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Hands on: Sony KD-65XD9305 review

Sony launched a number of 4K Ultra HD TVs at CES 2016 and we've been spending some time on the show floor getting to know one of the new arrivals, the KD-65XD9305...

What is a hands on review?

Sony launched five new ranges of 4K Ultra HD TVs at CES 2016, but their stand was dominated by one series in particular, the XD93 (or X93D as it's known in the US). Available in either 65in or 55in screen sizes, XD93 showcases Sony's brand new design philosophy, backlight technology and more...

Design and build

New for 2016 is Sony's 'Slice of Living' design. The wedge design which featured on some of Sony's 2015 models has gone in favour of a slimmer, more streamlined look. The base has been redesigned to include cable mangement - wires running out of the back of the set, under a cover and out of sight.

Although not quite as slim as Sony's waif-like KD-65X9005C, the new XD93 isn't exactly what you'd call portly, and the dedicate wall mount means you can place it ridiculously close up to a rear wall.

The new, minimalist design has also resulted in one of the biggest visible differences between Sony's 2015 and 2016 TVs. The magnetic fluid speakers which used to feature along the edges of some premium models have been ditched. Instead, the KD-65XD9305 features more traditional downward-firing speakers built into its chassis.

MORE: Sony announces new 4K Ultra HD TVs for 2016

Features

The big news for the XD93 range is that it's the first to use Sony's brand new Slim Backlight Drive technology. Sony claims this new tech (which uses a grid-array, local dimming backlight structure) allows the set to compete with full-array models when it comes to handling brightness and contrast levels.

The KD-65XD9305 is powered by Sony's 4K Processor X1 chipset and also includes Sony's X-tended Dynamic Range Pro, and Triluminos picture processing technologies.

Like all of Sony's 2016 Ultra HD TVs, the KD-XD9305 is HDR compatible, as indicated by Sony's new '4K HDR' logo. Sony is a member of the UHD Alliance that recently announced its own Ultra HD Premium logo for use on 4K sets that meet the required sepcification.

But, speaking to the Japanese manufacturer, it appears they wanted to create a logo which could be used across their current and future ranges of 4K HDR products across different categories, not just television.

For 2016, Sony's new 4K sets once again use Android TV as their operating system. This, of course, means Google Cast is included for beaming content to the set from a compatible smartphone or tablet. There's also Voice Search and Voice Command both of which featured in 2015 and both of which seemed reasonably intuitive and quick to reply to our requests.

Sony's Content Bar runs along the bottom of the screen wand gives you access to apps, favourites and TV channels at the press of a button. New for 2016 is the addition of a dedicated Netflix row so you can what the streaming service has to offer without leaving the programme you're currently watching.

Picture quality

On the show floor, mainstream 4K content was a little thin on the ground, but there was no shortage of random 4K footage, be it extreme sports, holiday highlights or colourful wildlife.

Motion has always been one of Sony's strengths and even on the showfloor, where you can assume most settings are cranked to their most intense (but not always most natural), the XD93 gave the impression that it was pretty much in control.

Slow panning scenes of a group of hot-air baloons meandering across the sky and the more frenzied movements of a surfer weaving his way in and out of the ocean wake all appeared smooth and stable with no sign of any serious juddering or blurring.

Sound quality

The magnetic fluid speakers found on some older Sony 4K TV models weren't to everyone's taste, but in our experience they sounded great and really gave Sony an edge over many of its competitors. In a world where TV sound quality rarely ventures anywhere north of mediocrity, we're a little sad to see them go.

A noisy (and rather large) CES stand isn't the best environment to put a TVs speakers through their paces, so we'll have to wait until an actual review sample passes through our test rooms.

Verdict

Our experience of Sony's 2015 TVs was a bit of a mixed bag, but we're excited to see what 2016 has to offer. Initial signs from the KD-65XD9305 are promising, but we'll be in better position to give a definitive verdict when we Sony sends us a proper production sample.

MORE: CES 2016 highlights - Day 2: Samsung, Sony, Technics and more

Specifications

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General Information

Product SeriesXD9305
Product LineBRAVIA
Product NameSony KD-65XD9305
Product ModelKD-65XD9305
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Brand NameSony
Product TypeLED-LCD TV
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Manufacturer Part NumberKD65XD9305BU

Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
CI+Yes
USBYes
Total Number of HDMI Ports4

Energy and Performance

Energy Efficiency ClassB
Standby Power Consumption500 mW
Viewable Screen Size164 cm (64.6")
Energy Consumption per Year232 kWh
Maximum Resolution3840 x 2160
Operating Power Consumption225 W

Physical Characteristics

Depth with Stand27.5 cm
Weight with Stand Approximate32.10 kg
Width with Stand145.8 cm
Weight Approximate28.90 kg
Height with Stand89.1 cm
Width145.8 cm
VESA Mount Standard200 x 300
Depth3.6 cm
Height83.9 cm
ColourBlack, Silver
Dimensions83.9 cm (H): 145.8 cm (W): 3.6 cm (D)

Technical Information

FeaturesOn/Off Timer, Game Mode, Film Mode, Sport Mode, Screen Mirroring, Web Browser, Google Play, Media Player, Curved Screen
Streaming ServiceNetflix, YouTube, Hulu, Pandora, Amazon Instant Video
Aspect Ratio16:9
3D Type3D
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
Internet AccessYes
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Smart TVYes
Interactive FeaturesVoice Control
3D TechnologyShutter
PC StreamingYes
Electronic Program GuideYes
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Curved ScreenYes
Screen Size165.1 cm (65")

Network and Communication

EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes

Audio

RMS Output Power30 W
Sound SystemDolby Digital, Dolby Pulse, Dolby Digital Plus, NICAM

Processor and Chipset

Processor TypeX1

Video

Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4), DVB-C (MPEG2), DVB-S2
Motion Interpolation TechnologyMotionflow XR 1000Hz
Video Signal Standard4K UHDTV
Scan Format2160p
Number of Tuners1

Miscellaneous

DLNA CertifiedNo

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.