Sony KDL-46Z4500 review

Sony really is showing what it can do with this stunning step-up model to the award-winning KDL-46W4500 Tested at £1870.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The ’Z4500 represents the pinnacle of what Sony is capable of right now, so it should come as no surprise that it’s simply stunning


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    Builds on the already-impressive ’W4500 to create the best picture of any 46in TV we have yet seen


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    The individual improvements aren’t as dramatic as £600 might suggest

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Knowing how good the Sony KDL-46W4500 is, we rather suspected that it might take a stable mate to knock it off its perch.

Enter, the '46Z4500, a set that's so high-end, it costs £600 more than the already premium W.

That extra chunk of change gets you Motionflow 200Hz, an increase in claimed contrast from 50,000:1 to 80,000:1, and a different speaker array that also boasts a built-in subwoofer.

There are subtle styling differences, too, which include a ‘floating' speaker grille and a return to the blue-tinted Midnight Sky finish.

Plenty of small improvements?
We think it's fair to say the Z is a better-looking set than its W brother, but does it perform better? Well, yes, but subtly so.

The headline spec is that enhanced refresh rate, which should result in better motion. However, the extra level of motion processing this makes available actually decreases motion realism.

The most solid performance comes when Motionflow is standard, but it's not a huge improvement over the great delivery of the W.

A more significant difference is the ever-so-slight extra richness to whites, which in isolation is almost impossible to spot. It actually serves to add a smidge of extra life to skintones.

The backlight is a little more even, too, which will please those who were disappointed with the 'W4500.

Subtle performance improvements
All these small improvements add up to a performance that subtly improves on that of its brother.

It has the subtlety to reproduce all the realism of The Duchess on Blu-ray, and the vibrancy to make Wall-E jump off the screen, while revealing more detail, punch and black depth than any other set of this size.

Even the Freeview tuner is improved, with a marginal increase in stability. The sound, however, doesn't seem quite to bring the advances that its 40in sibling enjoys.

Other than that, though, the improvements make a picture that just about justifies the price. It's too expensive to win against its size rivals, but if you're prepared to pay for the very best, this is it.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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