Sony KD-49XF9005 £1049
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