Sony KDL-65W855C review

If you'd rather go Full HD than 4K, this big-screen Sony is a great buy... Tested at £1500

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Our Verdict

A strong argument for sticking with Full HD

For

  • Balanced colours
  • Strong contrast
  • Sharpness
  • Size-to-price ratio

Against

  • Narrow viewing angles
  • Could do with more apps

It’s easy to get lost in the hubbub surrounding the future of television. OLED, UHD and HDR: all impressive and exciting acronyms, but we shouldn’t forget that existing TV tech is still very good. After all, Full HD has been the standard for years. Both quality and price have been thoroughly honed.

Take the Sony KDL-65W855C, a midrange model in Sony’s 2015 range. It’s ‘only’ 1080p LED display, but it’s rather good nonetheless. The video performance is impressive enough to hold your attention.

Performance

We begin in Full HD with a Blu-ray of Birdman, where Michael Keaton is levitating in his dressing room. It’s a clean, sharp picture. The clutter and brickwork in the room are solidly defined, and there’s little noise to speak of. We’d like more in the way of fine textures, but this is more a small niggle than a full-blown fault.

LED panels don’t have the best reputation when it comes to contrast, but this Sony puts in an admirable effort. Whites are bright enough to occasionally dazzle. Dark scenes are capable of looking much closer to black than grey. On our sample, we found backlighting to be nicely even.

Birdman is a colourful film, and the KDL-65W855C really laps it up. The reds, blues and yellows that permeate the Broadway theatre are deep and vibrant, yet balanced and natural with it.

A note on 3D: this set supports active-shutter glasses, but they’re not included in the box as standard. You have to order them separately at £50 a pair.

Step down to standard definition with a DVD, and the quality holds strong. There is an inevitable increase in picture noise, but even then we see the same traits: balanced colours, good contrast and solid edges. Freeview and Freeview HD performance is similar, only with the inherent fuzz of terrestrial broadcast added.

Fresh out of the box, the TV will need a bit of tinkering. The default settings are not ideal, so we used a THX optimisation disc to tweak the picture.

Much of it is down to personal taste, but we’d suggest starting with Dynamic Contrast Enhancement turned off – that will give you more accurate control over brightness and black levels. Noise reduction is effective, but it does trade a little clarity for definition. Keep motion processing on the ‘standard’ setting – the effect is subtle enough and won’t make your films overly glossy.

Sadly no amount of adjustment could solve the one big issue here: the viewing angles. We find it to be quite narrow, so if you have a room with varied seating positions, those on the side may have issues with washed-out contrast.

The TV’s sound is just fine. There’s enough detail and definition, and the reasonable amount of weight on offer ensures the performance is never shrill or harsh.

The sound quality of flat screen TVs has improved of late, and this one is good enough so we are not compelled to reach for the soundbar straightaway.

MORE: Best TVs to buy in 2015

Features

The Sony KDL-65W855C isn’t just a pretty picture – it has smarts too. Sony is among the first to adopt Google’s new Android TV platform, which is nice but not without fault.

Firstly, it’s pretty, clear and intuitive. Google’s clean-cut Material Design philosophy has been copied over from the mobile world, and it looks lovely on the big screen.

What does need fixing is the lack of content compared to the likes of Samsung and LG TVs. For streaming, you’ll mainly be looking at Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Google Play. There’s no Now TV, and the UK’s main catch-up services haven’t appeared yet. This will be rectified when YouView is added to this TV (and all of Sony's Android models) over the summer period.

You can work around this, however. Android TV supports Google Cast, which means you can load BBC iPlayer and Now TV on your smartphone or tablet, and ‘cast’ it to the TV. Not ideal, but it’s an alternative.

The bundled remote control is fine, but the best way to navigate is to use the TV SideView app. This gives you more comprehensive control than the standard remote control, and also shows you the TV guide.

The hardware side is a bit more comprehensive, and is up there with pricier sets. There are four HDMI sockets, three USB ports, a component-composite hybrid, scart and optical digital output.

Verdict

The Sony KDL-65W855C is a tempting proposition. It’s not class-leading stuff, but we’re impressed with its blend of quality, features and price.

If you’re not fussed about the latest bells and whistles, or you’re happy to wait until the dust settles on the latest format war, this is a great way to get a 65in screen for less than you might expect.

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Specifications

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General Information

Product SeriesW855C
Product LineBRAVIA
Product NameSony KDL-65W855C
Product ModelKDL-65W855C
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Brand NameSony
Product TypeLED-LCD TV
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Manufacturer Part NumberKDL65W855CBU

Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
CI+Yes
VGANo
USBYes
Total Number of HDMI Ports4

Energy and Performance

Energy Efficiency ClassA+
Standby Power Consumption500 mW
Viewable Screen Size164 cm (64.6")
Energy Consumption per Year171 kWh
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Operating Power Consumption230 W

Technical Information

TouchscreenNo
FeaturesProgressive Scan, Mobile High Definition Link (MHL), On/Off Timer, Picture and Picture (PAP), USB Recording, Game Mode, Sport Mode, Film Mode, Screen Mirroring, Web Browser, Wall Mountable, Power Saving Mode, Media Player
Streaming ServiceBBC iPlayer, ITV, Demand Five, Netflix, YouTube
Aspect Ratio16:9
3D Type3D
Backlight TechnologyDirect LED
Internet AccessYes
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Smart TVYes
Interactive FeaturesVoice Control
WebcamNo
3D TechnologyShutter
PC StreamingYes
Electronic Program GuideYes
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Curved ScreenNo
Screen Size165.1 cm (65")

Physical Characteristics

Depth with Stand26.5 cm
Weight with Stand Approximate24.50 kg
Weight Approximate23.40 kg
Width with Stand145.5 cm
Height with Stand89.1 cm
Width145.5 cm
VESA Mount Standard400 x 300
Depth7.8 cm
Height84.3 cm
ColourMirror Silver
Dimensions84.3 cm (H): 145.5 cm (W): 7.8 cm (D)

Network and Communication

EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Near Field CommunicationYes

Audio

RMS Output Power20 W
Sound SystemSurround Sound, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse, NICAM

Video

Digital TunerDVB-C (MPEG2), DVB-S2, DVB-T (MPEG4)
Motion Interpolation TechnologyMotionflow XR 800
Video Signal StandardHDTV
Scan Format1080p
Number of Tuners1

Miscellaneous

DLNA CertifiedYes
Package Contents
  • BRAVIA KDL-65W855C LED-LCD TV
  • AC Power Adaptor
  • AC Power Cord
  • Batteries (R03)
  • IR Blaster
  • Operating Instructions
  • Quick Setup Guide/Supplement CUE (GA)
  • Remote Control
  • Screws
  • Table Top Stand

Warranty

Limited Warranty1 Year