Estimated read time: 13 minutes
Sony has put a lot of effort in recent years into delivering a high-end 49in set better than most of its rivals. The Sony KD-49XH9505 is one of such TV set to hit the market in 2020.
The KD-49XH9505 is looking to make it four in a row by cramming in more of Sony’s top tech than has been seen before in a TV this size. There’s more pressure this year, though, with 2020 marking the debut of a 48in OLED. Can this Sony LCD still take the premium crown at this size?
Sony KD-49XH9505 Pricing
The Sony KD-49XH9505 starts at £1199, which is £200 less than its predecessor launched at last year. The US model priced at $1000 is known as the XBR-49X950H.
If a bigger TV is what you want, then the XH9505 is also available in 55in, 65in, 75in and 85in versions. These larger versions also come with a more advanced sound system, an X-Wide Angle panel that should improve viewing angles, and different feet that can be placed at the bottom corners of the set or closer to the centre for a smaller footprint.
Sony KD-49XH9505 Design
It may be a bit disappointing to know that the Sony KD-49XH9505 looks more identical to last years XG9005 model. The chassis and everything about the Sony KD-49XH9505 appears to same as the XG9005 model, except for the feet, which now comes in near-black rather than silver. This is simple more or less last years TV design with a 2020 hardware and software.
But does that really matter? It’s a shame Sony hasn’t taken the opportunity to slim the set down, as it measures a rather chunky 6.9cm (the 49in Samsung Q80T that will likely be one of its closest competitors is 5.5cm deep and the 48in LG CX OLED is just 4.7cm). And those feet, while designed to accommodate a soundbar, still look a bit silly and give the TV a very wide footprint. Ultimately, though, this is a smart-looking set from the front, with the thin, brushed-metal bezel stylishly framing the onscreen action.
There has been a change in the remote, along with the XH9505 getting the zapper Sony launched with its premium sets last year. Not only is this a more ergonomic and better laid-out bit of kit, it boasts Bluetooth functionality so isn’t reliant on line-of-sight.
That change in remote control has also precipitated the single alteration to the set’s array of connections: the removal of the input for an IR blaster, which we would imagine few ever took advantage of. We’re left with a fairly typical connection selection that includes four HDMIs (one of which supports eARC), three USBs and an optical audio output.[wptb id="1079" not found ]
Sony KD-49XH9505 Features
While things on the outside look familiar, there have been changes made to the inside. The Sony KD-49XH9505 is packed with Sony’s latest top chip the “X1 Ultimate”. This adds super Resolution which is designed analyse and enhance the definition of objects in an image intelligently. There is also an version of object Based HDR Remaster, which follows similar approach to contrast.
You are sure to enjoy better user experience with this TV set because of its extra processing power. Interating with Android TV has been made more pleasant than usual, as the sets now responds almost immediately to button presses. The Sony KD-49XH9505 comes with an Android version 9 with upgrades to 10 made available later on.
Updates has been made by Sony on its menu system,which sits alongside Android and is used to switch inputs, change settings and the like. Making it much better looking and clearer than before. Sony went as far as making operation simpler to help users understamd what changes they are making on their TV set. This was achieved by including pictures and description for every picture setting.
Android TV still isn’t as neat an operating system as the bespoke systems used by the likes of Samsung and LG, largely because interacting with it means going to a dedicated home screen while those rivals overlay whatever it is you’re currently watching, but it is fairly easy to use and gives you access to lots of apps.
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ are all on board to scratch that 4K Dolby Vision streaming itch; Rakuten and Google Play Movies & TV deliver pay-as-you-go 4K content with HDR10; and Sony has been sure to make BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5 available whether you choose to use the YouView tuner or not (there’s also a standard Freeview tuner and Freesat is coming via a future software update).
Its is quite a shame that the Apple TV app is missing on this device. However, you can make use of the AirPlay 2 to stream Apple TV contents from your iPhones or Macbooks on to the Sony KD-49XH9505. Doing this, means you will be sacrifising picture quality.
As well as supporting the Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range formats, Sony also supports IMAX Enhanced and Netflix Calibrated. We wouldn’t get too excited about these, though, as the former is currently a long way from widely available and the latter results in the dullest of dull pictures.
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Sony KD-49XH9505 Picture
View Dolby Vision content using the default Dolby Vision Bright preset, and the experience is anything but dull. Watching The Witcher, it’s remarkable how much punchier and more vibrant the delivery is from the XH9505 than the XG9005.
Put aside what this says about Dolby Vision in general (how can both performances be what the creator intended when they’re fundamentally different?) and marvel at the enticing and cinematic performance that boasts a rich but balanced colour palette, oodles of detail and excellent edge definition.
Motion is excellent here, too. There’s just a hint of shimmer as the camera pans down the fantastical tree in Stregobor’s conjured courtyard, but Sony continues its long-running form for motion processing that smooths and sharpens movement without sacrificing any cinematic quality. This is true of everything we watch during testing and we don’t feel the need to deviate from the default Motionflow settings.
We switch from streamed Dolby Vision to disc-based HDR10 by spinning up the 4K Blu-ray of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker and are a little surprised that the default Standard preset is in need of a fair bit of tweaking, which wasn’t the case with last year’s XG9005. With the out of the box settings the image looks inauthentically vivid in terms of colours and a little dull in terms of brightness.
After many hours of tweaking and testing, we discover that the XH9505 doesn’t actually require a vast amount of adjustment in order to deliver the HDR image we’re after: simply drop Colour to the early 40s (its default is 60), switch Live Colour on and add a few points to Contrast.
Tweaked accordingly, the XH9505 puts in a lovely performance. It’s still just on the rich side of neutral in terms of its colours, but that makes for an enjoyably vibrant viewing experience that doesn’t veer into unrealness.
Black depth is similar to that of the XG9005, which is to say not perfect, but the amount of dark detail is far superior and the way that bright highlights punch through the dark is superb.
Play the scene in which the film’s heroes encounter the giant worm, and Rey’s lightsaber pierces the gloom of the subterranean tunnels far more effectively on the XH than the XG. Ditto BB-8’s blue torch and red LED. In other words, you can see more in dark scenes and they’re more exciting, too.
That said, the XH’s local dimming still isn’t as sophisticated as that of top end backlit sets from Samsung, and that means you get a faint glow around bright objects on otherwise pitch black backgrounds. This is rarely noticeable during normal scenes, but you may encounter it during credits sequences. A little light creeps into the black bars at the top and bottom of a widescreen presentation, too.
That’s largely expected of an LCD set with an LED backlight and the Sony is far better than most, but our sample does also exhibit a bit of bloom around the bottom-right corner of the screen. It doesn’t really impact the viewing experience, but it is something we would expect a bought set to not suffer from.
Switching from 4K HDR to 1080p SDR (standard dynamic range) we notice that the adjustments made to the Standard preset for HDR have carried over to SDR. Most manufacturers have different versions of each preset, and Sony’s choice makes life a little trickier because SDR films and TV shows don’t look great with our HDR settings.
The solution is to use a different preset for SDR, so we copy the default settings from Standard to Custom and tweak from there, switching off Black Adjust and the Advanced Contrast Enhancer, and setting X-tended Dynamic Range and Live Colour to Medium. You also need to switch the Light Sensor off for SDR viewing.
We watch Aliens and The Duchess on 1080p Blu-ray and John Wick 3 streamed via Netflix, and are delighted by the XH’s performance, which is warm but natural in terms of colours, packed with detail and crisply rendered. Dark detail is excellent once more.
Drop down to standard-def via the YouView tuner and the image is clean and controlled enough, given the low quality of the incoming signal. Those non-HD local news broadcasts are more than bearable via this TV, at least in terms of picture quality.
Gamers will be pleased to hear that input lag has been significantly improved this year. We measured last year’s XG9005 at 41.5ms, while the XH9505 is down to 21.1ms. That’s still not as fast as the latest Samsung and LG sets, but good enough to be virtually imperceptible. The set’s vibrant balance lends itself well to computer graphics, too.
Whatever you’re watching (or playing) viewing angles are decent but not perfect, with colours and blacks fading a little as you move off axis. The bigger XH models get Sony’s X-Wide Angle tech, which should improve things in this regard.[wptb id="1079" not found ]
Sony KD-49XH9505 Sound
Though the Sony KD-49XH9505’s audio system posseses the same power rating as its predecessor, Sony has done a nice job in taking a big step forward in the sound quality. In terms of technology, there’s now support for Dolby Atmos as well as acoustic calibration for rooms that uses the microphone in the remote to analyse test sounds sent from the display and adjusts accordingly.
Even without room calibration enabled, this is a significantly weightier and punchier delivery than was offered by the XG9005, but turning it on opens things up even further and smooths out the occasional hard edge. Combine that with a suitable Dolby Atmos soundtrack, such as that of Blade Runner 2049, and it’s a surprisingly cinematic performance for a TV this size.
Even with standard Dolby Digital, there’s an openness and dynamism that’s rare for this end of the market, and stereo signals such as that from the TV tuner are clear and well projected.
Of course, a TV with downward-firing speakers is always going to have its limits, and adding a soundbar would be well worth the extra expense, but for a 49in flatscreen, this Sony sounds very good indeed. The larger XH95 models get Sony’s Acoustic Multi Audio technology, so they should sound even better.
Sony KD-49XH9505 Specification
|Operating System||Android 9.0 Pie|
|Screen Size Class||49″ (inches)|
|Diagonal Size||48.46 in|
|Screen Width||42.27 in|
|Screen Height||23.78 in|
|Display Bit Depth||10 bits|
|Max Number of Colors||1073741824|
|Screen Aspect Ratio||16:9|
|Screen Resolution||3840 x 2160|
|Screen Pixel Pitch||0.28 mm|
|Screen Pixel Density||90 ppi|
|Screen-to-Body Ratio||94.34 %|
|Backlight Source||Direct LED (Full-Array Local Dimming)|
|Screen Horizontal Viewing Angle||178 °|
|Screen Vertical Viewing Angle||178 °|
HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma)
|Size, weight, color|
|Case Depth||2.72 in|
|Case Weight||13.3 kg|
|Case Width with Stand||43.03 in|
|Case Height with Stand||27.52 in|
|Case Depth with Stand||10.28 in|
|Case Weight with Stand||14.4 kg|
|Case Color||Black and Dark Silver|
|TV Tuner||Analog (NTSC/PAL/SECAM)|
802.11a (IEEE 802.11a-1999)
802.11b (IEEE 802.11b-1999)
802.11g (IEEE 802.11g-2003)
802.11n (IEEE 802.11n-2009)
802.11ac (IEEE 802.11ac)
|Connectivity||1 x HDMI (eARC; CEC)|
3 x HDMI 2.0 (ARC; CEC)
1 x AV Composite In (Video + L/R)
1 x 3.5 mm Audio Out
1 x Optical Audio Out
1 x Satellite In (F-type female)
2 x USB
1 x Antenna (RF) (female)
1 x Ethernet RJ45
1 x CI+ 1.4
|Audio Speakers||2 x 10W|
|OS||Android 9.0 Pie|
|Cool Features||Voice command|
Precision Colour Mapping
Object-based Super Resolution
Super bit mapping HDR
Dynamic Contrast Enhancer
Object-based HDR remaster
Live Color Technology
Dual database processing
X-tended Dynamic Range PRO
4K X-Reality Pro
Netflix Calibrated Mode
Image Processor – Picture Processor X1 Ultimate
|Case Width||43.03 in|
|Case Height||24.76 in|
|Vesa Mount Support||Yes|
|VESA Interface Standard Size||200 x 200|
|Removable VESA Stand||Yes|
|Landscape or Portrait Pivot Support||No|
|Left or Right Swivel Support||No|
|Forward and Backward Tilt Support||No|
|Frequency and Interpolation|
|Screen Interpolation Technology||Motionflow XR|
|Screen Interpolation Value||400|
|Screen Interpolation Measurement Unit||XR|
|220V||220 V – 240 V|
|AC Frequency||50 Hz – 60 Hz|
|Power Consumption in Sleep Mode||0.5 W|
|Maximum Power Consumption||203 W|
|Extras||Voice remote control|
|Certificates and Standards|
|Usage and Storage Requirements|
|Safe Operating Temperature Level||0 °C – 40 °C|
32 °F – 104 °F
|Safe Operating Humidity Level||10 % – 80 %|
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Should I Buy It
Buy it if you:
- Want a TV set with Punchy, rich picture performance.
- Need a TV set with Vastly improved sound.
- Are in need of a TV set with Low input lag.
- Are not concerned that it has the same design as last year’s model.
- Want a TV set that you can use to play your PS5 or Xbox series X games on.
The Final Verdict
The Sony KD-49XH9505 may have similar looks to last years model on the outside. However this is not the case when you take a look at the hardware and software. The Sony KD-49XH9505 features a number of upgrades whichs makes it top the XG9005 model.
The KD-49XH9505 has been designed with richer colours, increased brightness and better dark detail combined to make it a more enticing and insightful performer. The improved user experience and significantly enhanced sound makes the Sony KD-49XH9505 one of the best 49in TV set you can buy.
We’re yet to see LG’s 48in OLED and the 2020 edition of Samsung’s 49in QLED, but both are priced higher than this Sony and will really have to impress us to justify the extra expense.