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Review: Sony KD-55XH9505 (XH95 series) LCD LED TV

Review: Sony KD-55XH9505 (XH95 series) LCD LED TV
5 - 1 review

Sony has provided the XG95 from 2019 with a number of small improvements in terms of audio and ease of use, but has changed little or nothing about the device, except for a new design. We are reviewing the 55 inch KD-55XH9505 (XH95 series).

Sony KD-55XH9505 – specifications

  • What: Ultra HD LCD TV, Full Array Local Dimming (6 x 9 segments)
    Screen size: 55 inch (139 cm), flat
  • Connections: 4x HDMI (1x eARC, 4x v2.0), 1x composite video, 1x stereo minijack, 1x optical digital out, 2x USB (1x 3.0), 1x headphones, 3x antenna, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Extras: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, Android TV (9.0 Pie), Chromecast, Airplay 2, USB / DLNA media player, DVB-T2 / C / S2, CI + lock, voice control, X1 Ultimate 4K HDR processor
  • Dimensions: 1,230 x 779 x 310 mm (incl. Foot)
  • Weight: 18.1 kg (incl. Foot)
  • Consumption: 166/0, 5 watt (Energy Label B)
  • List price: 1,700 euros

A complete overview of all Sony 2020 models with their specifications can be found in the Sony 2020 LCD LED TV line-up . All other line-ups for 2020 can be found here .

Sony KD-55XH9505 – Design

The new “Immersive Edge” design from Sony has a thin, brushed metal edge around the screen. In profile it is about 12 mm wide, but when viewed from the front it is barely 2 mm wide and therefore hardly visible. A black border underlines the image and gives the Sony logo a place.

The device has a slightly thicker profile (70 mm), as is usual with a model with Full Array backlight but the beveled edges of the back makes the device look slimmer. The back is also beautifully finished.

The feet can be attached to the device in two ways. Either all the way to the left and right, or you switch them and in that case they are each about 20 cm from the side. The feet are very narrow, but very deep so that they provide a stable base. We are slightly less satisfied with the attachment to the device, which allows the screen to wobble a bit. Cable management is not really provided, but as a minimal solution Sony provides two clips that you can attach to the back of the feet to route cables through.

Sony KD-55XH9505 – Connections

All connections are on the side and remain so easily accessible when wall mounted. The device has four HDMI connections, all ready for Ultra HD HDR. If you want the best quality for your external HDR sources, choose the “Improved setting” in the settings (Settings / Watching TV / External Inputs / HDMI Signal format). Unfortunately, Sony still offers very few HDMI 2.1 features. The device is only equipped with eARC extended Audio Return Channel, but that's it. Even support for gamer features such as ALLM or VRR is missing.

Compared to last year you get two USB connections instead of three. Those who listen with a headphone can use it both wired and wireless via Bluetooth.

Sony KD-55XH9505 – Ease of use and smart TV

The KD-55XH9505 (XH95 series) uses the exact same hardware platform as the XG95 from last year. The MediaTek MT5893 chipset has a quad-core ARM Cortex-A73 CPU with 2.5 GB RAM, Mali-G71 GPU and 16GB internal storage. That chipset ensures a very smooth operation. The device uses Android 9 (Pie). If you are looking for a handy overview of the possibilities of Android, you can temporarily visit our Android 8 (Oreo) overview article . We are working as soon as possible on a new version for Android 9.

Last year, Sony gave its menus a major upgrade that greatly improves the ease of use. Entries now appear in a ribbon at the bottom of the screen, and you can hide, add, or even add apps yourself. The “Inputs” key thus becomes a handy quickstart bar.

The menu key (gear wheel) still invokes a “Quick settings” bar at the bottom of the screen that you can customize just like the inputs. This year, the entire menu for image and sound was redesigned.

The settings are still organized in categories such as “Brightness” or “Motion”, but the settings will now expand when you click on them. We find that just a little less clear. A good improvement is the addition of an image and some explanatory text to each setting.

Remote control

The remote control is identical to last year's, with a small upgrade. The keys are now illuminated. Sony has tackled that very cleverly. The lighting switches on automatically as soon as you pick up the remote and only when there is little light. If you put the remote down, the lighting will switch off after a few seconds, so that it does not cause unnecessary battery consumption. The lighting is soft but sufficiently clear. Of course, only the smaller keys, which have the inscription on the remote control and not on the key itself, remain difficult to read. There are only a few, and they are also less important with the exception of the mute button.

Nothing has changed and we remain very satisfied with this remote control that is good in the hand. The buttons are easy to press and the layout is well organized. All essential functions are within reach of your thumb.

Inputs, microphone, settings, back key, TV, and Home are neatly arranged around the d-pad. There are direct buttons for Netflix and Google Play. We find only the playback buttons at the bottom a bit too small. The remote works with IR, but also via Bluetooth, so you don't have to aim. Only the power button always works via IR.

Functions

The KD-55XH9505 is equipped with a double TV tuner for digital TV (DVB-T2 / C / S2) but only has one CI + slot. Watching and simultaneously recording another channel is therefore only possible with channels that are not encrypted. In addition to Chromecast, you can also use Apple Airplay 2. The TV is also compatible with Apple Homekit. Sony has provided an excellent media player that knows all the important video and sound formats.

Sony KD-55XH9505 – Image processing

The KD-55XH9505 (XH95 series) is equipped with Sony's top processor, the X1 Ultimate. The image processing therefore delivers almost identical results as last year. The processor quickly and reliably detects all movie and video frame rates, making combing effects, jagged edges or moire very rare. Noise reduction (“Random Noise” and “Digital Noise Reduction”) is best left in the “low” position. They do their job well without loss of detail. For some extra sharpness you can optionally activate “Reality Creation” with the maximum setting 40. For Ultra HD, we do not recommend Reality Creation, which can cause problems in fine detail. Sony's strongest asset is “Smooth Gradation”. With these settings you reduce annoying color bands in soft color transitions. The 'low' setting is fine, 'middle' is an option if you find a slightly softer image with minimal loss of detail ok.

X-Motion Clarity combines the local dimming options of the backlight with ' black frame insertion ' (BFI) to realize sharper movement detail without dimming the image too brightly. The “MotionFlow” “Auto” mode delivers good results, although we see that current texts (such as news channels) continue to shake somewhat. The finest detail can be seen in the 'User' setting with 'Brightness' on 1. For 'Smoothness' you have to choose a compromise, 3 gives smooth images but causes too many artifacts, '2' does not eliminate all shocks in fast pan images , but causes few artifacts.

Main settings

In our article about professional calibration of a TV you can read all about the possibilities to achieve the best picture settings with a professional. If you want to get started yourself, read our home cinema information guide . Here's an explanation of the main picture settings and tips for setting up your TV.

Picture Control Picture Color Sharpness / Motion
Wide Mode: Auto
4/3 Default: Normal
Auto Display Environment: On
Image Range: +1
Image Mode: User
Auto Image Mode: Off
Light Sensor: On Brightness: 35
Contrast: 90
Gamma : -2
Black Level: 50
Adjust Black: Off
Adv. Contrast Optimization: Off
Auto Local Dimming: Mid
X-tended Dynamic Range: Off
Color: 50
Color Tone: 0
Color Temperature: Expert 1
Live Color: Off [19659054] Sharpness: 50
Reality Creation: Auto
Reduce Random Noise: Low
Reduce Digital Noise: Low
Smooth Gradation: Low MotionFlow: Auto, or Smoothness 2, Brightness 1.
Movie Mode: Auto

Sony KD-55XH9505 – Image Quality

The KD-55XH9505 (XH95 series) is equipped with a Full Array backlight with local dimming. However, the number of zones is quite limited, we counted 6 x 9. The vertical number turned out to be very difficult to count, 8 or 10 also seemed possible. The VA panel is equipped with the X-Wide Angle film.

The VA panel has its own ANSI contrast of 2800: 1. That is very good, even though the presence of the viewing angle filter makes it slightly less than a typical VA panel. With local dimming activated, the ANSI contrast increases to 2,900: 1, but we can achieve up to 30,000: 1 in other tes patterns. A very good result, but are those about 50 zones sufficient in practice?

In very extreme cases such as the HDR image below, you can still form some parts of the backlight (photo slightly overexposed, less visible in practice). But it has to be said, Sony has an excellent dimming algorithm that hides the segment boundaries very well, but does not dim light accents unnecessarily.

Also keep in mind that the screen produces a lot of light, also in SDR . If you look at blackout, the backlight (“Brightness” in the settings) can safely go to 10-15, or you can activate the light sensor. Your contrast ratio remains, but the low brightness makes the small dimming artifacts much less visible. Performance is excellent in a well-lit living room.

The “User” mode provides the best calibration. The image is very clear, the “User” mode fluctuates around 450 nits. You can achieve a maximum of 570 nits, regardless of the size of the test pattern. We therefore recommend leaving the light sensor on. The gray scale is slightly too cool (very light blue overtone). The screen shows all black detail very well, and has an excellent color reproduction, with excellent skin colors. Combined with the good contrast, the images are very attractive. If you really look predominantly in a lot of light, consider the Cinema preset.

Sony KD-55XH9505 – HDR

This Sony supports HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG. Again, the results are very similar to the XG95. The peak luminance is at 1,139 nits (10% window) and on a completely white window at 682 nits. This means that this TV can show all HDR light accents.

Somewhat annoying is that you cannot immediately see whether you are in HDR mode. For that you have to go all the way to the settings menu, the picture mode in the quick settings bar just says “User”. In the “User” image mode we see a very good calibration, with the EOTF being followed perfectly. The Sony also neatly shows all black detail, but can hide some white detail. The device does not seem to take the metadata into account and seems to tone folders to a maximum of about 1500 nits.

However, much seems to depend on the image, in some images we see a little more white detail . In practice, the loss of white detail seems to be limited, unless you actually have images that contain a lot of info above 2000 nits. With a color range of 91% DCI-P3 and 67% Rec. 2020, it is also very well equipped in this area. That wide color reproduction fine brightness curve makes HDR images very impressive.

Sony KD-55XH9505 – Gaming, Reflections and viewing angles

Where you had to choose at least a 75 inch model on the XG95 to get the X-Wide Angle technology , Sony has chosen to equip the XH95 from 55 inches with this technology. The film has a limited impact on contrast, but provides a significantly better viewing angle. It is therefore not necessary to sit directly in front of the screen, as with typical VA panels. With dark HDR images that have intense light accents, you can see some of the backlight, although it is not too bad.

The TV spreads reflections in the horizontal direction, but does not seem to amplify them excessively. . Some attention for placement remains required. In regular image modes, we measure a lag of 104.7 ms, which is too much for decent gaming. In game mode, the lag drops to 22.4 ms. An excellent result.

Sony KD-55XH9505 – Sound quality

Just like the XG95, this model is equipped with “Acoustic Multi Audio”. In addition, two tweeters on the side of the device ensure that the sound seems to come out of the screen more, and the sound gets a slightly stronger surround character.

And this is the main upgrade. of the KD-55XH9505 (XH95 series) compared to last year. The side tweeters were shifted even more to the edge of the device, and the tweeters and speakers at the bottom each received their own amplifier. The drivers at the bottom have a new shape, “X-balanced”, which provides more volume and richer bass. And finally, Sony also built in a calibration so that the TV takes into account the room acoustics.

That extra power (2 × 10 and 2 × 5 Watt) and the more powerful drivers can be felt very quickly. The sound is fine, with a good portion of bass, a wide sound field and clear, clear dialogues. The calibration is carried out in a few seconds and gives the sound an extra boost. Pay attention with the settings, for example Sony activates surround in the music preset and you may not want that. You can turn it off.

Review equipment

For the lag measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements, we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. To analyze any HDR problems we use an HDFury Vertex. More info about our measuring equipment can be found here .

Sony KD-55XH9505 – Conclusion

Those who choose the XH95 series will get better sound compared to the XG95 and the X-Wide Angle film (at 55 inches and above). Less important, but fine improvements are the illuminated remote and the even improved user interface. It is disappointing that Sony hardly offers HDMI 2.1 features (which are reserved for the XH90). For the company behind the PlayStation, and with the PS5 around the corner, we find that incomprehensible.

In terms of image quality, the XH95 seems to us to be perfectly compared to the XG95. The VA panel combined with local dimming provides a strong contrast. The number of dimming zones remains limited, so you can see it at work in extreme examples. But Sony controls the zones very well so that they give a significant boost to the contrast, without any obvious disadvantages. Especially when you look in a more typical living room environment, even with relatively little ambient light, the performance is strong. Also for HDR, the XH95 is well equipped with high peak luminance and wide color range. The Android 9 user experience is very good. The interface works smoothly and is useful. The illuminated remote is a nice extra.

The KD-55XH9505 (XH95 series) with its price is just between the Samsung Q80T and Q90T and seems to us correctly priced. The Q80T is the best comparison, it is a bit cheaper, but it has to do without a wide viewing angle. The Q90T offers slightly more zones but is slightly more expensive. Also keep an eye on the XG95, last year's model is strongly on offer, and is a very good option if the novelties do not seem so important to you.

Negatives

  • Limited number of dimming zones
  • Minimum loss of white detail in HDR
  • Except eARC, no HDMI 2.1 features
  • No HDR10 +

Pros

  • Image processing
  • Excellent contrast
  • Good viewing angle
  • Very good sharpness of motion
  • Great user experience (Android 9 and remote)

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