Sony Bravia KDL40Z4500
Australia's first TV with a 200Hz mode.
- Great 200Hz motion mode, excellent contrast and blacks, DLNA certified, good SD performance for a 1080p screen
- Some annoying judder when not running Motion Flow, default Cinema setting may be too soft for some
Sony's Bravia KDL40Z4500 is a fantastic Full HD TV. It's Australia's first 200Hz television and it provides an excellent Motion Flow mode; the real faults we could find with it were a question of personal taste.
Price$ 3,399.00 (AUD)
The new technologies seem to be flying thick and fast in the TV space lately. First 100Hz and 24p, followed by LED backlights, and now Sony has brought to market the first unit with a 200Hz mode — the Z4500. It features all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a high-end panel, and it satisfied in almost every image quality test, meaning it is yet another appealing high-def TV.
Our test unit was the 40in model; as it is a Full HD TV it has a native resolution of 1920x1080. We ran it through a gruelling series of high-definition tests and were pleased with the results.
Blacks and contrast performance were the unit’s strongest features. It exhibited some of the best blacks we’ve seen from an LCD panel. They were deep and rich, without any noticeable clouding or uniformity issues. In dark areas detail was excellently rendered. This is one of the tougher things for a TV to do, and it really adds depth to the picture, making it an important consideration for film buffs.
Good contrast and blacks usually lead to good colour performance, and that was definitely the case here. Skin tones were accurate and primary colours were lively without looking too strong. The overall balance was slightly softer on the Cinema setting than we’ve seen on some other panels, but as you’d expect a plethora of calibration options can be tweaked if you feel the need.
The unit's level of sharpness was somewhat interesting. Again it feels like Sony went for a slightly softer look. Detail is still very well rendered and our pictures were crystal clear, but edges weren’t as crisp and hard as on some competing screens. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the soft cinema look is definitely popular; if you wish you can tweak it using the in-depth menu.
Noise was kept relatively under control, although it did creep in at times. Motion was generally well handled, with a few caveats. With no motion-enhancement mode enabled the picture has quite a lot of judder — definitely more than we’ve seen on other panels. This means users who dislike these new features may find this screen somewhat tough to watch. On the flip side, we really liked the new Motion Flow implementation. Whether or not it’s the effect of the faster 200Hz refresh rate, we spotted minimal artefacts and the image felt smoother than on past units. There was no obvious ghosting, which is a good sign for fans of sports or games.
In our standard-definition tests the Z4500 performed nicely. There were the usual artefacts resulting from the massive amount of scaling required to stretch standard-definition content to 1080p, but the image was still impressive. The same great blacks and excellent contrast performance carried through here, and the level of clarity was among the best we’ve seen from a 1080p panel during SD tests.
PC connectivity was flawless. The Desktop resolved fine at 1920x1080 when we hooked up a laptop using HDMI, and there were no image quality issues to speak of.
The TV has a sharp, gloss black bezel and a crystal underlay on the base that houses the controls and some LED icons. It definitely looks the part and compares favourably to other Full HD TVs. It has three HDMI ports as well as the usual smattering of other connectivity options.
Another feature of note is support for the Digital Living Network Alliance standard, which allows the TV to be connected to a network and stream content. The ability to stream without another device is definitely a bonus, even if the technology is only in its infancy.
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