televisions

Sony Bravia KDL-52XBR9 LCD HDTV Review

52 in.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Blacks & Whites

Blacks & Whites Summary
{{article.attachments['Sony-KDL-52XBR9-vanity.jpg']}} • Has the darkest black and brightest white that we've ever seen • Very high contrast ratio • Excellent screen uniformity
{{article.attachments['tvi-prev.jpg']}} Tour & Design Page 3 of 18 Color Accuracy {{article.attachments['tvi-next.jpg']}}

Black Level*(9.51)*


We measured the black level of the KDL52XBR9 at 0.05 cd/m2, which means that the blacks on the screen are extremely deep and dark. This is also the lowest black level that we've ever seen, so this display would produce the deepest, darkest blacks of any HDTV that we've tested.

Black Level
{{article.attachments['Sony-KDL-52XBR9-blacklevel.jpg']}}

 

Peak Brightness*(10.61)*


We measured the maximum brightness that the KDL52XBR9 could manage at an eye-watering 440.47 cd/m2, which is extremely bright. In fact, it's the brightest we've seen from any TV since we started testing, beating out the previous record holder (the Samsung LN46B750) by a significant margin. This is important because the brighter the image, the better it will hold up in direct sunlight or a brightly-lit office. This HDTV should have no problems producing a visible image in pretty much any set of conditions.

Peak Brightness
{{article.attachments['Sony-KDL-52XBR9-peakbrightness.jpg']}}

 

 

Contrast*(10.61)*


With those deep blacks and bright whites, it is no surprise that this display has an extremely good contrast ratio; we measured this at 8809:1. Again, this is the widest contrast ratio that we've seen; the closest competitor was the 5225:1 of the Samsung LN40B650, and only a handful of others have managed above 4000:1.

Contrast
{{article.attachments['Sony-KDL-52XBR9-contrast.jpg']}}

One thing to note here is that Sony's own figures give a 100,000:1 contrast ratio, but this is a dynamic contrast ratio that relies on the displays ability to dim the backlight when there is only minimal white on the screen. As this doesn't reflect a realistic scenario, we don't use this feature in testing; our contrast ratio is determined by the difference between the black and white with the backlight at maximum.

Tunnel Contrast*(8.12)*


Having bright whites and deep blacks is of no use if they interfere with each other, which is what we test here. In our tunnel contrat test, we look at the brightness of an area of black in the center of the screen as it is surrounded by more and more white. Imagine that you're watching a documentary on polar bears; this test looks at how well their black eyes would be reproduced. On some TVs, the black turns to grey as light bounces around inside the TV. We saw some increase in the black with KDL-52XBR9 in this test, but the blacks remained prety deep, and we wouldn't expect this to be a big issue with most artic adventures.

Tunnel Contrast
{{article.attachments['Sony-KDL-52XBR9-tunnelcontrast.jpg']}}

 

White Falloff*(9.79)*


The flip side of this is how well the whites hold up; do they get brighter or darker as the amount of white on the screen changes? We found that this wasn't a big issue with this display; the brightness of the whites remained mostly constant from a small area of white on screen to the entire screen being white. We did see some variation (the whites got slightly brighter as the amount of white on screen increased), but this was only a small amount.

White Falloff
{{article.attachments['Sony-KDL-52XBR9-whitefalloff.jpg']}}

 

Uniformity*(9.25)*


We were extremely impressed with the uniformity of the KL-52XBR9; we saw very little evidence of problems on either black or white screens. On some TVs, we see darker areas on white screens and lighter patches on black screens, but this display only had very minor issues, with the edges of white screens looking slightly dimmer than the center. But this was a very minor issue, and the transition from the bright to the dark was very smooth, so it would not be noticeable to most users.

 

Greyscale Gamma*(5.53)*


Gamma describes how the television handles the greys that fall between black and white; if the gamma is too high, the display goes from black to white too quickly. We found that the KDR-53XBR9 was a little high here; the gamma of 3.11 is significantly above the 2.2 to 2.4 range that we look for. Even tweaking the gamam didn't make that much difference; we found that with the gamma setting at maxiumum (it allows you to tweak gamma with options of min, -2, -1, 0 +1, +2 and max) the gamma only fell to 2.74.

Greyscale Gamma
{{article.attachments['Sony-KDL-52XBR9-greyscalegamma.jpg']}}

 

Resolution Scaling*(8.18)*


The KDR-52XBR9 is a 1080p display, which means that it can handle the highest resolution HDTV signals that devices can currently output. But it also has to be able to handle lower resolution signals produced by devices such as cable boxes or others, which is what we test here.

480p*(8.05)*

Devices such as standard definition DVD players with digital outputs produce 480p signals, and the KDR-52XBR9 had no problem handling these: the images were displayed cleanly and sharply. The overscan was a little high, though; at 4 to 5%, the edges of the image were a little more cropped off than we usually see. This could be reduced by switching the display to the full aspect setting, which reduced the overscan to about 3%.

720p*(8.5)*

Many sports broadcasts are transmitted in 720p, as it does a better job of producing smooth movement than 1080i. The KDL-52XBR9 had no major issues here; again, the images were cleanly and sharply reproduced. By default, the display showed these images without overscan.

1080i*(7.75)*

Most high-definition cable and over the air broadcasts are transmitted in 1080i, so it's good to see that the KDL-52XBR9 had no major problems showing these images; again, the images were cleanly rendered, and movement on the screen was smooth and sharp.

Compare the Bravia KDL-52XBR9 to other HDTVs
{{article.attachments['Sony-KDL-52V5100-intro.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Samsung-UN46B6000-vanity.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Vizio-VF550XVT-intro.jpg']}}
Sony Bravia KDL-52V5100 52 inches Samsung UN46B6000 46 inches Vizio VF550XVT 55 inches

 

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Tour & Design
  3. Blacks & Whites
  4. Color Accuracy
  5. Motion
  6. Viewing Effects
  7. Calibration
  8. Remote Control
  9. Connectivity
  10. Audio & Menus
  11. Formats & Media
  12. Power Consumption
  13. Vs Sony KDL52V5100
  14. Vs Samsung UN46B6000
  15. Vs Vizio VF550XVT
  16. Conclusion
  17. Series Comparison
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

What's Your Take?

All Comments