Sony KD-43XF8505

FOR Lovely, vi­brant but nat­u­ral colours; de­tail; SD up­scal­ing AGAINST Strug­gles to pro­duce any­thing ap­proach­ing black

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

As man­u­fac­tur­ers con­tinue to push pun­ters into su­per-siz­ing their lounge TVS, smaller mod­els have been some­what ne­glected. We’re not even talk­ing about gen­uinely small TVS here. De­pend­ing on the man­u­fac­turer, get­ting flag­ship tech and fea­tures means buy­ing at least a 49in or 55in model – and for some peo­ple that’s sim­ply too big.

With Sony, if 43in is your limit the most ad­vanced model you can buy is the KD-43XF8505, which boasts fea­tures from the 49in-plus XF9005 but ditches the lo­cal-dim­ming, di­rect-led back­light in favour of LED back­light­ing from the edges.

This turns out to be a poor de­ci­sion, be­cause, while the XF8505 is in some ways one of the best TVS in its class, its back­light badly lets the side down.

It's a hand­some set. It shares the splayed stance of the XF9005 but the arched feet make it look less awk­ward. It's no su­per-slim OLED, but at 5.8cm it’s lean enough and looks neat when wall-mounted.

Con­nec­tions and apps

Around the back, you’ll find four HDMI in­puts, two of which can han­dle 4K HDR sig­nals (HDR10 and HLG are sup­ported), three USB sock­ets, eth­er­net, aerial and satel­lite (but not Freesat) con­nec­tions.

Google’s An­droid TV brings with it a com­pre­hen­sive se­lec­tion of apps, in­clud­ing Net­flix and Ama­zon Video (in 4K and HDR), Google Play Movies and TV (in 4K), Spo­tify, Rakuten, Plex, VLC, BBC iplayer and My5.

An­droid is gen­er­ally get­ting bet­ter with each up­date, but the XF8505 suf­fers quite badly with stut­ter and lag. This can be a bit ir­ri­tat­ing, with jerk­i­ness through menus and long pauses in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions.

Kick­ing off with cur­rent test favourite Guardians Of The Gal­axy Vol.2 on 4K Blu-ray, there’s a fair bit about the Sony’s per­for­mance that’s pleas­ing. For a start, colours are rather lovely. There’s a rich­ness and vi­brancy that’s re­ally en­tic­ing with­out be­ing over­done: whites are pure, skin tones are nat­u­ral and sub­tle shades abound.

De­tail lev­els are high, too, and while the image isn’t quite as sharp as that of last year’s Award-win­ning Sam­sung UE40MU6400, it’s nicely de­fined in its own right. Mo­tion pro­cess­ing, though not per­fect, is also a step up from most TV'S this size.

It’s also a bright image – much more so than its ri­vals at this size – and that would make it a per­fect foil for an HDR movie such as this, were it not for the fact that the set is com­pletely in­ca­pable of pro­duc­ing any­thing even ap­proach­ing black to act as a con­trast.

Essen­tially, if there’s any­thing even a lit­tle bright on the screen, the back­light makes ev­ery­thing else grey. Any image that com­bines light and dark el­e­ments is left look­ing hazy – and that’s a big prob­lem for a film with so much space-based ac­tion.

Dif­fer­ent film, same story

It’s also a prob­lem when we drop down to the 1080p Blu-ray of Lo­gan; the scenes in­side Wolver­ine’s near-win­dow­less hide­away are the wrong kind of gloomy.

We drop an­other level of res­o­lu­tion and the Sony is sur­pris­ingly im­pres­sive. The is­sue of black depth re­mains, but our Dirty Harry DVD and stan­dard-def con­tent via the Free­view tuner are oth­er­wise sharper and more de­tailed than on ri­val sets.

The Stan­dard mode’s de­fault set­tings are pretty much as good as the XF8505 gets. We switch off the noise re­duc­tion op­tions, but no amount of ex­per­i­ment­ing pro­duces the blacks we are look­ing for with­out drop­ping bright­ness to unac­cept­able lev­els.

The Sony's sound, though thin, is at least clear and more spa­cious than av­er­age.

There’s a lot to like about the KD43XF8505 – in many ways this is a five-star set – but some prob­lems are so big that they cost a prod­uct not one, but two stars, and that’s the case with the back­light­ing of this Sony. We’d ex­pect bet­ter from a TV cost­ing £400, let alone one with a £700 price tag.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.