carries a proprietary display screen filter that makes it unprecedentedly enjoyable to observe in brilliant rooms. If you’re keen on dark-room film nights, although, you might discover its black ranges wanting.

If you may sacrifice 10 inches of display screen measurement, one different different can be a 55-inch LG OLED TV. The LG OLED55B7V is now broadly obtainable for simply £1800.

Verdict

Even the 65XF9005’s direct lighting and native dimming can’t ship good HDR footage – however the place it struggles, equally priced 65-inch rivals wrestle extra. And when it isn’t struggling, it seems to be so beautiful that you just’d swear you have been watching a high-end TV, not a mid-range one.

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