Sony KD-49XF9005 £1049

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Awards 2018 -

For a prod­uct as mod­ern as a 4K HDR tele­vi­sion, the Sony KD-49XF9005 has a strong legacy. It’s the se­quel to last year’s Award-win­ning KD-49XE9005 and the smaller si­b­ling of the KD-65XF9005, which also takes an Award this year.

This Sony jus­ti­fies a price tag more than dou­ble that of the Philips with premium fea­tures, in­clud­ing Sony’s for­mer top-of-the-range X1 Ex­treme pro­ces­sor and, more cru­cially, a di­rect LED back­light with zonal dim­ming.

When im­ple­mented prop­erly, as it is here, the ben­e­fit of such a back­light is ex­tended con­trast and, sure enough, the XF9005 de­liv­ers a daz­zling com­bi­na­tion of deep blacks and bright whites and colours. Play Guardians Of The Gal­axy

Vol.2 on 4K Blu-ray and the golden Anu­lax bat­ter­ies look truly alien in the way they shine against the pitch black­ness of space. The re­flected light on Star­lord’s face is nat­u­ral, with nu­ance be­tween the left and right sides.

Colours are fan­tas­tic all-round, too. As Ego and Mered­ith Quill drive through 1980s Mis­souri, the farm­land is rich and earthy, con­trast­ing nicely with the range of green hues of the grass and the bright – but not un­nat­u­rally vivid – blue sky. In a close-up, the streaks in Ego’s hair are warm and or­ganic, and there’s sub­tler lay­er­ing of colour in Quill’s blonde locks than there is from last year’s XE9005. The KD-49XF9005 is more de­tailed than its pre­de­ces­sor, too – Star­lord’s mous­tache is thicker and bushier than when viewed on the older set. While HDR con­tent shows the XF9005 at its best, it’s a se­ri­ous all-rounder that makes the most of what­ever you watch. NON-HDR con­tent ben­e­fits from Sony’s nat­u­ral colour bal­ance, 1080p is sharp and de­tailed, and stan­dard-def is im­pres­sively clean. Mo­tion is sharp­ened and smoothed with­out the ad­di­tion of the dreaded soap opera ef­fect.

The TV’S de­sign is fairly sub­tle and so­phis­ti­cated, and while we’re not overly enamoured with the splayed feet, it does leave enough space for a sound­bar. Not that the XF9005 sounds bad – au­dio is clear and dy­namic – but a ded­i­cated sound sys­tem will sound bet­ter.

The An­droid TV op­er­at­ing sys­tem comes with a whole load of apps, from Net­flix and Ama­zon in 4K HDR, to Google Play Movies & TV and BBC iplayer. It adds up to an all-rounder of a telly that does ev­ery­thing bril­liantly. If you’re look­ing for the best TV around 50in avail­able right now, this is it.

This is a su­perb all-round TV that does ev­ery­thing and does it well

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