The Sony X85 55-inch is available to buy now for £1,299.
- 55-inch 4K Display
- 3D + 2D to 3D Conversion
- 4K Streaming via Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video
- Smart TV Functionality
We don't normally review TVs, so why now and why this one? Well firstly because it's Christmas and secondly because you have to start somewhere.
Also I've chosen this particular model because it's the 'entry-level' for Sony's 4K line-up. Of course when I say entry-level I mean it's still going to cost you over £1,000.
Yeah. That said if we went to the other end of the scale you'd be looking at £10,000 and I don't know about you but I certainly don't have £10k to spend on a wall-sized canvas of pixels and noise.
So instead I opted for a considerably cheaper but only slightly smaller canvas of pixels and noise. The one I reviewed was 55-inches and after much physical exertion in getting it up the stairs and into our flat I realised that's plenty big enough for just about anyone who doesn't own a small castle.
If you do own a small castle then firstly congratulations and secondly why are you watching TV when you could be stood on top of your castle pretending you own all that you see before you.
After half an hour of setting it up it became clear that this gargantuan slab of metal and glass was not only very nice to look at but also relatively easy to use. Sony's Touchpad Remote uses simple gestures and while the menu system on their larger TV sets leaves much to be desired in the way of simplistic organisation, it wasn't too difficult to get around.
Now it's important to note that the day we got delivery of the review unit was also the day that JJ Abrams very kindly decided to split the internet into two very distinct groups: Those who think a lightsaber should have fiery exhaust ports and those who think that it would be far cooler to complain about them when in secret they were attaching fake ones to all their pens anyway.
The Star Wars trailer.
Within moments I had opened up YouTube on my iPhone and had 'casted' the video from my phone to the TV. The resulting 88 seconds were enough to convince me that not only did I need to buy this TV but that actually, having 4,000+ rows of pixels is actually a very nice number of pixels to have.
Now of course I've seen 4K televisions before and I've seen some pretty incredible things on them but until now I've always thought them an expensive luxury aimed only at those who like 'High Definition' audio and enjoy labelling their AV cables.
Thanks to culmination of Star Wars and this TV however I think now is finally the time to start saying that 4K is worth the upgrade.
Firstly the TV upscaled the trailer, so while it was -- in theory -- several thousand pixels short of peak performance, Sony's upscaling tech were able to produce something that looked astonishing.
Secondly there's the 2D to 3D conversion. 3D is mostly silly, it's not needed for 90 per cent of the films it's applied to and for the other 10 per cent it adds nothing but a headache to the equation.
That said when I turned it on and saw those X-Wings skimming the water's surface it became clear that not only was I wrong but that I now wanted to see all my films in 3D.
After watching those momentous 88 seconds I pondered about what else might do my eyeball's justice. My eye wandered down to the PS4 and inevitably to the game that had been haphazardly placed on its edge: Alien: Isolation.
Playing Alien: Isolation in 3D, upscaled-ish to 4K and on a 55-inch TV will remain to this day both the best and worst decision I've ever made as a tech journalist.
Even with an audience of two joining me, trying to play that game under those conditions while keeping your limbs firmly rooted to the sofa was incredibly difficult.
Every part of me wanted to throw myself out of the nearest exit so I could escape the nightmarish world I'd submitted upon myself.
My compatriots were about as much use as a leaky spacesuit, instead opting to stay by my side and scream the alien away. It didn't work.
By this point I realise I've somewhat strayed from my original point which was to review this TV. Well I can tell you that as a piece of technology it is superb, aside from a slightly jittery menu system it really is one of the best 'entry-level' 4K TVs you can buy.
Really though I'm not reviewing the TV, I'm reviewing what this TV and 4K means for our eyeballs. 4K junkies have been screaming its praises from the rooftops but until this Christmas I just couldn't find a good enough argument to justify the cost.
Well now I have an argument, it's directed by J.J. Abrams and as soon as you can possibly manage, I suggest you get it playing on that TV.
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