Sony KDL-40W905A review

Sony's first Triluminos LED is put to the test, but how will the Sony KDL-40W905A fare?

T3 Platinum Award
Reasons to buy
  • +

    Supremely sharp pictures

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    Artful colour reproduction

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    Spectacular design

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Only one tuner

  • -

    Limited Entertainment Network

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The Sony KDL-40W905A is the first LED TV to sport Triluminos tech for better colour reproduction. But will it make rivals turn green and see red?

Gimmicks like gesture control and voice interaction don't get much of a look in on the new Sony W9 series high-end TV. Instead image quality dominates the agenda. A refined picture processing engine and Triluminos colour filtering mean this set delivers Full HD sharper and more colour-rich than any model we've seen before.

The KDL-40W905A is the smallest of Sony's new flagship line. With enviable build quality and a raft of new features, it's the most ambitious flatscreen yet from the brand, but does it have what it takes to make it into our list of the best TVs to buy? If you need bigger, then there's also the 46-inch Sony KDL-46W905A and 55-inch Sony KDL-55W905A, which sell for £1,799 and £2,399 respectively.

Sony KDL-40W905A: Features

The W9's bezel may gleam like Simon Cowell's choppers, but Smart functionality has also received a significant polish. Simplifying wireless streaming from smartphones and tablets is an NFC chip in one of the set's two remote controls.

A streamlined user interface also makes it easier to navigate the brand's Smart TV portal. Here you'll find a wide selection of entertainment services, including BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, Netflix, LoveFilm, YouTube and DailyMotion, as well as Sony's own movie streaming and music subscription offerings.

Multimedia file support has been upgraded, now supporting MKV playback from both USB and across a network.

Sony KDL-40W905A: Design

The W9 may not be the thinnest LED TV out there, but it's certainly the most ostentatious. The aluminium bezel, with hairline-finish and green-glinting diamond cut edging, is wonderfully opulent. The whole shebang sits on a chromed pedestal. Naturally.

Sony KDL-40W905A: Specs

Connectivity is broad, with four HDMIs, three USBs, SCART, component, Ethernet, integrated Wi-Fi and a digital optical audio output. You get a choice of either Freeview HD or DVB-S2 satellite tuner. The TV comes with two remotes: a standard IR controller plus a simplified Bluetooth One Touch zapper, with built-in NFC (Near Field Communications) chip.

Sony KDL-40W905A: Performance

The W9 is undeniably gorgeous in flight. Both black level and shadow detailing are excellent. And Sony really knows how to keep motion sharp without penalising your eyeballs with unpleasant motion artefacts. For really crisp HD, a Reality Creation processor adds textures, without edge enhancement.

Colour fidelity is, literally, off the chart. The TV's Triluminos filter, based on Quantum Dot technology, covers the LED edge lighting and extends the set's colour range.

This rainbow buster comes into its own with X.V.Color sources, such as certain camcorders and the incoming Mastered in 4K Blu-ray releases, but it also enhances content from regular HD sources. Reds and greens are particularly deep and vibrant.

3D is generally fine. The TV ships with two pairs of Active Shutter spex - although if you opt for a larger W9 TV you're rewarded with four.

Sound wise the KDL-40W905A does a reasonable job. A long duct speaker has somehow been crammed into the svelte bodywork to deliver meaningful mid bass, and stereo separation is aided by reflectors, which bounce up the downward firing channels.

Sony KDL-40W905A: Verdict

If you're looking for the best possible picture from your next TV, the KDL-40W905A is an obvious audition. Nothing else currently matches the clarity of its motion handling or the deep authenticity of its colours.

The supplied Active Shutter 3D RF glasses give a bright immersive image, with only minor crosstalk effects, and there's plenty to view on Sony's Smart portal, although the fact that this hasn't grown at all over the past year is a tad disappointing. All told though, a mildly magnificent telly.

Sony KDL-40W905A release date: Out now

Sony KDL-40W905A price: £1,399

Steve May

For over 25 years, Steve has been casting his keen eyes and ears over the best that the world of TV and audio has to offer. He was the creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, and contributes to huge range of technology, home and music titles along with T3, including TechRadar, Louder, Ideal Home, the i newspaper, and more.