It may seem like yet another 4K LED TV, but the Sony 55XE9005 hides a very interesting surprise for users under the hood . This model from the Japanese brand is one of the few (if not the only one) in its price range that offers Direct LED backlighting with local dimming. This gives you a more impressive and defined HDR image. And this, ladies and gentlemen, makes the difference compared to its rivals in the upper-middle range.
To this system we add the Sony TRILUMINOS screen, a beautiful design and the Android TV operating system. Sounds good right? Although it is a 2017 model, we wanted to thoroughly test the Sony 55XE9005 television to tell you what we thought . And it is that there are many who have named this TV as the best mid-high-end LED TV of the past year. Will it be up to the task?
Sony 55XE9005 datasheet
|Resolution and technology||4K UHD, 4K X-Reality PRO, TRILUMINOS Display, 4K HDR Super Bit Mapping, Live Color Technology, X-tended Dynamic Range PRO, Motionflow XR 1000 Hz|
|Panel type||Direct LED backlit LCD with Local Dimming|
|Processor||4K HDR Processor X1|
|Dimensions||122.8 x 77.2 x 25.9 cm (with stand)|
|Weight||18.1 kg (with stand)|
|Support||Slate shape in silver|
|Operating system||Android TV|
|Apps||Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video, all from Google, Play Store, Kodi, Plex|
|Sound||10W + 10W, Bass Reflex Speaker, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse, DTS, ClearAudio +, S-Force Front Surround|
|Connections||4 HDMI HDCP2.2, 3 USB, digital audio out, headphone out, composite video input (component), DVB-T / T2, DVB-C, DVB-S / S2|
|Wireless connectivity||WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v4.1|
|Others||Chromecast built-in, voice search|
|Price||1,600 euros (official price)|
Direct LED backlight
Without a doubt, it is the star feature of this television. The image quality of the Sony 55XE9005 does not disappoint. The Direct LED backlighting system achieves much higher black levels than any TV with Edge LED lighting .
Although Sony has not revealed how many independent lighting zones this TV has, we can assure you that the uniformity is really good . We have not detected the annoying light leaks that we see in other televisions in this range. Even on higher models.
1080p Blu-Ray image
To control the lighting system, the Sony 55XE9005 features X-TENDED DYNAMIC RANGE PRO . This achieves an excellent contrast ratio, according to the manufacturer, 5 times higher than that of a conventional LED TV.
The panel has a 4K UHD resolution and is 100Hz native . This, together with the Motionflow XR system , helps with movement management. Even in the fastest scenes we haven't had any weird artifact issues.
4K image from Netflix
All of this is controlled by the 4K HDR Processor X1 . This includes Object-based HDR remaster and Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR technology. Both have been inherited from high-end models, such as the Sony ZD9. So its implementation is noticeable in image quality.
The performance with HDR images is also really good. Perhaps some users miss a bit more brightness in these types of images. However, Sony always tends to offer an image as close to reality as possible. Still, it shows rich and vivid colors . To achieve this, the Sony 55XE9005 equips Triluminos technology .
4K HDR image from UHD Blu-Ray
In short, the Sony 55XE9005 offers superb image quality . Thanks to the FALD system, the uniformity of the panel is very good and the black level higher than that of almost all televisions in its price range.
Without a doubt, the great fault that this television has, we find it in the viewing angles . At an angle of just over 20 degrees the image begins to deteriorate. If we view the TV from the side, the blacks will appear gray and the colors faded. It is a fairly typical problem in VA panels, but one that we must take into account.
4K image from YouTube
The Sony 55XE9005 is HDR10 compliant, and in a future firmware update it will be HLG compliant . However, the manufacturer has decided not to include Dolby Vision in this model. This is reserved for high-end models, such as the Sony A1 OLED. Some exclusivity may have been sought. Or the processor may not be powerful enough to handle this system. We will be left with the doubt.
DTT HD image
As for DTT or SD sources, we have a very correct image . We have not seen any strange artifacts at any time, maintaining an above-average quality. And it is surprising, since in these cases it is the processor that has to do all the scaling work.
The screen is the protagonist
Sony assures that this television has been designed "so that you can concentrate on the image". And the truth is that they are right. Surrounding the panel we have a black frame of about 7 millimeters on its four sides. Joining the whole we have an aluminum frame with a slightly golden touch .
The base of the Sony 55XE9005 is very similar to those we have seen in other models of the company. It is a metal bracket , with the same color as the upper aluminum edge, slightly raised at the back.
It offers a brushed aluminum finish and connects to the TV with two legs that allow cable management . Not a system as clean and "invisible" as other models, but it allows to "remove" the cables in an orderly way.
The back is very simple. It is made up of metal and plastic panels, with a maximum thickness of 5.8 centimeters . Without being exaggerated, it is thicker than other models. It is a price to pay for having a Full Array lighting system.
Still, the build quality is good. On the other hand, the transformer used by the Sony 55XE9005 has caught our attention . It is large, something that can be inconvenient if we are going to hang the TV on the wall.
Android TV system
Sony continues to bet on Android TV as the operating system for its televisions. Perhaps it is a somewhat more complex system than that of other manufacturers, but at the same time it offers us many possibilities.
It has the most common applications, such as Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube, AtresPlayer or Movistar +. But also with others that we only see on televisions with this system, such as Kodi .
We will also have access to Google stores, applications to watch IPTV and even a magnificent integrated media player . The latter has surprised us quite a bit, since if we have a DLNA server it will even show us the covers of the movies.
To control the system a remote control is included without much mystery. It is covered with a rubber that can save us from being careless with liquids, but which attracts dust a lot . On the other hand, it has direct access buttons to Netflix and Amazon Video.
The sound section does not stand out in the Sony 55XE9005. It offers acceptable performance for watching television , but we will need an external equipment to enjoy it to the fullest.
It is equipped with two Bass Reflex speakers of 10W each . To process the sound, the ClearAudio + system is included, in addition to having S-Force Front Surround to simulate a surround effect.
The TV supports Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse and DTS formats .
Today most of us have several devices that are connected to the television. From a Blu-Ray player to a game console. So it is better to have ports and connections to spare.
The Sony 55XE9005 equips four HDMI ports with HDCP 2.2 . Three of these ports are located on the side, and the fourth is on the back. Only the HDMI inputs 2 and 3 are capable of displaying 4K at 60 Hz with 4: 2: 2 or 4: 4: 4 color. Also, to achieve this, we will have to enable a special option located in the TV menu. 4: 4: 4 color is supported in both game mode and graphics mode.
Located in a lateral position we also have three USB ports, an Ethernet input, the headphone jack and the satellite and DTT tuners . On the back we have the composite video connections and the optical digital audio output.
At the wireless level, the Sony 55XE9005 includes 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth v.4.1 .
Conclusions and price
The Sony 55XE9005 is one of the most complete televisions that we can find in this price range . Its Direct LED backlighting system with local dimming achieves excellent image quality, superior to most of its similarly priced rivals.
Also, the powerful processor does a great job of scaling the content with lower resolution. All this together with the Android operating system which, although it may be somewhat complicated for novice users, is quite complete.
That said, and waiting to see what it has done this year, we can consider the Sony 55XE9005 as one of the best televisions that we have tested in the upper-middle range . Its official price in 55 inches is 1,400 euros , but it can be easily found on the Internet for a price between 1,100 and 1,200 euros.