Sony KDL-40W5500 Review

What a coincidence… on the very same day that we published our review of the Sony KDL40W5500, What Hifi has decided to release their own Sony KDL-40W5500 review (which was originally scheduled for 8 April 2009) on their website.

What Hifi forums screen capture
What Hifi’s originally scheduled Sony KDL-40W5500 review date

More research material for those of you who are considering buying the Sony KDL-40W5500 HDTV then. To help you with your purchase decision, here’s a breakdown of how the calibrated Sony KDL-40W5500 LCD television fared against its predecessor (the outgoing W4500 series) and its closest competitor (the Samsung B650) in our tests.

Note: The specific model we tested was the Sony KDL40W5500U (which denotes the 3-pin-plug United Kingdom version), but the terms KDL40W5500, KDL-40W5500 and KDL40W5500U may be used interchangeably throughout this article and the full review.

Sony KDL-40W5500 vs. Sony W4500

For

  • Sharper standard-definition upscaling/ upconversion quality
  • Able to correctly process 3:2 and 2:2 pulldown for SD film mode deinterlacing
  • White balance and gamma controls now available in user menu
  • No undefeatable edge enhancement applied to 1080 source
  • One extra HDMI port
  • Applicast, USB video playback and DLNA media streaming capabilities

Against

  • Primary chromaticities not as accurate
  • Higher input lag even in [Game Mode]

Both sets exhibit roughly the same amount of clouding and backlight bleed out of the box, which can be reduced to unobtrusive levels with the correct picture settings.

Sony KDL-40W5500 vs. Samsung B650

Advantages of the Sony KDL-40W5500

  • Cleaner 100Hz motion (less interpolation artefacts)
  • Colours more well-saturated
  • Shadow detail marginally more revealing
  • Slightly sharper SD upscaling
  • More competent 2:2 cadence detection for real-life material
  • Slightly wider viewing angles

Advantages of the Samsung B650

  • Less chance of clouding
  • 100Hz motion can be applied to movies without making them look like video
  • Superior SD video mode deinterlacing/ jaggies smoothening
  • More accurate colour hues
  • No red push
  • USB video file playback supports more format (including MKV)
  • “Internet@TV” is prettier and more practical than Sony’s Applicast

For all intensive purposes, black-level performance and input lag (with [Game Mode] engaged) are similar on both TV sets.

Conclusion

The Sony KDL-40W5500 and the Samsung B650 are the top two non-LED-backlit LCD TVs available on the market at the moment… you can’t go wrong with either, because both of them are capable of delivering top-notch picture quality. Your final choice should boil down to the importance you place on their respective pros and cons, brand preference, and of course your own budget.