Sony gets its picture quality groove back with the high-performing 55inch Sony KDL-55HX853, a 3D LED Smart TV with a dose of X-Reality Pro
The Sony KDL-55HX853 is the latest range-topping Freeview HD 3D TV from the Japanese brand. It combines a laid-back minimalist design with the most advanced picture processing seen from the brand to date. Net connected Smarts come as standard.
It's no secret that Sony's TV division has had a torrid time of late, battered by recession, competition and a merciless exchange rate. But the brand is fighting back with a new flatscreen fleet, led by the HX853, focused on picture performance. Its prime competitors are the LG 55LM760T and Samsung 55 D6530, which share similar specs.
Sony KDL-55HX853: Features
While 3D gets an upgrade on the 55HX853, it's the screen's internet-connectivity which dominates this screen's feature roster. Sony has revamped the user-interface of the SEN (Sony Entertainment Network) portal, better integrating apps, Video on Demand and music subscription services.
A Johnny-come-lately to the apps revolution, Sony has also partnered with the Opera browser team to offer the Opera TV Store, a source of casual games and social media downloads.
One thing that hasn't changed this year is the set's multimedia file playback, which still lags behind rivals, offering no support for MKV.
There have been cool developments with DLNA though. We easily partnered the TV with the Sony Tablet S which enabled us to 'catch and throw' content between screens.
Sony KDL-55HX853: Design
The KDL-55HX853 is fashionably thin, just 3.5cm, and sports edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla glass. While the under-glass bezel is approx 3cm, the set's metallic edge-trim gives it the illusion of it being far less. The screen itself rests at a gravity-defying angle on a slim flat stand, which also incorporates the sound system.
Sony KDL-55HX853: Specs
Connectivity is a la mode. The TV offers four HDMI inputs, Scart, component, phono stereo, PC, two USB inputs, Ethernet and a CAM slot. Wi-Fi is built-in and there's a Wi-Fi direct mode for direct connection with local devices.
Sony KDL-55HX853: Performance
This screen is all about image. Sony's new X-Reality Pro picture processing engine does a remarkable job with everything from heavily compressed 'net streams to Blu-ray. Black levels are high and fine detail is extreme. Perhaps this set's finest achievement though is maintaining motion clarity.
The latest iteration of Sony's Motionflow technology multiples the effective refresh rate of this 200Hz panel using frame insertion, backlight blinking and Image Blur reduction techniques. Watch sports on the Clear Motionflow setting and images are fast, crisp and smudge free. If there's better picture processing available at the moment, we haven't seen it.
Sony has also improved the 3D performance of this TV compared to last year's model, increasing the detail in the image. However, the brand hasn't solved the problem of crosstalk double imaging. Active Shutter 3D glasses are an optional extra.
Sony KDL-55HX853: Verdict
The KDL-55HX853 isn't big on gimmicks, but if you're looking for a flatscreen with excellent image quality, a content-rich net portal and luscious design, then it's a must-see.
Sony KDL-55HX853 availability: Available now
Sony KDL-55HX853 price: £1,800