Sony KDL-40Z5800 review

It might have the added bonus of Freesat, and impressive picture performance, but the competition just got a whole lot hotter Tested at £1200.00

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

For once, dodgy backlighting doesn’t entirely ruin a Sony five-star bid – Philips has helped out, too

For

  • A very impressive picture performance all-round, especially when it comes to motion and colour

Against

  • Minor backlighting issues
  • the strength of the competition

Sony's approach with its Freesat TVs is simply to take a model from its existing line up, add a Freesat tuner, and slightly alter the product code.

Hence the KDL-40Z5800 is the Freesat version of the range-topping KDL-40Z5500. That means it's got some fancy features, like Motionflow 200Hz, web access and network streaming via ethernet, four HDMIs and the company's Bravia Engine 3.

Typically impressive motion
That all adds up to a very impressive performance. As with many Sonys, the biggest strengths are the motion processing and contrast levels.

The first ensures that whether the TV is being asked to reproduce slow pans or fast action, edges always remain sharp and judder-free. And, unlike motion processors offered by rivals, there's little of the artificial look to annoy those who are sensitive to it.

As for contrast, the 'Z5800 produces punchy whites and deep, black backgrounds. Crucially, though, where Sonys were once the very best in this regard, some rivals have now surpassed them.

It's a similar story with detail. Play Slumdog Millionaire on Blu-ray and in isolation the Sony looks impeccable, reproducing the Mumbai slums with incredible insight and palpable depth.

Looks ordinary against rivals
The problem is that you switch on one of the class leaders and the Sony suddenly looks ordinary. Sure, you'd expect there to be gap because of the price difference, but the enormity of that gap is a big surprise.

The Sony's still a great performer, mind. Its colour balance is brilliantly judged, and ensures that when you switch down to DVD or Freeview, everything remains vibrant, controlled and natural.

Images from Freesat broadcasts are marginally cleaner and a touch more vibrant than on Freeview, but otherwise there's little difference.

Backlighting issues
And the backlight? Well, the '5800 is better than many Sonys we've seen in this regard, but there are still cloudy patches that are occasionally noticeable.

This is clearly a quality-control issue, so although our sample suffered from backlight issues, you may well find a set that doesn't – try before you buy.

So perhaps the most important question is whether the KDL-40Z5800 would get five stars if it had perfect backlighting. And the the answer is no – the competition is just too good.

See all our TV Best Buys

Specifications

View All

General Information

Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Brand NameSony
Product TypeLCD TV
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product LineBRAVIA
Manufacturer Part NumberKDL40Z5800U
Product NameSony KDL-40Z5800
Product ModelKDL-40Z5800

Miscellaneous

Package Contents
  • BRAVIA KDL-40Z5800 LCD TV
  • Table-Top Stand
  • Screws for Table-Top Stand
  • European Warranty Card
  • Product Registration Card
  • Power Cable
  • Remote Control
  • 2 x Alkaline Battery

Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
VGAYes
Total Number of HDMI Ports4

Technical Information

FeaturesPicture in Picture, Teletext, Favorite Channel Selection, Channel Labeling
Aspect Ratio16:9
Screen Size101.6 cm (40")

Energy and Performance

Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080

Audio

RMS Output Power20 W
Sound SystemSurround Sound, Dolby

Video

Digital TunerDVB-T
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Scan Format1080p

Physical Characteristics

Weight with Stand Approximate20.80 kg
Weight Approximate17.90 kg
ColourBlack