Sony KD-75XH9005 LED LCD TV review

hcchighreccomendJohn Archer explains why Sony's latest mid-range LED LCD TV is arguably better for next-gen console gamers than its flagship models

While the original PS4 and Xbox One consoles trailed behind TV technology when they first came out, the Xbox Series X and PS5 are running ahead of most 2020 TVs. Graphics features such as 4K at 120Hz, variable refresh rates and automatic low latency mode switching have caught the vast majority of this year's displays on the hop, including many of Sony's own models. Oddly, the only game-friendly exception in its range isn't some high-flying, megabucks flagship, but the mid-range XH9005 series.

Thanks to their carriage of the latest Mediatek chipset and two v2.1 HDMIs with 48Gbps data rate support, the XH9005s will handle all the key next-gen gaming features.

There's a 55in model selling for £1,000, which looks likely to be a hot ticket item this Christmas for gamers. Even the more overtly cinematic 75in version under scrutiny here doesn't come with a stratospheric price tag, launching at £2,200 and now available for around £1,800.

I don't know why Sony's next-gen console-friendly functionality only appears on the mid-range XH9005s rather than high-end sets, but our bank balance isn't complaining.

Note that at the time of writing, the only next-gen graphics feature already working is 4K at 120Hz; the VRR and ALLM support will, promise Sony, arrive by the end of the year through firmware update. Note, too, that you have to choose between Dolby Vision and 4K at 120Hz over HDMI; for some reason you can't have both at once.

The set's HDMI 2.1 support also provides eARC compatibility, allowing the passthrough of lossless Dolby Atmos audio to soundbars or AV receivers.

Design-wise, this TV wears its monster screen quite well. The bezel is slim, and given a silver trim, while its two silver-finish feet can be positioned either wide apart (pictured) or nearer the centre if your AV furniture demands it.

Getting In The Zone
There are two main areas of picture specification that define the 75XH9005 as a mid-range set: its LED backlight implementation and its video processing.

Regards the first of those, while Sony's VA LCD panel uses a direct LED arrangement with local dimming, the number of dimming zones on this model is a rather lowly 32 (compare that to the 320 zones of Sony's ZH8 8K TV – see HCC #315]. Video processing, too, comes not from the company's flagship X1 Ultimate chip, but a substantially less powerful 'X1 4K HDR' system.

Smart features are provided by Android TV, with YouView on hand to provide all the UK's catch-up services. Sony recently added the Apple TV app, meaning there's now no significant video streaming platform the 75XH9005 doesn't support.

This bigscreen's picture quality is seriously good for its price. For starters, as usual with Sony's premium sets, HDR sources look spectacularly dynamic. I measured around 700 nits brightness on a 10 per cent HDR window, and there's an almost luminous quality to Sony's LCD pictures that makes them feel subjectively brighter than they measure.

This may be down, in part, to Sony's decision to focus on delivering HDR's 'true' light values rather than tone mapping everything. There's a trade off for this in that the very brightest parts of HDR pictures can lose subtle shading. But the consistent brightness, intensity and punch of the 75XH9005's HDR playback is so emphatically eye-catching that a few lost ultra-bright subtleties seems like a fair price to pay.

Making this luminance all the more impressive is the 75XH9005's ability to also deliver deeper black colours than most rivals in its mid-range class. So, for instance, as the bright end of the sewer/tunnel spirals towards us at the beginning of Chapter Two in It (4K Blu-ray), the darkness of the tunnel starts off inky black while the bright exit looks ferociously intense.