Sony KD-55XD93 review: a high-flying Smart TV powered by Android TV

It is one of the best Sony TVs to date, or at least that promises its characteristics and in Xataka we have tested a unit hoping that all the promises hidden among its impressive numbers would come true when it comes to checking all its bonanzas. We are talking about the Sony KD-55XD93 and we are going to see how this performance test has gone.

And is that talking about the Sony KD-55XD93 is doing it in terms of television premiumWell, not in vain we are facing one of the best models of the Japanese manufacturer. For this, it has not hesitated to "put in" the best technologies so that among its features it shows a large 55-inch 4K HDR screen, an X1 processor, the most powerful of Soy and of course ... the functions that being an Android TV gives you So without further ado, let's proceed with the analysis.

Specifications to be among the best

Before continuing with the test, we believe that it may be interesting to know what the specifications of this model are to know in advance what we are going to face:

Sony KD-55XD93

characteristics

Panel

55-inch UHD LED (3,840 x 2,160 pixels)

Tuner

DVB-T, DVB-T2, DVB-S, DVB-S2, DVB-C

Sound system

Dolby Digital Plus sound, 4 x 7.5W. S-Force Front Surround

Connectivity

4 HDMI ports, 2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, optical digital sound output and Wi-Fi AC

Dimensions

76.9 x 123.9 x 26.1 cm

Base weight

24.9 kg

Price

2,209 euros

Design thought to seduce at first sight

Once removed from the box, the Sony KD-55XD93 requires a few small assembly tasks, both of its base and of the rear cover that serves to hide the details of the support and, in passing, to hide the wiring that may come out of the device, since be it the television antenna, various connections or the necessary power outlet.

We have placed it on a table at a height of one meter above the ground and the size of its 55-inch entrance, impresses. We come across a large diagonal, with profiles finished in black aluminum. We note however that the corners are not as well finished as they should be, at least for a television of this price.

Off offers an all-screen aspect, something that can make us think of some competing models, but a small Sony logo in the upper left part already hints that this will not be the case. The bezel exists and is not as small as might be expected, although the size is not exaggerated at all.

Altogether we are dealing with an extremely thin model of the Japanese manufacturer, which is accentuated by a silver metal strip located between the two black frames that surround the entire screen. In this way it offers a completely smooth appearance, only interrupted by the logo at the bottom which in turn accommodates the infrared sensor for the remote control. As a curiosity, the sensor that Sony has been using for a while now in its models is configurable, so that it can be adapted to the ambient light or it can be changed randomly.

The thinness translates into a thickness of only 11.75 millimeters with which we achieve that if we hang it, it offers a distance to the wall of only 36.7 millimeters. As a whole the Sony KD-55XD9305 has a weight of 24.9 Kg and measures of 123.9 x 71.7 x 3.6 centimeters.

At the rear we have a large number of connections that we will see later, which are covered by a plastic cover (the same material as the entire rear). In this way, only three HDMI inputs, a scart, the component socket and the television antenna are visible, along with the basic controls for volume, channel change, etc., reduced to a minimum.

What we must take into account is that this thinness, quite successful, hides a secret. Something that we have seen in other models is that the load transformer, generous in size but without being excessive, we are going to have it located outside, so we must look for a discreet location if we do not want it to damage the set.

Image quality on its impressive 4K screen

This Sony model has a panel with Triluminos technology, common in the brand's products and that shows the good work of the manufacturer on the screens. Whether on televisions or smartphones, Sony achieves an unbeatable image processing with it by improving the RGB treatment.

Also in this case Triluminos is combined, as we have already mentioned before, with a resolution that reaches 4K and the improvement offered by the HDR treatment. This achieves much sharper images with realistic contrasts and an even wider color gamut that brings colors closer to reality.

However, these colors are not appreciated, as well as the general quality, until we access a suitable content for it, (it is one of the workhorses of 4K). And it is that not with any film that we have at home we will perceive it.

This Sony television has a refresh rate of 1000 Hz and together with the use of the X1 processor, we can exploit the full potential offered by the panel. We have been able to verify it in 4K content with HDR support that we have been able to find on the network and in which we have perceived an exceptional level of detail with bright and realistic images.

We can say that, although it is not a perfect screen, in general it offers an outstanding balance that will make buyers who opt for this Sony model not feel disappointed. However, those who look for the functions and bonanzas of pure contrasts will see how the distance from Sony and the rest of the manufacturers with OLED panels is still important.

By default we find as usual, a flat configuration of the screen. Factory levels that we can model to our liking with presets (there are up to 12 modes). With the original level set, the quality is remarkable, but we found a certain tendency to bluish tones that may seem to detract from some image quality.

This means that with certain content it may be interesting to make use of other options and among the ones set in advance, "vivid photo" and "HDR video" were the ones we liked the most. They offer more vivid, vivid and colder colors, enhancing colors and image contrast in ways that make any content in contrast to "home theater" and "professional cinema" more attractive with warmer colors.

In addition Sony has improved its image menu, the one that allows us to play with the brightness, contrast and color within the image menu, improving the control that we had already seen in other models. Now this Sony model includes up to ten possible points to control the "gamma adjustment" with which we can achieve a good result if we raise the contrast to very high values.

And reached one of the strong points such as HDR, once we have found content with this feature we have tested the differences that it really offers. marketing or are the differences real? After testing content with and without HDR we hoped to find an important difference. More contrast, more vivid tones, a higher level of detail in shaded areas with very good levels of black for an LCD LED TV. In the end the difference is palpable, it is true, but perhaps not as much or at least it did not seem so.

The problem is also due to the little HDR content and quality that can be found.Netflix, to give an example, offers the second season Daredevil and Marco Polo in HDR, but in order to appreciate its benefits we must be aimed at the Ultra HD modality, something that is not possible at the moment outside the United States.

In addition we remind you, we do not get tired of doing it, that to exploit the full potential of this and other 4K models you must completely forget traditional TV, at least the one we enjoyed in Spain. And is that HD channels are not really, offering such poor quality that it will make you disown monsters like this ... and that only entering to value the quality of the image.

In the tests carried out with content in HD or Full HD in BluRay or via WEB we have noticed a remarkable quality, both in the scaling and in the reproduction of colors, offering a sharpness that we thought we would not find. A pleasant surprise.

However, where we have noticed a not so good quality is in the reproduction of content from sources with lower resolution, be they DVDs or DTT channels, with whose content scaling cannot work miracles. In this way they do not look sharp and precise to the point of offering an image as something blurred at times.

Quality sound, but without excelling

Usually at home I use a Home Cinema that although it is not premium (the pocket does not allow it) offers remarkable sound quality, something that I have perceived when using the Sony 55XD9305 and its built-in speakers. It is not that it does not offer quality, but if you can make use of a home theater system or a sound bar it can be an interesting complement.

However, the Sony 55XD93 has a good level in terms of sound, perceiving an increase in power compared to other models of the brand (compared to another 47-inch model at home, the difference is noticeable). The built-in speakers achieve almost zero distortion at high volumes and observing a not very easy distinction of the sound coming from dialogues when with noise of action or music is intermingled.

To solve it Sony has provided a complete menu to adjust the sound, with the classic presets to which we can add the game with the balance. But above all what we liked is the "voice zoom", focused on emphasizing the dialogues in those moments when they are lost in the background sound of the series or movie we are watching.

Having said all this, you do not want that if you have a sound bar this is a better one to enjoy a good home theater session or your favorite series comfortably, although its use is not strictly necessary.

Smart TV and content playback so you don't miss a thing

It is something that we perceive as soon as it is turned on with large letters that indicate it and that favor this new Sony 55XD93 to offer all the services already expected from an Android TV terminal, whether they are the inclusion of the application store (Google Play), or the other stores independently (Google Play Music, Google Play Movies ...) thus giving the Sony 55XD9305 an extra when it comes to viewing content. But it is that when facing a model with 4K resolution we will have to look with more emphasis to achieve consistent content, with YouTube or physical media being the most conducive channels to achieve it.

Regarding the Wi-FI connectivity that it includes, the Japanese manufacturer has done a good job, since both the connection process and the time it has been in use have not shown drops. We have tested streaming with a remote point at the origin of the television and compared with another model of the same brand a greater range is appreciated. The negative point is, as in other cases, the introduction of passwords, especially long ones, since the necessary steps are affected by the remote control, not so successful.

In general, the system moves freely, both loading and switching between menus is fluid and fast and we have only noticed problems with LAG or occasional crashes when connecting an external hard drive that, despite using a USB 3.0 connection, makes Note that 2 TB of information to load can cause a few seconds of tense wait.

Where Sony has improved, something in which it has not traditionally excelled, is in the direct reproduction of different video formats. Now the Japanese firm has taken a step forward allowing to play from MKV to MP4 or MOV so that if we connect an external storage unit through one of its three USB ports (includes a USB 3.0) we will be able to play content without problem, no matter how heavy it is.

We have talked about the full load of the hard disk, but the playback of movies is agile regardless of the format used and it does not matter if it is mkv, mp4, avi ... Also files with sizes that revolve around 14 GB load them without problem and no drop in bitrate during playback.

Needless to say on the other hand, that having a Gmail account is essential to take advantage of Android TV services. Among them we will even have games, all of them from the Google Play Store, which, yes, to be played require the remote control of the TV, an aspect in which companies, in this case Sony, must work hard. plus. The reason is that when it comes to not only playing, but navigating through the different options, setting up accounts, etc., the use of a Qwerty keyboard seems to be fundamental rather than using the remote control pad.

Along with Android we find the prominent presence natively of Netflix and its video channel in streamingSo much so that it offers direct input in the form of a dedicated button from the same remote control. And in the case of Netflix we are facing a fundamental service if we consider that it offers content in 4K and HDR, being only partially used by our model.

The Sony 55XD93 has an upgraded version of Sony's X1 video processing chip that includes new features designed to improve HDR and 3D playback (we couldn't test this since the unit under test did not offer compatible glasses).

Is Sony's proposal different from other models that we find in the market, without Android TV but with great image quality? Having support to download applications from Google Play is a step forward, but we believe that for now the market is not mature enough to take advantage of. And it is that if we think about it coldly, downloading a game makes little sense if we have to use the television remote control and make use of specific applications (Spotify, Netflix, Wuaki.TV ...) do not require Android TV mandatory.

The rest of the options, whether in the form of connections and content playback, can be found in other models from Sony itself and from the competition in a cheaper format that can be, we believe, interesting for a large number of users.

Accessories and remote control

We have discussed it before and we develop it now. The Sony 55XD93 has a remote control that has a finish that, in a way, although it simulates a touch similar to that of the skin, is still plastic that does not transmit the sensation of quality for a product of more than 2,000 euros.

In addition and unlike the classic Sony controls, this model has redesigned buttons that do not finish offering a good result in handling. The keypad is halfway between the button "of all life" and a touch surface, in some cases having to turn on the light to see which button we press or exert intense pressure so that it sends the instruction to the television.

In addition and as a positive point, the remote control has a direct access button to the microphone. Yes, a microphone, because the Sony KD-55XD93 has the ability to always be listening so that you can perform certain searches with your voice. In this way, if we want to search for an application, a video, a program, we can "talk to TV" directly.

In this sense, voice recognition is quite good as long as we do not come across any term in English, because at that moment the system has trouble recognizing our voice.

The Sony 55XD93 has few accessories, at least our test unit and we could only find it in the pack the brackets to hang it on the wall (which we have not used) and the aforementioned plastic covers that will allow us to cover connections and cables at the rear. Thanks to them, it is possible to give the set a much more sober, robust and elegant appearance to the whole set, which will be more appreciated especially if we have it placed so that the back of it can be seen.

Sony KD-55XD93, Xataka's opinion

It can be said that the Sony 55XD93 is one of the best televisions on the market without fear of being wrong, at least in its price range. With it, Sony has taken a step forward to catch up with the competition by betting on solutions such as Android TV, local content playback or HDR on your screen.

This model has variants depending on the diagonal of its screen and we believe that this one we have tested at 55 inches is the one that can best fit within the vast majority of users who can lean towards a product with these characteristics. It offers a very good balance in performance (powered by Android TV) and image quality, with a price that, as is usually the case with Sony, is usually higher than the competition, although the sound and finishes can be improved.

The only question, or but, that can be put, is not directly related to the television, but with an aspect such as content, something that we have already talked about and that affects models with a 4K screen, at least in certain countries (Spain is one of them) where the options to enjoy this type of screens in all their splendor are more than non-existent, insulting, as is the case of our “brilliant” DTT in HD.

8,5

Design8.5 Image quality9 Sound quality8 Interface and software9

In favor

  • General layout
  • Minimalist interface
  • High image quality in both Full HD and 4K
  • Possibilities with Android TV

Against

  • Some finishing details
  • Somewhat slow media player
  • Improvable sound
  • High price

The Sony KD-55XD93 has been released for testing by Sony. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises

More information | Sony
In Xataka | Sony activates HDR for Netflix on its 2015 and 2016 smartTVs

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