Sony Z5500 is the second generation of 200 Hz flat panel TVs. The Z5500 series is the successor of the Z4500 and adds internet to the TV interface. Sony Z5500 has also received a major facelift with a new design utilizing a minimalistic and elegant frame.
See how Sony Z5500 with 200Hz performs and how it compares to 100 Hz TVs on the market. FlatpanelsHD is reviewing the 46 inch version of the Z5500 series called KDL-46Z5500.
The model is also available in 40-inch (KDL-40Z5500) and 52-inch (KDL-52Z5500).
This review has been translated from Danish and contains the introduction, measurements, pictures and a conclusion. Some sections have been excluded from the translation but the conclusion is based on the full Danish review on www.flatpanels.dk (Sony Z5500 review). Future reviews will be fully translated.
The frame on Z5500 is minimalist and elegant. Sony is dropping the black high-gloss look that dominates most TVs today. Instead, Sony has decorated the frame on Z5500 with a transparent lacquer-like design with sharp and well-defined edges and corners.
The frame is dark but depending on how surrounding light reflects the tint of the frame varies. In daylight the frame has a light-gray tint and the evening it is glossy black. A slight bluish tint, however, dominates at any time of day.
The stand is a square and also incorporates the glossy material. It allows the user to rotate the screen manually.
Inputs and outputs on Z5500 are located on the back and on the left side.
Most inputs points out toward the back wall and that is a shame. Sony has placed two HDMI inputs on the side, and these are nice but if you need to connect more than two HDMI devices you’re in trouble.
On the right side of the TV we find some buttons for navigating through menus.
Our TV signal is DVB-S (satellite) from Canal Digital and DVB-T (terrestrial). We also have an analogue TV connection.
Testing is done with the DVE (digital video essentials) and Peter Finzel test DVD. Testing is also done with DVD, TV, Blu-Ray and Mediacenter/PC.
We also use our own monitorTest . The software supports some of the traditional test patterns used to evaluate displays as well as some new and unique test patterns developed by the people here on Flatpanels.
Sony PlayStation 3 is our Blu-Ray player.
Unfortunately the remote control is not very pretty, and the quality is not as good as the choice of materials on the TV frame. The remote also lacks weight the strange back with plastic lines is not very pleasant..
Image settings are: picture mode, backlight, contrast, brightness, colour, hue, colour temperature, sharpness, noise reduction, MPEG noise reduction, motion flow, film mode, black corrector, adv Contrast enhancer, Gamma, Auto-light limiter, clear white and Live colours. Finally you’ll have access to a 6-step RGB setting.
Z5500 also has DLNA functionality. DLNA can stream images, music and video from for example a laptop, desktop PC or another device in your home. This way you can access all your media files directly on the TV.
The DLNA functionality in Z5500 supports music, images and video. You can gain access to the DLNA feature with the HOME button on the remote control. The XMB has different tabs labeled Photo, Music and Video. In each category, you can connect to a media center and access those media files that you have chosen to share on the PC.
DLNA is an excellent technology but on the Z5500 it is optimized for photo and music. Not all video formats are supported and I still think that a PlayStation 3 does a much better job.
Finally, the Z5500 series has the net internet-enabled AppliCast feature. Here you have different “widgets” to choose from and you can get information on weather, news etc. through RSS feeds. You can read more about RSS feeds here
AppliCast has some different features, including a RSS reader and an Image slideshow thing. The RSS reader is not very good though, and most feeds were not recognized even though they follow RSS standards – like our own FlatpanelsHD feed or the Engadgets feed for example. You also have to write each feed with a cumbersome on-screen keyboard every freaking time. The AppliCast does not have a favourite list!
Other features include an analogue clock, calendar, a calculator, a world clock and a live image feature. AppliCast is – in my opinion – not worth anything. Hopefully Sony will improve it in the future.
The TV also has PIP and PAP.
Measurements on Sony Z5500 seen below:
Measurement has been done on the 46-inch version of the Z5500 called KDL-46Z5500.
Also, please note that the flat panel TV uses less power after calibration. This is common on flat panel displays because many picture parameters are reduced during calibration.
This section has been abridged when translated. The graphs, pictures and tables have been kept in order to show the results from our tests. After this section you can find the conclusion which has been fully translated and extended. Future reviews will be fully translated.
Here’s a measurements on the out-of-box picture quality on Sony 46Z5500.
The graph says this:
The number on the left is the delta value. Delta is a difference between two factors; here it’s the difference between the measured colour on the panel and the actual colour that is our target.
A delta value lower that 2 results in a visible deviation from the actual colour.
A delta value over 4 or 5 results in wrong colours.
A delta value between 1 and 2 results in precise but not perfect colours.
A delta value lower than one results in almost perfect colours. The target is 0.
Everything between 0 and 1 is barely visible to the human eye.
I now calibrated Sony Z5500 to improve picture quality. Here is what I got:
Calibrated settings on Sony Z5500:
Advanced contrast enhancer
Auto Light Limiter
Black and contrast measurements below. I have measured black, brightness and contrast before and after calibration.
Contrast ratio: +/- 50
Black reproduction at 0,05 cd/m2 is very decent and comparable to most plasma-TVs today.
PC and media center connections
Z5500 supports true 1:1 pixel mapping from a PC.
Black becomes grey/bluish from angles.
Pictures of viewing angles below:
The sound is delivered from speakers hidden at the bottom of the TV. The speakers lack punch and bass. Voices do seem clear and distinct but overall sound quality is not very convincing.
I recommend a separate audio system together with Z5500.
Sony's Z5500 series is not a huge revolution compared to its predecessor, the Z4500 series, and the 200 Hz the system is not revolutionary compared to Sony's 100 Hz. On the other hand Z5500 has a lot of other nice picture characteristics which makes it a quite good flat panel TV.
Z5500 has a deep black reproduction and the deepest blacks from Sony ever. Digital SD and HD signal is very beautiful, too. Shadow detailing is not perfect, though, but it can be forgiven because of the overall picture quality on Z500. Z5500 also handles motion nicely with a low response time and my sample has no clouding issues which is a bug problem with the W5500 models.
Sony Z5500 also has DLNA and AppliCast, giving the user access to the Internet and the option to stream photos, music and video from your home network. Unfortunately DLNA and AppliCast are not very convincing at the moment.
Overall, the Z5500 is a good TV, but it does not sweep us off our feet. It is a step-up from the W5500 series. But not because of the 200 Hz technology but rather the improved picture quality on Z5500. Don’t choose between 100 Hz vs. 200 Hz but choose Z5500 if you want better images with deeper blacks, nice motion and better PQ in general. The price point is a bit too high on Z5500, though.
Sony Z5500 comes in 40, 46 and 52 inches with the model names KDL-40Z5500, KDL-46Z5500 and KDL-52Z5500.